- By Eric Webb American-Statesman Staff
Say it loud and say it proud, Texas. According to a new list, you’ve got LGBT pride to spare, at least on social media.
It’s Pride month for a few more days, and Internet service provider resource High Speed Internet recently ranked the states according to how often they used Pride-related hashtags on their photos of marches, parades and festivals. Texas landed at No. 3, behind only New York at No. 2 and California at No. 1. (Please, contain your shock that two coastal, urban population giants beat the Lone Star State in an LGBT pride contest.)
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Of course, Texas has a mighty large population itself, which probably translates to a mighty large hashtag haul. According to High Speed Internet’s list, Texas has the second-largest LGBTQ population in the nation. As they also note, it might not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of gay and trans rights. The U.S. Supreme Court turned over state bans on same-sex marriage in 2015, including the Texas Constitution’s definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The Texas Legislature will resume its fight over transgender bathroom access during July’s special session.
While June has traditionally been recognized as Pride month in the U.S., President Donald Trump did not make an official declaration this year.
If you forgot to don your rainbow garb all this month, fear not: Austin Pride is observed in August.
Life is a highway
Now that Texas is in the full throes of summer (how ’bout that heat, huh?), it’s the perfect time to hop in your car, get out the GPS (or map, if you’re old school) and embark on a journey across our Lone Star State.
Last year, personal finance site WalletHub placed Texas at No. 30 on its list of “Best & Worst States for Summer Road Trips.” Apparently, the folks over at WalletHub have seen the light, because Texas is now ranked No. 6 on that list for 2017.
The criteria for what makes a good road trip haven’t changed. WalletHub still ranks states based on trip and attractions costs, road safety and the amount of activities to enjoy while on the road.
In this year’s rankings, Texas placed at No. 9 for costs, No. 30 for road safety and No. 10 for activities.
Of course, we have long known that Texas has been a huge road trip state. In fact, its vast size and endless highways are two of the many things we love about Texas.
So, where should you go on your summer Texas road trip this year?
Well, there’s always the fake Prada store in Marfa. Or Weikel’s Bakery in La Grange. Or Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels. Or you could Facebook Live your road trip with a buddy you disagree on certain issues with, but still enjoy talking to, like two Texas representatives to the U.S. House, Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd, did earlier this year.
— Jake Harris, American-Statesman staff
OK, but what about the queso fries?
Kirsten Dunst may not be from Texas, but we may as well make her an honorary Texan. She’s reportedly engaged to Texas actor (and “Fargo” costar) Jesse Plemons, who was honored at this year’s Texas Film Awards. But she also really loves another Texas staple: the Alamo Drafthouse.
On “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” she told Fallon that she really loves the Texas theater.
“You can eat, and you get fried pickles, and you order a cocktail,” she said. “I’ll go see bad movies just so I can sit there in the dark … I always end up with ranch all over myself.”
— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff
Your work happy hours have nothing on the state of Texas. Blame the political climate. Blame too many reasons for celebration, or not enough, but Texans have been drinking. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission reports that in the month of May alone, Texans drank more than 55 million gallons of alcohol.
But which Texas city has had the heaviest pour so far this year? According to Click2Houston, first-quarter mixed beverage receipts from the Texas Comptroller’s Office show Houston leading the pack with $233,315,800.
Austin followed with $141,126,300 spent during the year’s first quarter. Dallas was next with $134,307,500, and then San Antonio with $106,312,500 and Fort Worth with $48,764,900.
When considering the cities’ populations in relation to one another, however, Austinites spent far more on alcohol than citizens of other cities, proportionally. They don’t call us the Drinking Capital of the World for nothing. And also, they don’t actually call us that.
— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff
World’s sexiest tequila no more?
Global liquor behemoth Diageo said Wednesday it will pay up to $1 billion to buy a tequila brand co-founded by movie star George Clooney.
Clooney founded the Casamigos brand four years ago with partners Rande Gerber and Mike Meldma.
Diageo said it will pay $700 million for Casamigos at first, and then pay another $300 million over 10 years if the brand reaches certain performance milestones.
Clooney and Gerber, an entrepreneur who is married to model Cindy Crawford, have appeared in ads for the brand. Diageo says the founders will continue to promote Casamigos and have a say in its future.
The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year.
“If you asked us four years ago if we had a billion dollar company, I don’t think we would have said yes. This reflects Diageo’s belief in our company and our belief in Diageo,” Clooney wrote in a statement. “We’ll still be very much a part of Casamigos. Starting with a shot tonight. Maybe two.”
— The Associated Press
A good deed
British singer Adele made a surprise visit to some of the firefighters who worked to battle the fire at the Grenfell Tower high-rise in London earlier this month.
The fire killed at least 30 people when it broke out June 14. BBC News reported that Rob Petty, a fireman at Chelsea Fire Station, shared photos on Facebook of the singer posing with some of his colleagues Monday.
“Not everyday the wonderfully grounded and caring Adele pops into Chelsea Firestation for a cup of tea and a cuddle,” he captioned the photos.
“She just turned up at the station and knocked on the window and said she has some cakes for us, so we opened the door to her and then she took her sunglasses off and said, ‘Hi, I’m Adele.’ Everyone was so shocked,” station manager Ben King said in a statement, according to CNN. “She came in, came up to the mess and had a cup of tea with the watch and then she joined us for the minute’s silence.”
— Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk