Obliviously Plump


Starring My Wife
CultureMap loves to cover a co-owner's wife

By Richard Connelly

In many ways, a recent post was a typical CultureMap item: Headlined "Becca Cason Thrash, Scott McClelland, Gina Gaston & more share their living lean strategies," it was a hard(ly)-hitting look at the holiday diet tips of Houston's wealthy social types.

It concluded with this:

Just not fair!

We turned to the slim and enviably trim Becca Cason Thrash for her secrets of a silhouette just made for haute couture. We were slightly disappointed.

It seems that she eats whatever she wants, including dessert and is known to enjoy a few adult beverages on party nights. And her exercise routine is less than rigorous. Cason Thrash hits the treadmill three or four times a week for 30 minutes and does Pilates once a week as her busy travel schedule allows.

Her one nod to restraint: "For my insatiable sweet tooth, I indulge in Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches. Only 140 calories and taste divine!!!! " she e-mailed.

And then we remembered that a doctor once told her that she has the metabolism of a 14-year-old. And that is truly annoying for those of us with metabolisms of 80-year-olds.

Good one!!

What it didn't say: "And that is truly annoying for those of us who know Cason Thrash's husband partly owns this publication."

The well-funded CultureMap, which snagged longtime Houston Chronicle society writer Shelby Hodge (the writer of the diet piece), often glowingly mentions Cason Thrash, and offers what it probably would call "oodles" of pictures of her. Her connection to ownership, not so much.

CultureMap began a little over a year ago as, according to Texas Monthly, "the brainchild of Lonnie and Candace Schiller, co-creators of Café Annie and Café Express, and backed by natural gas muckety-muck John Thrash and his wife, Becca Cason Thrash. CultureMap is starting small — as a local site with see-and-be-seen party pictures and a places to go/things to do mandate — but has ambitions to go national (CultureMapLA, CultureMapNY, etc.)."

Becca Cason Thrash owns no piece of CultureMap, but her husband certainly does.

CultureMap editor Clifford Pugh, a longtime (and sharp) writer for the Houston Post and Chronicle, tells Hair Balls, "our coverage of Becca really has nothing to do with her husband's involvement with CultureMap...As a leader on the social scene, Becca is included in coverage when she does something interesting or has something interesting to say."

The co-owner's wife is included when she says or does "something interesting"? Who defines "interesting"?

Pugh says neither Cason Thrash or her husband "have any say about what we cover — nor have they ever suggested a story idea or tried to dictate coverage in any way. We should all be so lucky!! Having worked at other publications where the top editors and publisher are constantly assigning stories about their friends and cronies, I feel remarkably fortunate."

As does Cason Thrash, we're sure, whenever her amazing metabolism of a 14-year-old is glorified.


Plump and Unaware of It

By Craig Malisow

Good news for chubby-chasers in Texas: A new study out of the University of Texas Medical Branch claims that "37 percent of overweight women and 10.5 percent of obese women were of the notion that their weight was normal or too low."

Published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the study surveyed more than 2,200 women between the ages of 18 and 25 "who visited several Texas reproductive-health clinics."

Frankly, we don't understand why these researchers felt it necessary to point out people's fatness. And since the women involved were already visiting reproductive-health centers, they were at least getting some, so it's not like the extra few pounds were causing any romantic problems. We're offended by the study's anti-fat bigotry and proudly stand behind chubby women, even though you may not actually be able to see us. Big is beautiful. Who wants a cheeseburger?


There’s tons of stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; you’re only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or “/rocks” or “eating” or “/artattack”).


If blowing underaged teenagers in a cemetery is wrong, one East Texas woman don't wanna be right. And now she's going to prison for it. A transgendered woman was arrested for using the women's bathroom in a Houston public library, despite a mayoral order on such things from Annise Parker. And a Jackson Hill man was arrested for poisoning a neighbor's dog, an action caught on surveillance tape.


Sugar Land's new minor league baseball team will be the Skeeters; the Texans' Andre Johnson's beatdown of Titan Cortland Finnegan provided plenty of commentary, including how Finnegan is a "punk ass bitch" and why NFL fights suck; a Rice basketballer called out his teammates for being "scared" of Arizona.


Worst Hanukkah ever: We browsed anti-Semitic hate sites for gift ideas; to further get in the holiday spirit, we looked at five awesome videos of Santas making babies cry and the five most annoying Christmas TV ads (so far.)

Art Attack

We honored the passing of Leslie Nielsen with a rundown of our favorite moments of his comedy career. And then we waited for another celebrity death following Irvin Kershner and Nielsen (it's a phenomenon, you know). A culture blogger for London's Daily Telegraph gushed over the architectural brilliance of Jones Hall, which made us want to kiss some marble. And we reported on the agreement between two local performance groups over who owns the name "Houston Fringe Festival." The drama queens turned out to post in our comments section.


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