TOMB IT MAY CONCERN

August 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

“It is debated as to which was the greater challenge: being legally blind or developing the patience necessary when waging battle against the forces of MetroLift,”  Della Jones wrote — in her newspaper obituary. It seems that Jones, who died at the age of 78, was blind and had to use Houston’s MetroLift. It is a public mini-bus service which picks up disabled individuals by appointment, and drives them to medical visits, etc. Often Jones had to wait a long time. Her obituary, or obit as we say in the trade, got the attention of the agency’s board of directors which ordered an investigation into the program.

So we have a recommendation: get your own obit and epitaph in order before you die, because it’s rather difficult to check facts in the funeral home, particularly if you’re in a closed casket. When I go, my obit will read simply “died,” or maybe just the date of my birth and death. Others prefer more flowery (OK, bad choice) words. Recently I spotted in my local paper: “Heaven is having a party today, because etc.” A former flight attendant departed “on silver wings, her final flight, first class, destination heaven.” My favorite was a few years ago when someone asked his friends, “in lieu of flowers, please vote for George W. Bush.” Why not join him? Dead people voted for LBJ. We rarely see an obit reading “finally got his due,” “bought the farm,” “croaked” or “is six feet under and none too soon.”

Obits in newspapers are ads paid for and written by the next-of-kin, and are often guesswork. The relatives cannot think clearly nor agree on much. “Uncle Egbert was 81 and was an accomplished pianist.” “No, he was 85 and played the accordion better than anyone, especially when he was sober.” They may include: “the cause of death will be determined by a grand jury.” So to keep your final resume honest, write it yourself.  Include your war record but “received the Medal of Honor” is too easy to check. Just use “war hero,” “honored by six nations” and maybe “rejected naming the local VA hospital for him.” Put in “philanthropist” and “will be missed by millions.”

You can also use your obit to get back at those who treated you shabbily in life, like your great-nephew Snake who put you in that rotten nursing home and never visited. “I leave my estate estimated at $50 million to my great-nephew Snake with the understanding that he will share the fortune equally with his other relatives.” There is no fortune, of course, but for the rest of his life Snake will be badgered and sued, as his family thinks he’s keeping those millions to himself.

Now about your epitaph, which is Greek for “the end.” These days most people keep it simple, name, date of birth and death, maybe a military or Masonic logo. But if you check out the old tombstones, which can be hard to read, you will see all sorts of Biblical quotes, pictures of angels, trumpets. A few ancient epitaphs of note: Thomas Jefferson wrote his own: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the statute of Virginia for religious freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.” He never mentioned that he was also president. Young Ben Franklin wrote his own parting words: “Cover of an Old Book, Its Contents torn Out And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ’d) Appear once More In a New and More Elegant Edition Revised and Corrected By the Author.” Ben must have grown more concise in his old age, because his actual tombstone reads: “Benjamin and Deborah Franklin: 1790” Sir Christopher Wren designed London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and is entombed there with the inscription: “If you require a monument, look around.” The words are actually in Latin, but there may be a few who are a little rusty beyond e pluribus unum (out of many, whatever).

Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow wanted to be buried together in a Dallas cemetery but weren’t. Bonnie’s tombstone reads in part: “Outlaw, bank robber and partner of Clyde Barrow.” Clyde’s epitaph doesn’t mention Bonnie, just, “Gone but not forgotten.” Another outlaw, Jesse James, was shot in the back by a gang member. James’ epitaph contains this line: “Murdered by a traitor and a coward whose name is not worthy to appear here.” Another Tombstone, the town, has a Boot Hill that contains this remembrance over the grave of a Wells Fargo agent, Lester Moore, who was shot dead by an irate customer: “Here lies Lester Moore. Four slugs from a 44, no Les, no more.” Also in Boot Hill Cemetery lies George Johnson. He bought a stolen horse in good faith but the  jury found him guilty and sentenced him to hang. They realized their mistake, but by then it was too late for Johnson. So his epitaph reads: “Here lies George Johnson, hanged by mistake 1882. He was right, we was wrong, but we strung him up and now he’s gone.”

Irish comedian Spike Milligan’s grave reads, in Gaelic, “I told you I was ill.” From a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery tombstone with no name: “Here lies an atheist. All dressed up and no place to go.” English-French writer Hilaire Belloc chose: “When I am dead, I hope it may be said: ‘His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.'” I had heard about a Scottish epitaph, “Here lies the body of Mary McQueen, she was a virgin at seventeen, a remarkable thing in Aberdeen.” When I found myself in Aberdeen, I went looking for the epitaph in an old cemetery. Couldn’t find the inscription. I asked the caretaker who said lots of people came looking for it, but there was no such inscription. Another great story shot down by the facts.

 

                                              Ashby lies at ashby2@comcast.net

 

 

Branson, Missouri

August 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Branson2By Tom Flynn

Branson, Missouri is eighty-six minutes away. Southwest’s non-stop flights from Houston-Hobby to Branson make it easy for Houstonians to enjoy the Ozark Mountains, outdoor adventures and entertainment venues that make Branson famous.

You’re not in Houston; put the phone down. You will experience mountain roads leaving the airport. They are not straight, or flat, and require complete focus. Throughout the area the roads wind around mountains, through valleys, and over ridges and beautiful bridges. They are excellently constructed with smooth surfaces and banked turns. After a couple days you’ll want to trade in your rental for something with a little more pep and handling capabilities so you can test your driving thrills.

Live entertainment is everywhere; Branson is known as the Live Music Capital of the World. But don’t get stuck in a rut on the strip. Outdoor adventures abound in this mountain town. Golf, trout and bass fishing, hunting, camping, biking and hiking are popular.

Golf

Forget the mountain roads and try to drive straight. Murder Rock Golf Club offers wide beautiful fairways, but the slope will push your ball into the murder rough if you’re not careful. The ball might sit up in summer grass, but spring, fall and winter it will drop beneath the surface. Course elevation varies 300 feet; greens are slick as glass, views are awesome, deer and turkey sightings are plentiful.

Branson is a great golf get-away. Nearly a dozen courses to choose from; most boast a USGA rating over 69. Architects include Payne Stewart, Jack Nicolas and Tom Fazio. The best part is you can play these beautiful courses for less than $100 each; green fees average about $80 with cart. After your round, visit the Rowdy Beaver Tavern for food, drink and fun. The owner and entertainers are big time golfers with close ties to major musicians. They’ve played on the road with Mel Tillis, Mo Bandy and Lee Greenwood. Enjoy Rowdy’s Big Boy 20 oz. Porterhouse as they keep you laughing and singing.

Fishing

Table Rock Lake is full of bass! Largemouth, Kentucky spotted and feisty smallmouth are waiting to bend your fishing pole. Just down the road, Lake Taneycomo holds world-renowned rainbow and brown trout. Numerous guide services are ready to lead you to the honey holes and wall hangers.

Hiking, biking and more in Dogwood Canyon Nature Park

Owner John Morris, of Bass Pro Shop fame, enhanced the natural beauty of Dogwood Canyon Nature Park to create jaw-dropping scenes. The spring fed creeks are crystal clear and filled with giant rainbow trout. Canyon cliffs have been power washed to reveal color and depth in the layers of limestone and Amish craftsmen were brought in to build bridges and the little chapel by hand, no power tools needed. Herds of buffalo, elk and Texas longhorns add additional excitement. The man who turned sporting goods stores into vacation destinations has worked his magic once again, on a bigger scale.

The nature experience here is surreal. Dozens of waterfalls splash down the limestone cliffs as you walk or bike the 6-mile nature trail. The trout swimming in the creeks along the trail are big and visible; you’ll pass Indian burial grounds, caves and occasionally bald eagles. Upgrade to horse or tram tours to ride within a few feet of buffalo, elk and Texas longhorn herds. Adult admission fees range from $12.95 to walk the park to $70 for ATV tours. You can catch and release the big trout on Dogwood Creek with a half-day guided fishing experience for $250; it’s like shooting fish in a barrel!

Silver Dollar City

Marvel Cave has been a tourist attraction since the late 1800s. In the 1950s the owners built a few frontier-style buildings where craftsmen entertained people waiting to enter the cave. They soon realized the craftsmen were a bigger draw than the cave. Today, tourists watch craftsmen blow glass, carve wood, spin pottery, create jewelry and perform various crafts in 60 individual 1890s era buildings. The property is a world-class theme park with immaculate grounds, 30 rides and 40 daily live shows joining the frontier town.

Entertainment

Branson has over 50 theaters and more than 50 thousand seats. At 10:00am people are lined up outside the RFD-TV Theater to see Mr. Banjo, Buck Trent. Hee Haw’s CMA award winning entertainer gets the day started with his famed banjo magic. Shows continue throughout the day with last performances usually starting at 8:00pm. Whether you want to hear Mickey Gilley sing his life story or listen to new music from America’s Got Talent’s Texas Tenors, the opportunity is here. You can watch the oldest variety show in town, the Baldknobbers, or a magic and variety show over dinner on The Showboat Branson Belle as she sails around Table Rock Lake. You’ll find entertainers singing at your hotel restaurant during breakfast and playing on the sidewalk near the Branson Landing. Hundreds of musical acts keep people coming back to this entertainment Mecca.

