Rose Cahalan

Rose Cahalan is managing editor at the Observer and also edits the magazine’s arts and culture coverage.
 

Is it Time to Rethink Texas Suburbia?

by | Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 11:55 am CST
A candy factory created the world’s largest chocolate bar, only to have the title stolen by a rival.
Culture, News, Strangest State, The Issue

Strangest State: Dispatch From the Great Candy War

Weird news from far-flung Texas.

WACO // A candy factory created the world’s largest chocolate bar, only to have the title stolen by a rival. Workers at the Mars Wrigley Confectionery in Waco unveiled a 12-foot-long, 4,728-pound Snickers bar—the equivalent of 43,000 regular-sized Snickers, according … Read More

These ducks caused a "quackmire" in Pearland.
Culture

A Real Quackmire: This Month in Weird Texas News

From Muscovy ducks in Pearland to a detective agency devoted to cooking grease theft in Irving, it's been another weird month, y'all.

PEARLAND // An abundance of invasive ducks is ruffling feathers in this Houston suburb. Flocks of Muscovy ducks roam the streets, waddling in front of cars, tearing open trash bags, and leaving feathers and droppings in their wake. In what … Read More

cover to the book "American Dirt"
Books

17 Great Books on the Border to Read Instead of ‘American Dirt’

There’s no shortage of talented Latinx writers with all kinds of stories to tell. Let’s make space for them.

If you’ve been online in the past few months, you’ve probably seen ads for American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins’ heavily promoted new novel about Mexican-American immigration. The book was loftily blurbed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and sold … Read More

Ernie Stevens (left) and Joe Smarro.
Culture

How the San Antonio Police Are Rethinking Mental Health

A new documentary on policing in San Antonio makes a simple suggestion: Instead of arresting mentally ill people, listen to them.

It’s the middle of the night, and a skinny young man is slumped on a curb outside a San Antonio strip club. Officer Joe Smarro—dressed casually in jeans, sneakers, and a black polo shirt—approaches him. “What’s going on, man?” he … Read More

Samuel Woolley.
Books

The Internet Broke Democracy. To Fix It, Design for Human Rights.

Author Samuel Woolley argues that a slew of new technologies will further degrade political life unless we rein them in.

In 2013, when Samuel Woolley began studying online misinformation as a graduate student at the University of Washington, hardly anyone was worried about the subject. Protests like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street had demonstrated how activists could use … Read More

A collage of the wacky characters featured in this post.
Culture

It’s Been Weird, Y’all: Our 10 Favorite Strange Texas Stories of 2019

A monkey on the loose, a sharpshooting great-grandmother, activist witches, and more quirky news stories that caught our eye this year.

The Observer is best known for longform investigations on serious subjects. Our reporters and editors spend months immersed in heavy topics like rural suicide and racial violence. That work takes an emotional toll, which is why we can always use … Read More

“Even today, I say that my instrument is my breath. I cannot breathe without it.”
Culture

Rahim AlHaj, Iraqi Oud Virtuoso, on How Music Crosses Cultures

AlHaj, who performs in Austin on Friday, is a former political prisoner whose music fuses Eastern and Western influences.

Rahim AlHaj’s music can seem bleak at first. His 2017 album, Letters From Iraq, is a mournful meditation on the violence wrought by the U.S. military invasion of his home country. So it comes as something of a surprise that … Read More

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