On this date, exactly 75 years ago, a tiny Texas legend was born. After his 31-year entombment in an Eastland courthouse cornerstone, Old Rip the horned lizard was discovered alive and kicking.

Although today, Feb. 18, is actually the anniversary, the Eastland commemoration will be held on Monday the 24th. Event organizer Bette "The Toad Lady" Armstrong has arranged for Bill Wood, grandson of Ernest Wood, to be in attendance. Ernest Wood was the county clerk who originally placed Old Rip in the cornerstone in 1928.

In an effort to pass on the town's history to posterity, Bette has arranged for local schoolchildren to play a major part in the celebration. Everyone, however, is encouraged to attend and to take the Old Rip Oath, in which participants vow to pass on the horny toad's legend.

So, call in sick to work on Monday and help to celebrate Old Rip's semisesquicentennial (half of one-and-a-half of a century) or sesquisemicentennial (one-and-a-half of half a century), however you want to abuse your Latin.

Big Tex is over the hill!

That's right, the 52-foot-tall host to millions of thrill seekers every fall hit the big five-oh with the opening of the 2002 State Fair of Texas.

Big Tex is the World's Largest Cowboy and the official emcee for the annual fair. He joined the yearly exhibition in 1952 after losing his job as the World's Largest Santa Claus and hasn't missed a fair since.

He was given the gift of speech his second year and his slow, booming voice is now almost as recognizable as his signature stance and enormous western wardrobe.

So far, seven men have provided the voice for the big man. Taking on the role in 2002, Dallas native Bill Bragg was lucky enough to jump on board in time to commemorate Tex's 50th birthday, and his first day on the job included the honor of participating in a special celebration.

On opening day, September 27, officials paid tribute to Big Tex with an appropriately mammoth birthday party. Hundreds of fairgoers gathered at the birthday boy's size-70 feet as State Fair President Errol McCoy kicked off the ceremony. Clearing his throat, he got the attention of the guest of honor, to which the big man replied, "Ol' Big Tex is ready!" ... Continued

It's hardly 30 years old, but already it's gotten a face-lift.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo's world-famous lineup of half-buried Caddies, was treated yesterday to a makeover. As part of their Save-A-Landmark campaign, Hampton Inns restored eccentric millionaire Stanley Marsh 3's roadside icon to its former glory.

Over the years, the ten Cadillacs comprising the work of art have been ravaged by the elements and covered over with years of ever-changing graffiti. Hampton Inns, which has been working to restore such landmarks along historic Route 66, painted the classic vehicles to the original yellow, blue and green hues that they sported when first buried back in 1974. The cars were also given new tires.

However, since it has become common practice to bring a can of spray paint when visiting the attraction and leave one's mark, the restoration is unlikely to last very long.