The Titanic Museum has over $4 million worth of Titanic artifacts. The outside of the structure is a ½ scale model of the doomed ship; inside you’ll find life-sized models of cabins and the grand staircase, along with stories of the passengers on the frightful maiden voyage. Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the Wax Museum are close by for a complete day of touring. Andy Williams Moon River Grill is a great place for a classy lunch or dinner, just a few blocks from the museums.

Lodging

Less than 10 minutes from Branson’s strip is an impressive castle, perched high on a hill overlooking Table Rock Lake. The Chateau on the Lake is an AAA four diamond resort featuring European style service and luxury. Great views, 14,000-foot spa and location make this property attractive.

Big Cedar Lodge was once a private playground for Bass Pro Shop executives and vendors. Now the immaculate log cabins house vacationers seeking the beauty and solitude of the Ozarks. The resort offers so much, 80% of the guests never leave the property during their vacation. Full service marina, two spas, restaurants, live entertainment, golf course, shopping, stables and kids club keep guests busy. If you want to hit the Branson entertainment strip, it’s just 20 minutes away.

 

Branson is bustling March – December. Spring and summer outdoor activities yield to Christmas starting on November 1st. Virtually every show adds a Christmas segment and Silver Dollar City lights up every board on every building in the park. Many of the shows are constant; you have to watch the listings to see when your favorite artists are coming to town.

Essentials

Gilleys.com

Rfdthetheatre.com

Baldknobbers.com

Starlitetheatre.com

Muderrock.com/explorebransongolf.com

Dogwoodcanyon.com

Bransonsilverdollarcity.com

Showboatbransonbelle.com

Titanicbranson.com

rowdybeaver.com/branson.htm

moonrivergrill.com

big-cedar.com

chateauonthelake.com

 

 

 

STANDING ROOM ONLY PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN

August 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

 

STANDING ROOM ONLY productions, Houston’s leading musical theatre production company, is bringing the hilarity of Mel Brooks’ YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN to Houston audiences! Based on the Mel Brooks classic comedy film, this musical features all the memorable characters—Dr. Frankenstein (pronounced “FRONKENSTEEN”), Igor, Inga and of course Frau Blucher, whose very name can frighten horses! This stage play captures all the funniest moments from the movie and immortalizes them in songs such as “Transylvania Mania,” “Roll in the Hay,” and of course the unforgettable “Puttin’ On The Ritz.”

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is coming soon to OBSIDIAN ART SPACE, the premier location for great theatre in Houston, located right in the heart of The Heights! OBSIDIAN ART SPACE is located at 3522 WHITE OAK DRIVE.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN opens on October 3rd and runs through October 26th. Performances are October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26 at 8PM

and October 20 at 3PM. Tickets are $32.50 for general admission, $27.50 for students and seniors, and $25 per person for groups of 8 or more.

Tickets are available in advance at the Standing Room Only website.

Cherryhurst Bikes! to Celebrate Cycling on Saturday, 9/21/13

August 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

HOUSTON, TX 8/23/13 Cherryhurst Bikes!, a community cycling showcase, invites local organizations, businesses, and neighbors to celebrate cycling on Saturday, 9/21/13 from 9 am to noon at Cherryhust Park  at 1700 Missouri.

What can you do on a bicycle?  Can you ride a bike to work or school, run errands with the family, or haul cargo? Would you like to learn how to use a bike in these ways and at the same time save on fuel, be healthier, and help make our air healthier, too? On Saturday, September 21, bring the whole family to Cherryhurst Park in Montrose to celebrate all that we can do on a bicycle.  All are welcome to attend, both regular bicycle riders and riders-to-be.

 

Free and open to the public, the event will begin at 9 am.  Among the events planned:

  • Bicycle “Show & Shine” (with prizes!)
  • Bike decorating for kids of all ages
  • Safety, repair, & new rider classes
  • Bike & Helmet Checks
  • Amazing cargo bikes
  • Experts to offer advice and guidance
  • New product demonstrations for city cycling

 

Enjoy free food and drink while visiting with 26+ community organizations and bike shops, and stroll (or roll!) over to the FrankenBike bicycle-themed swap meet at Anvil, at 1424 Westheimer. Bike valet service will be available.

 

Please visit www.cherryhurstbikes.org for more information and to register your bicycle for the show.

For more information, contact: info@transitionhouston.org

 

This event is brought to you by Transition Houston, BetterHouston, BikeHouston, Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Community Transformation Initiative.

September Happenings at Haak

August 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

Santa Fe, Texas – August 22, 2013  From live music to star gazing, wedding planning, family fun and girls’ night, Haak has something for everyone this September. Swing by the vineyard for great food, music and wine!


The Pee Wee Bowen Band

September 1 | 6 p.m.

FREE event.

Check out the sounds of The Pee Wee Bowen band while you enjoy wine and dinner in the pavilion.


Wine and Stars

September 6 | 6:30 p.m.

FREE event.

Sip wine and gaze at the stars, thanks to state-of-the-art telescopes provided by NASA Astronomical Society.



Bridal Open House  

September 8 | 2-5 p.m.

FREE event.

Visit the 12-acre estate and discuss your opportunity to say “I do” against the backdrop of a beautiful vineyard. Reservations Recommended.



Family Fun Day

September 15 | 1-8:00 p.m.

FREE event.

Join Haak for a day of outdoor activities, music and fun for all ages.



Girls Night Out – Safari Theme

September 27 | 6:30 p.m.

Calling all ladies! Gather your girlfriends for a night of food, wine, vendors and live music.

FEE: $35 entry


————————————————–


About Haak Vineyards & Winery

Established in 2000, Haak Vineyards & Winery is an award-winning, family-owned winery located in Santa Fe, Texas. With Founders Gladys and Raymond Haak at the helm, Haak has become most known for producing two unique wines from two grapes that are new to the wine world, including Blanc du Bois, a grape with Florida origins, and the Black Spanish or Jacquez grape, which produces a particularly distinctive wine: the Haak Madeira. The first and only working vineyard in Galveston County, Haak is open to the public where tours and tastings are offered daily. For more information about Haak Vineyards & Winery, please visit www.haakwine.com or call 409.925.1401. Follow Haak on Facebook and Twitter.

POOR CIRCULATION

August 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

            THE BOOK STORE — We are not here to buy a book. They’re old fashioned. Rather, we are here to buy a magazine. No, they are not obsolete. Just look at this rack — magazines about cars, guns, weddings, food. I count 2-million different mags, more or less. Here’s a shelf full of covers showing women in bikinis and men flexing their elbows. Periodicals about travel, timeshares and teenyboppers. Some are keyed strictly to Texas and Southwest themes. If magazines are going out of business, no one told the public and the publishers.            One suspects we now have more magazines than ever, so their obituary may be premature. These are niche publications aimed at specific readers: Pedophile Monthly, Somali Pirates News, Blast! — The Demolition Digest, and so on. They seem to be doing well. It’s the mass audience magazines that are hurting. Those of you from the Ice Age will remember such news and features weeklies as Life and Look. The Saturday Evening Post, which arrived on Tuesdays for some reason, was founded by Benjamin Franklin, to give you an idea of how long it had been in business. Those weeklies died long ago, but in more recent times we have seen Time magazine which is (excuse the cliche) on life support. Newsweek was sold for one dollar. US News & World Report is only known for its rating and rankings of colleges.

Now we have fresh reports to underline just how bad some — but not all — mags are doing. In a nutshell, their circulations and ads are dropping but the publishers are making it up selling digital editions. According to the Alliance for Audited Media, which counts such things, total paid and verified subscriptions for magazines declined by 1 percent in the first half of 2013. Worse yet, newsstand sales dropped by 10 percent. Both declines were following last year’s pattern.

Among the worst hit were so-called celebrity magazines. Good. Those are the rags we see while waiting at the grocery check-out line behind the guy who forgot his wallet and is bargaining with buffalo hides. “Is GloDoMo expecting?” (No.) “Gin & Mike — Splitsville?” (No, and who cares?) “Rush: “I lost 90 pounds!” (Again?). Who buys that junk anyway? Also hurting are women’s titles. In the first half of 2013, Cosmopolitan showed a 24 percent decline in newsstand sales. Glamour dropped by almost 29 percent and O, The Oprah Magazine, fell by 22.7 percent. But their digital versions — which replicate the format of the print editions — are booming. Those versions still make up only 3.3 percent of total magazine circulation, but that’s twice what it was one year ago. The trend is clear, so sell your stocks in paper, trees and axes.

Here’s a contrary stat: Readers Digest. It was founded in 1922, and was the best-selling consumer magazine in the nation until 2009 when it was surpassed by Better Homes and Gardens. But that bland, feel-good publication still reaches more readers with household incomes of $100,000-plus than Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Inc. combined, and with its global reach, is the largest paid circulation magazine in the world. Go figure, iPeople.

I subscribe to a bunch of magazines (Mensa Monthly, Yale Physics and, of course, Blast! — The Demolition Digest, although the NRA says I have the right to unlimited magazines. Being a big mag fan, I give a few subscriptions to others as Christmas presents, and can see how desperate some publishers have become for my continued business. You may be experiencing this too: In July, I start receiving letters and e-mails telling me to re-new my Christmas gift subscriptions NOW. Here I am, opening my mail in100-dgree heat and the letter is covered with pictures of snow flakes and mistletoe. Last year I received nine such pleas from Texas Monthly and 12 from the New Yorker. Pitchforks & Torches simply tossed a brick through my window, with a renewal form attached, but the brick had snowflake stickers.

Big, daily newspapers are also dropping their antiquated ways. (When I got my first big scoop I ran into the city room yelling, “Stop the chisels!”) The papers no longer give away their content via the Internet; they are now charging. Indeed, today almost 20 percent of their customers are reading their news on-line. The New York Times and its International Herald Tribune (soon to be re-named the International New York Times) has 676,000 on-line subscribers. This means more people are reading The New York Times today than ever before. But it’s harder to charge other outlets. Most news, especially local news, originates with newspapers. Radio and TV stations only read it to you. Blogs, on-line news groups and talk shows are basically parasites feeding off established news organizations, or as Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New Times put it: “In Baghdad I never saw a Huffington Post or Slate bureau.”

For centuries news traveled no faster than the fastest horse. Now hardly a week goes by that some 12-year-old Harvard dropout comes up with a new box that is better than last week’s box. Today we have “old media” and “new media,” which reminds me of the radio talk show host who kept referring disparagingly to the printed press as “old media.” He was telling me this on commercial radio which was born in Pittsburgh on KDKA, Nov. 2, 1920. That was 93 years ago. What constitutes old media?

Despite the early obituaries, just as with any other business, magazines are changing forms to keep up with the changing times, or are going out of business. Same for newspapers. From the fastest horse to iWhatever to the NSA picking our brains, maybe literally, only the methods of transmittal are evolving. Some people will always be willing to pay for information and entertainment, and other people will always be willing to sell it. That hasn’t changed and won’t. We are simply riding faster horses.

 

Ashby is chiseling at ashby2@comcast.net

Be a Cancer Survivor: What You Need to Know About Gynecologic Cancer

August 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

WHAT: 

Thousands of women are diagnosed with a gynecological cancer every year. Knowing the facts could save your life. Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women is holding a free, one-night seminar featuring two gynecologic oncologists who will discuss why these cancers are hard to detect, warning signs and symptoms, how to lower your risk and what to expect if you are diagnosed. A guest panelist will also share her inspiring story of surviving ovarian cancer.

 

WHEN:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

WHERE:

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women
4th floor, Conference Education Center

6651 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030

Paid parking available in the Pavilion for Women garage

 

INFO:

Admission is free. Space is limited. Registration required.

For more information and to register, visit bit.ly/CancerSurvivor

 

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit organization, is committed to creating a community of healthy children through excellence in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation, Texas Children’s has recognized Centers of Excellence in multiple pediatric subspecialties including the Cancer and Heart Centers, and operates the largest primary pediatric care network in the country. Texas Children’s has completed a $1.5 billion expansion, which includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; and Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston. For more information on Texas Children’s, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news from Texas Children’s by visiting the online newsroom and on Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.

Upcoming show at Obsidian Art Space

August 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

obsidian art spaceObsidian Art Space presents the classic play:
Dangerous Liaisons by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Ron Jones

The seductive play follows the exploits of two bored French nobles as they seduce and deceive their hapless victims for their own amusement.

September 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 23, and 26, 27 28.
All shows start at 8pm
Tickets are $20
Ticket information can be found at www.obsidianartspace.org

Obsidian is located in the Heights at 3522 White Oak Blvd., 77007. We are just one block east of Heights Blvd.

HOUSTON RACES FOR THE CURE ON OCTOBER 5

August 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

The 23rd Annual Komen Houston Race for the Cure® in Downtown Houston Expects to Raise $3 Million

 

 The Houston Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® kicks off National Breast Cancer Awareness month by hosting one of the largest foot races in the Bayou City, the 23rd annual Komen Race for the Cure®, Saturday, Oct. 5 in downtown Houston.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® is the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world. The Komen Houston Race for the Cure® raises funds for the local fight against breast cancer, celebrates breast cancer survivors and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease.

Seventy-five percent of the net funds raised through the annual Race for the Cure® stays in the Houston community to fund innovative breast health and breast cancer research, screening, treatment, education and support programs. The remaining 25 percent goes toward groundbreaking national breast cancer research programs, including vital research being done right here in the Bayou City.

This year’s Race, sponsored by Marathon Oil Company, hopes to raise $3 million to fund research, education, screening and treatment here in the Southeast Texas.

The 2013 Race for the Cure® route is a USATF 5K course with both running and walking events including a 5K timed competitive run; a 5K timed non-competitive run; a 5K walk and family walk. There will be a Family Walk and Kids K, which is about a 1/2 mile, sponsored by National Oilwell Varco.

Participants unable to attend the main Race can opt to register for Sleep In for the Cure® to show their support for the cause without having to wake up early on Race Day.

For more information about the Komen Houston Race for the Cure®, schedule interviews with survivors and co-survivors or need photos, please contact Lisa Bustamante at 713-552-1055 or lisab@loveadv.com.

HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY ANNOUNCES FIRST FILM OF 2013 FESTIVAL, PLUS SCREENING OF HOUSTON IN SEPTEMBER BOTH PREMIERES TAKING PLACE AT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON

August 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Events, Uncategorized

HOUSTON – Houston Cinema Arts Society (HCAS) today announced two coming attractions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) in Fall 2013: The Bayou City premiere of the award-winning film Houston on Sept. 6, and the world premiere on Nov. 10 of a documentary on the rich five-decade history of Houston Ballet at the Houston Cinema Arts Festival (HCAF), the first film announced for HCAF 2013.

HCAS will host the screening of Houston in collaboration with MFAH, Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) and the Houston Film Commission on Friday, Sept. 6, at 7:00 PM. Writer/director Bastian Günther’s feature film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Prize for Narrative Feature at the 2013 Independent Film Festival Boston. The film’s service producer, Anne Walker-McBay , has produced many films for HCAS Honorary Board member Richard Linklater.

Houston portrays Ulrich Tukur as Clemens Trunschka, a corporate headhunter tasked with finding a top CEO in Houston. Günther, who will be in attendance for the screening at MFAH, expands Trunschka’s headhunting expedition into a captivating and subtle examination of failure as drinking increasingly isolates the lead character from his life and leads him away from reality. According to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival film guide, “Houston dives unflinchingly deep into the heart of Texas and comes up with something as surprising as it is precious: hope.”

The Houston Ballet documentary will premiere at MFAH at 4:00 PM on Sunday, Nov. 10, the final day of HCAF 2013. There will be a repeat screening at Sundance Cinemas on Monday, Nov. 11 (time TBA). The documentary chronicles the history of the internationally acclaimed Houston Ballet, from the early impact of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo in the 1930s and 40s in inculcating a love of dance among Houstonians, to the determination and perseverance of a handful of Houston’s founding families, to the making of legendary ballet stars through color-blind casting, diplomatic struggles and international incidents and exposure to the world’s best artistic talent, to its place today as the fourth largest ballet company in America with a facility unmatched in the United States.

The documentary will capture the voices of many key players who helped propel Houston Ballet to its current international stature. The film will trace the directorships of each of Houston Ballet’s five artistic directors since the company’s founding in 1955, featuring photos and historical footage of the company’s performances from the 1970s onward, in addition to footage that evokes the company’s vibrant present. It also will feature interviews with the four living artistic directors of Houston Ballet, dancers from the 1970s to the present, and board leaders and dance critics who have closely followed the company’s development. Among the noted Houstonians featured will be Jesse H. Jones II, Isaac and Tony Arnold, Lucia Bryant and Eugene Loveland; along with internationally renowned choreographers Debbie Allen, Ben Stevenson, Christopher Bruce and Trey McIntyre; and star dancers Carlos Acosta, Li Cunxin and Janie Parker.

The director of the Ballet documentary is John Carrithers of Carrithers Studio, a Houston-based filmmaker who served as Director of Photography on several recent feature documentary projects including: Mothers At War, a film about women combat veterans; 38 Pieces, a documentary about the Byzantine Frescoes rescued by Dominique de Menil directed by Susan and Francois de Menil, andRelocation Arkansas, a chronicle of Japanese Americans growing up in an internment camp in Arkansas during WWII. Carrithers has also created numerous works for Houston Grand Opera, Asia Society Texas and the MFAH, among others.

The full program of film premieres, live performances, media installations and special guests for HCAF 2013 will be announced at the HCAF launch party for HCAS members and sponsors on Oct. 15 at The Sam Houston Hotel. HCAS plans to announce the official Festival Headquarters and location of the Cinema on the Verge interactive media installation gallery sometime in September.


ABOUT HOUSTON CINEMA ARTS SOCIETY
Houston Cinema Arts Society is a non-profit organization created in 2008. With the support of former Houston Mayor Bill White and the leadership of Franci Crane, HCAS organizes and hosts the annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival, a groundbreaking and innovative arts festival featuring films and new media by and about artists in the visual, performing and literary arts. The festival celebrates the vitality and diversity of the arts in Houston and enriches the city’s film and arts community. HCAS sponsors include the Crane Foundation, a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Levantine Entertainment, Houston First Corporation, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Champion Energy Services, Amegy Bank of Texas, The Brown Foundation, Inc. and others. The project is also supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. The fifth annual Houston Cinema Arts Festival will be held Nov. 6-10, 2013. For more information, please visit HCAS at www.cinemartsociety.org.

