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The State of Texas: Nov. 8, 2013

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Furry Friday

Well, sorta furry. The Dallas Observer checks in with Teddy Bear, the talking porcupine, who is just as cute as he was two years ago when he first busted out on the viral scene. Superfans had been clamoring for more Teddy Bear super hits recently and his owner delivered with a couple of clips of him eating a pumpkin.

Things get cuter, and weirder, with this story about the world’s smallest armadillo species. The little Argentinian critter is just 100 grams and fits in your hands. It’s also covered with very fine, silky white hair and a pink armadillo shell. The tiny thing is perfect for a mini case of leprosy or your infant’s first pair of boots.

Friday Playlist

The “King of Country” and God’s most perfect male specimen, Texan George Strait, was once again crowned Entertainer of the Year at Wednesday’s Country Music Awards. Sit right down here with George and listen to his top track (along with women screaming).

Daily Roundup

The People’s Choice — Doesn’t mean it’s always the wisest choice. Yet Texan Republicans have spoken: put this “Wacko Bird” on a flight path to the White House. According to a recent poll, 32 percent of Lone Star GOPers want Cruz to be the 2016 presidential nominee. “As for the rest of the field,” according to the Dallas Morning News, “13 percent want Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, 10 percent want Rand Paul, 6 percent favor Bobby Jindal and 5 percent like Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan.” Unfortunately, Perry’s recent, continuous, and less-than-subtle world tour appears to be having the unintentional effect of erasing the Guv from Texas’s collective memory. In the poll, Rick came in at three percent. Republicans don’t even think he could defeat the Liberal Beelzebub, Hillary Clinton. Oops. Still, no showing might be better than a bad showing, which is what Cruz could expect. A majority of Texans—on the left, the right, and in the middle—feel Cruz’s recent performance “hurt the state’s image.” Tough crowd.

Lie-Strong — The much discussed documentary about Lance Armstrong comes out today in select theaters. And as expected, The Armstrong Lie is about as pretty as a hormone-loaded blood transfusion. What started off as a sorta feel-good project for director Alex Gibney in 2008, turned quasi-meta after revelations of his doping habits began to careen faster than a downhill ride on the French Alps. Apparently, Armstrong has no intention of watching the doc, which USA Today calls “an enthralling, clear-eyed and penetrating examination not only of a fallen hero, but an exploration of drive, moral relativism and the cult of personality.” Every reviewer is so impressed with how efficiently Armstrong lied (and lied and lied) that Salon‘s review even offers up a j’accuse of us, the gullible public. Before you cycle over to watch the film, be sure to read Texas Monthly senior editor Michael Hall’s lengthy 2001 cover profile and 2013 profile.

Dewey’s Decimated System — If you have library fines, go pay them. Now! According to the Texas Tribune, the “federal government is threatening to cut about 70 percent of its annual funding for Texas public libraries, because it says the state has failed to pull its own weight in library funding.” That would also result in cutting about $1.5 million worth of grants, which means more computer classes for grandma. You want to be saddled with that lesson on “browsing”? Kidding, it’s not really the fault of scofflaw library patrons, but rather the Texas legislature, which “cut funding for libraries more drastically than for other state services in 2011.” So call your local politician because the last thing we need is a bunch of unemployed librarians clogging up the aisles of the local bookstores and Internet cafes.

Clase De Recuperación — Hispanic students are falling behind in reading, according to the recently released “Nation’s Report Card.” This, of course, is no insignificante problema since Hispanic students comprise more than half of the state’s public school enrollment. The report card found that “Texas Hispanic fourth graders tied for 33rd when compared with Hispanics in other states and the District of Columbia, while eighth graders ranked 28th.” Good news is, those same students are doing pretty dern well in math. Overall, “Texas students were just above the national average score in math but trailed the nation in reading.”

Karl Lager-on-the-field — Apart from winning games, the Sexiest Football Coach Alive, Kliff Kingsbury, has another trick up his well-tailored sleeve. Apparently, Ryan Gosling’s the Texas Tech coach’s contract stipulates that he have “‘creative license’ in the design of the football team’s uniforms.” It’s not just a stitch in the deal, either. Kingsbury has “sole discretion” on choosing and can even fund-raise for expensive couture designs. Kingsbury’s the hottest fashionista in football since Joe Namath wore his floor-length, sideline fur coat. So what can we expect? Being an Esquire man, perhaps Kingsbury will introduce 100-percent Italian wool jerseys and Tom Ford-inspired high-water chinos with enough room for the genuine camel leather pads. Oh, what dreamboys may come.

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