Study: Commuters driving into Austin face worst traffic in U.S.

Rush hour traffic filters through downtown Austin along I-35 looking towards the Riverside overpass and showing the Lady Bird Lake bridges Thursday morning July 16, 2015.  RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Rush hour traffic filters through downtown Austin along I-35 looking towards the Riverside overpass and showing the Lady Bird Lake bridges Thursday morning July 16, 2015.

If you are sitting in your car, doing zero miles an hour on Interstate 35, and you are thinking that this is the Worst. Traffic. Anywhere. … You could be right.

A new study by transportation analytics firm INRIX says that “commuters getting into Austin spent more time stuck in traffic than anyone else.” The study says highways in and out of Austin have a congestion rate of 28 percent.

Overall, Austin landed at 13th in the United States (42nd in the world) on the INRIX 2016 Traffic Scorecard Report. That’s worse than San Antonio (32nd in the U.S.), but not as bad as Dallas (7th in the U.S.).  Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco took the top 3 spots on the list, respectively.

Austin did make the Top 10, however, when it came to most congested roads. Southbound Interstate 35 (you guessed it) between Airport Boulevard and Slaughter Lane came in at No. 6, nestled between L.A. freeway I-10 eastbound and NYC’s 5th Avenue southbound.

RELATED: See the American-Statesman traffic map

Danny Trejo is opening a doughnut shop in Los Angeles because of course he is

Danny Trejo, the Los Angeles actor most famous for his collaborations with Texan director Robert Rodriguez, isn’t afraid to stand out.

Thao Nguyen/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN 03/07/14 Danny Trejo on the red carpet for the TV series From Dusk Until Dawn in Austin, Texas on March 7, 2014.
Danny Trejo on the red carpet for the TV series From Dusk Until Dawn in Austin, Texas on March 7, 2014.

He tweeted a shirtless selfie of himself in front of the Capitol to urge people to vote on Election Day, and he is most famous for playing action stars in movies like “Machete” and “Desperado.”

he’s also not afraid to stand out in the culinary world, as his new hot-pink-painted Los Angeles doughnut shop shows.

Trejo’s Donuts will sit at the corner of Santa Monica and Highland in L.A., L.A. Mag reports.

From Joe Donatelli, L.A. Magazine.
From Joe Donatelli, L.A. Magazine.

The new coffee and doughnut joint will open “very soon,” and Trejo also has a cantina, food truck and a taco stand in the L.A. area. The taco stand also features a behemoth of a breakfast burrito.

More: A-List: An Evening with Danny Trejo, 09.15.16

A “now hiring sign” is now up on the restaurant, but Trejo informally announced the new doughnut shop on an interview with an L.A. T.V. station in January.

No word on if the doughnuts will come served with a giant machete.

If Chip and Joanna Gaines could live anywhere, would it still be in Texas?

Waco: The home of Baylor University, the Dr Pepper Museum, and Chip and Joanna Gaines. That’s how we all think of the north Central Texas town, right?

HGTV’s power couple could honestly live anywhere with the serious buck they rake in from the tremendously popular “Fixer Upper” show, but proudly laid their roots down in Waco. Yet in a recent media talk, the twosome revealed the idea of living in a new city is not completely off the table.

Chip seems to be a fan of Sin City, jokingly saying, “I think the kids would really appreciate it,” according to People Magazine.

RELATED: From flat broke to HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper’ for furniture maker Clint Harp

On the other hand, his wife Joanna thinks New York City has some potential. Chip admits the Big Apple would be a bit of a challenge with the couple’s four kids.

“You know, you would lose at least one of those kids every time you walked down to the store and back,” Chip said.

The Caribbean, Mexico or South America land on Chip’s list of potential destinations.

Kansas City is another contender, with Chip saying the two “have just fallen in love with that community.”

Salt Lake City makes the list too. “Every time we go there it just kind of really inspires us,” Chip said.

Don’t worry Gaines fans: The moving-out-of-Waco talk is still largely hypothetical—for now.

When did Mötley Crüe become classic rock? Ask San Antonio


When did Mötley Crüe become classic rock? Sometime around the time when radio stations started using data to craft their playlists, according to a FiveThirtyEight post.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil perform onstage during Motley Crue: The Final Tour "All Good Things Must Come To An End" at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 12, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 12: Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil perform onstage during Motley Crue: The Final Tour “All Good Things Must Come To An End” at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 12, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

These days, Mötley Crüe, Led Zeppelin and Ozzy Osborne are considered classic rock. But they weren’t always. And, as any Gen Xer (or Millennial) who’s heard Pearl Jam or Green Day on their local classic rock station can tell you, there comes a time when they ask, “When did ‘Longview’ become ‘classic?'”

