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Texas Standard: November 25, 2022

Had your fill yet? No need to loosen the belt…we’re serving up something different today. As many Texans dash about in search of gift-giving deals on this Friday, we’ve made out a list of some of our favorite books this past year. From tales of trailblazing women clearing the way for the final frontier of space to an examination of re-wilding as a way to get back to a balance with nature and make cities more livable. A memoir from a music superstar and the hidden histories of gay power in high places. Just a few of the reading selections we’ve been perusing today on the Texas Standard:

 

Texas Standard: May 16, 2022

Early voting starts today in the primary runoff elections. What you need to know about what’s on the ballot, and voting by mail. Also, one of the highest-profile races on the Republican ballot is for Attorney General. Incumbent Ken Paxton was considered vulnerable, but will current Land Commissioner George P. Bush be able to defeat him? And language in Texas’ recent abortion legislation has some doctors and pharmacists concerned about providing care for miscarriages. We’ll take a look at why. Also take a closer look at the Texas electric grid and why hot temperatures have so far been a challenge. Plus a conversation with a Texas researcher involved in that new photo of a black hole. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Madame Vice President. Finally.

For the first time in United States history, a woman occupies the second highest position in government. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Texas Standard: March 16, 2020

We’re checking in with reporters statewide to hear how Texans are coping with efforts to keep our distance from each other per the CDC, also how the state is tweaking certain rules to accommodate closures. Plus a market drying up for oil worldwide sends grim signals across one of the state’s core industries. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 20, 2019

The reddest of red states? No more! Texas’ senior Senator John Cornyn ponders his reelection prospects and issues a warning to the GOP. Abby Livingston of the Texas Tribune on her conversation with the Senate’s 2nd highest ranking Republican and what it means for Texas politics. Also, summers here, but so is a teacher shortage in West Texas. So what happens come September? And Facebook bets on a Bitcoin competitor, should you? Tech expert Omar Gallaga weighs in. That and whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 25, 2018

Are Texas election maps racially gerrymandered, designed to dilute minority vote? It’s a case that’s been 7 years in the making: a challenge to Texas’ redistricting maps claiming that when those lines were drawn, the intent was racially discriminatory, Unconstitutional. A lower court agreed with the plaintiffs, but today the US supreme court overturned that ruling in all but one district. What does this decision really mean? Who’s affected? And what does this mean for the midterms if anything?
That’s just our top story on this Monday, but we’ve got a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 18, 2018

The Homeland Security chief tweets that the U.S. does not have a policy of separating families at the border: is that fact or fiction? Over the weekend, outrage grows over the so-called zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration, a drama playing out across south Texas. We’ll talk with the Houston Chronicle’s immigration reporter to hear what she’s learned about how families are separated and what is and isn’t done to get them back together. Also an unusual death penalty appeal: not a plea to spare a life, but for a different method of killing, we’ll explore. Plus: does your teenager know what he or she needs to when it comes to Texas law? Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 7, 2017

Pink dome deja vu: Governor Abbott calls Texas lawmakers back to the city he loves to rail against. We’ll explore going in to legislative overtime. Also, after signing a bill banning texting and driving, governor Abbott pledges to go an extra mile, and some local governments won’t like it. Plus the return of the bathroom bill and a thousand dollar raise for Texas teachers? We’ll set the stage for the just announced special session. And 12 thousand new jobs in just six months. Why surprising new numbers in Texas oil and gas may not add up to what you think it does. Those stories and lots more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: April 5, 2017

Has the freedom caucus outlived its usefulness? Congressman Ted Poe on why he walked away and what that means for conservatives in Texas. Also, out of control: after hundreds of arrests and even deaths during spring break, South Padre demand a shift in the island’s image as the teenage party capitol. And from ranchers to rock stars, how the resurgence of chain stitched western wear could be a Texas sized boon for business. Also a warning to gephyrophobes about the scariest bridge in all of you know where. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

Three Secrets of Life From My 101-Year-Old Mother

My mom lived to be 101 and five months. She said once you reached 99, you started counting your age like a newborn – in months: 99 and six months, 99 and nine months. She used to advise that if you wanted to live to be a hundred, you should live to be 99 and then be very, very careful.

Mary B. Strong, whose name doubled as her motto, was a tough, no-nonsense woman. A Daughter of the American Revolution, survivor of the Great Depression; an honest as the day is long woman of the Texas soil. She had what John Wayne called True Grit. I think anyone who lives so long, one in about 40,000, must have True Grit.

So what was the secret to her longevity?

She was always willing to try new things – never one to say, “I’m too old for that.” She bought her first computer when she was 88, was on the Internet writing emails at 92 and had 115 Facebook friends when she died. She refused to let technology leave her behind. Even when her hands were gnarled by arthritis and she could no longer type, she would dictate her emails to those who would type for her. Just a few days before she passed, she was admiring my iPhone, saying, “Oh, I’m gonna buy one of those for myself.”

She didn’t care about the phone, really. She saw the potential for a thousand pictures of grandkids conveniently carried in her purse.

A second secret was that she never stopped moving. She mowed her own lawn ’til she was 85 and never stopped gardening. When she was 99, I asked her what she would do if she could be 18 for a day, and she said, “Oh, I would RUN. I would get out on that Galveston beach and just run until I ran out of island.”

She continued to do her own dishes and laundry right up to her last days. She went to church three times a week, never allowing most illness to keep her away. She’d say, “ I won’t feel any worse at church, and I might feel better.”

She was courageous. For her 101st birthday, she was asking me to take her for a ride on my motorcycle. I told her I‘d have to strap her down with bungee cords and she said that would be fine. Always ready for the next adventure.

Third was her diet. She ate pretty much what she pleased. Eggs and bacon, BBQ, cheeseburgers, Mexican food, a Coca-Cola every mid-morning – and a bowl of ice cream before bed. Her only compromise was in portions – always small. And no alcohol at all.

She had great pride. Her measure of people was in whether or not they took pride in what they did and how they lived. Sometimes her standards were unfair, like the time she visited Arizona and complained about the shabby lawns out there. I reminded her that it was a desert and she said, “But if they had pride, they’d have nice yards.”

That was her central value, I suppose: Pride. She always said to me, “I don’t care much what you do in life, just make sure you live a life you can be proud of.” And if she didn’t personally like something, like the new truck I’d bought, she’d say, “Well, it’s not my kinda truck, but I’m proud of it for ya.”

And that pride she looked for her in others was evident in her. For her 101st birthday, I took her to the hair salon, a place she called the beauty parlor. On the way home I told her how lovely she looked. She leaned over my way as if she was sharing a secret. She said, “You know, a lot of people think I look only about 90.”

Give your Mom a big bear hug for Mother’s Day. And say the four words she cherishes most: “I love you, Mom.”

W.F. Strong is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. At Public Radio 88 FM in Harlingen, Texas, he’s the resident expert on Texas literature, Texas legends, Blue Bell ice cream, Whataburger (with cheese) and mesquite smoked brisket.

A Tribute to Shirley Chisholm (Ep. 51, 2015)

IBA presents a tribute to the late Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm, former congresswoman from New York’s 12th congressional district and the first African-American woman elected to Congress.