Roar of the Crowd
Readers respond to the May 2014 issue.
The story of Bernie Tiede, a soft-spoken assistant funeral home director who shot a moneyed East Texas widow and then deposited her body in her home’s deep freeze, first appeared in this magazine’s pages in 1998. The Skip Hollandsworth page-turner, “Midnight in the Garden of East Texas,” went on to become the foundation of Bernie, a 2011 dark comedy from director Richard Linklater (Hollandsworth, who helped to write the screenplay, chronicled the making of the movie in Texas Monthly’s May 2012 issue). The latest act in Tiede’s story came in early May: in yet another twist fit for Hollywood, Tiede, seventeen years into a life sentence, was released from prison on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond and ordered to move into Linklater’s garage apartment until the courts determined if a retrial was warranted. Said Hollandsworth of the endlessly enthralling Tiede affair: “It’s art imitating life, life imitating art—imitating murder!”
And now a sampling of feedback from our readers.
Working for the Weekends
Texas Monthly, this is what you do best [“13 Weekends”]. Please do more of this and put an end to your political agenda now and forever.
Jeff Pruett, via Facebook
I want to be there [at the infinity pool at Travaasa, in Austin] forever.
Diann Kollman, via Facebook
I found Sinya on Lone Man Creek about three years ago. I booked my first trip last year. I stayed a week, and it was so incredible that I booked my trip this year as soon as I could. I stayed just a little longer this time, having learned how it all works, the ins and outs of Wimberley and the surrounding towns. You could want for nothing. The bed is so plush I couldn’t help but laugh every time I got in it. And I highly recommend getting a massage while you are there. It is my happy place. I can’t wait for next year.
B. Graves, via texasmonthly.com
Incredible article about the Houston rap scene and Bun B [“Man About Town”].
@chispas007, via Twitter
Fantastic. Proud of my hometown guy. Keep up the good work, Bun!
Jernal, via texasmonthly.com
Incredible journalism. I love Houston, and here are so many of the reasons why.
Kenny Wiley, via texasmonthly.com
Great article in texas monthly about one of my favorite rappers ever, @Bun BTrillOG. Made me really miss Pimp C, though.
@jaredmandrea, via Twitter
I wonder if Nate Blakeslee would trade jobs with a Border Patrol agent [“Who Will Watch the Watchers?”]
borgerboy, via texasmonthly.com
As the Border Patrol is tasked with enforcing laws as well as presenting the face of our nation to another, they are subject to scrutiny. Responsibility and accountability are not optional. And when it comes to responsibility and accountability, I don’t care how hard the job is.
Joseph Gerth, via texasmonthly.com
Good article on Comcast SportsNet Houston, but the conclusion gives Astros owner Jim Crane way too much credit [“Squeeze Play”]. He’s in way over his head. And who are the other bidders who’d buy the broadcast rights? The problem is that nobody wants the rights at Crane’s price.
Astros Fan, via texasmonthly.com
As someone who was born and raised in Brownsville, I can attest that it is a great place, but it needs a modern industry [“The Battle of Boca Chica”]. I hope SpaceX gets the contract and gives the area the economic boost it deserves !
I always wondered why there was never any development on Boca Chica. South Padre is right next to Boca Chica, and yet the island thrives with commerce and Boca Chica sits empty.
The area deserves to be appreciated and to grow. I think this is a great opportunity.
Brownsville, via texasmonthly.com
Cape Canaveral is a wildlife refuge as well, and there’s no evidence that sixty years of launch activities have harmed the local wildlife. It seems to be flourishing. Also, I suspect there will be thousands of people willing to pay to make the trip to Port Isabel on launch days. I don’t see much hardship there, especially since most launches are likely to be on weekdays, when the beach crowd would be small. Overall, the downsides here are very shallow, and the upsides are very high.
Llanite dave, via texasmonthly.com
I’d bet that ecotourism at Boca Chica (and tourism in Cameron County, generally) will be easier to promote outside the Rio Grande Valley once there is a spaceport there. It adds to the portfolio of tourist attractions and allows for greater agglomeration within that industry. Although there may be some trade-offs, having a spaceport is not a zero-sum proposition by any means.
William Andrew McWhorter, via texasmonthly.com
A very good piece; however, there is an error in Dan Oko’s story. He writes that “a few fishermen, the occasional birder, and a handful of winter Texans” make the drive to Boca Chica Beach. In fact, lots of local folks and their families use Boca Chica Beach year-round. It’s where the people of Brownsville and Cameron County who can’t afford South Padre Island can go to enjoy an inexpensive day at the beach. Now where is there to go? Folks are pretty much going to be kicked out by the politicians, a private company, and its investors. The politicians who don’t even use the beach will say it’s for only eighteen hours per launch; however, rocket launches are often delayed and rescheduled for various reasons. This can go on for days or weeks at a time. This just doesn’t seem right. Beach access in Texas has always been priceless.
James Tucker, via texasmonthly.com
I thought Skip Hollandsworth’s interview with Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress was great [Chat]. I don’t care if the reporter is gay or green or whatever. He was asking the questions that this world asks. If the answers were not up to par from the pastor, that is the pastor’s problem—and, quite frankly, the problem of Christianity! Until we get into the trenches of life—with those who have faith and are gay, with those who are weighing awful choices (abortion being one of them), and have empathy, hope, and grace for them and are willing to walk with them in their daily journey—then the only answers many will have are to be atheist and ignore the church. Maybe the answers that this pastor was giving will drive people from the church and then they can find God.
saltofearth, via texasmonthly.com
It is up to God to decide who goes to heaven and who does not, and he needs no assistance from us. Also, just because the pastor thinks Mormonism is a non-Christian cult does not make it so. Again, God will deal with the Mormons. Ministers of the gospel, much like politicians, should spend less time criticizing other beliefs and their opponents and more time telling us what they believe and what they stand for.
Gerald Skidmore, Huntsville
Judging from the peevish questions Skip Hollandsworth asked and the insulting tone of his interview, it seems that atheism and skepticism are the core characters of texas monthly. The least you could do is be honest in your marketing and put that fact on the front page.
Victor Edwards, via texasmonthly.com
Toast of the Town
I was so pleased to see the michelada recipe in the May issue [Vittles]! As a current expat, I’ve never seen a michelada in the wild north of Waco. But a day in Austin isn’t complete without one in the courtyard of the Hotel San José.
David, via texasmonthly.com
Assertions of political opinion presented as factual matters marred what was an otherwise timely and relevant column by Mimi Swartz [Behind the Lines, “Cities, Slicker”]. Ms. Swartz refers to climate change and “the threat of increasingly violent storms.” In fact, climate change has yet to produce a change in the number or intensity of storms, and predictions of such remain just that: predictions. No consensus exists among the scientific community that we face increasingly violent storms.
Ms. Swartz also asserts that raising the minimum wage “would help with growing income inequality.” Would that it were so easy to solve complex economic problems. In fact, the debate over the effects of a higher minimum wage is alive and well.
Keith Brainard, Georgetown
I’m from Nashville, Tennessee, and do reside here. My sister lives in Wichita Falls and is married to a good man, and they have a good son. Deb, Jack, and Brad are their names. A few years back she gave me a gift subscription to Texas Monthly Magazine. I look forward to my monthly magazine, as it has many interesting articles in it. The Texanist is my favorite section because of its humor, as well as its good advice. It has become my favorite magazine.
Kenneth A. Wilson, via Facebook
Editors’ Note: Last month’s infographic about traffic congestion in Houston did not include the source of the information, which was provided by the Texas Department of Transportation and the Houston-Galveston Area Council. We regret the omission.