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Kinky Friedman has spent his life entertaining.
Kinky, born Richard, is the son of a speech therapist and an educational psychology professor. Tom Friedman taught at the Austin campus of the University of Texas, and, during the summers, the whole family ran a camp for children ages 7 to 13, in the Texas hill country.
Considered a "cowboy poet, " Kinky has written dozens of humorous Country Western songs. He recorded his first single in 1966 with a local band called — King Arthur and the Carrots singing "Schwinn 24" and "Beach Party Boo Boo." The tunes were parodies of the then-popular surfing songs by Jan and Dean.
After college, Kinky, a Texas Jew, trained for a Peace Corps project in Tanzania, but never served. He tried again and was sent to Borneo to distribute seeds, but Kinky insists that monsoons made it impossible. He told the Texas Monthly that he introduced the Frisbee to Borneo, "but the natives only used it to make their lips big."
In the 1970s, Kinky formed a band -- the Texas Jewboys -- and delighted crowds with hilarious songs such as The Ballad of Charles Whitman. In 1966, Whitman, a law student at the University of Texas, killed several university students while perched at the top of the clock tower. As the song's chorus states, “there was a rumor of a tumor nestled at the base of his brain.” The song never made the charts but Kinky's former road manager said it was "an enormous crowd pleaser at the Armadillo World Headquarters in the mid-seventies."
After tiring of touring in the 1980s, Kinky decided to settle down and write books. He claims that both President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton have read his books.
His first book was entitled "Greenwich Killing Time." Friedman has 16 books to his credit most of them mysteries. His latest novel, "Kill Two Birds & Get Stoned" was reviewed favorably by Southern novelist Fannie Flagg in The New York Times Book Review.
In February 2005, Friedman announced his run for governor of Texas.
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