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STOP SIGNS ARE FOREVER: American gripers

When I was a kid just past the age of enjoying G.I. Joes, I stumbled upon a great book called “Marine Sniper,” a 1988 nonfiction tome about the Vietnam War career of Carlos Hathcock — at the time considered the deadliest sniper in American history. That title would eventually be taken by SEAL marksman Chris Kyle, who recounted his time in Iraq in his best-selling memoir-turned-movie, “American Sniper”.

LET’S REMINISCE: A vacation on the high seas

Recently my wife and I did something that would have surprised and perhaps even shocked our grandparents: We took a week-long Caribbean cruise. Our grandparents’ concept of a vacation cruise was something that only rich people could afford. Remember the 1997 film “Titanic”? So how did a luxury cruise become affordable and attractive to the middle class?

LARRY PHILLIPS: Lt., gov. take state’s helm

On Tuesday Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick were sworn in to office. The governor and lieutenant governor each delivered speeches to the public after taking the oath of office. (Both of the speeches are available online at and .) Following the inauguration, barbecue was served on the south lawn to an estimated 17,000 people and a parade marched down Congress Avenue. All of the events were paid for by private funds and not at state expense.

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LET’S REMINISCE: Where have all the bobwhite quails gone?

I’m confident that many Texans my age can remember the whistling call of the bobwhite quail that gives the species its common name. Texas actually is home to four species of quail, the other three being gambel’s quail, montezuma and scaled quail. But the most common and best remembered is the one whose males call out a clear whistled “bob-bob white.”

DON JAMES: The game of life

Wouldn’t you rather be a winner than a loser? I can’t imagine that anyone would say no. Yet most people constantly practice losing strategies and then wonder why they get losing results.

LARRY PHILLIPS: The 84th Legislature starts Tuesday

The next session of the Texas Legislature will begin Tuesday. The legislature meets in regular sessions every two years, beginning at noon on the second Tuesday of odd numbered years. For the first time in many years, there will be new leadership at the statewide level. We have a new governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and land commissioner.