7 Things Houstonians Should Give Up for Lent

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Mai Pham
This is gonna hurt a little.
Whether or not you are a religious practitioner whose faith requires you make certain sacrifices during this part of the church calendar, Lent is a good time in general to take stock of your life and maybe put aside a few nasty habits, at least for a few weeks. Think of it as like spring cleaning, a way to renew some of those New Year's resolutions you've probably already abandoned.

For Houstonians, there are plenty of things we could all be doing better, and maybe Lent can be a time to set aside our problems and bad habits. Sure, we'll likely go right back to them soon enough, but even a brief reminder might make us think twice the next time.

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9 Hazards That Come With Parking in Houston

Photo by Friends of San Jacinto
Do as the sign says and no one gets hurt...probably.
There's only one thing worse than driving in Houston, and it's parking in Houston. It's bad enough that we have to weave our way through a million cars every day, but then we have to locate a place to park and hope it isn't ten blocks away from our destination when it's raining. We also don't have the strongest parallel parkers in the world here, which is why so many spaces in downtown have been converted to slant.

But there are numerous parking hazards around town that have little to do with our own driving problems or with getting lost in a massive parking lot à la Seinfeld. Our issues could get you towed or worse.

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Spring Sprung: Nine Ways to Know Winter Is (Almost) Over in Houston

Categories: Houston 101

via Wikimedia Commons
Football season may be over, but outdoor exercise season is just getting started.
Houston is not exactly a place where the transitions between seasons are direct and obvious. Weather here flows from warm to hot to warm to less warm and back again. Trees lose their leaves but only in the midst of what most of the country refers to as the dead of winter. And the leaves kinda change, but this ain't exactly New England.

Still, there are signs that time is passing. It isn't as dramatic as the first thaw of snow or anything like that, but its there and we Houstonians recognize the telltale characteristics of springtime in the Bayou City.

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Things You'll Miss About Houston If You Move Away

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Cayden Leicht

Moving sucks. But moving away from Houston? Well, that sucks even more than just plain ol' moving.

Trust. I know.

By the time you read this, I will have packed up all of my stuff and headed on up to Dallas, where I will be, for the first time in my adult life, something called a "Dallasite." Go figure.

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5 Legendary Houston News Personalities to Help Celebrate Dave Ward's Career

Categories: Houston 101

Screenshot of Channel 13 interview with Dave Ward

It looks as if another legendary Houston news anchor may be inching toward the end of his nightly run.

Dave Ward announced last week that he will be slowing things down in his gig at Channel 13, and starting in 2015 he will only anchor the station's 6 p.m. newscasts.

"You have invited me into your hearts and into your homes, you have trusted me with the day's news, and I have trusted you to be there, and you have been, for almost 48 years," Ward said. "I am honored and humbled to still be doing the work I love, anchoring ABC-13 Eyewitness News. So let's be clear -- I'm not going anywhere! I'm just going to go home a little earlier, that's all."

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Things That Made Us Laugh at Houston in 2014

YouTube screenshot of "I Stand Sunday" video

Oh, Houston. You guys never cease to amaze us.

From Mayor Parker's ill-fated religious subpoenas to a robot-sounding robber, this city gave us bucket after bucket of delightful anecdotes in 2014.

It'll be hard to top the accidental (and often inappropriate) hilarity in 2015, but we're sure the City of Sizzurp will give it that good ol' college try. Until next year, y'all.

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10 Ways Houston Christmas and Traditional Christmas Are Different

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Jeff Balke
The Houston City Hall reflecting pool all lit up for the holidays.
The traditional vision of Christmas tends to be based on snowy winter wonderlands, forests of evergreens and happy children waiting for Santa. In Houston, we do have a lot of green trees and kids waiting on St. Nick. Snow? Well...

Fact is, there are a lot of differences between a traditional Christmas and what we celebrate here in Houston. We like to believe they are for the better...most of the time.

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10 Things We Hate (But Have Come to Accept) About Houston

Categories: Houston 101

Photo by Jeff Balke
Hey, we're not THAT ugly...right?
I am an unabashed supporter of the city of Houston. I am a third-generation Houstonian and despite having visited places around the country and world, I'm perfectly happy to call Houston home. That doesn't mean it doesn't have its problems. Oh, it has a boatload of them. Some are fixable. Others, not so much. But sometimes the Serenity Prayer and all that stuff about acceptance play a role in where you live, too.

