You know who had a busy week?
• Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort (on trial for charges including bank fraud, stemming out of the Robert Mueller investigation)
• Basketball star LeBron James (opened a history-making public school in Akron, Ohio)
• Austin broadcaster Alex Jones (built a business on peddling untrue, poisonous conspiracy theories; went to court as a consequence of peddling untrue, poisonous conspiracy theories)
• Beyonce (given "unprecedented control" of Vogue’s September issue and used it to hire the magazine’s first black cover photographer).
• Me. I had a busy week.
Now, after digging through the biggest headlines of the past few days, eating applesauce and wearing Chacos from the comfort of 305 S. Congress Ave., I am ashamed to admit that I don’t have anything to contribute to this week’s Webb Report. So let’s just move on and enjoy some of last week’s most popular stories from the American-Statesman social media desk instead.
There’s a good ABBA joke here somewhere
A couple weeks ago, Austin’s Equity Office released a report listing parks, neighborhoods and streets with names related to the Confederacy to be considered for possible renaming. Also on the list: the city itself.
The report (which also asked, "What’s next and where do we stop?") noted that changing Austin’s name would require an election since it "would have to be struck from the city charter and replaced." Even the suggestion of a name change elicited a strong reaction from readers.
The majority of Statesman readers commented to speak out against the idea in the report, and some noted that the time and money put into renaming the city could be better used elsewhere. (Comments have been lightly edited for style and clarity.)
• "Good to hear that Austin has solved its homeless issue and severe traffic problems and they’ve (cleaned up) crime to a point that they can waste time on nonsense like this." — @KGSchroeder on Twitter
• "Trying to escape reality and write your own history." — @frothyfroth on Twitter
• "Maybe instead of renaming bigger things like city names, provide an opportunity to learn the actual history of the people that they are named after. There’s nothing wrong with knowing and acknowledging the full story of whoever whatever is named after, good and bad." — Kevin K. Rowe on Facebook
• "Oh gosh, just leave it alone. Our country was founded on the relocation and extermination of thousands of Native Americans. How do we rectify that? We can start with U.S. history books that don’t teach revisionist theories. Taking down statues and changing names won’t wipe away our past. ‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.’" — Julia Shafer Lowcher on Facebook
• "This is one of the dumbest ideas I’ve heard of." — Jan Angelini on Facebook
• "City needs to focus efforts on real problems like trying to keep our school taxes in Austin instead of being sent across the state and quit raising property values of long-time residents in older homes in gentrified areas. These (are) bigger issues than the name of our city." — Kevin Taylor on Facebook
• "No. Waste of money. You can’t change the past by changing street names. Best to learn from it and just not let it offend … dang." — Linda Goodale on Facebook
• "Stop it! This money could be going into our schools instead." — Raquelle Godby on Facebook
• "Leave it alone and focus on real issues." — Nina Marburger on Facebook
Ken Herman’s take: Renaming local things that need renaming
Others offered suggestions for the city’s hypothetical renaming, many in jest:
• "Waterloo?" — @mea_mark on Twitter
• "I vote for Phil, TX." — @S3Stanley on Twitter
• "Waterloafornia sounds like a good new name." — Sam Fencik on Facebook
• "Welcome to Virtue Signaling, Texas." — @clifhaley on Twitter
• "Bat City!" — Chenin Camille on Facebook
• "Little Cali" — Mike Johnson on Facebook
Some readers said they supported the removal or relocation of Confederate monuments but still didn’t consider renaming the city necessary:
• "It seems that the Equity Office went a little eccentric with what they were originally tasked to do. The confederacy and civil war do need to be cast in the proper light, but trying to make amends for the settlers long before the war is just as big of a lost cause as secession was." — Kyle Walker on Facebook
— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff
Who you calling a hipster?
These aren’t your Fredericksburgs, and these definitely aren’t your Marfas.
If you’re looking for dark skies and dusty streets; food without the side of pretension; and a whole lot of nothing going on, Texas Monthly has you covered.
The magazine identified five towns across the state that remain untouched by "slick urbanites" and "big-city refugees" and have managed to resist the two fates of a small town: "slow death and drastic change."
According to Texas Monthly, these towns have managed to remain "much as they always were," and therefore perfectly primed for a roadtrip: Archer City, Blanco, Jefferson, Marathon and Rockport. Honorable mentions include Bandera, Buffalo Gap, Canyon, Fayetteville, Lexington, Luckenbach, Mercedes, Salado, Shamrock and Turkey.
— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff
We’re just pro-food
We all know guac costs extra, but Gov. Greg Abbott seems to think that some Texans’ guacamole eating habits are a bit extra.
In a tweet posted in the early hours of Aug. 1, Abbott revealed his hard-line stance on dip mixing. A Texas Humor tweet asked the governor, "What’s your take on guacamole in queso? Are you for or against the mixing of these two dips?" Abbott’s response didn’t exactly answer the question head on, mixing up the premise a bit on which substance was being stirred into the other. But the governor was clear about one thing: Don’t mess with Texas guacamole.
"Guacamole is one of the 7 wonders of Texas," Abbott tweeted. "It’s not to be diluted even with queso. FYI queso is another wonder of Texas but CAN be combined with other ingredients but only in the Bob Armstrong dip at Matt’s El Rancho."
Once the tweet got shared to the r/texas subreddit, many Redditors weighed in, with most of the upvoted comments agreeing with Abbott.
"I’m not an Abbott guy but if you can’t agree with that you can just get out," u/Edmond-Dantes_ wrote.
"What kind of barbarian mixes queso and guacamole. The two are meant to be appreciated separately," u/wait_i_was_talking argued.
— Jake Harris, American-Statesman staff
One fried ranch, please
The State Fair of Texas is known for its unique concoctions. Last year it was Oreo beer, crawfish lollipops, deep-fried cupcakes and more. The year before, it was bacon-wrapped churros, deep-fried nachos, fried Jell-O and fried cannoli bites. We’ll fry anything, y’all.
This year, in the most Texas move possible, the fair is frying up ranch dressing, among other things, as part of the 2018 Big Tex Choice Awards, to be held on Aug. 26.
Other semi-finalists for the awards include corn dog ale, deep fried lobster pops, fried Kool-Aid pickles and fried elotes.
Here’s the full list of semi-finalists, both sweet and savory:Corn dog aleBacon brittle"Deep Fried Bodacious Bacon Bombs""Cherish Erbert Champagne""Deep Fried Chicken Tetrazzini Parmesana"Cotton candy tacoDeep-fried lobster popsDeep-fried M&M’sDeep-fried ranch"Deep Fried Raspberry Brie-ret"Deep-fried shepherd’s pie"Frosty’s Frozen Hot Chocolate"Deep-fried skillet potato melt in a boat"Fruity" dessert nachosFried cup of corn "elotes""Kool-Aid Pickle-Dilly Sangria"Fried Kool-Aid pickles"Orange Julia’s Beermosa""Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce""Orange You Glad We Fried It?!""King Crispy Coconut Crab Sliders""State Fair Fun-L Cake Ice Cream""Pico Frito" (deep-fried pico de gallo)"Supra Stuffed Mini Sopapillas"Southern-fried chicken nachos"Sweet Bakin’ Bacon""Texas Fried Hill Country"Sweet crispy rice (arroz con leche)"Texas Twang-kie"
— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff