The business of Houston has always been business, and while the world knows us as an oil town, real estate is where it's at. Ever since Houston's founding by the Allen Brothers, this city has been all about the art of the deal, Donald Trump style. What we've been lacking until recently is coverage of this industry with the sort of intelligence, snark and panache that Swamplot.com brings to the table. Whether rattling off the latest wrecking-ball casualties in their Daily Demolition Report, leaking renderings of upcoming projects for the ridicule or acclaim of the city's architecture buffs or posting photos of random interiors and having readers guess the home's locale, Swamplot covers Houston real estate with consummate humor and a wicked sense of fun. And like they say, "Swamplot didn't flood during Allison. Honest!"

Radio is still an art at this 56-year-old institution. The oldest black radio station in Texas has ignored the streamlining so rampant elsewhere in the industry, so the station is all-local, all-the-time. Weekday mornings, 26-year-vet Michael Harris helms current affairs show "Person to Person"; afternoons are given over to the real-life moral dilemma dramas of Wash Allen's "Confessions" and Don Sam's soul, blues and zydeco oldies. Evenings bring Ralph Cooper's highly Houston-centric sports talk and plenty of grown-folks' music. As if all that were not enough, Mister Misty's stroke of midnight weekend performances are masterpieces of old-school radio theatrics.

This show is so obscure it's not listed on KCOH's Web site, and station representatives gave us the name of a different Dr. Watkins when we asked who hosted the show. In fact, they weren't really sure of the show's name, either, probably because it's a mouthful. But if you tune in Sundays from 6 to 7 p.m., you will hear some awesome old-school radio. Now in his seventies, Watkins has a gentle, soothing voice that appeals to his core audience, which appears to be African-American senior ­citizens. The other week, his cousin Julius called in with a question about how to get his local Walgreens to carry a certain type of foot powder, and they had a brief conversation like they weren't even on the air. Watkins told Julius to call him at home after the show. He also spent a good deal of that broadcast apologizing for using the word "pee." Chances are, you aren't suffering from any old-people ailments, but that doesn't mean you won't love this show.

Houston Central Library

It took two years and $17 million, but Houston finally has its downtown library back. Was it worth the wait? Not for some purists, maybe, who have carped that the place no longer seems as book-centric as a library should be. But the rest of us can revel in the wider, airier aisles, the coffee bar, the Wii room, everything the planners have done to get more people into the building. You can still find any book you want; you just have to dodge a little more of modern life while doing it. A good trade.

Pedro Rojas, weekend anchor for Univisión Channel 45, is more than just a pretty face. Yep, he's tall, dark and handsome (with a seriously bright white smile), but he's also a talented, experienced anchorman and reporter. Rojas has built a reputation as a caring and professional journalist, one who's willing to go the extra mile to get the story behind the story. He brings the same attitude to the smallest story as he does the biggest, making sure his audience gets the best information every time. Over the last four years with Univisión, he has covered disasters, politics, crime and the economy for Houston's Hispanic community in one of the top-rated news broadcasts in the city.

University of Houston

Being the president of UH, and chancellor of the UH System, ain't easy. There are lots and lots of different constituencies demanding time, attention and money. But ever since she took on the task in January, Renu Khator has been getting effusive praise from students, faculty and other Cougars for her openness, frank talk and energy. She's visited parts of the campus that never have been seen by the top brass. She has bold plans to make UH into a top-tier university. Whether she can pull it off remains to be seen, but rarely, if ever, has a UH president started the job with such an impressive stretch.

In John McPhee's story about truckers, driver Don Ainsworth talks about truck-stop bathrooms: "You can take a prom date to a Petro." You probably shouldn't take a prom date to the bathroom at the Texas Truck Stop, but for a lot lizzard, it's just about right. The bathroom is tucked in the rear of the store, past the video slots and through the storage room. The black magic marker on the hand dryer is a truck-stop cliché, but there's a shower in the bathroom that's just not right. Most of the "messages" have been scrubbed from the walls, but you can still score some numbers to call if you're looking for a good time.

Just Oxtails Soul Food

We generally don't see a lot of soul-food ­restaurant commercials. You've got the ­freakin' Mandola's every two seconds, but soul-food joints generally earn their rep through word-of-mouth, not blitzkrieg broadcasting. But owner Kenneth Washington's commercial is pretty much what you'd expect a soul-food commercial to be: a dude talking about how good his restaurant's food is while showing video of said food. Washington even mentions his famous "40-weight gravy," which sounds vaguely like his gravy might be used for industrial purposes, but probably tastes amazing. This is a homegrown, no-nonsense spot — and it makes you want to check out this funky-sounding joint in, as Washington proclaims, "the heart of Sunnyside, Texas."

Charlie Rose isn't the only PBS-head who can conduct intelligent, one-on-one, no-frills interviews with a variety of interesting personalities. Houston's Ernie Manouse, host of InnerVIEWS, has been doing just that for years. His diverse guests have included Molly Ivins, Calvin Trillin, k.d. lang, Isaac Hayes, Jamie Foxx and Anne Rice. Manouse asks smart, thoughtful questions and never tries to hog the camera or talk over his guests. His subtle, witty and sharp style has earned him a host of Emmy nominations and awards from the Press Club of Dallas, among others. If you haven't already, check him out and see how long it takes you to think, "Hey, this is pretty damn good."

You gotta love a guy who gets up in the middle of the night just so he can tell us Houston's weather is going to be hot. That's what KPRC-TV weatherman Anthony Yanez does: He wakes up at 2:30 a.m., is at work by 3 a.m. and is on the air by 5 a.m., giving up-to-the-minute forecasts (ah, it's going to be hot, hot and hotter?). In a field where bad news makes for great newscasts, Yanez is matter-of-fact, leaving the hysterics and hyperbole to his competitors. His professionalism and commitment to getting Houston the right information show that the weather desk is not just another stop on his career path, but his home. Yanez's first day at Channel 2 was a bit of a stormy start. It was July 15, 2003, and Hurricane Claudette was pounding the Gulf Coast. (Welcome to hell, Anthony.) Since then, the meteorologist has reported on deadly heat waves, swirling floods, twisting tornadoes and devastating storms, including hurricanes Katrina and Rita. All of it suits Yanez just fine, but then again, he vacations in Purgatory (the canyon in New Mexico, not hell).

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