Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Texas

July 6th: Post Family Fest

Today is July 6th, Wednesday.

The Texas heat is still here (it will feel like 105 tomorrow), but at least we don’t have the storms that seem to be hitting the Midwest.

The last of the Family Fest revelers will be leaving tomorrow at 9 a.m.

We are here through July 11th and I have a desire to dine at the Roaring Fork at least once before we go back to the Midwest.

Beyond that, our euchre club meets on Wednesdays and that might beckon tomorrow.

The last 5 days have been very hot, but very event-filled. Kudos to the son and daughter-in-law, who put it all together.

I began doing some research on the driver’s license renewal laws for Illinois versus Iowa versus Texas. There is no real reason for this, other than I will have to renew mine in 2024 (I renewed it last year) and I was curious. Perhaps you will find this as interesting as I did.

  1.  Illinois:  In Illinois, if you are past 75, you have to drive with the driver’s license examiner in the car and you only get a license for 2 years. Naturally, vision tests and insurance proof are required. I also would mention that the minimum wage in Illinois is $12.00.
  2. Iowa:  In Iowa—where the minimum wage is $7.25, just what it was when I owned 2 busineses back in the 80s, 90s and through 2003—you get a 2-year license, but you have to show up in person and take a vision screening (and, sometimes, a written test). You do not have to drive with the examiner every time.
  3. Texas:  In Texas, between the ages of 79 and 85 you get a 6-year license. You can renew it online. There may be a vision screening/written test, but there is no driving with the examiner requirement. The minimum wage is $7.25. So now you know.

    Connie, Stacey, Craig and (nephew) Michael Wilson at the outdoor Armadillo Bar in Austin, Texas, on July 3, 2022.

The Family Fest Beckons on June 30th

The Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum in the distance.

We begin the journey to the Family Fest in Austin, Texas, at 10:30 p.m. tonight.

We will leave for Midway at 6:45 p.m. because the reports say this is going to be “the busiest travel day of the year.” We are not sure why this day would beat Christmas or Thanksgiving or any of the bigger holidays, but we are aware that we may end up right back here, enjoying the view from my condo and sleeping here, if something goes awry.

Meanwhile, the temperature here has dropped slightly into the eighties, while the temperature in Austin has not. We hope it doesn’t rain, as that appears to be a possibility for tomorrow, Friday, July 1st, my sister’s birthday.

Twenty-two out-of-towners are making the trip and some of the locals will join us, so it should be a good time—if we all make it. I will have all bedrooms at my house full and, since it is a winter home, we are hoping that we have enough sheets for the blow-up queen-sized bed. (The king-sized guest bedroom is good to go.)

Cities represented will include St. Louis, Denver, Nashville, Moline, East Moline, Hiawatha (IA) and the Austin locals.

Should be a good time!

On the Road Again: Poplar Bluffs, Missouri

I’m currently in Poplar Bluffs,Missouri. Yesterday, we were in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. . We journeyed across Arkansas today. Hampton Inns are our “home away from home” and I (belatedly) remembered that I am a Hilton Honors member and they now own Hampton Inns.

All I know is that we will hit St. Louis tomorrow and, hopefully, see brother-in-law Mark and do dinner and some sight-seeing.

We added up the cost of gas, so far, to and from Texas: $74 Of course, we are driving my Prius hybrid auto, which gets something like 52 miles to the gallon.

We managed to find two of the worst gas station rest rooms in the states of Arkansas and Texas. One had a rest room, but it was “out of order.” We ended up eating waffles at a waffle house at 4 p.m., simply to gain access to a rest room. Today was no better, as this rest room definitely did not earn a gold star for cleanliness. Yet there were instructions posted prominently about washing one’s hands, although I was afraid to touch ANYTHING in this rest room.

I am reading aloud and the book in question on this way home is Bob Odenkirk’s “Comedy” autobiography. On the way down, it was Mel Brooks’ autobiography, “All About Me.” Both re good books and very funny and very interesting.

My spouse insists on pronouncing “Poplar” as “popular” (!) but I will say that the Hampton Inn here is very nice. Rooms are running about $150 per night, so the trip will end up costing around $400, total, whereas our air fare back to Texas for the Fourth of July is going to run more like $600, or $300 apiece.

I can’t say that Arkansas is an improvement over Oklahoma, Folks, but Texas was way warmer and I’m getting ready to don a jacket as we head closer to home.

Smile All the While (And Don’t Forget to Boil Your Water)


Tilting at Windmills

Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah touched on the issues Texas has faced this week after a winter storm overwhelmed the state’s power grid, leaving millions of people without hea

“I know people were praying for Texas to go blue, but not like this,” Noah joked. “I mean, is it too much to ask for just one apocalypse at a time?”

