I just spent a four days in Texas. Was I deep in the heart? Not really. From an anatomical perspective looking at a person walking away, the ‘heart’ could be considered Santa Anna, Texas which is kind of ironic given he wanted to cut the heart right out of Texas. First, I was in Houston. Houston would be like the right shinbone if it was a severe compound fracture like you see in Stranger Things. Then I went to San Antonio, the normal leg with a twisted knee, and then Austin AKA the right hip. Very appropriate for Austin since it is the only hip place in Texas yet not appropriate since it should be the left hip.
Texas. What to say about Texas. It’s big. Really really really big. It’s not the size of Alaska – you can fit 2.5 Texas’ into Alaska, but it’s big. It’s so big this is where Southwest Airlines was born. Who wants to drive to Dallas from Houston? No one. San Antonio? From Houston? Sure. From Dallas? No fucking way. Hence, Southwest first set of flights were the triangle from Houston to Dallas to San Antonio. And how, pray tell, did the good folks who started Southwest Airlines entice people to fly on said airlines? With colorful planes? Well… no. This is a marketing question for y’all as it was for me when I went to Northwestern. We had a whole half a day to try and figure it out. Us college kids thought we had all the answers. Free food. Nope. BOGO tickets. Nope. Buy 3 flights get one free. Nope. Free fifths of whiskey. Yep. Wait. What? Yep. None of us came up with that answer and therefore our professor thought we were idiots. Yeah, because that’s the FIRST THING we’d think of – handing out free booze.
“you kids need to learn what the audience is all about and you didn’t.”
Oh really? Alcoholics? Yeah, because coming to the conclusion only alcoholics would be brave enough to get on a fledgling airline’s flights makes so much sense.
They don’t drop whiskey into your lap anymore, but Southwest still does the triangle flights everyday – San Antonio to Houston to Dallas. Good to know, but watching people wait for a delayed flight from San Antonio to Houston – a 3-hour(ish) drive – is kind of hilarious.
Your ears will pick this up more than you want, trust me – the actual song Deep in the Heart of Texas. I swear to baby Jesus someone told June Hershey (lyrics) and Don Swander (music) the morning after a massive drinking binge they had to write a song about Texas.
The stars at night are big and bright (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas
The prairie sky is wide and high (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas
The sage in bloom is like perfume (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas
Reminds me of the one I love (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas
The coyotes wail along the trail (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas
The rabbits rush around the brush (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas
The cowboys cry ‘Ki Yippee Yi’ (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas
The dogies bawl (MOOOOO!) (clap clap clap clap) deep in the heart of Texas
PRODUCER: Hey June? Don? That’s only a minute 45 seconds. Do you have any more animals to add to it? Deer? Armadillo? Chupacabra? Hello? June? Don?
JUNE & DON: Fuck off.
PRODUCER: Ok, wrap it up. All done!
Speaking of sounds, we have the Cheatin’ Astros. Minute Maid Park is a nice facility, but the Astros cheated to win the 2017 World Series. They had center field cameras key on the opposing catcher to steal signs then relay it to their hitters what pitch was coming. It if was a curveball or any other non-fastball pitch BANG BANG went the trash can lids then bye bye went the Yankees then the Dodgers.
The Alamo, where white guys lost, yet they won. It seemed like every single statue of a person at the Alamo that I read about at the Alamo started off with “after a series of business failures back east, so and so moved to Texas” or “after a bad marriage and a business failure back east so-and-so fled to Texas.” Out loud, I said, “oh so they were losers who ran like chickens” and some guy laughed loud enough it broke the unwritten rule of the Alamo Code of Silence (not sure that’s a thing but everyone was super quiet).
I am certain during their last breaths Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett had a discussion that went kind of like this:
“I hope this becomes a tourist attraction.”
“Tourist attraction ?”
“Oh yeah, we’re going to lose this battle and we are going to lose it bad. Yet somehow, through tourism, we will make this a victory.”
“And a movie.”
“A movie – moving pictures on a screen. It’s coming. And maybe they’ll get a huge conservative movie star to make it so it looks like we were wronged.”
“But we’re trying to claim this as our own.”
