Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving weekend

"I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land." — Jon Stewart 

PAUL AND I started celebrating Thanksgiving Wednesday afternoon. We picked up our friend, Myron, and took him to On With Life (OWL) to explore volunteer opportunities.


On With Life is a brain injury rehabilitation facility situated in my hometown of Ankeny, Iowa, with a second location in Glenwood, Iowa. My friend Julie Fidler Dixon is the Executive Director, and another friend, Judy McCoy Davis works for the OWL Foundation.


When we were there Wednesday, Julie said, "You know the process of recovery that Gabrielle Gifford is undergoing? That's what we do every day." They have five programs: rehabilitation, supportive housing, longterm care, outpatient and supported community living, and amazingly enough, OWL has more accredited brain injury rehabilitation specialists than any other facility in the world that's not part of a hospital.


Myron was catastrophically injured in 1979 at the age of 23 when he ran headlong at full speed into the side of a train on his motorcycle at a railroad crossing that was unlit and unmarked and had no crossing-arms or warning signals. His injuries were so extensive and severe that the doctors gave his family no hope. Amazingly, he lived and regained consciousness after being in a coma for a month and a half. 


By the time I met Myron about 25 years ago, he was recovered enough to live in a group home and spend week days in the day activity program at Goodwill Industries where I was an assistant activity director for a few months. Every single person in the program at that time was schizophrenic except Myron. I could tell he had more going on in his head than met the eye.


It's been so long ago that I don't remember exactly how it came about, but somehow Myron and I made friends and have stayed friends ever since. He'll turn 56 in a few weeks. He lives in his own condo, unassisted except for help from his sister and his brother who manage his money. He can't drive, but he has a bike he rides around town to run errands.


When Myron, Paul and I were there Wednesday, Julie introduced me to some staff members and mentioned our decades-old friendship, crediting me with being a special person for staying in touch with him all these years. Actually, it's Myron who's special. He's as loyal a person as you'll ever meet, and both Paul and I get as much good from knowing him as vice versa.


After Myron's injury, his mother Ruth joined with nine other families and began what is now On With Life. It's not like these were rich people, so they could just start a brain injury rehabilitation center, but it was their awareness of the need and their advocacy that was the impetus for what has become a world-renowned care center.


When we were at On With Life, Myron got to see the big plaque in the lobby with his mom's name on it. Unfortunately, Ruth has passed away by now. She was a kind, unassuming woman who, along with the other founding families, made a a huge difference for hundreds of patients and families. She was also very warm and inclusive to me and made me feel like part of the Myron's family. He's blessed to have an exceptionally loving one, and they continue to do a great job looking after him. 


Ruth would be so proud of Myron for volunteering there. He's going to give it a try anyway, one day a week, moving patients in wheel chairs from their rooms to treatment areas. The three of us went to Olive Garden to eat afterwards. We've shared many a meal over the last almost quarter of a century.


Late Thursday afternoon we went to Larry and Sharon Stein'sPaul's 'Jewish parents', for Thanksgiving dinner. We ate way too much and played Trivial pursuit "girls against boys" as per Larry's rules. The guys always win. Paul was sort of trying to give me little hints, but all it was doing was making me second guess what I was thinking which had been right to begin with. We've been going there for six or eight years. It's "Tradition, Tradition!"


Larry and Sharon and us in a food haze.


Last night we went to Virginia's for more overindulgence. We snacked on mermaid food (remember the 1990 movie Mermaids with Cher and Winona Ryder?), pumpkin pie, and peppermint ice cream with hot fudge while we finished the jig saw puzzle we started Sunday and played Racko and Yahtzee. Virginia always beats us at both! We're lucky to have been surrounded all weekend by people who love us.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

"I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." — Bill O'Reilly, September 19, 2007, while discussing his recent dinner at a famous restaurant in Harlem

A RECENT SURVEY conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University found that those who watch Fox News are less informed than people who don't watch any news at all. That's kinda scary considering that in May 2.8 million people watch the O'Reilly Factor on Fox.

The poll that asked New Jersey residents about the recent uprisings in Egypt and the Middle East controlled for demographics such as educational level and party affiliation. It found that Fox News viewers were 18 points less likely to know that Egyptians have overthrown their government and six points less likely to know that Syrians haven't.

Lest you think that this is some fringe college, a word about it. With 12,000 students, it's the largest private university in New Jersey. And they know a thing or two about international events. According to Wikipedia, Fairleigh Dickinson University is formally recognized by the United Nations Department of Public Information as an NGO. In 2009 it became the first college to receive special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and since 2002 has hosted more than 70 United Nations ambassadors and officials.

This isn't the first time that Fox News viewers have been found to be less informed than the rest of us. A study by the University of Maryland last year found those watching Fox News are more likely to believe false information about politics and politicians.

I'm advocating that from here on out, Fox News be designated as Fox 'News' with news in air quotes, accompanied by a wink and a nod.

And on that note, here's my little Thanksgiving present to you. It's a video from Will Farrell's Funny or Die internet channel. Have a great day.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The devil and Penn State

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are." ― John Wooden

I'M A HUGE fan of the New York Times. The breadth and depth of coverage is always surprising and rewarding. Personally, I consider it to be the real USA Today, as in the official newspaper of the US of A. 


BTW, you can get an online subscription for not very much money. We get the Sunday paper delivered to us which automatically includes an online subscription which means I get to read the NYT everyday. 


Recently there have been two thoughtful pieces on the Penn State situation that I want to share with you, one written by op-ed columnist Ross Douthat published November 12 and the other written by Daniel Mendelsohn, published a week later.


OP-ED COLUMNIST
The Devil and Joe Paterno
By ROSS DOUTHAT
Published: November 12, 2011


WHEN I think about the sins of Joe Paterno, and the ignominious ending of his long and famous career, I think about Darío Castrillón Hoyos.


Castrillón is a Colombian, born in Medellín, who became a Catholic priest and then a bishop during the agony of his country’s drug-fueled civil wars. In Colombia, he was a remarkable figure: a “rustic man with the profile of an eagle,” as Gabriel García Márquez described him, who left his episcopal residence at night to feed slum children, mediated between guerrillas and death squads and reputedly made his way to Pablo Escobar’s house disguised as a milkman to demand that the drug kingpin confess his sins.


But that isn’t how the world thinks of him today. In the 1990s, Castrillón was elevated to the College of Cardinals and placed in charge of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, where he came to embody the culture of denial that characterized Rome’s initial response to the sex abuse crisis. Castrillón dismissed the scandal as just “an American problem,” he defended the church’s approach to priestly pedophilia long after it had been revealed as pitifully inadequate, and in 2001 he even praised a French bishop for refusing to denounce an abusive priest to the civil authorities.


How did the man who displayed so much moral courage in Colombia become the cardinal who was so morally culpable in Rome? In the same way, perhaps, that college football’s most admirable coach — a mentor to generations of young men, a pillar of his Pennsylvania community — could end up effectively washing his hands of the rape of a young boy.


It was precisely because Castrillón had served his church heroically, I suspect, that he was so easily blinded to the reality of priestly sex abuse. It was precisely because Joe Paterno had done so much good for so long that he could do the unthinkable, and let an alleged child rapist continue to walk free in Penn State’s Happy Valley.


Bad and mediocre people are tempted to sin by their own habitual weaknesses. The earlier lies or thefts or adulteries make the next one that much easier to contemplate. Having already cut so many corners, the thinking goes, what’s one more here or there? Why even aspire to virtues that you probably won’t achieve, when it’s easier to remain the sinner that you already know yourself to be?


But good people, heroic people, are led into temptation by their very goodness — by the illusion, common to those who have done important deeds, that they have higher responsibilities than the ordinary run of humankind. It’s precisely in the service to these supposed higher responsibilities that they often let more basic ones slip away.


I believe that Joe Paterno is a good man. I believe Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated, the brilliant sportswriter who is working on a Paterno biography, when he writes that Paterno has “lived a profoundly decent life” and “improved the lives of countless people” with his efforts and example.


I also believe that most of the clerics who covered up abuse in my own Catholic Church were in many ways good men. Of course there were wicked ones as well — bishops in love with their own prerogatives, priests for whom the ministry was about self-aggrandizement rather than service. But there were more who had given their lives to their fellow believers, sacrificing the possibility of family and fortune in order to say Mass and hear confessions, to steward hospitals and charities, to visit the sick and comfort the dying.


They believed in their church. They believed in their mission. And out of the temptation that comes only to the virtuous, they somehow persuaded themselves that protecting their institution’s various good works mattered more than justice for the children they were supposed to shepherd and protect.


I suspect a similar instinct prompted the higher-ups at Penn State to basically ignore what they described as Jerry Sandusky’s “inappropriate conduct,” and persuaded Paterno that by punting the allegation to his superiors he had fulfilled his responsibility to the victimized child. He had so many important duties, after all, and so many people counting on him. And Sandusky had done so much good over the years ...


The best piece about Darío Castrillón Hoyos was written by the Catholic essayist John Zmirak, and his words apply to Joe Paterno as well. Sins committed in the name of a higher good, Zmirak wrote, can “smell and look like lilies. But they flank a coffin. Lying dead and stiff inside that box is natural Justice ... what each of us owes the other in an unconditional debt.”


No higher cause can trump that obligation — not a church, and certainly not a football program. And not even a lifetime of heroism can make up for leaving a single child alone, abandoned to evil, weeping in the dark.

OPINION
Secret Dread at Penn State
By DANIEL MENDELSOHN
Published: November 19, 2011


WHAT if it had been a 10-year-old girl in the Penn State locker room that Friday night in 2002?

