A Texas Vacation?

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Eugene D. Gallagher

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Aug 22, 2001, 11:19:17 AM8/22/01
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There is a great op/ed in the Boston Globe about Bush's Texas vacation:
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/234/oped/A_Texas_vacation_That_s_an_oxymoron+.shtml

A Texas vacation? That's an oxymoron

By Scot Lehigh, Globe Staff, 8/22/2001

THE TWO MOUNTAIN lions had decided to spend the year hunting humans.
One would stalk
his prey in New Mexico, the other in Texas. In the spring, they'd meet
to see how they'd done.

Spring came. Arriving plump and self-satisfied, the New Mexico puma was
shocked to see his
friend reduced to skin and bones.

''Lord, son, you look awful,'' he said.

''I'm about starved,'' the Texan-hunting catamount confessed.

''Must be something wrong,'' said the first mountain lion. ''Tell me
what you've been doing.''

''I've been using the old, tried and true methods. I crouch on a limb
until I see one coming. Then I
roar loud as I can. And then I pounce.''

The New Mexico puma shook his head. ''It's a wonder you're not dead,''
he said. ''Remember,
you're hunting Texans. When you roar, you scare the crap out of 'em.
When you pounce, you
knock the wind out of 'em. With Texans, there's nothing left but boots
and buckles.''

That (slightly modified) joke, from Cormac McCarthy's ''The Crossing,''
is as apt a summation of
Texans as I've ever run across, though Ed Muskie used to tell a good
story about a laconic Mainer
listening to a Texan blowing hard about the size of his ranch.

''If I get in my pickup at 9, it's an hour before I make it off my
spread,'' the Texan boasted. The
Mainer shook his head knowingly. ''I had a truck like that once
myself,'' he said.

As for Texas itself? Cut to Union General Philip Sheridan, who
observed, ''If I owned Texas and
hell, I would rent out Texas and live in hell.'' What more can one add?
Well, this: Don't expect to
retire early on the rent.

What right do I have to mess with Texas? Well, I've seen miles and
miles of the dreadful place. I've
been there maybe 10 times, which is to say, nine more than any sane
person would go. In 1992 I
spent several sweltering weeks there covering Ross Perot.

One day, as we stood waiting while emissaries from the Bush and Clinton
campaigns tried to
dissuade him from reentering the presidential race, an English
journalist, who had used the time to
get outside of some Texas beer, sidled up to offer an acute foreign
perspective.

''The headline should be, `Crazy midget holds America hostage,''' he
opined. Alas, one of those
who also served by standing and waiting happened to be a top Perot
aide, whose abrupt departure
suggested that he had been hoping for a different sort of story. ''Oh
my,'' lamented the beery Brit as
the Perotista stalked off. ''Do you suppose I've blown my chances for
an interview?''

Which brings me, roundaboutly - which is to say, in true Texas fashion
- to today's point:

Why is George W. vacationing there when his family has a place in
Maine? ''When you are from
Texas and love Texas, this is where you come home,'' is how he explains
it.

Come home? C'mon. This is the goofiest vacation decision since
President Clinton polled to find
out where Americans thought he should go for a summer break - and ended
up having to forsake
his beloved Martha's Vineyard for the national parks. Try the old test:
Substitute ''a hot, sun-baked
wasteland'' for Texas and see if you still believe the president.

No, poor party-hungry Jenna had it right when W. first bought that
dreadful ranch. She, W. told
Time, ''was like, `Why?''' Why, indeed? For Crawford and 100-degree
heat he's passing up the
cool ocean breezes and salubrious salt air of Kennebunkport? The
moderate counsel of mom?

And some advice from his phrase-fracturing father? Something like:
''Now, Quincy, those
congressional Democrats, can't trust 'em. All decoy and no duck. Tried
a little turkey talk myself.
Threw down the gauntlet: Give me that line-item veto and I'll show you
some budget balance. Oh,
no. Wouldn't do it. Gotta address the revenue side, gotta address the
revenue side. I mean,
smokescreen city. Next thing, you're deep in the heart of taxes.
Message: Beware.''

After swerving partway onto the shoulder during the spring and summer,
the fall will be about
meandering back toward the middle, the White House says. If so, what
better way to start than by
coming to Maine, where sensible people vacation, where an independent
governs, and where
moderate Republicans sprout?

C'mon, W. Show some sense. Put Texas in your rear-view mirror.

Scot Lehigh's e-mail address is leh...@globe.com.

This story ran on page A23 of the Boston Globe on 8/22/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.

Steve Caple

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Aug 22, 2001, 11:55:53 AM8/22/01
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Eugene D. Gallagher wrote:
> hunting Texans. When you roar, you scare the crap out of 'em.
> When you pounce, you knock the wind out of 'em. With Texans,
> there's nothing left but boots and buckles.''

> That (slightly modified) joke ...

The version I heard years ago had to do with a guy in a bar showing a little
matchbox containing the ashes of his friend from Texas. When his companion
averred that couldn't be, since Tex was such a big guy, he explained that
once they'd circumcised him and removed his hemmorhoids, that's all that was
left.

Don't ask why the mortician performed those procedures ...


Seen in a john stall in Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park (in Colorado, where lots
of Texans come to hunt elk):

Here I sit
Ass a'flexin'
Just gave birth
To another Texan


Fortunately, Texas does produce the occasional Molly Ivins or Jim Hightower.

Wim Waltman

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Aug 22, 2001, 12:06:53 PM8/22/01
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That's clear,
To be able to fit him in that Matchbox

Wim

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