The culinary call to arms set forth on our December cover (“The 120 Tacos You Must Eat Before You Die”) not surprisingly prompted a flurry of agenda-setting (“We’ve got some work to do over Christmas!”; “2016 New Year’s resolution”; “Summer road trip!!!” “1 down, 119 to go!”), a confession or two of involuntary spittle (“So, reading this article in @texasmonthly and I am literally drooling all over myself”), and a flare-up of intrastate sparring over which of our cities can truly lay claim to having the best tacos. And of course, many readers were quick to offer their opinion on the tacos that should have been our 121st.

It Seems There May Just Be a Few More Tacos to Eat Before You Die . . .

El Manantial, in Amarillo. Their tacos de birria are a life-changing experience.
Aus-Tex Ensey, via

Everyone knows Nano’s Taco Run is home to the best breakfast tacos in Corpus Christi.
Jonathan Carrillo, via Facebook

The Original Casa Mañana, home of the Red Taco, in Wichita Falls.
Patrick Fortner, via email

Kiki’s, in El Paso.
Nikki H., via

The Robert Special and the Carne Ranchera at Los Jacales, in Laredo.
Jessica Palacios, via Facebook

Titas Taco House, in Humble.
Rebecca Bentley Poire, via Facebook

El Presidente at Fresa’s, in Austin.
Rosemary Martinez, via Facebook

The carne guisada at El Taco Tejano, in Seguin.
Sam Kirkendall, via email

Kesos Taco House, in Austin; the place is a win-win.
Gaylynn Masceri, via email Tacos Kissi, in Laredo. Trust me. Cristina Herrera, via Facebook

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, in Fort Worth. Also, Melis Taqueria has the best breakfast tacos in town.
The Taco Saint, via email

Only 120? The current editors must be from Oklahoma.
Gary Brown, via Facebook

Glory Be to the Father, And to the Son

“The Will of God” is beautiful in so many ways: As a son’s remembrance of the great Will Spong, who died the spring before I entered seminary but was much beloved by every class that preceded mine. As a discussion of grief and how to deal with it (and how not to). And as a work on true religion, on what Jesus was all about, on the power of faithful community, and on real love, the hardest thing to give other people. Thank you, John Spong, for this true and real account of a life that shaped you—and many others. The Episcopal Church and the world are better for Will’s life. May perpetual light shine upon him.
Greg Garrett, via

Thank you, John, for a piece well written. You have stirred something inside that I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do with. Yet, at the same time, it is a good feeling.
Longing for Hill Country, via

Oh, Mann

I wish to congratulate Dave Mann for crawling out of his lefty cave long enough to write what he probably thinks is a hatchet job on Senator Cruz [“The Ted Offensive”]. Well, he failed. What he did accomplish was to remind me of just why I admire and respect the senator. And, sadly for you “progressives,” what he stands for and says resonates powerfully with most of us Texas voters. Really, Dave, your pronouncement that “he seems deeply unpopular with the general electorate” is wishful thinking.
Robert E. Blake, San Antonio

I’m a registered Republican and consider Ted Cruz to be smarmy, slick, and duplicitous. But when Dave Mann states in his rant that “none of the serious presidential contenders have divorced themselves from fact as often as Cruz has,” I have to say, really? Donald Trump, in his even shorter political career, and Hillary Clinton, in her many decades in the public arena, have both far exceeded Cruz’s best efforts at bending the facts.
Michael Edmonds, Austin

Mr. Mann’s politics show through loud and clear as he genuflects at the altar of liberal talking points. For example, he assaults Ted Cruz’s stance on the president’s executive orders not being overturned in court as proof that they must be legal. Guffaw! Mr. Mann attacks Cruz’s—and most Republicans’—call to abolish Obamacare by quoting totally deceptive Bureau of Labor Statistics data to support his position. Mr. Mann needs to realize that Obamacare has, in fact, destroyed millions of vibrant full-time jobs, contributed to one of the lowest labor participation rates in history, and enabled the president to tout 5 percent unemployment when the actual number hovers closer to 9 percent (it’s simple math!). Oh, and Obamacare has helped raise health care costs to an astronomical annual rate.

Mr. Mann and his liberal acolytes should stop referring to climate change as scientific fact. Please think back to high school and learning about scientific method. Science deals in theory. There are plenty of explanations—or theories—of warming and cooling trends, and humans are theoretically not the leading causation. Global warming is pure theory, Mr. Mann. You’re welcome to believe it exists, but do not refer to it as fact.

As to a Washington “cartel,” Cruz is not far off. I lived and worked around Washington, D.C., for forty years, dabbling in its politics, and cartel isn’t far from the truth. Perhaps “cabal” would be a more accurate term, as myriad cabals exist throughout the back rooms of D.C.

Most of the remainder of Mr. Mann’s commentary passes the “opinion” litmus test, as he takes issue with Cruz’s political tactics. I do call on Texas Monthly to more clearly label opinion pieces as such.
Mark Greathouse, Fairfield, Pennsylvania

Native Scorn

Upon flipping to the back of my just-arrived issue of Texas Monthly, it was with gleeful excitement that I, a native Texan of the wasn’t-born-here-but-got-here-as-soon-as-I-could variety, saw the query posed by Melody (and Tom) Vincent about whether or not Tom was a true Texan [The Texanist]. Without overstating my own intellectual prowess (I did marry a true Texan after all), I prepared to sit back and enjoy what I just knew was going to be a trip down Texas history lane as you answered this simple question.

But, no! Line after line went by and there was no mention of the Greer County War, where Texas claimed (and rightly so) the area where Altus, Oklahoma, now stands. However, the Supreme Court, as it is sometimes wont to do, sided wrongly with those Okies, and Texas soil somehow turned into Sooner dust. Die-hard Texans, like my husband, refuse to acknowledge this travesty of justice. After birthing our first three kids in Texas, we felt safe in calling our little Sarah a native Texan, even though she made her first appearance at Altus Air Force Base. So, Tom, be comforted by the fact that you are truly a native-born Texan.

On a side note, the Air Force took us all the way to Germany, and my Aggie husband, an Eagle Scout and always prepared, brought along a Ziploc bag full of Texas dirt. We have no doubt that Claudia, our fifth and last child, is also, like you, Tom, a native-born Texan, because she was “born over Texas soil.” With the permission of our doctor, my husband placed the bag, wrapped in a sterile sheet, in a strategic location just at the proper moment. Aggie ingenuity at its finest!
Susan Fain, Fort Worth

I love the Texanist and his column and I agree with his answers and observations 99.5 percent of the time. But his answer in the December issue to the lady who discovered that her fiancé was not a native Texan on the day they got their marriage license slammed headlong into the .5 percent pile.

I am a fourth-generation native Texan, having taken my first breath in the old Cook Hospital in Cleburne, so I can speak with some authority. Unless one slips from his mother’s womb while inside the recognized boundaries of the state of Texas, he is NOT a Texan, no matter how much he wants to be. Just an inch outside the lines is grounds for disqualification. Length of residence doesn’t count, and changing planes at DFW doesn’t bestow that honorary degree on you either. Neither does wearing boots or buying a ranch in the Hill Country.

The list of historical figures and their accomplishments for the state doesn’t mean a thing. Calling folks “Texans” who weren’t born here sorta cheapens the bragging rights of us real Texans.

I love you, man, but you sidestepped that one.
Bob Stepp, now residing in Michigan, where I can speak one sentence and they can guess where I’m from