“Some people are putting up Scotch tape and blankets. That’s not how people should keep heat in their house; that’s how you hide the weed smell from your R.A.” — TREVOR NOAH

The electricity crisis in Texas, which has its own grid to avoid federal regulation, was largely caused by freezing in the natural gas pipelines that provide the majority of the state’s power supply. But conservatives and fossil fuel advocates have blamed wind power and even the Green New Deal, a climate proposal co-sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“The main reason Texas has plunged into darkness is that its natural gas industry has been crippled by this storm. And that might — might — have been preventable, except that Texas deregulated its power supply in the ’90s, which was clearly not the wisest decision. I mean, trust me, as a man who lived through the ’90s, you should probably rethink most of the decisions you made in that decade.” — TREVOR NOAH

“And this just goes to show you, you can’t put profits over quality and safety. Money’s not worth a whole lot if you have to burn it to keep warm.” — TREVOR NOAH

“I mean, this is the state that prides itself on its oil and gas industry, and now, that industry has failed spectacularly. This would be like Jason Momoa needing help opening a pickle jar, which is probably why state officials and their allies on cable news are working so hard to blame someone else.” — TREVOR NOAH

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas “has been working hard to somehow push the blame to Democrats and the Green New Deal, which doesn’t even exist yet. And Tucker Carlson is helping him out by blaming it on windmills.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“These guys are so desperate to just let fossil fuels off the hook, that they’re blaming A.O.C. and the Green New Deal — which, by the way, hasn’t even happened yet — for something that’s happening in Texas right now? But this just shows you, no matter what happens, no matter how far removed she is from the problem, conservatives can and will always find a way to blame the boogeyman, A.O.C. Rick Perry could have broken his arm as a kid and he would have blamed it on A.O.C.” — TREVOR NOAH

“Let’s kick off the show with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s the reason you keep refreshing vaccine websites like they’re selling Coachella tickets.” — TREVOR NOAH

“Last night, Biden promised the vaccine will be available to every American who wants it by the end of July. And then we can get back to spreading the old stuff — herpes, gonorrhea and good times!” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“The White House is said to be in talks with Amazon right now to help distribute the vaccine. The way it will work is any Prime member who can prove they’ve watched all six seasons of ‘Bosch’ will get vaccinated.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“And with over a million Americans getting vaccinated every day, everyone is anxiously looking forward to a time when they can get back to doing normal things again, like going out to eat, or not thinking about the welfare of the people who deliver their packages.” — TREVOR NOAH

Today’s Thought of the Day from the Letters to the Editor in Austin, TX

From Renee Potenza (of Austin, TX)

“Get Off the Trump Train and Admit Your Mistake”

To those friends and family members who voted for Donald J. Trump:

Perhaps you are a life-long Republican.  Maybe you have deeply held beliefs about those values for which the Republican Party used to stand. Maybe you got on the Trump train early on, and your enthusiasm in being part of a popular group carried you along.

I ask you now:  Please get off the Trump train. He’s not worthy of your trust.

Disengage your identity as a follower of the Donald, and think critically, questioning everything.  Utter those three little words, which are the hallmarks of honest, healthy communication:  “I was wrong.”

(A Letter to the Editor from the Austin American-Statesman of Wednesday, January 20th, 2021.)

Texas’ Lt. Gov./Texas’ Attorney General: Time for Changes Here?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2020 at 3:20 PM

From San Antonio; Reposted on Tuesday, Dec. 8th


  • Wikimdia Commons / Gage Skidmore
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick

After telling seniors they should be willing to risk contracting COVID-19 to protect the economy (see previous WeeklyWilson article), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick doesn’t seem to be willing to make a similar sacrifice to serve in the Texas Legislature next year.

Hereford cattle on LBJ Ranch.

Patrick, 70, who presides over the upper chamber, informed state senators Friday that people testifying before committees may need to register three days ahead and take a quick-turnaround coronavirus test 24 hours before they’re allowed into the Capitol building, the Texas Tribune reports.

During past sessions, people have been able to sign up and speak on the same day.

Patrick, a Republican, discussed the safeguards on conference call with the Senate Democrat Caucus, the Tribune reports. During those discussions, Patrick he wants the National Guard to conduct the tests, handling 10 to 12 people per hour.
Such caution seems at odds with Patrick’s partisan pronouncements about COVID earlier this year during TV talk show appearances.

