A Texan in the Making

Texas ProudAs you may recall back in November of last year, Liam was working on his Texas Pride.

I’m happy to report that yesterday he officially used the word y’all in a sentence. It went something like this; “Mom, are y’all both going in the store?” This of course made me beam with my own Texas Pride.

Now, if we could just get him to like hot sauce, his Texan transformation would be complete!

Tax-Free Insanity

tax-free graphicThe annual, three-day Sales Tax Holiday begins today in Texas.   During the "holiday" weekend of August 21—23rd, back-to-school shoppers get a break from state & local sales taxes on most clothing, shoes, backpacks, & school supplies priced at less than $100 purchased for use by a student in an elementary or secondary school.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being frugal and realize that even small savings can add up, but just as I wondered how did shopping become a holiday? a couple of years back, I continue to question this insanity.   There’s little doubt as to our government’s underlying motives for this "holiday" — oh sure, we get a little relief from sales taxes on a few select items, but they get a massive shot in the arm from the influx of taxes on incidental purchases — purchases we’d be much less likely to make if not for this artificial incentive.

And really, unless you’re spending hundreds of dollars, an eight percent savings isn’t a tremendous net.   (C’mon, we’re talking about less than a Frappuccino or two.)   In fact, I suspect that if instead of this pay no sales tax all weekend event, retailers advertised a take 8% off on back-to-school purchases sale, the response would be, um, "yawn."

Rapacious retailers are, of course, banking heavily upon this "holiday" to lure budget-crunched consumers into the stores and help pry open their wallets.   These annual sales tax holidays have become a huge event that extend, in many states, well beyond sensible school supplies to include big-ticket items like large electronics, major appliances, & furniture.

And the tax-free insanity doesn’t end there…

Some states also have separate sales tax holidays just for firearms.   Firearms?   Yup, you can get your weaponry & ammo tax-free in Louisiana on September 4—6th and in South Carolina on November 27—28th!

Texas Road Etiquette

For Texans, there’s a set of unwritten, yet fully understood rules of etiquette that apply when driving on highways.   If you’re the slower-moving vehicle on one of the hundreds (thousands?) of two-lane highways that weave throughout the state and a faster one approaches behind, it’s simply expected that you’ll ease over onto the shoulder and let the faster driver pass without having to occupy the oncoming lane.   And accordingly, if you’re the faster driver who’s just been afforded this courtesy, it’s expected that you’ll give a little wave as you pass and/or after that slower car has moved back into the lane after you’ve gone by.

If you’ve never been a part of this graceful driver’s version of the Texas Two-Step, it may sound a little complicated, but it’s not — it happens so frequently throughout any trip within the Lone Star State, it’s instinctual.

trucks passing on a Texas two-lane highway

Over the Easter holiday, we found ourselves on many of these two-lane roads and noticed how this Texas road courtesy is becoming a thing of the past.   Out of about 6 hours of driving on two-lane roads on that trip, there were very few drivers who would move over and allow us to pass.   Also, I noticed that when I pulled over to let people pass me, not a single person on this trip gave me the customary “wave” to say thank you.

All of this really bothers me a lot.   I’m saddened that people aren’t teaching their children the common driving courtesies that my parent’s did.   It seems that it’s mostly my generation that has done this.   What happened?   Have we become so impatient & self-absorbed that we’ve completely done away with common courtesy?

A 100 in the Shade

It was a hot one today – 100° in the shade!   We took Caliente to work today and drove home with the top down.   I guess summer has officially arrived in Texas.   I snapped this picture under a shade tree in our driveway.   Hard to believe its only May and we’re reaching triple digits already!

Thermometer shows 100 degrees in the shade


Texas New Beetle Roundup ’05

We’re back from last weekend’s Texas New Beetle Roundup 2005 and it was a blast! We enjoyed getting to see all of the familiar faces from last year’s show and meet many new VW owners too. There were over 50 VW New Beetles entered in the competition and, while we didn’t win a trophy in our class, Caliente placed 5th out of 14 in the “Modified Stock’ division. Considering how many of the awesome NB’s in her category that were far more tricked out, I’m proud that Cali placed so well. I have the distinction, however, of winning the “Worst Luck” prize for the cards I drew during the Road Rally/Poker Run on Sunday morning. This scavenger hunt was a real kick and we’re already revved up for next year’s.

Big thanks go out to the Dallas/Ft. Worth New Beetle Club for a great show!

Click here to view photos from the TNBRU 2005 show.

Rob & Dede pull Caliente onto the Metro VW lot Dede takes the TRNBRU 2005 'Worst Luck' prize

Billy Bob Thornton Loves Us!

Yup, Billy Bob is a Lone Star Booster. Well, so it seems anyway. First he starred in the historical drama The Alamo that’s set to release April 9th. And now Friday Night Lights, which is set for release on October 15, 2004. Billy Bob & crew had ascended upon Odessa for 3 weeks to complete post-production location filming, which wrapped this weekend. Having the film crew around gave our town’s economy and morale a much-needed shot in the arm.

For those not in the know, Friday Night Lights chronicles life in the football-driven West Texas city of Odessa and the feats of the ’88 season of famed Permian Panthers – the “winningest high-school football team in Texas history.”