One Hundred Monkeys in Texas

January 11, 2009

You know you’re in Texas when …

Filed under: Humor,Texas — alancochrum @ 11:23 pm
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A sign spotted in a men’s bathroom at a small college near Dallas-Fort Worth:

“Please DO NOT discard tobacco or chewing gum in the toilets and urinals.”

What a great state this is.


September 8, 2008

That whirring sound

Filed under: Business,Journalism,Newspapers,Texas — alancochrum @ 9:03 am
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When I was on the editorial board of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, every now and then a reader who was unhappy about some aspect of the paper’s performance would remark that Amon Carter must be rolling over in his grave.

Amon G. Carter Sr. was the North Texas businessman/publisher who put together the newspaper about a century ago. He was also a notorious community booster, and the story goes that when events required him to go to Dallas, he would take a sack lunch so as to avoid purchasing anything in Big D. Given that he has been dead for more than five decades, I found it rather amusing that letter-writers would still invoke him as the guiding spirit of the paper.

 (The curious can read about Carter in Amon, a 1978 book by longtime Star-Telegram scribe Jerry Flemmons.)

However, I am fairly certain that I recently heard the old boy doing a few rpm’s in his final resting place, given that (insert pregnant pause here) the Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News have agreed to a joint distribution agreement in parts of their circulation areas.

Given the economic crunch in the industry — the cumulative total in recent years of employee buyouts and layoffs at the two papers is in the multiple hundreds — the venture does make a certain amount of economic sense. But if the soil over a certain Cowtown publisher’s casket looks unusually disturbed, you now know the reason.

August 29, 2008

The 300

Filed under: Athletics,High school — alancochrum @ 9:26 pm
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It’s not often that you get to be present for three milestones in your high school alma mater’s history.

In the fall of 1977, my junior year, Arlington’s Lamar High School had a pretty good football program that nevertheless had never made it to the district playoffs. Crosstown rival Sam Houston was ranked fourth in the state of Texas. The Lamar Vikings? Well, not exactly.

But something happened after an offensive shootout with district rival Haltom in which Lamar came off second-best. The following week, Lamar unexpectedly blitzed intracity rival Arlington High, 41-6. The week after that, the Vikings stunned Sam Houston’s Texans, 43-12.

In that fall of 1977, Lamar went to the high school football playoffs for the first time. From my spot in the band, I watched us take a last-minute victory over Fort Worth’s Arlington Heights High School to capture the bi-district crown.

(True, we did have our head handed to us in the regional game with Odessa Permian. But back then, Odessa Permian handed a lot of teams their heads.)

The fall of ’78, my senior year: The Vikings went 10-0 to take their first outright district championship. (The previous year, they had shared the actual title with Arlington but went to the playoffs because they’d defeated the Colts.)

Another bi-district game with Arlington Heights. This time we weren’t so fortunate: a 35-0 loss. But we’d still managed to get those district laurels.

And tonight: With a 41-30 pre-district win over Fossil Ridge High School, Lamar’s Eddy Peach — the only head football coach that the north Arlington high school has ever had — racked up his 300th win. Only a handful of Texas high school coaches can say the same.

And I was there. In the big scheme of things, it’s a small piece of history — but it’s history just the same.

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