I read your Bud Shrake/Gary Cartwright article while on a plane from Austin to Los Angeles (poignant in itself), and it literally brought tears to my eyes [“Perfect 10,” February 2006]. It not only took me back to that stellar night of January 4 but to the several nights after it when I too had a recurring dream of Vince crossing that goal line the last time. Bud and Gary’s article let me live that ecstatic, confetti-drenched moment once again in the best of places. Those two guys are as talented at writing as Vince is at football. I think you should consider having a monthly column in which Shrake and Cartwright e-mail each other back and forth about a current topic, any topic. I suspect your readers would start opening your magazine like they did their Christmas presents.
Anne Rapp

Keeping Up With the Jones

Since when did being a first-class jerk make someone so Texan [“Tommy Lee Jones Is Not Acting,” February 2006]? Somewhere along the line, Tommy Lee Jones lost his common courtesy and class. A Texan looks you in the eye when he speaks and stands up to shake your hand. What I find most ironic is that he holds himself out to be so anti-Hollywood, but with his pompous attitude and self-righteousness, he could be its mayor.
Greg Godkin

Tommy Lee Jones is not a cowboy. He simply found the hat.
Ben Rambo

I think your recent article about Tommy Lee Jones is disgraceful and mean-spirited. I have known him for many years and find him to be a very intelligent and focused individual. On the second page of the article, Mr. Jones made it clear he would not discuss his personal life. Game over? No, Skip Hollandsworth continued to print personal things in a most hateful and demeaning manner. Why continue to nag him? Why not print the truth about him? The Joneses personally fed 3,500 Katrina victims at Kelly Air Force Base (no press there). The Joneses also offered their San Saba ranch as a refuge for Rita evacuees—equine, canine, and human. He is a good guy, and you portray him as an ogre. He isn’t. He simply sets high standards for himself, and he suffers no fools. Give him some respect.
Penny Dillingham

Reel Simple

Just finished reading “Home Movies” [February 2006] and cannot believe Places in the Heart and The Trip to Bountiful did not make the list.
Linda Collins

How could anyone leave off John Sayles’s Lone Star?
Mike Strickland

It’s a shame you didn’t make it the 26 best Texas DVDs. Kevin Costner’s debut in Fandango should fit in somewhere.
Hank Franks

How could you leave out Tommy Lee Jones’s outstanding adaptation of Elmer Kelton’s Good Old Boys?
Rex Freriks

Nature Calls

It was enlightening to read about John Poindexter’s efforts to restore West Texas habitat [Texas Monthly Reporter, “The Man in the White Hat,” February 2006]. While I understand his desire to expand his land holdings, thus his restoration program, I don’t believe that purchasing a portion of an established state park is the way to go about it. Texans have one of the best park systems in the country, and despite living in a political environment that is bloated with partisanship and starved for vision, we continue to strive for a bigger, better future for the state that includes a stronger park presence. As a result, I believe that in the long run, the preservation of Big Bend Ranch State Park—in its entirety—and the beauty it has to offer will be the legacy of all Texans, not just Mr. Poindexter’s.

The state can certainly learn from Mr. Poindexter’s efforts to restore native environments, but even without restoration to its pre-overgrazed state, Big Bend Ranch’s wilderness is a remarkable and stunning country. Inholdings aside, some of the most beautiful places are already accessible to Texans. I believe, with time, the inholdings issue will resolve itself through the tradition Texans have always relied upon to build their state park system—the largesse of the Texas landowner. As for the inholdings blocking “the most sensible routes through the park,” history tells us that “sensible” and “routes” are antithetical to the rugged country that comprises the park’s interior. It is rough, sometimes impassable except on foot, and wild—all characteristics that make a good wilderness great.
E. Dan Klepper

The truth is, if this deal or a similar one were to go through, the access and inholding issues within the rest of Big Bend Ranch State Park would still be a problem; the money would go into that great black hole in Austin, where it would be of no benefit to the park; and the people of Texas would lose a large chunk of their public lands. The only ones who would benefit would be John Poindexter and his wealthy clients. Sometimes a white hat is only a hat.
Karen J. Little

Austin Power

Criminy! After reading Gary Cartwright’s article [“My Blue Heaven,” February 2006], I’m about ready to lay money that one can find the Ark of the Covenant in Austin as well. I always thought just being from Texas was enough to make me special, but sadly, I now realize that I need God Almighty himself (or would that be Mr. Cartwright?) to pluck me up from my South Texas backwater and deposit me into the Promised Land that is Austin; otherwise, I am but dirt under the shoes of the Enlightened Ones residing a scant one hundred miles away—so close and yet so far! (However, I’m pretty sure I can smell them from here.)
Kelly Presley

Gary Cartwright’s rationalization for Austin’s blueberry in the tomato soup of Prop 2 reminds me of that infamous band mom’s proud exclamation: “Look at that. Everybody in the band is out of step except my son!”
Mark Wheeler