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The Homecoming Queen

When I won, as a high school junior, a state-wide essay writing competition, I was invited with sundry other academic winners to a celebration at the capitol. Rick Perry was to preside. All of us — champions in debate, calculus, physics, music, literary criticism, and more — gathered on the floor of the Texas state senate to accept Governor Perry’s congratulations. Perry took the podium as he does, with all folksy gravitas, gripping its edges in each hand. But when he addressed us he didn’t talk about academic achievement. He talked about football.
The Homecoming Queen: Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig writes about Texas, football dreams, and homecoming mums. [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz on Sep 22, 2014 - 14 comments

In his basement, not the Alamo's.

Have you ever wondered who owns the largest private collection of artifacts related to the Alamo? Well, wonder no more. The answer is vocal mega-creep and platinum-selling recording artist Phil Collins.
posted by Mayor Curley on Sep 17, 2014 - 45 comments

I want to be a nice skeleton when they excavate me

I lay my fingertip there, just inside the socket, where some of the bone is chipped away: it was pecked out, by the beaks of vultures. These are the markings the huge black birds made when they consumed her eyes, with the permission of her family.
The Oxford American on the people who work at, and the people who choose to donate their bodies to, the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility in San Marcos, Texas, the largest of America’s five “body farms.”
posted by frimble on Sep 10, 2014 - 43 comments

The Sexual Outlaw At 83

83 year old Chicano author John Rechy (City Of Night, The Sexual Outlaw, Rushes) talks to Lambda Literary about gay assimilation, being mistaken for white, melding truth and fiction, the post-Stonewall peroid, and hating the word 'queer.'
posted by The Whelk on Sep 10, 2014 - 20 comments

Giving is a Crime in San Antonio

In 2011 the City of San Antonio passed an ordinance outlawing panhandling at "ATMs, banks, parking garages, charitable contribution meters, parking meters/pay stations, bus stops, outdoor dining areas, and marked crosswalks". Police Chief William McManus now wants to ticket those who give to panhandlers. Nate Schlueter of Austin's Mobile Loaves and Fishes said that "if San Antonio does this ordinance they'll essentially become the cruelest city in America".
posted by Benway on Sep 9, 2014 - 60 comments

Women politicians break the abortion taboo.

"I emerged a different person. Changed. Forever changed.” Davis describes the circumstances of her two abortions in her new memoir, Forgetting to Be Afraid. [more inside]
posted by emjaybee on Sep 6, 2014 - 33 comments

The life I love is making music with my friends

All Roads Lead to [still-living country music legend*] Willie Nelson: "In a time when America is more divided than ever, Nelson could be the one thing that everybody agrees on." [more inside]
posted by scody on Sep 2, 2014 - 27 comments

Federal Judge Overturns Some Provisions of Texas Abortion Law (Again)

Just 3 days before they would go into effect, Federal Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the admitting-privileges and ambulatory surgical center requirements of Texas's recently passed HB2 (remember the one with the filibuster?), finding that they placed an undue burden on women, especially those in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. [more inside]
posted by LizBoBiz on Aug 30, 2014 - 31 comments

I'm trying to impress people here. You don't win friends with salad.

Confessions of a Fat Bastard: Texas Monthly's Daniel Vaughn on the life of a full-time barbecue writer.

"Since Texas Monthly named me the nation’s first and only full-time barbecue editor in March 2013 (previously), my health has been a topic of international discussion. My job requires that I travel from one end of the state to the other eating smoked brisket, one of the fattiest cuts on the steer. And I can’t forget to order the pork ribs, sausage, and beef ribs. Of course my diet is going to raise eyebrows. Including those of my doctor."
posted by porn in the woods on Aug 29, 2014 - 47 comments

"The Witness"

Michelle Lyons has witnessed 278 executions in Texas, first in her role as a reporter, and then as part of her job in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Texas Monthly has a long, fascinating profile.
posted by Charity Garfein on Aug 26, 2014 - 24 comments

It's perfect! Everything we need is right here!

