Ruth Pennebaker

By Ruth Pennebaker:

Urban Cowgirl

Despair in Fashion

Justin Sewell isn’t perfect. He admires “outliers” like Ralph Nader (even after my insistence that Nader can never, ever be forgiven for helping to botch the 2000 presidential election). So what? Perfection is boring and overrated. After visiting Sewell’s office … Read More


Edsel U.

Using a car analogy, [University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell] said a $10,000 degree would be more like a Chevrolet Bel Air, a midlevel vehicle from a generation ago, than a Cadillac. There’s nothing wrong with … Read More

Human Rights

Shut My Mouth

Since when did "uterus" become an offensive term—especially when you're talking about regulating abortion?

In the immortal words of the great Tammy Wynette, sometimes it’s hard to be a woman. Anyway, that’s the tune I’ve been humming — “Stand by Your Man,” to be precise — while a torrent of anti-female legislation sweeps across … Read More


Bringing Up Baby

On a wintry day in February, I went to the Texas Senate to hear citizens and medical and legal experts testify about the sonogram bill. You know, the bill we’ve all been hearing about that requires a doctor to give … Read More


Unearthing Aurora

Lost Books of Texas “Terms of Endearment is a book?” a well-read friend asked recently. “I didn’t know that. I thought it was just a movie.” Hell yes it’s a book, I said, and told her she should read it … Read More

Urban Cowgirl

What’s in a Nombre?

All you have to do is move and you get this question 600 times a day: “What’s your new address?” Funny they—the friends, the bankers, the credit-card callers, the movers, the shakers—should ask. Our new address is on San Jacinto … Read More

Urban Cowgirl

Home Soul

We’ve lived in our house in West Austin for almost 14 years—the longest we’ve ever lived anywhere. Our kids finished school here, brooding and backtalking through the sullen years of adolescence. We hosted annual holiday parties here, and almost always … Read More


One Texan’s Xmas List

I’ve finally learned that you have to ask for what you want in this life. I know, I know—getting what you want is another matter. But it’s been a hard year, so leave me to my fool’s paradise. Here’s what … Read More


Bloody Bloody Tea Party

When I wasn’t working on a migraine, when I wasn’t despondent about the future of the world, when I was feeling halfway brave, I occasionally tuned in to TV coverage of the elections this fall. I watched the Tea Partiers … Read More