Texas Monthly Talks

Conversations with the state’s most interesting personalities.

Politics & Policy |
January 20, 2013

Rick Perry

“We’ve got roads to build and agencies to fix and health care to be dispensed and cancers to cure. And that’s what I’m focusing on.”

Food & Drink |
January 20, 2013

Dean Fearing

“Here’s the thing: I was born and raised in eastern Kentucky. I wasn’t born in downtown Paris. What do I love? I love Southern food. I love soul food. I love barbecue. I learned about food in dives. ”

Film & TV |
January 20, 2013

Bill Paxton

“The only way you hit that next level in terms of film persona is to let go and accept the fact that, for better or worse, you’re all you’ve got . . . The camera’s not as concerned with what you are can do as who you are.”

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Lance Armstrong

“There are some places where it wouldn’t matter if Pope Benedict XVI was winning the Tour. They would kill him. They would say he cheats, he steals, he has sex with little boys.”

Books |
January 20, 2013

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.”

Politics & Policy |
January 20, 2013

Dan Bartlett

“We were wrong about the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. That’s far different from saying that we purposely manipulated or intentionally lied to the American people.”

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Jody Conradt

“Kids used to be so excited just to have an opportunity to play. Now I see more of a mentality of entitlement: ‘I’m a tremendous athlete, so you owe me this.”

Sports |
January 20, 2013

Jerry Jones

“I don’t like confrontation, although it’s alleged that I do. But I learned playing football that confrontation is necessary. You’d better get another sport if you don’t acknowledge and accept and willfully go after confrontation.”

Music |
January 20, 2013

Ray Benson

“I’m a personality and a singer—that’s how I make my living—but I’m always a guitar player.”

News & Politics |
January 20, 2013

Tony Garza

“As Texas moves toward majority Hispanic status, the Republicans are going to have to do less shouting, less shorthand, and less sloganeering and court the Latino community in a way that’s relevant to Latino individuals—whether on education, taxes, or job creation.”

Music |
August 31, 2009

Tanya Tucker

“I don’t let people run over me. From the very beginning, I’ve never changed my ideas about what music should be.”

The Culture |
July 31, 2009

C. Andrew Doyle

“The complexities of the world are just now being tippy-toed into by churches, and that keeps us out of a place where people can find us, where they’re building community. It’s not that we’re locked out; it’s that we can’t find the door.”

Politics & Policy |
June 30, 2009

Julián Castro

“The great cities of the world are not defined by one or two ethnicities, religions, or backgrounds. It must be that way for San Antonio as well.”

Sports |
May 31, 2009

Cecil Cooper

“People are going to hit, or they’re not going to hit. Some guys are going to have a better season than they had before, and some aren’t. There’s not a whole lot I can do except put the right players in the right positions and expect them to perform.”

Politics & Policy |
January 1, 2009

Sheila Jackson Lee

“When his political people run the numbers, they see a different Texas, an emerging Texas. One that includes some of our more-conservative elements—God bless them, I respect them—but younger Texans as well. A Texas that is looking for change.”

The Culture |
December 1, 2008

Mark Seliger

“I always approach it as if I’m going to take the picture and, for whatever reason, that’s it. There won’t be another chance.”

Sports |
August 31, 2008

Hakeem Olajuwon

“When I was playing in college and the pros, most of the articles called me a ‘future Hall of Famer.’ So you get that idea in your head. You feel secure and confident that you’ll be elected to the Hall of Fame, but it’s different when it actually happens.”

Texas Monthly Talks |
June 30, 2008

Ricardo Sanchez

“Do I blame a single individual? Do I blame the nation for the mistakes we made that led us to Abu Ghraib and the abuses that occurred as a result of the actions we took? Do I blame the military or the Department of Defense for trying to contain this

Business |
May 31, 2008

Herb Kelleher

“If a shoe factory closes in Seattle, you can’t move it to San Antonio and have it competing there within a couple of hours, but with airplanes you can. I’ve always said that I want us to strike with the speed and alacrity of a puma.”

Texas Monthly Talks |
April 30, 2008

Margaret Spellings

“If someone can show me a way that we’re going to attend to the needs of kids without finding out where they are, without diagnosing the problem, I’m all ears. But it’s not possible.”

The Culture |
October 31, 2007

Joel Osteen

“I have got something that God has entrusted me with, and I have to make the most of it in helping other people.”

Politics & Policy |
June 30, 2007

Lawrence Wright

“Al Qaeda would not have been able to come back to life, in my opinion, had we not invaded Iraq. That action breathed life back into the movement.”

The Culture |
March 1, 2007

Phyllis George

“When a person meets a Miss America, they’re still impressed. They’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, you were Miss America?’”

Music |
February 1, 2007

Joe Ely

“You feel like you’re passing through time, but you don’t really feel like you’re leaving any time behind. You’re kind of in the moment, because the wind’s in your face and there’s always another highway.”

News & Politics |
January 1, 2007

Dick Armey

“If we advocate righteousness and if in the way we live our lives we exemplify righteousness, we are winning by doing our duty. But if we try to mandate righteousness, we are wrong.”

Film & TV |
December 1, 2006

Forest Whitaker

“What does it say about us as humans beings when we listen to leaders who lie to us and, as a result, thousands of people are killed?”

Politics & Policy |
September 30, 2006

James Baker

“You know, talking to people is not appeasement if you know what you’re doing and you’re a good, hard-nosed negotiator. There ought to be nothing wrong with diplomacy.”

Film & TV |
August 31, 2006

Betty Buckley

“I’m a good ol’ girl from Texas, and sometimes people misinterpret that Texas thing. I’ve learned to tone it down, but it’s been a drag. It’s the unfortunate aftermath of having gone to the mat with the wrong guys in Hollywood.’

Politics & Policy |
July 31, 2006

Joe Allbaugh

“They take a shot at the presidency indirectly through me, which is fine . . . It just angers me that our professional journalists have accepted lower standards. I feel like Sergeant Friday: ‘Just the facts, ma’am.’”

The Culture |
June 30, 2006

Eileen Collins

“It’s funny: I’ve never been scared on a shuttle mission. It’s just the nature of the job. You’re busy, you’re focused, you’re well trained, and you go, ‘You know, if I’m going to die, there’s nothing I can do about it.’”

Politics & Policy |
May 31, 2006

Betty Flores

“We don’t look at color, we don’t look at religion, we don’t look at economic means. Laredo is a real laid-back, accept-everybody kind of place.”

Music |
April 30, 2006

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.”

Politics & Policy |
April 1, 2006

Pete Laney

“There are a lot more people in the Democratic party who do what the Good Book says: Take care of the poor and the afflicted and the downtrodden.”

Politics & Policy |
February 1, 2006

Laura Miller

“The problem is that there’s nobody who can put their foot down and say, ‘Yep, by God, we’re going to do this . . .’ It’s a city without leadership.”

Books |
January 1, 2006

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.”

Music |
December 1, 2005

Willie Nelson

“I always thought that if I was having fun doing what I was doing and making a living doing it, then I was already successful.”

Texas Monthly Talks |
November 1, 2005

Robert Rivard

“People speak nostalgically about family newspapers. For every decent one, there were literally hundreds of embarrassingly bad ones.”

Business |
September 30, 2005

Red McCombs

“I’ve had my failures and my mistakes. I don’t dwell on them. So I don’t have anything dragging me down at any given time.”

Politics & Policy |
August 31, 2005

Anita Perry

“He’s probably stronger now than when we were younger, but I’ve changed that same way. And we’ve probably gotten more conservative as we’ve gotten older.”