 

ABOUT SOUTHWEST ALTERNATE MEDIA PROJECT (SWAMP)
SWAMP, the first nonprofit media arts organization in Texas, promotes the creation and appreciation of film, video and new media as art forms of a multicultural community. Creating audiences and opportunities for independent filmmakers since 1977, SWAMP offers on-going education, information and screening programs for adults and youth. In addition, SWAMP produces THE TERRITORY, a short film showcase series broadcast on Texas PBS stations and provides fiscal sponsorship for noncommercial film projects and emerging film-related organizations such as the documentaryRelocation Arkansas and the Houston Cinema Arts Society. For more information, please visit www.swamp.org
.


ABOUT MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON (MFAH)
Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the 10 largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, theater, two art schools and two libraries, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 65,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present. For more information, please visit www.mfah.org
.

ABOUT MFAH FILMS
The film program of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), is the largest of its kind in the southwestern United States. The MFAH first began screening films in the 1930s, and Brown Auditorium Theater, located in the Caroline Wiess Law Building and designed by Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, opened in 1973. Often, critics, scholars and filmmakers come to the screenings as visiting speakers to give audiences a deeper understanding of movies and moviemaking. For more information, please visit www.mfah.org/films
.

For Your Arts & Entertainment

August 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

THE NEED FOR SPEED

At MSR Houston, you can hop into a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche and reach speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Now that’s something to get revved up over!

by Tom Flynn

group_shot_track_lzEver gone from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds? How about tested your driving skills in a $300,000, 562-horsepower Italian muscle car, on a La Mans styled track? Sound fun? Your opportunity is near at MSR Houston.

MSR Houston is a motor complex near Angleton, Texas, about 35 miles south of Houston on Highway 288. You can ride go-karts, or if you have your own racecar, become a MSR member and race around the real track. Then again, you can wait until Exotic Driving Experience comes to town, crawl behind the wheel of one of their sexy imports and put it through its paces on the MSR track.

The rides are impressive: Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Audi RS and the classic Porsche 997 S. You pick your machine from the lineup, almost like you choose your racecar in a video game. It cost a few quarters more to pilot the Ferrari 458 Italia than it does the Porsche ($419 versus $169) so choose wisely. You get six laps (7.8 miles) with a personal instructor in the passenger seat giving advice and holding the kill switch in case you lose control.

The total experience for our group of six drivers was less than two hours. After waivers are signed and witnessed, there is a short class on how to drive performance machines and the layout of the track. Then it’s out to pit row to meet your instructor and get a first look at your dream car. They shoot pictures of you next to and in the car and insert a USB in a video recorder in the console. A camera is trained on you the entire time while you are driving with another camera on the track. And, of course, you can buy the pictures and video at the end.

Lap one is the “learn the car lap.” Paddle shifters on the steering wheel take some getting used to, as well as the responsive handling of a racecar on a tight track. By lap three you are anticipating turns, positioning the car to glide through them and hitting speeds near 100 miles per hour on straightaways. You won’t believe you completed lap six and the ride is over—it all happens so fast!

Following your spin on the track, you have an after action review with your instructor and get pointers on how to improve your performance, along with the opportunity to practice improvement. You will start feeling stiffness in your shoulders about the time you cross over the 610 Loop coming back to Houston; throwing that sleek machine around the track is more work than you know—but worth the ride!

Find out more about the fast lane at www.msrhouston.com.


HOT HITS FOR THE SUMMER

Take a little bit of Houston with you wherever you travel this summer with these great reads by local authors.

by Torre Puckett

HERE AND NOW

here-and-nowby Bobbye Marrs
(Tate Publishing & Enterprises;
Paperback, $12.01; Kindle Edition, $8.99)

When Katherine wakes up in a hospital bed, she finds her world has changed forever. She has no memory of where she’s been, what she’s done, or who the man sitting at her bedside could be. All that anyone knows about the accident that caused her to fall into a coma is that it was no accident. Someone tried to kill her. He’s still on the loose and he hasn’t given up—he’s still coming for her, stalking her from the shadows.

Meanwhile, Grant Barton is forced to face a situation he can’t imagine how to handle. His training as a pastor has given him no way to prepare for helping Katherine recover from her trauma and amnesia, much less escape the murderer hunting her down. And worst of all, he’s never been trained for the revelation that the woman he loves may harbor dark and terrible secrets he could never have imagined and that could put them both in a race against a madman with their very lives at stake.

Here and Now is a story of a past forgotten, a future unknown, and a present haunted by uncertainty, loss and brokenness. Bobbye Marrs of Brenham, Texas, emerges with a debut novel thick with intrigue, danger and romance that will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathlessly anticipating more.

HOUSTON’S TOP 100 FOOD TRUCKS

Houston100FoodTrucksby Paul Galvani
(Paul Galvani Publishers; Paperback, $20;
www.houstonstop100foodtrucks.com)

In a city as vibrant as Houston, it is possible to find its people’s diversity reflected most in its cuisine—and one of the most unique new restaurant revolutions to hit its streets is the food truck.

Originating on the West Coast, these mobile food trucks come complete with a fully equipped kitchen and represent every ethnic background found in Houston. These mobile eateries offers delicious gourmet food without the formality of a fine dining experience. But with so many of these roving restaurants to be found, how is a hungry foodie to distinguish the good from the bad and the ugly?

With Paul Galvani’s Houston’s Top 100 Food Trucks, finding the best of this new culinary sensation is a snap. Not only does Galvani professionally review every food truck mentioned in the book, but he also explores the history of the Houston food truck, the unique stories behind each individual truck and the current trend that this restaurant revolution is following.


EXPERIENCE MOVIES LIKE NEVER BEFORE

A new state-of-the-art movie theater, the Santikos Palladium AVX, offers visitors more than just a typical movie night experience. With 22 movie screens, an arcade, a gift shop, restaurants and more, the Palladium is an all day adventure.

by Shayli Lones

santikoJust in time for summer, Santikos Theatres has opened its largest venture yet, the Palladium AVX. Located in Fort Bend County, just off of Highway 99/Grand Parkway, the new Greek-themed, luxury entertainment destination is the only facility in the greater Houston area to feature the newly released Dolby Atmos sound system, 80-foot movie screens and the latest in projection technology. And, while movies have always been able to “move” us emotionally be it through tears, laughter or new ideas, the Palladium’s AVX, D-BOX seats literally move visitors, giving them a chance to feel the action of the movies while sitting in motion seats.

What’s a movie without edible treats? Here, movie goers can munch on more than just popcorn and soda with multiple dining and beverage options available. There is something for everyone at the Palladium including sushi, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and frozen yogurt. There’s even a Starbucks coffee shop as well as two bars for cocktails and Texas wines.
If you have some time to kill before your movie begins, then, check out the bowling center, arcade room, or specialty candy and movie-themed retail store. For those with more discerning tastes, local Texas artists have pieces on display in the featured art section.

And no more long lines for tickets. The Palladium has simplified the movie going experience by offering 27 interactive, self-service ticketing kiosks as well as a mobile app. Appealing to the movie lover in all of us, the Palladium features a “theatre-within-a-theatre,” where four screens are dedicated to art, independent films and mainstream biopics. Those looking for a more luxurious movie going experience can visit one of the eight auditoriums that offer a VIP section with separate box seating areas. VIPs may also order food and drinks before and during the movie that will be delivered right to their seats via waitstaff.

Going to the movies will never be the same again! For movie times, special promotions, or to book an event, visit www.santikos.com.


FASHION FORWARD

Kourtney, Khloe and Kim launch their fashion line at Sears.
by Marisa Byers

The three Kardashian sisters were at Houston’s Willowbrook Mall to promote their new KardashianKollection, sold exclusively at Sears. Fans waited for hours to get a glimpse of the fashionistas.

H Texas had the opportunity to sit down with the superstar trio and ask about their new brand.

HTX: Why Sears?
Kim: Our flagship DASH store in California carried mostly pricey, high-end brands. As our fan-base grew, we realized average fans couldn’t afford those luxury pieces and wanted to create a line that would be fashionably chic and affordable. All of us felt partnering with Sears would accomplish these goals without compromising quality.

kardashiansHTX: What inspired the designs?
Kourtney: Inspiration comes from everything we see. We keep our eyes open as we travel because inspiration can strike at any moment, even when looking at wallpaper.

Khloe: We use these inspirations to create classic silhouettes that work with trendier, modern pieces for a well-rounded wardrobe.

HTX: Who are your fashion icons?
Kourtney: I obsess over iconic Audrey Hepburn, and her classic, effortless chic style.

HTX: What’s next for the KardashianKollection?
Kim: We currently have sunglass, lingerie, and denim lines and are interested in maternity wear, fitness apparel and menswear. But, a children’s line is next on the horizon.
Khloe: Each collection is a labor of love. Our prints are handmade, in-house and the fabrics are of the highest quality.

All three were decked out in their trendy animal prints and breezy fabrics, boasting very classic silhouettes for under $100. Their personalities were as fresh as their clothing line. And, by the end of our visit, the well-stocked racks were empty behind us. It looks like these successful sisters launched another winner! Happy shopping!

A Part of Your Community

August 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Full Circle

Houston’s Zina Garrison, a former tennis star, celebrates the 20th anniversary of free tennis programming for children at her academy.

by Sue-Ella Mueller

Zina11What comes around, goes around.

Growing up in Houston as the youngest of seven children, Zina Garrison spent a good deal of time trailing after her older siblings. On one such occasion, having been banished by her brother from his baseball practice, Zina wandered over to watch a tennis match on a nearby court at McGregor Park. That’s where she met John Wilkerson, a man who would change her life forever.
“Do you want to try hitting the ball? What else are you doing but just using God’s air?” Wilkerson asked her. Up for the challenge, Zina choked up on the racket and hit the first of many balls under Wilkerson’s tutelage.

“I got pretty good,” recalls Garrison. “And then [actor] Bill Cosby came out to the courts to speak to us. There were about 100 kids and out of all of them, I got picked to hit with him. It was so cool. From then on, I didn’t want to do anything else.”
Garrison went on to turn pro at the age of 18, giving African-Americans as well as Houstonians a tennis superstar to idolize. Still working with Wilkerson, over the next 10 years, Garrison earned 14 major singles titles and some 20 doubles titles, including an Olympic bronze medal in singles (1988), a gold medal for doubles (1988) and the Australian Open and Wimbledon in mixed doubles (1987, 1988).

Just as Wilkerson was willing to give Garrison her start, she in turn has been launching young players from Houston through the Zina Garrison Academy (ZGA) since 1993. To date, more than 30,000 children have been reached through the program.
“John had given me so many years to play the game for free, I wanted to do the same,” says Garrison. Together, with her coach, Garrison set up ZGA, offering local children free tennis lessons, with some life lessons sprinkled in for good measure. In July 2012, Garrison’s childhood friend and longtime doubles partner, Lori McNeil, who also made a name for herself in tennis—she was once ranked as high as number eight in the world—came on board as ZGA’s new pro. “We’ve come full circle; we are all back together again,” says Garrison.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of ZGA and Garrison plans to celebrate in a big way. “We’ve had incredible people here supporting me and the kids in this venture. I have been blessed with a phenomenal board [of directors] and Linda Elliott, our executive vice president, has done a great job keeping the program going,” credits Garrison. “We all have a passion for the game and we all want to share that with the kids. We want to help them do well not only on the court, but also in the classroom.”
Garrison and the people behind ZGA are ready to take the program a step further and are hoping that they can raise enough funds to build a bigger site in conjunction with the KIPP Academy. In November, Garrison’s 50th birthday will coincide with the 20th anniversary celebration. A huge gala is being planned for November 16 at the Houstonian. “It would be a great birthday gift if we could generate the funds we need for our new site,” says Garrison.

For more information on ZGA free programs or to contribute to ZGA, visit www.zinagarrison.org.

 

INSTANT ISTANBUL

Turkish Airlines announces non-stop flights to Istanbul.

by Laurette Veres

airplaneHoustonians can now fly direct to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines.

“The direct flights to Istanbul will strengthen trade, investment and tourism ties for Houston in Turkey,” says Houston Mayor Annise Parker. She recently led a trade mission to increase economic relationships between the two markets.

In an interview with H Texas, Turkish Airlines’ Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee Hamdi Topçu talked growth. “Our airline has grown more than 20 percent each year and now serves 98 countries. Turkish tourism is increasing as people discover our best hotels, the Aegean Sea and plenty of history,” he said.

Topçu says the future looks even brighter, “When people come to Turkey for commerce, they come back with family. We are the gateway to Africa, the Middle East and all of Europe.” He believes the high quality of service will keep people flying Turkish Airlines.

Houston was a natural expansion choice for Turkish Airlines. Houston is the fourth largest U.S. city in terms of population and home to thousands of Turkish residents, creating an immediate passenger base.

The new service flies from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Ataturk International Airport (IST). Loyal United travelers should note Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance (frequent flyer program).

Rosewood Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda

August 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

From November 12-16, 2013, the legendary Caribbean resort, known for its state-of-the-art courts and stellar tennis programming, will offer exclusive access to train with celebrated coaches Wayne Bryan and Murphy Jensen, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cheer on tennis superstars Rafael Nadal, Ana Ivanovic, and Stefan Edberg from courtside seats at the Necker Cup Tennis Charity Exhibition. The thrilling contest will lead directly into Sir Richard Branson’s legendary “End of the World” charity dinner, auction and party.

For $13,000, with 10% of the proceeds going to charity, this luxurious tennis package includes:

  • 4-night / 5-day all-inclusive package
  • Entry into the Legends Tennis Camp and Clinics for two (2)
  • Two (2) courtside seats to the Necker Cup Charity Exhibition on Necker Island
  • Two (2) entries to the “End of the World” Charity Dinner, Auction & Party with Sir Richard Branson and other ATP / WTA Tennis Legends, on Necker Island
  • Round-trip transfers from Tortola and VIJ Airport
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. (cocktails, house wines included; excludes Super Premium alcohol, wine lists, & sparkling wines)
  • All food and beverage service charges
  • 20% discount on spa treatments from 9am-2pm
  • Unlimited use of resort facilities including snorkeling gear, movie presentations, fitness, pool and tennis

Summer Travel Guide

August 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

It’s our annual travel issue and H Texas is hitting the road, air, water, rail and saddle to enjoy a few of America’s best destinations. Why hassle with passports, endless flights and the long lines at customs, when the Land of the Free has it all from beautiful, spacious skies, to amber waves of grain, to purple mountain majesties? Come with us as we explore Arizona, California, Wisconsin, Missouri, Colorado and our own beloved Texas!


A Needle in a Haystack:
GRANBURY, TEXAS

story and photos by Rick McMillen

“Dad, would you like to take Mom on a romantic weekend and write a travel story?” asked the publisher of this great magazine, who also happens to be my daughter.
“Absolutely! Where are we going?”

Yep, that was the beginning of this fantastic adventure where the ole cliché clearly applies: Blink and you’ll miss it!
Where are we going? I must admit I was anxious—San Francisco, New York, Vegas? Does the budget cover the Caribbean? Where are we heading?

“Dad, the town is called Granbury.” “Grandberry,” I exclaimed! That sounds like a southern sweet herbal rum drink, right? “No, Dad, Granbury. There is no “d” and it’s not a berry; it’s south of the Dallas, Fort Worth area. Here are your tickets. Have a great time!” I rarely question assignments, however, I must admit, this one seemed like a stretch. So, time to Google and get ready!

To begin, realize the great state of Texas has a population of 25 million; Granbury’s population—8,000. Texas is huge at 261,000 square miles; Granbury is just 224 square miles. Truly, a needle in a haystack.
Granbury-CourthouseBut what’s surprising is this sleepy, tiny, quaint retreat, featuring a one block town square is filled with more historical significance and charm than one can imagine and has so many bed and breakfast inns and folks that are so accommodating, you’ll be calling them Aunt Bee and Barney your entire stay.

Admittedly, at first, I felt like we were transported into the Twilight Zone; recall those frequent and constant recurring circumstances where the same people always appear and reappear? Well, that’s Granbury. The town folks and proprietors all love this town so much that their free and professional time is totally submerged in this town’s heart, history and culture. You will find the owner of Pomegranate B&B selling popcorn at the local theater while the director of the multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Granbury Opera House, which originally opened in 1890, is selling tickets at the same theatre for the current production of Fiddler on the Roof. He also performs in many of the plays.

Lake Granbury, created by damming the Brazos in 1969, is encompassed by 103 miles of shoreline dissecting the picturesque village which is a constant visual beckoning you to it’s shores. So, as we arrived midday on a Thursday at the bed and breakfast, Inn on Lake Granbury, we were escorted to spacious accommodations extraordinarily well appointed in every detail imaginable.

These folks made a serious investment when developing this slice of paradise. The architecture and overall feel is one of small town charm, however, the wooden floors, tiled walls and endless original paintings along with opulent baths with steam showers and oversized jet infused tubs felt like the Waldorf in NYC. And, please, let me not forget the homemade breads, stuffed French toast and fresh fruit with an abundance of flowers endlessly awakens your senses. Plus, I was openly welcomed into the kitchen by the owners, Jim and Kathy, along with their “ma” who was frequently providing me with added delicacies to consume.

Soon, we were off to a VIP wine tasting event, launching the town’s most popular annual event, The Granbury Wine Walk. I must add that I am also editor and chef of a food magazine, Chile Pepper, so I know a thing or two about fine wine and food. Upon arriving at this festive occasion, hosted on a private and opulent estate on Lake Granbury, we were welcomed by an endless variety of fine wines and culinary delights. All the offerings were skillfully created and served by nameless local chefs who could easily command a fine dinning location in Manhattan! My fave? Easy—the roasted pork belly confit with cole slaw. Mind you, this was just the beginning!Granbury-B&B-8

The following two days were spent wandering about the heart of the town which is a one-full block square surrounding the historical and iconic courthouse. Local historians claim it holds more Texas tales than all the longhorns on the open ranges of West Texas! A memorable Saturday evening was spent enjoying a walking tour of the square choreographed by a local who could easily pass as a history professor at any Texas college, entertaining us with the past lore ranging from the evening romps of Jessie James throughout the bars and brothels, the hotel that became a refuge for John Wilkes Booth including the hiding location of the weapon that shot Lincoln, to tracing the spirits of many past cowboys whose last days were spent on the same streets we were walking. By the way, the guide instructed us to download an app so we could monitor the spirits at the locations where their demise ultimately occurred.

This great romantic venture was so fine that my wife and I are already planning our return. That’s a promise. Our goal: to stay at each of the numerous bed and breakfasts that we visited. Each is unique in their fashion, décor and ambiance and each boasts the finest breakfast foods launching your memorable day in this quiet, hidden slice of Texas paradise.
However, a sad note to the end of this story. Within days following our visit, a massive EF-4 tornado packing winds of nearly 200 miles per hour dropped from the skies killing six and causing catastrophic damage to areas right outside of Granbury. But you can’t keep good Texans down. Despite the tragedy, Granbury is fully functional and all tourism activities continue.
Our hearts and prayers go to all the fine folks of Granbury (www.granbury.org)! God bless you all and we’ll see y’all soon!


Have an adventure in gateway, COLORADO

by Matthew Abernathy

With fly fishing, horseback riding, mountain rappelling, hiking, biking and more, this Colorado resort is the perfect outdoorsman’s vacation.

Surrounded by the beautiful red rock of the Colorado Palisade, sits a haven for travelers seeking history and adventure. Gateway Canyons, developed by John Hendricks, founder and chairman of the board for the Discovery Channel and Discover Communications, is located in Unaweep Canyon. Unaweep Canyon, a Native American term for “canyon with two mouths,” is said to be the only canyon in the world that is drained by two creeks; East Creek and West Creek. The uniqueness is that the two creeks drain off in opposite directions. The area has special recognition in Colorado geology due to the ancient rivers eroding the rock away and exposing millions of years of geological record. With much of the area still untouched by human development, visitors are transported back to a by-gone era of pioneers, gold miners and cattle rustlers. But within the compound of Gateway Canyons,
the resort is anything but primitive.

ColoradoPalisadeEventCenterThere are many options for lodging at Gateway Canyons to accommodate a wide range of travelers. The Kiva Lodge, which is built around the pool and clubhouse courtyard has accommodations ranging from 485 square feet to the signature rooms that are 600 square feet, including lower level rooms with a private, outdoor patio, in-ground hot tub and fire pit as well as all of the amenities guests should expect in this high-end resort.

The Kayenta Lodge is built around the beautiful courtyard of the resort. These rooms offer the same amenities as the Kiva Lodge with an additional living area in each room that includes a sleeper sofa.

The newly completed Casitas offer a ‘home away from home’ with over 2,000 square feet of lodging in each of the Hacienda Casitas including an array of special features such as two living rooms with fireside sitting areas, work desks, dining room table, wet bars, a mini fridge and multiple bathrooms. The Stargazer Casitas offer one bedroom accommodations that include two levels with an upstairs den and gazing deck to view the beautiful Colorado sky and surrounding landscape. The casitas come with private decks, fire pits and some units also include an outdoor spa. With vaulted open beam ceilings and large, oversized windows you will be able to maximize your view of the Palisade.

Now, let the adventures begin! There are several opportunities to ‘discover’ the surrounding areas and tour the facilities. From fly fishing, rafting and kayaking adventures on the Dolores River, to horseback riding through the Unaweep Canyon or repelling from the Palisade, to the numerous hiking, climbing, mountain biking and ATV trails that encompass the resort, there is something new to do every day of your vacation.

On our own adventure to Gateway Canyons, my wife and I were able to view the entire Western Colorado area via a mountain top ATV tour. A very knowledgeable and skillful guide was kind enough to take the time to educate us on all of the geological treasures that were right before our eyes and filled us in on the uranium mining that took place here sometime ago that supplied the majority of the metal for the Manhattan Project. By far, the most intriguing option for the ‘adventurous at heart’ is to view the area via a helicopter tour. This chopper experience allowed us to witness millions of years of geological transformations of the surrounding area! The latest addition to an already overwhelming array of adventures is the Pro Baja Truck Experience that allows guest to try their hand at off-road excursions throughout the canyon on tracks designed to thrill off-road enthusiasts.ColoradoHorseback

If it is curiosity or discovery that drives your inner explorer, then Gateway Canyons has something for you, as well. There is nothing ordinary at all about a Discovery Retreat at Gateway Canyons. Whether you have a passion for the cosmos, dinosaurs, the American West or, even food and wine, there is a Discovery Retreat for you. Come learn and experience these treasures from experts; these people have dedicated their lives to their fields and are willing to share and teach those of us that have a shared passion about these various curiosities. Discovery Retreats gathers these experts to unravel the mysteries that intrigue us through hands-on experiences and workshops.

The all-new Curiosity Adventures, taps into your curious side and offers a series of hands-on workshops and presentations. One can retrace the steps of the pioneers, prospectors and all of the colorful characters who created Gateway’s history. They also offer an experience with an astronomer that will help you navigate through the Colorado night sky and all that it has to explore. My favorite exploration came from the walk through of the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum. The museum houses the privately owned collection of John Hendricks featuring more than 60 spectacular automobiles spanning every era of the industry. The automobiles, models and surrounding displays offer a rare glimpse into the beauty and history of the business. The museum also houses a one-of-a-kind 1954 Oldsmobile F-88, which was a real treat for the car enthusiast in me, for sure.

After spending an entire day engaging in awesome adventures and new experiences, my wife and I knew we had to try the Spa at Gateway Canyons. The Spa offers several variations of massages, body treatments, facials, manicures and pedicures. They were also able to accommodate a couples’ massage that allowed us to share the experience together.

Relaxed and rejuvenated from our massage, it was time to go and try one of three dining experiences offered at the resort. For dinner, we chose the Entrada Restaurant. This restaurant is named after the entrada sandstone formation that you find throughout the region. The restaurant offers an intimate indoor, or outdoor dining experience that was very memorable not only because of the ambience, but also because of the excellent food we were served. From baked Colorado striped bass, to roasted Colorado lamb rack, or even the steamed Lobster Tail, we could find no entrée throughout our stay that we would not recommend to our readers. The Entrada is a must for a dining experience you will remember for quite some time.
The resort also has two other dining experiences to choose from. The Paradox Grille specializes in casual Colorado cuisine, while the Kiva Café is a welcoming place to host your next corporate party, family get-together, or any other special event with seating for up to 60 people.

Whether it’s a family vacation, a destination wedding or a corporate retreat, consider Gateway Canyons. The resort has the venues, staff and opportunities to make this a once-in-a-lifetime getaway!

For your next adventure, wedding or corporate getaway, call…

Gateway Canyons Resort
43200 Hwy 141
Gateway, CO 81522
www.gatewaycanyons.com
970.931.2458


Want to read more, check out H Texas Magazine Summer 2013 Issue!

Playing Catch Up

August 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Food_truck_openWhile the food truck phenomenon is old news in most larger, U.S. cities, it’s just beginning to catch on in Houston as the city opens its first food truck park!

by Sir McMillen


Essentials
Houston Food Park
1504 St. Emmanual Street
www.facebook.com/houstonfoodpark


I recently went to the grand opening of Houston’s first food truck park on St. Emmanual Street and you know what I saw?
Food trucks as far as the eye could see; well, not quite. After all, this is Houston and despite Houston being a leader in the world of energy, medicine and space exploration, we seem to be lagging behind in this area, but not for long. After years of watching this trend grow in popularity, and Austin becoming one of the food truck capitals of the world, some Houstonians are angling to get Houston’s food trucks “on the map.” The opening of this food truck park is just the beginning. Aside from the heat, I couldn’t find a single complaint from the patrons. Houstonians have a genuine hunger for these meals on wheels.

Currently, we have a few hundred food trucks in Houston and they work all the usual hot spots. If you look, you will find them in the Galleria, Heights, Midtown, Downtown, the Museum District, etc. Going to a new trendy night club, odds are when you leave you’ll find a food truck ready to serve you before you hit the road. But the fact is, it’s been difficult for these entrepreneurs. Houston, for the most part, just doesn’t allow a food truck to roll into a parking space, pay the meter and open their doors for business. There are a myriad of regulations that they must contend with wherever they seem to go.

I understand completely. Like any restaurant business there are the concerns of health and safety. These are matters that should be taken seriously and we citizens do expect our city government to do their duty. But food trucks also create other “problems.” They sometimes create larger traffic issues in already congested areas, park in front of other restaurants, operate in residential areas and the list seems to go on and on.

So, why do these food trucks exists? They fill a need. If they didn’t, like any other business they wouldn’t last long. Food trucks operate in the areas they do because that is where the people are. It is convenient to be able to walk out of your office building and within a minute, or two order a meal. And, in another minute or two, be on your way. Traditional sit down restaurants are great, but not everyone has that kind of time. Also, it is more than just convenience. I’ve eaten from food trucks from LA to NYC, and simply stated, zthe food is good and the price is right. Houston food trucks are no different. I had at least a little something from every food truck during my visit to the park; not all the cuisines were my favorite, but I enjoyed them all and everything was priced equal to or better than traditional restaurants.

Another need food trucks and especially food truck parks take care of is variety. I absolutely love my food hot and spicy. If I could swallow fire, I would! Guess what? In my family, I’m out voted every time. If I’m out with my wife and two daughters, my restaurant of choice never gets picked.  With a food truck park, I put a few dollars in everyone’s hands and send them on their merry way. Everyone gets what they want and the first to get their food is required to find a table for four and we enjoy our meal together.

It’s taken a few years, but it would appear that Houston is finally getting on board with the food truck phenomenon. We still have a way to go, but Houston is starting to recognize that food trucks are here to stay. The food truck operators aren’t asking for special privileges and we customers like the options that food trucks provide. With everyone starting to work together, I have high hopes for Houston’s food truck industry. The St. Emmanual park is just the start. With continued support and patronage, this food truck park will grow and in time spur other locals to do the same. In a few years, I hope we can look back on the enterprising efforts of this park and its food trucks and say this was the start; this helped make Houston a food truck capital to rival Austin.


Food-Patty-Wagon
The Food Patty Wagon

Cuisine: Comfort food with a Southern flare
Most famous for: Owner Mrs. Patty claims, “Everything!” However, there is something special about her catfish.
On the menu: Chicken wings and waffles, catfish and grits, po’boys and burgers
About the owner: Mrs. Patty loves to cook, so about a year ago, she opened her food truck business. Between the lunch and dinner hours, she is also an interior decorator and a registered nurse who consults with attorneys on medical cases. But her first passion is cooking. Her food is, “always fresh, fast and delicious!”
On the web: www.thefoodpattywagon.com


L’es-Car-Go
Cuisine: French gourmet
Most famous for: Escargot
On the Menu: Burger on Baguette, Crab Cakes on Baguette and the Fries Royale (fries with bacon, tomato, green onion and bleu cheese sauce and crumbles)
About the owner: Mr. Pascal took over approximately six months ago. He has a long history in the food industry as a chef both here and in Europe.
On the web: www.les-car-go.com


pinkbox
The Pink Box
Cuisine: Mexican
Most famous for: The tortillas and sour cream are pink!
On the Menu: Sirloin beef fajitas, marinated chicken breast and signature Mexican cheesesteak
About the owners: Owned by Greg Hernandez, John Hindman and Zack Swamp. The trio saw how much their wives where enjoying their cupcake food truck and decided to give it a try themselves. The truck is a very popular choice outside of clubs and after hours.
On the web: www.facebook.com/thepinktaco


musubi
MuSuBi
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Asian fusion
Most famous for: Pork belly and tenderloin
On the menu: Imperial eggrolls, vermicelli noodle bowl, Vietnamese sandwiches and musubi (meat on top of a block of rice wrapped in dried seaweed)
About the owners: Owned by Cat Huynh and Angie Dang. MuSuBi’s routes include the Galleria, the Heights and downtown. They describe their food as “delicious mischief” and pride themselves in being the number one Vietnamese food truck, an assertion that has been backed up by several reviews.
On the web: www.twitter.com/musubihouston


Betton’s Comfort Food
Cuisine: Comfort food, Cajun/Creole
Most famous for: Catfish and Dragon Wings (fried wings in homemade sweet and sour Thai sauce)
On the menu: Po’boys, boudin balls, fried catfish and shrimp
About the owner: Michaela Betton is a former paralegal. Two years ago, when she realized she was no longer happy with her profession, she decided to take a leap of faith and do what she loves—cook. Betton’s is usually found in Montrose and Midtown.
On the web: www.facebook.com/bettonscomfort


Tamalito’s-Café
Tamalito’s Café
Cuisine: Mexican
Most famous for: The Mexican hotdog
On the Menu: Burritos, tostadas, tacos, quesadillas and tamales
About the owners: Juan and Melleson each have 18 years of chef/kitchen experience. Tamalito’s Café has been written up in several Houston publications. They are normally found in the River Oaks area, but they love the idea of the Houston Food Park and plan on making it a part of their regular rotation.
On the web: www.tamalitoscafe.com


Pocket to Me
Cuisine: Specialty pita pockets
Most famous for: Fish Pocket and Brazier Grilled Chicken Pocket
On the menu: Aside from many other pita pockets, they have spring rolls, jalapeño poppers, fried mushrooms and hummus
About the owners: Keith Griffin is an aspiring chef and is joined by his wife, Joy. Despite having been in the business less than a year, their family recipes are a big hit with customers.
On the web: www.twitter.com/pockettome


zeapod
Zeapod Cakery
Cuisine: Cake, cake and more cake!
Most famous for: Cupcakes on a Stick
On the menu: Custom cakes, cupcakes and cookies
About the owners: Liz and Jerry Hale have several years experience in the food industry and bought a food truck two years ago. They saw a niche for portable desserts. It was an instant hit. Their two children have even gotten into the act. You can normally find them in the Museum District.
On the web: www.zeapod.com


Hotel Galvez Ghost Tour

August 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Travel Blog

Galveston’s ‘Haunted’ Hotel Galvez to Offer Annual Ghost Tour and Dinner in October

Restaurant to Begin Taking Reservations on Sept. 3

 GALVESTON ISLAND, Texas (August 13, 2013) – The Hotel Galvez & Spa, A Wyndham Grand® Hotel and National Trust Historic Hotel of America, invites guests to celebrate Halloween with its annual ghost tour and dinner event this October. The hotel is also opening reservations for its Ghosts of the Galvez overnight package, which includes the ghost tour and dinner, along with one night in a deluxe guest room.

Throughout October, the 102-year-old historic Texas hotel is offering a public ghost tour accompanied by a three-course dinner for $40 per person. Guests can book the package beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, for Wednesday and Thursday evenings throughout the month, including Halloween. The overnight package is also available on Sunday nights.

During the one-hour tour, the Hotel Galvez concierge will guide guests through the historic hotel’s ghostly past using popular ghost hunting tools to conduct a paranormal investigation. Guests will learn about the hotel’s “Ghost Bride” and other reported strange occurrences. The tour begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a three-course dinner at Galvez Bar & Grill at 7 p.m.

To make a reservation for the ghost tour and dinner package, please contact the Galvez Bar & Grill at (409) 515-2145. To book the Ghosts of the Galvez overnight package, please visit www.WyndhamHotelGalvez.comand see special offers.

Link to Ghosts Tour Dinner Release
Link to Hotel Galvez Ghost Stories

Get in the Zone at the Museum Experience: Museum District’s new quarterly events offer unique way to explore Houston museums

August 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Events

Museumexpereince_children'sHOUSTON – August 13, 2013 — The fourth and final Museum Experience of 2013 – featuring five museums in Zone 4 as well as Hermann Park and Miller Outdoor Theatre — takes center stage Saturday, Sept. 28.

Featured museums include the Children’s Museum of Houston, The Health Museum, Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Houston Zoo and Rice University Art Gallery. The District has also partnered with neighboring Hermann Park and Miller Outdoor Theatre to enhance the day’s activities. There will be special programming, special offers and free pedicab rides to make the day memorable for the entire family.

Visitors may pick up a special offers coupon at any of the participating Zone 4 museums on the day of the event – valid only on September 28.

Activities and discounts for Zone 4 Museum Experience include:

Children’s Museum of Houston — 1500 Binz Street

Celebrate the Nutrition Expo with chefs, food tasting, cooking demos, nutrition experts and more. The fun begins at 10 a.m. and continues through 6 p.m. Take $1 off the price of one admission for up to 6 people. Save up to $6.

The Health Museum — 1515 Hermann Drive

Half off ticket price and save 10% on purchases at the Amazing Body Store! Step into the role of a disease fighting detective in the new fall exhibit; Disease Detectives. Participate in cool health and wellness activities with Toni the Healthy Eating Cart and her pal Ms. Salad. Be a part of the For Good.art movement and inspire others to make Houston an even better city. Get an up close view of the exciting science of your brain, lungs and body nutrition at our Discovery Carts! All activities will be going on from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Houston Museum of Natural Science — 5555 Hermann Park Drive

Explore the ruins of ancient Egypt, stand face-to-face with a Tyrannosaurus rex and marvel at dazzling gems and minerals. Visitors will enjoy half off admission to the museum’s permanent exhibit halls from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

me_zooHouston Zoo — 6200 Hermann Park Drive  

Learn how the Zoo staff keeps animals active, healthy and happy during Enrichment Day presented by Chase. This event, from 9 a.m. to 3p.m., is included with paid Zoo admission and is free for Zoo members.

Rice University Art Gallery – 6100 Main Street

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. guests are invited to free gallery talks about the current art installation. Cool off in the Rice Gallery Cubicle video space, and check out a selection of family-friendly short films. An interactive creative writing activity for children of all ages led by Mary Wemple will be offered from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The gallery will offer free ice cream – while supplies last.

Take the Hermann Park Railroad from the Houston Museum of Natural Science to Rice Gallery to the Zoo and Lake Plaza. The train will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the fare is $3.25 per person. Stop by the park’s Pinewood Café for small cup of vanilla soft serve at half price.

While you’re in the Park, enjoy from two performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre. At 11:00am, Ambassadors International Ballet Folklorico presents “Amanecer Colombiano.” Round out your day at the museums with an evening performance when Dance of Asian America presents “Splendid China” at 8 p.m.

The Museum Experience, a series of quarterly events initiated this year, replaced the Museum District’s annual open house. It divides the 19 museums of Houston’s Museum District into four walkable “zones” making the area even easier to explore.

On the last Saturday of January, April, July and September, each event showcases a handful of museums. Visitors are encouraged to walk or bike between venues, when possible.

Ticketed museums will be charging admission fees unless otherwise stated. Visitors should note that 11 of the museums are free every day and the other eight offer free times.

The Houston Museum District Association , which represents 19 organizations, hosts the Museum Experience.

“We have such amazing and diverse museums in the district,” Laurette Cañizares, the group’s executive director, explained. “The Museum Experience is a great way to sample what the museums offer year-round.”

Visit www.thehoustonmuseumexperience.com  for more information.
 
About the Houston Museum District Association

The Houston Museum District Association works collaboratively with 19 museums, all within a 1.5-mile radius of the Mecom Fountain. The nonprofit was formed in 1997 with a mission to maximize the artistic, scientific and educational resources of the Houston Museum District institutions for both residents and visitors. For more information, visit www.houstonmuseumdistrict.org

Attached photos courtesy of the Houston Museum District Association. 

WATT’S WHAT

August 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

THE DEN — These are the Dog Days of Summer. The season begins about July 3 and ends on Aug. 11. They were so named by ancient Egyptian and Greek TV weathermen to cover  the 20 days before, to 20 days after, the conjunction of Sirius, the dog star, and the sun. But you knew that, and you know we are still broiling.

Maybe global warming is to blame, or perhaps because it’s summer in Texas, but no matter who let the dogs out, if you have looked at your electric bill lately you may want to lower it. Then again, you may have just won the Texas Lotto, sold your hedge fund and/or drilled in West Texas for oil and hit water. So you really don’t care about money. But for the rest of us, we need tips on how to lower our monthly electric bill to something this side of the Rick Perry’s traveling security costs.

First, let’s debunk the myth that we should leave the air conditioner (hereafter known as the a/c) at the same temperature when we leave the house or apartment or cellblock in the morning because, the theory goes, it takes more energy (electricity) to chill down the place when we return in the afternoon. Wrong. Cut back the a/c on that empty house and save big bux. This is assuming that you have somewhere else to go during the day, like school, a job or simply casing other people’s houses. Hint: If a house has the a/c going during the day, the owner is either at home holding a shotgun waiting for burglars or he struck water outside of Pecos.

Most of us like our bedrooms to be cooler when we sleep, so we turn down the temp at night. But remember, because half or more of your summer electric bill is the cost of running your a/c, each degree below 78 will increase your energy use by 3 to 6 percent. Recommendations: never sleep, or sleep on a bed of ice, turn your temperature up and turn your calendar to January. Works for me. This raises a question: which do you say? “It’s hot in here. Turn the a/c up.” Or: “It’s hot in here. Turn the a/c down.”

Ceiling fans (those are people who cheer for ceilings) can make you think the room is cooler. All they really do is churn up the hot air, but your skin doesn’t know that. Incidentally, here’s a tip I got from the Florida Power & Lighting Co. (my extensive research staff knows no boundaries). In the winter turn your ceiling fan on slow-reverse. It blows the hot air, which has risen to your ceiling, downward to warm you. The air from the floor then will be drawn back to the fan in the center of the room again and so on. How do you reverse a fan? All fans manufactured in the U.S. after 2007 have a switch to make the fan turn in the opposite direction. Do NOT flip the switch while the fan is on. Get somebody else to do  it.

How old is your a/c? Newer models are far more efficient than those made before, say, 1920. Actually, you can save up to $100 a year on your electric bills if you buy a new a/c. They run about $7,000 to $12,000, depending on the size of the concrete pad it sits on. You can save what you spent and come out ahead by 2054.        Is your home well insulated? This is especially important for your ceilings. Go take a look in your attic to see what kind of insulation you have, if any. There are three kinds: One is paper-backed blankets of fiberglass insulation. Then there is blown-in insulation which should be 3 to 5 inches thick, and there is insulating foam, which is also blown in. My own attic is insulated by my high school letter jacket, unread magazines, furniture that not even the Salvation Army will take, and dust 3 to 5 inches thick.

Are your interior walls insulated? Why? Who needs interior walls packed with fiberglass? As for your exterior walls, the best way to determine if that cookie-cutter home builder cut another corner by not insulating your outside walls, is to drill a small hole in all your exterior walls. Try not to hit any wires or pipes. Or you can avoid all those ugly looking holes you made in your rooms by drilling from the outside. Fill the holes with wine corks; that will impress the neighbors unless you drink wine in a box.

Here are a few more money-saving suggestions: When you leave a room, turn off the light. (This is like the suggestion to turn down the a/c while you’re away.) It only takes a tiny bit more electricity to fire up the light again. So unless you plan on returning to that room within 3 seconds, turn off the light. Ah, but what kind of light? Our old incandescent light bulbs, which Thomas Edison was so proud of because he made a squillian dollars selling them, are so 1880s. Ninety percent of the energy they use is given off as heat, and only about 10 percent results in light. Today the rage is compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, which are white and squiggly and look like something you’d buy at a Dairy Queen. They cost more but last longer and use less electricity. I bought one for $14 and it lasted four months. An average CFL bulb should save you enough money in 38 years to break even.

We discussed the tankless water heaters recently. They also save you enough money over 38 years to break even. (A reader pointed out that I kept calling them “hot water heaters” when actually they don’t heat hot water, they are “water heaters.” Anyway, now you know how to save money on your electric bill. Sirius, the dog star, would be proud.

Ashby is insulated at ashby2@comcasmt.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE OUR QUOTE-A

August 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

“Go Cowboys !” – Last words of Joe Hernandez before he was executed at Huntsville. “In Texas, they say, ‘gun control’ means using both hands.” – The New York Times, July 14, 2006. From Gail Collins in her recent book, “As Texas Goes… : How the Lone Star State Hijacked the American Agenda:” “I loved looking down at the floor from the Rotunda and seeing this monster Texas Republic (seal), and it’s surrounded by all these other (seals), one of which is the United States. That was my first real sense of, Well this is a deep feeling.’ ”

Yes, it’s time once again to see what others are saying about us and what we are saying about ourselves. Here’s a good one. “We Aggies have always thought the good Lord put us on this earth to save the world. Now we get to do it.” — Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp on the selection of the A&M System to receive $176 million in federal grants for a new bio-security center. A&M President R. Bowen Loftin was asked if he had any one-liners about UT: “I don’t have to anymore. It isn’t relevant to us anymore.” He has since resigned. On the other hand, from civilization we have: “They cut us up like boarding house pie — and that’s real small pieces.” – Darrell  Royal.

A blast from the past: President Sam Houston was once handed a note demanding a duel to the death. Houston returned it to his secretary, saying, “This is number 24. The angry gentleman must wait.” Houston’s last words. “Texas, Texas, Margaret.” During the Texas republic, a shopkeeper in Baltimore sent his partner in Galveston a load of bonnets, writing that they “were old stock and out of fashion, but believe they will sell in Texas.”

Many a person has had something to say about the city of Houston. Everyone knows: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Neil Armstrong uttered these  words on July 20, 1969, but they were not exactly the first words from the moon. Before them were some technical jargon meant only for the handlers at JSC. And, of course, there is: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” – James A. Lovell, a quote that has been  overused in every downer news story about Houston from baseball to hurricanes.

Here are a few lesser known: “When I was a kid in Houston, we were so poor we couldn’t afford the last two letters, so we called ourselves po’.” – George Foreman. “The view from the Warwick Hotel is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It’s just like Paris.”– Bob Hope talking about Houston on The Phil Donahue Show. “Houston is an example of what can happen when architecture catches a venereal disease.” — Frank Lloyd Wright on Houston’s skyline in the 1950s.

“It is an ugly, sprawling city, unprotected by zoning laws. Block after barren block of weed-infested parking lots and disintegrating houses stand close by upscale shopping centers and lushly landscaped residential Edens like River Oaks. Too many hours are spent in cars on the congested but indispensable freeways. Yet in its way, it is also a city of art and culture, of exciting museums and distinguished buildings and world-class performing arts organizations.” – R.W. Apple, Jr., in The New York Times on Houston.

“In Houston, it is now harder for a lawyer to be elected mayor than a lesbian.” — Rick Casey, Houston Chronicle, Dec. 13, 2009. “When I’d finished, everybody said they wanted me for this movie. At first I thought they meant a nudie flick since an awful lot of nudies are made in Houston.” – Shelley Duvall
Comparing Houston to other places where an NBA player can go: “Houston’s not New York.” – NYC PR CEO Ronn Torossian on the endorsement earnings loss Jeremy Lin would suffer by moving from the New York Knicks to the Houston Rockets. “I think it was a safe move for him to go to a little town like Houston. That’s right, little town. I said it.” — Shaquille O’Neal on Dwight Howard going to the Rockets. Shaq, a San Antonio native and former Rocket, endeared himself by becoming the first inductee into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame to skip the ceremony.

Thanks to Copano Bay Press we have: “Any male person in the City of Houston who shall stare at, or make what is commonly called ‘goo-goo eyes’ at, or in any other manner look at or make remarks to or concerning, or cough or whistle at, or do any other act to attract the attention of any woman or female person upon or traveling along any of the sidewalks, streets, or public ways in the City of Houston, with the intent or in a manner calculated to annoy, or to attempt to flirt with any such woman or female person, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor…” The law remained in effect until after World War II.

Getting back to the rest of Texas, Peggy Venable, a conservative activist and director of the Texas branch of Americans for Prosperity, after the GOP sweep in Texas contrary to the national Democratic victories in November, 2012: “We truly are different. I had people across the country that called me last night, saying, ‘I’m moving to Texas.’ ”

“Next to music there is nothing that lifts the spirits and strengthens the soul more than a good bowl of chili. Congress should pass a law making it mandatory for all restaurants serving chili to follow a Texas recipe.” – Bandleader Harry James. In “The Deserters — A Hidden History of World War II,” by Charles Glass, he  quotes a general who wrote, “When, in 1943, it was found that 14 members of the Rice University football team had been rejected for military service, the public was somewhat surprised.” Finally, from Thelma and Louise,  “Look, you shoot off a guy’s head with his pants down, believe me, Texas is not the place you want to get caught.”

 

Quote Ashby at Ashby2@Comcast.net.net