Q: A few months ago I was flying out of the Austin airport on the way to my honeymoon. As I reached the front of the security line, I realized that I had mistakenly left my pocketknife—a gift from my new bride—in my carry-on bag. My only options were trashing it or using an automated kiosk, run by a company in North Carolina, to have the knife mailed back to my house. I’ll spare you the long, frustrating details, but suffice it to say, 83 days have passed and I still haven’t received my beloved knife.
Louisiana may have a lock on boiled crawfish, but Houston happens to be home to a variation on that bayou tradition that makes people go cray: Viet-Cajun crawfish, a love child of two Gulf Coast communities whose penchant for highly seasoned aquatic creatures is just one of many things they have in common (fishing culture, rice farming, the French connection).
“I’ve learned I have the perfect person to steer me. When I’m contemplating one of life’s difficult decisions, I generally consult with Ben Dorcy. Bless his barely thumping heart, Ben is my canary in the coalmine. When faced with a difficult decision, I observe Ben and do the opposite of what he does.”
– Willie Nelson (with Turk Pipkin),
The Tao of Willie, 2007
If you climb the concrete stairs to the top of Mustang Stadium, one of the highest points in Andrews, Texas, and look in nearly any direction, past the parking lot and asphalt loop surrounding the town, mesquite-choked fields sprawl to the limits of sight. It’s not an unusual vista in West Texas. Neither are the innumerable pumpjacks that dot the desert’s horizon. Some stand still, giant silhouettes of metal. Others dip their bulky heads to the earth like horses bending to water.
Go Fly a Kite
A few days after Democratic candidate for governor Wendy Davis suffered a 20-point blowout loss last November, one of the state’s top Democratic donors met with Jenn Brown, the executive director of Battleground Texas. Brown’s much-heralded field organization had been set up to do for Texas Democrats what its parent, Organizing For America, had done in Ohio and elsewhere for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Eric Benson’s dispatch from Reynosa in the February issue revealed yet another disturbing consequence of the cartel violence that has swept through the border towns. As the crime syndicates have become more powerful, they have infiltrated Mexican newsrooms and intimidated journalists, going so far as to dictate what can and can’t be written.