Five stories that have North Texas talking: Accents going through withdraw(l), a flu Christmas, atheism in the Lone Star State and more.
Texans aren’t talkin’ as funny as they used to, according to one linguist historian. Lars Hinrichs is tracing the definitive Southern accent’s withdraw(l) via the Texas English Project. He’s got hundreds of tapes from the ‘80s, when his students at the University of Texas recorded born-and-bred Texans speaking their language. When compared to contemporary pronunciation, it appears those precious ‘y’s in ‘Tyler’ are an endangered species. Matt Largey of KUT has the story for NPR.
- If you avoided the free flu shots via your employer earlier this fall and still want one, there’s time. The Dallas Morning News reports the illness is showing up sooner than it has in almost a decade but the vaccine is in thick supply, both at county clinics and pharmacies in the area. The American Lung Association has a quick way to find your closest option; just type in your zip code and find the phone numbers you need.
- A diverse group of atheists in Texas are making their presence known -- outside the Capitol, over beers at city pubs -- perhaps energized by a pew poll that showed one in five Americans identify as "unaffiliated" with any particular religion. [Anna Merlan, Dallas Observer]
- Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price saddles up Friday night at Will Rogers Coliseum. She’s riding in the annual Careity Foundation Celebrity Cutting Horse event, competing against names like Jay Novacek, Lyle Lovett, Dr. Jane Bussey and Bob Kingsley. It’s a fundraiser for the Careity Foundation which provides services for economically challenged cancer patients, as well as early cancer detection programs. [City of Fort Worth; BJ Austin]
- The 53 year old Large Mammal Building at the Dallas Zoo is rubble. Demolition began yesterday to make way for new green space that will feature a grassy lawn, picnic tables, and new restrooms. The big building was a little like Noah’s Ark when it opened in 1959. It housed two elephants, two rhinos, three giraffes, three pygmy hippos and two river hippos. Through the years, its residents included the world’s oldest hippo and oldest male and female reticulated giraffes. It became the old school way of housing and exhibiting zoo animals, and was largely vacant on demolition day. Its last resident, Moyo the rhino moved recently to the Austin Savanna in hopes of finding a mate. The elephants and giraffes moved to the Giants of the Savanna exhibit in 2010. The picnic area will be open by next spring. [Dallas Zoo; BJ Austin]