The State Fair of Texas kicked off this weekend, opening a four-week smorgasbord of all things fried. New on this year’s menu? Chicken-fried lobster with champagne gravy, a $30 (or in State Fair speak, 60 coupon) Texas take on an East Coast classic. That price tag might sound too rich for many Texans’ blood, but the Dallas Morning News reports that the most expensive item in fair history sold out by 1 p.m. on the first day.
I have to admit that these refs are playing this game on draft kings or something
— Chuck F'n Strong (@ChuckFnStrong) September 26, 2015
There wasn’t a lot to laugh about for UT football fans when the Longhorns suffered a devastating 30–27 last-second loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday. Although UT was plagued by special teams woes yet again, many fans are willingly pinning it on officials, who were handing out penalties like discount Halloween candy. A parody Twitter account for UT head coach Charlie Strong kept at least a few tears out of beers, but there’s not enough self-deprecation in the world to account for a 1-3 start to the season.
Curtain Call — Well, that’s one way to pull back the curtain on a candidate. A giant stage tapestry collapsed around Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina as she addressed the National Association of Women Business Owners in San Antonio on Sunday. Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek captured what will surely turn into fodder for Donald Trump:
— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) September 27, 2015
No one was injured in the incident. The Texas Tribune reported that several attendees joked about Fiorina “bringing down the house,” but you can’t help wonder if this is a glaring metaphor for her presidential campaign. Luckily, several news outlets reported that Fiorina quickly regained composure after the estimated eighteen-foot curtain came down, and keeping your cool while the world crumbles around you is never a bad quality to have in politics.
Life on Mars? — Not to be bested by Sunday night’s rare blood supermoon, NASA says that on Monday it’s announcing a “major science finding” discovered during its Mars exploration.
— NASA (@NASA) September 25, 2015
Mars mystery solved?(!) That could be a bit dramatic. USA Today speculates that while the announcement won’t likely be that Mars Attacks–like aliens have been taken as captives by NASA scientists, the findings could confirm the existence of water on the red planet. “The revelation will more likely deal with water on Mars, since [researchers speaking at the briefing] are among the authors of a paper that asserts images captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show the existence of flowing water on the planet’s surface.” That’s still super-important for space exploration, but perhaps not quite as tantalizing as green people. You can live stream the announcement at 10:30 a.m. CT.
Eager Beavers — At Buc-ee’s, the chain of superstores/gas stations that has captured Texas’s heart, you can count on clean bathrooms and delicious roadside treats, but those could potentially come at a premium. On Friday, the Houston Chronicle reported that 14 Buc-ee’s locations across the state have been targeted in a large-scale identity theft ring. Thieves have used stolen credit card information to steal over $18,000 from the company, which has to front the bill for the fraudulent charges. American Express users have been the primary targets for the fraudsters, who are either black market vendors or severe nicotine addicts: “[Freeport police department Captain Ray] Garivey said the thieves are primarily targeting American Express users and are largely buying cartons of cigarettes. ‘I bet they [are] taking those to sell on the black market,’ Garivey said. ‘Not to smoke.’” Police released surveillance footage on Friday in the hopes of identifying the suspects.
Ukwuachu, Redux — Sam Ukwuachu, the ex-Baylor player convicted last month of sexually assaulting a woman in 2013, could be back in the courtroom. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, Ukwuachu’s attorney filed a motion last week alleging several points of error in the trial, including that witness Ratu Peni Tagive, Ukwuachu’s former roommate, was “repeatedly intimidated.” The motion states, “The state abused the grand jury process in its attempt to intimidate the witness, Ratu Peni Tagive, by using a grand jury subpoena to compel the attendance and testimony of Mr. Tagive approximately a month before trial and a year after the return of the indictment against the defendant.” The Tribune-Herald reports that the motion also says that assistant district attorney Hilary LaBorde “openly berated” Baylor associate dean Bethany McCraw after her testimony. “The criticism was such as to cause concern that witnesses in the case, as well as jurors in the case, could openly hear the statements and be influenced as to their participation in the trial proceedings,” the motion alleges. Additionally, the motion says that limiting cross-examination of a text conversation between Ukwuachu and the victim could be another potential point of error. No date has been set for the motion for a new trial, but by heading back into the courtroom, Ukwuachu could face up to twenty years in prison, a much harsher penalty than the 180 days of jail time and ten years of probation he received last month.