Wendy’s in the Texas Union building closing Thursday

Season those French fries with tears and don’t let your wails keep you from throwing back a chocolate Frosty. The Wendy’s in the Texas Union on the University of Texas at Austin campus is closing Thursday, according to the UT Unions social media accounts.

“We are sad¬†to announce that today is the last day that Wendy‚Äôs will be open in the #TexasUnion,” read a tweet and an Instagram post both posted Thursday afternoon. “However, you can still visit Wendy‚Äôs at our Jester location. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working to identify a new vendor as quickly as possible!”

Wendy’s is no longer listed as a dining option at the Texas Union on the University Unions website.

Junior (Ishmael Mohammed Jr.) strikes a familiar pose as he rings up a student in line at Wendy’s in the Student Union at UT in 2003. “This is my show, I’m the king.” Laura Skelding/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Wendy’s has been a longtime fixture in the university’s student union. The fast food spot gained some fame in the UT community and beyond from its most famous employee,¬†Ishmael Mohammed Jr., aka ‚ÄúJunior the Wendy‚Äôs Guy,‚ÄĚ who was known for his lightning-fast order-taking skills. He¬†was ‚Äúthe Rachmaninoff of the register, holding the record for taking the most orders and sales within a 30-minute span, 246 orders for $1,035 ‚ÄĒ or one order every 7.3 seconds,‚ÄĚ according to¬†a 2014 American-Statesman story. Mohammed, who died in 2016, was also the subject of short documentary in 2006.¬†Nikolas Ray Eller¬†was sentenced last year to two years in jail for delivering a punch that killed the popular fast food cashier.

COTA’s Winter Wonderland closed again tonight; new hours for rest of week

The Circuit of the America’s Winter Wonderland has been cancelled for the second night in a row due to anticipated wind and rain.¬†All tickets will be automatically refunded.

cota lights 4
People skate on synthetic ice during the Winter Wonderland event at Circuit of the Americas Nov. 30. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

If the weather improves, Winter Wonderland will be open tomorrow through Saturday, and carnival rides, which previously required a fee in addition to admission, will be free. The hours have changed, too. Thursday-Saturday hours will be 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

This is the first year for COTA’s Winter Wonderland, which made a big splash when it was announced in November.

The Trail of Lights closed for the season on Dec. 23; the Zilker Tree remains on display through Sunday.

COTA’s Winter Wonderland closed tonight; carnival rides free tomorrow through Saturday

If you were planning to visit Circuit of the America’s Winter Wonderland tonight, bad news: It’s been cancelled due to anticipated wind and rain. All tickets will be automatically refunded.

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People explore a light tunnel during the Winter Wonderland event at Circuit of the Americas Nov. 30. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

There’s good news, too, though. Winter Wonderland will be open tomorrow through Saturday, and carnival rides, which previously required a fee in addition to admission, will be free.

This is the first year for COTA’s Winter Wonderland, which made a big splash when it was announced in November.

The Trail of Lights closed for the season on Dec. 23; the Zilker Tree remains on display through Sunday.

Check out this delightfully quirky antique shop, bed & breakfast for sale outside of Austin

Want to open your own antique shop? How about your own bed and breakfast? Want to live there, too?

Courtesy Twist Tours

This wonderfully quirky property for sale on Highway 290 in Paige (between Giddings and Elgin, about an hour’s drive east of Austin) can give you all of that and more.

PHOTOS: Quirky antique store, bed & breakfast for sale in Paige

It’s currently an antiques and salvage business,¬†and the $560,000 price tag includes all the inventory inside the store front (except the inventory in the rented-out booths), which is quite a lot:

Courtesy Twist Tours

In addition to the storefront, there’s a recently remodeled private space that can be used as a bed and breakfast, living space or vacation home. According to Moxie Realty Group, the current owners will even consider selling the furnishings inside.

Courtesy Twist Tours

As if that’s not enough for you, there’s more than half an acre of land just waiting to be developed or used as parking.

You can find more information about the property at Moxie Realty Group.

Texas teen brags about stealing doughnuts from H-E-B

Protip: If you’re going to be a thief, maybe don’t brag about it on the internet.

The Donut Taco Palace on W. Hwy 290 is a popular morning destination for donuts and tacos of all kinds thanks to owner Angel Seng.
RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

That’s the lesson one Texas teenager learned this week when his tweet about “free donuts” at H-E-B stores caught the attention of thousands on Twitter.

“FREE DONUTS AT ANY HEB Just walk into the donut section and grab a free donut of any choice but must be eaten inside and away from employees,” the teen’s now-deleted tweet read, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

According to the Express-News, the teenager grabs a “free” doughnut every time he stops by an H-E-B Plus. But needless to say, H-E-B isn’t giving away any free doughnuts, a spokesperson told the Express-News. The teenager’s sticky fingers are the only reason he got a “free” treat‚ÄĒso maybe don’t try this at your neighborhood H-E-B.

RELATED: Central Texas H-E-B store getting Whataburger drive-through

187 years ago, Texas’ first immigration ban didn’t go over well

The government was deeply concerned. Immigrants were pouring into their northern lands. Immigrants who were armed. Who did not accept their values. And, perhaps most terrifyingly, did not share their religion.

Building a border wall, of course, wasn’t remotely feasible. But if they had tried, it wouldn’t have been on the Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo as they called it). It would have been on the Red River.

We’re talking about Mexico in 1830, of course.¬†A decade after Spanish authorities had welcomed settlers from the United States to help colonize Texas, newly-independent Mexico was beginning to realize that this was not going to end well for them.

So on this day in 187 years ago, the Mexican Congress issued the Law of April 6, 1830. Article 11 of that decree¬†expressly forbid, according to T.R. Fehrenbach’s “Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans,” any “further colonization of the Mexican territory by citizens of adjacent countries.”

It was an immigration ban. Aimed at the United States.

The immigrants did not take it well. The Texas colonists were not only insulted, but were counting on growth to fuel their economy.

For years, embroiled in its own fight for independence and a hampered by political upheaval, Mexico had given little thought to its Texas territory. When they realized that the Texas colonists had little intention of assimilating into Mexican culture, it was too late.

As Fehrenbach notes:

“The Mexican mistake, beyond the original allowing of a large horde of self-discliplined, armed land seekers to cross the borders, was in permitting the Anglos to create, without hindrance, their own community within nominal Mexican territory.”

Stephen F. Austin would travel to Mexico to appeal the decree to a government still in flux and eventually did get Article 11 repealed in 1833¬†‚ÄĒ just before he was imprisoned in solitary confinement at the ancient Prison of the Inquisition, according to Fehrenbach.

Other efforts by Mexico to put its stamp on Texas ‚ÄĒ collecting customs and garrisoning more troops (including convict conscriptees) there ‚ÄĒ helped fuel the fires of revolution. There were disturbances in Anahuac. A battle in Velasco.

By 1835, the Texas Revolution had begun.

Bet you can guess Texas’ most embarrassing online search habit

 

Last week, Republicans in Congress passed the repeal of an Internet privacy rule implemented by the FCC last year. The rule would have prohibited Internet service providers from selling the browsing history of their customers.

FILE — Computers at the 53rd Street branch of the New York Public Library system, in New York, June 14, 2016. The House voted on Tuesday March 28, 2017, largely along party lines, to dismantle rules created by the FCC requiring broadband providers get permission before collecting data on a user?s online activity. (Santiago Mejia/The New York Times)

The repeal doesn’t necessarily mean your browsing history is for sale, but if it is, and you’re a Texan, you’re in trouble. Or rather, you might be¬†in trouble if you’re embarrassed about searching for pornography.