According to FiveThirtyEight, radio stations these days use a lot of data mining to figure out what their listeners like, and then they cater to that when they make playlists.

“The standard in the industry these days is an online music test or an auditorium music test where you just gather a sample and have them rate songs based on the hooks — the most familiar parts of the song — and you just get back a whole slew of data,” Clear Channel classic rock brand manager Eric Wellman said in the blog post. He added that the year a song was released has nothing to do with it becoming a “classic rock” song. Instead, the classic rock genre’s ability to grow based on listener reviews and data is what makes the genre last so long.

More: One Texas city made the list of best places to raise the ‘next rock star’ … and it’s not Austin

As a result, companies like Clear Channel ask fans of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin what else they listen to, add songs to the playlist based off of that, and then cater to different geographic regions based on taste. For instance, in FiveThirtyEight’s data set, Bad Company and Heart songs are played more in San Antonio and Houston, respectively, than anywhere else in the country.

Mötley Crüe is also played 4.3 times as much in San Antonio compared to average.

Screenshot from FiveThirtyEight.
Screenshot from FiveThirtyEight.

Other areas in the South tend to listen to “harder” classic rock, like Metallica and KISS. This, Wellman told FiveThirtyEight, is because of immigration.

“The Hispanic influx across the southern United States vastly changes the rock landscape,” he told FiveThirtyEight. “The common conventional wisdom is that Hispanics who listen to English-language rock like a significantly harder brand of English-language rock. In markets where that is an influence, you’ll see that.”

More: See Axl Rose and AC/DC kick off “Rock or Bust” tour in 2016

As Gen Xers and Baby Boomers grow older and Millennials begin to take up more of the advertising market share, however, the classic rock genre might skew younger based on what younger listeners add. So, we’re probably going to start hearing a lot more Green Day, My Chemical Romance, blink-182, The Strokes and other 1990s-2000s rock bands hit their “classic” phase soon.

Check out the full article and all of its methodology here.

North Texas pastor soulfully serenades a Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit from Whataburger

You really love Whataburger, but do you love Whataburger as much as this guy?

Fred Thomas, a self-described pastor and comedian in North Texas, posted a video last week of him sitting in his car, belting an ode to the crown jewel of Whataburger breakfast: the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.

If you don’t know (and why don’t you?), the HBCB is a Whataburger delicacy. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and savory — flaky buttermilk biscuits, a chicken tender and the sweet golden nectar that is honey butter. It’s perfect in all ways, as Pastor Fred can attest.

Screengrab via Fred Thomas / Facebook
Screengrab via Fred Thomas / Facebook

The video, which he titled “Something About This Biscuit” features Pastor Fred dedicating a soulful three-minute love song to his breakfast.

“You know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for me, there’s one particular breakfast that just takes me away,” he sings.

OK, I know the Grammys already happened, but Pastor Fred’s got my vote for best new artist and best gospel performance, because he took us to the Church of Whataburger in this video. Since last week, the video has been shared more than 129,000 times on Facebook and has received nearly 4.5 million views.

He’s also got great advice for ordering an HBCB: “”Every time I get this biscuit, I get a little extra honey butter so it won’t be dry.”

RELATED: This guy dancing with Whataburger at his wedding is a Texas hero

Whataburger should hire Pastor Fred as a marketing consultant — he’s got some great ideas, like, “I’m just waiting on Whataburger to have buy one, get one free” and “Whataburger, I don’t care if you raise the price, I’ll pay. I don’t think the honey butter biscuit should just be breakfast, you should sell them all day.”

The Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. Image courtesy Whataburger
The Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. Image courtesy Whataburger

It’s like Pastor Fred is singing the song every Whataburger lover has had inside of them for many lifetimes, but he finally found the words.

“Every time I pass Whataburger, I hear it call my name.”

Same, Pastor Fred. Same.

This Austin couple spends Valentine’s Day the way you wish you had

Living in Austin you have a lot of options when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day. Almost an overwhelming amount of options.

For 042816 planner: All Pluckers Wing Bar locations are hosting an NFL draft party with the opportunity to win food and drink specials. Use secondary on front The 20-piece wing dinner at Pluckers.
Contributed by Pluckers Wing Bar

Maybe that explains why one local couple chose to stick to what they know they love — with just a little added flair. Reddit user letstalkaboutrocks posted to the Austin subreddit to share pictures of him and his girlfriend celebrating Valentine’s by having dinner at Pluckers dressed in full formal wear, something they’ve done for the past three years.

Nothing says “I love you” quite like ranch, or “Be mine” like fried pickles dipped in said ranch.

READ: Looking to grow Pluckers Wing Bar eyes locations in Houston, San Antonio

Snoop Dogg tweets respect for Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg have formed a friendship over a ... common interest. Statesman file photos
Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg have formed a friendship over a … common interest. Statesman file photos

Even as he prepares to release a new album, wins awards for his last one, and continues to tour, Austin legend Willie Nelson hasn’t been feeling well this year, canceling shows because of health issues.

Willie, who extols the power of positivity, hasn’t said anything publicly about his health, but even the most optimistic people could always use a kind word from a friend.

Good thing Snoop Dogg has Willie’s back.

In a tweet on Saturday, the West Coast rapper showed his respect for the Texas icon’s continued mastery of dominoes and, you guessed it, herbal pursuits …

It’s good having friends. Let’s hope Willie is feeling like his old self again soon.

RELATED: Latest on Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion

UT alum becomes first black woman to star as ‘The Bachelorette’

Reality TV sensations “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” have run for 15 years and a combined 33 seasons.


On Monday night, ABC announced current “Bachelor” contestant Rachel Lindsay will become the first African-American to publicly seek love as a part of the franchise and star as “The Bachelorette.”

According to ET, Lindsay is a Longhorn. The 31-year-old graduated from UT Austin before going on to Marquette University in Milwaukee to earn her law degree. Lindsay now works as a lawyer in Dallas. But can she find love?

Tune in to watch who Lindsay deems rose-worthy.

Commentary: I’m a millennial. I don’t need your participation trophy.


So there I was. Just innocently scrolling through Twitter the other night, minding my own business. When what to my nearsighted eyes should appear, but yet another thinkpiece about my generation. (I’m a millennial, which apparently means I’m spoiled and entitled and lazy. But you already knew that because you’ve read articles like this one and countless others.)

Anyway, this particular article came from The Independent, and it wasn’t a thinkpiece as much as it was an aggregation of a popular YouTube video from the end of 2016. Hoping that the headline, “Millennials are struggling at work because their parents ‘gave them medals for coming last,'” was merely ironic, I clicked it, thinking that maybe this one time there would be an article that actually gave my generation and me some agency instead of prattling on about how “the kids these days are always on their phone and they don’t know how to work a real job.”

From Flickr user Brad.K. Used with Creative Commons license.
From Flickr user Brad.K. Used with Creative Commons license.

Nope, I was wrong. The article highlights yet another way that we should be coddled because of our “participation trophy” upbringing.

The video, an interview with 43-year-old Simon Sinek (professional TED-Talker, author, motivational speaker and outspoken critic of The Millennial Generation) starts out with a common complaint that us millennials have already posited: We are the way we are because our parents raised us to be that way. The participation trophies, the “you can be whatever you want to be as long as you dream and work hard” mantra could have only come from a generation that came of age in the 1980s.


Sinek states that “too many [millennials] grew up subject to ‘failed parenting strategies,’ where they were told that they were special – all the time, they were told they can have anything they want in life, just because they want it.”

More: Millennials overtake baby boomers to become nation’s largest generation

Sinek goes on to argue that our parents are the ones responsible for our early successes, like getting into honors courses or getting good grades.

“Some of them [millennials] got into honors classes not because they deserved it but because their parents complained. Some of them got A’s not because they earned them, but because the teachers didn’t want to deal with the parents. Some kids got participation medals, they got a medal for coming in last.”

To be fair, Sinek has a good point on that one, and goes on to argue that we all knew the whole participation trophy thing was bull when we saw it as kids. And while the plural of anecdote ≠ data, an informal Twitter poll I did among my #millennial peers confirms this:

So, we’re self-aware enough to know that there should be first-place awards based on merits, and that not everyone should get a trophy. But Sinek’s answer to “The Millennial Question,” as he calls it, gets a little dicey. And it has to do with how our so-called “participation trophy” mindest affects us in the workplace.

Espousing some very Luddite views on technology, Sinek claims technology itself (that all-inclusive boogeyman) is the very reason why we don’t understand the real world. Apparently, we millennials are just SO INTO our phones and it’s causing us to have anxiety. Come on. You know who else is on their phone all the time? Grandparents. Parents. Teens. Your mom. Your yoga instructor. Your cashier. Your boss. Everyone’s on their phones. You know why? It’s cause it’s a computer in your pocket, the likes of which the world had never seen until a decade ago. OF COURSE humanity’s going to be enthralled by this piece of machinery. Hell, people were ballyhooing kids who read too much back when the novel first became an art form.

