By now most of you dear readers are well aware of the Gawker-produced list of the 50 Worst States In America. Gawker placed their home base at 50, and the Lone Star State at 13. Sure sure, our placement could be worse, but instead of celebrating that, we'd rather point out the reasons our fair state is better, nay, the best.
While many of our sister publications' blogs (including our H-Town sib) and other blogs in general are doling out their own lists of the 50 Reasons Their [Insert State Name] Rules Hard, we decided to approach our list in true Texas fashion: bigger, badder and crazy-diverse, with just the right amount of sass and dust-kicking.
We not-so-humbly present, in no particular order, The Top 100 Reasons Texas Is Twice as Awesome as Your State:
1. NASA 2. World class birding. Even in the middle of Dallas at White Rock Lake. 3. Tex-Mex 4. El Capitan 5. South Padre Island (best sand castle sand in the world) 6. Molly Ivins 7. Ann Richards 8. Taco Cabana 9. Sons of Hermann Hall 10. Barton Springs, Balmorhea, Krause Springs and all the rest 11. When Katrina refugees needed places to stay, we took them in.
12. Nolan Ryan 13. Willie Nelson 14. Robert Earl Keen, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Lyle Lovett and Townes Van Zandt 15. The most popular poker game in the world isn't called New York Hold 'Em, is it? 16. The Frio River 17. The Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater 18. Bottle Rocket, Reality Bites and Robocop were filmed here. 19. Also, Giant, Logan's Run, Fandango and No Country for Old Men. 20. The Last Picture Show, Bonnie and Clyde, Lonesome Dove and Dazed and Confused, too.
21. Walker, Texas Fucking Ranger OR Chuck Norris
22. Texas high school football is Friday Night Lights.
23.In some Texas towns, you can hear native Texans speaking Spanish, German and Polish.
24. Oh, and Czech, too
25. The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders
26. Our school kids take a full year of Texas History. Can they name all other 49 states? Not sure but they sure as hell wouldn't bother to rank them below us in a list.
27. Chili. Real chili, with no beans and not made with chicken or other yankee bullshit.
28. That "The stars at night are big and bright..." scene in Pee Wee's Big Adventure? That shit really works in real life. And not ironically. We've seen it many times.
29. Aggie jokes/tests. [Updated. Applause for commenter Missy!]
30. SMU Physics Dept.'s Dark Matter Research (apparently leading the field)
31. Top Tier Universities: Rice (17) and the University of Texas at Austin (45)
32. You've heard of "Texas Music," right?
33. Kris Kristofferson, the guy who wrote every song you've ever heard (pop and country)
34. Waylon Jennings
, not from Texas but got here quick (Luckenbach, anybody?) [Corrected. Editor's note: Dude, we know, but apparently some of the contributors to this list haven't yet gotten their honky tonk degrees.]
35. Tommy Lee Jones 36. Can we count Bill Moyers? Born in Hugo, OK but went to UT Austin and was press sec for LBJ. 37. That Larry McMurtry guy with all those badass books he wrote about us. 38. Lon Tinkle, writer, literary critic and Dallas Morning News journalist who now (posthumously) pays for a lot of kids to go to school (Lon Tinkle Award at SMU, for instance) 39.The Texas Freedom Network - watchdog against radical religious conservatism 40. Dallas Mavericks! 41. Dirk Nowitzki!
42. Mark Cuban! 43. Denton proving that you don't have to be a big city to have a phenomenal music scene. 44. You can sing any Emily Dickinson poem to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas." 45. More mega-churches 46. Dr. Denton Cooley performed first artificial heart transplant 47. Best state shape for cookies 48. Regional theater started here with Margo Jones in the 1940s 49. "Cowboying" is still a profession. 50. The Marfa lights and Janis Joplin still aren't fully understood by outsiders.
51. Everybody knows somebody who has a ranch. 52. Bill Hicks lived and died here. 53. We still have the moon rocks. 54. Betty Buckley was born here and still lives in Fort Worth. 55. SXSW is now cooler than the Sundance Film Festival. 56. Cheap avocados. 57. Great surfing. But we like to keep that to ourselves. 58. You can go to an opera and a rodeo and see the same people in the crowd at both. 59. No state income tax. So far, anyway. 60. We get heat, ice storms, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. 61. Lots of chupacabra sightings. 62. Frozen margaritas were invented here.
63. The State Fair of Texas, which has changed very little in 50 years but is still the biggest, best damn state fair in the land. 64. Farrah Fawcett splashed in the NorthPark fountain and was born and raised in Corpus Christi. 65. Currently the leader in most reality shows filmed about one city/state. 66. Did we mention our State used to be a nation? Our state used to be a nation. 67. More songs written about/involving Texas than rest 68. "Everything is bigger in Texas" -- We have the most "legendary" perception from others, national and internationally. 69. More than 10 distinct ecological regions (Coastal Plains, Delta Valley, Deserts, Mountains, Hill Country, etc.) 70. UT Austin owns all the Woodward and Bernstein files from Watergate. 71. First state to successfully prosecute those nutty FLDS pedophiles. 72. Dinosaur tracks in Glen Rose 73. Texas toast. 74. Real iced tea from teabags, not that California mango crap. 75. Gruene Hall, which has a unique history all its own 76. Tubing down the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers 77. The Alamo, y'all; it's especially beautiful lit up at night 78. Joe Ely 79. UT Austin has Norman Mailer's papers, and also LBJ's 80. Fiesta in San Antonio (it's a citywide party) 81. Wes Anderson was born here
82. The sky! And the best thunderstorms you've ever seen. 83. Larry McMurtry's Booked Up shops in Archer City 84. The Harry Ransom Center 85. Chicken fried steak 86. A state shape that makes for excellent souvenirs, aside from the aforementioned cookies 87. The Texas Rangers are nice boys. 88. Buddy Holly 89. And therefore, the very excellent Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock 90. Big Bend National Park 91. Austin City Limits (the show, not the fest) 92. East Texas Bigfoot 93. John Graves 94. Shiner and Rahr 95. Enchanted Rock
97. Dead Armadillos Drinking Lone Star, and related folk art/crafts
98. Roy Orbison
99. Roky Erickson
100. George Jones
Fuck it, Texas has the richest musical heritage of any state in the Union.