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Rodeo, Fried Chicken and James Dean

With the release of Country Strong next January starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw, I thought it was the perfect time to take a closer look at this fascinating American state that everybody calls Texas where cowboys, country music and fried chicken reside. Since the Oscar winning movie Giant in 1956, every guy is in the hope of becoming as cool as James Dean someday and all the girls are secretly in love with him. It sounds quite logic actually, I mean, we are talking about James Dean here, one of the most talented, good-looking and charismatic American actors of all time who incarnated the real cowboy attitude with so much ease that it’s not even fair.  You won’t become the next James Dean overnight though but you can try to live the Texan life if you fancy following some tips.

First, you need to move to Texas (obviously) and find a job in a ranch in order to learn as much as you can about cattle, cows and horses. If you can make few cowboy friends along the road, it would be great for your learning experience and well, let’s be honest, it’s always better to eat fried chicken, baked corn and barbecued spareribs when you share them with mates! Secondly, you need to learn some rodeo skills and take a plunge in the bull-ring…you will never be a real cowboy if you can’t ride guys, make sure you keep that in mind. Read more

How to Talk Like a Texan

Last week, I posted an article about learning to live the Texas life. However, one thing I neglected to cover is Texas’ unique version of the English language.  Speaking the Queen’s English will get you nothing but funny looks if you intend to take the plunge and try living the rodeo life. To talk like a Texan, you need to master two skills: accent and vocabulary.

To get the accent, trying watching reruns of Dallas. Practice the drawl. Many one-syllable words sound like two syllables in Texas.  Also, if there’s an “ing” suffix on the end of the word, drop the “g.”

Next, let’s take a look at some vocabulary you’ll need:

Aggie: Someone who attends Texas A & M University or roots for their sports teams. Aggies are the mortal enemies of Longhorns. “Aggie jokes” are jokes told to make fun of Aggies.

Armadillo: An odd mammal that looks like it’s wearing leather armor. When threatened, the armadillo will roll up into a ball to protect itself.

Bluebonnets: The state flower, bluebonnets grow in most of the state, but especially in the Hill Country near Austin. Taking pictures in the bluebonnets is a tradition for most Texas families.

Cattywhompus: Adjective used to describe something that is misaligned or out of place.

Chili: The official state dish, a combination of ground beef with onions, peppers and spices like cumin. True Texas chili is always made without beans and often without tomatoes. Read more