“Never mind that.”
(Cannonball hits wall)
“Jesus Hosea Jebediah Santa Anna is pissed.”
“He probably has a right to be. I mean we did kind of shell game him a bit.”
“Are you saying we…”
“Swindled him? Well… does it matter now?! We are not going to survive this! But what will… maybe… just maybe… become a legacy so it becomes a tourist attraction.”
“Oh that again.”
“Yes, with tourist trap crap attractions like Ripley’s Believe it or Not, an IMAX theatre, a Haagen Dazs, a Starbucks, an entire shopping center… and a coffee shopped named after you Davy.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake. Coffee?”
OK, so you get my point. The Alamo is surrounded by everything crappy. There’s even a Tussaud’s Wax Museum. It’s not Madame Tussaud’s either it’s Larry or Big Head Todd Tussaud or something like that but after I saw the massive Trump head (and I think Eric Trump) in wax I refused to pay any more attention to it. The only thing it should be surrounded with are Mexican restaurants. It’s close, but not quite there yet.
They may as well move the Alamo to Branson. If they can move the London Bridge to Arizona, they can move the Alamo to Missouri. There I said it.
The San Antonio River Walk – meh. It’s about as tremendously okay as you can get. Some if it is kind of nifty as you can sit and have a margarita by the San Antonio River, a river so channeled it’s more like a canal at this point. Some of it is just a simple walk surrounded by a ton of concrete that happens to be by a river. I think the only reason it gets any notoriety as a thing to do in San Antonio is because there is nothing else to do.
Hill Country (less the knife & honey guy see below) – the hill country is beautiful and if you ever have a chance to drive from San Antonio to Austin take the road less traveled AKA avoid I-35 and go through the Hill Country. Great windy roads but with shorter trees than you’d find in the Carolinas or Colorado. It’ll take a half hour longer maybe, but it’s so worth it. Plus, you’ll see white-tailed deer. They’re tinier than their stout Northern cousins, but still have white tails.
Downtown Austin – mainly 6th Street and Congress but you can include some fringe areas too. You’ve got more live music than you may want but it’s amazing. Small cafes, larger restaurants, and you can go to the Congress Avenue bridge at dusk and watch the bats fly out to do their due diligence catching pests like mosquitoes, dragonflies and small children.
A few random notes to close out Part I (AKA the Silliness)
Lawyer Billboards – yeah, they are all over the country, but Texas takes it to a higher level, a level so lawyer billboards come full circle. As seen in Houston – WE SUE LAWYERS!
Italian Spaghetti – Is this just a Houston thing? Three times I saw this – twice in pasta places touting they had Italian spaghetti and once as the name of the place “Italian Pizza & Pasta.” Is there another type of spaghetti I am unaware of? Spanish? Nigerian? Norwegian? Scottish? Well? I was afraid to ask but I am certain they pronounced it “EYE-tal-yan.”
Bright Orange Catfish – This was at the Alamo. I know, really dumb. Dumber so because a little kid saw the fish, asked his mom what they were, and she said they were “bright orange catfish.” They were Koi. Yes, Koi swimming the little channels inside the Alamo. So authentic.
Gators! – What? Yeah. Gators! Some ponds in Houston have gators in them. No worries, there are warning signs… most of the time.
Handmade Knives and Pure Raw Honey – a guy was selling both under a tent on a major corner in the Hill Country. Bless him, but the combo seems to be a tad threatening. Not sure how you can stop to get honey and say ‘no’ without the specter of a man who really knows his knives.
“You don’t want any honey?”
“Nah I think I changed my…”
(as he flips a knife in the air and catches it by the blade) “You sure you don’t wany any…”
“I’ll take a quart.”
“three knives. Thank you, Mr. Bowie.”
Hippie Hollow – A nude beach? Yep, if you’re into that. I, being a redhead, cannot risk being in the sun for more than maybe a half hour so it seemed a waste of time to go there, pay the entrance fee, strip down, try not to stare, look at the time then have to clothe back up again.
Deep in the Heart of Texas, part II coming right up faster than a Chupacabra takes down a Mule Deer.