When the INRIX company released its annual list of America’s most congested cities, the big news for Texans was that for the second year in a row, Austin was ranked the fourth-most-congested city in America—up from sixth two years ago and ninth the year before that. But though Austin is certainly home to migraine-inducing traffic jams, its ranking obscures the fact that in Texas, Houston (number seventeen on INRIX’s list) is, in many ways, the king of congestion.
“Six-shooters have superseded bells at Dallas as fire alarms. Over 200 shots were fired on the occasion of a recent blaze.”—San Marcos Free Press, June 19, 1884
“Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin & Bones, 20 Years of Drawing” (Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, April 26–August 3)
Houston resident Hancock has spent years creating art, inspired by comic books and abstract expressionism, that tells the story of mythical creatures called the Mounds. This exhibit, the first to focus on his drawings, includes samples of a cartoon strip he drew for his college newspaper at Texas A&M–Commerce.
In 2007, when Robert Jeffress became pastor of Dallas’s First Baptist Church, few people noticed. First Baptist, which was once regarded as the country’s most influential Southern Baptist church, was no longer packing in the crowds. But Jeffress, who grew up attending the church, had grand ambitions, including a $135 million fund-raising campaign to build a new downtown campus covering six blocks.
When the incomparable Washington power broker Robert Strauss died in March at the age of 95, the major obituaries trotted out the same stories about his sharp tongue and high self-regard that people had told for years. Like the one about the time he was serving as the administration’s special trade representative in the seventies and Jimmy Carter asked him if he would abide by a rule that members of the president’s staff fly coach instead of first class. “Mr.
Like many Houston Texans fans, the rapper Slim Thug spent much of the 2013 NFL season frustrated by the team’s offensive struggles. During a particularly uninspiring October game against the St. Louis Rams, starting quarterback Matt Schaub left the game with an injury and backup QB T. J. Yates quickly threw a pick-six, leading Thug to tweet, “I’m about to go pick up Vince Young.”
Recounting a controversial episode from his five years as head of the UT System, outgoing chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said, “I always give my honest recommendation, because at the end of the day, I have to sleep with myself.”
On a recent Sunday afternoon, a preacher in a flak jacket tried to fire up the crowd of milling tourists and locals in Alamo Plaza. A troop of eager Boy Scouts in khaki gear briefly paused to listen, along with bemused Japanese sojourners and visitors from Brazil, Idaho, and Senegal. “The Quran won’t get you to heaven!” he wailed accusingly. “The Tao won’t get you there! Only Jeee-zus!
Not far from the windswept Texas dunes that adjoin Boca Chica Beach, several plaques commemorate the Battle of Palmito Ranch. Without these markers, the 1865 battleground would probably go unnoticed by most visitors; a century and a half of storms have washed away all evidence of the last land action of the Civil War and, in its place, created an ecologically rich matrix of beaches, bays, grasslands, upland scrub, tidal flats, and hilly formations called lomas.