Out of 26 million Texans, you may have an idea to change the world. You may have had several ideas to change the world. But only a tiny minority of you pushed through the U.S. Patent office from application to successful patent. We've seen Texans change the world many times over. Jack Kilby did it with Texas Instruments in 1958 with the integrated circuit, causing the start of the digital revolution, which, in part, is why you can read these words over your electronic device.
Over the last few years, Texas Business has brought its feature: Texas Business Patent of the Day. This list is of the ones that were either extremely clever, odd or strange. One thing becomes apparent from these patents and the patent that runs daily in Texas Business—Texans have a unique mind set.
Though the history of the Corn Dog is disputed, the State Fair of Texas claims to have introduced the Corny Dog sometime between 1938 and 1942. As a paean to that invention that now sits in the freezer section of every grocery store in the southwest, here are the fried foods the State Fair of Texas has introduced, or tried to introduce, in the last seven years.
Don't get caught up with John Wayne religion. For one thing, he's not Texan. He's in some fine movies involving Texas, most notably The Searchers, but none of his movies can make the best cut of Texas movies. Here's the short list.
Unsung Texas Business Journalists Mention that one is a reporter, and there's a spark of interest. Mention that one is a business news reporter, and watch the eyes glaze over. Except to the players, business and economic journalists are unappreciated. While many wish to become sports reporters when they grow up, most do not realize that business journalists cover the Real Game. Mention that reporter covers business, and watch the eyes glaze over. A toast to these below on the short list and the numerous unnamed ones slogging away. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Best Texas Mexican Food: The Short List No, we're not going to debate the difference between Tex-Mex, Mex-Tex, Mexican and Texican food. Just know these establishments are the pinnacle of Texas Mexican fare. No brag, just fact. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
Best Texas Burgers Texas Burgers. . While a hamburger is merely sustenance and gratification for a meal, the memory a good Texas burger can give rise to Homeric odes. The short list. Full Story » TexasBusiness.com
I miss Barber’s Bookstore of Fort Worth. One of my desires from childhood was to live in a house with high ceilings and bookshelves crammed with books from floor to ceiling in every room. Every room.
Barber’s Bookstore was a place remarkably like that dream. It had books from floor to ceiling on each floor.
Desires change. I now carry a library of ebooks on my phone that would take a block of houses to contain the hard copies. And the library I carry along with a huge juke box and movie theater and phone booth? It weighs 4.9 ounces, or 140 grams. I love that I can read anywhere and without a light jump by holding a smartphone up and moving a finger silently across glass. Or listen to a book by plugging earphones into that piece of plastic while I drive to a destination.
It’s inevitable. Since we started abandoning our material incarnations of our ideas and ourselves, we have paid a price. I’m talking about the loss of the bookstores of Texas.
It’s been gradual. The personal computer revolution that started in the early 1980s helped form the generation’s minds that are thirty and below. That generation understands reading electronic text in a way more personal and integral to their beings than those over thirty ever will. They receive their texts electronically and prefer a Kindle, or a Nook, or an iPad over carrying a knapsack of text printed and bound in heavy tomes.
The economic tipping point passed several years ago, and print books, much like printed newspapers, disappear and reincarnate as ebooks and epapers. As a result, the brick-and-mortar bookstores are vanishing. The independent stores already were disappearing from the economic pressure of business models such as Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble and Borders. But now even Borders has disappeared as we connect with stories more and more in cyberspace.
And now we see Larry McMurtry about to hold a huge auction this August in which he plans to downsize Booked Up’s inventory by several hundred thousand books. Booked Up is a used bookstore in Archer City, northwest of Fort Worth. I’m sad to see it, but understand. Still, without bookstores located within specific geographic confines, will unique Texas voices such as McMurtry continue to rise?
E-books can and do exist without any printed versions. Hardback and paperback books are still everywhere you go. Bookstores are not. Barring some disaster like a widespread electromagnetic pulse that throws civilization back a century, I suspect you’ll look up from your phone or tablet one of these days and realize the bookshelves are filled with something other than books.
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