Opinions

Fri
21
Feb

ZEB PIKE HAD NOTHING TO FEAR FROM SPANIARDS

Lt. Zebulon Pike spent another sleepless night on Feb. 25, 1807 worrying whether hostile Spanish troops might at any moment overrun his makeshift fort. Lewis and Clark were homeward bound from the Pacific Northwest in 1806, when 28 year old Zeb Pike embarked on his own inspection tour of the Southwest. His secret mission was to slip into New Mexico from the north, analyze the economic potential of the thriving colony and pinpoint the weak spots in the Spanish defenses
 
Thu
13
Feb

The Human Attachment

By Baxter Black.
 
It had been a long day for Steffan. Frozen pipes, touchy tractors, cranky cows and a stuffy nose. A headache had kept him banging his head against the wall from 6 am to sundown. His wife and kids went to town that evening, leaving him alone. He was hungry but decided to take cold medicine and a nap before heating up the leftovers she’d left him.
 
Thu
13
Feb

HOUSTON FOUGHT HIS TOUGHEST BATTLE WITH THE BOTTLE

By Bartee Haile.
 
On Feb. 18, 1839, Sam Houston spoke at the first temperance meeting ever held in the Texas town named for him, but after lecturing loud and long on the evils of alcohol, he ducked out the back to avoid taking the customary pledge. The rally was actually the former president’s idea. The previous afternoon he told Augustus Allen, co-founder of the Buffalo Bayou settlement, it was high time inhabitants of Houston heard from the dry side of the liquor debate. Allen agreed, although such a suggestion from the hard-drinking hero must have come as quite a shock.
 
Thu
06
Feb

I Can’t Believe It!

By Baxter Black.
 
After standing watch on the Rio Grande for nearly a century, Fort Clark was finally deactivated on Feb. 9, 1946 and turned into, of all things, a dude ranch. Sam Maverick, well-known signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, drove a hard bargain with the Army in July 1852. He talked the free-spending strangers into paying $50 a month for the rights to 4,000 acres of western range they could have bought for a nickel an acre on the open market. The isolated site was on Las Moras Creek, 150 miles west of San Antonio and a 25-mile horseback ride from the Rio Grande River. It was a hot, inhospitable area where the handful of hardy inhabitants lost count of 100-degree days and rarely saw more than 20 inches of rain in the course of a bone-dry year.
Thu
06
Feb

FORT CLARK STOOD WATCH ON THE RIO GRANDE

By Bartee Haile.
 
After standing watch on the Rio Grande for nearly a century, Fort Clark was finally deactivated on Feb. 9, 1946 and turned into, of all things, a dude ranch. Sam Maverick, well-known signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, drove a hard bargain with the Army in July 1852. He talked the free-spending strangers into paying $50 a month for the rights to 4,000 acres of western range they could have bought for a nickel an acre on the open market. The isolated site was on Las Moras Creek, 150 miles west of San Antonio and a 25-mile horseback ride from the Rio Grande River. It was a hot, inhospitable area where the handful of hardy inhabitants lost count of 100-degree days and rarely saw more than 20 inches of rain in the course of a bone-dry year.
Fri
31
Jan

Lookin’ for Cowboys

By Baxter Black.
 
So there I was, changing planes in the DFW Texas airport. A twenty-something lady looked up and said, “Well, it’s good to see a cowboy again.” “Where have you been? I asked. “Arizona,” she said. I said, “There’s cowboys in Arizona. “Not that I saw,” she said. “I was in Tucson.” They call’em a vanishing breed, Take pictures like they’re all dyin’ out. Like dinosaurs goin’ to seed, But that’s my friends they’re talkin’ about. “Yer right,” I said, “Tucson isn’t the best place to look for cowboys.” “I thought you were a Texan,” she said. “Well, there’s plenty of cowboys in Texas,” I said, “But dang few in Dallas, unless you count Tomy Romo and the football team.”
 
Fri
31
Jan

YOUNG HOWARD HUGHES GOES TO HOLLYWOOD

By Bartee Haile.
 
After two years of battling censors and teasing the public with a titillating ad campaign, Howard Hughes premiered his much-anticipated western “The Outlaw” at a San Francisco theater on Feb. 4, 1943. The Houston millionaire was barely 20 years old, when he went to Hollywood in 1925 to make a name for himself in motion pictures. Advised by his father to trust an old family friend, the novice invested $40,000 in a movie that never sold a ticket. Actor Ralph Graves assured young Howard that “Swell Hogan,” a dull tale about a heart-of-gold derelict, would knock ’em in the aisles. But the bad script was even worse on celluloid, and Hughes hid the only print to keep the fiasco from ever being shown.
 
Thu
23
Jan

Free Henny Penny!

By Baxter Black.

As America continues to become tangled in the web of domesticated animal welfare, we continue to exacerbate the inhumane results of our efforts. The closing of horse slaughter plants has backfired. Our emphasis on spay and neuter clinics has made just a small dent in the number of feral cats and dogs. Millions of canines and felines are euthanized each year. Feral hogs have become as welcome as coyotes, rats, prairie dogs, wolves and white tail deer in many states. The biggest factor in each case can be traced back to decisions made by people with big hearts and a limited knowledge of nature’s way.
 
Thu
23
Jan

TEXAS WAS A REGULAR STOP ON HOUDINI’S TRAVELS

By Bartee Haile.

Following a weeklong engagement at the Majestic Theater, a cheering crowd saw Harry Houdini, escape artist extraordinaire, off at the Dallas train station on Jan. 22, 1916. The four year old Hungarian, who grew up to be the most famous live performer of his generation, came to the United States with his family in 1878. During his childhood in Wisconsin, little Erik Weisz showed more aptitude for athletics than academics and stopped going to school altogether after the third grade.
 
Thu
16
Jan

Shocking Collars!

By Baxter Black.
 
A steady growth in population continues worldwide. As we grow, urban development paves and permanently changes the ecosystem. Cities and towns, large and small, annex their surrounding natural woodlands, plains, farms and ranches. It results in city limits that extend miles from the edge of town and a beginning of the assessment imposing real estate housing development taxes and laws on rural inhabitants. It happened to Mick. He had a 90 acre fenced pasture with a good well and easy access. A subdivision was progressing across the road. One afternoon he loaded his two cowdogs in the pickup to gather a bunch of his cows into the trap. Upon arrival he crossed the cattleguard and sent the dogs out to gather the cows.
 

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