Texas City Flags: The Good, the Blah, and the Fugly

With Flag Day looming, what better time to wallow in a little vexillology and examine and critique the state of Texas’s flags, from the actual state flag (awesome) on down to some of the couple of hundred or so city and town flags that fly between the Red and the Rio Grande (sadly, most of which are terrible).

Texas is not alone in the awfulness of its city flags. Roman Mars, “the Ira Glass of design” and host of the podcast “99% Invisible,” recently gave a TED Talk entitled “Why City Flags Might Be the Worst-Designed Things You’ve Never Noticed.” 

Below the national and state level, Mars believes, “there is a scourge of bad flags, and they must be stopped.” 

The Texanist

Q: After eighteen years of exile in California, my wife and I were able to retire and move back home. One of our retirement dreams was to get a condo on South Padre Island—by far the best Texas beach. After visiting recently, we are reconsidering. The SPI that we remembered had a great beach, not one with so much vegetation. Can you recommend other Texas beaches that now rival the old SPI? 
Chuck Fox, San Antonio

Houston's Huge Pride Parade Is Heading Downtown, Leaving Montrose Behind

Later this month, for the first time in its existence, Houston’s Pride Parade will wend its way through the streets of downtown rather than Montrose, long Houston’s (and arguably all of Texas’s) epicenter of LGBT life and culture. The move was announced last fall after the event’s board voted behind closed doors to abandon lower Westheimer in favor of the shadow of City Hall.

The Hit List

The two dirtiest words that ever get thrown around in Nashville are “Urban” and “Cowboy.” But using them to condemn all late-seventies and early-eighties country pop unjustly assails some brilliant songs—like, for instance, the twelve below. So why get hung up on whether they are truly country music? Just call them “country yacht rock” and get over it.

Houston Slighted Once Again As America's Most Miserable Sports City

Back in March, I laid out the reasons why Houston—and Houston alonewas the most cursed, doomed, saddest, and tortured sports city in America. I painstakingly chronicled the litany of terrible breaksepic choke jobs, and valiant failures we’ve endured along the road to this unenviable title.

Among my bullet points? Since our baseball franchise’s inception more than fifty years ago, only one Astros team has ever made the World Series. Neither the Oilers nor the Texans have made it to a Super Bowl. And even when we did make it to the mountaintop of a major-league sport—as with the Rockets, with their back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995—conventional wisdom among national sports fans has it now that our moment in the sun was undeserved. Had Michael Jordan not been maybe possibly suspended for gambling off fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing minor league baseball, this moronic line of thinking goes, the Rockets would have just been another in the series of speedbumps en route to His Airness’s inhuman streak of perfection. (This in spite of the fact the Vernon Maxwell had MJ’s number and the small matter of MJ having actually played much of the 1994-95 season, and his Bulls having lost to the same Orlando Magic squad the Rockets swept in the Finals. And yet there remains an asterisk behind those two titles to this day, everywhere north of Conroe and west of Katy.)

I laid all of that out there in March. Then along comes the New York Times’s Upshot blog to tell us Houston’s cursed sports history ranks us no better than eleventh in the nation.

The Problems With "100-Year Floods"

texas 100 year flood

Above, the aftermath of Hurricane Allison. Pictured below, Houston last month. Two 100-year floods less than two decades apart.

It’s time to ditch the whole concept of 100-year storms and rain events and come up with a new term.

I think it was in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison that I first started hearing these phrases on the news, along with the even more dire “500-year flood.”

Then, as now, most people erroneously take that to mean that such devastating deluges take place once a century or half-millennium, as the case may be. And, gee-willikers, I wonder why they would do that? I mean, what kind of dum-dum would actually think that something called a “100-year-flood” would happen once every 100 years?

The Astros Are Still Good?

Back in April, when the Major League Baseball season started, the biggest question about the Astros was whether they’d be the worst team in the American League West, or if the Rangers would take that distinction. But a funny thing happened once the season got under way: somehow, the Astros found themselves downright competitive—a month into the season, they were five games over .500, sitting atop the AL West, and in possession of the league’s fifth-best record. At the time, we were cautiously optimistic, which is another way of saying “still kinda skeptical.” 

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