April 13, 2016

Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt met during what Clark later called “the great folk scare.” Houston in the early 1960s had a folk community that paralleled those in Cambridge, Minneapolis, or Los Angeles—only smaller and with better bluesmen.

April 26, 2016

Cattle rustling, signature crime of the Old West, has returned to Texas. “These days, we got more rustlers than you can say grace over,” Ranger Wayne Goodman told me. “It used to be you didn’t catch a rustler that didn’t know cattle, or at least have some kind of agriculture in their background. Now, what with the drought, it doesn’t take much skill. Cows are so thirsty you can lead them into a trailer with just a bucket of water.”

May 10, 2016

After Katrina, a New Orleans soccer team comes home.

In February 2006 we picked up the pieces of our season. Again we were a traveling band of groupies, following our sons.

May 24, 2016

Because there wasn’t enough income to pay a full-time hand, all animals requiring daily care had to go. Mountain lions would eat the Boer goats if they went unsold. An emu, whom the old foreman Cruz had jailed in a derelict tennis court, I freed to earn a living in pasture. So long as they had water and grass, the cattle more or less took care of themselves until roundup.

That left the llama.

March 22, 2016

Reading Terry Southern’s letters, I wondered whether Southern would have really wanted to see it published, or whether that matters. I wondered whether I even liked Terry Southern anymore, having read it. More than once, as he apparently intended, I wondered, Well, is this true?

November 23, 2015

Mother’s move to New York was just the latest of several problems I had that summer. By then there were Rebecca’s parrots, the Appropriate Behavior Rubrics at work, the increasing hostility of my downstairs neighbor, and the small, strange problem of Maurice.

December 18, 2015

A heartbreaking deep soul classic by Atlanta’s Lee Moses almost became the third ’60s-era song called “Bad Girl” to grace an OA music issue CD.

September 05, 2013
We’ve been spotted by two of Houston’s finest. Not that spotting us was all that difficult, even at 2:00 A.M. We’re four white guys in a part of town where we obviously don’t belong, in a gated apartment complex beyond which are heavily fortified convenience stores, junk yards, and rundown beauty parlors advertising various styles of hair weaves. 
September 05, 2013
The first thing Brooks County lead investigator Danny Davila wants to know is whether I have a weak stomach. He shows me pages from “the Dead Book”—inside are dozens of laminated photographs of the remains of the thirty-four undocumented immigrants who have died in the county’s scrub brush so far that year. Then, a rancher called in a Code 500; the thirty-fifth body of the year has been discovered. If my stomach is up to it, I can accompany Davila on the retrieval.
September 04, 2013
On a Monday morning in early March, after the annual Shrine circus has wrapped up a three-day run, James Plunkett is trying to go home. It’s cold and windy with a scent of manure in the air—the calling card of eight tigers, two bears, two camels, one elephant, and about a dozen each of horses and dogs.