His hands on the steering wheel of an off-road utility vehicle, Larry Barton bounces along a few of Indian Mountain Ranch’s trails looking for brown-striped piglets. This is his ranch, so the area—a mix of open grasslands, dense woods, and plenty of mud pits, midway between Fort Worth and Abilene—is familiar to him. But the piglets are tough to find.
“The Texas horned toad has sprung into demand as ornaments for ladies’ hat pins.” —Palestine Daily Herald, May 28, 1909
Today’s Austin music scene is a robustly global brand: South by Southwest, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and even upstarts like Fun Fun Fun Fest and Austin Psych Fest draw deeply international throngs, and Spoon and Gary Clark Jr. are popular pretty much everywhere. The slogan “The Live Music Capital of the World,” it turns out, wasn’t that much of a stretch.
Last February, after Uber, the app-based ride-sharing company, announced its intention to enter the Houston market, local cab drivers crammed into a city council meeting wearing bright-yellow T-shirts with slogans like “Fair Play = Same Rules.” They claimed that Uber, which usually charges less than traditional cabs do, has an advantage because its drivers don’t have to meet the same insurance requirements as most cabbies.
The Grapevine City Council approved spending $60,000 in public funds to erect a four-and-a-half-foot unicorn statue on the roof of the city’s convention and visitors bureau building.
On October 30 San Antonio’s new mayor, Ivy Taylor, stood behind a lectern at Club Giraud, a private dining club situated downtown on the banks of the city’s famous river, and faced a crowd of business leaders. Only hours before, Taylor had pushed through a unanimous city council vote to build a $3.4 billion pipeline that will bring water from Burleson County, 140 miles away, to San Antonio.
- Identical twin sisters from Houston bought identical Sears Craftsman housesright next door to each otherin Galveston.
- After getting plunked by a pitcher, a man in a pickup baseball game near Elsa shot and wounded one of the opposing players.
- An Austin girl who was kidnapped by her mother and taken to Mexico was reunited with her father twelve years after her abduction.
- The SAT math scores of the state’s high school students hit a 22-year low.
This academic year, the University of Texas at El Paso is celebrating its centennial, and Diana Natalicio, the school’s president, is marking her twenty-sixth anniversary in the school’s top job. That’s a remarkably long tenure, but even more remarkable are the changes UTEP has undergone during her administration. In 1988 the school offered one doctoral program; today it has twenty. In 1988 annual research expenditures were about $5 million; last year the number was $84 million.
The Eagles vs. the Cowboys, LSU vs. A&M, TCU vs. UT (November 27)
In a former National Guard armory building, now owned by the Austin Film Society, several grown men in form-hugging futuristic outfits attempt to blast through a fake steel door with pretend lasers. “You hit everything but the goddamned door!” one of them scolds after a comrade’s shot falls wide of the mark, creating a thick white haze but no opening. They stare at the door, thwarted and befuddled.