Texas-Raised SEC Football Star Becomes the Biggest NFL Draft Story in Years by Coming Out

If Michael Sam does well in the NFL, the movie that will no doubt eventually be made about him will have a much more satisfying plot arc. 

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Sam, the SEC’s reigning defensive player of the year who helped lead the Missouri Tigers to a 12-win season (and picked up a surprising #5 ranking by the end of the year), came out as gay. It would appear that after decades of waiting, Sam’s name finally became the answer to the ever-present question of “Who will the first openly gay NFL player be?” 

J.C. Penney Did Not Drunk-Tweet The Super Bowl

If you’ve got a struggling department store brand that’s trying to overcome the too-slick image of previous management, might we suggest using your social media presence to send seemingly-drunk tweets during the most-watched television event of the year? That’s what J.C. Penney did last night, in a move that netted them some extra attention as it offered commentary on the dull game: 

Why Was It Necessary to Clarify That the State Is NOT Turning The Alamo Over To The UN?

Just to make it abundantly clear, in case the word of everyone from Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson (whose words of choice were “horse hockey”) to, er, basically every media entity in the state somehow didn’t get through to you: No, the United Nations is not taking over the Alamo.

Now that that bizarre rumor is cleared up, though, let’s get to the real question, which is: Why did this weird rumor get so much traction that officials had to issue a statement on it in the first place?  

Here’s How Saturday’s Open Carry Demonstration At The Alamo Turned Out

Even the Australian Women’s National Soccer Team weighed in on Saturday’s open carry rally at the Alamo. As Kolten Parker of the San Antonio Express-News reported, soccer player Heather Garriock, who was in town for a friendly match, was stunned at the sight of an estimated 500 protesters with shotguns, rifles, and AR-15s. “It’s surreal. You only see this in the movies,” Parker quoted her as saying.

Australian midfielders weren’t the only people with opinions about the rally, which attracted a lot of attention. Texas Monthly’s own Paul Burka had thoughts about the rally the day before the event, explaining that despite his love of all things Texas, the gun culture left him cold

If someone handed me a flier that declared, “Get your guns & Head to San Antonio,” I would probably get in my car and head for Dallas as fast as I could.

Read State: Will Sheff of Okkervil River

Welcome to “Read State,” a recurring TM Daily Post feature in which we ask noteworthy Texans—from writers and singers to athletes and politicians—what they’re reading. Today we bring you the reading habits of Will Sheff, longtime Austinite (and current Brooklynite) and lead singer and songwriter of the indie rock band Okkervil River, whose latest album, The Silver Gymnasium, was released in September.

Because of the way my schedule tends to work, I don’t really have “average days.” When I’m at home in Brooklyn I read on the subway on the way to my writing/recording space, to kind of get my mind ready to work. Usually I’m reading something intended to help with the project I’m working on at the moment, and it’s most likely to be fiction or poetry. When I’m traveling with the band I read in stolen moments, most often at soundcheck while I’m waiting around. Usually I read more page-turner style books because it’s easy to stay focused on them (detective fiction is a favorite tour read for me, and I also love biographies). When I’m traveling by myself I’m unlikely to read at all because I’m usually either driving or working or sleeping. If I have spare time while traveling by myself it’s usually while I’m eating, and then I might read something on Instapaper, like some more long-form journalistic stuff.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Is In Texas And Drug Questions Followed Him Here

Embattled Toronto mayor Rob Ford—the only major North American leader whose name, when Googled, auto-suggests the word “crack” as part of the search—is in Texas right now. Specifically, he’s here for the first day of the Austin City Limits Festival, where he’s on a “trade mission” to learn tips about the Austin music industry that he can take back to Toronto. He’s also accompanied by a host of Canadian press, most of whom are more interested in talking with the mayor about drug allegations (a friend of the mayor’s was arrested on drug charges this week) than about what the Toronto music scene hopes to gain from his visit to Austin. 

Austin residents don’t seem to have much to say about Rob Ford’s visit, which led the Toronto Star to report hilarious quotes from various Texans interviewed about the mayor and his city that didn’t make them sound particularly well-informed. (“He was voted best-dressed,” one said of the, er, not well-dressed Ford, though it’d be a fair way to describe designer Tom Ford.) Although that’s also a bit unfair—how much do Toronto residents know about Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell? 

In any case, the reactions to Rob Ford’s visit to Texas are revealing about both what our Canadian counterparts think of Texas, and what the Texans who are familiar with Ford think of his alleged drug-abusing persona

Who Said What At The Texas Tribune Festival

The third-annual Texas Tribune Festival wrapped up on Sunday, with headlining appearances by most of the major players in Texas politics in 2014 and beyond. Specifically, declared gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott and yet-to-declare gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, Senator Ted Cruz, and Texas First Lady Anita Perry all made headlines during their interview and audience Q&A sessions in Austin over the weekend. 

If you weren’t keeping up on Texas politics over the weekend, we can’t say we blame you—the federal government is on the verge of a shutdown, there was a lot of football on TV, and Breaking Bad finally ended, so it’s not like there weren’t other things to think about. But here’s a quick cheatsheet on what you missed if you weren’t paying attention to the #TribuneFest hashtag all weekend.

Anita Perry

No, Brits, It's Not Illegal To Masturbate In Texas

In a post on the Guardian’s Shortcuts Blog called “Masturbation laws around the world: the penal code” (yes, we see what you did there), the British publication claimed:

“[A] new measure which will come into force on 1 January 2014 will make many forms of male masturbation illegal. ‘Exceptions include sperm donations, which now must only be performed at a designated hospital facility.’”

The source the Guardian cites for that tidbit—which, it should go without saying, is 100% untrue—is the website the Tribune Herald. Somewhat legit-sounding URL aside, that is a parody news website that runs on a basic Wordpress template, has 75 followers on Twitter, and includes stories with other headlines like, “Obama to meet and personally arm Syrian rebels with special ‘first gun.’”

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