DALLAS – This is a meeting of the Philosophical Society of Texas, an annual gathering of the 150 smartest men and women in Texas. (I am here as the Designated Dummy.) It was founded Dec. 5, 1837, in the Capitol of the Republic of Texas at Houston. The goal was to unite the efforts of Texas thinkers, and its original members included Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar (president), Ashbel Smith, Anson Jones and others who have cities, counties and universities named after them. After a 100-year down time, the Society was reborn in 1937. This year’s gathering deals with research and discoveries in medicine and science. The current panel up on the stage consists of four Nobel Laureates, discussing possible breakthroughs in cybro-thermal anti-coagulate medicines with supplements, or something … [Read more...] about Sleepless in Texas
MY COMPUTER – “Thank you for dining at our Choke & Puke at 555 Pothole Parkway from 7:14 to 8:20 last night. We hope you enjoyed your muskrat salad with elk gravy. Your waiter, Lance, said your tip was insufficient, but that’s just Lance. In order to serve you better, would you please take just half an hour to fill out this survey?” Gad, another survey from this restaurant which seems to know all about me. Are you getting surveyed to death? No matter where I go or what I buy, within days if not hours I am getting surveyed via email. “Did your food taste relatively good? Was the silverware generally clean? Did the valet bring your car around within the hour?” Here’s another one: “At Intermittent Energy, we'd like you to participate in a quick survey regarding our Gas Standby … [Read more...] about Surveying the surveys
This is the season for Texas history, the high holy days marking the Battle of the Alamo, the Runaway Scrape, the Battle of San Jacinto, preparing for hurricanes, the Astros’ spring training. So for all you newcomers – Texas has more than any other state – we shall briefly tell a story or a mystery. (One thing about Texas history is that it’s fun, with creeps and heroes and rarely a dull moment.) The mystery: Did Travis really draw a line in the sand? And who cares? The standard version of the believers goes like this: As hope for help dwindled, the commander of the Alamo, a 26-year-old lawyer named William Barret Travis, called all his men together and gave a short speech. As it comes down to us, it's one of the most poignant, courageous addresses ever given. In his speech, Lt. Col. … [Read more...] about Crossing the line
THE DESK -- I am going through all my old credit cards to weed out those I don’t need anymore. It used to be we would need a different card for each store and fill-up. Now I just use one: DiscreditCredit. Let’s see what I can toss: Foley’s, Circuit City, Montgomery Ward. I am way behind. What’s this beat up, piece of cardboard? “Selective Service System – Texas Local Board 30.” The reason this particular card is in bad shape is that I had to carry it with me wherever I went. It is my draft card, Number 12, written by a goosequill pen on parchment. (I go way back.) Remember the military draft? It was abolished in 1973, so if you were born after 1955 you do not know the agony of Uncle Sam wanting you, whether you wanted Uncle Sam or not. The draft was part of our society, something that … [Read more...] about Is there a draft in here?
Why do Texans keep making ourselves the laughingstock of the nation? Because we keep electing people who are either (1) stupid, (2) incompetent, (3) mean-spirited or (4) a total of (1), (2) and (3). This is the state whose Legislature honored Albert DeSalvo “for his work in population control.” Later the lawmakers discovered DeSalvo was the Boston Strangler. Gotcha! Former Speaker Gus Mutscher noted some disabled petitioners in wheelchairs in the House balcony. Mutscher said: “Now why don’t you folks stand and be recognized?” And there was Sen. Walter “Mad Dog” Mengden who stormed: “And that’s the problem, if there is a problem, which I deny!” Still, we must remember we elected (twice) a governor who called out the Texas State Guard to monitor the U.S. Army which was conducting a … [Read more...] about Be alert — we need more lerts