Our January issue featured the first gift of the new year: a very candid (and profanity-laced) interview with longtime UT booster Joe Jamail. Jamail’s comments—particularly those in support of his good friend and client Mack Brown—were like fresh bait thrown into a shark-filled comment tank. The responses were just as outspoken: “I can think of other men who held the purse strings and demanded statues be erected in their honor,” said Agent Michael Scarn on texasmonthly.com. “Eventually, they are all pulled down.” In a month’s time, however, the insults had subsided, as Brown had announced his resignation and Charlie Strong was en route to the Forty Acres.  

And now, a sampling of feedback from our readers:

Steer and Loathing

As usual, your annual Bum Steer Awards were very funny! I always look forward to your lampooning our fellow Texans.

I do, however, have to take you to task for your award to Congressman Randy Neugebauer for staging a “media-ready confrontation with a park ranger” at D.C.’s World War II Memorial. The memorial is an open-air exhibit that has no park rangers or admissions employees. In order to close down the exhibit, the administration had to pay rangers to set up barricades and then man them in order to prevent us commoners from enjoying the memorial. That was the representative’s point: the administration closed the exhibit (as they did with a number of other free, open-air memorials, including some that weren’t even part of the federal system) and inconvenienced citizens, but they didn’t reduce spending on all the very bogus, frivolous projects that consume gargantuan amounts of the budget. And the administration was as responsible for this shutdown as the tea party advocates.
Danny Huckabee, Katy

It troubles me that much of your content and opinion seems to be written as if all of your readers—indeed, all of the citizens of Texas—are liberally minded and the few who have conservative values are just plain dumb. “Cut! Randy, This Time Give Me More Hypocrisy” illustrates to me perfectly the kind of thinking and writing I am talking about. In that little snippet, the author tells us that the Republicans single-handedly shut down the government. Congressman Randy Neugebauer is then called a hypocrite for protesting the closing of the WWII Memorial in D.C. This is such a shallow way of thinking.

I cherish the fact that we live in a free place, and we can all voice our views and opinions. I just wish there could be a little more consideration and reasoning between both sides instead of bushwhacking and backstabbing.
Gaylon Wampler, via email

You labeled a U.S. congressman a Bum Steer for his comments on fifteen-week ultrasound exams of pregnant women and how they may affect the abortion argument. You failed to mention that the congressman in question, Dr. Michael Burgess, was previously a full-time obstetrician/gynecologist who had passed a national certifying exam demonstrating expertise in both abortions and interpreting ultrasound exams of pregnant patients.
Stephen L. Brotherton, via email

As a longtime subscriber, I believe you are one of the best magazines in the country! But I have a but with the January issue in that about three fourths of the way through Bum Steer News a thought came to me: I think politics could be involved in both the selection of and writing about the Bums.

I am a conservative who was raised a Democrat but became a Reaganite who doesn’t trust the Republicans any more than he does the Democrats. Both are irresponsible and inefficient in performing their duties! With that said, I finished the article and then went back and counted the number of entries that involved a politician. If my count is correct, Republicans had thirteen mentions with the descriptive word “Republican,” the Democrats showed up twice without the descriptive word “Democrat,” and neither descriptive word appeared in two other mentions of politicians. I have no problem listing the two words, but it should be consistent, no matter the party. Also, I think the Democrats make as many boneheaded blunders as the Republicans, so coming up with only two mentions over 365 days does make an argument that a prejudice or slant could be involved. Maybe your critics are correct in believing you lean to the left. I don’t think I’m naive, but I expect more balance and consistency with this type of article.
Phillip L. Shorter, Trophy Club

You missed one on your Bum Steer Awards: you! You call yourself texas monthly, but you are always critical of the people and things that make our state great, while championing those that would turn the state into another California or Massachusetts. Don’t bother sending us any more subscriptions. Unlike you liberals, we are capable of learning from our mistakes.
Robert and Sandra Dobbin, via email

I received my copy of your annual Bum Steer Awards in the mail yesterday and thought it funny that you feature an illustration that resembles Michael Bourn on the cover. First of all, the Astros stopped wearing that uniform after the 2012 season. Even worse, Bourn was traded from the Astros in July 2011. Wow! I think your cover artist and editor have earned a Bum Steer Award for that one. 
James Crabtree, via email

Editors’ note: Indeed we have. Read more here.

Horse and Writer

This is the best piece of writing I’ve ever read on what it feels like inside a horse lover’s heart [“The Earth Is There to Catch Us When We Fall”]. It’s what’s in my heart—I just don’t write well enough to express it. My 33-year-old retired racehorse would understand it, though. He’s my version of Alazán.
Vaughn, via texasmonthly.com

I thoroughly enjoyed Sterry Butcher’s essay on her life with horses. Her subtle and honest prose gave me a vivid glimpse of her life out in Marfa, and unbidden tears welled up at the loss of her beloved Alazán. She has a great voice, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future!
Misty Shaw, Austin

Love Meat Tender

Roy Perez is not a man of many words, but when you can cook a brisket as good as he can, you don’t need to say much [“The Soul of a Pitmaster”].
Matt Wiederstein, via Facebook

A great article about a real guy who’s given his career to a great Texas institution. The family history was very poignant as well. 
George Seay, Dallas

A true master. Roy was the first person I saw at Kreuz’s when it was in the old market and you had to walk through the pit area. He scared the hell out of me, but he gave me a simple nod of recognition. That gave me permission to be at the best barbecue joint I have ever been in. Sure, there are places that have really good barbecue, and I am happy to go to those places, but no place feels as much a shrine to barbecue, mainly because a gatekeeper like Roy is there.
John Chadwell, via texasmonthly.com

Our Favorite Picture of Him

I’ve loved Guy Clark and his music for many years [“He Ain’t Going Nowhere”]. I’ve sold his merchandise at Antone’s, in Austin; drank Mad Dog Margaritas and shared nachos at the Texas Chili Parlor; driven his golf cart in Ann Arbor; had vodka tonics on the balcony after the golf tournament awards; and loved every word he’s ever written. Yet there was so much in this article that I didn’t know. This is an amazing piece on Guy’s life, especially his most recent years and trials. Thank you,
Linda Howard, via texasmonthly.com

A moving piece, to say the least. Clark’s songs have always had the ability to transport me to a different place and somehow show the world from his point of view. This article opened both my heart and my eyes to the wonderful relationships that have created some of the greatest songs of our times.
David A. Barkley, Burleson

I’ve been listening to Guy Clark’s music since I bought Guy Clark on a lark, because the guy on the front cover smoking the cigarette looked cool as hell, and haven’t missed an album since. He was also a yearly—sometimes twice-yearly—concert at the Ark, in Ann Arbor, and I never missed him. A craftsman with a noble plan of putting out great music one album and one small club at a time.
Mike DePolo, via texasmonthly.com

I won’t tell you how long I’ve been a fan of Guy Clark’s music, but I still have an eight-track tape of Old No. 1. My absolute favorite concert memory occurred on a sunny summer afternoon in the foothills of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. On that day I witnessed two of the greatest songwriters to ever walk God’s green earth—Guy and Townes Van Zandt—and an up-and-coming kid who didn’t turn out so bad either—a young Robert Earl Keen. No band, no fancy lights, three men and their guitars, and a host of incredible songs that rank among the world’s best. That was on August 27, 1990. I will always remember the date, because when I got home from that show I learned that Stevie Ray Vaughan had died in a Wisconsin helicopter crash. A day of joy and a day of sorrow.
Crazy_Chester, via texasmonthly.com