You won’t have this meme-hound to kick around anymore.
I regret to report that this Webb Report is the final such report. After almost seven years at the American-Statesman, I’m stepping away from the paper’s social media helm. It’s been a wonderful, transformative ride — I still thought I was straight when I started here — but it’s time to chase a new adventure. For further stories about snakes crawling out of toilets, Mexican free-tailed bats carring small bombs and the secret origins of Texas icons like queso and the word "y’all," I refer you to the Statesman family of websites, where talented writers like my colleagues Amanda O’Donnell and Katey Psencik (whose work regularly appears in this space) will continue to spin internet ephemera into written gold.
It was a dream of mine since I was a kid to write for this paper. Borrowing your eyeballs each week has been a great privilege. Now, enough of that. Let’s have some fun with what’s been buzzing online, for one more time.
The perfect revenge
The 12-foot alligator’s first mistake: crossing a Texas grandma with a Winchester .22 Magnum.
From the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday came a tale as Texan as they come. Judy B. Cochran — mayor of Livingston in East Texas; a great-grandmother called Nana by her family — had long held a suspicion that a massive alligator had killed her miniature horse three years ago. As she told the Chronicle: "We think this is the gator that ate one of our miniature horses several years ago, as big as this gator was, he could’ve easily eaten it. Typically the gators don’t bother us, but we’ve been looking for (this one)."
The horse might have been smaller than the average horse, but this 580-pound reptile came a little larger than standard issue. According to the Chronicle, Cochran got the gator right where she wanted it after handlers caught it in a pond using a seasoned raccoon. (Fiesta brand? A traditional brisket rub? One wonders.)
Fox 4 reports that Cochran was in a meeting when she was notified that the gator had been got. She took him out on her Goodrich ranch with just one shot, the Chronicle reports. Nine years ago, according to the Chronicle, Cochran’s then-5-year-old grandson killed an 800-pound alligator from the same pond.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Polk County (where Goodrich and Livingston sit) is "one of only 12 in Texas with an alligator hunting season," giving Cochran a 20-day timeframe (and specific requirements about hunting permits and methods) to settle her score.
Just because the gator is off the hook literally doesn’t mean it’s off the hook metaphorically. The Chronicle reports that Cochran plans to eat the animal’s meat, have its head mounted and display part of its tail in her office.
Oh, and also: Nana plans to wear some alligator-skin boots once all is said and done.
Ain’t no hair off his braid
Mad that Willie Nelson is playing at a rally for U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke? Knock yourself out, the Austin icon and country music legend says.
Nelson will headline a concert for the El Paso Democrat, who is running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, on Sept. 29 at Auditorium Shores. That hasn’t settled well with some conservative fans, who have taken to social media to blast the "On the Road Again" singer.
Nelson appeared on ABC roundtable talkshow "The View" on Tuesday, where he told the hosts that the ire didn’t bother him.
"I don’t care," Nelson told "View" co-host Joy Behar. Fans who don’t like it "are entitled to their opinion, and I am entitled to mine."
Nelson has a long history of supporting Democratic politicians and liberal causes, but a news release from Nelson’s publicist describes the O’Rourke event as "the first public concert Nelson has held for a political candidate."
I am not a cook
Here’s some news you won’t want to cover up. An Austin breakfast dish is about to break into the Washington dining scene.
As part of a celebration of "some of the nation’s best morning dishes," the famous Watergate Hotel’s restaurant, Kingbird, will serve the Texas hash from Austin’s own Paperboy, according to a news release from the hotel. The brunch item, which the Watergate says will bring "Southern flame" from chef Patrick Jackson, includes sweet potato, pork shoulder, poached egg, onion, peppers and almond romesco, according to Paperboy’s menu.
The Texas hash will be served starting Sept. 26 throughout the fall, according to the hotel. Friendly reminder that you do not need to travel to Washington to eat this hash and that Paperboy has two Austin locations: one on East 11th Street and one at Radio Coffee & Beer on Manchaca Road.
Names change, nuggets persist
It’s not a joke. It’s not a nickname. And even if this is the first time you’ve ever seen it written, the Wendy’s located within the University of Texas’ Jester Hall has been officially renamed "Jendy’s," according to the Daily Texan.
No, but for real, though.
"We thought it would be great if we could just come here and rebrand the whole thing as Jendy’s to prove that we get the students," Chris Corley, a marketing executive behind the decision, told the university’s student newspaper. (Apparently, UT students have been calling the restaurant "Jendy’s" colloquially for a bit now. Jester plus Wendy’s, etc.)
Still having a hard time accepting it? Pictures showing Jendy’s signage and employee uniforms were shared on Twitter after the switch happened Sept. 14.
The chain has a history of engaging customers online. The most retweeted tweet of 2017 was posted by a teenage boy seeking free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s for life.
— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman ataff
How can Austin be both simultaneously the "best place to live in America" and only the fifth-best state capital to call home in the country? Ask financial services company Smart Asset, which recently compiled a list of the "Best State Capitals to Live In" in 2018.
In compiling the list, the site looked at factors like a capital’s unemployment rate; rate of violent and property crimes; and dining and entertainment.
The capitals that ranked above Austin were Honolulu (fair); Madison, Wisconsin (cheese, OK); Concord, New Hampshire (hmm); and Montpelier, Vermont (sure, if you like syrup).
At No. 5, Smart Asset says that Austin is a "great place to be" for residents concerned with saving money. It estimates that the median household should have $46,400 of discretionary income. According to the list, the reason the city fell at No. 5 is that it could stand to improve on safety.
— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff
Shufflepuffs and Ravin’-claws
Get your dress robes ready — it’s time for the "Wizarding Event of the Year." WizardFest, a "Harry Potter"-themed dance party, is set for Oct. 10 in San Antonio.
According to the Facebook event, the party is taking place at the Rock Box and will feature butterbeer (for witches and wizards over 21) and other Potter-themed drinks, a costume contest and Quidditch pong.
The event doesn’t go into detail about what type of music is played at a dance party for witches and wizards — fingers crossed for the Weird Sisters, a fictional-turned-real band featuring members of Pulp and Radiohead who played a catchy tune called "Do The Hippogriff" in a (mostly) deleted scene from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
It’s sure to be a magical time.
— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff