Very Houston News

Questionable Ranking Lists, Houston's Most Eligible Dog, and Spaceships

It's been a doozy of a week.

By Catherine Wendlandt July 23, 2021

We're the Best ... Right??

Everybody has an opinion, but here’s the age-old question: Who’s opinion is right? 

Earlier this week, we reported that the U.S. News and World Report ranked Houston No. 39 in its “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” list, down from No. 27 the previous reader. 

While we objected to ranking behind Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW is two cities—grouping them together is cheating, we think), we can begrudgingly accept the U.S. News and World Report’s opinion … maybe. 

But then, TIME released “The World’s Greatest Places of 2021,” and guess who made the list. Was it DFW? Nope? Was it Austin? Nope, too weird. However, Houston made the top 100 in the world? Because, why wouldn't we?

“Houston—which welcomed around 100,000 new residents in 2019—has emerged as one of the most diverse cities in the American South,” Kayla Stewart wrote for TIME, reaffirming all of our Bayou City pride and joy. 

However, we’re a little confused at the conflicting reports, and we weren’t the only ones. Rice University’s Kinder Institute recently launched a new feature dedicated to breaking down the plethora of ranking lists our fair city lands on. 

“These best-places-for lists,” writes Andy Olin for the feature, “of which there are many, range from happiness, safety and cyclists to foodies, naked gardening and working from home. ... These rankings are largely just for fun. None of them are likely to ‘spur’ real-life policy change. But what’s wrong with a little fun?” 

Really, what is wrong with a little fun? But if you think DFW is better than Houston, you are, of course, wrong. 

Please Adopt Hank

A local foster dog called Hank is getting his 15 minutes of fame after colorful and expletive-filled descriptions of his wily ways have gone viral. 

“He’s 54 pounds of pure, unadulterated, kinetic energy with eyes like the ocean,” his foster mom, Christine Clauder, wrote online. “Unfortunately, that ocean also sank the Titanic.”

Clauder found Hank last May, and has been fostering the loveable, bouncy, and energetic pup ever since. 

“He has so much energy, Governor Abbott called us to see if he could plug the Texas power grid into him,” Clauder wrote on, which is dedicated to finding his forever home. 

Her fanciful and exaggerated descriptions of the “hellion” and his “fancy AF,” “loyal AF,” and “kind of trained” temperament sparked joy across social media, and earned Hank write-ups in People, Today, and Insider

It might have even gotten him a home. As of July 23, there’s an adoption hold and this lovable doggo. Good luck, Hank. 

He’s a Rocketman 

Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you might just get to take an out-of-this-world joyride with a billionaire. Seriously. 

On July 20, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos officially launched into sup-orbital space on a rocket from his space tourism company, Blue Origin. After liftoff in West Texas, Bezos, along with his brother and several other passengers, spent a total of 10 minutes off the ground and only three minutes of weightlessness. 

Bezos’s achievement comes on the heels of another billionaire, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson, who blasted off to suborbital space from New Mexico on July 11. Branson also spent a total of three minutes in a weightless status. 

While both of these adventures spurred conversations of spaceflight’s future, as well as plenty of memes, it did catch the eye of the Federal Aviation Administration. 

On July 19, the FAA announced it was opening a new field office in Houston to monitor and increase oversight over commercial space operations in Texas and New Mexico, like Bezos and Branson’s recent escapades. 

“Keeping the public safe as the pace of commercial space operations increases requires the FAA to adapt, be agile, and remain vigilant,” said Wayne Monteith, the FAA’s associate administrator of commercial space transportation, in a statement. “The Houston field office will help us achieve these important goals.”

While the new office feels a little “this is why we can’t have nice things,” oversight in this field is a very good thing so we descend into a science-fiction world of super villains and end-of-days disasters.

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