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The United States may have ended the Olympic Games in Rio with the most medals won by any nation -- by far -- but ...
In other rankings, the U.S. may not set the standard.
For example: The Economist Intelligence Unit has just released its list of the most liveable cities in the world. The list is based on 30 factors that the Unit has tracked over time.
The most liveable city turns out to be Melbourne, Australia. Coming in second is Vienna, Austria. The next three are in Canada.
In the Top 10, three of the cities are in Australia, three are in Canada, one is in Germany, one in Austria, one in New Zealand and one in Finland.
Altogether, the most liveable cities are mid-sized and are in wealthier countries, according to The Economist.
I'm not at all surprised that American cities are not at the top of the list. Most of them are too crowded, poorly laid out, hard to get around in and downright ugly (think "Houston").
Not that these kinds of rankings will make much difference in where people decide to live. They are mainly going to follow jobs. Which is why Houston is so big and Austin so popular, even though not particularly liveable.
Taking things for granted
After the rain had stopped for awhile Thursday morning, my wife and I decided it must might be a nice enough day to get lunch and sit outdoors to enjoy it.
The temperature at noon was about 80 degrees and there was a slight breeze. The sun stayed behind the clouds.
We headed over to the Back Porch, Wimberley's newest eatery, fearing we might not get a seat, so pretty was the day.
We did get seated, right where we could look out on Cypress Creek and hear it babbling over a low-water dam.
Within a few minutes we had our hamburgers.
You know, I told my wife, this is a remarkable thing we are doing right now and we are acting like it is something we do all the time.
We don't and haven't.
For four years we lived in Canyon, near Amarillo. No creekside dining up there.
For nearly 25 years we lived in Wichita Falls. Certainly no dining on the water there.
And for four years we lived in Temple. Now, there, you could drive over to Belton Lake and eat at the Dead Fish Grill on a Friday night and feel like you were something special. We did that maybe three times.
We had a condo in Santa Fe for a few years. No creeks there, either.
What a treat to be able to drive about five minutes from our house, sit beside a beautiful creek and enjoy a great meal at lunchtime.
I feel like we're taking it for granted.
Save up to buy books
The annual Friends of the Library book sale is on Oct. 21 and 22 at the Chapel in the Hills.
The Friends book hoarders have been working like crazy this year to catalog thousands of books donated for the sale. We now have not one, but two, outbuildings on our lot devoted to the housing of book-sale books.
I have no idea how to prove this, but I would wager that we get more used books for our sale than any other town our size in Texas, maybe in the country. Almost not a single day goes by without us taking in some used books to be sold for the library's benefit.
As in the past, Friends only can come to the sale from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 21, and the following day, Oct. 22, the doors are open to everyone from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All proceeds from this big sale go back into library services and supplies.
So, plan now to attend.
Oh, and you can join the Friends any time between now and the last hour of the preview sale on Oct. 21 by dropping by the library and filling out a blank form.
Another reason to live here
You may not need more reasons than you already know to live in the Wimberley area.
If you do, though, here's another: A dollar goes farther here than, say, Houston, and certainly farther than it would go in Washington, D.C., or Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Tax Foundation has just crunched some U.S. government data to show where you could buy the least and most for $100.
Turns out that a $100 bill would actually be worth $115 in Mississippi and $114 in Arkansas.
It would be worth only $84.67 in D.C. and $85.62 in Honolulu.
The Texas average value would be $103.52, right in there with Utah and Arizona.
The Austin MSA, which includes Wimberley, has a slightly worse value of $101.
It could BEEEE You
Plans are being finalized for this year's Adult Spelling Bee, which will occur on Oct. 28 at the Community Center.
The Friends of the Library has arranged for a nice lunch for the competitors and guests and cheerleaders, the words are being put into a study guide and the trophies are on order.
Now, all we need is you -- as a speller or a sponsor.
Either way, please come by the library and sign up.
The contest is a fun way to test your skills against other adults in the community and a fun way to help raise funds for the library.
Sponsoring a team is $100, and that includes lunch for three team members.
Come on by!
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High tolerance for pain
A third revolution
Before you check out
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