Highlights from Hair Balls
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.
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.
How many ways can this one get misspelled? Kerkandahl? Kirkendall?
The "h" might be silent in Humble, Texas, but don't forget about it.
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."
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.
No numerals needed when it comes to this Houston rap legend.
When talking about Houston's 445-acre park, use two n's.
The NBA's all-time blocks leader brought two championships to Houston, and he deserves to have his name spelled correctly.
A mumbler might pronounce it "Water-Burger," but what a burger it is.
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.
Anise is a spice. Annise is the mayor.
A lot of Lamar High School graduates have this name printed on their diplomas.
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.
Other words for this are spelled "sizzurp" and "purple drank."
2. Longenbaugh Drive
Not Loganbaugh or Loganbow.
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.
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"
Woman: Security didn't want her flying Palestinian flag during Israel game in Houston.
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."
Buthayna Hammad said she was waving the flag about 15 minutes into the match when four stadium security officers and four police officers approached. They asked her to step away from her seat for a discussion. That's when, she says, security manager Nathan Buchanan told her the flag "infers a racial slur." (We don't know what's more offensive — the premise that the flag is somehow racist or that he allegedly said "infers" when he should have said "implies.")
"My boyfriend came with me. He is Honduran," Hammad told Hair Balls via Facebook. "He was outraged and couldn't stop yelling. I was a little more calm about it because I have faced racism [quite] a bit..." (Hammad, a native Houstonian, said her parents are from Jordan, Jerusalem and Gaza.)
BBVA Compass Stadium spokeswoman Gina Rotola told us via email that "the decision to not allow the Palestinian flag to be displayed during the game was based on the sole intention of maintaining the safety of those in attendance. The flag bearer was instigating the crowd, and we felt it was important to diffuse a potentially volatile situation as emotions began to escalate. We instructed the patron that she could retain her flag but should refrain from waving it in front of fans from the other teams."
Rotola declined to explain how Hammad was "instigating" anything, but she told us, "A national flag from any country cannot be a racial slur, so if any statement of that nature were used, it would have been made incorrectly by an individual trying to deescalate a situation. Again, our goal is to host a fun, safe environment for all fans. Taunting, heckling, or creating a disturbance does not have a place in the stadium at any time."
Hammad, of course, has a different take: "Well, in this crowd, like many others, there are a lot of 'instigating' remarks or actions. Example, the crowds were yelling things like 'faggot,' 'motherfucker,' etc. I don't really speak Spanish, so I asked my [boyfriend] for a translation. I just shouted 'Honduras' or 'Vamos Honduras' and held my flag."
Hammad told us that Buchanan said he'd make a "compromise," telling her that she could return to her seat and keep her flag as long as she didn't wave it. She said he gave her his business card and said to contact him immediately if anyone gave her a problem.
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So why wave the flag in the first place?
Hammad told us, "While I want to avoid the politics of the situation, it is difficult to do, but I have cousins who have immigrated to Honduras from Palestine, and they were very welcomed there, so there is a love for Honduras in that sense. My intention was to represent myself and Honduras."
She added, "It happens. It is an international sport, and people fly their nation's flag to represent their support for the team they are cheering on."
Hammad thinks someone may have complained to security, so Buchanan may have felt he was put in an uncomfortable situation. (We tried speaking with him directly, but no such luck.) Still, this was not the way to handle it. But at least we now know one thing, based on Hammad's story: Shouting "faggot" and "motherfucker" at BBVA Compass Stadium may not earn you a visit from security, but waving a flag someone doesn't like might.