Let’s Talk Texas

Texas map

This gal was deep in the heart of Texas last week on a spring break.  Rather than writing the tired old “What I Did Over My Spring Break” essay, I thought it would be much more educational (and hopefully more interesting) to write about  what I learned over my spring break.  Americans should BE in the know about the Lone Star State, so my thoughts will be organized by “B” topics.

Unless you grew up under a rock, pretty much everyone knows that the state of Texas is BIG.  But just how big is big?  Well, Texas is the second most populous state in the United States.  Its population is around 27 million or slightly over 8% of the entire population of our country.  Texas has three cities with over 1 million people–Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.  Texas is also the second largest state in land area, eclipsed only by Alaska.  Just entering the state on 1-10 gives a clue as to the enormous size of Texas.  A road sign advises that it is 897 miles to El Paso at the other end of the state.


And while driving about Texas in the spring, you are sure to spot the state flower of Texas, the BLUEBONNET.  The roadsides and fields are carpeted with this purple beauty.  The cars pulled off on the side of the road are not experiencing automotive trouble; their occupants  merely stopped for family photoshoots with the bluebonnets as a backdrop. Whew!  That meant that the rather large woman sprawled on the ground outside our passing car was simply posing and not experiencing some medical emergency.


Not only will you spy bluebonnets as you drive around Texas, but you will see a specific BUILDING DECORATION on all sorts of structures–houses, barns, sheds, doghouses, etc. The star stands for the one star found on the Texas flag–hence the nickname of “The Lone Star State.” Clearly, the state flag is the only location in Texas where there is merely one star.  Looking about gives one reason to believe that an entire galaxy of stars is contained within the state.

lone star on building

Hungry from traveling about the Lone Star State?  BARBECUE is a big favorite and available everywhere in Texas.  The state is so big that there are even four different style variations–East, Central, South and West.   I am not sure what the nuances are, but any version is served with the ubiquitous side of potato salad.


And all that barbecue has to come from somewhere.  No worries on filling the restaurant orders.  BOVINES abound in Texas.  I saw more cows there than any other animal period.  It was like the western version of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm.”  In the Lone Star State, Old MacDonald has a ranch.  And on his ranch he had tons of  cows.  Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.  Texas is the #1 state in the union for cattle with approximately 12 million, almost double the number of cattle in state #2, Nebraska. That’s a lot of BULLS, but the tremendous BOVINE population is no bull!


Speaking of bulls, an angry bull may not be as dangerous as an angry Texan.  Wherever you go in the vast state of Texas you had better BEWARE because Texans are big believers in the right to BEAR ARMS.  Guns and ammo stores abound and gun shows are huge draws.  A March 24th article in the Dallas Morning News reported that the Texas Department of Public Safety is having to hire additional staff to process the flood of applications for licenses to carry a gun.  Approximately 136,000 applications were received during the three month period from December through February, more than doubling requests in the previous three month period.  They aren’t kidding when they say “Don’t Mess With Texas.”

When dealing with a  Texan, angry or not, it would be helpful to be BILINGUAL.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one out of every five people in Texas speaks Spanish, and nearly one out of three speaks Spanish at home.  The prevalence of Spanish speakers in the state is due largely to immigrants from Mexico with whom Texas shares a BORDER.

Gun TX

We are all supposed to remember the Alamo, but there’s more to Texas than that one historical event. One way to remember things is to experience them for yourself. My spring break experiences will help me remember lots of fun facts about the Lone Star State.   I saw the Texas bluebonnets decorating the roadsides, heard Spanish spoken, observed the proliferation of BBQ joints and gun stores, and noted the herds of cattle and the stars on the buildings.  My Texas trip may have been a pause from the work world, but it was also an education in the real world.  I learned about the Lone Star State and had a blast doing it.  Yee haw!

Trump Trivia

With several primaries slated for tomorrow, voters will be asked to cast votes to winnow down the field of presidential candidates.  After no less than twelve Republican debates and intense media coverage, one would think that we have heard all that there is to know about the GOP candidates.  Nevertheless, this is just not the case.  Let’s see how much the average voter does NOT know about the frontrunner in the Republican field.

What is The Donald’s favorite food?  Trump is a billionaire business man.  Surely he craves expensive and exotic foods.  Is it caviar? Pate de foie gras?  Nope.  The Donald is a down to earth guy like you and me.  After a long hard day of wheeling and dealing, he’ll want a nice big serving of MEATLOAF on his plate.  And make sure that there is plenty of ketchup available.


What is The Donald’s favorite book?  Does he enjoy reading about economic theory?  Business strategy?  Perhaps How To Win Friends And Influence People?  Maybe so, but he states that THE BIBLE is absolutely his favorite book.  Hopefully the Gideons have placed a copy in the swanky hotel rooms where he stays while on the campaign trail.  Coming in second is his own book, The Art Of The Deal.

Is The Donald A Sports Fan?  Yes, in the sense that he can make money from sports.  The Donald once served as the financial advisor to Mike Tyson and was the owner of the New Jersey Generals of the (now-defunct) USFL. Thus, The Donald has technically had experience as a commander-in-chief as head of the Generals.

What alcoholic beverage would The Donald likely serve at state dinners?  Not sure what he would serve, but he will not be drinking it.  He is a teetotaler.  The Donald’s older brother, Fred, died of alcoholism, so The Donald shuns drinking.  Of course, that did not stop him from marketing a brand of vodka at one point.

What high honor was bestowed upon The Donald in Hollywood?  He holds star #2,327 in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame for his work on The Apprentice.  Of course, being president is a much more exclusive club (he’d be only #45) and he wants in.

Republican presidential candidate frontrunner Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in seen, September 10, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Trump was awarded the star in 2007 in the television category. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK

Would The Donald take a smoke break with Barack O’Bama?  No.   O’Bama quit smoking while President because he got tired of trying to  sneak past the watchful eye of Michelle who wanted him to quit the nasty habit.  Even if Obama relapsed and took smoking up again,  The Donald won’t be lighting up with him; he’s a non-smoker.  That characterization does not deter his detractors from calling some of his proposals smoke and mirrors.


What common political gesture does The Donald avoid?  He is  a germaphobe and avoids shaking hands when possible.  It is hard to be a politician without getting your hands dirty.  What was The Donald thinking by entering the political arena?  Is kissing babies any more sanitary?

What is The Donald’s zodiac sign?  He’s a Gemini (the Twins).  Heavens!  Can you imagine two of him? The sign seems to fit him though as Geminis love to talk.  And he’s been doing lots of that on the campaign trail.

What’s significant about the month and day The Donald was born?  He was born on June 14th, Flag Day.  With such a patriotic beginning, The Donald clearly feels he was destined to hear “Hail To The Chief” for his birthday in 2017.

Has The Donald ever been in the military?  No, but he entered the New York Military Academy at age 13.  So, he has spent some time in uniform and can say that he is a graduate of a military academy.

Is The Donald a grandparent?  Yes, he has seven grandchildren with another on the way.  Hmmm.  No one said anything about him not running because he was a grandpa like they questioned Hillary running since she was a grandma.  Do I detect some sexism here?  Naaahhh.

Why might The Donald be great with Eastern European relations?  His first wife was a Czech model and his current (and third) wife was a Slovenian model.  Thus, he seems to have an affinity for this area of the world.  At least he might be able to charm the female population there.

Where does The Donald call home sweet home?  His little nest is a penthouse condo on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan at the top of Trump Tower.  At least with that type of abode he doesn’t have to worry about mowing his lawn.


Hopefully, these trivia tidbits have given you an even better picture of The Donald, the presidential candidate.  He is not simply a candidate; he is an individual with a life, a family, personal tastes, etc.  Candidates are not one-dimensional political beings.  Let’s consider the whole package and not merely political rhetoric.  We are all products of our experiences and our environment.  Doesn’t it then behoove us to consider those aspects as well as the issues when it comes to electing the next resident of the White House?









Anatomy Of A Presidential Candidate–Bigger Is Better

omino che misura l'altezza

It is amazing how informative watching a debate involving U.S. presidential candidates can be.  I was expecting to learn more about the candidates’ positions on various issues of critical national importance such as the economy, immigration reform, etc. during the 11th Republican debate.   Instead I got to hear about the candidates’ anatomy.  The Donald was hands down the winner of the TMI category assuring us that he has no problems when it comes to the size of his male anatomy.  And he also pounded the fact that poor Marco Rubio is “Little Marco.”  Silly, huh?  Well, maybe not.

The fact of the matter is that size does indeed matter for presidential candidates.  Their height is a telling factor as to their probability of success in the election.  Surely she jests, you are thinking.  Nope.  Researchers at Texas Tech University have given us the Presidential Height Index.  The taller candidate won the U.S. presidential election 58% of the time between 1789 and 2008.  Since 1900, the taller presidential candidate has won the election 19 times to the shorter candidates’ 8 victories.  Nineteen U.S. presidents have been over 6 feet tall, including our current president, Barack O’Bama who stands 6’1: tall.  Honest Abe Lincoln, one of our most beloved presidents,  was our tallest president at 6’4″ tall.

So when voters size up candidates, they are really and truly sizing them up and are drawn to the taller candidates.  But why is this?  The explanation given is that in the back of our minds we equate height with strength and health.  Our primal instincts apparently motivate us to gravitate towards the strongest leader.

So what does the Presidential Height Index lead us to conclude will happen in the current presidential race?  The Donald trumps everyone since, at 6’3″,  he is the tallest by far of all of the candidates, Republican and Democratic.  When he referred to Marco Rubio as “Little Marco,” he was absolutely correct.  Marco is a mere 5’10” tall, so The Donald is five inches taller than the Senator from Florida.  Inches really do matter, but perhaps not in the way in which The Donald alluded with a show of his hands.



Ted Cruz has been suggesting that Rubio drop out of the race.  While Ted may have more victories and momentum, Marco has the height advantage.  He’s two inches taller than Ted Cruz who is only 5’8″ tall.  Although lagging far behind the others (but having been endorsed by Arnold Schwarzenegger), John Kasich is the challengers’ best hope to beat Trump because he is 5’11” tall.

The Democratic field of candidates is much smaller and also much shorter.  The candidates are neck and neck, at least when it comes to the Presidential Height Index.  Bernie Sanders is 5’8″ while Hillary Clinton is 5’7″ tall.  While at first blush it would seem that Bernie has the edge, there is a gender difference.  Although shorter than Bernie, Hillary is 3 inches taller than the average American woman who stands only 5’4″ tall.  Bernie is short for male presidential candidates in general.


In boxing fans eagerly review the tale of the tape for anatomical measurements to see which fighter is likely to win the bout.   The Republican presidential candidates may act like fighters with all their sparring, taunting and insults, but the prize each seeks is not one where physical prowess or strength is the biggest asset for running our country.  Just me, but I would prefer brains over brawn for the figure who will occupy the Oval Office.  Personally, I don’t care what size hat that person wears, as long as he/she, as my mother would say, has his/her thinking cap on while running our country.  I don’t care if he/she is short just so long as he/she isn’t short-sighted.  Bottom line?  Filling the White House is a tall order.  Let’s use our brains to choose the candidate who will be the biggest asset to our country, and I am not talking physical size.