Sunday, December 28, 2008

Good News: Houston Advances to 54th Place from 55th in "Literate Cities" Rankings; Boosters Cite Jump as More Evidence of "World Class" Stature

Yep, you read that right: Houston climbed an entire notch this year in the "Most Literate Cities" rankings issued annually by Central Connecticut State University, that storied academic powerhouse of New Britain, Conn. (women's lacrosse team mascot: the "Slammin' Poochies"). The bad news is that Our Town still hasn't overtaken Riverside, Calif. ("County Seat of Riverside County") and Newark, N.J. ("A Real Fine Place to Carry a Gun") in the ratings.

How'd we pull it off? Hard to say, given that the CCSU researchers base the rankings of 70 cities (with populations of at least 250,000) on an index of six "key indicators" of a burg's literacy. As one of Houston's paragons of literacy, Ken Hoffman, might put it, here's how we stacked up against other major metropolises across the land, from our best to our worst category (for some reason the researchers did not link to their findings in the 6th category, bookstores per capita):
25th in Internet resources

Tied with Fort Worth for 48th in publications

Tied for 52nd with San Diego for newspaper circulation

53rd in education attainment of its citizenry

Tied for No. 68 with Stockton, Ca. in library resources

The rankings were topped by the usual suspects, with Minneapolis (too cold to do anything but read) and Seattle (lots of coffee-sipping goatee-strokers with computers) knotted-up at No. 1, followed by No. 3 Washington D.C. (somebody's gotta read and write all those federal regs), No. 4 St. Paul (doughty "twin city" of No. 1 Minneapolis) and No. 5 San Francisco (figures).

The discerning reader---assuming you've been able to read this far---will note that the above cities are all horribly expensive places to live when compared to Houston ('cause they got unions and land-use regs and workable mass transit and so forth) and, except for D.C., all have negligible populations of illegal Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Also---and we believe S. Palin would second the motion---they're all gay, as the kids say.*

Anyway, so what if we (us Houstonians) aren't big on the readin' and writin' thing. We (me) haven't done any research on this, but we'd wager that Our Town has far and away more Wing Stop locations than any of these fancy-pants cities. Plus: We got the Art Car Parade!

They can rank all day and all the night, but we's No. 1!

*Not "gay" as in homosexual, because of the above cities we believe Houston would be second only to S.F. in both total number of gay men and women and gays per capita, but "gay" as defined by the authoritative Urban Dictionary: "Often used to describe something stupid or unfortunate. Originating from homophobia; quite preferable among many teenage males in order to buff up their 'masculinity.' " Hotcha!

No comments: