The State of Texas: Fall of Romo
Plus: A unique look at UT’s campus carry debate, judges pick the best (and weirdest) food from the State Fair, and Texas is apparently experiencing a renewable energy revolution.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“This is Houston, we know we get a lot of crazy stuff.”
—Miguel Chavez to KHOU. Chavez was one of several unfortunate drivers to spot a naked man jogging along a highway in Houston on Sunday. Just another day in H-Town.
Rest in Pieces
The stars finally looked like they had aligned for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo: a great offensive line, a healthy defense, and a weak division. “It hurts to hope so much, but this could be the year,” Michael Mooney wrote for Texas Monthly in a recent profile of Romo, which landed the veteran QB on the cover of our magazine this month. But before the season has even started, Romo’s year has now pretty much collapsed. On Saturday, ESPN reported that Romo sustained a broken bone in his back after taking a hit during a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks last week. According to ESPN, Romo suffered a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra, and he’ll be out six to ten weeks. However, the Cowboys disputed that report. Coach Jason Garrett told ESPN that he doesn’t think Romo will be out for the season, and, even though Romo is currently wearing a back brace, Garrett still hasn’t ruled Romo out of Sunday’s season opener against the New York Giants. “There is no reason for me to stand up here and put a timetable on this,” Garrett told the Dallas Morning News. “A lot of other people outside this building have suggested they know what the timetable is. That’s not the world we live in.” Even if things take a turn for the worst for Romo, all may not be lost for the Cowboys. Dak Prescott, the Cowboys’s rookie backup quarterback, has impressed with his dual-threat ability and his composure, scoring seven total touchdowns and recording a passing rating of 137.8 through three preseason games. Plus, Prescott’s no stranger to taking the reins in situations like this. According to the Morning News, Prescott landed the starting job in both high school and college because the guy in front of him got hurt. Both of those times, Prescott took over as the starter and never looked back.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Faces in the Crowd
The New York Times has an interesting look at the University of Texas-Austin’s battle over campus carry. It’s a pretty cool project, managing to tell the story of the campus carry debate with photos as much as with words. A portrait accompanies each of the voices featured in the article, and it’s probably the first time we’ve seen the characters involved—from both sides of the fight—cast in a light that’s not overshadowed by the absurdity of sex toys or the equally divisive image of an automatic rifle slung over someone’s back. The Times talks to everyone from students to professors to campus safety officials to university President Gregory Fenves. While the article was hardly a complete census, the majority of those who were interviewed seemed to be against campus carry, for reasons ranging from to the threat it poses to academic freedom to concerns over safety. It’s worth a read, based on this great quote alone: “I grew up on a ranch, and I can still probably kill a gopher at a fair distance, but what we were taught is you don’t take your guns to town,” English professor Lisa Moore said. “I just don’t see a scenario where guns have a place in the classroom. I want students getting their mind blown to remain a metaphor.”
Lone Star Cuisine
The winners of the Big Tex Choice Awards—a culinary competition which includes gloriously inelegant, typically odd, and almost certainly fried food from the State Fair—were announced yesterday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Some of these first-place foods can really only be considered “food” in the context of a State Fair. Take, for instance, Fried Jell-O, which won Best Taste. The “cherry-flavored Jell-O encased in a panko breading, then dusted with powdered sugar and topped with whipped cream” sounds more like a Frankenstein-esque feat of modern engineering rather than a dessert that’s easy on the taste buds. “I felt bad for our cleanup guys because they would come in the morning and we’d have something that came out of the freezer and didn’t work,” Juan Reaves, fried Jell-O creator and co-director of Ruth’s Tamale House, told the Star-Telegram. “And it was just a mess. It was kind of disgusting because it was this red Jell-O.” Reaves went on to say that it reminded him of a bloody movie scene. Yum! The field was crowded with weirdness. Other finalists: Pineapple Korn-a-Copia, Deep Fried Bacon Burger Dog Slider, Pulled Pork Funyun Dings, Chicken Pot Pie Pocket with Mac ‘n’ Cheese Dip, and Injectable Great Balls of BBQ.
Oil? Who needs oil? According to the Wall Street Journal, Texas is experiencing a “bonanza” of renewable energy. We’ve added more “wind-based generating capacity” than anywhere else in the nation, and, as of April, wind turbines make up 16 percent of the state’s electrical generating capacity, up from two percent in 2001. Solar power is on the rise here too. As the Journal notes, going green is typically something for blue states, but it looks like we have our conservative state leadership to thank for this renewable energy explosion. “Texas officials didn’t invoke global warming to sell the program,” write the Journal. “Instead, they touted renewable energy as a consumer-choice issue, a jobs producer and a way to pump more money into rural counties.” In other words: renewable energy, done the Texas way. More than 100,000 Texans are now working in renewable energy, and more jobs could be on the way, particularly in solar energy. One non-profit solar energy trade association says that in just five years, Texas is expected to jump from tenth place in solar capacity to second, behind California. The future of renewable energy in Texas looks bright.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Texas has caves that have bats, and the New York Times is on it! New York Times
Chemical industrial accidents in Texas often go uninvestigated by the feds Houston Chronicle
A Texas high school lineman is six-foot-eleven-inches tall and 334 pounds, and he’s only a sophomore USA Today
Legendary Mexican singer Juan Gabriel died just before a scheduled performance in El Paso El Paso Times
Baylor season ticket-holders seem unbothered by sexual assault scandals Waco Tribune-Herald