More: Millennials love Austin, but home prices don’t love them back

But Sinek says this advent of technology has addled our precious millennial brains and is the sole source of our discontent, and it’s why we can’t focus on long-term relationships or long-term jobs long enough to form “meaningful relationships” in the real world.

I would argue that the reason that many of my peers go from partner to partner, job to job, place to place, is because we watched our parents work their fingers to the bone for an American Dream that we saw could be taken away in an instant. Many of us witnessed a recession, a terrorist attack, two wars and another recession before we graduated high school. That feeling of uncertainty combined with a reeling economy right when we were about to enter the job market just may have something to do with why we feel a need to live in the here and now. Social media amplifies that, yes, but correlation is not causation.

More: For millennials in workforce, a different view of ‘American Dream’

And as for the job thing, Sinek seems to think that all millennials want to work in a low-paying place that offers them free booze and bean bag chairs and open-planned seating. No, the reason many millennials take those jobs is because they were told when they were young that education was the answer to their happiness, and so they took out massive amounts of student loan debt to pay for an education that overqualified them for low-wage jobs but didn’t qualify them enough for an actual full-time job at a company. Thus, the bean bag chair job.

But the solution to all that? It doesn’t lie with millennials figuring it out for ourselves. No, the solution is to place the blame elsewhere.

“It’s the corporations, it’s the corporate environment, it’s the total lack of good leadership in our world today that is making [millennials] feel the way they do. [Getting placed in a corporate environment right after school] isn’t helping them overcome the need for instant gratification,” Sinek says in the video.

Wait, hold up. We were coddled as kids because our parents made us feel special, and now that we’re in the workplace, Sinek’s solution is…blame the establishment for not understanding us and then get someone else teach us how to overcome our problems?

Who’s the “millennial” now?

Sinek closes his speech by saying, “We, now in industry, whether we like it or not, we don’t get a choice, we now have a responsibility to make up the shortfall. And help this amazing, idealistic, fantastic generation build their confidence, learn patience, learn the social skills, find a better balance between life and technology because quite frankly it’s the right thing to do.”

And while I do think that is true, I’m also a bit insulted. Lest I sound like a generation-basher, I’m one of the youngest people in my newsroom. There are people at the Statesman that have been here for almost twice as long as I’ve been alive. And that’s awesome, to get to work in an environment that encourages that type of generational diversity. I learn every day from someone at work, and it’s almost always from someone older than me. I’m truly grateful.

But my team is also made up almost entirely of millennials, and I learn from them too. I don’t feel like we lack social skills, or we need to find a better balance between life and technology. (Given that our jobs specifically deal with social media and computers, I’d say we’re doing the best we can.) If something goes wrong, we don’t whine or complain, we fix it. Don’t give us a medal for doing something that everybody else expects of us anyway.

To imply that the only way to “save” the millennials is to give us the workplace equivalent of a participation trophy is just another form of coddling us. And it’s an insult to the millennials I know who have risen through the ranks at law school, medical school, higher education, corporations, newspapers, or just plain started their own businesses or became entrepreneurs.

In short, we millennials don’t need “saving,” at least from what you think ails us. No, the kids are all right this time.

‘The Magic iPod’ website is nostalgia incarnate

If you’re the type of music fan that thinks, “You know what this DMX song needs? A remix with Vanessa Carlton,” then wait no longer. The Internet has provided.

Photo via Apple
Photo via Apple

“The Magic iPod” is a mash-up site built in 2007 that allows you to combine hip-hop/rap songs with pop songs from the mid-2000s. Indeed, two of those songs are “X Gon’ Give It To You” and “A Thousand Miles.” Don’t think it would work? Listen here.

While the site has been around for 10 years, it’s been making the rounds on the Internet again, mostly through social media. It’s probably popping back up again because a donations tab at the bottom of the webpage leads to the ACLU’s website.

More: Kellyanne Conway just inspired a ‘Bowling Green Massacre Victims Fund’ that donates to the ACLU

Give it a try here before it gets taken down.

Some of my personal favorites:

Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” + Blink-182’s “I Miss You”

Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky” + Cake’s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket”

The aforementioned DMX mix, but also DMX + Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah”

Nelly’s “Country Grammar” + Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue”