By Jug Varner

If you are into college athletics, no doubt you are aware of the Big 12 and know that Texas Tech University is one of those 12. You also probably know that Tech is located in Lubbock. A lot of network and cable sportscasters know this, but what they do not know (and this is one of my pet peeves) is how to pronounce Lubbock properly. The large majority of them say “Lubbick” – as in sick.

Even those other “out-of-towners” who go there to do play-by-play and color analysis of Tech's nationally televised games, and undoubtedly listen to the locals refer to it properly, still revert to the “IK.”

It puzzles me that ones in that profession, who should strive to correctly pronounce words, don't know the difference between “o” and “i.” But then, everyone who lives there may not know the difference between “o” and “u” — because natives in and around Lubbock and Texas officially pronounce it “Lubbuck,” as in “LUCK.”

All together now, repeat after me real fast: “Lubbuck, Lubbuck, Lubbuck.” That is much better. Nobody likes to hear the name of his or her old hometown mispronounced.

This thriving metropolis of some 200,000 fine citizens (and a few old grouches) is 120 miles due south of (and larger than) Amarillo, in the plains country of the Texas panhandle. The university, founded in 1925, has evolved into an outstanding modern day university system.

If you are into war history, Texas Tech possesses the largest collection of Vietnam War articles outside the federal government. It houses Gen. William Westmorland's papers (he commanded all American troops in Vietnam), along with many other items that lure scholars to the campus for research. Noted historian Douglas Pike moved his Indochina Archive from the University of California at Berkeley to the Texas Tech Vietnam Center, bolstering an already extensive collections of books, diaries, doctoral dissertations, letters, maps, microfilm, etc. For more information call 806-742-9010, or click here.

But, the main reason I am writing this (other than to straighten out a bunch of errant sportscasters) is to tell you about the Vatican Fresco Art Exhibit direct from Rome.

This one-of-a-kind art event is being featured at the Texas Tech Museum from June 2 through September 7, 2002, and is the only venue in the U.S. where it can be seen. If you would like more information, click here.

Oh yes, I almost forgot: Lubbock was recently in the national news when a team of elite Special Forces known as Panhandle Patriots, based at a secret location east of town, was mobilized for duty in Afghanistan. Their specialty is in the area of subterranean warfare (caves, etc.).

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that some 100,000 of these elite fighters would be used to search out and destroy Taliban and Al-Qaida forces hiding in caves and in the mountains. “We didn't think we were going to have to use these elite forces,” said Rumsfeld, “but it's time to end this thing…these fighters are specially trained for subterranean attack and can even be used to locate and dismantle land mines.”

The photo on the right shows a Panhandle Patriot during a recent training exercise.

Lubbock's MacKenzie Park is home to one of the largest Prairie Dog communities in the country. (I should have written these last three paragraphs for April Fools Day! All the rest of the article is true, I swear.)