Texas Monthly Annual Bum Steer Awards

EVERYBODY KNOWS LAST YEAR WASN'T the best of times; the only question is, was it the worst? Air conditioners at 78, heaters at 68, gasoline at 45 cents a gallon, steak at $3.50 a pound: with all that, how could times be good? On the other hand, there were no major scandals in state government, and the other good thing was...well, there was the time, uh...

After such a year, don't feel bad if you've been left out of these awards. The competition was stiff. The year began with Governor Briscoe's inauguration and ended with him still in office. While that is hard to top, we also saw 65,000 Texans stand and sing happy birthday to University of Texas' longhorn mascot, Bevo; John Connally called but not chosen; The LaGrange Chicken Ranch closed: Ms. Modine Gunch named Miss Vacant Lot of the Universe; and the first issue of this magazine.

Memories are indeed made of this, and we have tried to reward appropriately the people and events which stand out. It all goes to show why Texas is more than a state of the Union—it's a state of the mind. Hook 'em.

THE SPIRIT WAS WILLING, BUT THE FLACKER WAS WEAK

Daily Texan sports editor Buck Harvey announced that University of Texas football games were boring and he was going to boycott the rest of the schedule.

BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS FLORAL BOUQUET

To Janey Briscoe for her statement to the housewife whose Plainview home had been completely devastated by a tornado. Standing outside gazing at the only standing features, a chimney and a potted plant holding a wilted pansy, Mrs. Briscoe said: "I think you've been watering this too much."

GO, AND NEVER DARKEN MY DIOR AGAIN

Houston Chronicle reporter Beverly Maurice asked visiting feminist and editor of Ms. Gloria Steinem how she managed to stay so well-groomed during all her traveling. "You wouldn't ask that of a man," snapped Ms. Steinem.

ONE RIOT, ONE RANGER AWARD

To Marvin Zindler, Houston newscaster, whose reporting led to Gov. Briscoe's closing of the LaGrange Chicken Ranch. Marvelous Marv began the year as a deputy sheriff, switched to television, and ended by marching as head twirler of the Rice Band at the Texas A&M football game.

WOULD YOU BUY A USED CAR FROM THIS MAN?

Wielding a rifle, Lester Culp, disgruntled former used car salesman in Austin, made his ex-boss strip down to his boxer shorts and crawl on his knees up Congress Avenue. Lester said, "Those gents at the lot needed some exercise. They were sabotaging my cars and throwing trash on my desk."

ALBERT SCHWEITZER HUMANITARIAN AWARD

To Dr. David Wade, Commissioner of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, or spending a large part of $50,000 two-year appropriation for the dilapidated Austin State School for (1) a sprinkler system for his yard and (2) a chair and desk for his office that cost $l,278.

FIVE GALLONS OF TREACLE, PLEASE

"Mandy's Home for Christmas," a TV special covering the Amanda Dealey kidnap case, has been the only special television crime program daddy-in-law Joe Dealey's WFAA-TV has done since the assassination of President Kennedy.

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

The San Jacinto Monument sank six inches in 1972. By 2003 it will be the same height as the Washington Monument. In 1140 years it will disappear altogether.

AND WHO SAYS WE'D WANT TO, ANYWAY?

A Laredo judge berated a jury of ten men and two women who had acquitted a man for possession of 134 pounds of marijuana by telling them their decision was "stupid, illogical, ill-advised and you will never serve in my court again."

ELDERLY MOSS? MARTIAN DANDRUFF?

The Texas Department of Public Safety investigated a mysterious white substance found clinging to trees and powerlines after a UFO was sighted near the Brownwood airport.

ME-DEEP IN CONVERSATION

"I've done some things in my mind that are quite original" said sculptor and University of Texas professor Charles Umlauf.

THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY

Bible-toting State Representative Fred Head of Troup kicked in the glass departure door at the Austin airport after having to go through the metal-detection machine twice.

WELL THEN, LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT

When asked why he was successful on Houston television, defeated mayoral candidate Dick Gottlieb said, in his bass voice, "All I have is a 'deep throat.'"

G. GORDON LlDDY BOUGHT THE LAST ONE

Herby's Hot Foods in Fort Worth introduced in their ready-made sandwich vending machines a "Watergate Special" consisting of three pieces of bologna weighing one ounce each and costing 60 cents.

I GOT THEM WHOLESOME PRISON BLUES

The Distinguished Penology Award to George R. Brown, whose Brown and Root Construction Co. helped build South Viet Nam's infamous "tiger cages" to hold political prisoners.

BOARD OF EDUCATION UPON THE SEAT OF LEARNING

The Dallas PTA was pleased that school trustees took a strong stand in favor of paddlings. Dallas public schools meted out 26,664 whippings last year to sassy kids.

WE'LL HAVE TO REMOVE DE GAULLE STONE, TOO

In an interview in the book, Cooley, famed Houston heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley revealed that he wanted to transplant the heart of Bobby Kennedy into then ailing ex-president Dwight Eisenhower.

JUST WAIT UNTIL THE FEAST OF THE RADISHES

Last Christmas season, 25 Grapevine citizens dressed up in red and green, stood on a platform in the shape of a Christmas tree, and lit candles simultaneously.

JOHN PETER ZENGER DISTINGUISHED JOURNALISM AWARD TO THE HOUSTON POST

Special mention and a doffing of the green eye-shade to managing editor Ed Hunter for censoring the Doonesbury comic strip.

APOCALYPSE CAN BE CURED

These amendments were offered while House members debated a bill to restore the death penalty in Texas: (1) Move the electric chair to the House floor so members could take a final vote before watching the first man fry; (2) Build a portable chair to set up outside county courthouses for Sunday afternoon family entertainment; (3) Abandon the chair and return to hanging because of the energy crisis.

Tags: THE CULTURE

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