George Strait lands on an online list of ‘worst Texas songs’

Sure, “All My Exes Live In Texas” is a novelty song, to be fair, but does it deserve to be included on an online list of “worst songs in Texas history” right next to “Ice Ice Baby”?

Apparently a survey of 1,000 Texans believe so, according to Super Bash Houston. The Super Bowl weekend festival group commissioned the survey and asked 1,000 random Texans to name their state’s worst song about Texas or performed by a Texan. The results were diverse.

George Strait poses for a portrait following his press conference at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nev. Strait announced on Tuesday, Sept. 22, that he’s releasing a new album, “Cold Beer Conversation,” on Friday and that he’ll play a series of shows at the new Las Vegas Arena when it opens in 2016. (Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP)
George Strait poses for a portrait following his press conference at the MGM Grand Resort and Casino on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nev. (Photo by Al Powers/Powers Imagery/Invision/AP)

While King George scored towards the more favorable end of the survey (thank God), with just 12 percent of those surveyed thinking that “All My Exes” is THE WORST, the artist responsible for the survey’s worst song was the Waco-born Ashlee Simpson. Her 2004 song “La La” led the pack with 25 percent of the vote.

More: George Strait says country music is ‘trending towards traditional’

Here are the full results, from “worst” to “not as worse”:

“Most festivals try to guess what your favorite songs are, we went the extra mile to find out what songs and artists you really hate and guarantee you won’t hear them at the Super Bash,” said Houston Super Bash co-founder Joe Paonessa in a news release.

More: Super Bowl bites: Get a taste of New England and Georgia at Austin restaurants

 

Yes, it snows in Texas. Here’s proof, from Big Bend

You may have heard that it’s still winter in Texas. I say “heard” because the only indication of winter that most parts of Texas ever get during the colder months of the year is a few cold snaps and some allergy flare-ups.

But over the weekend at Big Bend National Park, it looked like a winter wonderland.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, the snow lasted from Friday night to mid-afternoon on Saturday. Jennette Jurado, public information officer for the park, which only sees snow three or four times a year, said it was a “rare and special” occasion.

More: Trump EPA order sets off national parks tweets about climate change

“It’s very exciting for us,” she said.

Other hikers and campers were enthusiastic about the snow, too. Check out these photos of the snow from this weekend:

More: 16 national parks to visit in Texas

More: Add ‘Target Marathon’ to your Texas travel list this year

This couple got engaged at Alamo Drafthouse’s ‘C4GED’ and Nicolas Cage gave them his blessing

You probably know by now that Nicolas Cage himself popped up at the Alamo Drafthouse’s fourth annual marathon of Cage films to celebrate the actor’s birthday, aptly named “C4GED,” on Sunday.

But that day was extra special for two Nicolas Cage fans, who got engaged at the showing.

photo via Ben Ben Binh / Facebook
photo via Ben Ben Binh / Facebook

Facebook user Ben Ben Binh posted a photo in an Alamo Drafthouse fan group on Facebook, writing, “I want to thank you Drafthouse and all you guys at #C4GED last night, you guys really made the proposal to my girlfriend Jennifer Hedges perfect in every way. This community has been warm and eccentric in Austin and I’m glad to have it a part of my life events. Oh yeah, that’s totally Nicolas Cage giving us his blessings.”

We’re so glad Cage seems to approve of the union. Read more about the event and watch Cage read Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” here.

Merriam-Webster gives another vocabulary lesson after Trump’s refugee ban

The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America are responsible for the word atop Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s “Trend Watch” tool Monday. The tool tracks popular word lookups on Merriam-Webster’s website and publishes the results in order to provide context about what those words mean.

websters

 

What was that highest trending word on Monday? That would be “anathema,” a noun which here means “someone or something intensely disliked or loathed.” It was trending because The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America, two of the largest associations of American Orthodox rabbis and synagogues in the country, released a joint statement condemning President Trump’s executive order to close America’s border to refugees and people from predominantly Muslim countries.

The statement made it into an Associated Press article on Sunday:

“The Orthodox Union, the largest association for American Orthodox synagogues, acknowledged the complexities of fighting terror, but said ‘discrimination against any group based solely upon religion is wrong and anathema to the great traditions of religious and personal freedoms upon which this country was founded,'” the AP report reads.

