“It’s not for looks. We’re willing to die.” — J.P. Campbell, armed with a shotgun, as he and other similarly-armed men staged a protest against COVID-19 restrictions outside a tattoo parlor in Shepherd, north of Houston. Texans have been willing to die for all sorts of things over the years, but willing to die to uphold your God-given right to go unmasked into a tattoo parlor in a small East Texas town hits me as overkill. OK, bad choice of words.
Moving on, two of the top Facebook posts accusing Democratic backer George Soros of financing rioters were from Texas’ Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, an outspoken supporter of President Trump. “I have no doubt in my mind that George Soros is funding these so-called ‘spontaneous’ protests,” Miller wrote in one of the posts. “Soros is pure evil and is hell-bent on destroying our country!”
Yes, it’s time once again to see what Texans are saying and what others are saying about us.
Mission improbable: Did you know the Alamo is a swath? On Sunday, May 31, The New York Times Magazine published an in-depth feature about the San Antonio Food Bank which claimed that “San Antonio is the economic heart of a swath of south-central Texas called the Alamo….”
“One riot. One Ranger.” This quote may need a bit of background for those of you who just stepped off the United flight from Pittsburgh. The phrase was coined in 1896 by Ranger Captain William “Bill” McDonald in Dallas, where he had been sent to prevent the illegal heavyweight prize fight between Bob Fitzsimmons and Pete Maher. The story goes the Dallas mayor met McDonald’s train and asked where the other Rangers were. McDonald replied, “Hell, ain’t I enough? There’s only one prizefight!” The term, “One riot. One Ranger,” became a part of Texans’ folklore, and was inscribed at the base of the Ranger statue by Waldine Tauch that for years stood in the lobby at Love Field. It was recently removed after a book by Doug J. Swanson, “Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers,” depicts the Rangers in less than glorious colors. Maybe the statue can be replaced by one of the other Texas Rangers, the local baseball team. Swanson lives in Pittsburgh.
“All things being equal, if we do nothing, they would go to Texas.” – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, on why New York offered such generous incentives ($1.5 billion) to land one of Amazon’s new headquarters. After New Yorkers raised such a stink, Amazon decided not to build in the Big Apple. “I feel like I’m a Texan,” said Patrick Motoko, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “I have a vision of life so I can see now I am fitting in here.” — Motoko, an Amarillo resident, in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s order that no more refugees be allowed to come to Texas.
“Austin gets to fight with Dallas, which couldn’t be more different than Houston, and all of that makes a dynamic, meaningful region.” – Mitchell Davis, James Beard Foundation officer, on why Texas, along with California and New York, will be separate restaurant award regions.
News report: “College football’s national signing day was more than a week away, but P. J. Fleck, the coach at Minnesota, glad-handed his way through 10 Texas high schools.” Minnesota? This brings up the alleged confrontation some years ago at a coaches’ convention when Michigan State head football coach Duffy Daugherty ran into UCLA head coach Tommy Prothro. Daugherty thoroughly upbraided his colleague for “recruiting in my backyard.” Prothro replied that he hadn’t even been in Michigan lately, much less recruited there. “Not Michigan,” Daugherty fairly yelled. “Texas!”
“Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas.” — Ian Fleming – “Casino Royale.” “But for the European Union, the loss of Britain is a significant defeat. It represents a loss of size, reach, momentum and permanence, comparable to Texas deciding to break away from the United States.” — The New York Times, 29 Jan 2020.
This from the Copano Bay Press about the 1879 yellow fever epidemic: “Now Texas towns declared quarantines against Houston and Galveston, as well as other places down the coast. The old shotgun quarantine method went into effect. Try to enter from Houston and you had to deal with men with guns. The San Francisco Bulletin summed it up well: ‘They have established shotgun quarantine against Yellow Jack in Texas. Texas is nothing if not strong – and, in the mater of shooting, accurate.’”
President Barack Obama at the SXSW festival on technology: “I’m here because I like excuses to visit Austin, Texas.” Astronomical quote: “Caught in striking detail, the sun’s face is divided into ‘kernels’: cell-like structures, each about the size of Texas, that carry heat from the inside of the sun to the outside.”
“If I owned Texas and hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell.” That famed quote came from Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan. He later explained, “In all my life, gentlemen, I will never forget my first visit to the State of Texas. I had been bumped over its sterile plains for a week in an ambulance. I was tired, dusty and worn out. When I reached my destination (Galveston), I found some people there who wanted me to talk and be received and all that sort of thing, before I had a chance to get the sand out of my eyes and ears. One fellow was persistent. He asked me with pure American curiosity what I thought of Texas. In a moment of worry and annoyance I said if I owned hell and Texas, I would live in the former and rent out the latter. The fellow who asked me the question proved to be a reporter. The next day, what I had said was in print and I never could stop it.”
Ashby is quotable at email@example.com