A 14-year-old Texas boy ran away from home on July 28. Rather then flee to a friend's or relative's home, or hiding out in nearby woods, the boy chose a location with more abundant resources. A Corsicana, Texas, Wal-Mart. The boy managed to remain undetected inside the store for roughly two and a half days (some reports count it as four days based on the dates) through some surprisingly sophisticated techniques to avoid discovery using the materials available to him. The boy is now back with his family, and Child Protective Services was not formally brought into the case as police report he did not appear to be suffering from neglect or otherwise living in a dangerous environment.
posted by Naberius on Aug 13, 2014 - 64 comments

Dougiestan: A clear mind and a full heart

A north Texas man in the "sovereign citizen" movement attempted to take over a mansion in north Dallas on Monday. Upset with the current state of affairs in the United States, Douglas LeGuin attempted to occupy a mansion in far north Dallas. After knocking on the door and threatening a nanny, he started a dumpster fire. When first responders arrived, he began shooting at them, but no one was injured. LeGuin had also set up propane canisters around the house as explosives but none were detonated. He called 911 and it really is a doozy. [more inside]
posted by LizBoBiz on Aug 13, 2014 - 284 comments

The Year of Outrage

"It is a spellbinding narrative, a multilayered tale of murder, insanity, and mystery replete with shocking twists and turns. It is a startling pastiche of late-nineteenth-century characters, from the most elite figures of Austin society to the poorest African Americans. Yet amazingly, it is almost entirely absent from the annals of history." Before London had its Ripper, before H.H. Holmes had his Murder Castle, Austin, Texas had its very own Servant Girl Annihilator... [more inside]
posted by theweasel on Aug 4, 2014 - 14 comments

The three Chicken Wars, and their (less than) lasting impacts

In the records of human conflicts, there are at least three Chicken Wars. Two left little mark on the world at large, and the third resulted in some strange work-arounds for heavy tariffs. The first was Wojna kokosza, the Chicken or Hen War of 1537, when an anti-royalist and anti-absolutist rokosz (rebellion) by the Polish nobility resulted in near-extinction of local "kokosz" (an egg laying hen), but little else. The second was an odd spin-off of the more serious War of the Quarduple Alliance that lasted from 1717 to 1720. Though most of the activity happened in Europe, there were some battles in North America. The Texas manifestation was the capture of some chickens by French forces from a Spanish mission, and a costly overreaction by Spanish religious and military men. The third Chicken War was a duel of tariffs during the Cold War, with the only lasting casualty being the availability of foreign-made light trucks in the United States. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 4, 2014 - 15 comments

terrible consequences . . . the execution of an innocent man

Fresh doubts over Cameron Todd Willingham's execution (Previously) For more than 20 years, the prosecutor who convicted Cameron Todd Willingham of murdering his three young daughters has insisted that the authorities made no deals to secure the testimony of the jailhouse informer who told jurors that Willingham confessed the crime to him. Since Willingham was executed in 2004, officials have continued to defend the account of the informer, Johnny E. Webb, even as a series of scientific experts have discredited the forensic evidence that Willingham might have deliberately set the house fire in which his toddlers were killed. But now new evidence has revived questions about Willingham’s guilt: In taped interviews, Webb, who has previously both recanted and affirmed his testimony, gives his first detailed account of how he lied on the witness stand in return for efforts by the former prosecutor, John H. Jackson, to reduce Webb’s prison sentence for robbery and to arrange thousands of dollars in support from a wealthy Corsicana rancher. Newly uncovered letters and court files show that Jackson worked diligently to intercede for Webb after his testimony and to coordinate with the rancher, Charles S. Pearce Jr., to keep the mercurial informer in line.
posted by daHIFI on Aug 4, 2014 - 143 comments

FREEDOM vs #DONTTALK

Greg Abbott is running for governor of Texas. He's campaigning in Regal Cinemas as a pre-movie ad. Alamo Drafthouse, a competing chain, has a long history of making PSAs asking patrons not to talk or text during a movie (previously). They felt they had to respond. [more inside]
posted by Lemurrhea on Jul 24, 2014 - 55 comments

