Willie Nelson and Morgan Freeman hanging out on a bus is friendship goals

Getting a phone call to come hang out with Willie Nelson sounds like the dream, but can you imagine getting to chat with a Hollywood star too?

Country radio legend Bill Mack recently shared on Facebook that his pal called him to hang out on his bus in North Texas. And of all the people in the world, Morgan Freeman happened to be aboard too.

Mack asked the Oscar winner all about the movie biz. Freeman’s favorite roles include “Shawshank Redemption,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Glory,” and “Unforgiven.” And Freeman, who turns 80 this year, shared some of his favorite movies, which all happened to be released before 1960.

As for what brought Freeman and Nelson together, it turns out the megawatt actor doesn’t live in Hollywood. Like Mack, Nelson called up his famous friend, who lives in Clarksdale, Mississippi to hang and Freeman happily obliged.

Read the full post below:

What a scandal: List of top fast food takes Texas favorite for granted

We Texans can get pretty defensive about our state’s homegrown fast food treasure, Whataburger. So it’s clear as day that the staff at The Ringer made a few errors in regards to its list of the “Top 50 fast food items in America.

The Corpus Christi-born chain landed in the No. 37 spot with one of the “All-Time Favorites” menu items, the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich. The Ringer left off the “strip” in its name, which is the first of many mistakes (in my opinion) made in this ranking, which include:

  1. Ranking the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich way too low at No. 37
  2. Only placing one Whataburger item on the list to begin with
  3. Placing three burgers from California’s In-N-Out ahead of Whataburger

The Ringer is based in Los Angeles, so perhaps there is a slight regional bias. Whataburger has a Texas-sized online personality and is deeply embedded into our state’s food culture. How could a list of the greatest fast food not mention the expansive menu of items like chicken strips, burgers the size of your head, milkshakes and the holy grail of breakfast food, the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit?

Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries landed in the top spot of the list. A truly eclectic ranking, somehow enough people are convinced Arby’s is worth visiting that the curly fries and roast beef sandwich ranked higher than Whataburger. Other items ranking higher than the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich:  Taco Bell’s chicken quesadilla, McDonald’s baked apple pie and Chipotle’s soft tacos. Auntie Anne’s pretzel landed in the top 20!

Since the list was decided by The Ringer’s staff, I asked my colleagues what they thought of the whole ranking. Here are some choice comments from our newsroom:

  • “HBCB in the middle of the night or bust.” – assistant online editor Gabrielle Munoz
  • “I won’t be reading any list that starts with Chick-fil-A fries. Gross. That being said, the Whataburger honey butter chicken biscuit is fast food nirvana.” – assistant features editor Emily Quigley
  • “Honey BBQ chicken is to die for.” – sports columnist Kirk Bohls
  • “I used to work at Raising Cane’s, and I’m very proud of that, so I take it very personally that their sauce didn’t get its own list item on this list. And – biggest mistake of all – they didn’t even mention the Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. THEY DIDN’T EVEN MENTION IT. I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven to be the best thing to eat at 3 a.m. ever.” – Rachel Rice, reporter for the Westlake Picayune and Lake Travis View
  • “I’m disappointed that Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists aren’t on this list. Crunchy pieces of fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar… what’s not to love?! These treats kept my sister and I happy on plenty of family road trips during our childhood.” – multimedia producer Tina Phan
  • “Wendy’s chili is getting so screwed over here.” – online content producer Joe Harrington
  • “It is absurd to rank a Shake Shack burger under a McDonald’s burger. This is not a slight on the Big Mac: I believe that every fast food item has its relative merits. There is room for, say, a Taco Cabana taco and Taco Bell taco in all our lives, on their own terms. But when one considers the objective values assigned to each component part of the hamburger – freshness of bun, flavor and texture of meat, melt of cheese – ranking a Big Mac over a Shack Burger is a farce of the highest order and an attack on the very concept of fact-based evidence. And why even bother placing Popeyes menu items in contention if you are going to exclude red beans and rice, which are the perfect side dish? Also: Blizzards are Beyonce, McFlurrys are Rita Ora. Correct placement.” – social media and engagement editor Eric Webb
  • Another one of our multimedia producers, Alyssa Vidales, just sent me this video of someone trying to burn a Big Mac using molten copper.

If fast food is your thing, go ahead and try out everything on the list. Austin is home to every chain ranked (yes, even a Culver’s!).  And if you go a little overboard, head on over to our Fit City blog for fitness tips or Relish Austin for fresh cooking ideas.

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.

Gamers find Whataburger cup in new ‘Resident Evil’ game

Whataburger's Root Beer Shake is one of the recent recommendations on the "Statesman Shots" podcast. Credit: Whatabrands LLC
Whataburger’s Root Beer Shake seen in the company’s styrofoam orange and white striped cup. Credit: Whatabrands LLC

They may be murderous cannibals, but the villainous family at the center of the new Resident Evil 7: Biohazard game at least follow Whataburger’s directions.

Released Tuesday, gamers play a man searching for his wife in a Louisiana home haunted with the aforementioned creepy family, undead and other monstrous creatures. But In real life, the Creole State is home to bayous and 15 Whataburger locations, making for an interesting Easter egg in the game.


While exploring the home in the game, players noticed a cup in a trash bin bearing a striking resemblance to Whataburger’s famous orange and white-striped beverage vessel. Each real styrofoam cup contains the message “When I am empty, please dispose of me properly.”

One player tweeted this cup in the trash isn’t the only one.

Think you can handle the horror of this house? The game is rated M for Mature and is available on PlayStation 4 (including virtual reality capability), Xbox One and Windows PC.

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

“Target Marathon” in 2016. (Photo contributed by Eric Webb)

The famous “Prada Marfa” art installation has attracted tourists to West Texas for years but it’s not the only fake box shop to see in the Texas desert.

Austin American-Statesman social media editor Eric Webb visited "Target Marathon" on a trip to West Texas in 2016. He cautioned that there was a beehive inside the room when he visited. (Photo contributed by Eric Webb)
Austin American-Statesman social media editor Eric Webb visited “Target Marathon” on a trip to West Texas in 2016. He cautioned that there was a beehive inside the room when he visited. (Photo contributed by Eric Webb)

An abandoned building received a makeover more than a year ago when the Target bullseye and name were installed on its exterior.

Located halfway between Alpine and Marathon along U.S. Highway 90, the building sits alongside a railroad track running through a valley flanked by mountains.

The “Target Marathon” makes for a quirky photo-op stop if you’re heading to Big Bend National Park.

An image of the building recently circulated on social media via the “Texas Humor” accounts.

One user commented with her own photo and warned others about nearby snakes at the site.

Here’s a closer look at the building.

Sadly, if you’re looking for an actual Target store, prepare for a long drive. The closest location is more than two hours northeast in Odessa.

Next viral dance challenge inspired by Texas singer Demi Lovato

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2014 file photo, Demi Lovato poses for photographers backstage during the Hot 99.5 Jingle Ball in Washington D.C. Robert Rodriguez had been waiting for a chance to work with Lovato since she auditioned for a role in his 2003 movie “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.” The El Rey Network creator and executive producer of its TV series “From Dusk Till Dawn,” spoke to reporters Thursday, July 30, 2015, as part of a TV Critics annual summer press tour. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)
Demi Lovato poses for photographers backstage during the Hot 99.5 Jingle Ball in Washington D.C. Dec. 15, 2014 (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

People may be looking to turn over a new leaf in the new year, but one trend surviving 2016 is internet dance “challenges.”

The first one to make its way around social media is called the Demi Lovato challenge, which originated from a song by a YouTube user named Kandi Reign. The chorus repeats the line “I feel like Demi Lovato.” With more than 15,000 subscribers and over half a million video views on her account, Kandi Reign’s new challenge started going viral.

These challenges often have a brief lifespan and the Dallas native is all for it.


Demi’s sister rounded up a crew to do the challenge too.


Check out some of the best videos from the #DemiLovatoChallenge, including a compilation, below.

Watch: H-E-B releases 2016 commercials starring San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Danny Green star in a newly-released commercial for H-E-B. (Screenshot via YouTube)
Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Danny Green star in a newly-released commercial for H-E-B. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Name a more iconic duo than H-E-B and the San Antonio Spurs. I’ll wait.

The Texas grocery store chain rolled out its annual dose of commercials featuring players during the team’s game against the Sacramento Kings (which they won).

It’s pretty clear to see the common theme of the ads. With a depth chart of players from Argentina, Spain, France, Latvia and Australia, the Spurs brought their international appeal to the small screen.

In the “Farmers Market” spot, new guy on the team Pau Gasol hawks Taylor golden pears from Spain, while Kawhi Leonard explains what the California plumcot is. Point guard Tony Parker even speaks French while describing strawberry shortcake, a staple at the Poteet Strawberry Festival.

Aussie Patty Mills makes an appearance in the “Origami” clip, in which Parker walks in on the team surrounded by folded paper art. The ad promotes H-E-B’s line of stir-fry kits, but it’s Mills crocodile (not a alligator) that steals the show. Steve Irwin would be proud.

The title of the third ad, “Fluent” speaks for itself. Danny Green and Mills walk up to Manu Ginobili and Gasol grilling an obnoxious amount of meat. When asked what they’re cooking, the grillmasters respond in Spanish, explaining that they’ve got fajitas (among other things) and it’s all delicious. Mills reminds the pair that they don’t speak Spanish, but after he and Green try some fresh-off-the-grill meat, we get to hear what an Australian speaking Spanish sounds like. Green also does his best to describe the rich flavor of the meat in Spanish.

According to a Facebook comment by H-E-B on its official page, more commercials are dropping on Saturday, when the Spurs play their first home court regular season game of the NBA season. Until then, check out the teasers for the remaining commercials, including the highly-anticipated appearance of recently-retired Tim Duncan alongside other Spurs alumni.

What people are saying about Tim Duncan’s retirement from the San Antonio Spurs

FILE - In this June 15, 2014, file photo, San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) celebrates after Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals in San Antonio. Duncan announced his retirement on Monday, July 11, 2016, after 19 seasons, five championships, two MVP awards and 15 All-Star appearances. It marks the end of an era for the Spurs and the NBA. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) celebrates after Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals in San Antonio on June 15, 2014. Duncan announced his retirement on Monday, July 11, 2016, after 19 seasons, five championships, two MVP awards and 15 All-Star appearances. It marks the end of an era for the Spurs and the NBA. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The day finally came. The Big Fundamental is retiring.

After 19 seasons spent with the same team in the league, Tim Duncan has said goodbye to the San Antonio Spurs. The announcement about the five-time champion’s retirement was delivered in the most Duncan-esque way. No press conference, year-long farewell tour, articles or a letter on a sports website, but rather a simple press release and video from the Spurs organization.

The tributes quickly poured in on Twitter with news outlets sharing highlights from his career.

Other NBA figures and teams tweeted photos and thanks to undoubtedly one of the greatest players to ever play.


A few tweets poked fun at Duncan’s history of being the NBA’s favorite dorky dad and geek.



While he took the game very seriously, Duncan and his teammates were known for goofing around, as seen in some clips making the rounds.

And of course, there were lots of jokes.

With nearly two decades of a NBA career under his belt, many Spurs fans took the news quite hard.



If you’re a Spurs fan, you’ll want to grab a tissue for this sweet video. Thanks for the memories Timmy.


Whataburger offering Houston-area first responders free meal during flood relief effort

(Photo courtesy of Whataburger)
(Photo courtesy of Whataburger)

After torrential amounts of rain flooded areas of Houston, Whataburger announced it would be helping out those who have been helping others.

More than a foot of rain fell in the Bayou City on Monday, flooding area suburbs, overwhelming drainage systems and closing major roadways. Eight people have died in the area floods according to the latest report. In a show of support, the Texas-born fast food company offered a complimentary meal to uniformed first responders at any of its locations in the Houston area

View more photos of flooding around the state at statesman.com.

MAC releases teaser photo of Selena-inspired makeup line

** FILE ** Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, TX, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman. ORG XMIT:
Selena performs at Hemisfair Plaza in San Antonio, April 24, 1994. Photo by Sung Park / The Austin American-Statesman.

Even 21 years after her death, the Queen of Tejano music has found another way to excite her fans across all generations. The cosmetics company MAC gave fans a sneak peek at its upcoming makeup collection inspired by the late singer Selena.

In a photo on Facebook, the company revealed one of most highly anticipated products of the line, a berry-colored lipstick named “Como La Flor.” According to MAC, Selena’s sister (and drummer for her shows) Suzette Quintanilla will curate the makeup collaboration.

MAC has attached celebrities to its brand and created products inspired by everyone from Caitlyn Jenner, Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj. Jenner’s daughter Kylie might have the internet buzzing about her ever-growing lip kit collection, but even she has shown Selena some love.

Selena’s line came to fruition after a petition on Change.org garnered more than 37,000 signatures, urging MAC to create a collection for the Texas singer. The company listened and announced the upcoming Selena project in July of last year. The tentative release for the products is October 2016.