They say there is no middle ground in politics, but that is certainly the case with the reaction to the Bum Steer of the Year. Some readers cheered our pick of Blue Bell (“Thank God for Texas Monthly” and “Always a January classic collector’s issue”), while others had a slightly different take (“TM wins my Bum Steer award” and “The real ‘Bum Steer’ is TM’s liberal slant”). And even if it is an annual ritual for disgruntled readers to tell us to, well, go nominate ourselves—trust us, that happens every single year—we continue to take pride in the fact that the award matters enough to people to make their opinions known. After all, what fun would the Bum Steers issue be if they didn’t?

And now, a sampling of additional feedback from our readers.

Bum Rush

Your 2016 Bum Steer Awards were the most pathetic and humorless in the history of texas monthly. Either we Texans are getting better, or you are getting worse!
Preston Lewis, San Angelo

The only magazine whose arrival I anticipate as much as the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is the one featuring the Bum Steer Awards. This year the luster of the edition has been more than slightly tarnished by your inclusion of Yu Darvish’s “That’s bullshit” statement. Although Mr. Darvish could never be considered a native Texan, that statement puts him well on the road to becoming an adopted son and elevates his stature to a level only slightly below Nolan Ryan’s. I would bet that no one at texas monthly would ever consider “Bum Steering” Nolan for uttering such a phrase.
Allen Maresh, via email

I always run several months behind reading my TM, but when this issue comes I put it on top. Worth the subscription.
Tommye Jones, via Facebook

Texas Monthly, helping to spread Texas stereotypes of ignorance and stupidity. Great job lowering the common denominator.
Robert J. Tomlinson, via Facebook

Straight Talk

“The Alcohol Blackout” should be required reading at all college freshman-orientation sessions. Some will blow it off, as kids are wont to do, but some won’t, and we have to plant the seed of information that might make a difference somewhere in their college careers, as well as the rest of their lives.
Alice Liles, Muleshoe

This is a cornerstone piece. Everybody on all sides of the various campus sexual assault debates, as well as everybody who cares—personally or professionally—about campus drinking, needs to read this. Twice.
Jeffrey Deutsch, via

Fruit Punch

WOW @Katy_Vine’s story of the accountant who stole a staggering sum of $ from a #Texas fruitcake bakery is WILD [“Just Desserts”].
Alison Freer, via Twitter

Most amazing food story of the year.
Matt Lewis, via Twitter

The wonder is that Sandy Jenkins kept it going so long, and for so much money, in a relatively small town and a relatively small business. Bob McNutt realized the business wasn’t making what it should but just never thought to look at the obvious: a fox in the henhouse, and a suddenly wealthy fox at that.
Ken Reed, via

Clear Eyes

Manuel Luis Martinez’s use of imagery placed clear scenes in my mind of the West Side of San Antonio, the vagaries of manliness, acquiring survival Spanish, and similar bicycle commutes I’d make to various jobs along similar streets as a kid growing up in San Antonio, albeit in other parts of town but under remarkably similar emotional conditions [“The Eyes Have It”]. He drew me in so completely I wept as I read his well-painted words. He found memories for me I had misplaced.

If we extrapolate the molino scenario in his essay, we may see folks of all different heritages, and for multiple reasons, arriving in the wee hours at their places of work. They could be preparing those necessities we may take for granted when we come in hours later without much thought or appreciation of the stories behind those faces. Our loss, I think.

Perhaps we might find some solace in the remarkable similarity in his story and of all of our stories.

For all of the above and much more, thank you, Manuel Luis Martinez.
Mike McClure, Blanco

I just finished reading this story aloud to my wife and even used the appropriate accent when needed. It was so well-written we could feel all the emotions, from the pain to the wry humor. We couldn’t help but see through the word pictures you painted and feel what you felt, if even for just a short time, as though we were right there making these memories ourselves.
M.A. Copeland, via

Shame Game

I don’t have a problem with revisionist history [“Los Miserables”]. I do have a problem with “historians” intentionally attacking other people’s pride. Be aware of the injustice of slavery, but being ashamed of Texas as a whole for its role as a slave state is as stupid as attacking your grandparents for smoking cigarettes. We can’t change history, but we shouldn’t stop loving where we came from either.
James Dubuisson, via Facebook

Red Headed Stranger

I got around to going through the January issue and saw the letter about Willie Nelson from Name Withheld in Lubbock [The Texanist].

Willie Nelson is a right tolerable singer. However, he is also a commie pinko scumbag. Because of these attributes, no one should listen to his music or offer him financial support. Name Withheld’s young gentleman friend is on the right track.
Travis Ballew, a native of Waco

Dear John

It’s only six days into the new year, and I’m already depressed. I just read the wonderful Miscellany paean to John Broders, and I’m sad for all of us—for me because I never met him and for you because he’s not there with you on a daily basis anymore. What a wonderful character! Wish I could have been a fly on the wall near his desk for just one hour.
Julie Richardson, Houston

King’s Counsel

I beg to differ with you about your taco coverage of Mexico [“The 120 Tacos You Must Eat Before You Die,” December 2015].

I have a hard time understanding why you rate the Mexico City tacos at the top. You glorified Mexico, as if it were the mecca of all tacos. That’s like saying the best chicken-fried steak comes only out of Dallas.

Mexico is a big country. What about Guadalajara? Oaxaca? Guanajuato?

Most Mexicans look upon the people of Mexico City, or Chilangos, with disdain, the same way gringos in the U.S. look at people who live in New York City.

As a permanent resident of Mexico for the past ten years and a traveling musician who lives on street tacos, the best tacos over all of Mexico and Texas can be found at the Memo’s taco stand, at the corner of Aguacate and Basilio Badillo, in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. If I were on death row and had one last meal, it would be the Bin Laden taco at Memo’s. It’s to die for.

So put that in your chile and smoke it.
Joe King Carrasco, via email

I am astounded by your El Paso taco selection! The moment I saw the cover—and without opening the magazine—I told my wife, “I bet you one hundred dollars that Austin and San Antonio will have more restaurants in the article than El Paso.” Also, I told her, “I bet you their taco selection for El Paso will be oblivious.” Sure enough, you guys had not done your homework. El Paso never gets the credit it deserves.

El Taco Tote, El Toro Bronco, El Rincon de Cortez, Barrigas, El Cometa, La Terraza, Ay Cocula, La Malinche, Lunch Box, Tacos Chinampa, Chih’ua Tacos, Taquería Paly, Cuauhtemoc Cafe, Corralito, El Taquito, Julio’s—I can keep naming more and more and more. I bet even our local Taco Cabana makes better tacos than any Austin or San Antonio spot on your list. What a shame.
Cesar Saucedo, via email