When spy novelist Alan Furst was asked why he sold his papers to The University of Texas-Austin, he explained: “It’s like why do you subscribe to The New Yorker? It’s the best.”
“It was the worst time in my broadcasting career, and I wish people would stop bringing it up. It’s the most embarrassing thing I ever did on radio. If I could make everybody forget about my time in Houston, it would be good.” – Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck about his years at KRBE.
Q: “Why do Texans get married so much?”
A: “Well, I’m real old. I’ve been married over 50 years of my life. And I am not going to give you that information without you paying for it.” – T. Boone Pickens, who’s been married four times.
Yes, once again it’s time to see what we are saying and what others are saying about us. Sometimes we wish we hadn’t and they hadn’t. There is, for example, this gem
at the height of the controversy about President Obama’s citizenship: Tom DeLay asked Chris Matthews, “Will you ask the President to show me his gift certificate?”
Gov. Rick Perry made headlines when he threatened that Texas might secede. His opponent in the GOP gubernatorial primary, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, when asked why she was running for governor, replied, “Texas deserves the best.”
In sports we have: “It’s quite violent, but there’s a lot of technique and strategy and a lot of discipline – being from Texas – almost militaristic discipline.” – Austin native Ben McKenzie, star of “Southland” TV drama, on Texas high school football.
“A brighter shade of orange.” – Vivid, orange signs at D/FW and Houston airports from Oklahoma State seeking to attract Texas high school football players across the Red River. It works: last season 56 of Oklahoma State’s players were from Texas including 11 starters,
“You should be ashamed to accept that trophy!” — Nebraska assistant coach Carl Pelini to the UT Longhorns after they won the Big XII football championship by beating the Cornhuskers on a last-second field goal.
“I really think it’s one of the worst fields I’ve seen.” – New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick after a star player hurt his knee in a game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.
“It’s interesting that people of good will keep trying to tinker with the current system, and to my mind it’s a little bit like — and I don’t mean this directly — but it’s like communism.” — Texas Congressman Joe L. Barton upon introducing legislation that would prohibit the NCAA from advertising the BCS title game as the “national championship” in football unless it was produced via a playoff system.
At this point I must remind you to cut out this column, because you never know when you have to speak at your Rotary Club and need a good quote, such as: “If the best darn cancer researcher in the country suddenly fell in love with barbecue and cowboy boots and excellent financial support from (the institution) it would be great for cancer research in Texas.” – Dr. Alfred Gilman, Nobel laureate and head scientific officer for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
The Alcalde, magazine of the UT alumni, came up with some great quotes uttered by former Longhorns and collected by Fred. R. Shapiro. Here are a few:
“You had me at ‘hello.’” – Renee Zellweger, UT ’92, in “Jerry Maguire.”
Ever wonder where the term “black hole” was born? “Light and particles incident from outside emerge and go down the black hole ….” –Astrophysicist John A. Wheeler, UT prof, 1968.
“And that’s the way it is.” — Walter Cronkite, UT ’35.
“Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?” – Janis Joplin, UT ’62.
A blast from the past: “Permit me, through you to volunteer my services in the present struggle of Texas without conditions. I shall receive nothing, either in the form of service pay, or lands, or rations.” – James Bonham to Gen. Sam Houston, 1836. And Bonham was a lawyer!
Moving on, this one is worth repeating: “The Texas Rangers have a pretty long history of getting who they are looking for.” — Allan Polinsky, chairman of the DPS commission, on the Rangers’ search for the Governor’s Mansion arsonist. (We’re still waiting.)
“There’s nothing worse than when a Texan feels under siege, and this could be seen as his way of life being under attack.” – Ian Peddie, professor at West Texas A&M, on protest songs.
Here are a few observations about both Texas and its largest city: “I expected it to be tumbleweeds and cowboy boots. I didn’t expect this urban place. I didn’t expect this diverse place. I didn’t expect the arts. Coming from New York, I didn’t know.” – Shawn Leventhal, Rice student.
“Growth has been the religion of Houston and Texas. That’s a measure of our virtue and success.” — Stephen Klineberg, a sociology professor at Rice University.
“I think the rest of America had the wrong impression of Houston.” – Houston Mayor-elect Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of any major American city.
This factoid from The New York Times, Aug. 20, 2003 (OK, so I’m behind in my reading.): “Around company headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., an hour’s plane ride from Dallas, when anybody asks, ‘Why are there so many Wal-Marts in Texas?’ the answer they get is, ‘Because it’s so big.’”
Finally, the winner of our Breath of Fresh Air Trophy (Adopt an Ozone Dept.): In a hearing on attempts to clean up 25 of Texas’ worst polluted counties, the chief toxicologist for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Michael Honeycutt, opposed tighter rules saying that “outdoor levels of ozone are not indicative of what people actually breathe.”
Ashby is quoted at email@example.com