Chapter 12
Ice House Radio
The Tales of Texas

1a - The Mysterious Ski Rack
1b - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
1c - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
1d - Scorpions, Scorpio
2a - Diet Soda
2b - Riding into the Sunrise
3 - Modest Magazines
4 - Down to Houston
5a - What Does That Sign Say
5b - Just Follow Your Nose
5c - They Call It the Sunbelt
5d - The State Tree
6 - The New House
7a - Billboards
7b - Billboards Again
8 - Stereo Upgrade
9 - Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings to and from Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What's That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston through the small towns
37 - Shoe Story, an Austin Anecdote
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47a - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48a - Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House Is That-A-Way
57 - C.S.I. Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2

Ice House Radio

2000/08/27 Rick Landau

We were having lunch the other day at, well, at Bubba's Ice House.

Slight digression: ice houses apparently have an interesting history in Texas. There were not many places to stay cool in the summer back in that savage yesteryear before universal air conditioning. According to the informal history that has come to me, the southern states were dotted with ice houses filled with blocks of ice cut from northern lakes. At some point, people started "visiting" the houses on hot days. Just droppin' by to say Howdy, podner. Golly, it's nice and cool in here, isn't it. And then chairs appeared for the visitors. And then tables. And then some of the houses started brewing beer and serving food and they became sort of rough restaurants or pubs. Some ice houses have survived as restaurants. And some restaurants that call themselves ice houses may actually have been ice houses once. End of digression.

I have no idea what Bubba's heritage may be as a restaurant or as an ice house. We tried it just because it was there and we're still surveying local restaurants. The sign says they serve "Great American food for the everyday hero." Good burgers, ribs, chicken-fried steak, they say. You order your food at the counter, go find a table, and they call you later when it's ready. The announcements on the speaker were pretty typical squeaky little girl voices until they got to number seven. "Number seven, your order is ready," boomed out in a perfect, accent-free, smooth-dog radio DJ voice. Wow. Almost dropped my fork. Couldn't see who it was, but he did it a couple more times during lunch. And that gave me an idea.

Another digression. Product idea: Get twenty or thirty recognizable, famous voices to record, "Number one, your order is ready!" and put them on a CD for restaurants like this to use. The restaurant uses a little CD player, the hostess punches in the track number, which matches the order number, and, boom, Dolly Parton tells you that "Number eleven, your order is ready and waitin', honey!" Clint Eastwood. Kathleen Turner. Katherine Hepburn (well, she's dead, so you have to get a good imitator). Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Groucho (same problem). Hmmm, I think there is a generational problem here. Need some more recent, but still recognizable voices, please. Surely not most of today's Barbie and Ken clones that are recognizable only by their videos and maybe lyrics. How about Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) for number one: (Breathe. Breathe.) "Obi One, your dinner is ready." End of second digression.

Yet another digression. Next door to Bubba's is Callahan's General Store. True to its name, it has some of everything, from tools to Texas stuff, from food items to toys, from insecticides to saddles, bridles, and horseshoes. And real horseshoes, too, not decorative ones, in about thirty different sizes and shapes. Gosh, the real West. End of digressions for today.

In any case, the radio was on, and between songs, in one advertising slot, the station played three ads:

1. A car dealer's big sale of used pickup trucks.

2. Two men's clubs (topless and bottomless bars) that advertise themselves as "the naked and the half-naked truth about Austin." And

3. Southwestern Bell high-speed DSL connections to the internet for businesses and homes.

How perfectly Austin and perfectly Texas! Rusty trucks, naked women, and bandwidth. What more does a Bubba need? Yee-ha!

Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002, Richard Landau. All rights reserved.