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DJ's Texas State Of Mind

Howdy, folks! I’d like to introduce you to Texas.

Texas, named from the Caddo Indian word, tejas, meaning friends, hosts a mingling of environments and cultures. Early Spanish authorities considered the Caddos friends and their influence carried over into the Mexican province, the republic, and the present day state. Indians in Texas ranged from the Apache to the Wichita, and landmark names such as Wichita Falls, Nacogdoches, and Waco from the Heuco Indians still reflect this.

Hispanic influences are strong both in language and culture. The state dish is chili, a tongue-sizzling stew brewed with peppers, garlic, onions and other spices. Visitors will find other tasty Tex-Mex dishes such as cheesy enchiladas covered with onions, chalupas, hot tamales, taquitos, and burritos filled with hot sauce and sour cream.

Other influences linger as Texas was first under Spanish rule for three centuries, until the French explorer, La Salle, established his colony at Fort St. Louis near the coastline after sinking his vessel, the Belle, in Matagorda Bay. In 1821 Texas came under Mexican rule, but won its independence on the bloody San Jacinto Battleground as the Republic of Texas in 1836. In 1845 it became a state of the United States, although a Confederate flag flew in its skies for four years.

Many famous people have their roots in Texas. Among them are Carol Burnett from San Antonio, Willie Nelson, Larry Hagman, ZZ Top, Audie Murphey the war hero, Denton Cooley a famous Houston heart surgeon, rich man Ross Perot, former US presidents Eisenhower, Johnson, George Bush and our own George W who calls his wooded ranch near Crawford home.

Over a hundred state parks, with their abundance of lakes and rivers, forests and beaches, canyons and mountain ranges with more than 90 peaks over a mile high, offer refuge for wildlife such as pelicans, roadrunners, prairie chickens, white winged doves, alligators, armadillos, deer, raccoons, and more. No hunting or shooting is allowed and campers are offered a range of facilities from furnished cabins to primitive sites.

Texas boasts a rainbow array of plant life including the brightly colored bluebonnets that blanket entire fields in spring, climbing violet morning glories, brilliant pink-blooming strawberry cactus, mesquite brush, the tall pines of east Texas and treasure-yielding pecan trees. .

Rock and mineral collectors will discover plentiful samples of many different gems, including topaz, petrified wood, and granite. The State Capitol in Austin is made of Texas pink granite. Amateur guidebooks are available from the Bureau of Economic Geology in Austin.

As other things in the Lone Star State, the climate is varied but mostly mild. Summers are hot and characterized by lazy days at the pool or lounges in a shady backyard with a big glass of lemonade. Sometimes pesky mosquitoes will drive one back inside to the air conditioning. Occasionally a threatening hurricane will break the monotony but most residents of the coastline are used to this summer occurrence and methodically prepare or evacuate. Winter brings the occasional "norther" which drops temperatures temporarily, but not one Texas winter has ever worn out its welcome with me. Sleet and snow are rare visitors in the south, although northern parts get occasional dustings of the white stuff.

What Texas lacks in snow, it makes up for in oil. More than one-third of the nation’s oil is produced in Texas. The Texas oil boom was initiated by Spindletop, one of the greatest "gushers" of all time. On January 10, 1901, south of Beaumont, Spindletop sent "roughnecks" scurrying for cover when it spewed black gold over 100 feet into the east Texas sky, totaling 800,000 barrels in 8 days, before workers could cap it. In 1985, Spindletop produced 153 million barrels of oil. Travelers passing through another little town of Luling can not miss the distinct scent filling the air and the numerous oil wells bobbing up and down like slow motion crows pecking at the earth.

Other economic influences are cattle and fertile farmland. With all these resources, the only place for Texas to go is up. This is coming true with the manned space program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The year 2003 is filled with challenge for the space program.

NASA Station Program Manager Bill Gerstenmaier says, "The year ahead will be the most complex so far in the history of the International Space Station and its construction in orbit." The crew plans to conduct 30 experiments on board the Station. "Mission Control" tours, once a favorite of visitors, have been canceled, due to heightened security.

If you visit Texas, whether you choose the Space Center or a remote wilderness campsite, remember from whence our name comes, "friends", and our state’s motto, friendship.

Ya’ll come back now, ya hear!


Texas Flags

The Lone Star Flag was adopted as the Republic of Texas flag in 1839. The State of Texas adopted the flag in 1844. The flag’s colors have symbolic meaning. Red means bravery, white means purity, and blue means loyalty. Early designs of the flag are attributed to many Texans including Joanna Troutman, Sarah Dodson, Charles Bellinger Stewart, and Peter Krag.

The Texas flag pledge:
Honor the Texas flag
I pledge allegiance to thee,
Texas, one and indivisible.


More Facts About Texas

The State Capitol in Austin stands largest among all the states.

The San Jacinto Monument near Houston is among the tallest columns in the world; at 570 feet, its about twenty feet higher than the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia.

Texas has more counties (254) than any other state. Forty-one counties in Texas are each larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Of the nation's ten largest cities, three are in Texas (Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio).

Texas is the nation's leading producer of oil, natural gas, beef, sheep, goats, wool, cotton, rice...and, oh yes, watermelons.

Today, approximately 18 million people live in Texas, only slightly outnumbering its 15 million cattle. Texas today is also home for about 2.5 million deer and 200,000 alligators.

The land area of Texas is larger than all of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois combined. It extends 801 miles from north to south and 773 miles from east to west.

The Dallas/Ft. Worth airport is larger than New York City's Manhattan Island.

El Paso, Texas is closer to Los Angeles on the Pacific Coast than it is to Port Arthur on Gulf Coast of Texas. Port Arthur, on the other hand, is closer to Jacksonville, Florida on the Atlantic Coast than it is to El Paso

Texas Facts

28th state to enter the Union: Dec. 29, 1845

Population: 20.9 million

Area: 261,914 square miles

Highest Point: Guadeloupe Peak at 8,751 feet

Lowest Point: Gulf of Mexico at sea level

State Time Zone: Central Standard Time (Except far West Texas and it is Mountain Time!)

State Capital: Austin

State Nickname: Lone Star State

State Motto: Friendship (1930)

State Sport: Rodeo (1997) The first rodeo in history took place in 1881 in Pecos, Texas

State Song: Texas Our Texas (1929)

State Bird: Mockingbird (1927)

State Flower: Bluebonnet (1901)

State Plant: Prickly Pear Cactus

State Tree: Pecan (1919)

State Insect: Monarch Butterfly (1995)

State Dish: Chili (1977)

State Large Mammal: Texas Longhorn (1995)

State Small Mammal: Armadlllo (1995)

State Flying Mammal: Mexican Freetail Bat (1995)

State Reptile: Horned Toad Lizard

State Vegetable: Sweet Onion

State Fruit: Red Grapefruit (1993)

State Stone: Petrified Palmwoods (1969)

State Gem: Texas Blue Topaz (1969)

Note: An average of 123 tornadoes touch down in Texas each year, and 5,281 tornadoes were recorded between 1951 and 1993!


Texas Style Ten Commandments
Texans like to tell it how it is, so naturally we have our own way of looking at the Ten Commandments. Here they are, Texas style!

(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma &Pa.
(3) No telling tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin'.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin'.
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.

Texas Proverb

Life is NOT like a box of chocolates.
Life is like a jar of jalapeņos.
What you do today
May burn your ass tomorrow

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Thanks for visiting and y'all come back ya hear!