Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy

I'm not sure if all the country is privy to the Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" commercials. Each one-minute commercial pays mock tribute to some "unsung hero". A couple that stand out in my mind are "Mr Foot-long Hot Dog Inventor" and "Mr Really Bad Toupee Wearer". However, the most recent commercial that's making the airwaves here in deep south Texas is aimed right smack dab at us Native Texans. It's simply called "Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy".

Announcer: Today we salute you Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy.

Horrific singer: Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy!

Announcer: Men from lesser states might know their state's capital, but you? You know your state's bird, tree and even reptile.

Horrific singer: Love that horny toad!

OK, this is where I sort of got lost because I began going down the state's check list in my mind. State bird. Mockingbird. Check. State tree. Pecan. Check. State reptile. Horned LIZARD! Check.

The Texas horned lizard is the earliest reptile I remember seeing or catching as a child growing up in Bedford. They were always a welcome site in dad's garden and were quite abundant in the school yard of the Old Bedford School.

Even while living in Midland in the early 80's, it was not uncommon to find them in the alleys behind our house and on most farm roads going south out of the Midland/Odessa region. My daughter, Angela, will attest to this because I frequently made her jump out of the car to see if she could catch them. She was barely 5 years old at the time!

Because of habitat loss, the novelty pet trade and the spread of the imported fire ant, the Texas horned lizard's numbers have steadily declined over the years. They are now considered a threatened species across their range in Texas.

Since living in deep south Texas, I generally see one or two a year, mainly on the roads in Brooks, Jim Hogg, Starr and Zapata counties. It's still a treat to see one stand up as the car approaches, then dart across the road to safety. I still send my sightings to the Horned Lizard Conservation Society.

The names "horned frog","horned toad" and "horny toad" (re: Love that horny toad!) come from the round body and blunt nose which actually give it a toad or frog-like appearance. But this is no toad and it's sure not a frog! The most recent one I found was near Escobas, the most God-forsaken patch of earth I think I've ever seen. Survivorman couldn't survive in Escobas, much less a frog! We're talking Hell on Earth folks! But the hot, sandy habitat along with an abundance of harvester ant mounds (their preferred food), makes it an ideal location for the "horned toad".

Texas horned lizard photographed last year near Escobas.

By the way, I looked up "Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy" on the Internet. I'll pick it up from the Horrific Singer:

Love that horny toad!

Announcer: You display your pride with your Lone Star tattoo, "Native Texan" bumper sticker, and contempt for any state that doesn't start with "Tex" and end with "as".

Horrific Singer: That spells Texas!

Announcer: Sure, there are 49 other states in the Union, but they are smaller, wussier, and the people talk funny.

Horrific Singer: Yankee wussies!

Announcer: So crack open a nice cold Bud Light, oh lover of the Lone Star state. Because all that flag waving must have made you thirsty!

Horrific Singer: Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy!

OK, guilty as charged.


darlene said...

Excellent post and photograph, Baby! This must be the ONE "Real Men of Genius" commmercials that I have not heard!

Horned "Toads" were abundant in Lavaca Country when I was growing up. We could find one almost any time we wanted in the garden between our house and Grandma's & PawPaw's house.

We played with them but always put them back in the garden. We had to put them down so we could continue our 'dirt clod' fights!

Thanks for sharing and for the nice flashback!


Michelle said...

Jim - as always great post! We haven't had the joy of hearing this new commercial, but will be on the lookout for it. I was even able to tear Jason away from Kansas game, last 40 sec., and the beginning of the North Dakota hockey game to read your blog. He'll get back with you about a "comment". Are you sure it isn't the horned "walking stick"? :-)

XXXX said...

Well, having been an outsider in Texas for over 5 years, I must admit that the sometimes over-the-top Texas pride thing was interesting (and sometimes hilarious) to observe. I never really understood it very well, but I will readily admit to often admiring how much the natives seemed to love their state.

I think that I love Arizona as much any Texan loves Texas. The problem in Arizona is that too much of its population is made up of transplants that don't know how to appreciate it. Thus, the whole "state pride" thing is definitely lacking.

You may have seen a recent story in the news that indicated that several of America's fastest growing cities are in Texas. As more and more transplants seep into the Lone Star Star, it will be interesting to observe if the state pride thing takes a bump. It certainly did in the RGV when Kyle was living there. ;)

Those commercials can be pretty good. I think my favorite was a few years ago during the Atkins Diet mania when they released a tribute to "Mr. Over-The-Top Carb Counter." That one had Kurt written all over it.

LaVibora - Jim Campbell said...

Thanks as always Baby! We, too, had dirt clod fights in our garden. It finally stopped when dad started using the next door neighbor's horse manure as fertilizer!

Michelle - Tell Jason I couldn't even watch the Texas game. I just had a feeling Memphis was going to blow them out. After Jason mistook a palm frond for a dog in the parking lot last week, no telling what he'd call a "horned toad" if he ever saw one!

XXXX - Thanks for stopping by, man! PhD Guy is certainly taking up where Kyle left off, when it comes to thrashing Texas. He's totally trashed South Padre Island and Spring Break over the past couple of weeks. In his eyes, nothing can compare to the brackish brown water of west Florida.

I haven't heard the particular commercial you mentioned. I'm signing off to look for it now!

Thanks for the comments YA'LL!

Beth&Leo said...

Another fine article by Jim.

We saw horny toads in our avocadoflats property, but alas never reported. We were not in the know then.

Nice pic and nice link to the Old Bedford School.

Who know we may get on the road again and get to see something


and have heard the commercial.

LaVibora - Jim Campbell said...

Hi Beth - It's nice to hear there are still "horned toads" in Cameron county! I've yet to see one here. I know they can acclimate somewhat. I found one running out of a vacant lot in downtown Zapata during a post storm survey a few years ago.

Say hello to Leo for us!

Angela said...

I love the "Real Men of Genius" commercials, they're a hoot.

Nothing like the memory of roading with you dad in the "olden" days! :) Going from 60 to reverse, a bad case of whiplash and pillowcases full of goodies to bring a weekend to an end. Just kidding about the whiplash!!!

Week before last I saw my first horny toad, dead unfortunately, in the parking lot of Le Peep in McAllen. It's the first sighting dead or alive I have seen since Anevay was born. I am sure they are moving out of their territory due to all the new development in the north McAllen area.

That lead to the conversation of catching them in the alley of our Midland home. Only a herps daughter could enjoy the memory of horn toads in the alley ways, racoons and alligators in the bath tubs and the list goes on...

darlene said...

Baby, I'm glad that someone else can relate to dirt clod fights! It was all fun until you got hit with one that had a rock buried inside.

I admit that I didnt have a clue what a 'herp' was in those days but we definitely played with some! Dale caught garter/ribbon snakes, and rat snakes.

We caught frogs, toads, anoles (not as often), crawfish, "doodle" bugs, lightening bugs and "pill" bugs.

Everything I caught was set free as soon as I was through playing because I had no idea what to do with them after the thrill of catching them or trying to race them was gone.

My brother also brought home a few baby armadillos and (my favorite) an abandoned baby crow who became one of the family. He lived in a tree in the backyard once he was older. We suspect/hope that he found a mate and flew off to live happily ever-after.

We had to be creative then with only three TV channels, via antenna. We didn't have video games or computers so nature and our creative little minds were our best sources of entertainment. ;-)

I had to check YouTube for this commercial. It's pretty funny:
Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy


Kyle said...

Sorry, Jim, but I never trashed your favorite state. I simply didn't agree with you when you tried to convice me Texas was the best and no other state could possibly be any good. And I'm surprised you are calling this a new commercial - it was playing on Brownsville radio stations last summer when I was still living there - probably more than 9 months ago.

LaVibora - Jim Campbell said...

Sorry for the whiplash Ang. Sometimes you've just gotta stop when you see something laying on the road! Sorry the only horned toad you've seen recently was DOA. Sadly, I've seem more dead recently than alive. Thanks for sharing the memories!

Baby - I've always known we had a lot of common, now, as well as during our childhood! At least you had TV!

Wow! Young Kyle lives! PhD Guy told me you were on the road to Nashville to check out all the great song titles I had sent you recently and that's why I hadn't heard from you. No, really!

I guess they were playing "Mr. Way Too Proud of Texas Guy" on that country station you listened to long before it made it to Q94.5.

geoff said...

I hope the car was not moving when you told your daughter to jump out and catch the lizard/toad/frog. What are you going to tell your grandchild to jump out of and catch! Darlene you better stop him before it gets out of hand. Ha

Aggie92 said...

Somehow my blog entry was lost in submission and after thinking about it, probably was not one of my best. However, I will mention what I had originally thought about. That said, I had wrote that maybe a "Mr. Way Too Proud of University of Texas Guy" commercial would be hysterical. I need to think about some of the lines. Maybe something like this:

Announcer: Men from lesser universities might know their campus's mascot, but you? You know your schools's song,
your school's team players and future players, and even where the football team's quarterback ate dinner last night.

Horrific singer: Love those horns!

I could probably go on...especially
about watching the OU/UT game.

Mr. Way Too Proud of UT Guy.

Derek said...

It could be worse: Mr. Way Too Proud of Spandex Guy, Mr. Way Too Proud of Vasectomy Scar Guy, Mr. Way Too Proud of His Own Farts Guy, etc. Geez, and I agree with the Texas sports comment. I guess it's simply because the state is so damn big and there are just so many of you! Why not do something more original and maybe move to Vermont!

But you do have some cool critters and reptiles, so I guess that you are forgiven.

And Geoff, come on man! Of course the car is always stopped when you tell the kid to hop out and catch the lizard. Well, almost always. But she healed up real nice! You're not having fun until you step out of a car that is not quite stopped yet.

LaVibora - Jim Campbell said...

Derek - Thanks for clearing up the confusion for Geoff. I didn't have the heart to tell him how things really are when children are born into the "herp world".

Lil Jig - Thanks for coming over to the UT side, man! You're correct in most of your lyrics, I do know the names of the 2008 AND 2009 classes but I'm ashamed to say I don't know where Colt is having supper tonight.

Eric M. said...

I love those "Real Men of Genius" commercials too! This one you talk of, and the one about fisherman and weatherman too. They actually have a website with ALL of them. Good Stuff.

Also, love your blog and Darlene's too. Think L.A will be linking some of this stuff if that's "OK">.

LaVibora - Jim Campbell said...

Hi Eric! Thanks for taking time to visit the blog and yes, feel free to link away!

We enjoyed our visit with you and L.A. I hope it's not another 8 years before we see ya'll again! I've been reading her blog. Man, what a gift she has with writing!!!