More: Trump says his order didn’t cause weekend airport chaos

According to Merriam-Webster, “anathema” has been in use in English since the early 16th century, when it was adopted from Latin and Greek. In Greek, it used to mean “anything devoted,” but shifted to mean “anything devoted to evil,” specifically in reference to an excommunication or the person who had been excommunicated. By the 17th century, it began to be used in the way it is used today (especially by the Catholic Church), indicating strong negative feelings to a thing, person, or concept, which may be related to religion, or maybe not.

The two Jewish groups were not the only religious groups that condemned the ban, according to the AP. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it “strongly disagreed” with the sanctions, and the Conservative and Reform movements of Judaism, Church World Service and more than 2,000 other faith leaders voiced their concern over the ban.

This wasn’t the first time the dictionary has weighed in on matters of national politics. Just last week(!) Merriam-Webster tweeted its definition of a fact at Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway after she claimed that White House press secretary Sean Spicer was simply using “alternative facts” to describe the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd.

 

Tell us: What’s your favorite book about love?

We love books. You do, too. But what's your favorite book about love? AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2014
We love books. You do, too. So, what’s your favorite book about love? AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2014

Oh, “Wuthering Heights.”

I don’t remember how old I was when I first read Emily Brontë’s novel, but the dark, tortured story of Heathcliff and Catherine — full of obsession and revenge, set on the remote moors — spoke to my melodramatic schoolgirl heart.

It’s one of 16 books that librarians from the Austin Public Library have selected for their Battle of the Broken Hearts. Starting Jan. 31 and until Valentine’s Day, staff members will narrow the list down in head-to-head literary battles, until one title remains as the champion of love. You can follow their progress on the library’s blog.

The list is a great mix of classics, modern young adult novels and even “Fifty Shades of Grey” — because love means different things to us all.

What’s your favorite book about love? Maybe it’s a romance like “The Notebook.” Maybe you read “Guess How Much I Love You” every night to your child and tear up just thinking about those two bunnies. Maybe your love of food keeps drawing you back to the works of MFK Fisher.

Patti Cook, regional youth services manager for the Austin Public Library and one of the librarians behind the Battle of the Broken Hearts, shared one of her favorite tales of love: “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks,” by E. Lockhart. “This probably isn’t your typical Valentine’s Day recommendation, but it might be the one you need! Frankie is just a girl in a boys’ world who is tired of being underestimated and swept aside. So she sets out to do something about it. And if that means she’s got to take on her boyfriend’s male-only secret society? So be it.”

So, what’s your favorite book about love? Send the title and a brief description about why it speaks to you to equigley@statesman.com by Feb. 7. We’ll share those stories in print on Valentine’s Day.

Roses are red, violets are blue … this book of poetry about Austin traffic was written just for you

Move over, Lewis Carroll. One writer has dreamed up a beast much more terrifying than the “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” writer’s Jabberwocky: The Traffickwocky.

RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Local bard Tex MoPac (we’ll bet that’s not their real name) penned a poetry book about the plights of Austinites stuck in traffic called “Traffickwocky: Austin Traffic Poetry & Whatnot” and you can buy it for $11 here, if that’s the kind of thing you want to spend $11 on. According to the website, the book features epic poems such as “Richard Linklater Caught in Traffic” (it seems likely this has happened before), “Shakespeare Stuck in Traffic” (this one is perhaps less likely), “Masters Winner Stuck in Traffic,” “Google Fiber Stuck in Traffic” and everyone’s favorite holiday poem, “Trail of Brake Lights.”

We even get a taste of one of the poems, titled “Stop-n-Go Hipster,” which reads: “We parallel one another at speeds under 5 m.p.h. / I can see the setting sun through the enormous hole in his ear lobe.” Deep.

