I am of an old western persuasion and have been a devout Coloradoan for most of my life. But as most of you know, I am now a little Texan too. So I decided to take a trip to see what makes things tick deep in the heart of Texas. And you know what? I've decided I make a darn good quasi-Texan.

So here are the fruits of my latest little fact-finding mission: My Top 5 reasons why I'm glad to (have at least part of me) hail from the Lone Star state:

5. They're nice. And when I say nice, I mean blessedly so. I was walking back from the opera house when a torrential downpour began. I ran to the closest hotel and asked if they could help get me a taxi. No taxis would come, so the hotel sent me back to my hotel 8 or 10 minutes away in their own SUV for free. See what I mean? Nice.

4. It's a genuine melting pot (or should I say pot of TexMex chili?). According to the U.S. Census, 36.9% of Texans identify themselves as Latino or of Hispanic descent, 12% as black. Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Asians and "others" comprise about 5 or so percent. It makes places like NEW YORK seem downright homogeneous.

3. It's BIG. Not Alaska Big, but big. And unlike Alaska, there are almost 25 MILLION people there. Which makes for...

2. Great art, food, music and culture. Rice University is there. The Houston Grand Opera is there. The Gaylord Texan is there... ummm... yes... well, it can't ALL be great culture. But really... Texas has natural resources which have produced $$$ resources that people have funneled into great artistic resources. Which makes me happy.

Houston airport art is beautiful. Denver airport art is not. Just sayin'.

1. Larger than life, exhibitionism and exceptionalism. Texas actually WAS a whole other country. That's why they think different rules apply to them. And they are somewhat right. For example, Texas is the ONLY state in the union that has the legal right to assert its sovereignty from the U.S. I can relate to this. People often tell me that I live in a bubble and assume different rules apply to me -- but they do! I can't shake people's hands, I cut to the front of security lines, sit in secluded corners and engage in all manner of what under normal circumstances might be considered rude and antisocial behavior because of my delicate Texan lungs (which were, as a matter of fact, a little too big). Somehow, it seems appropriate.

So when in doubt, don't mess with