Professor Matthew McConaughey talks about teaching at UT on ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’

Matthew McConaughey, the patron saint of Longhorn fans everywhere, just finished up teaching his first semester at the University of Texas. Despite Texas’ less-than-great football season this year, he’s still spreading the Longhorn love.


On “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Thursday night, Meyers asked the actor about the class, and McConaughey responded, “It’s the class I wish I would’ve had when I was in film school.”

The university announced in August that the actor, who graduated from UT in 1993 with a radio-television-film degree, signed on to teach a course titled Advanced Producing: Script-to-Screen in the Moody College of Communication. He taught the course mostly through recorded videos, but he made an appearance or two in class for some face time with his students (and he did it all totally pro bono, too).

“Late Night” shared a clip on Twitter from the interview with McConaughey, who plays a koala in the upcoming animated movie “Sing,” on Friday morning, asking, “What would you do if Matthew McConaughey was your college professor at @UTAustin?”

The university responded accordingly, writing, “We’d at least be sure to raise our hand before asking a question.”

Savage, @UTAustin.

See the full interview Meyers did with McConaughey on YouTube.





Are you a true Austinite? These questions put you to the test

The hashtag #HoustonVerificationQuestions was trending on Twitter this week, as Houston residents asked each other questions about living in the city. Twitter users polled each other on everything from rap lyrics to what speed limit signs really mean.

A handful of people have caught on to the trend in Austin. For example, if you’re an OG Austinite, you know the answer to this one and you can’t help but sing along:

So, what are Austin’s verification questions? The Statesman web team gathered these ideas (answers below):

  1. Where can you redeem your used Longhorns game ticket for a free crunchy taco?
  2. How many people does it take to finish a Don Juan?
  3. Where was the airport before Austin-Bergstrom International Airport?
  4. What temperature is Barton Springs Pool?
  5. Where is the original Kerbey Lane Café located?
  6. Before “Lady Bird Lake,” it was called ________.
  7. What was the best show you saw at Liberty Lunch?
  8. Who has two braids and no regard for recreational drug use laws?
  9. Which South Congress café is “sorry” to be open?
  10. Can you  name at least two surnames of the former Austin mayor whose first name is Carole?
  11. Finish this iconic Austin song lyric: “I wanna go home with the _______.”
  12. How do you pronounce Manchaca? What about Burnet? Buda? Guadalupe?
  13. Do you know what Celebration Station is? What about Pandamonium? Discovery Zone?
  14. What season is it if it’s 90 degrees?
  15. Do YOU know Betty Blackwell?
The Austin skyline from the 23rd floor of the Skyhouse Apartments on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The Austin skyline from the 23rd floor of the Skyhouse Apartments on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The hashtag hasn’t really taken off in Austin just yet, but now that Dallas is catching on to the trend, Houstonians are feeling a little salty:

It’s OK, y’all. We’ll just sit back and watch the feud.




  1. Taco Bell.
  2. It depends on the size of your stomach and how determined you are (also, probably how much you drank the night before).
  3. You now know the area as the Mueller development.
  4. Between 68 and 70 degrees year-round.
  5. It’s on Kerbey Lane. Shocker.
  6. Town Lake. The name was changed in 2007 to Lady Bird Lake to honor Lady Bird Johnson, the wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
  7. Liberty Lunch closed in 1999, but its spirit lives on. Read more about the effort to preserve the memories of one of Austin’s most beloved music institutions.
  8. Willie Nelson, a.k.a. the unofficial mayor of Austin. He’s been arrested at least five times for marijuana possession.
  9. Magnolia Café, an Austin staple.
  10. Carole Keeton Strayhorn, born Carole Stewart Keeton, went by the name Carole McClellan when she served as Austin’s mayor in the 1970s, but she was Carole Keeton Rylander when she was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in 1994. So…you had a lot of options here.
  11. Armadillo. What else? (Here are 10 facts about the official small mammal of Texas.)
  12. Man-shack. Burn-it. Byoo-duh. Guada-loop. Any questions? 
  13. If you were a kid in Austin in the 1980s and 90s, the only correct answer to this question is, “the best place in the world.” These were basically indoor playscapes (think Chuck E. Cheese, but better), and pretty much everybody had their birthday parties there. I distinctly remember going to see that horrible Shaq movie “Kazaam” and then going to Pandamonium afterward, which is probably the most ’90s Austin kid thing to ever happen.
  14. Trick question. All of ’em. 
  15. Everybody knows Betty Blackwell.

The Factory Cafe on Burnet Road goes laptop-free

In a unique move, Austin’s The Factory Cafe decided this week to ban customers from using laptops in the space.

Image via The Factory Cafe
Image via The Factory Cafe

The cafe, which calls itself a “creative sanctuary,” announced the decision on its social media channels on Tuesday with a graphic saying, “No laptops! Talk to each other” and the caption, “Starting tomorrow, Dec 7th [sic], we are going laptop-free! Make new friends, be inspired, find your muse.”

The Factory Cafe, which opened in the former Saladworks space on Burnet Road earlier this year, is one of Austin’s few coffee shops that doesn’t have a WiFi connection (Cuvee Coffee is another, and Radio Coffee and Beer turns its WiFi off at 5 p.m. when the happy hour crowd begins to show up).

The decision is an interesting one for a coffee shop in a city brimming with bloggers, freelancers, creatives and technology workers. U.S. News and World Report ranked Austin as the top metro area for working remotely, with 6.77 percent of the city’s nearly 1 million workers telecommuting at least half the time they are working. Austin is also home to four universities, a community college and various other institutes of higher education, with more than 70,000 total students who use spaces like Factory Cafe to study and work.

The cafe is open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and serves beer and wine, as well as a variety of decked-out waffles and snacks.

We’ve reached out to Factory Cafe for comment on their decision to go laptop-free.


A plea to Central Texans from a Czech girl: Please stop referring to sausage-filled pastries as ‘kolaches’

OK, Central Texas, we need to talk about kolaches.

130914 CALDWELL, TEXAS: A selection of just-judged entries in the kolache baking competition are pictured at Caldwell's annual Kolache Festival on Saturday, September 14, 2013. The streets were crowded with entertainment and vendors. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.
CALDWELL, TEXAS: A selection of just-judged entries in the kolache baking competition are pictured at Caldwell’s annual Kolache Festival on Saturday, September 14, 2013. The streets were crowded with entertainment and vendors. Andy Sharp / For the American-Statesman.

Before we get started, take a peek at my last name. It’s as Czech as they come. The name Pšencík is actually a nickname for a peasant (I know, I know). It comes from the Czech word meaning “wheat.” I grew up in the heart of the “Texas Czech Belt.” So, trust me, I know a thing or two about doughy Bohemian pastries.

Texas is a pretty heavily Czech region, with immigrants from Bohemia settling in the Texas Czech Belt in the early 1800s. They brought with them one of the best pastries known to mankind, and even now kolaches are a pretty big deal around these parts. A “kolach” (that’s the singular form of the word, though colloquially people use “kolache” as singular and “kolaches” as plural, so that’s how I’m referring to it here) is a round or square-ish pastry made with sweet yeast dough and filled with fruit or cheese.

Notice I said fruit or cheese — not meat. The traditional kolache fillings include things like plums, prunes, poppy seeds, apricots and just plain farmer’s cheese, due to the availability of those tasty flavors in poor immigrant families in the 19th century. Later, those fillings were expanded to include cream cheese, blueberries, pineapples, nuts, cottage cheese, cherries…you name the fruit or cheese, and you could put it in a kolache. Notice, again, I haven’t mentioned meat.

At some point over the course of history, somebody started taking that sweet yeast dough and stuffing it with sausage, sometimes with cheese and jalapeno. Don’t get me wrong, these little pastries are delicious. But they are not kolaches, although many people refer to them as such. Kolache, for those of Czech descent, contain only fruit or cheese, never meat.

A little Czech lesson: Those sausage-filled pastries you’ve been calling kolaches for years actually were never brought over from the motherland. They’re called klobasniky, and they were invented by Czech families settled in Texas (The Village Bakery in West, Texas takes credit for the delicious treat). You may have heard of one of these delights referred to as a “pig in the blanket,” which is what I grew up calling them, although pigs in a blanket can include hot dogs wrapped in croissant rolls, which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly Czech. Slight difference there.

So now that we’ve had a little history lesson, I call upon you, people of Central Texas, to stop referring to these meat-filled delicacies as kolaches, and call them by their rightful name: Klobasniky, or klobasnek in the singular. The Czech community will thank you.

This monkey is Austin’s next up-and-coming artist

The Austin Zoo is home to one of the city’s hottest new artists. But she’s not human.

Katie the capuchin monkey had her first painting session this week, and she’s got serious potential.

Screenshot via @austinzoo on Instagram
Screenshot via @austinzoo on Instagram

According to, the Austin Zoo recently started introducing primates to using paintbrushes. Katie, who’s been at the zoo for 10 years, reportedly enjoys flexing her painting muscles. It sure looks like she’s having a good time.

Several commenters even said they’re interested in buying Katie’s artwork. The zoo is reportedly ordering canvas and frames for Katie’s artwork, and the zoo’s executive director told that prices would be available soon.

Many of the posts on the zoo’s Instagram page focus around animal enrichment. For example, lioness Amara got a new toy this week.

And these cougar cubs get to go bowling.


Watch Miley Cyrus and Pentatonix join Dolly Parton for an epic version of ‘Jolene’

You’ve probably heard countless covers of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” — but you’ve never heard it like this before.

Screenshot via YouTube
Screenshot via YouTube

Miley Cyrus is a judge on this season of NBC’s “The Voice,” and during Tuesday night’s results episode she brought out her godmother and longtime family friend Dolly Parton and Texas a capella group Pentatonix for a slightly up-tempo, a capella version of Parton’s classic song that can only be described as “chilling.”

It’s not the first time Parton and Pentatonix have teamed up on the song. They got together for an excellent a capella rendition of the song back in September.

RELATED: Dolly Parton gets back to basics with ‘Pure & Simple’ tour and album

And it’s not the first time Cyrus has covered her godmother’s song, either. This backyard performance from a few years ago is absolutely beautiful.








Here’s how you can get a super cheap meal at Jason’s Deli today

Texas-based Jason’s Deli turns 40 this year, and to celebrate, they’re bringing back meals and prices from the year they opened.

Jose Rosas prepares wrapped sandwiches in the food prep area at Jason's Deli in North Austin, Thursday, June 2, 2005. Andrew Price/Austin American-Statesman
Jose Rosas prepares wrapped sandwiches in the food prep area at Jason’s Deli in North Austin, Thursday, June 2, 2005. Andrew Price/Austin American-Statesman

All adult entrees at participating Jason’s Deli locations will be served at the original 1976 prices on Wednesday only in honor of Customer Appreciation Day. The deal includes eight “European-style” sandwiches ranging from $1.35 for a cheese sandwich to $1.95 for a Reuben, with chips included. There’s no way you’ll ever get a sandwich this cheap again (even if you make it at home) so make sure to take advantage.

The deal is eligible for call-in or dine-in orders only, so no delivery is available. You’ll have to make sure to hit up one of the six Austin locations or the San Marcos location in person to snag the deal.

You can now download your favorite Netflix shows to watch offline

No internet connection? No problem.

You’re now able to download your favorite Netflix shows and movies to watch without needing an internet connection, the company announced Wednesday.

Juan Pablo Raba, from left, Luis Gnecco and Wagner Moura star in "Narcos." (Daniel Daza/Netflix/TNS)
Juan Pablo Raba, from left, Luis Gnecco and Wagner Moura star in “Narcos.” (Daniel Daza/Netflix/TNS)

Netflix didn’t announce exactly which shows or how many shows will be available to download, but the company said Orange Is The New Black, Narcos and The Crown are all available immediately, but a teaser video released by Netflix also shows clips from House of Cards, The Art of Cai Guo Qiang, Stranger Things and Black Mirror.

The feature is available on iOS and Android phones and tablets — all you have to do is update your app,  and you’ll see an arrow pointing downwards next to content that you can watch offline by accessing the “My Downloads” menu in the app.

Screenshot courtesy of Netflix
Screenshot courtesy of Netflix

According to TIME, you’ll also be able to browse an “Available for Download” menu so you can see all the content available on the app.

Just in time for your holiday travels — make sure to download as much as possible for those long days in the airport.

This Target employee’s pep talk will get you pumped for Black Friday

It’s Black Friday, which can be a crazy day for retail employees and shoppers alike.

Whether you’re looking for the best deal or braving the crowds to make a little extra money before the holidays, Target employee Scott Simms is here to pump you up.

Screengrab via YouTube
Screengrab via YouTube

Back in 2014, Simms, an electronics department employee at a Target in Westminster, Maryland, delivered a pre-Black Friday speech worthy of glory. It’s a few years old, but it’s still gold.

“They come here with bargains in their heads, and fire in their eyes!” Simms yelled to his coworkers as he stood on a checkout counter. “We’re more than just a store: This is a team! This is a family! This is Target!”

Gerard Butler would be proud.



Texas diner tips waiter $750 to fly home to Ireland

Tis the season for giving thanks — and money, in the case of one Houston diner.

According to ABC News, 22-year-old Ben Millar, an Irish waiter working in Houston, told a customer named Jeffrey Saturday night that he hadn’t seen his family in Northern Ireland in more than two years. Jeffrey reportedly told Millar he and his family regularly visited Ireland, and after he finished his meal, he left Millar a $750 tip on a $182.87 tab.

Screengrab via Taryn Keith
Screengrab via Taryn Keith

Millar’s girlfriend, Taryn Keith, shared a photo of the receipt on Facebook Sunday, writing, “My boyfriend got this tip last night at work. He’s from Ireland and is trying to take us back there once Killian is born so we can meet his family. Thought I would share it to show everyone that’s there is not only hate out there. Truly blessed.”

“My initial reaction was shouting, ‘Holy s**t!'” Millar told ABC.

He said he plans on saving the tip money until his baby with Keith is born, so that his new family can visit his family in Belfast, Ireland.