W.F. Strong

Counting Cattle With the Fathers

Longtime listeners may know — Texas Standard is fast approaching a milestone birthday. We’re turning 10 next March. With us almost from the beginning have been signature segments including the Typewriter Rodeo and Stories From Texas — these bi-weekly commentaries from WF Strong. He says he has a goal beyond entertainment.

The Other Hill Country

Over the next couple of months, many will set off for the Texas Hill Country to enjoy the splendor of the wildflowers celebrating spring. Many of the tourists are flatlanders, who not only love the kaleidoscope of colors but also driving the hilly roads that snake through billions of blossoms. Texas Standard Commentator WF Strong suggests a route he calls the *other hill country — that is far less traveled than its cousin to the west.

The mystery of the Texas box

We’ve all heard the proverb about one man’s trash being another’s treasure. Well, for generations of a family now living in Texas, the treasure in question was an old box found discarded many years earlier. Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong has the story.

Bonnie and Clyde: Star-synced lovers

February the 14th may be one of the more divisive days on the calendar. Though Valentine’s Day is meant to celebrate love — many find it cheesy, commercial, or downright depressing. Others, lean into the holiday. In the latter camp, it seems, were a pair infamous lovers from Texas. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has the story.

New Year’s Eve on Houston Street

Champagne toasts, fireworks, making resolutions, fancy meals… those are just some of the many ways Texans chose to to ring in 2024. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong, however, decided to welcome the New Year by reflecting on the past.

The Gift of the Tidelands

Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong has a little holiday tradition. Every December he likes to count our collective blessings as Texans by highlighting a great gift to Texas.

He says the tidelands were special because the giver didn’t realize how much goodness would continue to flow from them.

La Pitada

554 miles from AT&T Stadium you will find a Dallas Cowboys celebratory tradition that is unique in Texas. You might expect it in Dallas or Arlington, but to find this three decade tradition thriving in a Brownsville neighborhood, is both surprising and heart-warming. It is called La Pitada. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has more.

Found in Translation

For those with a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish, traveling Texas becomes more interesting because the Spanish names of places reveal, or hint at, their histories. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has some examples.

On Censorship

A look at the headlines might sometimes give you a sense of déjà vu — haven’t you read or seen this before? Fights over government shutdowns… a looming presidential race that may pit the same candidates against one another. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has been thinking about this while watching another political debate.

The Legend of La Llorona

All through October, the Texas Standard team is tracking Texas cryptids. As we’ve dug into some of these legends, we’ve noticed a few patterns. First of all, many of the cryptids associated with Texas have roots in Mexico.

And there are also some similarities in the back stories of these creatures or characters. Ayden Castellanos has noticed this especially in the legends involving female haunters. He hosts the “Susto” podcast about latin and hispanic folklore.

“I like to call them ‘the cryptid femmes’ because there are so many entities or creatures or spirits who are women or femmes and I think it’s an interesting trope, I’ll say, because, a lot of them, the commonality is that they are going after cheating men, drunkards, abusive men,” Castellanos said.

The story of La Llorona falls into this category.

(This story first aired in 2018).

‘The Killers of the Flower Moon’ is an Oklahoma story with Texas ties

There’s a much-anticipated film coming out next month. It’s the latest from Martin Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. Texan Jesse Plemons also has a big role — playing a Texan from history. Commentator WF Strong profiled the story when it was told in a bestselling book with the same name as the new film: “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

A version of this commentary first aired on March 20, 2019.

Texas is God’s Country

“Everything’s bigger in Texas” may be one of the most famous sayings about Texas. “Don’t mess with Texas” probably comes in a close second.

Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has been looking into another well-known saying about Texas.

How the railroad saved Fort Worth

When we’re speaking of the North Texas metroplex — Dallas always gets first billing. It’s DFW… not FWD.

But Texas Standard Commentator WF Strong says, at one point, the slightly smaller large city was at risk of disappearing altogether.

The Historical Accuracy of Lonesome Dove

“Lonesome Dove” is one of the most popular Texas novels of all time — with many millions of copies sold since it was first published in 1985. The miniseries that followed in 1989 was the second most popular mini-series of all time, behind “Roots.”

But Texas Standard commentator WF Strong says author Larry McMurtry was never as much in love with the book as his fans were.

Editor’s note: There’s a misstatement in this commentary. The “Yes, a hell of a vision” line quoted from the book are not its last lines but towards the end of the novel.

Texas Spelling Bee

Are there words that just trip you up every time you try to spell them? For the producer writing this script it’s allegience — allegiance — so many vowels. You know it’s bad when Word or Google can’t even make a guess at what you’re going for.

Texas Standard commentator WF Strong explores the most oft-misspelled words in Texas.

The Second Sacking of San Antonio

Most Texans believe that the Battle of San Jacinto settled everything. Once Mexican President Santa Anna was decisively defeated, he famously signed a treaty guaranteeing Texas independence and he would never again set foot on Texas soil…Right?

Well, commentator WF Strong reminds us that’s not what happened.

The 50th anniversary of ‘The Time It Never Rained’

It’s been 50 years since the publication of Elmer Kelton’s now classic Texas novel, “The Time it Never Rained.” Kelton wrote 50 books and said this was his favorite — he called it his signature work. It won him both the Spur Award and the Western Heritage Award.

Many Texas literary critics consider “The Time it Never Rained” one of the top ten best novels ever written by a Texan about Texas — that includes our commentator WF Strong.

Farmer Logic

If you’ve spent any time around farmers — you may have noticed a similar, pragmatic approach to life many share. Texas Standard Commentator WF Strong says it’s something he’s long observed.

Things Redneck Dave said to me on the drive across Texas

Technology has a role in helping us remember the past. Whether it’s a Facebook memory or a similar push from your photos app. But milestones have long played the same role — anniversaries, holidays, big changes in life.

Maybe it’s a relationship or your last great vacation.

Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has been recalling a certain road trip that took him 400 miles across the state… Along with him was his older brother, who he calls “Redneck Dave.”

This commentary first aired in April, 2020.

What a Handshake is Worth

How much is a promise worth? How much is it worth if you guarantee the promise with a handshake? What is the value of one’s word? In Texas, once, all these taken together were worth over ten billion dollars in a court of law. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has the story.