The likely answer to that question reveals an ugly truth, one that goes stubbornly undiscussed. Whichever version of Mike McQueary’s story you choose to believe — his grand jury testimony, in which a “distraught” Mr. McQueary, then a graduate assistant to the football team, “left immediately” after witnessing the former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sodomize a young boy, or the e-mail recently leaked to the press, in which he wrote, “I did stop it, not physically ... but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room” — the mind recoils at the grotesque failure to intervene more forcefully. How could a grown man have left the scene without taking the child with him? Mr. McQueary wants us to imagine that his brain was racing during those “30 to 45 seconds,” that he “had to make tough impacting quick decisions.” But it seems clear he wasn’t thinking at all — and it’s hard not to wonder why.

I think it was the gender of the victim.

Does anyone believe that if a burly graduate student had walked in on a 58-year-old man raping a naked little girl in the shower, he would have left without calling the police and without trying to rescue the girl? But the victim in this case was a boy, and so Mr. McQueary left and called his dad (who didn’t seem to think that it was a matter for the police either).

Mr. McQueary’s reluctance to treat what he allegedly saw as a flagrant crime, his peculiar unwillingness to intervene “physically,” the narrative emphasis on his own trauma (“distraught”) rather than the boy’s, the impulse to keep matters secret rather than provide rescue, all suggest the presence of a particularly intense shame, one occasioned less by pedophilia than by something everyone involved apparently considered worse: homosexuality.

Mr. McQueary’s refusal to process the scene he described — his coach having sex with another male — was reflected in the reaction of the university itself, which can only be called denial. You see this in the squeamish treatment of the assaults as a series of inscrutable peccadilloes best discussed — and indulged — behind closed doors. (Penn State’s athletic director subsequently characterized Mr. Sandusky’s alleged act as “horsing around,” a term you suspect he would not have used to describe the rape of a 10-year-old girl.) Denial is there in the treatment of the victims as somehow untouchable, so fully tainted they couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be rescued. For Penn State officials, disgust at the perceived gay element seems to have outweighed the horror of the crimes themselves. (“Perceived,” because psychologists generally deny that pedophiles possess adult sexuality — something that can be described as “gay” or “straight” in the first place.)

The denial is hardly surprising. In a culture that increasingly accepts gay life, organized athletics, from middle school to the professional leagues, is the last redoubt of unapologetic anti-gay sentiment. Anecdotal and public evidence for this is dismayingly overwhelming. Most recently, Sean Avery, of the New York Rangers hockey team, has been ostracized and ridiculed merely for making a short video in support of New York’s same-sex marriage act. (Anti-gay slurs are such an ingrained part of Ranger fans’ cheering that some gay fans have stopped attending games.)

What lurks behind so many male athletes’ vociferous antipathy to homosexuality seems to be deep anxiety about masculinity, the very quality that aggressive team sports showcase. After all, a guy is never so much a guy as when he’s playing a violent game or hanging with his teammates afterward in the showers and locker rooms, “horsing around.” The familiar ferocious anti-gay swagger many athletes affect is likely meant to quash even the faintest suspicion that anything tender or erotic animates naked playfulness between men.

But true masculinity, like true sportsmanship, contains other virtues, too: forthrightness, honesty, fair play, courage in difficult situations, readiness to acknowledge error, concern for the weak as well as admiration for the strong. In their handling of Mr. Sandusky, the leaders of Penn State’s legendary football program failed to display a single one of these qualities. Maybe it’s time for a new kind of sports hero. What else are we supposed to conclude when grown men, trained to brave 300-pound linemen, run away from boys in trouble?
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top ten Texas towns

"If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell." —  Philip Henry Sheridan, Union Civil War General

I'M JUST obsessive/compulsive enough to get fixated with making an epic list of something(s). Especially when my brain is overheated. 


I refer you to the time I was sick abed (as my grandmother would say) and running a very high fever. I had the TV playing in the background off and on and during one period of consciousness, I heard some talk show person say that the average English-speaker has a vocabulary of 12,000 to 15,000 words. In my fevered state, I became obsessed with worrying that I might have a less than sufficient vocabulary, and I struggled out of bed to find pencil and paper to assess my standing.


When Paul came home, he found me feverishly — literally — writing down all the words I knew that started with E. I'm not exactly (oh good E word) sure who I chose the letter E, but I believed I could extrapolate (ah, another good E word) how many total words I knew by calculating the percentage of E words I know compared to how many E words there are in the dictionary and then applying that percentage to the number of words in the entire dictionary in order to calculate the total number of words in my vocabulary. 


I can't blame the below list on a fever, though. instead, I'm blaming it on a reader in Mustang, Texas. Mustang is such a colorful and quintessentially-western-sounding name for a town that I decided to look it up. I discovered that there are not one, but two of them in Texas. I wondered, how could that be? Don't people get mixed up as to which is which? Little did I know how many multiples Texas had in store for me. 


Long (very long) story short, that perplexity caused me to search and find a list of all the names of towns and cities in Texas. Of course, you can't look at a Texas list and not get amazed, amused, puzzled, and now and then just a little bit frightened, not unlike the state itself. So I started writing down the names that struck me, and ten days later, here I am — with a very long list. 


