Symbol of the state of Texas. Comes from the original Republic of Texas flag (which I believe was the same as the current state flag -- not sure though), which resembled an American flag, except that it had a single star in the blue field.

When the Minnesota North Stars hockey team moved south in 1993 to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, they originally wanted to adopt the "Lone Stars" nickname; however, the phrase "Lone Star State" is trademarked by the state, so they simply became the Dallas Stars.

Fabulous character played by Bill Pullman in Spaceballs. He was the parodied character of Star Wars' Han Solo, and did a damn good job of making fun of the spirit of the character, what with this leather and scruffiness. He found the Schwartz through Yogurt, saved the day, and married the princess. Not even Han Solo can beat that.

I'm a prince!

Serving Chicago, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Houston and intermediate points

Amtrak train numbers: 15 and 16

Predecessor railroad train numbers: None

When the Santa Fe Railway stopped allowing Amtrak to use its "Chief" trademark in 1974, the Chicago-Houston Texas Chief was renamed the Lone Star. Nothing else about the train changed, including the fact that it operated separately from the Southwest Limited (formerly the Super Chief) between the route shared by both trains, from Chicago to Newton, Kansas.

Due to budget cuts, the Lone Star was discontinued in 1979, leaving Oklahoma without Amtrak train service. Chicago-Houston service continued in the form of a section of the Chicago-Laredo Inter-American that split from the train in Temple, Texas.

Oklahoma service on the Lone Star's former route was reinstated in 1999, when the Heartland Flyer was inaugurated between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth.

Condensed historical timetables:

READ DOWN                   READ UP
 (1975)                     (1975)
  5:00P Dp Chicago       Ar 12:45P
  1:00A    Kansas City       4:50A
  9:00A    Oklahoma City     8:40P
  1:35P    Fort Worth        4:10P
  7:55P Ar Houston       Dp  9:50A

The Amtrak Train Names Project

Lone Star is a very inexpensive, low-quality beer along the lines of the now defunct generic beer available in previous decades.

Its claim to fame is that is available exclusively in Texas, much like its slightly higher-quality cousins such as Ziegenbock.

Lone Star compares favorably in terms of quality and price with other local cheap beers, such as Olympia, found in the Pacific Northwest.

As one would expect, Lone Star tastes much like any cheap, relatively light beer; the closest comparison I can think of is probably either Budweiser or MGD. It has two advantages over those beers, however: 1) it is much cheaper and 2) it is made in the Republic of Texas.

"Do birds flying south know the lines they cross?"

I first remember seeing Chris Cooper as the uptight Marine in American Beauty (1999). Although that film left me with a bad taste in my mouth, I couldn't forget his role. Then, when I saw him in one of the most important films in recent memory, Adaptation (2002), I understood why that memory lingered. This guy is a genius. So it didn't surprise me much to find that his role in Lone Star (1996) was a fetching piece of brilliance in an overlooked film; a film which is one of the most moving things I've seen on my TV since we fully exhausted season one of the Deadwood series.

The film is by John Sayles and I have to admit that I'd never really had that name register in my head before now. I'm sure I've seen at least a couple of his ten or so efforts, but I never had a clue how good this guy is. That's the way it usually is with geniuses, however. You never really notice them until it's too late to thank them. Now, however, I have City of Hope, Passion Fish, Men with Guns, as well as The Secret of Roan Inish firmly established in my NetFlix queue. I just hope by the time they arrive, I remember why I put them there.

The film this is most often compared to by lame-ass movie reviewers (not unlike myself) is Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show, based on the book by Larry McMurtry. I guess I can see the reason folks say that, but I didn't find it apt at all. Sure, they're both set in small Texas towns and they both involve small-town politics and betrayal. But The Last Picture Show was a sad affair while Lone Star breathes with life-affirming actions and positive will. In The Last Picture Show, you mourn for the loss of history and the forlorn state of the souls left to make it. In Lone Star, you feel that somehow the historic problems of race relations, familial squabbles, and the nation itself will heal, just like the political squabblings of the border town of Frontera, Texas, as well as the romance between the two protagonists. The Last Picture Show is about endings. Lone Star is about a way to find a new beginning.

When he was discussing his film City of Hope (1991) Sayles said that he was looking to create a work full of knots that would ultimately tie together and connect in intriguing ways. I haven't seen that one yet, but it would be hard to imagine a better example of that very mission statement than this film.

Cooper plays Sheriff Sam Deeds, the son of a famous sheriff of the little border town where they are about to name a building after his dad, legendary sheriff Buddy Deeds (Matthew McConaughey in flashbacks). We learn that Buddy became the sheriff after the totally corrupt Sheriff Charlie Wade (played deliciously villainously by Kris Kristofferson) went missing. When Wade's remains are found in the desert outside of town, Sam is suddenly given the chore of solving a decades-old murder mystery.

Pilar Cruz (played by the somewhat odd-looking but still amazingly attractive Elizabeth Peña) plays Sam's old flame. She's a schoolteacher with an overbearing mother (played by Miriam Colon) who came to America illegally but who now calls Border Patrol whenever she sees anyone else trying to do the same.

The element of the film that is most often glossed over in most reviews, and which I found at least as moving as any other facet, is the relationship of Big O (Otis Payne, played by Ron Canada) to his estranged son Delmore (played by Joe Morton). One could take the easy road and say that Sayles was fashioning a statement about the current rash of fatherlessness in America. But that would be to sell this element of the story way short. The scenes with the grandson visiting Big O's bar and complaining about a man they both love with a fierce passion is perhaps the lynchpin to the entire film. This provides the glimpse of hope for redemption, and by the time the film is over every one of the various story lines will have found this redemption in one form or another.

Sam is intent on pinning the forty year old murder on his father. What we learn later is that he is really trying to pin a much more personal and life-changing crime on his old man. One that he actually did commit. When this comes full circle at the end, I can't remember a better ending to a film. It's damn near Shakespeare.

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