January 2006 Issue

Features

Feature

The Best Bum Steers. Ever.

1974BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS FLORAL BOUQUET To Janey Briscoe for her statement to the housewife whose Plainview home had been completely devastated by a tornado. Standing outside gazing at the only standing features, a chimney and a potted plant holding a wilted pansy, Mrs. Briscoe said: “I think you’ve been

Feature

Bum Steer Hall of Fame

We don’t have the money for an actual building yet, but maybe Ross Perot can empty the loose change from his pockets and pay for one. Or possibly Tom DeLay’s lobbyist friends can pony up; they always seem to. To the Aggies, we say: Don’t worry. You don’t have to

Feature

The 2006 Bum Steer Awards

JUST LIKE HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT After his powerboat, The Rough Rider, sped through a 5-knot zone at a speed of 30 knots, Ross Perot was fined $300 in Bermuda Magistrates’ Court for operating “without reasonable consideration.” SHE ONLY HAD ONE CLIENT ANYWAY Prior to her withdrawal as a

Feature

Rocket Man

Richard Garriott wants to experience space travel because it would be cool—and because his dad did.

Feature

Body of Evidence

Name Crime Accused Of Year Convicted Idientified by Victim Year Exonerated By DNA Gilbert Alejandro rape 1990 Yes 1994 A. B. Butler rape 1983 Yes 2000 Kevin Byrd rape 1985 Yes 1997

Retail Politics

Along a seventeen-mile stretch of Interstate 35 sits a theoretical dividing line between red-state and blue-state America. In Austin, the flagship Whole Foods attracts your typical wine-sipping, tree-hugging, Volvo-driving liberals. In Buda, the massive Cabela’s is a magnet for beer-guzzling, gun-toting, flag-waving conservatives. From these consumer preferences, voting habits are

Feature

The 2006 Bum Steer Awards

It was a year of appalling Anna Nicole, babbling Bar, conspiring cheerleaders, déclassé DeLay, enraptured Eva, fecal funny business, gubernatorial gaffes, horrifying Hook ’Em, illustrious intoxicators, juggy Jessica, Kinky kocktails, lame lawmakers, misidentified ministers, noticeable nepotism, obnoxious Oberst, powerboating Perot, queer quotes, rude Redskin, stimulated sex offenders, titillating teachers, unwanted

Reporter

Music Review

Big Sweet Life: The Songs of Jon Dee Graham

Unfortunately, bad luck is often followed by more of the same. Take songwriter–guitar slinger Jon Dee Graham, whose son Willie was diagnosed with a rare and debilitating disease at the same time the family’s insurance company declared bankruptcy. Fortunately, Graham lives in Austin and has many talented friends, who contributed

Music Review

TexBook Tenor

Only being born too late kept Booker Ervin from becoming one of the original Texas Tenors. No one embodied the braggadocio of the Texas jazz sound like the Denison native; he cut into each piece with his sawtoothed tone, improvising with ferocity. Unexplained is how Ervin, who soared during his

Book Review

Glory Road

Don Haskins, the coach of Texas Western’s 1966 NCAA champion basketball team, professes to be a highly reluctant subject of Glory Road (Hyperion), his autobiography as told to Dan Wetzel. Which makes it doubly amazing that this average Joe wearing a clip-on tie (when he absolutely has to) emerges as

Book Review

Dog Days

Devotees of Wonkette—the snarky political blog of Texas-bred Ana Marie Cox—will cotton to the elbows-propped-on-the-bar style of her first novel, Dog Days (Riverhead). And they’ll find a soul mate in young campaign flack Melanie Thorton, who can’t spin fast enough to keep Democratic presidential candidate John Hillman from catching a

Book Review

Worst Hard Time

The image of thirties “Exodusters” fleeing dirt storms and drought is imprinted on the American consciousness. But in The Worst Hard Time (Houghton Mifflin), Pulitzer Prize–winner Timothy Egan considers instead the nearly one million Dust Bowlers who stayed put—whether from stubbornness or circumstance—to scratch out a meager existence. Egan follows

Reporter

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

Katie Wernecke is many things: a precocious, freckle-faced Bible-drill champ; the valedictorian of her seventh-grade class in Banquete; and—since she was diagnosed with cancer last year—a pawn in the custody battle that pits her parents against the State of Texas.

Music Review

In the Reins

Not every songwriter is a born bandleader. Iron and Wine (a.k.a. Sam Beam), who has relocated from Florida to Dripping Springs, originally chose to go it alone, and the sparse nature of his early recordings gave his ambitious lyrics, fairly or not, a sheen of preciousness. No longer. The tumbleweed-border

Miscellany

Louis Sachar

“Any idea you can think up and plan out isn’t going to be that good. There’s no way I could have thought up all of Holes beforehand.”

Roar of the Crowd

Law and Disorder

Your November 2005 article [“Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!”], ostensibly on tort reform, was disappointing in its limited and biased coverage of the litigation reforms of the past decade, the grassroots movement that generated those reforms, and the improvements in Texas law and society that the reforms

Around the State

Around the State

January—People, Places, Events, Attractions 01.2006 Forget the holidays: As any college-football fanatic will tell you, the most wonderful time of the year is bowl season. It has certainly been the hap-happiest season of all (at least since 1970) for Texas Longhorns fans, whose undefeated team makes a return trip to

Web

Happy Trails

Happy Trails

Even though my mom never allowed us to eat at restaurants attached to gas stations, I figured she might make an exception for George W.’s hangout in Crawford.

Texas Tidbits

Texas Tidbits

The flagship Whole Foods store in Austin is very different from the new Cabela’s in Buda. They don’t sell the same merchandise, and they don’t target the same customers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do some comparison shopping.

Pat's Pick

Glass Act

Last fall, Kim Wallace, of Brenner’s Steakhouse, in Houston, aced her exam to win the first-ever Texas’ Best Sommeliers Award, given by the Texas Sommelier Association. Did you grow up in a family that drank wine? Not really. My grandmother did not drink or smoke, and she would be spinning

Pat's Pick

Stephan Pyles

When Dallas überchef Stephan Pyles ditched the daily grind in 2000, after selling his Star Canyon restaurants, fans wondered if they’d ever see him again. It’s been more than five years, but he is back, with a splashy new space—including a bar (pictured), where you can also eat—and a

Web Exclusive

Family Matters

Associate editor Katy Vine on writing about the Wernecke family’s struggles in court and their daughter’s fight against Hodgkin’s disease.

Web Exclusive

It’s as Easy as DNA

Senior editor Michael Hall talks about researching DNA testing, visiting a DNA lab in North Texas, and pursuing justice.

Web Exclusive

TLR vs. TM

Texans for Lawsuit Reform responds to our November 2005 article; we respond to the organization’s response.

Contributors

Contributors

Jason LeeYou might think that texas monthly deserves its own Bum Steer for not using a Texan to create this month’s cover image, but it’s hard to argue with the results of Jason Lee’s work. The New Yorker (by way of Rhode Island) used a computerized 3-D technique to

Columns

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