This vintage map shows how Texans see America (probably)


You don’t have to ask anybody from Texas where they’re from— they’ll tell you right away. (If they don’t tell you within a few minutes of meeting that they’re from Texas, then are they really Texan?) State pride is infectious and unapologetic. But if you needed any more proof of how much Texans love their state, you need to check out “The Texan’s Map of the United States (of Texas).”


The map, which one antique map website traces back to 1949, imagines a United States where Texas takes up most of the country, stretching from the Mexican border all the way to the Pacific coastline and up to the Canadian border and the Appalachian region. According to, it was designed by Texas sketch artist Frank Oliver as a way to advertise the Texoak Flooring Company in Crockett.

“Everything depicted hereon is the gospel truth!” a disclaimer on the map reads. “Attested to by a group of impartial Texans! All skeptics may appeal to his eminence, the king of Texas.”

Oh, and the scale? “One Texas inch = 1,000 miles.”

Some highlights from the map:

  • Austin is only known as the capital city, but San Antonio is home to “the world’s largest Army aviation center” and The Alamo, “where history began.” (Due to the map’s insane amount of scale, San Antonio is also located in West Texas right next to Big Bend National Park, for some reason.)
  • Fort Worth is known as “where men are men and the West begins,” while neighboring city Dallas is home to “the world’s best-dressed and most beautiful women.”
  • Crockett, home of the Texoak Flooring Company, is highlighted in the map as “the heart of the world’s largest pine and oak timberland.”

And as for the rest of the country? Anything north of Texas is an “Indian reservation, consisting mostly of land called ‘Oklahoma.'” The Great Lakes are merely “duck ponds” and”Texas reservoirs.” And that big patch of land northeast of the Appalachians and above the Mason-Dixon Line? All “Damnyankeeland.”

More: Here’s 181 things we love about Texas

And here I was thinking that Texas’ geography could be boiled down to this map from Richard Linklater’s “Bernie”:


Take a look at the map below.


Watch these water snakes perform ‘synchronized slither’ at Texas state park


Texas weather is starting to warm up, which means more time outdoors and more sun.

It also means snake mating season.

Facebook screenshot.

In a video posted to the Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center’s Facebook page in February, you can see three broad-banded water snakes perform a mating ritual that looks like a “synchronized slither,” as the park put it.

It looks like the non-venomous snakes are swimming through the dirt on the ground at the Houston park. Experts say that this dance is a standard part of snake mating season, and it will become more common as the weather gets warmer.

More: This photo of a huge snake is a scary reminder about swimming in Central Texas

The video has been viewed more than 34,000 times since it was uploaded late last month.

Typically, the springtime is when these snakes start to mate. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, mating takes place in the spring and starts when male snakes seek out the female snakes using their sense of smell. Then, the “synchronized slither” dance method in the video happens, and the female will later have her pick of suitors to choose from when it comes time to mate.

You can watch the video below.

What a scandal: List of top fast food takes Texas favorite for granted

We Texans can get pretty defensive about our state’s homegrown fast food treasure, Whataburger. So it’s clear as day that the staff at The Ringer made a few errors in regards to its list of the “Top 50 fast food items in America.

The Corpus Christi-born chain landed in the No. 37 spot with one of the “All-Time Favorites” menu items, the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich. The Ringer left off the “strip” in its name, which is the first of many mistakes (in my opinion) made in this ranking, which include:

  1. Ranking the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich way too low at No. 37
  2. Only placing one Whataburger item on the list to begin with
  3. Placing three burgers from California’s In-N-Out ahead of Whataburger

The Ringer is based in Los Angeles, so perhaps there is a slight regional bias. Whataburger has a Texas-sized online personality and is deeply embedded into our state’s food culture. How could a list of the greatest fast food not mention the expansive menu of items like chicken strips, burgers the size of your head, milkshakes and the holy grail of breakfast food, the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit?

Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries landed in the top spot of the list. A truly eclectic ranking, somehow enough people are convinced Arby’s is worth visiting that the curly fries and roast beef sandwich ranked higher than Whataburger. Other items ranking higher than the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich:  Taco Bell’s chicken quesadilla, McDonald’s baked apple pie and Chipotle’s soft tacos. Auntie Anne’s pretzel landed in the top 20!

Since the list was decided by The Ringer’s staff, I asked my colleagues what they thought of the whole ranking. Here are some choice comments from our newsroom:

  • “HBCB in the middle of the night or bust.” – assistant online editor Gabrielle Munoz
  • “I won’t be reading any list that starts with Chick-fil-A fries. Gross. That being said, the Whataburger honey butter chicken biscuit is fast food nirvana.” – assistant features editor Emily Quigley
  • “Honey BBQ chicken is to die for.” – sports columnist Kirk Bohls
  • “I used to work at Raising Cane’s, and I’m very proud of that, so I take it very personally that their sauce didn’t get its own list item on this list. And – biggest mistake of all – they didn’t even mention the Whataburger Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. THEY DIDN’T EVEN MENTION IT. I’m pretty sure it’s scientifically proven to be the best thing to eat at 3 a.m. ever.” – Rachel Rice, reporter for the Westlake Picayune and Lake Travis View
  • “I’m disappointed that Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists aren’t on this list. Crunchy pieces of fried dough dusted with cinnamon sugar… what’s not to love?! These treats kept my sister and I happy on plenty of family road trips during our childhood.” – multimedia producer Tina Phan
  • “Wendy’s chili is getting so screwed over here.” – online content producer Joe Harrington
  • “It is absurd to rank a Shake Shack burger under a McDonald’s burger. This is not a slight on the Big Mac: I believe that every fast food item has its relative merits. There is room for, say, a Taco Cabana taco and Taco Bell taco in all our lives, on their own terms. But when one considers the objective values assigned to each component part of the hamburger – freshness of bun, flavor and texture of meat, melt of cheese – ranking a Big Mac over a Shack Burger is a farce of the highest order and an attack on the very concept of fact-based evidence. And why even bother placing Popeyes menu items in contention if you are going to exclude red beans and rice, which are the perfect side dish? Also: Blizzards are Beyonce, McFlurrys are Rita Ora. Correct placement.” – social media and engagement editor Eric Webb
  • Another one of our multimedia producers, Alyssa Vidales, just sent me this video of someone trying to burn a Big Mac using molten copper.

If fast food is your thing, go ahead and try out everything on the list. Austin is home to every chain ranked (yes, even a Culver’s!).  And if you go a little overboard, head on over to our Fit City blog for fitness tips or Relish Austin for fresh cooking ideas.

Danny Trejo is opening a doughnut shop in Los Angeles because of course he is

Danny Trejo, the Los Angeles actor most famous for his collaborations with Texan director Robert Rodriguez, isn’t afraid to stand out.

Thao Nguyen/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN 03/07/14 Danny Trejo on the red carpet for the TV series From Dusk Until Dawn in Austin, Texas on March 7, 2014.
Danny Trejo on the red carpet for the TV series From Dusk Until Dawn in Austin, Texas on March 7, 2014.

He tweeted a shirtless selfie of himself in front of the Capitol to urge people to vote on Election Day, and he is most famous for playing action stars in movies like “Machete” and “Desperado.”

he’s also not afraid to stand out in the culinary world, as his new hot-pink-painted Los Angeles doughnut shop shows.

Trejo’s Donuts will sit at the corner of Santa Monica and Highland in L.A., L.A. Mag reports.

From Joe Donatelli, L.A. Magazine.
From Joe Donatelli, L.A. Magazine.

The new coffee and doughnut joint will open “very soon,” and Trejo also has a cantina, food truck and a taco stand in the L.A. area. The taco stand also features a behemoth of a breakfast burrito.

More: A-List: An Evening with Danny Trejo, 09.15.16

A “now hiring sign” is now up on the restaurant, but Trejo informally announced the new doughnut shop on an interview with an L.A. T.V. station in January.

No word on if the doughnuts will come served with a giant machete.

When did Mötley Crüe become classic rock? Ask San Antonio


When did Mötley Crüe become classic rock? Sometime around the time when radio stations started using data to craft their playlists, according to a FiveThirtyEight post.

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil perform onstage during Motley Crue: The Final Tour "All Good Things Must Come To An End" at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 12, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 12: Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil perform onstage during Motley Crue: The Final Tour “All Good Things Must Come To An End” at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 12, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

These days, Mötley Crüe, Led Zeppelin and Ozzy Osborne are considered classic rock. But they weren’t always. And, as any Gen Xer (or Millennial) who’s heard Pearl Jam or Green Day on their local classic rock station can tell you, there comes a time when they ask, “When did ‘Longview’ become ‘classic?'”

According to FiveThirtyEight, radio stations these days use a lot of data mining to figure out what their listeners like, and then they cater to that when they make playlists.

“The standard in the industry these days is an online music test or an auditorium music test where you just gather a sample and have them rate songs based on the hooks — the most familiar parts of the song — and you just get back a whole slew of data,” Clear Channel classic rock brand manager Eric Wellman said in the blog post. He added that the year a song was released has nothing to do with it becoming a “classic rock” song. Instead, the classic rock genre’s ability to grow based on listener reviews and data is what makes the genre last so long.

More: One Texas city made the list of best places to raise the ‘next rock star’ … and it’s not Austin

As a result, companies like Clear Channel ask fans of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin what else they listen to, add songs to the playlist based off of that, and then cater to different geographic regions based on taste. For instance, in FiveThirtyEight’s data set, Bad Company and Heart songs are played more in San Antonio and Houston, respectively, than anywhere else in the country.

Mötley Crüe is also played 4.3 times as much in San Antonio compared to average.

Screenshot from FiveThirtyEight.
Screenshot from FiveThirtyEight.

Other areas in the South tend to listen to “harder” classic rock, like Metallica and KISS. This, Wellman told FiveThirtyEight, is because of immigration.

“The Hispanic influx across the southern United States vastly changes the rock landscape,” he told FiveThirtyEight. “The common conventional wisdom is that Hispanics who listen to English-language rock like a significantly harder brand of English-language rock. In markets where that is an influence, you’ll see that.”

More: See Axl Rose and AC/DC kick off “Rock or Bust” tour in 2016

As Gen Xers and Baby Boomers grow older and Millennials begin to take up more of the advertising market share, however, the classic rock genre might skew younger based on what younger listeners add. So, we’re probably going to start hearing a lot more Green Day, My Chemical Romance, blink-182, The Strokes and other 1990s-2000s rock bands hit their “classic” phase soon.

Check out the full article and all of its methodology here.

This Austin couple spends Valentine’s Day the way you wish you had

Living in Austin you have a lot of options when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day. Almost an overwhelming amount of options.

For 042816 planner: All Pluckers Wing Bar locations are hosting an NFL draft party with the opportunity to win food and drink specials. Use secondary on front The 20-piece wing dinner at Pluckers.
Contributed by Pluckers Wing Bar

Maybe that explains why one local couple chose to stick to what they know they love — with just a little added flair. Reddit user letstalkaboutrocks posted to the Austin subreddit to share pictures of him and his girlfriend celebrating Valentine’s by having dinner at Pluckers dressed in full formal wear, something they’ve done for the past three years.

Nothing says “I love you” quite like ranch, or “Be mine” like fried pickles dipped in said ranch.

READ: Looking to grow Pluckers Wing Bar eyes locations in Houston, San Antonio

Commentary: I’m a millennial. I don’t need your participation trophy.


So there I was. Just innocently scrolling through Twitter the other night, minding my own business. When what to my nearsighted eyes should appear, but yet another thinkpiece about my generation. (I’m a millennial, which apparently means I’m spoiled and entitled and lazy. But you already knew that because you’ve read articles like this one and countless others.)

Anyway, this particular article came from The Independent, and it wasn’t a thinkpiece as much as it was an aggregation of a popular YouTube video from the end of 2016. Hoping that the headline, “Millennials are struggling at work because their parents ‘gave them medals for coming last,'” was merely ironic, I clicked it, thinking that maybe this one time there would be an article that actually gave my generation and me some agency instead of prattling on about how “the kids these days are always on their phone and they don’t know how to work a real job.”

From Flickr user Brad.K. Used with Creative Commons license.
From Flickr user Brad.K. Used with Creative Commons license.

Nope, I was wrong. The article highlights yet another way that we should be coddled because of our “participation trophy” upbringing.

The video, an interview with 43-year-old Simon Sinek (professional TED-Talker, author, motivational speaker and outspoken critic of The Millennial Generation) starts out with a common complaint that us millennials have already posited: We are the way we are because our parents raised us to be that way. The participation trophies, the “you can be whatever you want to be as long as you dream and work hard” mantra could have only come from a generation that came of age in the 1980s.


Sinek states that “too many [millennials] grew up subject to ‘failed parenting strategies,’ where they were told that they were special – all the time, they were told they can have anything they want in life, just because they want it.”

More: Millennials overtake baby boomers to become nation’s largest generation

Sinek goes on to argue that our parents are the ones responsible for our early successes, like getting into honors courses or getting good grades.

“Some of them [millennials] got into honors classes not because they deserved it but because their parents complained. Some of them got A’s not because they earned them, but because the teachers didn’t want to deal with the parents. Some kids got participation medals, they got a medal for coming in last.”

To be fair, Sinek has a good point on that one, and goes on to argue that we all knew the whole participation trophy thing was bull when we saw it as kids. And while the plural of anecdote ≠ data, an informal Twitter poll I did among my #millennial peers confirms this:

So, we’re self-aware enough to know that there should be first-place awards based on merits, and that not everyone should get a trophy. But Sinek’s answer to “The Millennial Question,” as he calls it, gets a little dicey. And it has to do with how our so-called “participation trophy” mindest affects us in the workplace.

Espousing some very Luddite views on technology, Sinek claims technology itself (that all-inclusive boogeyman) is the very reason why we don’t understand the real world. Apparently, we millennials are just SO INTO our phones and it’s causing us to have anxiety. Come on. You know who else is on their phone all the time? Grandparents. Parents. Teens. Your mom. Your yoga instructor. Your cashier. Your boss. Everyone’s on their phones. You know why? It’s cause it’s a computer in your pocket, the likes of which the world had never seen until a decade ago. OF COURSE humanity’s going to be enthralled by this piece of machinery. Hell, people were ballyhooing kids who read too much back when the novel first became an art form.

More: Millennials love Austin, but home prices don’t love them back

But Sinek says this advent of technology has addled our precious millennial brains and is the sole source of our discontent, and it’s why we can’t focus on long-term relationships or long-term jobs long enough to form “meaningful relationships” in the real world.

I would argue that the reason that many of my peers go from partner to partner, job to job, place to place, is because we watched our parents work their fingers to the bone for an American Dream that we saw could be taken away in an instant. Many of us witnessed a recession, a terrorist attack, two wars and another recession before we graduated high school. That feeling of uncertainty combined with a reeling economy right when we were about to enter the job market just may have something to do with why we feel a need to live in the here and now. Social media amplifies that, yes, but correlation is not causation.

More: For millennials in workforce, a different view of ‘American Dream’

And as for the job thing, Sinek seems to think that all millennials want to work in a low-paying place that offers them free booze and bean bag chairs and open-planned seating. No, the reason many millennials take those jobs is because they were told when they were young that education was the answer to their happiness, and so they took out massive amounts of student loan debt to pay for an education that overqualified them for low-wage jobs but didn’t qualify them enough for an actual full-time job at a company. Thus, the bean bag chair job.

But the solution to all that? It doesn’t lie with millennials figuring it out for ourselves. No, the solution is to place the blame elsewhere.

“It’s the corporations, it’s the corporate environment, it’s the total lack of good leadership in our world today that is making [millennials] feel the way they do. [Getting placed in a corporate environment right after school] isn’t helping them overcome the need for instant gratification,” Sinek says in the video.

Wait, hold up. We were coddled as kids because our parents made us feel special, and now that we’re in the workplace, Sinek’s solution is…blame the establishment for not understanding us and then get someone else teach us how to overcome our problems?

Who’s the “millennial” now?

Sinek closes his speech by saying, “We, now in industry, whether we like it or not, we don’t get a choice, we now have a responsibility to make up the shortfall. And help this amazing, idealistic, fantastic generation build their confidence, learn patience, learn the social skills, find a better balance between life and technology because quite frankly it’s the right thing to do.”

And while I do think that is true, I’m also a bit insulted. Lest I sound like a generation-basher, I’m one of the youngest people in my newsroom. There are people at the Statesman that have been here for almost twice as long as I’ve been alive. And that’s awesome, to get to work in an environment that encourages that type of generational diversity. I learn every day from someone at work, and it’s almost always from someone older than me. I’m truly grateful.

But my team is also made up almost entirely of millennials, and I learn from them too. I don’t feel like we lack social skills, or we need to find a better balance between life and technology. (Given that our jobs specifically deal with social media and computers, I’d say we’re doing the best we can.) If something goes wrong, we don’t whine or complain, we fix it. Don’t give us a medal for doing something that everybody else expects of us anyway.

To imply that the only way to “save” the millennials is to give us the workplace equivalent of a participation trophy is just another form of coddling us. And it’s an insult to the millennials I know who have risen through the ranks at law school, medical school, higher education, corporations, newspapers, or just plain started their own businesses or became entrepreneurs.

In short, we millennials don’t need “saving,” at least from what you think ails us. No, the kids are all right this time.

‘The Magic iPod’ website is nostalgia incarnate

If you’re the type of music fan that thinks, “You know what this DMX song needs? A remix with Vanessa Carlton,” then wait no longer. The Internet has provided.

Photo via Apple
Photo via Apple

“The Magic iPod” is a mash-up site built in 2007 that allows you to combine hip-hop/rap songs with pop songs from the mid-2000s. Indeed, two of those songs are “X Gon’ Give It To You” and “A Thousand Miles.” Don’t think it would work? Listen here.

While the site has been around for 10 years, it’s been making the rounds on the Internet again, mostly through social media. It’s probably popping back up again because a donations tab at the bottom of the webpage leads to the ACLU’s website.

More: Kellyanne Conway just inspired a ‘Bowling Green Massacre Victims Fund’ that donates to the ACLU

Give it a try here before it gets taken down.

Some of my personal favorites:

Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” + Blink-182’s “I Miss You”

Kanye West’s “Touch the Sky” + Cake’s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket”

The aforementioned DMX mix, but also DMX + Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah”

Nelly’s “Country Grammar” + Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue”

Texans’ Google searches since the election heavy on secession and SCOTUS

Ever since President Trump took office, Americans have been rapidly Googling the answers to several things. Steve Bannon. The Electoral College. What Donald Trump meant when he tweeted “Easy D.”

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Thursday, July 28, 2016, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Thursday, July 28, 2016, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

But for Texans, it seems, the things they Googled the most since November 8 (as of February 1) were both topical and typical.

Estately put together a map of the U.S. based off of what each state has Googled the most since the election. Some are pretty funny, like “Jeb Bush guac bowl” in Illinois and “dabbing Paul Ryan” in Massachusetts.

Others were more closely tied to the election, with phrases like “wall” and “border” popping up on many states’ lists. But the eyes of Texas were upon two Google searches more than any other: “Can Texas secede?” and  “Who will Trump nominate for Supreme Court.”


Texans’ interest in Trump’s Supreme court pick is understandable. Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett made then-candidate Trump’s short list of 11 potential candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court back in May. Trump eventually nominated federal appeals judge Neil Gorsuch to the post. Gorsuch has since decried the president’s tweets about a Seattle judge’s ruling in the immigration ban case.


Kellyanne Conway just inspired a ‘Bowling Green Massacre Victims Fund’

If you’re an altruistic sort of person, (and these days, there’s plenty of organizations to donate your hard-earned cash) a new fund established Friday might pique your interest.

“The Bowling Green Massacre Victims Fund” seeks to “directly support the victims and families directly affected by the Bowling Green Massacre” through monetary donations.


“As we join together with our thoughts and prayers, we will always remember how our fortitude and compassion unite us all through these difficult times,” the fund’s website reads.

The only problem is that “The Bowling Green Massacre” never happened, and no event in the city of Bowling Green, Ky., in modern history has ever been considered a massacre (unless, of course, you count the University of Memphis’ 77-3 massacre of Bowling Green’s football team last season, but even then, that happened in Memphis).

The fund website is a joke site, a joke made in response to Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway’s Thursday night claim in an MSNBC interview that the city of Bowling Green was the site of a massacre carried out by Iraqi terrorists. She made the erroneous claim in an attempt to argue in favor of President Trump’s immigration and refugee ban.

Conway also raked the media over the coals for not covering the nonexistent event.

“I bet, there was very little coverage — I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized — and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. I mean, most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

In a series of tweets Friday morning, Conway said the slip-up was an honest mistake, and again blamed the media for covering her slip-up instead of her intended remark, which was seemingly in reference to an ABC investigation on terrorists living in Bowling Green. She also steered the conversation toward other media members’ mistakes, and felt she should not have been attacked for her mistake: “Last night, prominent editor of liberal site apologized for almost running a story re: tweet from fake account.”

Bowling Green’s mayor, Bruce Wilkerson, issued a statement on Twitter Friday morning setting the record straight:

“It was recently cited in a national interview that a massacre occured in Bowling Green, Ky. in 2011. That statement has now been corrected.

“While in 2011, two Iraqi nationals living in bowling green were arrested for attempting to provide money and weapons to terrorists in Iraq. there (sic) was no massacre in Bowling Green.

“‘I understand during a live interview how one can misspeak and appreciate the clarification,’ said Bowling green mayor Bruce Wilkerson.”

And as for that donations site? It goes to the ACLU.