As if further proof were needed that we live in highly charged times, readers of the March Texas Monthly took us—and one another—to task on everything from property rights (“Cast Out of Eden”) to the Affordable Care Act (“The Faces of Obamacare”) to funding for special education in public schools (“Not So Special Ed”) to the correct spelling of food writer Courtney Bond’s favorite Mexican dessert (“Sopaipillas”). But the best bit of feedback came in the form of a tongue-in-cheek correction. In “The Shape We’re In,” James I. Bowie, a logo trends analyst (hell, yes, those exist), broke down statistics showing how vastly more popular the Texas silhouette is than that of any other state, prompting a reader named Jose to comment, “Colorado and Wyoming have lots of signage with the outline of their state borders.”


While I am happy for women like Ursula and Ana Maria (“The Faces of Obamacare”), the ACA has caused trouble for many of those who had insurance. I’m a teacher and have had insurance with my school. Before Obamacare, it was great insurance and I could afford it for my children as well. The deductible was reasonable and allowed us to get what we needed.

After the ACA was implemented, I had to take my children off my insurance because I could not afford insurance costs of over $1,000 a month. My deductible is so high now that I can’t afford a much-needed surgery on both my feet, which hurt constantly. I have empathy for those who cannot afford insurance, but at the same time I wonder why the ACA caused my insurance to go from great to terrible. Thanks, Obama!
Megan Bierschwale, Mason 

In order to provide the subsidies that many of the current medical insurance subscribers enjoy, the ACA depends on forcing the young and the healthy to purchase ACA medical insurance with outrageous and unaffordable premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. These people are forced, against their will, to subsidize others who, for all kinds of reasons, get a free ride at the expense of those who have to pay the full price. Where are their pictures and their stories?
Rickey Benson, via

Let me add my story, if not my picture. Two and a half years ago I was let go by my company and rehired as a part-time contractor. I was okay with that move, as I am approaching retirement and wanted more spare time. But health insurance proved to be very difficult. There were no private individual policies available in Texas for someone with a preexisting condition (cancer, eight years ago).

When the ACA started up, I was finally able to buy a policy and have been able to renew ever since. Now that is being threatened. I’m still three years from Medicare, and without insurance I am putting my health, my retirement, and my family’s future at risk. And I know just how bad the consequences can be. My brush with cancer was, at full price, almost $200,000. Fortunately, insurance covered most of that. Were it to happen again, without insurance, it would either destroy my retirement or cause me to file for bankruptcy. Is this what we want for Americans?
enp1955, via

No Man’s Land

The lesson from this is that you don’t build on land you have leased (“Cast Out of Eden”). They try to make it into a big, long sob story. But the simple truth is that this can happen to anyone who lives on land they don’t own. It doesn’t matter if it is an apartment, a rental house, a trailer in a trailer park, or just renting land that you have built your home on. The day the landowner decides not to renew your lease is the day you need to start planning to move.
Dracphelan, via

Sad story and one that could have been avoided had the purchaser paid any attention to how many aged and indigent people were living on subsistence there. While the buyer certainly wasn’t obligated to offer a buyout, failure to do something decent has cost him in terms of public relations. What a shame.
BossySnowAngel, via

Poor Marks

I am joining every other commenter in thanking you profusely for this powerful piece of work (“Not So Special Ed”). You have put in a perfect nutshell almost every single horror that parents face in their fight against noncompliant school districts and the corrupt law firms who protect them at all costs. Please, please continue to investigate and address this ugly secret that needs desperately to find the light of day.
Jana Palcer, via

I had a lot of respect for Texas Monthly until you published this one-sided article. I thank you for the two paragraphs where you somewhat gave a school’s perspective, but to someone who works extremely hard for special-needs kids in a public school, this is a slap in the face. Where’s the follow-up article about all the wonderful educators, all the success stories, all the good that there is instead of just the bad?
Alli Welch, via Facebook

Tried and Troubadour

I was there in Columbus on the night you wrote about (“The Underdog’s on Top”). I had never even heard of Aaron Watson but went with some friends. I was one of the older married couples there swaying away off to the side. I was more impressed with Aaron the person than I was with Aaron the entertainer. He seems like a great guy. I am impressed with his religious convictions and strong faith. I really like his style of music and his sound. His voice reminds me of George Strait. Thanks for the article.
Sam in Ohio, via

Nashville knows nothing! Make ’em pay when they come crawling! Congrats.
Chris Miles, via Facebook

Snake, Charming

Thank you for your positive attitude about snakes (“Snake!”). Years ago, I purchased professional snake-handling tools to move them around when necessary. In the summer, when my wife does not catch me, I leave a chicken egg or two out for the rat snakes. I once witnessed a female rat snake push open our screen door with her nose and let herself out of our house on her own recognizance. That was a learned behavior.
Mike, via

Gone Grill

I enjoyed reading David Searcy’s essay on the Prince of Hamburgers restaurant (“The Dark Prince”). Searcy’s poignant writing style and nostalgic tone remind me of Jean Shepherd. I too remember visiting this “hamburger joint” as a child, but the one I frequented was on Garland Road and adjacent to its rival, Charcos. Both had delicious but different methods of cooking their burgers. Both are long gone. I’d love to see more pictures of these places I sadly took for granted.
Marcia Curtis,  via email

Flag Flap

Representative [Tom] Oliverson’s proposed resolution devotes three paragraphs to comparing the Texas flag to the Chilean flag (“The Texas Legislature Wants You to Stop Using the Chilean Flag Emoji”). But the resolution also states that the Chilean flag cannot “in any way compare to” the Texas flag. How can he make a comparison and then claim that a comparison cannot be made?
Paine Sense, via

And never, never Chile with beans.
Jose, via

This reminds me of a debate I had with a bartender in a hotel pub in London.
Charlton Perry, via Facebook

Just give us a Lone Star beer emoji and we’ll call it even.
Tyler Dunnahoo, via Facebook

Fogémon Go

Hilarious (“Hunting Pokémon in Galveston”). I’m not the only one of my friends with silver hair that likes to play the game. Our local teams are super-organized, with guild leaders, build teams, defense of gyms, and good communications with our members. The guild leaders get together at High Counsel to discuss cheaters and other problems. It’s Western civilization all the way around.
Chopsmath, via

Thanks, Thanks a Lot

I can’t imagine a better place than right here in deep East Texas to enjoy this jewel of an issue. “Richter Goods,” “Route 66,” “Cast Out of Eden,” “The Dark Prince,” and “Snake!” to name a few. And, of course, “Sights Unseen” and “Happy Texas Week, Y’all!” All impeccable! So proud to be a Texan!
Jamie Duvak, Bullard