Texas Standard » Stories from Texas Stories from Texas are written for and recorded for the Texas Standard radio program. They're written by W.F Strong and edited for broadcast by Texas Standard producers.Texas Standard airs Monday through Friday on more than 20 public radio stations across Texas. Visit texasstandard.org/listen to find when it airs where you are. Texas Standard is hosted by David Brown, and infrequently by Laura Rice from KUT Radio in Austin, and Lauren Silverman from KERA Radio in Dallas.
Texas Standard » Stories from Texas

Texas Standard » Stories from Texas

From KUT 90.5

Stories from Texas are written for and recorded for the Texas Standard radio program. They're written by W.F Strong and edited for broadcast by Texas Standard producers.Texas Standard airs Monday through Friday on more than 20 public radio stations across Texas. Visit texasstandard.org/listen to find when it airs where you are. Texas Standard is hosted by David Brown, and infrequently by Laura Rice from KUT Radio in Austin, and Lauren Silverman from KERA Radio in Dallas.

Most Recent Episodes

Falcon Lake

There's been a lot of concern focused on Lake Mead in Nevada. It's the largest reservoir in the United States and is the water source for more than 25 million people. But it's fallen to just 25% capacity and is dropping rather rapidly. In Texas, Falcon Lake is at just 12% capacity. Commentator W.F. Strong says it's beating Lake Mead in a race to the bottom.

Remembering the Uvalde 21

Usually WF Strong brings Texas Standard listeners quirky facts about the state or bits of overlooked history. Today, he said there was just one thing on his heart: the stories of the lives lost in the Uvalde shooting. WF and his wife Lupita scoured obituaries, social media, fundraising efforts, and news reports to — as he put it — "make sure these beautiful children are much more than a number, or a name on a tombstone."

What happened to Toadsuck, Texas?

Texas has had perhaps more than its share of unusual names of cities and towns. Cut and Shoot – Dime Box – Bug Tussle. But perhaps the strangest was Toadsuck, Texas. You won't find it on a map today because it eventually became Collinsville in western Grayson County. But for a relatively brief and shining historical period, Toadsuck was a real Texas town. Texas Standard commentator WF Strong has the story of how it got that strange name.

The Pessimistic Farmer

One in 7 working Texans has an agriculture-related job. That's a lot of people who depend at least in part on unpredictable markets and mother nature to make a living. So it's no surprise some of those folks might look towards the future with a bit of uncertainty. At least that's the sentiment behind the latest contribution from Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong.

How The Railroad Help Built Texas

Early Texas towns took hold alongside protected bays – think Galveston and Corpus Christi. Others developed along the banks of fine rivers, such as San Antonio, Goliad and El Paso. But later it was the steel tributaries called railroads that were planting the seeds that raised towns alongside them. Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong says railroads, more than any other technology, ushered Texas into the industrial age and commercial wealth.

Wordle For Texas

By this time, you've no doubt seen or heard of the game Wordle. The daily puzzle game with the yellow and green boxes has become part of the morning routine for millions of people around the world. To coin a word too long for the puzzle — it's become a wordemic.

LBJ's Humor

When most people think of Lyndon Johnson they don't envision a man with a great sense of humor. He was in power in turbulent times. When I see his face in my mind I see a man who was troubled, an unsmiling man with furrows in his brow accentuating unrelenting worries. Yet even in those dark moments his humor would surface unexpectedly and lighten his mood. He once said "When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor." He also said, facetiously, "There are no favorites in my office. I treat everyone with the same general inconsideration." Though he didn't have the public eloquence of Kennedy or King, he was interpersonally charismatic. He was a wonderful storyteller. Last week, I had the pleasure, and the honor I might add, of speaking with Doris Kearns Goodwin for about 30 minutes. As you may know, she worked closely with LBJ for 7 years, and because of her professional relationship with him, out of all the biographies about him, I would argue that hers is the most humanizing. No writer knew him better. Dr. Goodwin told me that LBJ was a fantastic storyteller and she never tired of listening to him, though eventually she came to realize that his stories were not all completely true. He might have used my tag line. Some of his stories were apocryphal. Goodwin told me that, like Lincoln, LBJ used stories to animate his points, to skewer his adversaries, or simply to amuse and entertain folks. He learned his storytelling, she said, from his father and grandfather. He listened at night as they talked politics on the porch with local power brokers. That became LBJ's unique power, too: interpersonal persuasion. He could read people and package an argument, often in story form, so that it was uniquely positioned for them. Let me share a couple of LBJ stories that my father, a great admirer of LBJ, shared with me long ago. LBJ liked to refer to Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller as Barry and Rocky. He said: "I understand that Barry and Rocky, in running for the GOP nomination, are both cutting way back on their visits to California. Reminds me of a case in Texas where a man wanted to run for Sheriff against an unpopular incumbent named Uncle Johnny. Man asked his friend Dave if he thought he had a chance. Dave said, 'Well, I guess it depends on who meets the most people.' 'Yeah, that's what I was thinking,' said the man. Dave explained further, 'If he meets the most people you'll win and if you meet the most people he'll win.' That's the situation Barry and Rocky find themselves in." One last one is about a "boy in Texas who was very poor and tired of seeing his mama struggling so much to feed her family. So he sent a letter to God asking for 100 dollars for his mama. The letter got forwarded eventually to the postmaster general in Washington D.C. He took pity on the boy and put 20 dollars in an envelope and mailed it to him. Two weeks later, the postmaster got a letter back from the boy that said, "Dear God, thank you for sending the money, but next time don't send it through Washington cuz they took 80% of it." Doris Kearns Goodwin said that it was LBJ's time teaching in Cotulla that inspired and shaped his vision for the Great Society. She's happy to see that LBJ is getting long deserved credit now for the progressive laws and policies he passed in his time, like Medicaid and Medicare, and the Voting Rights Act, as well as the institutions he helped to found, like NASA and Public Broadcasting. She just wishes he was still around to see it. He would certainly smile.

A Little Test Of Texas' Official Symbols

Likely you haven't had a test of Texas' official symbols since about 5th grade. You probably still know the major ones – but do you remember the state small mammal?

How Ranchers Used Barbed Wire To Make Phone Calls

These days, if you're out working on a ranch and you need some backup, you just pick up your cell phone. If you're in a remote area of Texas with bad service — you might also have a walkie talkie handy. But not so long ago, the options were a little less sophisticated. Still, you might be surprised that there were phones around. Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong has the story.

Texas Ice Fishing

It's unlikely Texas will see a major freeze this winter like we did last year. At least that's what forecasters are saying right now. The extreme cold of last February reminded Texas Standard commentator W.F. Strong about a bit of folklore he once heard about a Texas winter.