Bras for Trans Women: Controversy and Resources

Award-winning Austin lingerie shop Petticoat Fair specializes in hard-to-fit bra sizes. Recently a trans woman was turned away from the shop and started social media protest and boycott campaign, swamping the store's Yelp page with negative reviews. The owner issued a controversial apology and plans to meet with the Transgender Education Network Of Texas to work out a better policy. The story started to percolate through national news and commentary and sites. Meanwhile, the original complainant has called off the official boycott and the store has promised to issue a new policy in the near future. [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on Jul 17, 2014 - 121 comments

The only IDs I have: Philippine passport and my pocketbook Consitution

Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas has been detained attempting to leave McAllen Airport in Texas. As Mr. Vargas wrote in Politico on July 11, he had traveled to Texas to document the crisis of undocumented immigrants before realizing that he might, in fact, be stuck there. His film, Documented, which just began airing on CNN last month, "chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child; his journey through America as an immigration reform activist; and his journey inward as he re-connects with his mother, whom he hasn't seen in person in over 20 years."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 15, 2014 - 95 comments

that’s fine. i’m going to figure out a way to do this on my own

the rise of the DIY abortion in texas
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jul 1, 2014 - 107 comments

“They finally asked me not to come back anymore.”

"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the first real “slasher” film, and it changed many things—the ratings code of the Motion Picture Association of America, the national debate on violence, the Texas Film Commission, the horror genre—but it remained a curiously isolated phenomenon. The film itself, involving five young people on a twisted drive through the country, is a strange, shifting experience—early audiences were horrified; later audiences laughed; newcomers to the movie were inevitably stricken with a vaguely uneasy feeling, as though the movie might have actually been made by a maniac—but the story behind the film is even stranger." We begin with a couple of stolen barbecue chicken wings....
posted by zarq on Jun 19, 2014 - 51 comments

I hope they all get ripped apart by wild animals.

This is a collection of Francisco "Puree Tomatoes" Taccir's blog posts from Myspace and Friendster from 2005 – 2010. Tomatoes was a writer, artist, and addict who was born on February 26. 1977. He died on October 10, 2010 from a heroin overdose. [more inside]
posted by item on May 20, 2014 - 7 comments

The eyes of Texas are upon you

The Gold Standard in Executions.
For two years now, Texas has used a single drug, the barbiturate pentobarbital, instead of the three-drug regimen used in neighboring Oklahoma. Prison administrators from other states often travel to Texas to learn how it performs lethal injections and to observe executions. Texas officials have provided guidance and, on at least a few occasions, carried out executions for other states.
posted by four panels on May 12, 2014 - 101 comments

"It's art imitating life, life imitating art — imitating murder!"

Maybe you saw the 2011 movie. And if you're a fan of long form journalism, you shouldn't miss the Skip Hollandsworth piece it was based on. You probably didn't see this twist coming: Bernie was just granted early release on the condition that he move into director Richard Linklater's garage. [more inside]
posted by blue suede stockings on May 9, 2014 - 3 comments

Anyone can see the road that they walk on is paved in gold

The 1998 hit "The Way" by Fastball was based on the real-life disappearance of an elderly couple in Texas: The song’s lyrics -- about an elderly couple who disappears from their home, finding immortality on the road -- seem sweet. That is, until "shadows" on the highway are referenced. The promises that the unnamed couple will never go home, grow old, or be hungry again seem a great deal less reassuring. Perhaps, the listener thinks, the "immortality" they found on the open road is purely allegorical.
posted by Cash4Lead on Apr 24, 2014 - 33 comments

What really happened at the lake that night?

The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2014 - 18 comments

Forgive me for being longwinded, but I was speaking from the heart.

As Gawker has done for a couple years now, they sent letters to all the U.S. death row inmates who have execution dates in the upcoming year. Texas inmate Ray Jasper, who is set to be executed later this month, responded with an incredible letter on his thoughts about the US justice system, race, Christianity, and society as a whole.
posted by gman on Mar 5, 2014 - 84 comments

Die Kuh ist über die Fence gejumpt.

Sure, it's unfortunate that the Philadelphia accent is fading away a bit, but on the other hand, have you ever even heard of the Texas German accent?
posted by DoctorFedora on Mar 2, 2014 - 43 comments

Sex! Drugs! Apps!

SXSW Interactive At 20
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 26, 2014 - 11 comments

Keeping tradition and history intact is not a justification....

U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has ruled that Texas' ban on the recognition of marriage equality is unconstitutional. The ruling comes days after the launch of Freedom To Marry's Southern Campaign, and almost a week after a judge in Illinois ruled that gay and lesbian couples there had the right to marry immediately, rather than June 1, as the legislature had previously passed. The Texas ruling has been stayed pending appeal.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 26, 2014 - 82 comments

Big Oil, Bad Air

Here's a multi-media webpage (text and photos, plus scroll down for the enlightening and well-made video) that spells out what's going on right now down Texas way: Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 19, 2014 - 36 comments

Wendy Davis and the hard road to the Texas Capitol

Political narratives are necessarily reductive, invariably gauzy and thus often misleading. They tell two conflicting tales at the same time: I’m absolutely amazing and unique, and I’m just like you. But it seemed undeniable that female politicians were far more constrained than men in how they recounted their stories.... Bill Clinton could be seething with lifelong ambition; George W. Bush could be a beneficiary of immense privilege; Barack Obama could be a self-described outsider, marijuana smoker, community rabble-rouser. Any of these qualities might, if so espoused, disqualify a woman from high office. Meanwhile, no one ever stopped Clinton, Bush or Obama in his biographical tracks to say: “Wait. If you were out there, conquering the world, then you could not have been here, with your family.” Wendy Davis and the challenges of running for governor, as a woman and a Democrat, in Texas. [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Feb 12, 2014 - 36 comments

Batman and the Non Stop Beautiful Ladies

French photographer Rémi Noël travelled through Texas with only his son's Batman figurine for company and took some amazing photographs. The photos are part of the This Is Not A Map series, with Noël's work representing "the least precise map of Texas in the history of Texas".
posted by Athanassiel on Jan 19, 2014 - 28 comments

Heck, it's Tex-Czech!

If you're going to listen to a brass band play a waltz, it might as well be a joyously exuberant one, with a unabashed sense of humor and a firm conviction that notes were made to be bent. Right? Oh, and it might as well be played, by, say, a Texas Czech (yes, a Texas Czech) band. Right? OK then, here's Circling Pigeons Waltz by the Joe Patek Band of Shiner, Texas. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 31, 2013 - 20 comments

There’s a Reason They Call Them ‘Crazy Ants’

“They literally come in waves of just millions." Crazy ants are infecting Texas. (Single link NY Times Magazine)
posted by capnsue on Dec 10, 2013 - 128 comments

Texas' Other Death Penalty

A Galveston medical student describes life and death in the so-called safety net. [via]
posted by AceRock on Nov 16, 2013 - 78 comments

"Somebody's gotta stand up to these experts!"

Creationists' Last Stand at the Texas State Board of Education
posted by brundlefly on Nov 14, 2013 - 82 comments

The dawn of an era, available and emulated in your browser to play.

A few months ago there was a list of links to classic video game emulators posted. Very recently, I'm pleased to report, those links all came true. The Internet Archive bespoke upon aforementioned consoles, computers, and mileposts on our way to the tech utopia of today, (seriously, where's my flying car?) and they asked us to do something: Imagine every computer that ever existed, literally, in your browser. And it was so. I have absolutely no affiliation with jscott, btw. Thought I should disclose that.
posted by jdaura on Oct 25, 2013 - 37 comments

First they came for the Black voters, but I did nothing, because...

The GOP's new target for voter disenfranchisement: women. As of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. Only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo ID of this nature, as many women have not updated their photo IDs with either their married names or their name after a divorce. This disenfranchises 34% of women voters, while 99% of men are home free. Similar laws now exist or are in the process of being passed in numerous other states.
posted by markkraft on Oct 18, 2013 - 302 comments

Our movement was built of sex positivity

The 30th annual Dallas Pride parade and festival, which will take place this weekend, has come under some controversy since the organizers announced the need for the event to be family-friendly and said nudity and lewd behavior will no longer be tolerated. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 11, 2013 - 160 comments

The Many States of Jefferson, the could-have-been and might-be states

If someone mentions the state of Jefferson that existed in an alternate universe, the question should be: which one? The western neighbor of the Kansas Territory, the eastern portion of Texas, the later effort to split off a western portion of Texas, or the new state composed of parts of Oregon and California? [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 6, 2013 - 25 comments

Energy crisis, industrial pollution, Kodachromes and more...

From The Atlantic, a series of photography that documents America in the 1970s: the Pacific Northwest | New York City | the Southwest | Chicago's African-American community | Texas [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 29, 2013 - 20 comments

"Texas is heaven for men and dogs, but it’s hell for women and horses.”

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives. "In 2011 the Texas state legislature slashed family planning funds, passed a new sonogram law, and waged an all-out war on Planned Parenthood that has dramatically shifted the state’s public health priorities. In the eighteen months since then, the conflict has continued to simmer in the courts, on the campaign trail, and in at least one PR disaster. Meanwhile, what will happen to Texas women—and their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands—remains very much unclear."
posted by zarq on Aug 12, 2013 - 35 comments

John Graves, Author Beloved by Fellow Texans, Dies at 92

Mr. Graves died on Wednesday at his home, Hard Scrabble, outside Glen Rose, Tex. He was 92. Most autumns, the water is low from the long dry summer, and you have to get out from time to time and wade, leading or dragging your boat through trickling shallows from one pool to the long channel-twisted pool below, hanging up occasionally on shuddering bars of quicksand, making six or eight miles in a day’s work, but if you go to the river at all, you tend not to mind. You are not in a hurry there; you learned long since not to be. [more inside]
posted by Devils Rancher on Aug 1, 2013 - 4 comments

You may want to NOT "take the last train to Clarksville"!

The local school district in Clarksville, Arkansas will be arming 20 school employees. [more inside]
posted by HuronBob on Jul 30, 2013 - 126 comments

"A bone-crunching slab of murky distortion ..."

Originally I used the word stonegaze to describe a crowd response after one of our first shows. It was like they had all just spent 30 minutes staring at Medusa. Shortly after that I used it again to describe our sound and it stuck.
Dallas, TX band True Widow are a collaboration between a woodworker, a screenprinter, and a makeup artist. They're Cormac McCarthy fans. Together, they make heavy, hypnotic, jam-based music that takes as much from slowcore and shoegaze as it does from stoner rock. Their new album Circumambulation is now streaming via Pitchfork. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim on Jul 17, 2013 - 10 comments

A life well lived.

"In life, things happen twice if you're lucky. There's the father you get and the father you choose." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 10, 2013 - 10 comments

40 years, one outfit

PE teacher Dale Irby wore a polyester shirt and coffee-colored sweater for school picture day in 1973. And for every picture day since then until his retirement this year.
posted by rewil on Jul 2, 2013 - 57 comments

These shoes have a way of shutting the whole thing down.

Much note has been made of Wendy Davis's 13 hour filibuster in Texas . Now the oft-photographed shoes she was wearing are getting their due.
posted by maryr on Jun 27, 2013 - 87 comments

Pro-Choice Filibuster in the Texas Senate

It began with a special session called by Governor Rick Perry, who put abortion restrictions on the table. SB5 bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires facilities that perform them to conform to new restrictions. The practical effect would close most of the abortion facilities in Texas. Then came the People's Filibuster, a mass protest designed to run out the clock and prevent the bill from being passed. It didn't work. The bill passed the House and went to the Senate. But today, Texas Senator Wendy Davis began a 13-hour filibuster to stop the bill. [more inside]
posted by emjaybee on Jun 25, 2013 - 1706 comments

"Not So Much a Whodunit But a Who-Is-It"

"Meanwhile, the Ruffs are wondering, too. They want to solve the mystery. At the very least, they want to be able to tell Blake and Lori’s daughter who her mother was. Yet they worry they’ll find out something terrible, something they wish they had never known." An East Texas woman commits suicide. Her distraught former husband opens the strongbox she'd forbidden him from accessing. The contents, however, continue to baffle investigators (and the public) - who are now requesting help with identifying the woman formerly known as "Lori Ruff".
posted by julthumbscrew on Jun 24, 2013 - 23 comments

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