How to Talk Like a Texan

blue norther n. 1. A cold, biting wind, particularly in the Panhandle or North Texas, which we blame on people who live in the North.

BOI abbr. Born on the Island: A person who is a native of Galveston.

buckle bunny n. 1. An attractive young woman who wears Western clothes, so named because of the large belt buckles she sports and the cowboys she chases.

Cover to Cover


The Gay Place, Billy Lee Brammer
An acute portrait of the capital city’s politics and social mores, circa the fifties.

The Duchess of Palms, Nadine Eckhardt
The “answer record” to The Gay Place—by Brammer’s ex-wife.

Waterloo, Karen Olsson
Politics, journalists, slackers—pretty much The Gay Place for the twenty-first century.

The Playlist


“See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” Blind Lemon Jefferson (1927)

One of the great old blues songs, by one of the greatest blues artists; as a guitarist, Jefferson influenced everyone who came after him.

“Ida Red,” Bob Wills (1938)

The first thing to know about western swing? It was dance music. 

Where to Be a Tourist

The Capitol, Austin

Everyone loves this building, even if they don’t love politics. Luckily for you, the Legislature meets in regular session for only 140 days every other year, leaving you plenty of time to explore without the crowds. Yes, the dome is fifteen feet higher than the U.S. Capitol’s, and yes, it is the largest state capitol complex in the country. What else would you expect?

The Media Guide

Van Cliburn, Moscow 1958

How a pianist from Kilgore fostered the first thaw in the Cold War.

LBJ Daisy Ad

One of the first—and still the most notorious—televised political attack ad. It aired exactly once, but its power is undisputed.

Don't Move to Texas

They asked me to write 1,500 words on why I would never move back to Texas. “Only fifteen hundred?” I replied, but that was a joke. I would move back to Texas, for a home next door to George II and permission to form a Sex Pistols tribute band and rehearse in the garage. I would also require the $2 million I am due for bearing the scarlet T burned into my forehead for all these years in civilized society.

Celebrate the Spurs (in Haiku)

Jaunty hats, cold beers
Section 20, Baseline Bums
Your new life goal, set
White hair and cool glare
Sometimes beard, mostly frowning
Popovich watches

Down by two for win
Ginóbili sinks a three
Argentina, thanks
Quiet Tim? Nonsense!
Count the rings, all five of them
They speak the loudest
City ’rupts! Spurs win!
Traffic, cheers, car horns blaring
Skip work tomorrow


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