The 16 Hard-to-Spell Words Everyone From Houston Knows

You can spell “Olajuwon” without looking, right?

 Highlights from Hair Balls

Houston 101

Words are tricky. Not everything is spelled phonetically. Unique spellings just add special character to a place. In a way, these are our words. Sometimes, the only way to learn how to spell words is by seeing them often enough.

Here’s a lesson: No touting unfriendly countries’ flags at BBVA Compass Stadium soccer matches.
Courtesy of Buthayna Hammad
Here’s a lesson: No touting unfriendly countries’ flags at BBVA Compass Stadium soccer matches.

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We decided to think up a list of things only Houstonians know how to spell. Below are 16 words that people who aren't from Houston might fumble over, but that as Houstonians we know by heart.

16. Kuykendahl

How many ways can this one get misspelled? Kerkandahl? Kirkendall?

15. Humble

The "h" might be silent in Humble, Texas, but don't forget about it.

14. Pappas

A Houston family name that's grown big in the restaurant business. People pronounce it "Poppas" and "Papas" (rhymes with "slap"), but it's spelled "Pappas."

13. Carrabba

The Italian chain has Houston origins. There are now more than 200 locations, so maybe people all over the country know how to spell this one.

12. Z-Ro

No numerals needed when it comes to this Houston rap legend.

11. Hermann

When talking about Houston's 445-acre park, use two n's.

10. Olajuwon

The NBA's all-time blocks leader brought two championships to Houston, and he deserves to have his name spelled correctly.

9. Whataburger

A mumbler might pronounce it "Water-Burger," but what a burger it is.

8. Tomjanovich

Rudy Tomjanovich is a big enough part of Rockets history that every Houston basketball fan knows how to spell his name — a hell of a name it is.

7. Annise

Anise is a spice. Annise is the mayor.

6. Mirabeau

A lot of Lamar High School graduates have this name printed on their diplomas.

5. Biggio

There's no "e" in the last name of this Killer Bee.

4. Minute Maid

Though the name was chosen to imply that the orange juice concentrate was quick and easy to use, it's "maid," not "made." Houstonians should know. The juice company is the sponsor of the stadium the Astros play in, after all.

3. Codeine

Other words for this are spelled "sizzurp" and "purple drank."

2. Longenbaugh Drive

Not Loganbaugh or Loganbow.

1. Goode

Don't forget the "e." We're not talking about an adjective. We're talking about barbecue, and that means an "e" is needed on the end.


No Naughty Nurses

UT Austin nursing school students can't show too much.

Camilo Smith

Signs posted around UT Austin's nursing school building caused a bit of a stir last week when a feminist website broke the news of their message: "Revealing clothing MUST NOT be worn while in the school of nursing building. It distracts from the learning environment."

The signs were a bit of a mini-skirt- and cleavage-killer and lasted for all of about 24 hours after being posted on elevators and elsewhere. University officials were quick to ­respond to the situation and remind folks that, yes, the school does have a dress code, but it's not just aimed at women.

"We're focusing on students portraying a professional image, regardless of where they're at," the school's associate dean, Gayle Timmerman, told Hair Balls.

She said a part-time staffer created four signs that were meant as "friendly reminders" about the school's dress code. Yes, there is a dress code, and it does say, "Revealing clothing must not be worn," Timmerman told us. So the part about cleavage that's in the signage that drew the attention, she said, isn't in the actual student handbook.

What is in the student handbook (and on the signs), Timmerman told us, are examples of revealing clothes that include shirts that expose the midriff and short, short shorts.

"Could we state it better? Obviously, it hit a nerve with a lot of people," she said.

Here's the official press release on the subject, sent out a day later:

"Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that yesterday a poorly worded sign about our dress code had been posted on the School of Nursing's elevator bulletin boards. We want everyone to know that we've taken the signs down. The wording of the signs made it sound as though we were worried about women's clothing as a distraction in the learning environment. This is not the case.

"Like many schools of nursing and medicine, we have a student conduct policy that prepares all of our students to work in professional clinical settings. This policy includes a dress code — which we have had for many years and which our students understand is part of their education. Each semester, we send competent, capable, and compassionate men and women into the nursing workforce where they face many policies and procedures. Our code of conduct is part of getting them ready.

"The signs we have taken down were not an accurate reflection of our policy. We're not in the business of measuring skirt lengths. We are in the business of educating a new generation of nurses.

"Gayle Timmerman, RN, PhD — Associate Dean for Academic Affairs"

Spaced City

Flag-Waving Beef

Woman: Security didn't want her flying Palestinian flag during Israel game in Houston.

Craig Malisow

A woman watching the Honduras-Israel soccer match at BBVA Compass Stadium June 1 said a security guard tried to confiscate her Palestinian flag because it was a "racial slur."

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