I was captivated by how colorful so many of the names are, but I also enjoy how matter-of-fact and utilitarian they are — something that fits snuggly with my own proclivities. 


Paul is always laughing at me for what I call things. He calls it Kellyese. I tend to shorten things to acronyms or come up with my own names which are functionally descriptive. I don't even realize I'm doing it, but after awhile, that's what whatever it is starts being called at our house. 


We sleep under a BFT, short for big fluffy thing. It's a down comforter, but it's a mouthful, I guess. 
For the last forty years, I've called dry cat food, dry crunches. I forget that that's not the actual name. What most people would call a den or family room, at our house it's the AP room (short for all-purpose) because it really is neither a den or a family room, but it definitely is all-purpose. (It's Paul's dressing room, it's the television room, and it's where all the ironing equipment is stored and used.)


When Paul and I see someone with unrealistic body parts or hair color, one of us will say to the other NFIN, as in Not Found In Nature. AH factor stands for asshole factor. Sometimes there's an additional charge on a client's bill based on the AH factor. 


I knew Barbara Mack when I taught at Iowa State, and she referred to washing her hands as washing her pats. I've washed my pats ever since. 
When Paul and I went shopping for bed linens, I asked where the "deep dish" sheets were. Paul started laughing, and I couldn't figure out what was so funny. I didn't know that's what I said, but hey, the clerk took us to the right area. 


You get the drift.


My my, that was a very shiny digression! Below is my list of Texas towns — which BTW, is really, really long, the names are so fun and funny. To me anyway. Below that, I've chosen  my top ten favorites. 




Abner — I love towns that are just somebody's first name.

Ace
Adams Garden — Does Eve get one too?
Ajax
Alabama — Where'r ya' from? "Alabama, Texas." Well, which is it, Alabama or Texas? 
Alderbranch
Alamo — It doesn't get any more Texas than this.
Alfalfa
Alice  
Alto Colorado — This one must really confuse people because it sounds like a town and state.
Alvin — The chipmunk?
Amanda
Amelia 
Amarillo — Beautiful and romantic-sounding.
Amigo
Angus — Moo, moo, moo, how they scare me.
Anna — They sure do name a lot of places after women.
Antelope
Arizona — Again, Arizona or Texas? Make up your mind.
Art
Ash Switch — Hard to say without saying Ass Switch.

B

Back — How could they resist putting a sign on the edge of town that says, I'm Back.
Bacon — Recent research says just two strips a day can increase colon cancer risk by 40%. 
Badger
Balch
Balm
Bangs — I've fried mine with a flat iron more than a few times.
Bath — Hey, it's important to know where you can get one.
Battle
Bean Hill — This town ain't worth a hill of beans. One wonders.
Beans Place
Bear Creek — Four of them.
Beaukiss — Awwwww.
Bee Cave
Beeville — Sounds straight out of 1954.
Bell Bottom — Really? Did this spring up in the 60s?
Bell Place Windmill
Ben
Ben Arnold
Ben Bolt
Ben Franklin — I really don't think he founded this town.
Ben Flicken
Ben Hur — I don't think this guy did either.
Ben Wheeler — Ben is a very, very popular guy in Texas.
Berry Hill — Sounds charming.
Beulah — There are four of these in Texas. That Beulah really must have gotten around.
Best — Now come on, isn't this kind of bragging.
Bess
Bettie
Big Square — Where all the men have tape on their glasses.
Big Thicket Loblolly
Bigfoot — Why haven't anthropologists been able to find him when he's right on the map?
Birdville
Birthright
Black Ankle
Black Jack — The whiskey or the game or both?
Blackberry — I'm thinking the fruit, not the device.
Blackfoot — Any more body parts?
Bland — There are two of these! Way to make people never want to visit here. Goes hand in hand with Dull.
Blanket — Is this where Michael Jackson's youngest child was conceived?
Blossom — A completely charming name.
Blue — Are there any other colors?
Bluetown — Where everyone is sad.
Bobville — Hilarious.
Bonanza — Too bad, Hoss, Little Joe, Adam and Ben are all gone.
Bootleg — One guess as to what the economic base of this town is.
Bowser — This town is a dog.
Boss 
Brad
Bronco — Yee haw.
Buck Hollow 
Buffalo — Four of these.
Buffalo Gap — Two of these.
Buffalo Springs — And three of these.
Bug Tussle — My absolute favorite of all of them.

C

Cactus — I'm surprised there aren't more than just two of these.
Calf Creek
Call Junction 
Camilla — Hope it's not in honor of the one who reigns across the pond.
Canary — In the trees, I'm hoping, not in the mine shaft. 
Canyon — Two.
Carbon
Capps Switch
Carl
Carls Corner
Cash — They do not take credit cards here.
Casa Blanca — Sounds exotic.
Cat Spring — With four in our house, I only feel like I live there.
Celeste
Cereal — You're kidding me.
Chalk Hill
Charlie 
Cherokee — It's a beautiful name.
Cherry Mountain — Sounds wonderful.
Chester
Chihuahua
China Grove — Three of them.
Chocolate Springs — If only.
Choice
Cheyenne
Christine 
Chuckville — So funny.
Circle
Cisco — Too bad it's not Cisco Kid.
Click — Some people just don't.
Climax — Two of them . . . and I'm biting my tongue here.
Clutter Point — AKA my house.
Coffee City — The beverage section.
Coke — Not Pepsi
Cologne — A nice-smelling place.
Colorado
Comanche 
Comfort — I know where to head when I'm in need of it.
Cone — More geometry. In there with Big Square and Circle.
Copeville — Where everyone is just hanging on.
Copper Canyon — Sound beautiful.
Cool — The opposite of Big Square, founded perhaps around the time Bell Bottom was.
Corner Windmill — There are seven of these! I am not making this up.
Cotton
Cotton Gin
Cotton Patch
Coy City — Nobody is ever direct here.
Coyote Corner
Crabapple — That's what I am sometimes.
Crisp — How would you like Bacon?
Cross Cut
Crow — Two.
Crume Gin — Well, you get what you pay for.
Cut and Shoot — You risk your life here.
Cyclone — I bet they've seen their share.


Dads Corner — He had to have a time-out.
Dead Wood — Quintessentially western.
Deal — I'm making one with myself to never do another list!!
Dean
Del Rio 
Democrat Crossing — We definitely need protection, that's for sure.
Devils Shores
Dew — Mountain or nature's own?
Dial — Two.
Dickens — It's a dickens of a town.
Dies — I'm avoiding this one for as long as I can.
Dime Box
Dimple — It's just such a cute place to live.
Dingerville — Really?
Direct — The opposite of Coy.
Divot — Just a little hole in the ground.
Doc Brown
Domino — Oh, oh, Domino.
Donna — Oh Donna, Oh Donna.
Driftwood —Charming.
Dripping Springs
Drop
Dry Valley
Dull — Way to make a place sound inviting.
Duplex — It's not a very big town.
Duster — Come to my house. I hate dusting.
Dye

Eagle Pass
Early
Earlywine
Earth
Ebenezer — He'll be pleased to know they were generous enough to name two towns after him.
Echo — Two of them; how fitting.
Eclipse
Edcouch — And no one else can sit on it.
Edith
Edna
Elbow — So far we've had a foot, an ankle and now Elbow.
Electric City — Things are very exciting here.
Elevation
Ellen
Elmo — Besides being a TV star, he has his own town.
Eloise
Elsa
Eminence — They have a pretty lofty opinion of themselves here.
Emmett
Enterprise
Ethel
Erwin
Eunice — Two.
Eureka — Also, two. I guess the first time they thought they found it, they were wrong.
Evelyn
Ezzell

Fada — Hello Fada, hello mudah.
Fairy — Now If we all clap our hands, we can save her.
Falcon
Fate — Led me here.
Fays Corner
Felicia 
Field City — Which is it?
Fife
Ferris — Bueller?
Fife
First Crossing — How could there possibly be two of these? There can only be one first. I'm not math genius, but the next would have to be second.
Flat — Not exactly making your town sound appealing.
Flo
Flomot — What is it?
Florence
Flour Bluff — Every thing in Texas is big, including their ingredients.
Flower Mound
Flugruth — I have no idea who or what a Flugruth is, but I like it.
Fogtown
Fort Spunky — Hilarious.
Fox
Francis
Frame — But I'm innocent.
Francis
Fred — Totally cracks me up.
Friday — Much better off than those poor people in Munday. 
Friendship — Nine of them. Texas is just a gosh darn friendly place.
Frog — Love it.
Frog Hop — Love it even more.
Frognot — They're agin 'em.

Gail
Gary — Two.
Gay Hill — Maybe they're all just really happy here.
Gem — A gem of a place to live.
Gentry — Well, aren't you special.
George
George West
Geronimo — A beautiful name if there ever was one.
Ginger — It's only fitting since there's a Fred. Remember she did what he did except backwards and in high heels.
Gladys — Only two. Not quite as in demand as Beulah.
Glaze City — As out of it as in Fogtown?
Globe
Glory
Goldfinch
Golly — Golly.
Goober Hill — Words fail.
Good Hope — As opposed to bad? 
Goodnight — Two of them. Too bad there isn't a Nurse nearby.
Gordon
Gore Landing — Ewwwww.
Grace — We all need some of this.
Grapevine
Gray Mule
Gribble — I just like the sound of it.
Groom — How come there's no bride?
Grow
Grub Hill — This ought to draw a lot of . . . flies.
Gum Springs — There are three. Maybe all different flavors?
Gun Barrel City — Yet, Texas is only 14th on the list of states with the most gun homicides.
Gunsight — I repeat.
Gus
Gustine — Feminizing some male names doesn't always work.
Guy

Hackberry — Five.
Hanger — That's what I love about Texas town names, they're so utilitarian.  
Happy — This is also the name of one of our favorite movies set in, you guessed it, Happy, Texas. Check it out. It's really, really funny.
Hare
Harmony — Ten of these, but that's fine because we need all we can get.
Harriet
Hatchetville — I'd avoid this one if I were you.
Heckville — Well, just go to heck then (and start a town while you're at it).
Helbig — I think they just misspelled hell.
Hereford —Again, moo, moo, moo how they scare me.
Herman
High — They have laws against this, ya' know.
Hilda
Hildalgo
Hitchcock — It's a scary place to live.
Hobby — That's nice, but most of us have to work for a living.
Hogeye — When Hayden Fry was the University of Iowa football coach, this is how he pronounced Hawkeye, and guess where he's from. Drumroll . . . Texas.
Hogpen – Really? There wasn't anything better around to name the town after?
Holly
Holly Springs — Four.
Homer — Two of them plus a Homer Junction.
Honey Creek  — Sounds sweet.
Hoop and Holler — I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
Hoot — This town's name is a hoot.
Hoot and Holler Crossing — I'm in awe.
Hope
Horsehead Crossing
Hortense
Humble — There are three of these, so I guess not so humble after all.
Hut
Hye — Bye.

Iago — How Shakespearean.
Ida
Idalou — A Dr. Seuss-sounding name.
Ike — Two. I guess they really liked Ike in Texas. 
Industry
Impact — Is there a big meteor crater here or something?
Ireland — Sorry, but not much in common between the two.


James
Jean
Jeanetta
Jericho — Two.
Jinks — Bad luck here.
Joe — It's just my Joe.
Joel
Johnfarris
Joiner — Which I am not.
Joinerville — Where all the Joiners go to join.
Jolly — Popular at Christmas.
Jollyville
Jonah — I'm assuming sans whale.
Josephine
Joshua — He settled here after he fit the battle, but in which Jerico?
Joy
Jud
Jumbo — You always hear that everything in Texas is big.
Junction Windmill
Justiceburg — It starts out sounding so inspirational, and then they stick burg on the end of it.

Katy
Kay Bee Heights
Keith
Kelly — Gotta include this one. They even spelled it right.
Keno
Kermit — After the frog, I assume.
Klump — Sure, I want to live in a town called Klump.

La Tuna — Grilled, please. And 35 others that are La something.
Lakenon — I guess these folks don't have a lake as opposed to the 46 others that are Lake-something, but I've got money on Minnesota smashing that record all to heck.
Laredo — Western romance.
Lark — I'd like to live in a town with such a pretty name.
Latch — Funny. 
Latexo — Kinky.
Lavender — One of my favorite aromas along with lilies and lilies of the valley.
Lawn — No houses, but you should see the lawn.
Lazbuddie — I'm afraid to ask.
Lemonville — Don't buy a car here.
Little Hope — Wow. Way to discourage people.
Locust
Locust Grove — Ya, let's move to a place that's crawling.
Log Cabin
Lois — Two.
Lolaville — Whatever Lola want, Lola gets, including her own town.
Lord
Lost Creek Place — Western mythology aplenty.
Louis Granger Place
Louise — There are two Thelmas.
Love — A pretty good place to propose.
Lovelady — Is this just a refined name for a woman of ill repute?
Lucky Ridge — You're in luck!
Luke Wilson — He's an okay actor, but come on, he's not that big a deal.
Lull — Two. This must be where you go if you want to take a break.
Lumpkins — Sounds like a British term of endearment to me.

Mabank — And her gang.
Mobile
Magic City — Oooooo.
Magnolia — Sounds wonderful, both of them.
Mangum — Only for men.
Markout — It didn't work, it's still there.
Martha — I wonder if Martha and Marvin ever get together. Better not; Matilda, Maud, Mildred and Monica might get jealous.
Marvin — Two. 
Matador — Ole!
Matilda
Maud
Maverick — Western mystique for sure.
Maypearl — I bet this predates Minnie.
Medicine Mound 
Memphis
Mercedes
Mercury — For those who can't afford the Benz.
Merit — You gotta deserve to live here.
Mesquite
Midway — May I point out that there are 22 of these. How would you give directions? Can you imagine the Whose On First conversations you could have? "Where ya' from? Midway. Midway to what? Just Midway. Yes, but between where and where?" And so on.
Midlred
Mineral 
Mobeetie — I have no idea whatsoever.
Monica
Moonshine Hill — Love it. The name, not the stuff.
Mossy Grove
Mulberry Springs
Muleshoe — Classic Texas.
Munday — Sure, I'd want to live where your odds of having a blue one are multiplied by seven.
Mustang — Three of these picturesquely-named towns in one of which, one of my readers lives. You can blame him or her for this.

