The favorite places of thirteen notable Texans—captured with artfulness and affection in the August issue by photographer Jeff Wilson—struck a sentimental chord with most readers. Or at least twelve of them did. The thirteenth, from cyclist Lance Armstrong, drew a decidedly critical stream of feedback. Said one Dallas-based letter writer: “I would think you could find a more deserving Texan to be a spokesperson about favorite places in the state.” A Houstonian agreed, befuddled by our choice to call on Armstrong, given that “he cheated and lied his way to that celebrity and is an embarrassment to all Texans.” We hope that the collection of images on the following page from you, dear reader, helps to redeem the perceived misstep.

Hall Monitoring

Thank you, Skip Hollandsworth, for a balanced portrait of an important man who has been demonized beyond belief by an overwrought press corps [“Is This the Most Dangerous Man in Texas?”]. And thank you, Texas Monthly, for being brave enough to step away from the burnt-orange mob intent on lynching Hall for doing his job. I predict that history will judge harshly the leaders of the impeachment movement, who are a combination of legislative cronies, Perry haters, and self-styled alumni big shots unwilling to give up their place at the trough. The press “coverage” of this affair has been truly abysmal—an embarrassment to the fourth estate that once exposed Watergate but is now a lapdog for Speaker Joe Straus and his minions. Wallace Hall is a hero.
Mark Pulliam, Austin

Skip’s piece on Wallace Hall pretty much said it all with his description of the incident at St. Mark’s when Hall was eighteen. Hall showed us he was a snitch and that he had no problem minding other folks’ business. These two traits have obviously served him well in his present role as Perry’s appointee. And, yes, I’d be very wary of him.
David N. Snider, Arlington

As someone who is outside of the UT System and the A&M System, I am not surprised at the allegations and believe that Hall has uncovered corruption. Living in Austin, my observation is that UT president William Powers is a power-hungry, arrogant man whose purpose is exerting power in his fiefdom. I’m not surprised that many UT alumni support him, as they tend to turn a blind eye to anything negative about UT. I hope Hall beats impeachment and that Powers is proved to have engaged in illegal shenanigans with the law school and admissions. That would be justice.
Shellypaints, via

How much did Wallace Hall have to pay Skip Hollandsworth to write this ridiculous article? Everyone can rest assured that Wallace Hall is not a hero. He is trying to destroy UT.
James Enderling, via 

The author wrote an interesting piece about his friend, but it was told entirely from Hall’s point of view. And I am sure Hall, like all narcissists, truly believes his “hero” story is the only side of the story. I just wish Hollandsworth had asked a few tougher questions or pointed out a few obvious half-truths. Why did Hall go from being a passive alumni who never donated a dime to UT to spending hundreds of hours reading largely boring emails with the hope of digging up dirt on Powers? I doubt this is just a personal hobby or based on his personal values for the truth. That’s BS. This motivation must run deeper. Frankly, I hope the impeachment/investigation of Hall goes away and he takes on a more positive role. I’m certainly tired of reading about it. Is TM tired of writing about it? I’m ready for UT to focus on the future.
Admiral, via

Class of the Titan

Dr. Hinojosa-Smith’s teachings, much like his novels, challenged my prevailing perceptions of border myth, reality, and history like nothing else [“The First Resident of Belken County”]. I hold vivid memories of his classes at UT and remain ever grateful for the learning experience.
Marissa Vela-Perez, via facebook

Fascinating, enlightening, and powerful. Thank you for sharing the story of our people.
Graciela Trevino Gonzales, via facebook

Eating It Up

I feasted on this article [“And They Said, ‘Let There Be Cilantro’ ”]. Loved it for many reasons, mainly because it testified to the fact that really good, centuries-old cuisine can stand up to change if administered by chefs and cooks who respect the original forms. My grandmother, who would be over 120 years old now, kept telling me to learn all I could about the ingredients and not to be afraid to make changes as needed. Sounds like a life lesson. Thanks for this very informative and entertaining chronicle of chefs awakening to new opportunities.
Carole Drennan, via email

Red Flags

“Grand Old Problem,” by Erica Greider [Behind the Lines], has some valid points, but she lost me when she said, “Homosexuality is no longer considered a mental illness or a form of moral deviancy.” Says who? Ms. Grieder should come out to the rural cities in the Lone Star State and poll some of its churchgoing citizens before she writes a blanket statement about morals. According to the Texas Almanac, Texas has more Evangelical Protestants than any other state—more than 6.4 million. Texas also has more nondenominational Evangelical Protestants (with 1.5 million) and has the second-highest number of mainline Protestants (with 1.6 million). Texas also has the third-highest number of Catholics and the fifth-highest number of Mormons. I think if you poll most of them you will find that a majority of these Texans still feel that homosexuality is a sin, and that it is indeed a “deviant behavior.” Until we start burning Bibles, I doubt many Christian Texans will change their minds about homosexuals.
C. M. Prather, Montalba

Erica Grieder’s aptly named article about the Texas Republican party neatly summarizes the dilemma I face as a longtime moderate Republican. One line in particular sums it all up: “Over the past year or two, Republicans have repeatedly declined to do serious work on major public policy issues and focused instead on chest-thumping and saber-rattling.”
Tandy Schoolcraft, via email