This is not to say a lot hasn't changed. If you lived here in the '80s, moved away and didn't come back until this year, you'd probably wouldn't recognize the place with the exception of the lovely oak trees and the endless expanse of strip malls and abandoned car dealerships along Interstate 45 North.

Still, if you are going to live here, you may as well get used to a few things that have very little chance of changing.

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Salon Article Thinks Upper Kirby Is an Example of "Monstrous Gentrification" in Houston

Thumbnail image for katiehaugland.jpg
Katie Haugland via Flicker Creative Commons

Guys, we have something very serious to discuss with you about the city of Houston. And what is that issue, you ask? Well, it's the monstrous gentrification of Upper Kirby.

No, we're not kidding. Not one bit.

Those claims were made by local writer and resident Anis Shivani in a recent Salon article on the gentrification of central Houston in which he calls the area around Alabama and Kirby not only the most desirable area in the city, but also one of the most stark examples of gentrification in the city.

According to the whopping 4,000-word article, the gentrification of central Houston has turned the area into an "exclusive playland for the rich," and Houston itself has "transmogrified into a city ruled by a brutal strain of neoliberalism."

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24 Reasons We're Thankful We Live in Houston (Hint: It Ain't Dallas)

Katie Haugland via Flickr Creative Commons

Just kidding! We're also thankful for Dallas, which might share a high-speed rail with us one of these days, so we should probably play nice.

Here are the actual reasons we're thankful we live in Houston, presented without an ounce of snark, of course.

24. The Lady Bird Johnson wildlife beautification people plant bluebonnets and all that business along the roadsides so when we sit in traffic for hours on end, we have something nice to look at.

23. J.J. Watt, what with his pizza-schleppin' badassery and all.

22. Conversation at local parties can always be livened up -- so long as the battle over what to do with the Astrodome still rages.

21. We brought the world Anna Nicole Smith (#RIP).

20. We don't have alligators in the bayous ... because the polluted water killed them all. And oh, yeah, now the water is coming after us.

19. IN THIS ECONOMY...we are still nailing that job opportunity thing.

18. Virtually no winters = virtually no snow. But when it does (sort of) snow, we are so excited that the whole city shuts down.

17. The humid climate keeps us all looking much younger than our Texas counterparts.

16. The pollutants in Stinkadena smell horrible, giving us all fair warning when we're about to drive through what is probably a haze of carcinogens.

15. Given the above item no. 10 on our list, it's nice to know that we have MD Anderson Cancer Center so close...

14. Food lovers across the nation are jealous of our restaurant scene.

13. There's a Whataburger (properly pronounced as "Whut-a-burger") every five miles.

12. This ain't a hipster haven a la Austin.

11. No zoning means an...uh...interesting array of buildings sit alongside one another wherever you go.

10. We get to claim rights to not only a ridiculous local rap scene, but artists like Beyonce, Slim Thug, Paul Wall and Willie D. Damn it feels good to be a gangster.

9. On that note, you (as in the rest of the nation) can all thank us for Screwed Up Records & Tapes. You're welcome.

8. The local art scene is enviable, isn't full of those dreaded sellouts, and they put on an Art Car Parade in the middle of summer that's impressive enough to make people want to suffer in the Houston heat.

7. Houston has nicknames with actual street cred, like Screwston and H-Town.

6. Our city is the smart kind of fancy, with big brains leading research at places like NASA, the Medical Center, and the Baker Institute at Rice University.

5. The traffic. Without it, we'd never have the time we need to listen to all the podcasts we've synched to our phones. We've learned so much about history being stuck in traffic on the way to and from work that sometimes we feel like we're enrolled in a mobile community college class. So thanks, fellow Houston drivers, for keeping the lanes slow and our minds active.

4. Bars like Alice's Tall Texan and West Alabama Ice House are a thing here.

3. Where else can you find the Rockets, the Dynamo, and the Texans? No where, that's where. There's even those good ol' Astros, who we'll secretly always love, even if they're never going to get any better. Ever.

2. It's still relatively cheap to live here.

1. The city is vastly diverse, rapidly evolving, and yet is full of our favorite kind of people: Houstonians.