Naaman — No thanks.
Nada — If you're from here, you literally come from nothing.
Nancy
Narcisso — Where everyone is a narcissist.
Nat — At least it's not spelled with a g.
Necessity — Do I have to be from here?
Needmore — They had one, but they needed more so they made an additional three.
Nell
Nemo — They found him!
New Corn Hill — As opposed to the old one.
New Harp — That must have been one heck of a harp to name the whole town after it.
New Home — Huh. So this is where I go to get one. I've been wondering.
New Hope — There are 13 of these, and I truly 'hope' they all have it. 
New Mobeetie — As is the first one weren't enough.
Newt — I thought he was from Georgia. Wait a minute, maybe it's named after the amphibian, a much more honorable choice.
Niblock
Nimrod — OMG there are two of these! I know a number of people who belong there.
Noodle — I'm speechless.
Nobility — Gotta' say it: Yes, I come from Nobility.
Noble — A town full of wonderful people doing good in the world.
Noonday — Two. It closes after lunch.
Nopal — Two friendless places to live. Yup, there are two.
Normans Crossing 
North Pitchfork Corner Windmill — Wow.
Notrees — Well, just plant some for goodness sake.
Novice —Two of them. Maybe they're blessed with beginners' luck.
Nuway — Of spelling.

Oatmeal — Everybody gets a hearty breakfast here.
Odds — The odds of living here are small.
Ogg — Another Dr. Seuss-like name.
Oil City — Guess what the economic base is here.
Oilla — This is what they say when they strike it — sort of Frenchified.
Oklahoma 
Old Beekley Place
Old Burk Place
Old Christian Place — They converted.
Old Davy
Old Diana — This must have done wonders for her self-esteem. Not.
Old Dime Box — As opposed to the new one of course.
Old Edith Lochausen Place
Old Freitag Place
Old Glory — A patriotic town, if I ever heard one.
Old House Place
Old Houston Place
Old Ocean — Are we talking Precambrian here?
Old Oscar Place
Old Patterson Place
Old Place Windmill
Old place Windmills — This Andrews County town must be more affluent than the one above in Jeff Davis County.
Old Reed Place
Onion Creek — Air freshener required.
Omen — Is it a bad one?
Ore City
Ort — The definition of ort is a small scrap of food. Not the best promotional image for a place.
Overcup Landing — Almost as good as Bug Tussle.
Owl Creek — I would love to live somewhere where I got to see lots of owls.
Owlett Green — Where the babies are raised.

Paint Creek
Paint Crossing
Paint Rock
Palafox — No idea, but I like how it sounds.
Pancake — Unfortunately, not in the same county as Bacon. 
Panhandle — Two of them.
Panther Junction — If only I could see one.
Papalote Colorado — This is much more confusing than any of the state-name ones because it sounds like the town and state, and they slap Texas on the end.
Paradise — I want to visit and find out.
Paris — I doubt the one in France and this one have much in common.
Parsley Crossing
Patricia
Patrick
Paul Junction — I hope it's near Kelly.
Pawnee 
Peach Creek
Pear Ridge
Pearl 
Pecan Gap
Pecos — So evocative of the wild west.
Peeltown
Peggy — My only disappointment is that the name isn't Peggy Sue.
Pelican Bay
Penelope
Percilla
Pert — Where everyone is just so cute.
Pettytown — A bunch of gossips.
Pin Hook — I don't know what a pin hook is. It is a fish hook?
Pinto 
Plum Creek — Along with Peach Creek and Pear Ridge, we've got the makings of a lovely fruit salad.
Point Blank — Sounds ominous.
Ponder — A good place to sit and think.
Poorboy Landing
Pride — Good for them!
Primrose 
Prosper — We need to move here.
Pumpville — Yup, it's an oil state.
Punkin Center — There are four of these. My grandpa used to call me punkin, so it has a sweet association.

Quail
Queen City — No comment.
Quihi — How do you pronounce this?
Quitman — He didn't, so now there's a town there.

Raccoon Bend — I like all the animal ones.
Radio Junction
Radium — No thanks.
Ragtown — Two of them actually.
Rainbow — Somewhere over.
Raisin — This one is totally cracking me up.
Rambo — Really?
Ransom Canyon — I guess we know what happened here.
Rattlesnake Bend — Okay, not all the animal ones.
Razor — Really? Kept in the same drawer as Scissors?
Red Mud — And 33 others that start with the word Red.
Refuge
Retreat — Two.
Rice — Right along with New Corn Hill, Cereal and Rye.
Ridout — Get out, now!
Rio Bravo — A beautiful western name.
Rising Star — If I live here, will I be one?
Robstown 
Rockledge — And 29 other that begin with Rock.
Rodney
Rooneys Place
Rosanky
Rosebud
Rosevine
Royalty — Yes, yes I am.
Rubboard Crossing
Rugby — I'm more of a soccer fan myself.
Rule
Runaway Bay
Rye — Two of them. Cereal . . . or whiskey.

Salem – There are seven of them.
Salt Gap
Saltlick Mill
Salty — Hey, watch your language!
Sanctuary 
Santa Anna — So southwestern.
Sargent — Hey, they even spelled it right. And there are two of them, so I guess I can take my choice.
Sash
Scenic Woods
Scissors — By now, why should anything surprise me.
Scurry — Love it!!
Scrapping Valley — A contentious bunch.
Seclusion — Sounds lovely.
Seadrift
Seminole
Seth
Seven Heart Crossing
Seymore
Shady Grove — You better include the zip code because there are 11 of these.
Shadowland — Who knows what lurks in the hearts of men?
Shawnee — Two of them. I love all the Native American names.
Sherlock
Sherman
Shiloh — Five of them.
Shoemaker Place
Shortall — Make up your mind.
Shotgun Crossing — Texas is a very violent place.
Sid Place — Sounds like a bar, not a town.
Silver City — Western romance in all four of them.
Sixteen Corner Windmill
Skeeterville — Okay, you're warned.
Slabtown — Gotta-lotta morgues here, maybe.
Small — A place for Rabbit's friend, Small, from Winnie The Pooh.
Smiley
Snipe — Right in there with Pettytown.
Soda Springs
South Side Place — And 24 others that begin with South.
Sour Lake
Spade — Two.
Spicewood — Mmmmmmm.
Spur
Stagecoach
Stairtown
Stampede
Stamps
Star
Stingaree — Probably close to Beeville.
Stith — Looks like a typographical error.
Streetman
Strain — It takes a lot of effort to live here.
Stringtown — Amazingly enough, there are four of these.
Stubblefield — Surely the chamber of commerce could have done better.
Stumptown — Ditto.
Sublime — See, now this is how it's done.
Sundown — Was the town named after the woman in the song written by Gordon Lightfoot, or the other way around?
Sunrise —  Where it's always a new day.
Swan
Sweetwater
Swiss Alp — A bit of wishful thinking going on.

Tacubaya — I just like the way it sounds.
Tahoka — Ditto.
Tam Anne
Tarzan — I think it's a complete oversight that there isn't a Jane in Texas.
Tatsie — Sounds naughty.
Teaselville — Totally sounds like the name of town in a Dr. Seuss book.
Tehuancana
Telegraph 
Telephone — This one and the one above it make me smile. They're keeping in touch with one another.
Terry
Thelma — Two, but neither are in the same county as Louise.
Thorn Hill — Sure, everyone wants to live in a place described like this.
Three States — Solid, liquid and gas.
Thrift 
Thrifty — One half of my personality could live here. 
Tigertown
Timesville
Tin Top — There are two, I swear.
Tioga
Tom Bean
Tomball
Tool — Words fail.
Topsey
Tow — I guess someone needed one.
Triangle
Trophy Club — Braggers.
Troup — See True.
Truce 
True — Scout's honor.
Tulip — My favorite flower.
Turkey — This town's a turkey, however, it's very popular this time of year.
Tuxedo — It's a dressy kind of a place.
Twitty

Uhland — The namers must have found this town underwhelming.
Uncertain — I'm not sure if I like this name or not.
Unity — Since there are two of these, I guess not so unified after all.
Utopia — At last I've found it.

Valentine — A place full of roses and heart-shaped boxes of candy.
Vashti
Vega
Venus
Verbena — The fragrance of the hair conditioner I was slathering on my skin unbeknownst to me.
Verde, Canada — How do you explain this to anyone?
Verdi — Sing a lot of operas here, do they?
Vernon
Victor — Two of them.
Victoria — Fittingly, also two of them, and all four full of cross-dressers.
Viola — Paul had an Aunt Viola.
Violet — Sounds like a sweet place to live.

Wake — With all the knife and gun towns, it's not wonder Texas needs two of these.
Waldrip — Kinda creepy, really.
Walker Place
Walnut Grove
Wamba
Warlock — Popular on Halloween.
Waxahachie — Have to include this one. It's so fun to say.
Wealthy — Forget Prosper, I'm moving here.
Weedhaven — Oh sure, everyone's going to want to live in a place called this.
Welcome Valley — Texas is just so gosh darn friendly.
Weeks Settlement — As in your wages for the week?
Weeping Mary — Heartrending.
West — There are 43 more town that start with West.
Wheelock — Must have been a breakdown here.
Whiskey Ford
Whispering Pines
White Deer
White Shed — I guess it doesn't take much to start a town.
Whiteface
Whitharral — I just like the sound of it.
Willow
Winchester — Two of them which probably also contributed to needing two Wakes.
Windcrest
Wink — Too bad there's no Nod.
Wizard Wells — Straight out of Harry Potter.
Wolf Creek — Love the animals.

X

There are no X towns in Texas. Will someone please correct this oversight?!! With so many duplicates, couldn't you just change one to Xenon?

Yowell — That's what I felt like doing when I discovered there were no X towns.

Zapata
Zipp — It.
Zipperlandville — They left off burg and town: Zipperlandvilleburgtown. Anywhere near Scissors?
Zunkerville — And so ends the list.


My Top Ten Favorites: 

#10 — Telephone

#9 — Dime Box
#8 — Frog Hop
#7 — Muleshoe
#6 — Dull
#5 — Hogpen
#4 — Uncertain
#3 — Nimrod
#2 — Scissors
#1 — Bug Tussle
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