Culture

All about Texas cryptids

Most Texans have heard their names, and quite a few grew up hearing their stories: Bigfoot, jackalope, goatman, La Lechuza, chupacabra, just for starters. Scientists question whether they’re real, but the space they occupy in Texas folklore is very real indeed.

Today we’re sharing the results of a month-long effort to track down the origin stories of Texas cryptids – and discover why they have such a hold on Texas mythology and imagination.

The best of the year in arts & culture

Today we’re turning our attention to the world of arts and culture, from a riveting film featuring the audio diaries of Lady Bird Johnson, to the startling impact of a singer named Taylor Swift.

What if it is your first rodeo? We’ve got you covered there with what to do – and what not to.

And Austin-born actor Gabriel Luna talks about his role in the hit HBO series “The Last of Us.”

What was on the menu this year

It’s been said that food is one of the best ways to understand a culture, and today, we’ve got quite the feast prepared. From migas to pecan pie, kolaches to Tex-mex, fried okra, cowboy cuisine, and everything in between; we review the year that was, in food and drink, in the Lone Star State. From a great Texas cookbook, to a cannabis cuisine trend, the invention of the “travel taco”, and secrets from the kitchen of a celebrated El Paso Chef. We’ve cooked up a special batch of Texas flavors for you today on the Texas Standard:

Decolonizing Maíz

Corn is the most important crop of the Americas. It sustained the Western Hemisphere for centuries, and with the colonization of its lands, came the colonization of corn. In the past century, corn went from maíz production to mass production, with companies modifying it and depleting it of its natural riches. In this episode we rally with masa makers on a journey to reconnect our comunidades with the nutrients and flavors of the superfood in a more pure form than the mass-produced maseca, with which many of us are familiar. We talk to Andres Garza, now Nixta Taqueria’s Director of Masa Development and Fermentation, Olivia Lopez, chef and co-owner of Molino Olōyō in Dallas, Texas, and Julian Maltby of Mercado Sin Nombre in Austin, TX about decolonizing the once magical maiz and the many shapes of tacos being made with their corn tortillas.

Vitamina T

Don’t forget to take your Vitamin T! That’s T for Tacos, Tortas, and Tamales. In this episode, taco journalist Mando Rayo and bilingual educator Suzanne Garcia-Mateus sit down and browse through the spanglish children’s book that they co-wrote called Vitamina T for Tacos. They connect over their shared experiences of growing up bilingual and speaking spanglish and how that motivated them to write a book that represented the complex culture that they didn’t see in children’s books when they were growing up.

The Filipino Guey

They say that Filipinos are the Mexicans of Asia. From the adobo and the chicharrones, to cultural traditions, we share an overlap in our identities. In this episode, we bond with our Filipino primos Isabel Protomartir (host of Identity Productions show Até) and Ralph Xavier Degala (Master Chef Season 9). We discuss how Filipino culture is thriving in Texas and the tasty tacos that come with it.

Taco Identity

Latino culture isn’t exactly known to be LGTBQia+ friendly. We’ve seen this through some of our biggest cultural icons, who remained closeted their entire lives. Much of the intolerance is driven by machismo in our culture, which can be prevalent in spaces like taquerias. We connect with Angel Cabrera, owner of Tacos Doña Lena in Houston, and Kristen Martinez, owner of MB Foodhouse in Minneapolis, about their experience in the taco community. They share with us how they have persevered and risen above the odds… even during a pandemic.

Culture Wars

This Typewriter Rodeo poem came to us via listener request. Matthew Koontz suggested the topic “no governing, just culture wars.” This is the result.

DYOR Part II: Motivated Reasoning and Expertise

DYOR stands for Do Your Own Research. It is a common acronym used throughout the internet due to how fast and easily misinformation can spread. It is encouraging people to research things and become informed before making a decision. However, it turns out it’s not so easy to do your own research for a variety of reasons that have to do with human psychology and culture.

