May 2006 Issue

On the Cover

Without DeLay

He blames the Democrats, the press, Ronnie Earle, the bloggers—the list goes on. But in the end, what did in the most powerful Texan in Washington was his own excess.


The Last Rustler

If he was asked what he did for a living, Roddy Dean Pippin would smile and say something about the cattle business. But he didn’t exactly buy and sell cows. He stole them. And right up until he was caught, he was as good as any such thief had ever



At the Houston Museum of Natural Science, butterflies are free (sort of).

The Rookie

Having suffered through the ineptitudes of the Texas Rangers for nearly three and a half decades, having sat as solemn witness to their stumbling pretenses to be major league material, I assume that the hiring of a 28-year-old to run the team is yet another mistake. Jon Daniels, prove me


Walled Off

As a record number of demonstrators hit the streets this spring, one Texas border town was rolling the dice on a draconian method of dealing with illegal immigrants. And it’s working.

Patricia Kilday Hart

Field of Nightmares

A pernicious staph infection is targeting athletes young and old—and igniting a debate over the hazards of artificial turf.

Oscar Casares

Pet Project

My dog, Flaco, sleeps on a bed from Pottery Barn, gets three walks a day, and very nearly had his teeth cleaned for the princely sum of $208. What would my father say?

Sarah Bird

The Furs Were Flying

There is a world where the kings of small African countries send cases of Dom Pérignon as hostess gifts, where you get to choose between the white-striped chinchilla and the violet beaver shearling poncho. Who let me in?


Music Review

Springtime Can Kill You

Those who fancy JOLIE HOLLAND a bit of an odd ducklet’s just say she doesn’t exactly ooze onstage charisma—won’t change their minds with her third album, SPRINGTIME CAN KILL YOU (Anti). The Houston-born vocalist warbles in a slurry vibrato that can tend to grate. Or enchant. There’s something about the

Music Review

“Nothing Serious” and “Distractions”

One album just wasn’t enough. NOTHING SERIOUS (Verve), the first of two simultaneous releases from trumpeter Roy Hargrove, is his finest straight-up jazz outing in years. Shedding the strained concepts of his recent recordings (strings, Cuban music), Hargrove and his no-star quintet lay down occasionally ferocious hard bop. He contributes

Music Review

The Boxing Mirror

It all came to a halt one Arizona night in 2002. ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO had led an impressive, if messy, rock and roll life, with a résumé that included Rank and File, the True Believers, and a respected solo career. Yet years of ignoring a hepatitis C diagnosis finally caught up

Music Review

An interview with Jon Dee Graham

An interview with Jon Dee GrahamAfter being in Austin’s spotlight last year, when his son was diagnosed with a rare degenerative hip disease (as with Escovedo, the city’s music community rolled out in support), Graham has just released his fifth album, FULL (Freedom).Where do things stand with your son? How

Book Review

Standing Eight

At age 33, Austinite Jesus “El Matador” Chavez is the champ: He currently holds the International Boxing Federation’s lightweight title. But his career has been anything but charmed. In STANDING EIGHT, journalist ADAM PITLUK tracks Chavez (born Gabriel Sandoval in Hidalgo del Parral, Mexico) through a life of misadventure: an

Book Review

Riley’s Fire

Crafting a story about a seven-year-old burn victim is a risky move given the very good chances your novel will career into the maudlin and the morbid. Nevertheless, El Pasoan LEE MERRILL BYRD gives us RILEY’S FIRE and its rambunctious kid protagonist, Riley Martin, whose curiosity about matches and gasoline

Book Review

Riding with John Wayne

RIDING WITH JOHN WAYNE has a split personality. AARON LATHAM’s latest novel plays at being a murder mystery, but at heart it’s a gentle satire drawing laughs from that wellspring of excess: Hollywood. Latham drags his legendary Goodnight clan (familiar from Code of the West and The Cowboy With the

Book Review

An interview with Keith Graves

An interview with Keith GravesThe award-winning Austinite has just published his seventh kids’ book, The Unexpectedly Bad Hair of Barcelona Smith. Graves’s words are whimsical; his illustrations are bold and surreal enough to intrigue the grown-ups in the house.While you’re writing and drawing, do you have a mental image of

Lyle Lovett

“It’s immensely gratifying to work with people who are trying to do their best at what they do toward a common end. And whether it’s an arrangement or the performance of a single song, I just love the feeling of watching three or four or sixteen people all working together.”


Texas Tidbits

Texas Tidbits

More than 670,000 people call Austin home. But that’s not including the ghosts.

Texas History 101

As governor, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson pardoned as many as one hundred people a month, but what’s really interesting is how she got to be the first female elected to that office.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails

After spending a day exploring Boerne, just outside San Antonio, I realized there is a lot to do in this not-so-sleepy town.

Pat's Pick


“EXCUSE ME, WAITER. Knowing that life is short, we’d like to eat dessert first. I’ll have the funnel cake, and my friend wants the s’mores. After that, we’ll split the banana split and the fudge brownies. And—wait, we’re not through, come back—bring us some of those PB&J lollipops.”I know, I

Web Exclusive

Road Food

Big John Youk, a 27-year veteran of the NASCAR pits and the author of Big John’s Speedway Grill, talks about cooking, cars, and ’cue.

Web Exclusive

Water Sports

Almost every Wednesday evening, the Austin Aquabats wear helmets and padded life jackets, paddle furiously, and call their own fouls during each twenty-minute game of canoe polo.

Web Exclusive

DeLay Tactics

Senior executive editor Paul Burka on reporting one of the country’s biggest political stories: the self-destruction of Tom DeLay.


Editor's Letter

Exit, Stage Right

AS IT HAPPENS, we had already planned a May cover on Tom DeLay—on his political difficulties, on his ethical problems, on the ongoing investigation by Travis County DA Ronnie Earle into various alleged campaign finance shenanigans—when the defanged House majority leader announced he was withdrawing from his reelection race and

Around the State

Around the State

Jordan’s PickThe Grand Prix HoustonIT’S IRONIC that the month’s speediest happening is in the city of perpetual gridlock. After a five-year hiatus, the Grand Prix of Houston is back—and no amount of bumper fatigue can detract from the coup. If you’re envisioning a carnivalesque affair with an outrageous mullet quota,

Roar of the Crowd

War Stories

Thank you for printing names, faces, and information in “Fallen Heroes” [March 2006]. As many others probably did with the issue, I flipped through the pages and only glanced at the pictures. Then I read “Heartbreak High” [March 2006] and ended up feeling like a selfish, self-centered person. I

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