A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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“I like to play chess with old men in the park…although it’s hard to find 32 of them” (5/23)
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Entry from July 27, 2009
“How many Austinites does it take to change a light bulb?” (joke)

“Keep Austin Weird” is an unofficial motto of Austin, urging the city to stay true to its hippie, counterculture roots. The old “lightbulb joke” has an Austin version:

Q: How many Austinites does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Five. One to change the bulb and four to talk about how much better it was in the Sixties.


This Austin version was described as “an old Austin joke” in the May 3, 1998, Austin (TX) American-Statesman.


Wikipedia: Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital of the U.S. state of Texas and the county seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 15th-largest in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in the nation from 2000 to 2006. According to the 2009 U.S. Census estimate, Austin had a population of 757,688. The city is the cultural and economic center of the Austin–Round Rock Metropolitan Area, with a population of 1,652,602 as of the July 2008 U.S. Census estimate—making it the 36th-largest- and 2nd-fastest-growing metropolitan area in the nation.

The area was settled in the 1830s on the banks of the Colorado River by pioneers who named the village Waterloo. In 1839, Waterloo was chosen to become the capital of the newly independent Republic of Texas. The city was renamed after Stephen F. Austin, known as the father of Texas. The city grew throughout the 19th century and became a center for government and education with the construction of the Texas State Capitol and the University of Texas. After a lull in growth from the Great Depression, Austin resumed its development into a major city and emerged as a center for technology and business. Today, Austin is home to many companies, high-tech and otherwise, including three Fortune 500 corporations, Dell, Whole Foods Market, and Freescale Semiconductor.

Austin was selected as the No. 2 Best Big City in “Best Places to Live” by Money magazine in 2006, and No. 3 in 2009, also the “Greenest City in America” by MSN. According to CNN Headline News and Travel & Leisure magazine, Austin ranks No. 2 on the list of cities with the best people, referring to the personalities and attributes of the citizens. Austin was also voted America’s #1 College Town by the Travel Channel. Austin was ranked the fifth-safest city in part because there are fewer than 3 murders per 100,000 people annually.

Residents of Austin are known as “Austinites” and include a diverse mix of university professors, students, politicians, musicians, state employees, high-tech workers, blue-collar workers, and white-collar workers. The main campus of the University of Texas is located in Austin. The city is home to enough large sites of major technology corporations to have earned it the nickname “Silicon Hills.” Austin’s official slogan promotes the city as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” a reference to its status as home to many musicians and music venues. In recent years, many Austinites have also adopted the unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird”; this refers partly to the eclectic and progressive lifestyle of many Austin residents but is also the slogan for a campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive commercialization.

Aha! Jokes
Lightbulb joke collection 48
Q: How many Austinites/Berkeleyites/Boulderites does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Five. One to change the bulb and four to talk about how much better it was in the Sixties.

Austin (TX) American-Statesman
Ahhh, Austin
Date: May 3, 1998
Publication: Austin American-Statesman (TX)
Page Number: G2
Word Count: 555
How many Austinites does it take a change a light bulb?
Four. One to screw in the bulb and three to talk about how much better it was in the ‘60s. That’s an old Austin joke in more ways than one.

Austin Joke - Credit Talk Forum
bigboy
09.05.2001, 04:31
Q: How many slackers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Seven. One to screw it in, the others to talk about how much better the old one was.
smile

Civil Discourse
Joe McQuade
May 30 2002, 04:40 AM
(...)
Texans say it takes five Austinites to screw in a light bulb—one to install it and four to say how much brighter it would have been in the Sixties.

Google Groups: austin.general
Newsgroups: austin.general
From: (Motorblade)
Date: 24 Dec 2003 14:35:13 GMT
Local: Wed, Dec 24 2003 9:35 am
Subject: Re: You might be an Austin Redneck IF . . .

How many austinites does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One to put it in and 14 to talk about how good the old light bulb was…

Austin (TX) Chronicle
HOME: MARCH 18, 2005: MUSIC
2004-05 Austin Music Awards
Austin Music Hall, Wednesday, March 16

BY DARCIE STEVENS
(...)
“How many Austinites does it take to change a light bulb?” KGSR’s Susan Castle forced. “Ten: one to change it and nine to tell him how cool the old light bulb was.”

infobong.com
May 22, 2005
(...)
I was drinking beers with some folks from the J-School, listening to a staff member reminisce about her youth in Austin. I said, “Hey Lou, have you heard that joke ‘How many Austinites does it take to screw in a light bulb?’”
Lou said, “No. How many does it take?”
“Three, one to screw in the light bulb, and two to talk about how the old one was so much better.”
Perhaps that wasn’t canonical joke-telling, but I was well-received.

Austinist.com
City Approves Condos at Barton Springs and Dawson
(...)
COMMENTS
[9] | TO
how many austinites does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
100. 1 to screw it in and 99 to complain about how much cooler the old lightbulb was.
May 1, 2007 2:03 PM

YouTube
“Bubba Redux “ — Better Than TV
CasaDexter
December 01, 2008
Bejou Merry borrows from the Bard to contemplate the eternal question of quality of life in Austin: How many Austinites does it take to screw in a light bulb? 3—1 to screw it in, 2 to talk about how great Austin used to be before it got ruined by growth…

Annoying Habits - Austin - YELP
Jeffery “Scottsy” C. says:
05/11/2009
(...)
Hipsters who talk about how you missed out on how cool it used to be. For example, how many Austinites does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Ten, One to change it, and nine others to stand around and talk about how cool the old one was.

A Photo Editor
Eleanor Reply:
July 22nd, 2009 at 8:04 pm
@ Ellis, How many original Austinites (or photographers) does it take to screw in a light bulb? Lets say 10, 1 to remove and replace the light bulb, and 9 others to stand around and talk about how great the last light bulb was….

Ellis Vener Reply:
July 22nd, 2009 at 8:23 pm
Hah! I first heard that joke from the late Reagan Bradshaw.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Monday, July 27, 2009 • Permalink