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Bluebonnet Shortage Threatens Family Photos, Butterflies

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Our state flower, in short supply; Daniel Vaughan and the dawn of the pork beat; shifting attitudes toward gay marriage find religious conservatives in Texas embattled and more.

If your heart's set on a family bluebonnet photo this year, be prepared to forage a bit longer. The Texas state bloom and other wildflowers are in shorter supply this year due to a hot, dry 2012, according toKUT in Austin. This obvious emergency leaves no reason for territorial secret-keeping, so we'll share our pro tip: TXDOT offers a hotline for enthusiasts looking for the best bluebonnet spots. 800-452-9292. Kind of like a butterfly sun compass.

The finicky butterflies that will migrate or die without their food of choice aren't so lucky to travel by SUV.

  • Dallas architect and burnt ends enthusiast Daniel Vaughan bids farewell to his friends at Good Fulton & Farrell tomorrow as he’s been called up by Texas Monthly to become the magazine's first barbeque editor next month – the first position of its kind in the media, by all accounts. The New York Times’ Manny Fernandez sat with Vaughan at Lockhart in Oak Cliff to talk about the Ohio native’s conversion to the Texas barbeque cause, his boots that feature a butcher’s chart, and where his coworkers will take him for a goodbye lunch. Vaughan decided on Dallas vegetarian outpost Kalachandji’s. “I gotta eat my veggies,” he said.

  • The Supreme Court revisits arguments that will decide the future of gay marriage this week. We hear stories of new tolerance like that of Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who now supports gay marriage after his own son came out. But that shift is renewing fervor for a core of religious, social conservative Texans resistant to change. NPR’s John Burnett attended Miracle Night at the Word of Life Church in El Paso and found its pastor – and members – at odds with progressive city leadership. [NPR]

  • At the Men Against Abuse Rally this weekend, KERA’s Lauren Silverman heard troubling stats shouting over the buzz of celebrities on stage like Roger Staubach and Emmitt Smith: In 2012, there were 26 domestic violence murders in the city of Dallas, double the year before, for example. Last week’s Think roundtable on the causes of domestic violence with Dr. Preston Wiles of UT Southwestern Medical Center, Jan Langbein, executive director at the Genesis Women’s Shelter, and Vanessa Vaughter, primary prevention coordinator for Hope’s Door is a practitioner-level look at the psychology of victims and perpetrators. The whole hour is posted.

  • Matt Poursoltani, a high school powerlifter from Pilot Point, broke his own state record over the weekend and bench pressed 700 pounds. It might astound Muscle Milk enthusiasts to hear, but the senior doesn’t drink protein shakes. Two 16-ounce steaks for dinner, though? Let him at it. [Dallas News]

Lyndsay Knecht is assistant producer for Think.