lukegilman.com : High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

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Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at www.lukegilman.com

Hunting Alligator Gar in the Trinity River

alligator-gar-hunting-trini
Photo: Bass Pro Shops

… in recent times, alligator gar have experienced a kind of trash-to-trophy renaissance as sportsmen discovered the thrill of hunting the beasts, which can weigh up to 300 pounds and reach 8 feet in length. Gar hunting, with rod-and-reel as well as crossbow, has spawned a booming market for guides who charge as much as $750 a day to lead their clients deep into the muddy backwaters of Texas where the monster fish thrive.

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On Texans Weakness for the Grand Gesture

Mimi Swartz ruminates on Texans’ love affair with The Grand Gesture in Texas Monthly’s style issue. Although nominally on style, Swartz takes the opportunity to delve into the caricature and the only slightly more complicated reality of the showy Texan. It’s an instant classic of Texas writing.

Self-examining though I am, it never occurred to me to wonder why I am so drawn to masters of the grand gesture, people like Clyde Wilson, Tom Alexander, and Kristi Schiller. The attraction has always seemed natural, like craving tamales and barbecue or enduring summer heat, a part of my psychic landscape. The truth is I am a hopeless style addict, doomed by both genetics and environment. My mother has great style, but so, of course, did many other people I grew up with in San Antonio, including the wife of a local architect who wore china poblana skirts long before they were knocked off by New York designers, and my favorite high school English teacher, who kept her bun in place with varnished chopsticks. I am not equating style with being fashionable; it is entirely possible to dress impeccably and have no style at all. People with true style have an unerring authenticity in the way they carry themselves and in the expectant, hopeful expression they wear on their faces when they greet the day.

A hint of narcissism is not a drawback; people with great style tend to believe that it is important that others take notice—a lot of notice. In Texas, with our endless mintings of new rich, style has been nearly synonymous with excess, but it has just as much to do with humor (for example, Ann Richards and that great quip about George H. W. Bush’s silver foot) and fearlessness—a need to put inside-the-box thinkers on notice. Mickey Leland, one of Texas’s first black state legislators, debuted in a dashiki in 1973; the license plate of the enormous car he drove up to the Capitol displayed just two words: “SO BAD.”

In the San Antonio of my youth, expressing one’s style took a different form than it did in Dallas or Houston. The understated old rich of my hometown were satisfied enough with the age of their money that they didn’t feel compelled to display it like those bumpkins in the rival cities (probably because their fortunes were no match for those in the bigger cities). San Antonio also posed the everyday challenge of living in a city where the prevailing cultures were German and Latino, a civic combo not unlike oil and water or, more to the point, Ritalin and Prozac. In other words, this was a place where citizens believed it was a sin to appear in white shoes before Easter but also celebrated the bacchanalian Fiesta week every year, wherein debutantes from the finest families wore bejeweled $50,000 handmade gowns while riding atop floats carpeted with zillions of paper flowers.

“Are you sure you don’t want to be a duchess?” my mother asked me when I was in college, and now, in middle age, I wonder why I was so determined to decline. Maybe because when I was five, someone buttoned me into a stiff organdy dress and whisked me to the converted mansion that was the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, where I was given a long ribbon and made to dance the maypole with other hapless children. The maypole! In Texas! This activity made sense only in context: In insular San Antonio, the oldest families were determined to prove their sophistication to the outside world (“Pay no attention to those witless show-offs in Houston and Dallas; we alone know how to behave . . . ”), even if the outside world ignored them.

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Guy Clark’s Texas Cookin’

I ran across This is Texas Music’s post of Guy Clark playing Texas Cookin’. That’s Jimmie Dale Gilmore of the Flatlanders playing to his left.

I’m getting hungry all of a sudden…

Technorati Profile

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2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food, and Wine

2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival featured Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food, and Wine with local acts (well, local to us) playing on the National Mall. Clips from the festival performers below, from the Smithsonian Folkways Website.

Guy Clark and longtime friend Verlon Thompson play under the trees of the National Mall.

Meet the Jones Family Singers from Markham, Texas.

Three Texan accordionists jam at the Festival.

CJ Chenier performs at the Festival.

Western swing fiddles and mariachi violins meet up on the Texas Talk Stage.

Guy Clark and longtime friend Verlon Thompson play under the trees of the National Mall.
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Only in Texas – Bearfire Ski Resort

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Neil Woodburn at Gadling reminded me of the Xanadu, er… Bearfire Ski Resort currently being developed outside of Dallas. Sigh…. I don’t know what to make of this one. Only in Texas would we think the mountain should come to us.

“Bear”-fire? I’d love to design the logo for that one.

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Wine Making in Texas

NPR: Texas Presses Ahead in Wine Production

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Rest in Peace, Skidboot, Good Boy

It is with great sadness that we learn the remarkable Skidboot has died.

Houston Chronicle: Skidboot, a working ranch dog and celebrity, dies at 14

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Remembering Molly

The best tribute I could think of -

“If Texas were a sane place, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun”

“The first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging”

“Everyone knows the man has no clue, but no one there has the courage to say it. I mean, good gawd, the man is as he always has been: barely adequate”on President Bush

“Good thing we’ve still got politics in Texas — finest form of free entertainment ever invented”

“In Texas, we do not hold high expectations for the (governor’s) office; it’s mostly been occupied by crooks, dorks and the comatose”

From: Molly Ivins, iconic Texas columnist, loses cancer fight at 62

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At least it’s warm here…

Every now and then I get nostalgic for Maine. Then I get an e-mail like this from my Dad -

Associated Press: The Nation’s Weather
By WEATHER UNDERGROUND 11.08.06, 5:03 AM ET

Cold, wet weather was expected to continue Wednesday across the North and West.
Rain was forecast again for the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, with flooding possible in some coastal areas.

Clear skies were anticipated in the nation’s midsection.

Sunny and warm weather was forecast for the Southwest and much of the Great Plains.

Temperatures in the Lower 48 states Tuesday ranged from a low of 21 degrees at Presque Isle, Maine, to a high of 101 degrees at Woodland Hills, Calif.

I’ve become very acclimated to the Texas unwinter.

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Houston Press, Hog Dog Rodeo

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Todd Spivak covers the sizable feral hog population of Texas and the culture that has emerged around it, including the hog dog rodeo. Animal lovers will be horrified, especially if they’ve never seen a feral hog. Not to defend the rodeo practice, but if you’ve spent any time at all with these animals, particularly if some of them live on your land, it’s awful hard not to hate ‘em and putting one down wouldn’t seem any more inhumane that stepping on a cockroach you found in your house.

Houston Press: Hog Wild

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