It was 6:17 on a hot September evening and I was already in the front row. In Houston, you don’t want to bet against the traffic. I had breezed by three girls sitting on the sidewalk waiting to get in—they didn’t have tickets for Junot Diaz, so they hoped for the best. There’s an article floating around about how Facebook makes you all depressed because your life isn’t as fabulous as the newsfeed you see everyday, but that’s ridiculous. Thanks to Facebook, I got my ticket to the reading at the Brazos Bookstore within minutes of them being on sale. So there I was, not depressed at all, armed with [...]
On a recent walk through downtown Dallas, I stopped to admire an old light fixture attached to an abandoned building. The streets around me, lined with weedy lots and architectural wreckage, were deserted enough to feel vaguely menacing. A car cruised past; its driver and I seemed to regard each other with the same wary suspicion. I returned my attention to the light. “Look at me,” it whispered, defiant and exhausted, “and try to tell me that the old world was not better than the new one.”
I wasn’t so sure, given that whatever good you want to say about the past, the fact remains that it [...]
Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Google, Chevron, Disney, Wells Fargo, Cisco, Oracle, KB Home, Yahoo, Qualcomm, Hilton, Oracle, eBay, Charles Schwab, Clorox, Adobe, Oracle … it seems like a lot of the world's top companies are based in California, including more than half of the NASDAQ technology index. But Texas Governor Rick Perry is the kind of man who knows things in his heart, and he won't let any fancy coastal-elite numbers and facts get in the way of what God tells Rick Perry in the dead of night.
"Billed as the world's largest convenience store, the 67,000-square-foot colossus on Interstate 35 between Austin and San Antonio is 20 times the size of a 7-Eleven and longer than a football field. It features 60 gasoline pumps, 80 soda dispensers, 31 cash registers, 23 flavors of fudge and entire aisles devoted to varieties of popcorn and beef jerky. The pièce de résistance: 84 gleaming toilets, each with its own dispenser of hand sanitizer and shined at all hours by a small army of attendants."
Arcade Fire will be on "Austin City Limits" this Saturday. To promote this, they've released a video of themselves playing a sweaty but well-restrained performance of "We Used to Wait" interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage of how the show gets produced. I like the part where we get to see the audience come in: A bunch of friendly-looking music dorks totes psyched to have a good time. Some of them flash the camera what you first think is the devil-ears hand sign. But then you remember that this is Texas, and they're probably saying "Hook 'em, 'Horns!" But R.I.P. Dio, anyway.
In a marriage otherwise marked by acrimony and the hurling of dishes, my parents always agreed on one thing: that we rooted for the Cowboys. The allegiance was, to say the least, unpopular in Miami, where we moved from Texas in 1973, much too soon after Dallas crushed the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI. I was two then, and some of my earliest memories involve the three of us gathering in front of the TV to watch the star-helmeted men stand around kicking the grass, amble into formation, and then tear across the field, chased by or chasing men in some other kind of helmet. From time to time my [...]
The Malakoff News serves (part of) Henderson County—county seat, Athens, Texas—overall home to almost 90,000 28,000 households. And just like the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, Henderson, if those fatcats in the Texas House have their way, will be redistricted into two districts. Henderson, says the paper, is the only county in the state to be butchered up in such a fashion, and the locals are ticked off. Then the robocalls started, blaming their (Republican) state representative for it all, and asking citizens to call him up. Unfortunately, the freshman is actually not on the redistricting committee. Meanwhile, closer to Malakoff? They are trying to [...]
Hello, would you like to buy something weird? Hammer Time is our guide to things that are for sale at auction: fantastic, consequential and freakishly grotesque archival treasures that appear in public for just a brief moment, most likely never to be seen again.
By the time Robert Simpson Neighbors arrived on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River in Texas, the trouble between the people who lived there and the people who wanted to live there had gotten out of control.
Neighbors had seen it coming. When he first became an Indian agent in 1844, he was shocked to learn his colleagues rarely ventured outside the office.1 [...]
Last weekend, when North Korea's United States Strike Plan was revealed, one city's inclusion had everyone baffled. The list included Washington D.C., Hawaii, Los Angeles and… Austin, Texas.
