The 1998 Bum Steer Awards

Has there ever been a year in which so many Texans went off in the wrong direction? The Republic of Texas tried to separate from the Union, only to be reunited—in jail. Bud Adams separated the Oilers from Houston to head for Tennessee, only to find that he wasn’t wanted there either. A bar patron in Orlando went through a plate glass window, courtesy of the Rockets’ Charles Barkley. Dallas fell below San Antonio in population, and the El Paso Herald-Post, the last big-city afternoon newspaper in the state, disappeared into oblivion. The University of Texas at Austin, which on Thanksgiving weekend was without a president, a provost, or a football coach, didn’t seem to be going anywhere at all. One place not to go—that is, if you happen to be a giant mouse—is Cleburne. With the help of professors from UT-Arlington, city officials there proudly showed off their new, six-foot-long mousetrap.

Speaking of going astray and getting trapped, no one wandered farther from the straight and narrow than State Senator Drew Nixon of Carthage. Nabbed for soliciting prostitution from an Austin undercover officer and for carrying an unlawful weapon, Nixon was found guilty—which did not prevent him from asking for his gun back. He didn’t get the gun, but he did get 180 days in a Travis County correctional center, which he is serving on weekends. He also gets our special recognition as Bum Steer of the Year—for which weekend sentences, probation, parole, pardon, and deferred adjudication are not available.

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