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!