For better or worse, I've always been one of those nimrods who get a little bent out of shape whenever they see a list of major cities in America that doesn't include Houston. This invariably happens on things like morning talk shows where they run a ticker of weather during the show and every city under the sun (literally) is listed but Houston. Dallas? Check. Austin? Check. Houston? Nada.
The same has always been true of my visits to Intellicast.com. In truth, Wunderground is my weather Web site of choice, but sometimes their weather stations get screwy and it will say the high is 90 when it's only 50 or vice versa, so I've found that Intellicast's extended forecast is actually pretty good. I even screen cap them for use with my weekly weather posts here. But when I visit their home page with their "select cities" box, I'm always left a little disconcerted that they include Omaha and not Houston.
But recently, something even worse surprised me.
Normally I type a ZIP code into the search bar to get to the local forecast for Houston, but I decided to type in "Houston" instead. The image above is the result I got in their drop-down menu. In case you can't see images or refuse to look, here's the list:
Houstonia, Missouri Houstonville, North Carolina Houston, Canada Houston, United Kingdom Houston, Alaska Houston, Alabama Houston, Arkansas Houston, Delaware Houston, Illinois Houston, Minnesota
Setting aside the Houstonia and Houstonville references for a moment, um, what the hell? Just for my own personal edification, I decided to do a little lookup for each city referenced that isn't in Texas.
Houston, Canada, is in British Columbia. Its estimated population of just over 5,600 people are residents of the "Steelhead Capital," a city that has the world's biggest fly-fishing rod.
Houston, UK, is an expensive little place about 15 miles from Glasgow. According to Wikipedia, this village of over 6,000 "is known for the academic success of its local state school Gryffe High which is the top-ranked school in Renfrewshire." Gryffe, not Gryffindor, you Harry Potter freaks.
Houston, Alaska, is a suburb of Anchorage with just under 2,000 residents. Houston, Alabama, is an unincorporated community in northern Alabama -- meaning it has essentially no residents -- with one historic monument: a jail.
Houston, Arkansas, is a tiny town outside little rock with a population of 159 as of 2000. Houston, Delaware, is near Dover with a population of 374. Houston, Illinois, is a township in extreme western Illinois with 250 residents.
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And then there's Houston, Minnesota, a bustling metropolis of 972 people that is actually named after Sam Houston because the man who founded the town, William McSpadden, served with him in the Mexican-American War.
There you have it. Clearly, all are much bigger names than the fourth largest city in America and home to NASA. God knows, the world's largest fly-fishing rod, a prep school and a log jail merit higher ranking than little old Houston, Texas.
Next time, remind me to use the ZIP code to search.