So who is this Tex MoPac anyway? There’s no way to know, really, but the website gives us a hint (if you want to believe that any of this is actually true): He was born on a Greyhound Bus in traffic on Highway 71, thus dubbing him the Bard of Austin Traffic. The site reads:

“Tex MoPac suggests that Austinites love to think they are united in some glorious and hip way: the love of live music, food trucks or college football. That may be true for some, but when you really get down to it, Tex MoPac maintains, there is only one true unifying (and horrifying) experience, the abominable monster that seems to grow stronger by the day: traffic.”

Is Tex MoPac the alter ego of @EvilMopacATX on Twitter? We may never know. Either way, this “humor” book promises to be 138 pages of traffic poetry (and whatnot) that’s sure to be highly relatable for any Austinite that’s ever been stuck on MoPac. Or I-35. Or Lamar. Or 183. Or anywhere downtown. You get the point.

Image via Bookbaby.com
Image via Bookbaby.com

 

WATCH: Barbarella last night? Or the Austin club scene in the 1980s?

If you’ve been to Barbarella on 80s night, there isn’t anything in the video below you haven’t basically seen before.

via Youtube
via Youtube

Groups of sweaty, oddly dressed young people dancing, dancing, dancing. The video wasn’t taped on Sixth Street last weekend, however, but in Austin in 1985. The three-minute clip captures an unfiltered look at what the Austin club scene was like nearly 30 years ago. And it looks just as sticky.

Although the inclusive nature of Austin’s downtown seems to have survived (“Everybody gets along so wonderfully. Whatever you are, just party.”), the 25-cent drinks are sadly a perk of the past.

The video was uploaded to the YouTube account of a successful Kickstarter campaign looking to make a documentary about “how public access TV helped shape the culture of Austin, one of America’s weirdest cities.” The film will be called “When We Were Live.” The project, led by local video producer John Spottswood Moore, earned $17,000 from 209 backers. Other videos uploaded to the channel include “Baseball for the Blind,” and “Why Ann Richards was so Great.”

WATCH: What did a tour of UT look like in the 1980s?

Yelp users rate two Austin-area restaurants among best in U.S.

Get your restaurant reviewing muscles ready. Yelp named two Austin-area restaurants to its 2017 “Top 100 Places to Eat” list. One restaurant, Boteco, is a Brazilian food truck located in downtown Austin between Sixth and Seventh streets. The other place, Back Draft Pizzeria, is located in Bee Cave at 3595 Ranch Road 620 S.

Boteco, a Brazilian street food truck at 1403 E. Seventh St. serves yuca fries, feijoada (black bean stew with pork) and coxinha (fried chicken balls similar to a croquette). Photo by Mike Galante/@mikegalante
Boteco, a Brazilian street food truck at 1403 E. Seventh St. serves yuca fries, feijoada (black bean stew with pork) and coxinha (fried chicken balls similar to a croquette). Photo by Mike Galante/@mikegalante

Here is what Yelp reviewers had to say about Boteco:

  • “This place is amazing – my girlfriend and I had the Coxinha, Piccanha, and Yucca Fries – each dish was absolutely fantastic.” – Daniel D.
  • “This in my opinion is the best food that has ever came off a food truck.  Words cannot explain how delicious the food is here.  If you stop by I promise you it will be the best Brazilian food on planet earth.  Staff is friendly and courteous, they are second to none in my opinion.” – John R.
  • “Hands down best food truck in Austin. The food is incredible and the guys working the truck are some of the nicest we’ve met. They also gave me free snacks while we waited, which is the way to a pregnant women’s heart.” – Lauren A.

RELATED: Looking to eat out? Check Austin360Eats first

And here is what some Yelpers had to say about Back Draft Pizzeria:

  • “You know how you nurse and savor your last beer?  You will find yourself doing this with your last slice of this pizza. Just do it in private otherwise the rest of your family will scarf it down.  It is really that good.” – Steve S.
  • “The whole menu is awesome and the service is above an beyond what I would expect from a pizza food truck (better than a brick and mortar pizza place!” – Victoria W.

  • “Still my favorite pizza in Austin! When my husband goes out of town I get the twisted rita and on numerous occasions ate the whole damn pie. I can’t even feel guilty about it, everything, I mean EVERYTHING, is made fresh! Everything is also consistent, from the food to the amazing service. Scarlett and her husband Izak are always making an effort to ensure you feel taken care of. If you haven’t tried this place yet, you are missing out!” – Jenna M.

You’re probably going to need to eat at more than two restaurants in 2017, however. We’ve got a whole dining guide to make the decisions a little easier.

Austin Twitter to Trump: Don’t tax my Topo Chico

President Donald Trump announced his method Thursday for paying for that border wall he commissioned Wednesday: a 20 percent tax on all goods imported from Mexico.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the plan would generate $10 billion a year and “easily pay for the wall,” according to the Associated Press.

Later, Spicer said the 20 percent tariff was just one of several options available to the administration to pay for the wall.

The announcement set off a firestorm on Twitter. Users were quick to point out the many things imported from Mexico that would balloon in price if the tax is approved by Congress, like cars and car parts ($24 billion worth, according to CNN Money), telephones ($11.9 billion), refrigerators ($4.1 billion), tomatoes ($1.8 billion) and beer like Corona, Modelo and Dos Equis ($2.8 billion).

But you know what else comes from Mexico?

Topo Chico.

topo2

You know what Texans love?

Topo Chico.

The wonderful mineral water drink started trending on Twitter in Austin shortly after Trump’s tax announcement. Users were passionate, to say the least.

Other users were dispirited about the taxation of other alcohols such as tequila, Corona and Dos Equis. Republican South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham called the plan “mucho sad.”

via GIPHY

https://twitter.com/EvilMopacATX/status/824725208883986434

https://twitter.com/soniasaraiya/status/824719834764247041

What about you? Do you think the tax plan will get approved? What item would you hate to see get taxed?

Texas Trump supporter leaves D.C. waitress a $450 tip on inauguration weekend

Most news stories about restaurant receipts that go viral usually go viral for reasons of outrage. You’ve seen them before: Stories where the server is accused of harboring racist tendencies, or stories where patrons didn’t tip a waitress because of her skin color.

However, one recent receipt story from inauguration weekend has a more uplifting end.

From Flickr user librarianfinsen.
From Flickr user librarianfinsen.

Jason White, a Donald Trump supporter from Lubbock, left a hefty tip on top of his $72.60 bill Monday morning when he and some friends stopped in at Washington, D.C., cultural hub Busboys and Poets. A $450 tip.

The 37-year-old White told the Washington Post he figured he and his friends stuck out among other patrons when he saw all of the social justice-themed artwork on the walls of the restaurant, which also doubles as a bookstore and events space. He put his red “Make America Great Again” cap away before he placed his order.

White’s waitress, 25-year-old Rosalynd Harris, said she came to work that day still feeling energized from the Women’s March that weekend. While she admits she did prejudge White, immediately assuming he was in town for the inauguration solely based on his appearance, the exchange between Harris and White and his friends was “jovial and fun.” A dentist, White complimented Harris’ smile.

More: Up to 50,000 attended Women’s March in Austin, police say

When it came time for the check, White tacked on a $450 tip, meant as a nod to Donald Trump, America’s 45th president. He also left a note:

“We may come from different cultures and may disagree on certain issues, but if everyone would share their smile and kindness like your beautiful smile, our country will come together as one people. Not race. Not gender. Just American. God Bless!”

Harris (who is black) said she was overwhelmed by White’s (who is white) generosity. A professional dancer, she told the Post she started waitressing about a year-and-a-half ago to  help pay bills.

“It’s a huge weight off my shoulders,” she told the Post. “You automatically assume if someone supports Trump that they have ideas about you, but [the customer was] more embracing than even some of my more liberal friends, and there was a real authenticity in our exchange. This definitely reshaped my perspective. Republican, Democrat, liberal are all subcategories to what we are experiencing. It instills a lot of hope.”

As for White, he told the Post that he was so profoundly moved by everything he saw on Inauguration weekend, including the Women’s March, that he wanted to do something to show that Americans have more in common that not.

“We have to think about being better Americans, we have to look into ourselves and how we treat one another,” he told the Post. “If everyone did a little something to show respect…we can love one another. As I sat there I thought about the entire weekend and I thought I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me, but if most Americans have a preconceived perception about people then we’re never going to get better.”