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.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Would Someone Tell These People it's Just a GAME!!!

An innocent lunch with a good friend has changed my simple life as I once knew it.

Darlene: Oh my GOD! Rambo just brought me a promise ring!

Her "Oh my GOD" rattles me from concentrating on the eyelash viper in front of me. I should be use to it by now. These outbursts have been going on pretty much daily and sometimes several times an evening since that fateful day when it was suggested that Darlene get "Nintendogs" to play on her Nintendo DS.

Don't let this cute face claim you as another victim!

It started with one dog, a boxer she named "Rambo". Of course, one dog wasn't enough and now there are three. Along with Rambo, she "owns" a Dalmation named "Cookie" and a Beagle named "Cartman".

Darlene: Cookie has already won 1st place in the beginner level obedience trails.

Me: Blank stare while hoping someone will pass me a can of gasoline and a match.

If that's not bad enough, now there's a "several times a day" e-mail thread that's passed between Darlene, our GOOD FRIEND who started all of this and now, another good friend who folded to the temptation of owning a "dog". Of course, I endure the misery because I'm ALWAYS cc'd on the e-mails. Example:

1st Friend: Daisy (Golden Retriever) will be participating in the Championship disc toss today. Wish her luck. Maximus will be in the championship agility trial. Wish him luck. Crazy (Siberian Husky) still insists on not lying down. Maybe she really is crazy. Jim, why are you resisting? :)

2nd Friend: Mitzy's update:2 championships for obedience and disc, beginner of course. she's learning tricks quickly too, but the training "mic" doesn't come up sometimes when I want to teach her what she just did, frustrated with that.- got my first stick (umm, yea?)

Darlene's response is TOO LONG to post here but she congratulates both friends on their "dogs' " accomplishments and gives any "doggie" updates that have happened in the FEW minutes since the last e-mail.

Me: Delete, delete, delete.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy Darlene is having fun and corresponding more with our friends but this is one of those interactive games where one actually talks to the "dog". OK, now she's got me doing it...talks to the GAME! Our African grey is already mimicking Rambo's bark. It's only a matter of time until he mimics Darlene, saying "sit", "roll-over", "spin", "paw" and my new favorite, "hiney".

Can someone pass me a match?!