At the beginning of what was to be an unsparing summer in more ways than one, two middle-aged men prepared for their June wedding. The year was 2009. Months earlier, they had sent out invitations, and they’d scheduled a wedding announcement in the newspaper. Now they put on tuxedos and walked down the aisle in front of friends and family inside the sculpture garden of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, with works by Alexander Calder and Henri Matisse looking on.
Four years after a brush with a live power line seared off his face, Dallas Wiens received a new one from an anonymous donor, becoming the first person in America to receive a full face transplant.
Every year I read a story that just kills me—partly because it’s so good but mostly because I didn’t get to write it. “Blindsided: The Jerry Joseph Basketball Scandal,” by Michael Mooney, which ran in the July issue of GQ, was one of those stories. It’s the tale of a 22-year-old man who pretended to be a fifteen-year-old teenager, all to play basketball for Permian High School in Odessa, Texas.
When Garden and Gun writer Guy Martin first met San Antonio architects Richard Lake and Ted Flato some years ago, Lake suggested they all sit outside.
“Let’s have drinks on the porch so that you can see that we live our creed,” Lake said, referring to Lake/Flato’s love of the breezy, screened, and shaded spaces that have been part of Texas since before the days of air conditioning. As Martin writes:
More than 4,000 words in the Sunday Fort Worth Star-Telegram were devoted to telling the story of John O’Brien, an accused jewel thief suspected in dozens of spectacular, million dollar heists around Texas and Oklahoma over the past decade.
On September 12, one month after Governor Rick Perry declared his intention to run for president, Luminant, the largest electricity generator in the state, announced that it would partially shut down a huge coal-fired power plant in northeast Texas, close the associated lignite coal mines, and lay off five hundred workers. Not a great headline for the governor to see, since the state’s already overburdened power grid barely kept up with demand during this past summer’s record heat wave.
Sarah Posner’s 5,000-word piece in Religious Dispatches details the “spiritual” war on abortion underway in Texas under Rick Perry’s watch. “Texas has a robust constellation of anti-choice groups that, in conjunction with an increasingly powerful Republican caucus, have chalked up a series of impressive victories,” Posner writes.
The first thing a visitor to the Texas A&M campus sees, as he comes into town from the west and makes the turn onto University Drive, is the football stadium, a giant hulk of white concrete with “Kyle Field” emblazoned on one side in huge maroon letters.
Take exit 430A from Interstate 35 in Dallas, then drive north on Oak Lawn Avenue, and you will eventually come to the Ashley Priddy Memorial Fountain, a burbling, five-tiered, stone-and-tile sentry that signals your arrival in Highland Park. As you cross Armstrong Parkway—named for John S. Armstrong, the meatpacking titan who purchased Highland Park’s original 420 acres in 1907—Oak Lawn becomes Preston Road. You’ll notice that the street signs are now blue.