More: Almost every U.S. representative from Central Texas voted for repeal of Internet privacy rule

The folks over at High Speed Internet¬†have compiled a list of each state’s “online guilty pleasure,” and Texas residents apparently like searching for “XXX Content,” as the list calls it. Texans aren’t alone; porn was also the top guilty pleasure for¬†Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana and New Mexico.

Other big “guilty pleasures”: Alaska really loves Googling celebrity news, Florida is big into “sugar daddy” sites, Utah can’t get enough fitness models, Colorado likes “fail videos,” and Mississippi residents love themselves some “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).”

View the full map here.

Related:

Guess what word Texans can’t spell

Texas’ favorite reality show isn’t surprising

Texans’ Google searches since the election heavy on secession and SCOTUS

 

It was a good week for Chuck Norris, but who else is an honorary Texan?

The Texas Senate named Chuck Norris an honorary Texan on Tuesday. This was not because Chuck showed up and roundhouse-kicked everyone into submission ‚ÄĒ naming honorary Texans is something the legislature does on a regular basis. Even for lesser mortals.

Who else, you are asking, has received this honor?

Well, in 2015, the Legislature was busy making Texans. Most notably, British singer Phil Collins got the Lone Star stamp of approval for his efforts on behalf of the Alamo. Also actor Gary Sinise was honored for his work advocating for veterans.

But other honorary Texans minted in 2015 include Albanian artist Genc Mulliqi, Czech Republic exchange student Vladimir Jaskevic, UT basketball coach Shaka Smart and former Philadelphia Eagles player Troy Vincent.

The resolution can be introduced in the House or in the Senate or it can be a concurrent resolution, such as the one in 2015 that declared May 26 to be John Wayne Day for a 10-year period. Often such resolutions simply absolve newborns unlucky enough to be born outside state lines, but lucky enough to have relatives with friends in high places.

Sometimes it’s weird. In 2011, a House Resolution granted posthumous Texan-ness to Italian national hero¬†Giuseppe Garibaldi, for reasons nearly a half-dozen “whereas”es couldn’t make clear.

One particularly good story is the one of famous naturalist John James Audubon. After a visit to Texas in 1837, a senator in Texas’ fledgling government proposed to make Audubon an honorary Texan. Or Texian, as they said then. It went nowhere and stayed that way until 1985, when Sen. Carlos Truan sponsored a new resolution, which was easily adopted.

But the Lege doesn’t have all the fun. Texas governors can declare honorary Texans, too. Then-Gov. Rick Perry went nearly full partisan in his declarations: Sarah Palin, Sean Hannity, Rudy Giuliani, Glenn Beck and … Rush Limbaugh. (He also dubbed singer Chris Knight and actor Russell Crowe, for a little balance.)

Gov. George W. Bush was a little more, ahem, presidential in his selections. He made several prime ministers and other foreign dignitaries honorary Texans … and Bob Dylan, too.

Gov. Ann Richards kept it a little weirder. Under her watch, the parents of Jerry Jeff Walker, Bob Hope, Don McLean and Arnold Schwarzenegger became honorary Texans.

Perhaps the oddest honorary Texan ever was Nicolae¬†Ceau»ôescu, Romania’s brutal communist leader until 1989. When Gov. Dolph Briscoe honored him, we’re willing to bet he didn’t anticipate¬†Ceau»ôescu would be the only honorary Texan to be executed by a firing squad.

San Antonio event planner: ‘Don’t call my black-owned business asking me to plan your plantation wedding’

A black San Antonio-based event planner is speaking out against the racial undertones connected with plantation weddings.

According to ATTN, Jordan A. Maney is the owner and founder of All the Days Event Company in San Antonio. Maney said she received a call from a bride recently asking her to plan a wedding at Kendall Plantation in Boerne, just outside of San Antonio. ATTN reports it’s unclear if Kendall Plantation was the former home of slaves,¬†but the venue’s website¬†states it was built “just for weddings” in 2011.

