December 2000 Issue


On The Road in Texas

Texas was Elvis‘ home away from home in the early days of his career, a direct result of getting on the “Louisiana Hayride.” He signed a contract in late 1954 with the popular radio show, which was broadcast live every Saturday night from 50,000-watt KWKH radio in Shreveport. (CBS syndicated

Viva Fort Hood

Before Elvis Presley became an overweight entertainer in a rhinestone jumpsuit, there was a brief, more innocent time when he wore khakis as an Army private in Central Texas. It was his last chance to be a normal human being. And to be happy.

Deer Prudence

Back when I was a hippie pacifist in Northern California, I never thought I'd kill an animal for sport. Then I married into a South Texas ranching family, and in time I managed to pull the trigger and bag a buck. My emotions were decidedly mixed, but I knew that

Child of a Lesser God

It was a modern-day horror story: a little girl hidden away in rat-infested squalor for most of her life. When the authorities took her away from her mother and grandmother, the nine-year-old had never been to school or played outside.

Can Vicente Fox Save Mexico?

His election was historic for many reasons, not least because he embodies the stifled hopes of generations of his countrymen. Still, the obstacles he faces when he assumes the presidency on December 1 are considerable. Will he be able to deliver?


Fifty Gifts Yule Love

Attention, holiday shoppers: Time's a-wasting (but help is on the way). This quirky compilation of Texas-made goodies—from mesquite dominoes to mohair throws—should have something for everyone on your list.




Go to Jail!

After twenty years Albany's Old Jail Art Center has become the best small-town museum in the state— and maybe in the nation.


Seeing the Light

An old cemetery. A deserted crossroads. A ghostly reflection—or a figment of our imagination? On the trail of a West Texas mystery.


On the Rebound

The Dallas Mavericks have a new owner and a new attitude, but they have no real plan to make themselves the kings of the court. I do.


The Sportswriter

Confessions of a Washed-up Sportswriter (Including Various Digressions About Sex, Crime, and Other Hobbies.)


Book Review

Dan McGraw

IN 1999 Dan McGraw took leave from his post as a Fort Worth-based senior editor at U.S. News and World Report and headed for his football-crazy hometown of Cleveland—ostensibly to write about the return of the Browns to the NFL but ultimately to escort his cancer-stricken father to a graceful

Book Review

Christopher Cook

In one sense this earthy first novel by Austinite Christopher Cook is a feel-good book: Compared with the title characters, you can’t help but feel good about your own relatively decent self. In Robbers two aimless outlaws, Ray Bob and Eddie, hook up and, in a sort of quien-es-mas-macho contest,

Music Review

Damon Bramblett

It’s the voice that strikes you first: deep, lugubrious, slightly warbly. Second it’s the songs, the result of years of craning an ear toward the works of writers like Bob Dylan and Townes Van Zandt. Yet Damon Bramblett’s music was first heard by most listeners when Kelly Willis covered “Heaven

Music Review

The Cornell Hurd Band

Critics aren’t supposed to review albums by their friends, but I can’t help it: Let me tell you about my longtime lunch-mate from Dripping Springs, Cornell. His ten-piece honky-tonk swing band, which specializes in jump and shuffles, is as tight as the Bush family on Election Night while boasting brilliant

Music Review

The Falcon Project

Lights Karma Action is the massive, rumbling, and beautiful second album from this Denton quartet, which is headed up by former Mazinga Phaser guitarist and Melodica Festival organizer Mwanza Dover. Given that pedigree, you could call the Falcon Project “space rock,” but the emphasis is firmly on rock—you feel this

Music Review

The East Side Band

You could drive by Austin’s East Side Lounge a dozen times without noticing it’s nondescript exterior, yet faithful hordes find their way to this tiny juke joint when the house band takes the stage. The East Side Band plays an all but forgotten style of rhythm and blues: sweet, soulful,

Music Review

La Mafia

At its inception in the early eighties, the heart and soul of La Mafia, the most enduring group in tejano, was los hermanos Gonzales: Oscar y Leonard. The former was the singer, the latter the guitarista. But by the time they hit their stride in the mid-nineties with “Un Million



Penny’s Cookies

Butter Cookie Dough1 cup salted butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg 2 tablespoons whipping cream 2 tablespoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract 3 cups unbleached flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powderPreheat oven to 325 degrees. In a mixer combine butter and sugar. Add egg, cream, vanilla, and

Web Exclusive

The King and I

Associate editor Michael Hall tells the story behind this month's cover story, "Viva Fort Hood."


Apple-Cranberry Filo Tarts

Note: If you’re pressed for time or refrigerator space, you can simplify this dessert by eliminating the fresh cranberry sauce and crumb topping; it will still be delicious. Everything may be prepared a day or more ahead and assembled at the last minute. You will need 6 eight-ounce ramekins.Filo Tart


Gingered Potato Casserole

1 tablespoon butter (for greasing pan)2 large garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half (for rubbing pan)2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled2 medium sweet potatoes, peeledsalt and pepper to taste1 three-inch piece ginger, mincedapproximately 2 cups whipping creamNote: This dish may be prepared a day ahead. You will need two


Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprouts

1/2 cup chopped pecans or 6 unshelled chestnuts 24 brussels sprouts, stems removed, soaked in lightly salted water for 10 minutes 2 ounces (3 thick slices) apple-smoked bacon, cut in 1/2-inch squares 1 large red onion, thinly sliced and slices halved 1/8 cup turbinado sugar (such as Sugar in the


Cornish Hens With Smoky Guajillo Salsa

Comino Honey Glazed Hens1 cup honey1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (comino)dash liquid smoke flavoring (optional)1 stick cinnamon6 Cornish hens, rinsed and dried1 tablespoon cornbread crumbs or finely ground corn tortillas (optional)Note: The glaze must be prepared a day ahead. The hens should be cooked and served the same day.To make glaze,


Fresh Fruit and Tortilla Slaw

1 small jicama, peeled and julienned 1 chayote, destemmed, peeled, and julienned 1 small red bell pepper, destemmed, cored, and julienned 1 Granny Smith apple, cored (but not peeled) and julienned 1 clementine or satsuma, sectioned (a tangerine, tangelo, or canned mandarin orange sections may be substituted); reserve juice approximately


Goat Cheese-Plantain Empanadas With Tomato Salsa

Goat Cheese-Plantain Empanadas3 ripe plantains, unpeeled 1 ripe banana, unpeeled 1 small white onion, sliced and slices halved 1 tablespoon butter 8 ounces Texas or other fresh goat cheese 1 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)Note: The empanadas may be prepared ahead. Put them


Gulf Coast Oyster and Chorizo Stew

4 ounces chorizo, removed from casing, or in bulk 2 tablespoons butter (cut 1 tablespoon into 6 chunks) 1 cup destemmed, torn or roughly cut Swiss chard 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup milk 1 quart shucked oysters and their liquor salt and pepper to tasteNote: The chorizo may


Hot Book Excerpt


Warning—this excerpt contains profanity and is for mature audiences.Eddie didn’t intend to shoot the guy. Didn’t mean to rob him either. What happened was—They were sliding south down Lamar after rib sandwiches and beer at T-Bones Bar-B-Q House. Going no place particular on a lazy day in May. Laid back

Around the State

Around the State

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas: Families jump at the chance to see The Nutcracker; music lovers snap to the Christmas beat; theaters stage big holiday to-dos; cities light the way for merry revelers; and artisans craft the perfect shopping day.

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