“I remember Craig James from Super Bowl XX, when he was playing for New England,” Fort Worth native Bryan Curtis says about the subject of “Hail Mary” (page 88). “It was a big deal that an SMU guy was playing in the big game. Even if the Patriots got stomped.” Curtis, a staffer at Newsweek/The Daily Beast and a TEXAS MONTHLY special correspondent, says that spending time with James complicated his feelings about the former ESPN commentator, who famously helped engineer the ouster of Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. “I saw more layers of his personality,” Curtis says. “The protective dad. The businessman. The religious man. And also the guy who was very confused about why everyone turned on him.”
Waiting to learn whether the Lower Colorado River Authority would, for the first time ever, deny reservoir water to Texas rice growers on March 1 was as much of a nail-biter for Kate Galbraith as it was for the farmers (“A Grain of Doubt,” page 80). Galbraith, a reporter for the Texas Tribune, has followed the disputes over water in Central and southeast Texas since last summer, and she knew the decision was complex. “To every argument by one group, there’s a plausible counterargument by another,” she says. The LCRA’s final call—no water for farmers—did not surprise her, but she did make other discoveries. “Did you know we export rice to the Middle East?”
The photo illustration of wildlife in Big Bend Ranch State Park might remind you of dioramas you’ve seen in natural history museums (“Home on the Range?” page 122). What it probably didn’t remind you of are the signature album covers for groups like Rush, Iron Maiden, and Megadeth. But Hugh Syme created all of them. The Toronto-based artist has a wide range of styles, and it shows in his client list: Fortune 500 companies, national magazines, PR firms, and, yes, rock bands, which remain his first love.