Instagram / @kendallplantation

ATTN excerpted a few lines from the website’s “about us” section, some of which appears to have been removed since the¬†article’s publication.

Some of the text referenced above seems to have been removed from the website. (Screenshot via ATTN)

“The name Kendall Plantation represents the county in which it rests (Kendall) and the architecture of a Southern antebellum home,” the website now reads, without mention of the land’s former use as “a plantation for growing cotton and other crops.”

The website still goes on to state that the¬†venue¬†is modeled after “true Southern Louisiana Plantation homes” and says, “The history of the land has been preserved, as we have kept original items used to work the ranch centuries ago; they are on display in unique spots along the property.”

Maney told ATTN having a wedding at a former plantation was like “having a wedding at a grave-site,” saying she didn’t understand why these aspects of history are “glamorized.”

“In the state of Texas we do have a Confederate history day, and it’s still very well practiced,” Maney told ATTN. “The idea of Southern pride tied to the Civil War is still around, but I don’t know why it gets glamorized and fantasized about.”

After Maney received the phone call from the couple requesting the wedding at Kendall Plantation, she wrote on Facebook (in a post that is now not available on her page), “DON’T CALL MY BLACK-OWNED BUSINESS ASKING ME TO PLAN YOUR PLANTATION WEDDING.” In the comments, she later detailed how the conversation¬†with the bride unfolded, according to a screenshot captured by ATTN.

ATTN says it has reached out to Kendall Plantation for comment, but has not yet heard back. However, Kendall Plantation posted the following photo on their Instagram on Tuesday, clarifying the venue was built “from the ground up exclusively for weddings.”

 

 

Five odd spots in Texas to look up for ‘Read a Road Map Day’

We had a subscription to National Geographic when I was young, back when you couldn’t buy it on the newsstand, and it seemed like being part of a secret club. And every few issues, a bonus! One¬†would arrive with a map inside.

Not just any map, mind you. A National Geographic map ‚ÄĒ the best a boy could get. I would pore over them for hours, looking for lochs in Scotland, mountains in Chile, deserts in Namibia, weird places in Yugoslavia.

So I’m feeling a bit sentimental over “Read a Road Map Day,”¬†which I found out just a few minutes¬†ago was today. I didn’t have it circled on my calendar, I admit.

I still have road maps in my car. Perhaps it was seeing the early days of online maps, when asking for directions always steered you toward the nearest interstate (sorry, Yahoo, but I am NOT going from San Angelo to Austin via Abilene). Or perhaps it is an antiquated sense of masculine pride that, damn it, I know where I’m going … but I never cared for GPS. And I’m not going to ask my phone how to get there.

So let’s celebrate road maps today. Here are five¬†odd places you can get to from Austin (with links to an online map, because, well, this is the internet) …

1. Ding Dong Tx. On Highway 195 between Killeen and Florence. The name is said to have come from a sign on a store owned by early settlers Zulis and Bert Bell.

2. Oatmeal Tx. On FM 243, southwest of Bertram. The annual Oatmeal Festival (in nearby Bertram) began in 1978 as a parody of the then-hot chili cookoff craze.

3. Click Tx. Off County Road 308, west of Texas 71 between Horseshoe Bay and Llano. Now a ghost town, it was named for settler Malachi Click.

4. Dime Box Tx. South of State Highway 21 and Old Dime Box. In the 1940s, a CBS broadcast kicked off a March of Dimes drive from Dime Box, according to the Handbook of Texas Online.

5. Nada, Tx. On Texas 71, between Columbus and El Campo. Even before I learned the name was Spanish for “nothing,” I was always amused by the sign on the town store. “Well if it’s Nada Grocery Store, what is it?” was the joke that never got old. But the name comes from a third source: najda is the Czechoslovakian word for “hope.” Rounding out the odd, the town’s original name was Vox Populi.