Archives for December 2015


It’s that time of the year when we resolve to drink less, exercise more, save money, etc.

It may feel really good to intend to do “better” in the new year, but as Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain in this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, real change takes planning and hard work.

Why is that? It turns out we have no idea why we do most of the things we do on a daily basis. And as long as our behaviors are driven by factors that operate below our conscious awareness, we may not know how to change.

As the Two Guys point out, effective change can happen when we start from the outside in. When we look at our environments first we can make space and cultivate relationships that help us become best selves.

Texas Standard: December 31, 2015

Ethan Couch will be staying in Mexico a little while longer: so says a Mexican judge on this New Years Eve…the latest today on the Texas standard. With Blue Bell returning to the shelves it would appear the company put the listeria crisis behind it…but now hear this: a justice department investigation. What did Blue Bell owners know and when did they know it? Also a look ahead to high tech and Texas politics in 2016…and pass the black eyed peas please…what’s the backstory on the Texas tradition? Those stories and much more on todays Texas Standard:

The Story of James Dean and the Shamrock Hotel

James Dean – in the movie “Giant” – tells Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor that he has struck oil. And not only that, it’s payback time.

James Dean was playing Jett Rink, a hard drinkin’, brawlin’, tough-talkin’ uncultured Texas wildcatter who struck it rich. But everybody in Texas knew that he was really playing Glen McCarthy, a Houston wildcatter, who struck it rich – cover of TIME rich. The fictional Jett Rink spent millions of dollars building the Emperador, the biggest hotel in Texas. The real life McCarthy did the same. But he called it, The Shamrock Hotel.

The Shamrock, nicknamed the Houston Riviera, was the grandest hotel in Texas when it was built, the largest outside of New York or L.A. It was 20 stories tall counting the two-story emerald SHAMROCK HOTEL sign on top. It cost $22 million in ’47. Today it would be $250 million. It had the biggest swimming pool on the planet, so large that people water-skied in it. It had 1,100 rooms, all air-conditioned, each with a TV and radio.

In 1949, McCarthy wanted to have a grand opening for his monolithic hotel. He wanted Hollywood stars. He was told that the only way Hollywood would come was if there was a movie opening to attend. But no big studio would launch a film in Texas. So he decided to fund his own Hollywood movie. In this way, he had the movie debut and hotel grand opening at the same time. And Hollywood came. Howard Hughes even gave him a good deal on one of his planes so he could fly stars to Houston. McCarthy chartered a Santa Fe party train that brought in hundreds of stars for the St. Patrick’s Day opening.

The evening was regarded as the most prestigious event in Houston social history. And it likely remains so. Everyone who was anyone was there. Ginger Rogers was there. So was Errol Flynn. It was broadcast live on national radio by NBC and hosted by the WWII pin-up Dorothy Lamour.

Frank Lloyd Wright wasn’t impressed with the Shamrock’s 63 shades of Irish green. He was called it “architectural venereal disease.” But many loved the Shamrock for its sheer size and art deco style, the Emerald Nightclub where Sinatra sang, The Cork Club up top overlooking Houston, and the hotel’s grand devotion to the Irish theme.

It was sold to Conrad Hilton in 1955 and was known as the Shamrock Hilton until it was demolished in 1987. Today Texas A&M Health Sciences Center sits on the site. I think McCarthy would like that. He was, after all, an Aggie.

Texas Standard: December 30, 2015

10 million, 50 million, do I hear 7 times that figure? Taxpayer dollars for state bonus checks, but where are the checks and balances? Plus- you thought Rick Perry had left politics? Think again. Jim Malewitz of the Texas Tribune reports on what’s drawn him back. And imagine Uber for gasoline…oops, someone beat cha to it. Also we take the wraps off our first ever Texas Freedom Index…and lots more. Its the national news show of Texas, the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 29, 2015

The forecast for the National Weather Service: lots of unfilled positions. We’ll explore what that could mean for safety in our state of extremes. Also a Muslim driver shot and killed at a Houston intersection. No charges brought against the shooter. A case of road rage, said the prosecutor. But a reporter found evidence of something more. Plus: The great society. The Johnson treatment gets a whole lotta credit. One author says far too much…a legacy reconsidered. And breeding deer for bigger antlers—blurring the lines between wildlife and livestock…those stories and much more today on the national news show of Texas:

Texas Standard: December 28, 2015

2015 goes out with a roar as wild and deadly storms seize much of Texas. The latest from the hardest hit areas and what’s next. Epic twisters wreak havoc on North Texas as the snow continues to come down out west… reporters Eric Aasen and Tom Michael will tell us what we’re looking at on this Monday. Also: tips to soften the annual tax blow, plus Lone star clout on capital hill…a professional political observer says it’s growing. And two of the top public radio music pickers in Texas rank the top albums of 2015. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Dr. Sarah Y. Vinson (Ep. 03, 2016)

Host John L. Hanson speaks with Dr. Sarah Y. Vinson, MD., Harvard and Emory-educated physician specializing in adult, child and adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiatry, and founder of the Lorio Psych Group, an Atlanta-based mental health practice.

Earl Hines (12.27.15)

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe, talks about the life and legacy of American jazz pianist and bandleader Earl “Fatha” Hines.

Jesus: Fred Bahnson (Ep. 9)

In this edition of The Secret Ingredient we talk with Fred Bahnson, author of Soil & Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith, about his spiritual journey through agriculture and how some faith-based organizations are re-energizing the conversation around hunger and poverty.

About The Hosts:

Raj Patel is an award winning food writer, activist and academic. The author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, and his latest, The Value of Nothing, is a New York Times best-seller.

Tom Philpott is an award winning food writer for Mother Jones, who’s ground-breaking work on almonds exposed a myriad of environmental and ethical issues around almond production in California.

Rebecca McInroy is an executive producer and host for KUT Radio in Austin, Texas. She is the co-creator, producer and host of various podcasts and shows including, Views and Brews, Two Guys on Your Head, Liner Notes, The Write Up, and The Secret Ingredient.

In each episode we chose one food to investigate, and talk with the people who’s life’s work has been to understand the complex systems of production, distribution, marketing and impact, these foods have on our lives.


Getting Lost

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the psychological value of “getting lost”, and the beauty of discovery.

Texas Standard: December 24, 2015

What were the biggest stories of 2015? The view from the coast, and your votes: get em in…its a Christmas eve edition of the Texas Standard. Hundreds of children in camps in north Texas, and more coming… there’s even talk of opening beds at fort hood. All to accommodate the latest wave of kids coming across the border. More from NPR’s John Burnett who joins us in the Texas Standard studio. Also: remember the yule log on TV? Now for the age of the iPad, it’s the y’all log. And the winners and losers in Texas politics…according to the editor of the Texas Tribune. Merry Christmas Ya’ll it’s Texas Standard time:

Holiday Letter

The time has come for holiday cards and the epic holiday letter. That was the inspiration for Typewriter Rodeo’s Kari Anne Roy as she wrote this week’s poem.

Texas Standard: December 23, 2015

In the debate over campus carry should dorms be gun free? The attorney general fires a warning shot so to speak. Also we’ve been asking what are the top stories of 2015 and the nominations are pouring in on twitter at Texas Standard. Today, we check in with Amarillo to get a sense of what folks are saying there. Also fantasy sports…is it illegal gambling? New York and Nevada say yes, what says Texas? Also think you’re bored this holiday season? Think again: it might just be your creative side coming out. And the top Politifacts–or not—of 2015. All that and more today on the Standard:

This Song 2015

The “This Song” podcast Team is taking the holidays off, which means you can finally get caught up on the episodes you missed! You can listen to or download all the episodes listed below or go to iTunes and grab the episodes there. We’ve had fabulous time building this podcast, and we can’t wait to talk about more music in 2016.

Episode 21: Nels Cline and Julian Lage Listen in iTunes

Episode 20: Gary Clark Jr, Tameca Jones  Listen in iTunes

Episode 19: Twin Shadow, Michael Ramos  Listen in iTunes

Episode 18: Sylvan Esso, SIP SIP  Listen in iTunes

Episode 17: Oddisee, Mike Harmeier  Listen in iTunes

Episode 16: Thom Green of Alt-J, Ume  Listen in Itunes

Episode 15: Tame Impala, Mark Creaney  Listen in iTunes

Episode 14: Kelsey Wilson, Riders Against the Storm  Listen in iTunes

Episode 13: Glen Hansard, Gina Chavez  Listen in iTunes

Episode 12: Moving Panoramas  Listen in iTunes 

Episode 11: Holly Miranda, Johnny Goudie, David Ramirez  Listen in iTunes

Episode 10: Max Frost, Nakia  Listen in iTunes

Episode 9: Laura Marling, Todd Wolfson  Listen in iTunes

Episode 8: Crooks  Listen in iTunes

Episode 7: Brennen Leigh, Noel McKay, Lisa Pankratz Listen in iTunes

Episode 6: They Might Be Giants  Listen in iTunes

Episode 5: Toro y Moi, Gordon Moakes  Listen in iTunes

Episode 4: Hal Ketchum, Pokey LaFarge  Listen in iTunes

Episode 3: Magna Carda Listen in iTunes

Episode 2: Brian Beattie, Kathy McCarty, Ray Benson Listen in iTunes 

Episode 1: Mojo Nixon, Kat Edmonson and Aaron Behrens


Texas Standard: December 22, 2015

A grand jury decision in the Sandra Bland case: will the trooper involved face charges? It’s one of many stories we’re following today on the Texas Standard. Thanks for joining us…coming up, what are the top stories of 2015? The editor of the Mcallen Monitor nominates a story from the front pages of today’s paper…we’ll talk with him, in the meantime, we’re taking your suggestions on Twitter at Texas Standard. Also: in God We trust–so say license plates; but if license plates are state speech, as the supreme court now says, do those plates violate the first amendment? Also Bill Moyers on addiction and much more…coming up today on the Standard:

Texas Standard: December 21, 2015

Going online: the army powers up cyber protection units in Texas and beyond amid new reports of power grid hackers- the latest today. Plus they call them the iceboxes…a new report on border detention centers reveals what migrants describe as overcrowded freezers used as holding cells…we’ll have details.And a plan to bail out some who’ve fallen prey to unscrupulous lenders. Also the possible perils of holiday comestibles…especially when one’s taking prescriptions. And the best books of 2015—pay attention last minute shoppers. Those stories and many more on todays Texas Standard:

Higher Ed: Hmmmmm…….Learning and Doubt

Doubt. It can make us question some of our deeply-held beliefs. But is that necessarily a bad thing? In this episode of KUT’s podcast Higher Ed, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger talk about the value that doubt can have for our learning and education. Doubt can be a catalyst for expanding our thinking. So says Ed in this episode. Listen to him and Jen discuss cats, dogs, beets, and doubt. Yes, it all relates! And listen on to find out if the solution to the most recent puzzler will rain on your parade.

This episode was recorded on November 18, 2015.

Texas Standard: December 18, 2015

Thousands of kids placed in unreasonable risk of harm? A Federal judge says Texas has a broken foster care system- on today’s Texas Standard.
Coming up, we’ll take a trip to Crystal City, Texas… in 1944…you’d be surprised what was there.
Plus threats sent to schools in D.C., Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas. An expert on how to tell whether there’s real risk.
And what makes a Texas fruitcake unique? Its not the fruit.