In the second in a two-part series on the psychology of doing your own research Two Guys on Your HeadDr. Art Markman, and Dr. Bob Duke talk about motivated reasoning and expertise.

 

DYOR Part I: Psychology and Culture

DYOR stands for Do Your Own Research. It is a common acronym used throughout the internet due to how fast and easily misinformation can spread. It is encouraging people to research things and become informed before making a decision. However, it turns out it’s not so easy to do your own research for a variety of reasons that have to do with human psychology and culture.

In our first in a two-part series on the psychology of doing your own research Two Guys on Your HeadDr. Art Markman, and Dr. Bob Duke talk about the role different dimensions of American culture play in how we orient ourselves to problems even before we start researching solutions.

 

Trailer: Black Austin Matters

Black Austin Matters is a podcast that highlights the Black community and Black culture in Central Texas. Each month, hosts Richard J. Reddick and Lisa B. Thompson talk with other Black Austinites about their perspectives on what’s happening in their city. We’ll hear from the well-known and the not-so-well-known in Austin’s Black community to find out what matters to them. New episodes each first Wednesday of the month.

Trailer: Tacos of Texas

Have you ever wondered why Birria tacos are so popular? Or how tacos are saving Texas, even during the pandemic? Or which Texas city has the tastiest tacos? If you find yourself dreaming of tacos, this is the podcast for you.

High Security and Low Security Texas

By W. F. Strong

Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of neighborhood cultures in Texas: high security and low security.

My wife is high security and I’m low security, by tradition. She was raised in Mexico, in a compound surrounded by the classic 12 foot walls with shards of glass embedded on top. I was raised in rural Texas, in a house, with an acre of yard and no walls or fences. We locked our doors at night, if we remembered. 

These childhood influences carry over. My wife loves these new, inexpensive security cameras. She has six that cover the outer perimeter and four pointing inward. I told her it feels strange having four cameras watching me in the house. She said, with a smile, “Four that you know of.”  She says, “It’s not about watching you or the kids; it’s about knowing where everybody is. It’s a mama thing.”  

This is an interesting contrast to my life as a boy in small town Texas. There, nobody I knew locked their doors, except maybe at night. My mom’s idea of locking up for the night was to latch the screen door. You know, put the metal hook through the eyelet. She liked leaving the heavy inner door open so the night breeze could flow through the house. “Air vitamins,” she called it.  

Everybody in my neighborhood would lock all their doors when they went on vacation. Yet we all knew that the key to the front door was under the doormat. And any number of neighbors would use that key to put the gathered newspapers or mail into their foyer so passing strangers wouldn’t know they weren’t home. One neighbor down the block, Mr. Jones, kept his key near the back door, third pot to the right, pushed into the dirt. You’d have to dig a bit to find it. Some around there thought that was excessive, said, “Mr. Jones was a bit paranoid.”  

People also kept their car keys conveniently stored above the driver’s visor or in the unused ash tray or glove compartment. I remember a farmer, who lived nearby, calling me once and asking if I’d go over to house and drive his 3500 GMC out to the farm for him. He needed some tools that were in it. I asked if the keys were in the truck and he said, “Of course. Right there above the visor. Where else would they be? That’s how come I never lose ‘em.”  

That was true. People never much lost their keys then. They were always where they ought to be, under the mat, above the visor. I can remember my mom saying, “One of you boys didn’t put the key back under the mat. Find it and put it back.” It did seem odd to go to the trouble to have a lock on a door and leave the key in such an accessible place. Might as well tape it on the door.  

After all these years, I’ve drifted into a more high-security life, myself. Everything is locked and double-locked. Even if I go outside during the day for more than five minutes, I’ll find my wife has locked me out and I’ll have to knock to get back in. Wouldn’t be surprised if she soon asks for the password-of-the-day for re-entry.  

Texas Standard: March 15, 2021

Texans 50 or over, get in line. New rules take effect opening up vaccine eligibility, the trouble? Finding enough doses. Coming up disputes between the feds and state officials over whether Texas is getting enough vaccine doses in its fight against COVID-19. Also, efforts by the republican legislature in Texas to curb the powers of the governor during a pandemic. Now a priority item in the house. We’ll hear why. Also more listener questions about COVID-19 and the vaccine , plus our conversation with Austin mayor Steve Adler, the power of the Black church in Texas politics and so much more today on the Texas Standard :

Texas Standard: July 10, 2020

As COVID-19 hospitalization rates hit new levels, an alarming trend spotted in Texas’ largest city: a rising number of at home deaths. We’ll have more on the new report from ProPublica and NBC news on at home deaths and Dr.Fred Campbell of UT Health San Antonio is back to take up more lister questions on the Coronavirus. And he was, for years, typecast as inmate number one. Now he’s embraced by kids and critics alike as a bonafide star. A new documentary on the rise of Danny Trejo. Our conversation with the actor, the week in Texas politics and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: February 18, 2019

A construction on what at the border? As the wall gets the lion’s share of attention, a new facility for asylum seekers is going up. We’ll have details. Also, we often bemoan the growing political divide. But is it possible we were just born this way? A new book by a San Antonio based researcher makes claims about a biological basis for our political inclinations. And a Dallas sports legend who’s done more from globalizing basketball. Plus a presidential pop quiz for Texans. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Higher Ed: Agree To Disagree (Respectfully) In The Classroom

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about creating and maintaining healthy and respectful environments – especially in the workplace. But what about in the classroom? In this episode of KUT’s podcast “Higher Ed,” Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT’s Jennifer Stayton discuss the keys to keeping the classroom an open and respectful place.

Ed believes everyone in the classroom should have a role in keeping the discussion civil and the tone respectful even if there are passionate disagreements about what is being taught or discussed. But he believes the conduct of the teacher goes a long way in laying the foundation for a respectful culture. For example, Ed says he used to be more vocal and open with his instant comments and assessments about students’ answers. But he started to understand that could unintentionally stifle students’ input if they fear differing opinions might be met with lower grades.

“Allowing everyone to share their reflection or their thinking or their feelings or their interpretation, their analysis, and then let the other members of the class pick it up, to me is a more powerful way that opens the conversation. I’m trying to get people to put themselves out there in my class.”

What about when things get disrespectful, heated, or downright ugly in the classroom?

Ed says getting students to agree at the beginning of the semester to some “rules of the road” for handling classroom discussions can help ensure a healthy, respectful environment.

“At the very beginning of the course, to basically have the entire class, with ownership of the students themselves, create in some sense rules of engagement and ways that we’re going to proceed…. And some instructors actually write these things down.  They become ‘here are our guiding principles'” about how people in the classroom will treat each other  – and specifically when they disagree.

What is the one practice Ed believes everyone should embrace to help keep the classroom civil? Listen to the episode to hear more (that is a big hint right there!) and to get a new round of riddles. The more serious puzzler is still taking a break for the holidays but will be back in January.

This episode was recorded on Oct. 30, 2018.

Texas Standard: September 27, 2018

A new phase in the fight over the Kavanaugh nomination gets underway, raising questions of what due process means in the Me Too era. The latest on the confirmation of President Trump’s high court nominee and placing the proceedings in a different sort of historical context. Also, the 5G revolution: experts tell us it will change our lives. But as local officials look at regulation, the Feds now say hands off. Tech guru Omar Gallaga with what’s at stake. All of those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: September 14, 2018

The Harvey effect: as Florence bears down on the Carolinas, meteorologists say theres an shift in how major hurricanes are doing damage, we’ll have the latest. Also, Walmart bets big on high end out door gear, but some brands are telling Walmart to take a hike, we’ll hear why. And remember smokin in the boys room, or girls room? Nowadays its vaping in the classroom, for real. Texas teachers trying to get students to kick the habit amid calls for a federal crackdown on the marketing of vape pens. Plus the police chief leading the charge to make Corsicana the Hollywood of Texas, and it appears to be working. All that and so much more today on the Texas Standard: