The powers that be have seen fit to pass laws to keep our hands to ourselves in times of personal conflict, but there's at least one place you can go to experience a good old-fashioned face pummeling vicariously. Browning Boxing has been serving up modern-day gladiators every month for three years now to satisfy audiences' blood lust. But don't think that because this is an aggressive sport the Hooters gals waiting the tables will be the only women you see. A couple of the women take their turn inside the ring, mano a mano, to get things rolling. The event is Las Vegas-style, meaning valet parking, hand-rolled cigars and a martini. $42, ringside; $22, general admission.
Start behind West Oaks Mall and head out Westheimer, which becomes FM 1093. Turn left at 1464 (by the Shell station), across the tracks past the Clodine general store. Instead of following 1464 as it curves left, take the road to the right, which is O'Brien. Cross Beechnut and continue to Madden. Take a right and head west. Note the goats on the left at the first curve. The Texas Department of Corrections owns most of the land out here. Take a right at the stop sign (Harlem Road) and go a short way until the first left, which is Mortin. Now you're riding in the Brazos River Valley. Note the cotton fields on the right. Cross 99 and continue to Skinner. Turn left. This is river bottom and prime horse country. Make a right at the bridge (McCrary). Past Bryn Myr Farms, note the emus on your right. Go all the way until Richmond-Foster, where you'll make a right. Continue to FM 359 north and make a left. This is a good time for a stop. Fortunately you're right at Old Schulze's Antiques. Located in a 1929 building is an amazing collection of restored wooden furniture, including a desk made out of an old organ, and a complete confessional, if you're decorating in a Catholic motif. Continue past the sprawling Hines Nursery until 1093. Take a left into Fulshear. When you intersect Main Street, make a right and go four blocks until you find Dozier's Grocery. This is where you want to stop for some of the best barbecue ribs in these parts. It's about 50 miles round-trip.
Start behind West Oaks Mall and head out Westheimer, which becomes FM 1093. Turn left at 1464 (by the Shell station), across the tracks past the Clodine general store. Instead of following 1464 as it curves left, take the road to the right, which is O'Brien. Cross Beechnut and continue to Madden. Take a right and head west. Note the goats on the left at the first curve. The Texas Department of Corrections owns most of the land out here. Take a right at the stop sign (Harlem Road) and go a short way until the first left, which is Mortin. Now you're riding in the Brazos River Valley. Note the cotton fields on the right. Cross 99 and continue to Skinner. Turn left. This is river bottom and prime horse country. Make a right at the bridge (McCrary). Past Bryn Myr Farms, note the emus on your right. Go all the way until Richmond-Foster, where you'll make a right. Continue to FM 359 north and make a left. This is a good time for a stop. Fortunately you're right at Old Schulze's Antiques. Located in a 1929 building is an amazing collection of restored wooden furniture, including a desk made out of an old organ, and a complete confessional, if you're decorating in a Catholic motif. Continue past the sprawling Hines Nursery until 1093. Take a left into Fulshear. When you intersect Main Street, make a right and go four blocks until you find Dozier's Grocery. This is where you want to stop for some of the best barbecue ribs in these parts. It's about 50 miles round-trip.
Remember back in the 1980s when it seemed like everybody and their mother was playing racquetball? It was as if the pasty white walls of the racquetball court were placing everyone who entered under some mysterious sweat-soaked spell. But the boom went bust. As trendy activities like step aerobics, spinning and kickboxing grew in popularity, racquetball courts went bye-bye. But at the Memorial Athletic Club near Dairy Ashford, the sport is still given its due. Even though the facility has decreased the number of courts from six to three in recent years, the remaining courts always are well maintained, and the club hosts regular clinics, tournaments and parties called Racquetball Socials. It's not uncommon to hear players discussing topics like making effective use of the back wall or how to execute the perfect two-inches-off-the-floor kill shot on a regular basis. While other clubs may have more courts, none caters to the wall-bangin' crowd quite like the MAC.
Remember back in the 1980s when it seemed like everybody and their mother was playing racquetball? It was as if the pasty white walls of the racquetball court were placing everyone who entered under some mysterious sweat-soaked spell. But the boom went bust. As trendy activities like step aerobics, spinning and kickboxing grew in popularity, racquetball courts went bye-bye. But at the Memorial Athletic Club near Dairy Ashford, the sport is still given its due. Even though the facility has decreased the number of courts from six to three in recent years, the remaining courts always are well maintained, and the club hosts regular clinics, tournaments and parties called Racquetball Socials. It's not uncommon to hear players discussing topics like making effective use of the back wall or how to execute the perfect two-inches-off-the-floor kill shot on a regular basis. While other clubs may have more courts, none caters to the wall-bangin' crowd quite like the MAC.
With its woodlands, low-lying prairies and many acres of ponds, Barker Reservoir has helped make Houston's ozone-choked air less foul, and more fowl. The nature preserve is a pre-eminent spot for birding within the city limits, particularly during winter months. Assorted songbirds, waterfowl, hawks, blackbirds, owls and other species thrive in the sanctuary, which lies west of Highway 6, between I-10 and Westheimer. White-tailed hawks, black-shouldered kites, flycatchers, warblers and a variety of sparrows animate the refuge. Restored wetlands have attracted white ibises, great blue and green herons, egrets and other shorebirds eager to troll for crawfish and tadpoles. Miles of nonvehicle roads and running trails allow wide-ranging access.
With its woodlands, low-lying prairies and many acres of ponds, Barker Reservoir has helped make Houston's ozone-choked air less foul, and more fowl. The nature preserve is a pre-eminent spot for birding within the city limits, particularly during winter months. Assorted songbirds, waterfowl, hawks, blackbirds, owls and other species thrive in the sanctuary, which lies west of Highway 6, between I-10 and Westheimer. White-tailed hawks, black-shouldered kites, flycatchers, warblers and a variety of sparrows animate the refuge. Restored wetlands have attracted white ibises, great blue and green herons, egrets and other shorebirds eager to troll for crawfish and tadpoles. Miles of nonvehicle roads and running trails allow wide-ranging access.
No shooting. No explosions. But there are ideas here, furtively embedded in this first-person driver game designed by Houston-born artist Mel Chin and a passel of MIT programmers. You press the gas pedal and drive through the desert, where a "tree of life" dispenses golden balls to the tents of a nomadic tribe. In search of the balls, you drive to those tents, and through those tents, completing tasks, figuring out puzzles, overwhelmed by the detail of the tribes' rugs, mesmerized by the speed, hardly noticing how the new culture is colliding with the old. And when you've collected all the balls, well, nobody seems to know what happens then, because nobody seems to have collected all of them, even though -- and this is the best part -- the game, like admission to the museum, is free.

No shooting. No explosions. But there are ideas here, furtively embedded in this first-person driver game designed by Houston-born artist Mel Chin and a passel of MIT programmers. You press the gas pedal and drive through the desert, where a "tree of life" dispenses golden balls to the tents of a nomadic tribe. In search of the balls, you drive to those tents, and through those tents, completing tasks, figuring out puzzles, overwhelmed by the detail of the tribes' rugs, mesmerized by the speed, hardly noticing how the new culture is colliding with the old. And when you've collected all the balls, well, nobody seems to know what happens then, because nobody seems to have collected all of them, even though -- and this is the best part -- the game, like admission to the museum, is free.

Native Houstonian Kay Poe was expected to win the U.S. Taekwondo Union's Olympic trials in May. But in her last match before the flyweight division championship fight, Poe took a blow to the knee that rendered her barely able to walk. It appeared her Olympic dreams would be dashed; she could not beat an opponent on only one leg. But what happened next is the stuff of which movies are made. Poe's opponent was also her best friend and training partner, Esther Kim. Kim was a surprise contender for the championship, and she thought Poe would have won their match if not for her injury. But instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to make the final spot on the Olympic team, Kim forfeited the championship to her friend. "I wasn't throwing my dreams away," Kim told People magazine. "I was handing them to Kay." With any luck, they'll both be on the Wheaties box.

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