'American Sniper' Is Blowing Away Box Office Records

American Sniper was destined to be a hit. The movie has an A-list director, an A-list star, and tells a complex story about a decorated veteran widely regarded as a hero by many Americans. But the extent to which Clint Eastwood’s film about the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (with Bradley Cooper in the title role as the purported most lethal sniper in U.S. military history) would connect with audiences is downright unprecedented.

Films released in January are done so with low expectations. This month, with Oscar-bait films still in theaters, is when distributors typically dump their garbage. If a movie has a relatively strong cast and a director with some cachet—i.e., Michael Mann’s Blackhat, released last weekend—the odds are good that the movie itself is semi-coherent nonsense. The occasional comedy can become a modest hit in January, but if a movie is expected to perform well, it usually gets released before the holidays. 

A Gun Rights Organization Staged a Re-Enactment of the "Charlie Hebdo" Shooting

Regardless of how you feel about their cartoons, no one has argued that the murder of 12 people in the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is anything less than a tragedy. But aside from the debate of whether we should all be proud to declare “Je Suis Charlie” or not, another question has emerged here in Texas: How would the cartoonists and editors at the French magazine have fared if they’d all been armed?

Oil Field Worker in Odessa Looking For Homeless Lady For Indentured Servitude and "Bedroom Fun" on Craigslist

Working in the oil fields can make a fella lonely, we’re sure. It’s long hours, dirty work, and a whole lot of male company. If you’re a straight guy who pulls 18-hour days in the fields, we suspect that finding a lady friend to unwind with at the end of the day is both a high priority and, because of the restrictions on your time, very difficult.

A “mid-20’s” oil worker in Odessa came up with a novel solution to the crisis of loneliness that #DerrickLife brings: Post a Craigslist ad to find a young lady of his fancy to spend time with! 

Austin-Based Restaurant PR Firm “Strange Fruit PR” to Change Name After Twitter Finds Out They Exist

The fact that Austin is a liberal island of blue amidst a sea of red that—this past November—seemed to get even redder at the ballot box is well-remarked upon. That liberal, progressive Austin also has some very serious issues to deal with when it comes to race (the city is the only growing American city whose black population is declining) gets remarked upon less often.

So a number of Twitter users over the weekend were surprised to learn that liberal, progressive Austin has also been home to a major PR firm whose name is a reference to Abel Meeropol’s poem “Strange Fruit,” which is about lynching in the South, and which was made famous as a song by Billie Holiday. The firm was launched in 2012 by Mary Mickel and Ali Slutsky (neither of whom is African-American), and its name has been a source of controversy in the past.

How Much of a Difference Would Police Body Cameras Really Make?

Keyarika Diggles was suspected of failing to finish paying off her traffic tickets. Diggles, a single mother of two, had been making payments, but she still owed more than $100. That led two Jasper police officers, Ricky Grissom and Ryan Cunningham, to her door in May, 2013, to serve a warrant. Diggles was arrested, and what happened in the jail made headlines in East Texas: In a videotaped encounter, Grissom and Cunningham grab Diggles by the hair, slam her head into a counter, pin her down just off-camera for about fifteen seconds, and then drag her around the room by the leg. 

Is It Legal For an Atheist to Hold Public Office in Texas?

Politics can frequently devolve into absurdity, but the race for the Austin City Council seat in the newly-created District 4 has been remarkably absurd in ways, in fact, that highlight some of the weird things about the entire state of Texas. Or, at least, its constitution.

The race in question is a runoff election between two aspiring newcomers to Austin City Council: 51-year-old Laura Pressley and 25-year-old Gregorio Casar. Like many contentious campaigns, the candidates have taken to circulating mailers with information about themselves and their opponents. But a mailer from the Pressley campaign (seen above, photographed by a user on Austin’s Reddit page) highlighting the differences between the two candidates contains one very curious line-item. 

Here's Everything We Know about the Man Who Shot up Downtown Austin on Thanksgiving Night

 

(This post has been updated following the Austin Police Department’s press conference on McQuilliams.)

No one was hurt besides the shooter. That’s perhaps the most important thing to take away from what happened in downtown Austin late on Thursday night/early Friday morning, when 49-year Steve McQuilliams went on a shooting spree. It was after 2am, after the bars were closed, and it happened on Thanksgiving, which meant that the normally-robust Thursday night crowd in downtown Austin was limited. Instead, McQuilliams fired hundreds of bullets into the Austin Police Department headquarters, the Mexican Consulate, and the Federal Courthouse.

The shooting started shortly before 2:30 in the morning, according to reports. 11 minutes after the first shots were reported, McQuilliams was dead outside of APD headquarters.

Here’s what we do know right now: 

The Conspiracy Theory That Alex Jones Is Actually Legendary, Long-Dead Texas Comedian Bill Hicks

Alex Jones is no stranger to conspiracy theories, obviously, but here’s a really good one that doesn’t come from him—rather, it’s about him: Have you perhaps heard that he is actually legendary Texas comedian Bill Hicks, who allegedly died in 1994, but who was actually “recruited by the CIA to become the controlled opposition by the mainstream media” who was “continuously fed approved intelligence by his CIA handlers”? 

If you haven’t heard that, fret not. There is a 33-minute long video on Vimeo, created by a user who goes by the name “CastleJenniferBassett” with the catchy title of “IRREFUTABLE PROOF that Alex Jones IS Bill Hicks.” 

Is Net Neutrality Really “Obamacare for the Internet”?

Yesterday morning, President Obama made a call for Net Neutrality—something that many on the Internet have been lobbying the President to do for years. Shortly thereafter, Senator Ted Cruz weighed in with a tweet that quickly attracted a lot of attention. 

How Would a Bookie Handicap the Election Results?

There isn’t a bookie anywhere on the Internet who will give you odds on the Texas gubernatorial election. Maybe there’s a dank sportsbook somewhere in Vegas or Atlantic City, where you can place a bet on literally anything, where there’s someone who’s drawn up some crude metrics for laying odds on a race like this one. But the big books online—offshore sites like PaddyPower or Bovada or Sportsbook.com—aren’t going anywhere near Davis/Abbott. 

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