As promised here is a picture of me in my new cowboy hat. I liked the coat, too, but not on this trip.

Had fun touring Austin on Monday. We saw the interior of St. Mary’s Cathedral. It’s in the middle of a major renovation, and it looks good. All of the dark brown wood has been refinished, the gold leaf has been touched up and the whole sanctuary looks gorgeous. I was surprised at how small it is; Most parish churches are bigger. But it is an old church and I’m sure it was suited to the number of Catholics in the area when it was built.

We also went into the state capital building, which is an almost exact replica of the US Capitol. It’s a beautiful building, the Senate and House chambers are nice and the history in the place is great. And it’s also true that Texans are very proud of their independence. It does feel like some people think of themselves as Texans first, Americans second. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Texas also has a chain of used book stores called “Half Price Books” where we stopped in. I was looking for the next volume of the Aubrey/Maturin series, “Treason’s Harbour,” but they didn’t have it. Instead I picked up the first couple of volumes of another Age of Sail historical fiction series by Alexander Kent.

We also dropped into a large independent bookstore called BookPeople. Very crunchy, granola, and liberal. In the politics section, the anti-George Bush books outnumbered the conservative books by about 5 to 1. But they did have “Treason’s Harbour”, so I was happy.

  • Dear Dom,

    Do keep in mind when Austin was erected a diocese (1947).  That may be a tiny reason why the Cathedral is the size of a parish church…It was one, run by the Holy Cross Fathers, before it became the Cathedral.

    You may want to make the trek to San Antonio, if you have never been there.  The Cathedral is beautiful.


  • It sounds like you’re getting the full tour, Dom. “Crunchy, granola, and liberal” is the perfect description of Austin as well. As we say it’s full of wanna-be hippies because most of them have too much money to be real hippies.

    Enjoy the Hill Country … it is gorgeous and you should have fun eating all the brats … there’s a big German contingency that settled there long ago.

  • A BLACK hat, Dom…!?!? Gee, I thought you were one of the good guys….smile

    I hear you on the cowboy thing though, as I am the proud owner of a multiple pairs of western boots and three cowboy hats (one of which is black…).

    You’ve got to get the boots, though – and talk Melanie into a pair also. Then both of you can go line dancing – a foot-stompin’ good time!


  • Love the picture (but I’d be scared if I ever saw you dressed like that in a dark alley somewhere!).

    Glad you are having fun and it’s nice of you to still share your time and talents with us from the road.

  • Looking good, Dom.
    I hope they take you out to Fredericksburg, an old German town with a beutiful Baroque-style church.
    You’re right about the cathedral- it is small by Northern standards, but much beloved and now beautifully restored.
    Tell us what Mexican restaurants you get to eat at while you’re in Austin.

  • Button the coat and you’re ready for “Men in Black – the Catholic Version.”

    Did Austin have snow on Dec. 25?  (Corpus Christi did – 4 or 5 inches of it.)

  • Dom looks like he belongs in a Sergio Leone movie.

    And I echo what Thomas and The Blogger With No Name said about the size of St. Mary’s Cathedral. I didn’t even realize it was a Cathedral until I was told it was (I was just directed there by a Catholic priest with whom I was taking a philosophy class at UT).

  • No snow- it passed just south of us and hit San Antonio.  There are few things as beautiful as the Alamo covered in snow.

    Dom definitely looks like Tex, the Mafia hit man.  But you know the old saying- “All hat and no cattle.”

  • Victor- a priest was teaching philosophy at UT?  Interesting.
    BTW, Jay Budiziewski ( I’m sure I murdered the spelling of his name) may be a guy ya’ll are familiar with.  He is a UT professor and specializes in natural law theory.  He is a frequent contributor to First Things and I used to hear him on the evangelical radio show “the Bible Answer Man with Hank Hanagraff.”  Well, thanks be to God, he and his wife converted to catholicism last year and attend St. Mary’s Cathedral.  That’s good for us- he is a very nice man and a first rate mind.  No word on whether he’s been banned from “The Bible Answer Man.”

  • No such luck, Thomas. The priest was a fellow student, a man named Don Kloster (who actually pledged a UT fraternity before getting his calling). The professor was a guy named Kane (forgetting his first name). I was the designated defender of Allan Bloom’s CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND in that class.

    I had a couple of friends who took a class under Budz, but I never did (though I *was* a government major). I didn’t exactly *avoid* him, it was just that at that point in my life, I was more interested in International Relations and American Politics than Political Theory.

  • Thomas,

    J. Budzizewski is interviewed in the January 05 issue of CWR about his conversion. His daughter is a good friend of Melanie’s sister and is entering the Church this Easter.

    We ate at a small Salvadoran place just up the street, a real local, authentic place called Elsie’s. Very good. I wish they had food like this in the Northeast.

  • Yeah, there were lots of things we wanted to do with Dom in Texas, unfortunately this was a laid back and relaxed vacation with lots of time spent with family and friends. So Fredricksburg will have to wait for next time and many other of my favorite haunts…

    Melanie the lazy hostess