"No one seems to have any clue about how that last one made it on," Slate wrote. The genius foreign policy analysts at Townhall opined that "The literal answer, and literal target, is South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co.'s Samsung Austin Semiconductor (SAS) manufacturing facility." Less serious reasoning has blamed South By Southwest.
Nope! The real reason Kim Jung-un is targeting Austin for destruction is hipsters. Because of their acts of aggression against North Korea.
If you're thinking of starting a We The People online petition to force the White House to respond to some nonsense like "building a Death Star" or "declaring the Sasquatch a threatened species" or "bringing our barbarian gun laws maybe halfway up to the basic standards of 21st Century civilization," you will need more online friends to share your dream. As of now, White House petitions require 100,000 electronic signatures, which is a fourfold increase from the 25,000 required to make the Obama Administration do a cute response to the Death Star thing, even as the Obama Administration rains death from imperial robots upon the rebels (and [...]
On Monday at the CNN-Tea Party Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmann pounced on the fact that Rick Perry signed an executive order in 2007 mandating all girls in his state be vaccinated against HPV. She was accusing the Texas governor of crony capitalism.
Bachmann had found the issue that would differentiate her from the man who stole her thunder. The Congresswoman spent the next few days slamming Perry and the HPV vaccine in interviews—and even in her fundraising email immediately following the debate's conclusion. It's a move that morphs a one-time sideshow amusement and general thorn in the side of Democrats (and thinking human beings) into a genuine public [...]
Restaurant's Appeal Seems Predicated Upon Its Controversial Appellation Rather Than The Quality Of Its Comestibles
"But while the name will get you in the door, the food won’t necessarily keep you coming back. 'Supa Fly Ho with Cheese' was not especially juicy—or fatty, as the restaurant’s name would suggest—and the patty itself was almost charred." New Waco, TX eatery Fat Ho Burgers—where menu items include "the Bad Mamajama, the Fat Chicken Ho, the Sloppy Ho brisket sandwich and, curiously, A Fat Ho Named Bertha"—has been receiving widespread publicity since its recent opening (and inspiring the classic bit of local news you see above), but the actual cuisine leaves the experts unimpressed.
Can you guess what the Texas legislature's little secret is? If you have ever been around an organization that is 80% male, you almost certainly can.
It's awesome to be back in Austin, again. And while this certainly isn't my first appearance on a popular #SxSW panel, things do feel different this time.
When I was first invited to Austin to speak at South+Southwest, I didn't even have an iPhone. And that's not to question my role as an Early Adopter, it is just to point out that the iPhone had yet to go on the market. It was quite a long time ago! (But not so long ago that I've noticeably aged in either my interests or appearance.) Why, we didn't even have Yelp! back then. As a common joke among SxSW insiders goes, "I've [...]
Here you will find some photos of a calf with a birthmark on its head which resembles the Lone Star state.
Atheist coastal elites miss all the fun. Did you miss this awesome op-ed in the El Paso Times? Perhaps you did; I know how it is, the paper comes from El Paso every day and it just piles up and who can get through it fast enough, right? Anyway, the bishop is suing this priest who wrote this op-ed, Michael Rodriguez—and also moved him out of town, because he'd become "involved" in efforts to recall the mayor, because the mayor supports health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees. It's big-time diocese drama! But yeah, probably not siding with the guy who thinks that the [...]
Here is something good: Houston mayor Annise Parker has declared today, August 30th, 2011, "Bun B Day" in her city. Bun, who made up one half of the rap duo UGK until his partner Pimp C died in 2007, and is now is about to start his second semester teaching a course on Religion and Hip Hop Culture In America at Rice University, is actually from nearby Port Arthur. But he is easily awesome enough to cross municipal borders.
You know, some people consider Texas to be a barren, heartless prison of stunted humanity and cultural illiteracy. To them it is a symbol of the worst American values; a place where ignorance is prized, rapacity lauded, the least fortunate scorned and abandoned, plus even the babies are packing heat. On the other hand, there is a dentist there who serves wine and beer. So it can't be all bad. [WARNING: Includes standard local news punnery.]