In addition to telling grandma and grandpa they should be willing to risk death to save the economy, Patrick downplayed Texas’ infection numbers and accused the media of ginning up panic. He also dismissed warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying the nation’s top infectious disease expert “doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

And, to top off the crazy from Texas, where I currently am, the Attorney General of Texas, who is under indictment for Securities fraud and under investigation for bribery, filed a lawsuit alleging that the states of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona shouldn’t be allowed to confirm their votes on today’s “safe harbor” date (Dec. 8th) which comes in advance of the Dec. 14th vote of the electoral college. Supposedly, the man is angling for a pardon from the departing DJT and is a huge Trump loyalist.

Grape Creek Winery

It is Texas officials like these that drive one to travel far into the countryside (Fredricksburg) and visit wine tastings in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. Time for a change, politically, perhaps?

It was 75 degrees out today and, from the highway (I-290) we could see people swimming in their pool! We also decided to take a leisurely drive through LBJ’s old ranch, something the spouse and I had done but the son and daughter had not done.
Tomorrow, it is supposed to be 82 degrees. Not sure if this is a record, but it certainly beats the Illinois temperatures on a December day.
Aside from the wine tasting, daughter Stacey has traveled to Austin to be with us and her brother took off half a day of work to join us on our wine-tasting adventure. Then, we watched Iowa (#3 nationally) beat North Carolina (#16 nationally) in basketball. Following that, the younger members of the family got in the hot tub, but—once the sun went down—the evening temperatures did not convince me that I’d be warm enough.

LBJ Ranch, with deer.

I re-started my subscription to the “Austin Statesman” newspaper (REAL newspaper) and it was to have started this morning.

It didn’t. (Sigh)
[Other observations above from Sanford Nowlin who writes for the digital edition of the San Antonio paper.]

Traveling Down to Texas: Day Two

Road to St. Louis.

Day Two of the Trip to Texas is upon us.

I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. posting the previous post. That gave me time to watch all of the Sunday morning news shows that I had taped, which I had not had a chance to watch before our departure for Chicago.

Being in Chicago at my place there also allowed us to watch “The Undoing” (final episode), “Fargo” (final episode) and make a meal from things in our freezer at home that would otherwise have been thrown out. Therefore, we had pork chops, green beans, left-over chicken (from Thanksgiving, when we cooked a 5 lb. chicken instead of a turkey.

The weather turned colder overnight and there was 5 inches of snow predicted for Northwest Indiana. Because we hadd food with us, we didn’t leave the condominium in downtown Chicago. It has been said that one out of every fifteen residents of Chicago tests positive for Covid-19. I asked two of the other residents of my building if anyone there in the South Loop had tested positive and they said no one had.


But, he added, “I don’t know that they’d tell us if anyone had.”

We left at 12:30 for St. Louis and arrived about 5:30 p.m.

We have now finished watching “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” at my brother-in-law’s house, where we are missing Wendy (left us on April 18th).

Praying for good weather the rest of the way to Texas.

Travels to Texas: Night One


On the road again.

We’ve made it to Chicago and here is the view from my window. Way more lights in the South Loop than last year.

On the way in on I-55 there was some sort of accident, so the 40 miles to the heart of Chicago took longer than usual, but we’re here now and on to St. Louis tomorrow.

I brought pork chops from our freezer at home and cooked them (also had an onion from home) and made green beans (also from QC) and there was a little bit of left over chicken from the 5.6 pound chicken (Wilbur) we made for Thanksgiving.

The weather has taken a turn for the colder. You can feel it.

We watched the end of “The Undoing” (disappointed that it ended the way it did) and “Fargo” (also a disappointing and confusing ending) and now I’ve managed to make it through all the morning news


shows, so it’s off to bed.

“Keep Austin Weird”

Democrats Debate for 19th Time in Austin, Texas, Prior to Texas Vote (2/20/08)

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Debate in Austin, TexasTrue to my usual practice of listening for either applause or boos, during Thursday night’s Democratic debate on CNN televised from Austin, Texas, from on campus at the University of Texas, the only “boo-ing” was directed Hillary Clinton’s way, as she took after Barack Obama for (purportedly) plagiarizing a speech by Deval Patrick, the National Co-Chairman of his campaign (and Governor of Massachusetts). Hillary’s sharp retort that using Patrick’s words is “Not change we can believe in; change we can Xerox” did not go over well with the crowd. This was the only instance of “boo-ing” in the extremely civilized 19th debate the two leading candidates have had.

     First, from a woman’s perspective, what was up with Hillary’s outfit? The neckline of the black outfit reminded me of a costume from an old Star Trek set. It had a high collar that was edged in gold, which then looked as though it connected physically to her gold omega chain. It was not an unattractive look; it just looked like an early sketch of something Michael Jackson would design, with epaulets still to be attached. To be fair, it was fairly slimming and fetching from the waist up— until Hillary stood up. The hemline of the jacket then ballooned unfetchingly, making her look larger through the hips than she actually is (surely not the desired effect?).

     Fashion aside, here were some of the “zingers” heard during the largely friendly debate, listed in chronological order:

            Obama: “What’s lacking now are not good ideas. Washington is a place where ideas go to die.”

            Obama:  “What the American people want is an America as good as its promise.”

            Obama: (on talking to Cuba’s new leadership): “I do think it’s important (for a nation) not just to talk to its friends, but also to talk to its enemies.” (The gizmo people liked this one.)

            Clinton:  “The Bush Administration has alienated our friends and emboldened our enemies.” I want to send a very strong message that the era of arrogance, pre-emption and unilateralism—those days are over.” (I wondered how this pronouncement would dampen the budding friendship between Bill Clinton and his newfound friend George Herbert Walker Bush.)

           Obama: “I this the President today needs to take a more active role than 30 or 40 years ago. That’s the extra step.” (on talking to other nations)

           Clinton: (“The wealthy and the well-connected have had a President for the last 7 years and I’d like the middle class to have a President now.” Clinton followed that up with the phrase, “innovation nation,” a nice rhyming phrase. She should have trotted that one out earlier in this campaign.

         Clinton: (Talking about how young Latino children might come home to find their parents deported and no one there to take care of them) “That is not the America that I know. That is a stark admission of failure.” Pressed further on the immigration issue, Hillary, when asked if she would reconsider the border fence or commit to finishing it, said, “There is a smart and a dumb way to enforce immigration. I would say, ‘Wait a minute. We need to review this.’ As with so many things, the Bush Administration has gone off the deep end. I would listen to the people who live along the border.”

       Clinton: “My opponent gives speeches; I offer actions…Actions speak louder than words.” (It was right about here that the offending Xerox comment crept in, surely the biggest faux pas of the night from either candidate).

     Obama: (responding to Hillary’s plagiarism charge), retorted that her objections were “silly” and that it had become “silly season.” He added, “We shouldn’t be spending time tearing the country down; we should be building the nation up.”

   Obama (on whether he is ready to be President “on Day One,” which, lets’ face it, Sports Fans, is becoming a really annoying phrase to hear over and over and over): “I wouldn’t be running (for President) if I didn’t think I was ready (to be Commander-in-Chief).”

   Obama: (on the surge in Iraq) “The fact is that the purpose if it has not been fulfilled. We need to send a clear message that the Iraqis no longer have a blank check, like they had under President Bush….It is up to the Iraqis to determine what kind of future they will have.”  Obama, after praising the efforts of the 1st Cavalry stationed out of Fort Hood, said that the decision to invade Iraq was “a tactical maneuver based on a huge strategic blunder.” He proceeded to decry how poorly our returning veterans are being treated and how veterans in Southwest Texas have to drive 250 miles to access health care. Spending $12 million a month in Iraq has kept the nation from attending to building up relations with Latin American nations (among others), and we are only spending about what is spent in one week in Iraq. He added, “Iran is the single biggest beneficiary of our invasion of Iraq.”

     When asked about “earmarks”, the audience learned that there were $91 million in total “earmarks” from Obama, to secure funds for his home state of Illinois, and $342 million in earmarks from Hillary Clinton, for her home state of New York.

    Obama: “The people want to know that they have a government that is listening to them again. They want their government back (echoes of Howard Dean here) and that is what I’m going to provide them with.”

    The final question each was asked was, “Describe the moment when you were tested the most?” (Oh, oh. I thought. Is there really going to be an instant replay of the “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinski” days? Democrats can rest assured there will be if Hillary is the nominee.)

   Obama gave a bland answer that dealt with his work on the streets as an organizer, early in his career, a task which he committed to out of idealism rather than accepting a high-paying job with a prestigious law firm.

     Hillary paused and made a comment about how everyone in the audience knew of some of her difficult moments. After the debate was officially over, some of the analysts considered this final answer—which went waaaaay off on a tangent about returning disfigured Iraq veterans and how hard they have it, compared to anything she ever had to put up with—as a “humanizing” moment for the Robo-candidate. I just found it manipulative and staged. It didn’t look or sound “real” to me, at all. I was surprised that all these smart people, these paid analysts, had been “snookered” into letting a candidate twist the “real” question around and answer whatever-the-heck she felt like. I suppose we can give her points for agility and thinking on her feet ((“Boy! I sure don’t want to talk about Bill’s infidelity. Where can I go with this?”), but I don’t think we can give her too many points for candor in her “stagy” answer. To me, it was as bad as when I job applicant says that his chief failing is that he “cares too much for others.” Contrived. Manipulative. Deceitful. Not honest. Not real. Not human. Said for effect.

    In the CNN Newsroom, post-debate, some of the prevailing wisdom included this prescient line from Gloria Borger (CNN Political Analyst), “We’ve heard all the themes we are going to hear. It is what it is.” (Bring in Bill to parse the meaning of the word “is,” please. I know he can do it. He’s done it before.)

     Jeffrey Toobin (CNN analyst) said, “Maybe she’s going to lose with dignity.” (My reaction: not bloody likely).

     David Gergen, political analyst, decrying Hillary’s inability to “connect” with the voters emotionally said, “If she can’t establish that, I think she is going to lose.” (Gergen seems to be coming to this realization rather late in the game, but whatever.)

      Donna Brasile, who ran Al Gore’s campaign and is a Super Delegate to the convention, said, “She (Hillary) needs a message firewall” and declared “Barack Obama tonight was exceptional.”

     Donna Brasile, in all previous appearances and debates, had seemed to support Hillary Clinton, so this newfound enthusiasm for Obama may be indicative of the erosion of support from among the Super Delegates previously pledged to Clinton or previously listed as leaning towards Clinton.

    A couple of other good moments for Obama came when he said, “On the single most important decision of our generation (the decision to invade Iraq), I have shown the judgment to lead.” He also skewered likely Republican opponent John McCain, saying, “John McCain says he doesn’t know much about the economy and he has proven that by embracing the failed policies of George W. Bush.”

     One CNN analyst said, “It sounded as though Hillary was just reciting her resume.”

     This was the tamest and most civilized Democratic debate since the last seated debate, when Edwards was still in the race. I found it telling that Hillary Clinton invoked John Edwards’ name not once, but twice, in praising various positions he had articulated while still a candidate. It made me wonder if she was, as they say, “sucking up” to Edwards to try to get him to endorse her and/or to try to woo and influence his committed delegates to come over to her side (the Dark Side?). Both Clinton and Obama are known to have been in contact with the North Carolina ex-Senator at his home in Chapel Hill, but no endorsements have been forthcoming so far.

    It’s now do-or-die for Hillary Clinton. Most analysts expect that she will not be able to pull Texas out of the fire (it’s neck-and-neck), but that, if she does, it will be largely on the backs of the Hispanic voters in the state. Even if she does win in Texas, Hillary also has to take Ohio to be viable, according to her husband, the ex-President, and James Carville, who advised Bill Clinton and is advising Hillary.

     I don’t see wins for Hillary in both Ohio and Texas happening. I’ve thought since Iowa (January 3rd) that Obama has the charisma and the rock-star aura that Hillary, on her best day, cannot summon. Nor could Bill lend Hillary his charisma. If anything, Bill has managed to tarnish his elder statesman image while bringing home few wins for his ambitious wife. Crowds, yes; wins, no.

      Part of Obama’s appeal is gender-based. Part of his appeal rests on his mad oratorical skills. Much of his appeal is generational. Most of it is the “gut instinct” that each and every voter in our democracy is allowed to follow through on privately in the voting booth. (What a great country!)

   It almost seems that, like Giuliani and Thompson, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton campaign all made huge mistakes (of different sorts) in planning their campaigns. In Hillary Clinton’s case, she did not anticipate this upstart Senator from Illinois being the tenacious performer he has proven himself to be. He was well-organized beyond the Clinton campaign’s wildest dreams…or nightmares. The carefully scripted plastic appearances in Iowa, prior to the first January caucus, didn’t do much to endear Hillary to voters there, and that’s where Obamamania began. Keeping Chelsea under wraps and away from the press only reinforced the image that Hillary is remote, in an ivory tower, not “one of the people.”

    The biggest sticking point of the evening, the biggest debate point (which the candidates almost would not let go) was over health care, with Hillary accusing Obama’s plan (as she has on the stump) of leaving  15 million uninsured. Obama fired back that Hillary’s plan mandated that everyone have health care, which would prove a hardship. He made the very valid point that people who don’t have health care don’t have it because they can’t afford it, and garnishing their wages and making them have it, through a mandate, is not the way to go. (Obama’s plan does, however, mandate health care for children.)

      Obama, while saluting Senator Clinton for her previous attempts to head up a health reform bill when Bill was President, pointed out that it was all done in secrecy, behind closed doors, and that he values transparency and would be better suited to bring people together to work to undo the damage of the Bush years. Nowhere has that been clearer than on the campaign trail.

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