Thursday, March 29, 2012

Texas Transformer: The Armadillo

The Texas Varmint with a bendable shell is the Armadillo, a Spanish word meaning “little armored one”. The Aztecs called them azotochtli, which stands for “turtle-rabbit.” But, to some, these little critters are seen as armored rodents or skunks on a half shell. Whatever they are, these husked mammals can be found out in the Chihuahuan Desert out if West Texas, usually as road kill given the lumberous luggage they have to haul on their backs.

The bony plates cover the back, head, legs, and tail. The armadillo's shell is made of true bone that cover their backs. Most armadillos also have bony rings or plates that protect their tails. Because their backs are covered with bone, armadillos are not very flexible (pretty much like any Texas Democrat - an oxymoron in itself - that you might chance upon in Austin).

Armadillos are one of the few animals who consume fire ants as part of their diet. Like Texans, they like their cuisine a little on the hot side.

info (sans commentary) courtesy of animals.nationalgeographic

Tuck & Roll

ARMADILLO ROLL-UP: These photos show how an armadillo escapes predators.
(1) The armored mammal figures out if it can run away. If that won't work, it must do something else.
(2) The armadillo tucks its head and legs into its shell.
(3) The armadillo moves its tail next to its head.
(4) Once the animal is rolled up, there's no flesh left for predators to bite!

Photos © Mark Payne-Gill,
© 2005 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.

Here's a little video I came across on YouTube.

And, in case you find the urge to have a little taste of these encased turtles, then here's a recipe I found on the internet that you might be willing to try:

Chufo's Armadillo Hot Off the Asphalt Chops

1 Armadillo (large)
1/2 cup Vinegar
2 cups Water
1 tb Salt

1 tb. pepper
1 Walla Walla Sweet onion sliced 
1 lb. Smoked pork sausage (Cut into bite size pieces)
4  Stalks celery, chopped
1 lg red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 quart can mushroom steak sauce
4 tb. Worcestershire sauce
1 Parsley, chopped
1 Green onions, chopped
1 Lemon

Armadillo is cleaned similarly to turtle.  Clean and cut into serving
pieces. Marinate the meat in a sauce made by combining vinegar,

water, salt and onion.  Marinate for 24 hours.  Drain meat and
place in a glass container.  Pour 1 quart of Worcestershire sauce
over meat and let it stand for 6 to 8 hours in refrigerator.  Remove
meat and let drain for 1 hour.

Place oil in black iron pot brown sausage and armadillo.  Remove
armadillo, but leave sausage in the pot.  Add onion, celery, bell
pepper, garlic and saute with sausage until vegetables are tender.
Add the steak sauce, Worcestershire, salt, pepper. Stir until well

mixed.  Put armadillo meat back into pot. Add enough water to
cover meat. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer covered
for one hour. Sprinkle parsley and onion tops and lay thin lemon
slices on top. Simmer without cover for 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve over rice.

WARNING: Armadillos are one of the very few mammals that harbor the bacteria that causes leprosy. Usually, the disease's first sign of infection shows up as an unusual lumpy skin lesion. Buyer beware!

The 'Dillos are a little tough, but the meat under their belly is tender. And, they don't taste like chicken; they taste like armadillo.

Bon apetit!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Pecos Bill Rides a Tornado

Surely you’ve heard tell of Pecos Bill. He was a cowboy down in Texas. He was about the bravest cowboy that ever lived. Once, Bill used two rattlesnakes as a lasso. And then there was the time Bill shot all the stars out of the sky—all of ’em except the Lone Star, that is.

Now everyone in the West knows that Pecos Bill could ride anything. No bronco could throw him. No sir!

So here's one about the time he rode a tornado. You see, there wasn’t a horse in the world that was too wild, too big, too fast, too strong or too ornery for him. So it’s not surprising that one day, Bill decided he wanted to ride a tornado—and not just any tornado. No, sir. Bill waited for the biggest, the mightiest, the most terrifying tornado ever born from the clouds. It was so big that folks on the moon could see it swirling. It sucked up elephants from Africa and whales from the Pacific Ocean. But that didn’t scare Bill. He just reached up and grabbed that tornado out of the sky. He threw it down to the ground and hopped right on.

That tornado whirled and swirled and wiggled and wagged and whip-sawed like an alligator with its tail on fire. Bill hung right on. This here tornado tied the rivers into knots, flattened all the forests so bad they had to rename one place the Flat-Bottomed Plains. It sucked up Lake Michigan and dumped the water into the Grand Canyon. Bill hung right on. At last, that tornado got tired. It stopped its whirling, and Bill fell off. He fell so hard that the ground sank. Folks now call that spot Death Valley.

Anyway, that's how rodeos got started. Though most cowboys stick to broncos these days.

by S.E. Schlosser

Monday, March 26, 2012

By the Time They’d Called Her for Lunch It Was Almost Dinnertime

Meet Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams.

According to Guiness World Book of Records, the longest name to appear on a birth certificate is Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams. She was born on September 12, 1984, to Mr. and Mrs. James Williams of Beaumont, Texas. Guiness notes, "Three weeks later Mr. Williams filed an amendment that expanded his daughter’s first name to 1,019 letters and he added thirty-six letters to her middle name.” Part of her middle name was given to her by her aunt; Koyaanisquatsi does mean "life out of balance". Rhoshandia, et. al. goes by Phyllis (Okay, I made this part up).

Her father later amended his daughter's name to:

elpharazinnaphinneloppiarhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth-Darshekkiakaroqodish Williams

What a dad.  What father doesn't want the best for his daughter? I mean think about the blessing of having a unique name! Why, she'd need five birthday cakes to fit her complete name. What a sweet deal!

And imagine his little girl's wedding ceremony:

Pastor: Do you Rhodawaktanannacaramellicaday...[pauses for deep breath] shatunthunduishimotrincorvetticamelonporch...[pauses as he unscrolls the paper in which her name is written on] ettadawantachevrolettaredmondicaphillad...[stifles yawn due to oxygen deprivation] elpharazinnaphinnel...[slows down to get the enunciation correct] oppiarhoshandiatelly...[pauses to put on the oxygen mask] neshiaunneveshenk take Billy Bob to be your lawfully wedded husband?

Rhoda...: I do.

Pastor: Do you Billy Bob take [takes deep breath again] Rhodawaktananna...[signals to youth pastor to bring in the replacement O2 tank] caramellicadayshatunthunduishi...[steadies himself on the pulpit] shatunthunduishimotrincorvetticamelonporchettadawanta...[shudders in a paroxysmal swoon] chevrolettaredmondicaphilladelpharazinnaphinnel...[props himself up on pulpit ] oppiarhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk to be your lawfully wedded wife?

Billy Bob: Ah do.

Youth Pastor: You may kiss the bride! [begins to administer CPR on passed out pastor on floor]

Cue in the 5-tier, double-wide wedding cake. Now, that'll be a wedding to remember!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Too Tall Texans

For the road lovin' kind, here's a little (pardon the pun) trail to take if y'all are ever out in West Texas. Lookee here at these fine Texas roadtrip specimens...

Tex Randall
Canyon, Texas's "Tex Randall" stands at 47 feet tall and weighs 7 tons (must be from all the brisket). He's been a Canyon resident since 1959. A long period of deterioration was worsened when a semi crashed into his left boot, and the cigarette, which he held in his left hand, was shot out of his hand like a heat-seeking missile and plum impaled a green love bug, making it look like the proverbial olive in the martini drink (I made up this last part, but it sounds about right, don't it?). The boots, by the way, are Tony Lamas.

N. 3rd Ave., Canyon, TX

Just south of US 60 and just west of N. 15th St., on the southeast corner of N. 3rd Ave. and N. 14th St.

Golden Tornadoes Cheerleader
Not to be outdone, the women folk have one of their own in Lamesa, TX. Standing tall outside a store on Highway 87 in downtown Lamesa, TX. She's about 20 feet tall and we're not about to talk about her weight being women are a tad touchy about this. She wears the cheerleader outfit for the Lamesa High School, the Golden Tornadoes. Originally, she stood taller at 22 ft because of her bouffant, but with the changing times come the change in coiffure. At the moment, she still clings to her 1960s flip hairdo like a bitter divorcee out of The Last Picture Show. The high heels are a fine touch. Must've bought them at that Prada store down in Marfa.

310 S Dallas Ave., Lamesa, TX

In downtown Lamesa, TX, on Business 87. In front of the Reid Bethel Tire Company.

Jack Ben Rabbit
Don't worry animal lovers, We got something for everyone in Texas! Even wascally wabbits! Built in the 1960s, he's eight feet tall and is named "Jack Ben Rabbit." The carrot-vore is located in front of the Ector County Independent School District Administration Building in downtown Odessa. The plaque there includes a recipe for Jackrabbit and Dumplings. And, it's PETA approved!

N Sam Houston Ave., Odessa, TX

North of I-20 in downtown Odessa at W. 8th St. and N. Sam Houston Ave.
(P.S., That's not my kid)

On a side note for you book worms, Thalia, Texas is in this neck of the woods and is the place in several of Larry McMurtry's novels. His home town is Archer City, 80 miles from Thalia.

Now, who says Texas ain't inclusive!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One State Under God

"A license plate that declares Texas "One State Under God" went on sale this week, despite an outcry from critics who say government tags shouldn't be endorsing religion."

"The license plate, which was narrowly approved in December by the governing board at the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, also features the words and image of the Crosses at Calvary, the site where the Crucifixion of Jesus is said to have occurred. Each plate costs $55, with some proceeds going to a group that works with underprivileged children."

As expected, upon the announcement of the tags, the liberals whined, groaned & complained about separation of church and state, blah-blah. Well, they can always exchange their Texas plates for California ones. I hear people over there are leaving in droves and moving, guess where? Yep, to Texas.

Sigh...If only I got a dollar every time the libs howled when things didn't go their way, I'd be a gigozillionaire by now. No, wait, after Obama's tax rate, I'd just be a little ol' millionaire.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Only In Texas

    This here is called a Cow Wash. In Texas, horns are found in the steering wheel, on the hood 
    and in the trailer.

     ...For the harried and hurried commuter, there's nothing like one stop shopping...

    ...If you look closely, the white bricked section of the mail box is a real clip.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

He Got A Reduced Sentence for Aggravated Stupidity

DALLAS (AP) – A Dallas bank robber who abided by a teller’s request to provide two forms of identification before she could give him money is going to prison.

A federal judge Tuesday sentenced 49-year-old Nathan Wayne Pugh to more than eight years. Prosecutors say Pugh last July 2011, while on parole for two aggravated robberies, robbed a Wells Fargo Bank.
U.S. Distinct Judge Sam A. Lindsay sentenced Pugh, 49, to 102 months at a hearing today in a Dallas federal courtroom.

In the Dallas holdup, Pugh walked into the Wells Fargo Bank, 4332 Lemon Ave. in Dallas, on July 26 with a fast-food restaurant bag, according to federal documents.

Pugh handed a teller a note when the teller asked him how much he wanted to withdraw. The note had this message:

“Look if you don’t want to die then you should do as this note says. This is not a bag of food. This is a bom, so just put money in an envelope and do not make any move till after I have left for ten mintis.”

The calm teller then demanded two pieces of identification from Pugh, according to the documents. Pugh showed her his Wells Fargo debit card and a Texas identification card with his name on it.

He was arrested when he tried to take a female customer with a child in her arms hostage...

Yes, because the woman stalled for time by asking him to show proof that he was a licensed child care worker.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Springtime in the Southland

With winter at its end and spring just around the corner, I thought I'd introduce y'all to a little slice of heaven that makes Texas the Promised Land and a sportman's paradise. The Hill Country is west of San Antonio and you can get there by taking Interstate 10, Highway 90 or various other state two-laners, which is my personal favorite way because it allows a slower pace and plenty of stops to admire the scenery and smell the proverbial roses. Please enjoy the pictures!

   The Westcave Preserve in southwest Travis County 

    Hill Country, Texas after a spring shower 

     Hill Country, Texas 

    Ennis, Texas

Finally, I couldn't help myself. I just had to put in a picture of BBQin' Texas-style. When the wind's just right, you'll catch a whiff of the heavenly delight of smokin' meat. If you're visiting the Hill Country, this is definitely one place to stop and lick your chops!

The Salt Lick
18001 Farm-to-Market 1826
Driftwood, TX  78619
(512) 858-4959

Web Site: The Salt Lick

Watch Where You Step!

The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

There's a Texas tale about the rattlesnake that goes something like this: A Texas cowboy, with a very fine pair of embroidered and silvered boots, was bitten by a rattlesnake when courting a lovely young frontier damsel. He dies and leaves the treasured boots to a friend who then falls in love with the same girl. One day, he pulled on the beautiful boots in order to impress her. He immediately sickens and falls dead, leaving the boots, yet again, to a third cowboy. In time, this fellow also falls for the young girl and decides to wear the ill-fated boots to go courting. The end result is the same, the cowboy falls over dead. Just as folks begin to suspect the girl of being a femme fatale, having some strange deadly effect on her suitors, it's discovered that in one of the boots there's a rattlesnake fang still embedded inside.

The fear of the rattler is understandable and expected. You'd how to be a fool to not show any respect toward this reptile. Heck, it even gives you advanced warning when you go poking around its homestead. It's said that the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake accounts for the most fatalities in North America. Another interesting tidbit of trivia is that this snake isn’t an endangered species. In fact, if the rattler's fang is detached or broken off from its mouth, it's still DANGEROUS. Don't go near it or poking around it! Yeah, I'm talking to my redneck brethren out there.

The venom is primarily hemotoxic, which means that it mainly affects blood vessels, blood cells and the heart. The venom is a digestive aid for the snake, tends to liquify and breakdown the complex protein structures of the animal it engorged. With digestive juices like that, who needs venom?!

Some symptoms of a rattlesnake bige include excessive bleeding, tissue necrosis (the affected area blackens & dies), swelling, edema and intense pain.

To illustrate the last point, I've added a picture of someone with a snakebite to the foot.

Oh, there are worse pictures, but I chose this mild one because of the women and chilluns who might come across this blog.

So, please be careful where step, so to speak. They could be found almost anywhere: under rocks, in brush, abandoned cars, cozying up around the garden hose (really!), in the dog house (which would explain Fido's exaggerated fear of enclosed spaces) along with other uncommon places, including your local honky-tonk (okay, now I'm writing about another kind of snake).

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Legend of Bigfoot Wallace

William Alexander Anderson "Bigfoot" Wallace is the most famous frontiersman and Texas Ranger in the history of the Lone Star State. He was born April 3, 1817 in the tiny hamlet of Lexington, Virginia. It's said that his ancestry included kinship to Sir William Wallace, the leader of the Scottish Army in the war against the land-grabbing King Edward I of England.

He arrived in Texas at a time when the emerging Republic desperately needed men of his caliber to settle the wild and hostile land. Within 3 years, he had gained a reputation as an Indian fighter, Ranger, and frontier scout. His name was a household word throughout the great state and that's saying alot considering that the names of Davey Crockett, Sam Houston, Jim Bowie and such still rang in the ears of many Texans. His main reason for going to Texas was to avenge his brother's & cousin's death at the Massacre at Goliad. But, he stayed to help build Texas; first, the Republic and then the State.

Wallace fought in the Battle of Plum Creek in 1840, and joined the defense of Texas when Mexico invaded in 1842. Later that year, he volunteered for the retailatory Somervell Raid across the Rio Grande River, and subsequently joined the Mier Expedition organized to penetrate further into Mexico. Wallace survived the Black Bean executions that followed the capture of the Mier participants, and was imprisoned at Perote Prison east of Mexico City. After his release, he joined other Texans in the Mexican-American War. In the 1850s, he commanded a company of Texas Rangers fighting border bandits and Indians on the frontier.

He preferred water and buttermilk instead of whiskey. And, he never told the same story twice (like any good Texan story-teller).

The Big Foot Wallace museum is located in Bigfoot, Texas. The museum is dedicated to the man, the myth and the legend, which has replicas of his log-cabin home and Texas Independence Hall (where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed, for you non-Texans). The museum also houses artifacts related to Wallace.

Bigfoot, Texas was established in 1865 and is located at the intersection of FM 462 and FM 472 just south of Devine, Texas, a 25-minute drive from San Antonio. The historic "Tree" in the middle of road FM 472, is the unique landmark at the center of Bigfoot.

Here's a link for further information: William Bigfoot Wallace, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Anchors Aweigh!

Feb.  12, 2012 (CNN) Texas is getting its own navy.

Next month, the state's Department of Public Safety will deploy the first of a fleet of six gunboats on the Rio Grande, the river that forms the border between the state and Mexico, CNN affiliate WFAA-TV reports.

The 34-foot-long boats, each powered by three, 300-horsepower outboard engines, will have bullet-proof plating and six machine guns apiece, not unlike the river patrol boats the U.S. Navy used during the Vietnam War.

The vessels will be able to operate in as little as 2 feet of water, according to the report, and will work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to combat drug smuggling coming across the Rio Grande.
"They're finding out when those people are coming across, and one of the things they need to be able to do is interdict them on the water," Texas state Rep. Paul Workman told CNN affiliate KVUE-TV when the first of the boats, the JD Davis, was christened in December.

"It sends a message: Don't mess with Texas," Jose Rodriguez, a regional commander of the Texas Department of Safety, told WFAA.

James Bond has nothing on this gun boat. With the ability to operate on 2 feet of water, you could take this bad boy all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, catch some swordfish (along with the bad guys) or cruise up northwestward 1,865 miles to the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Goliad Hanging Tree

Going Out On A Limb

Goliad is a town along the Southern Pacific Railroad. It is one of many that dot the South Texas landscape. The confluence of the San Antonio River, U.S. Highways 59 and 183, and State Highway 239 runs by or along the town. It was established in October 1749.

Standing in front of the Goliad County Courthouse - a two-story limestone building completed in 1894 - is the huge live oak tree with thick, low branches. A historical marker notes that in the mid-1800s, when a sentence was handed down, it was immediately carried out at the tree. The marker also notes that some of those hanged didn't have benefit of trial. In bygone Texas, that wasn't unusual.

Between 1846 and 1870, this live oak tree served as the site of court sessions. Death sentences pronounced by the court were carried out immediately. The recently sentenced convict was brought outside and his death sentence carried out at the end of a rope. It isn’t known how many people swung there, but most estimates are between the dozens and the low hundreds.

When I traveled through this neck of the woods (no pun intended), it was fascinating to see my home state's history up close and personal. The tree stood tall and majestic there in the sleepy South Texas townsquare. Mexicans, Tejanos, Blacks and even White men all wore the Texan neck tie. Rough justice in some cases. But, that's what makes Texas Texas.

There's even a Hanging Tree Gift Store (no lie!) there on the town square. Sorry, no little bonsai tree replicas of the original Hanging Tree. Here's the link for you Doubting Thomases: Hanging Tree Antiques

Goliad is located off Texas Hwy. 183 S and US 59 E.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Prada Plants One in Texas

Prada Marfa

The building mimics a Prada store…but, out in the backside of the West Texas desert. I’ve driven out that way, so I know what I’m talking about when I say there ain’t nothing out there but lots of sand.

The sculpture is meant to look like a Prada store, with minimalist white stucco walls and a window display housing real Prada shoes and handbags. There is no working door; it's locked.

Just don’t tell that to them Texas gals with the ten gallon bouffants ‘cause it won’t stop ‘em. They’ll stampede right through those doors like the bulls of Pamplona.

The shoes start at more than $500 and the price of purses easily climb into four figures. Marfa now has some braggin’ rights because Texas does not have a Prada store anywhere else. So, stick that in your craw and smoke it, Dallas!

To be sure, the Prada Marfa sculpture will provide countless hours of conversation for motorists driving through West Texas like: "What the hell is that?!"

Some of the locals have suggested that Prada Marfa isn't a sculpture at all, but a time warp, kinda like a wormhole for rednecks – to transport those who break into the building out of their dreary hillbilly lives and into a more modern & progressive life of dreariness. One has to admit that even though this is an implausible crack-pipe theory, it has a certain charm (think of a Twilight Zone episode: Deliverance meets Breakfast At Tiffany’s).

The Marfans (i.e., citizens of Marfa, for you Ivy League types) commissioned a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright to rework the sculpture in a way that would reflect the eco-sensitive, environmentally-safe, green-friendly consciousness of the 21st Century. Take a look-see below.

I think it befits the sign of the times, no?