Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lone Star eccentrics

Twenty-three million people, give or take a few, live in Texas. And some of them are not like you and me. In fact, some of them are downright eccentric.

While eccentric can be a nice word for weird, not all eccentrics are weird. But all eccentrics are different, marching to the proverbial beat of their own drummer.

Mineral Wells educator-writer John Kuhn is just out with his first book, a look at a hundred or so living and dead Lone Star eccentrics, from the poker playing Amarillo Slim to the late border blaster radio personality Wolfman Jack. Fittingly enough, he calls the book “Texas Eccentrics.” (Atriad Press, 272 pages, $19.95.)

For organizational purposes, Kuhn grouped his characters into five broad moderately alliterative categories: Bizarre Businesspeople, Peculiar Personalities, Strange Sports Figures, Atypical Artists and Other Oddballs.

To put things in perspective, Kuhn starts the book with an introductory essay on eccentricism Texas-style, which is definitely more noticeable here than some other places. He does not miss the irony that he lives and works in a town once famous for a hotel called the Crazy Water.

Reading “Texas Eccentrics” will give you plenty of material for witty chit chat and possibly serve to remind you that compared with some others, you’re downright normal.

One downside to the book is that it offers no list of sources, a slight eccentricity than can be forgiven in favor of the interesting reading it offers.

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