Leon Hale

 I am sure once upon a time every newspaper had a Leon Hale. Now I doubt there are many like him left. He has been a columnist in the Houston papers since before I was born. He now blogs in addition to his regular writing duties. Do yourself a favor and see what I grew up reading.

In 1946 I was living in Bryan. I was 25. One pay day I walked into the New York Café downtown, sat on a stool at the long lunch counter, and ordered a bottle of Bud and a plate of beef enchiladas. This was my habit then on paydays.

I was addicted to the enchiladas in that place. They came out three to the order on a metal plate, elliptical in shape. Dark red sauce bubbled up around the plate's edges. The enchiladas were covered in a sheet of melted rat trap cheese. They were always too hot to eat when they first came out. You had to sit there and inhale the fragrance and wait a while so the first bite wouldn't blister your mouth.

This plate of enchiladas cost 90 cents.

When I finished them I was still hungry so I ordered another plate, and ate those. A man of maybe 65 was sitting two stools down from me. When I got up to pay he said, "Young fellow, I'd give a hundred dollar bill if I could do what you just did."

Which puzzled me then, but not now.

Source: Leon Hale | A blog featuring Houston Chronicle columnist Leon Hale

Bankruptcy closes doors of historic Pig Stands | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

Another page turns in the local history books...

It's reputed to be the world's first drive-through restaurant chain and the place where the onion ring was invented, the result of a cooking accident. In 82 years at the corner of Washington and Sawyer, the last remaining Houston location has been a hut, a collection of stalls served by carhops and a sit-down restaurant.

But now, the Pig Stand's past looks rosier than its present. The city's longest-running restaurant sat empty Monday, a victim of bankruptcy and back taxes that threaten to add it to the ever-growing list of bygone Houston institutions.

I can remember eating at the one in South Houston on a number of occasions before it closed back about the mid '80's.

They are the last vestiges of a chain that started in 1921 in Dallas as the first drive-through and grew into a dozens-strong regional empire that welcomed the age of fast food during a time when meals were handcrafted at home.

The stands evolved into drive-ins by the 1960s, when they dueled Prince's in the Houston market. Both eventually became standard table-service restaurants as they ceded the fast food business to the large chains.

Over time, the Pig Stand has laid claim to a number of culinary firsts. Along with onion rings (said to have been invented in Dallas in the late 1920s when a cook accidentally dropped onions in batter and decided to fry them), chicken fried steak sandwiches and the barbecue pork mainstay known as the Pig Sandwich, owner Richard Hailey said Texas toast also was born at a Pig Stand.

Just wanted you folks to know we do make some history here in Texas. Onion Rings and Texas Toast...Culinary masterpieces.

Source: Bankruptcy closes doors of historic Pig Stands | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

Earth Friendly ideas from Ideal Bite: Your place for green living tips made fun and easy, green consumer, organic foods, organic living, eco-friendly, ecologically sustainable lifestyle website!

OK, I don't know how these might work out but the premise is right with me so I'll "Bite". I'll let you know what I think...Or jump on over and try them yourself...

We know that you would just love to "do the right thing" for yourself and the planet if it were convenient, fun, inexpensive, and made you feel good. But until now you have lacked a good source of advice for real people leading busy lives.

Congrats. Now you have a free one. See a sample of these short & sassy eco-living tips that arrive each weekday, then...

Here's their sample Bite:

The Bite:
Use water filters instead - tap water might contain contaminants, but (believe it or not) bottled water isn't always cleaner. Use home water filters such as faucet-mounted or pitcher filters - the best way to ensure a clean supply of drinking water at home.
The Benefits
  • Save the 1.5 million tons of plastic expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.
  • Get rid of contaminants normally found in tap water such as chlorine, cryptosporidium, Giardia , lead and pesticide runoff.
  • Save money - check out the Bang for the Bite (left) for the juicy details.
  • Filters are a safer bet - up to 40% of all bottled water comes from a city water system, just like tap water.
Personally Speaking
We both have faucet-mounted Brita filters and are somewhat notorious for refilling and carrying hard plastic water bottles with us everywhere.
Wanna Try?
  • Brita - this is our favorite - $34.99 (refill filters are $32.99 for 2)
  • Pur - Very pretty, for you brushed chrome lovers... $49.49 (replacement filters: 4 for $37.98)
  • Top 10 home water filters , water purifiers & water treatment system brands compared by price, performance and ongoing costs
  • Nice cost comparison of various water filter options available


Source: Earth Friendly ideas from Ideal Bite: Your place for green living tips made fun and easy, green consumer, organic foods, organic living, eco-friendly, ecologically sustainable lifestyle website!

Obesity: Maybe We Share Some of the Blame - washingtonpost.com

Being weight challenged these days this article caught my eye since it says something I tend to think is probably true in a number of ways. 

The idea that we're too fat because we eat too much and exercise too little is based largely on "circumstantial evidence," according to a recent report in the International Journal of Obesity. Investigators from the University of Alabama point to at least 10 other possible reasons we are getting too big for our britches. Here are the top three:

  • We don't get enough sleep.

This could be a vicious cycle. What with sleep apnia being a bigger problem among those with excess weight.

  • We have more air conditioning.

I wouldn't count on this one going away anytime soon. If the past few summers are any indication, air conditioning will become even more prevalent right up until nobody can afford the energy cost.

  • Our hormones have been disrupted.

How well I can relate. Back in '97 I had a bout of Pericarditis that hung on for months. It took very high dose steroids to finally kick the problem but in the process my body changed and I haven't been able to get back to that point since. Each year it gets harder just to maintain.

This study sounds like it is headed in the right direction. Our concentration on just one cause of obesity is probably leaving many people wondering why cutting calories and exercising is not working for them. I know for me eating salads everyday and walking for an hour or better every evening and still not seeing a difference made it hard to maintain the practice (and I like salads). 

Source: Obesity: Maybe We Share Some of the Blame - washingtonpost.com

Morning Walk - Tuesday

A person could definitely get used to greeting the sun every morning. The frost was even heavier on the ground this morning before sunup. Each step had that crunch of frozen grass. Each breath was an even thicker cloud than the ones from yesterday.

Other than the "keeer-r-r" of the hawks greeting the suns warmth as it caressed the tops of the trees where they waited and the lonesome whistle of a far off train, I was alone on the edge of Mustang Bayou. The mists on the waters course was heavy this morning. The image as the suns rays started to light first just the upper tendrils was almost magical. And as the sun rose more and more of that writhing snake of fog was touched by it's rays until the entire waterway glowed.

I stood for a long while soaking up that first warmth under the cloudless blue of the heavens before wandering back to the house and the warm coffee.

And so the day began...


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