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Let’s reminisce: Faultless starch

While listening to a radio interview with novelist Richard Ford, I was shocked to hear him say that his father made a living selling Faultless starch — in bulk, by the railroad carload. Instantly I recalled seeing boxes of Faultless starch used by my mother when doing laundry. Of course, this product is still on sale in stores, but it now comes in aerosol cans. When I looked it up on Wikipedia, I discovered that the company that makes it was founded in 1886 and remains privately owned, which is a rare thing. Its second flagship product, Bon Ami cleanser, has also been around for more than a century and is still a top seller.

Understanding what scientists do

The U.S. is now Ebola free and we are coping with unusually cold weather due to a “polar vortex.” What do these two things have in common? Both of them illustrate the fact that Americans have a limited understanding of science and tend to distrust scientists. Despite an overwhelming consensus among scientists that climate change is affecting our weather, many people refuse to accept their judgment. Similarly, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that Ebola is extraordinarily hard to catch, most Americans didn’t believe it.

The neutrality of tact, or vice versa

As a point, I make an effort in this space each week to avoid mentioning politicians by name. That’s not to say my record’s perfect; on one occasion , I took aim at Barack Obama and George W. Bush for their vacation policies. And there are probably others as well. But I really try to avoid it.

Reminiscent: No broken limbs, only two skull fractures

The little Wolfe Ridge school was much like the other one-room schoolhouses that dotted the countryside in Cooke County. My father, his eight siblings and my brother went there before me. We had gotten electricity on Wolfe Ridge the year before I started school there, but water still came in a bucket from the O’Brien farm nearby. In the yard near the school was a small lot and a shed to protect the horses some of the children rode to school. My brother rode his horse to school but by the time I got there we had school buses (unfortunately, in my opinion).

Posse takes justice into its own hands

In Sunday’s column the attempted robbery of a farm family that resulted in the husband’s near death at the hands of the robbers when they tried to hang him three times and failed, led to the capture of the wood-be robbers by the home guard a few nights later.

Robbers buried under the tree on which they were hanged

The seven men were hanged by a self-designated posse for the attempted robbery and unsuccessful hanging of a farmer in the area after three tries. An account of the robbers being captured was given in the first column and of them being hanged was covered in the second column. Today we will talk about the aftermath of the hangings.

Contests and Promotions

Stop signs are forever: I voted (and you can too!)

Peer pressure is a bit of a two-edged sword. It can be used for good, like how societal shaming has resulted in tons of progress curbing smoking over the last decade. Or it can be not so good. Like when eighth graders pressure their friends to sneak out to the parking lot for a quick cigarette at half-time of the JV basketball game, but then you have to run around the far side of the school when you’re done so no one suspects anything and in doing so crash into an unseen T-post and bleed all over your shirt and then never try smoking again because it was clearly a sign from God.

Let’s Reminisce: Remembering the really bad roads

I was not surprised that Texas voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 on the ballot, to put more money into the State Highway Fund. Not only have we seen a sharp decline in the quality and maintenance of our highway system, but people my age remember what it was like to drive on roads that were really bad.

LARRY PHILLIPS: A look at the new legislature

For the first time in many years, the state has a new governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller, attorney general, agriculture commissioner and land commissioner. All of the statewide office holders are Republicans. The Texas Senate will also have seven new members, three of whom previously served in the House. The Senate has 11 Democrats, 19 Republicans, and one vacancy. Senate District 18 is currently vacant since the incumbent, Sen. Glenn Hegar, was just elected to serve as the Comptroller. A special election will be held to fill this vacancy. The Texas House will have 22 new members, and consist of 52 Democrats and 98 Republicans.

Mo’ money, no problems

Election Day is upon us, which means the inevitable fallout of partisan, finger-pointing opinion pieces dissecting the outcome is similarly nigh. And if Republicans retake the U.S. Senate, as they are expected to do, a good number of those fingers will be pointed at Charles and David Koch, two brothers who own an eponymous manufacturing company that just so happens to be the second largest privately held business in the nation.

Who holds the keys to wedlock?

Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I would conservatively estimate the number of weddings I’ve attended at 1.7 billion. And over those years of watching my dad do his thing between the bride and groom, I learned quite a bit about weddings.