Ranger Rich: Dealing with Texans 

A lot of people around here don't much care for Texans, saying they're big blowhards who use cattle horns as hood ornaments on their Cadillac Escalade SUVs and drive 36 mph in the fast lane of our highways and say "all" when they mean "oil." They add that Texas women have funny hairstyles from the 1970s and the men drink too much beer and eat too much barbecue and have big stomachs, which is a good thing because the fat covers those gigantic, stupid belt buckles they wear.

All of which, of course, is true.

And yet I say today that we should try to be kinder to these chubby cowboys and women with the blowfish-like Botox lips, because each winter they drive out here from Lubbock and Odessa and other Texas garden spots. They drink heavily and then ski head-first into our beautiful aspen trees, thus pumping millions into the Colorado economy via our liquor stores and hospital emergency rooms.

But now some Texans, including their governor, are pretty darn mad at our new president because they think he'll raise their income taxes. Currently, as you know, Willie Nelson and most other Texans do not pay any income tax at all. Many Texans are also mad at our new president because as far as they can tell, he is not a white guy.

And so the Texans are talking about secession and forming an actual new nation of Texas (likely national anthem: "I'm Bitin' My Fingernails and Thinking of You" by Ernest Tubb). This talk, as you might imagine, has caused people all across our great nation, from Maine to California and Florida to Alaska, to say, "Secession? Well, now, that's a mighty big word for such modestly educated people to be using."

(Note: That "Maine to California, Florida to Alaska" thing was just a joke and is not true, because ever since Gov. Sarah Palin and her teenage daughter stumbled into the national spotlight, the people of Alaska have pretty much stopped making fun of people from other states.)

Anyway, Texas Gov. Rick Perry actually says his state might secede from the nation. His comments came a few weeks back in Austin (town motto: "Well Lookee Heah. We Gots Our Own U-NEE-versity!").

"We've got a great union," Perry said at an anti-government rally amid a sea of cowboy hats that may or may not have had people beneath them. "There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."

Historical footnote: Texas was its own nation for 10 years before joining the United States on Dec. 29, 1845, still widely recognized as "The Saddest Day in American History."

Perry seemed to be backtracking last week during the hysteria surrounding swine flu, when he asked the federal government first for 37,000 doses of anti-flu medication, then increased his request just a day later to 850,000. Now that's real independence. But his earlier hint at secession already had picked up momentum, with 51 percent of Texas Republicans actually saying in a Daily Kos poll that they agreed with the governor.

Also, another famous Texan has thrown his ridiculous-looking cowboy hat into the ring. "Actor" Chuck Norris, who has been in dozens of "movies," says when Texas forms its own nation he is ready to be its president.

That story broke on CNN, causing viewers to write e-mail comments in which they voiced opinions on Texas and Norris but in no way stooped to any type of personal attacks. An example would be this actual message about Norris posted on CNN's site: "Someone please shoot that rodent he uses for a hairpiece."

Norris, you may remember, is the martial-arts-star-turned-home-exercise-equipment-pitchman who starred in many "films" that featured unforgettable dialogue ("I wouldn't do that if I was you!") and highly sophisticated plots in which he karate-chopped everyone in the throat.

Hmmmm, a president from Texas who we make fun of, a guy who enjoyed torturing people and whose own head seems to have been kicked a lot.

Now there's something we haven't tried in a while.


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