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- An airline ticket is a document, created by an airline or a travel agency, to confirm that an individual has purchased a seat on a flight on an aircraft. This document is then used to obtain a boarding pass, at the airport.
- United States politician and military leader who fought to gain independence for Texas from Mexico and to make it a part of the United States (1793-1863)
- An inland port in Texas, linked to the Gulf of Mexico by the Houston Ship Canal; pop. 1,953,631. Since 1961, it has been a center for space research and manned space flight; it is the site of the NASA Space Center
- Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States of America and the largest city in the state of Texas. As of the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a population of 2.3 million within an area of .
- the largest city in Texas; located in southeastern Texas near the Gulf of Mexico; site of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Kinky makes a (truck) stop
Kinky makes a (truck) stop
By Ken Fountain
Published July 11, 2006
Independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman visited a Baytown truck stop Monday as part of a five-day “listening tour” focusing on environmental issues and renewable energy sources across the state.
The official reason for Friedman’s visit to the TravelCenters of America (TA) truck stop at Interstate 10 and Thompson Road was to learn about IdleAire, a system that allows truck drivers to keep their cabs heated and cooled during layovers without idling their engines.
The country singer-turned-author-turned-candidate was accompanied by representatives of the area environmental organizations Galveston-Houston Association for Smog Prevention and Mothers for Clean Air.
But Friedman, who is challenging Republican Gov. Rick Perry in a five-person race, also used the opportunity to expound on his views on the environment, education finance and other issues.
Wearing his trademark black cowboy hat and fringed jacket and waving his ever-present unlit cigar, Friedman said the IdleAire system is important because it reduces the amount of pollution emitted by diesel engines.
“Diesel appears to be the bad boy in all this,” said Friedman, adding that the particulate matter emitted by diesel engines has been linked to increased cancer rates.
“We have the resources to handle all of this pollution, we have the technology, and we have the laws already on the books,” he said. “But we don’t have the leadership to enforce the laws.”
Friedman said under Perry, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has not sufficiently sanctioned large-scale polluters in the state.
“The leadership we’re getting is to pass out warning tickets to the big-time polluters,” he said.
Friedman called Perry’s performance on the environment “benign neglect.”
Among the environmental initiatives Friedman supports is the use of biodiesel fuel – processed fuel from biological sources such as vegetable oils and animal fats – in vehicles that now use ordinary diesel fuel.
Friedman said if elected, he would name fellow country musician Willie Nelson as head of a new Texas Energy Commission. He noted that Nelson uses biodiesel to fuel his tour bus, as do fellow musicians Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young.
With Nelson as the state’s energy czar, Friedman said he would move to create farmers’ cooperatives across the state to sell the fuel, and would have the state pay drivers to use it in order to promote it as an energy alternative. Friedman said he would also see that the state’s 35,000 school buses be converted to biodiesel use.
“I’m even going to trade in my Cadillac, the ‘Yom Kippur Clipper,’ and start using biodiesel,” said the Jewish candidate.
“It’s my belief that musicians can run the state better than the politicians. Musicians have qualities that politicians just don’t have, including integrity and creativity,” he said. “We may not get a lot done in the morning, but we’ll work late.”
Friedman also held forth on the school finance question, saying the recently enacted business tax passed by the Legislature will not be sustainable over time. He proposes making casino gambling legal in Texas to act as a “permanent revenue stream” to support the state’s public schools.
“There’s no other choice,” he said, adding that neighboring Louisiana and four other states have made casino gambling a linchpin of their economies.
Friedman got a bit of good news for his campaign Monday, when Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams ruled that he could use his famous nickname on the November ballot, as “Richard ‘Kinky’ Friedman.” Friedman had wanted to use only the nickname, however.
But Williams denied Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s bid to have “Grandma” as part of her name on the ballot. Strayhorn, a Republican, is also running as an independent to unseat Perry. The other candidates are Democrat Chris Bell, a former Congressman from Houston who also represented part of Baytown, and Libertarian James Werner.
Friedman discounted the oft-voiced view in Texas political circles that his candidacy can only help Perry.
“That’s what people say about any independent candidate, that the independent candidate is a spoiler,” he said. But recent polls show him ahead of both Strayhorn and Bell, the other candidates with significant name recognition.
“I’m the best chance to beat Perry, because there’s going to be a really big turnout,” he said.
Friedman said he has a better chance of “charming the pants off” members of the Legislature than Perry, and that if elected, he would create a 24-hour-a-day hotline to call his office, as well as a radio talk show, in order to “reconnect with the people of Texas.”
Saturday in Galveston.
I intentionally didn't bring my laptop with me; yet here I am, at
poolside, watching the kids have a blast, blogging on my iPhone. I am
such a friggin geek.
We started our day at 3:30am, me taking a shower and the kids helping
do the last minute things, including putting the dogs out and feeding
them. We were rolling out of the driveway at 4am, just like I wanted.
Our five hour drive to our first destination was incredibly perfect.
The kids slept the first few hours, and there was zero traffic. We
stopped halfway to get some pancakes and gas up the car. We rolled
into the George Ranch parking lot five minutes after nine, just as it
Getting there first thing on a Saturday morning was perfect. It was a
cloudy day, so for most of our three-hour day we didn't have the sun
on our backs. A tractor pulling a people-moving train brought us from
historic house to historic house on the thousands of acres of land,
and each ranch house brought us through a different part of the 1800s.
The ranch hands had fun teaching the kids about spinning cotton yarn
and tending pigs, answering all their questions. I loved that they got
all this personal attention! We eventually ended up with a group of
about four old-folk tourists, going to the different houses. Dylan
even had a real blacksmith make a J-hook and give it to him. He was
thrilled! A stop at the gift shop got us a rabbit pelt, a raccoon
tail, a keychain for me, a frisbee, an old man coin purse, and a pen--
all for under ten bucks. I was very impressed with the prices.
Lunch was at Burger King. Yes, I know we ate junk today. But you know
what?We're on vacation. The kids has been out in the muggy heat for
hours, and they got to play in the air-conditioned playland for half
an hour. They also got Indiana Jones toys, which seemed to make it all
We had used our Houston Citypass voucher at George Ranch, and the next
place we took the Citypasses to was the Downtown Aquarium. These
passes basically let you go to a bunch of places in Houston for one
price. The aquarium kind of gabe us a run around about getting our
tickets, and it was muggy, and I was getting miffed, and finally the
manager came out, and I discovered that it wasn't that the Citypass
wouldn't be honored, but that the girl in the window didn't know how
to put it in the computer :( the manager did. We got inside and loved
all the fishies! The kids spent half an hour alone petting the sting
rays. As I'm sure you can imagine, I got tons of videos and pictures ;)
It took us about 45 minutes to get from the aquarium in Houston to our
hotel in Galveston. I kept seeing LED signs that said, "ferry wait: 45
minutes" and I kind of worried... We didn't have to take the ferry,
did we? Heh... Nope. There was a little bit of traffic, but nothing
unbearable, and we were soon at our hotel on the beach.
It was about 4pm, and the first thing the kids begged to do was jump
in the pool. It was dinnertime, and there was almost no one in there,
so I thought it was a great idea. They splashed around for about an
hour, and then we decided to get something to eat. We had all agreed
to skip the beach for the day.
I was worried about taking the car and losing our parking space (the
Travelocity reviews had warned about such), so we decided to just walk
a block or two to dinner. I saw a Luby's and pointed it out to the
kids, so we walked a block to it. Scott had always called it an "old
people's restaurant" and that he didn't like it, so we had never been.
The kids and my final opinion afterwards, though, was that we all
liked it. It's no different than Golden Corral, except for that the
food is better and they serve you instead of you getting your own.
On the walk back home, Rainlin started picking wildflowers. Well, some
of them weren't wild and were on big bushes, but I figured no one was
going to arrest a little girl for picking a handful of flowers.
They're now in a cup on a table in our hotel room.
Pajamas, a cartoon (Ben 10, to be exact), a prayer, and a couple of
wonderful kid cuddles later, we were all falling asleep. I told them
both that I loved them very much.
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