“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