November 2008 Issue

On the Cover

Come Early. Be Loud. Cash In.

How did the University of Texas build the most successful college sports program in history? One visionary coach at a time. One world-class athlete at a time. One state-of-the-art stadium at a time. And with an ambitious, aggressive business model that’s the envy of its rivals everywhere.


The Exonerated

Thirty-seven men, 525 years behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. Thanks to DNA testing, their claims of innocence have finally been proved—but what happens to them now?


My Frail Island

The damage done by Hurricane Ike to Galveston, my beloved hometown, is in many ways worse than you’ve read about. And I’m not only talking about the physical devastation.

Your Bird Here

Turkey, shmurkey! This Thanksgiving, when your mother-in-law gets ready to serve up boring old tradition as a main course, you should cry fowl and turn her attention to these other fine, feathered, delectable friends.


You Aren’t Here

The very spot where William Barrett Travis wrote his famous “victory or death” letter is a Ripley’s Haunted Adventures. And other ways gross commercialization has desecrated the Alamo’s sacred battleground site.


Rick Riordan

“You have to have action, you have to have humor, and you have to have emotional situations. And you have no time to waste. You have to get it all in there economically.”

Author Interview

H. W. Brands

With his twenty-second book, Traitor to His Class, the acclaimed historian and University of Texas at Austin professor brings yet another political giant into focus: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Do you explode any myths in Traitor to His Class?The rich of Roosevelt’s day blamed him for selling them out to

Artist Interview

Warren Hood

With a natural, beguiling style, the 25-year-old songwriter and violinist has been a fixture on the Austin roots scene for nearly a decade, carrying on the legacy of his late father, Champ, of Uncle Walt’s Band. He has just released his eponymous solo debut.Why a solo album now?It took

Music Review


Austin’s Cotton Mather ended its nine-year run in 2003. The group’s Beatles-esque power pop had garnered praise from NME and bands like Oasis in the UK and inspired a following in Asia, but in this country, not so much. Still, everyone wondered what leader Robert Harrison would do next. The

Music Review


Lots of indie-rock bands wear their influences on their sleeve. Austin’s White Denim betrays elements of the visceral rock of the Stooges, the minimalism of the Velvet Underground, and even the weird fusion of groups like the Minutemen or the Meat Puppets. But what White Denim possesses, unlike so

Music Review

Little Honey

Lucinda Williams’s West, in 2007, was a stunning effort, her strongest in nearly a decade. Yet it was an emotional downslide, and its cathartic declarations of unrequited love no doubt took their toll in the ensuing months onstage. At some point, she must have longed for a way to

Book Review

The Glen Rock Book of the Dead

The Glen Rock Book of the Dead is a quiet tour de force from former Austinite Marion Winik, who ruminates on the meaning and messages to be culled from the deaths (and lives) of fifty-plus individuals who have crossed her path. Within a slim 108 pages, she provides

Book Review

Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound

First the bad news: Alan Govenar’s Texas Blues: The Rise of a Contemporary Sound is maddening, a six-hundred-page patchwork of illustrations, interviews, and essays adapted and expanded from his previous works. Sometimes organized by place (East Texas, Austin) and sometimes by theme (zydeco, the saxophone), it affords such

Book Review

The Theory of Light and Matter

The stereotypical image of America’s middle class—successful adults shepherding worthy children toward better lives—is turned on its head in Andrew Porter’s beautifully executed short story collection The Theory of Light and Matter. Porter, who teaches creative writing at Trinity University, pulls us through the looking glass into a

How to Throw a Tamalada

The PartyAs at most holiday functions, there’s no escaping your kin at a tamalada, or tamale-making party. For generations, Latinos have gathered at Christmastime to cook, assemble, and eat the age-old dish (tamales date back to pre-Columbian times). “A tamalada is a multifamily, multigenerational event,” says Sylvia Cásares, who owns

The Horse's Mouth

Doing Political Impressions

NAME: Jim Morris | AGE: 51 | HOMETOWN: Flower Mound | QUALIFICATIONS: Masterfully mimics the past seven presidents, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, as well as a range of presidential candidates, from John Edwards to Al Sharpton / Has provided voices for Saturday Night Live’s “The X-Presidents” cartoon

Bill Applegate, Trapper

Applegate was raised near El Paso. He is a full-time predator-control trapper on ranches in Big Bend. For the past ten years, he has served as the president of the Texas Trappers and Fur Hunters Association. He lives in Marfa.When I was eight years old, I was in my grandpa’s



Holiday Variety Empanadas

Prep time: 30 minutes / Bake Time: 15 minutesEmpanada Crust1 package (15 oz., 2 crusts) Hill Country Fare Refrigerated Pie CrustsFillingsPumpkin 1 can (15.5 oz.) Hill Country Fare Solid Pumpkin for pie 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice 1/2 cup H-E-B Sugar or Granulated Sugar Replacement (Splenda)Banana 2 bananas, mashed 1/2


Texas Bobwhite Quail

Stuffing4 tablespoons olive oil 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced into 1/8-inch cubes 1 pound whole farro grain (or spelt) 4 cups chicken stock 1 fennel bulb, diced into 1/8-inch cubes 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/8-inch cubes 1 celery root (celeriac), peeled and diced into 1/8-inch cubes


Roasted Duck With Picadillo Stuffing

Duck3 cups kosher salt 1 cup packed brown sugar 4 inches canela sticks, or substitute 2 inches regular cinnamon sticks 12 whole allspice 6 bay leaves 40 peppercorns 4 five-pound ducks kosher salt and pepper to taste cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, for garnishPrepare brine: Four hours to a day ahead,


Pan-Roasted White-Winged Dove

Dove2 green apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled and cored 1/2 large onion, peeled 2 thumb-size knobs of ginger 2 cups white vinegar 1 cup salt 1 cup sugar juice and rinds of 2 lemons 2 tablespoons each of whole juniper berries, coriander seeds, star anise pods, and black peppercorns

Web Exclusive

H. W. Brands

With his twenty-second book, Traitor to His Class, the acclaimed historian and University of Texas at Austin professor brings yet another political giant into focus: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.Do you explode any myths in Traitor to His Class?The rich of Roosevelt’s day blamed him for selling them out to the


Roar of the Crowd

Boone or Bust?

I’m a fifth-generation Texan and mad as hell at T. Boone Pickens for his rape of our beautiful land [“There Will Be Boone,” September 2008]. And for what? To line his pockets even more? Apparently, a billion dollars isn’t enough.A year ago, my husband and I purchased 93 acres

Editor's Letter

The Good Seed

To those who insist all journalists are pinot-swilling, Bibb-lettuce-nibbling, four-hundred-thread-count-Egyptian-cotton-pillowcase-coveting elitists, I say: Meet Michael Hall. It’s not just that the soul-patched, ratty-flannel-shirt-wearing Army brat doesn’t present as Bill Buckley or Tom Wolfe. It’s that, in word and deed, he more than transcends the “man of the people” cliché. This

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