The 2000 Bum Steer Awards

Who isn’t sick of the m-word? The approach of the you-know-what accounted for at least two thousand Texan examples of countdown craziness. Bracing for a Y2K melee, we not only hoarded precious metals and stockpiled food and guns but—in a particularly Texan twist—bought (and stole) a record number of windmills out of fear that basic services would crash. Crashes of a different sort accelerated the madness: In Dallas three intersections made the list of the nation’s ten most dangerous for traffic accidents; in Austin a truck driver narrowly missed hitting George W. Bush, who was out for a jog, and nearly ended the governor’s presidential campaign.

And speaking of ends, there was the much-ballyhooed backside of actor and sometime Austinite Matthew McConaughey. With time to kill in the wee hours of an October morning, the divine Mr. M decided to dance to the beat of his own bongos (and his own bong) while clad only in a bandanna bearing the logo of his beloved alma mater, the University of Texas. After a call from an annoyed neighbor, the cops butted in and arrested the em-bare-assed actor, who eventually paid a $50 fine for violating the city’s noise ordinance. A crack publicist couldn’t have gotten more exposure for the cheeky thespian—and we couldn’t have drummed up a better candidate for Bum Steer of the Year.

Reports of Their Death Were Only Slightly Exaggerated
Nearly all of the City of Dallas’ 13,000 employees received 1998 federal wage and tax statements listing them as deceased.

Till Fumbles Do Us Part
Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams posed for the cover of ESPN’s magazine as a bride in a white wedding gown next to his new coach, the New Orleans Saints’ Mike Ditka.

$100 for Burgers, And $42,000 for Her Legal Fees
During an online auction to benefit Oprah Winfrey’s favorite charities, James Halperin, a Dallas rare-coin dealer, paid $10,100 for two backstage passes to her TV talk show, $6,550 to go to a yoga class with her, and $42,100 to have lunch with her.

Sure. Can You Wait Until the First Debate?
Vice President Al Gore, seeking contributions for his presidential race, sent a fundraising letter to George W. Bush that said, “To win in 2000, I need you by my side.”

Watch Out for the Roman Soldier Balloon
At the Christian Hot-Air Balloon Glow near Groom, Bob Sheible of the Merit Ministry of California inflated and floated a 110-foot-high figure of Jesus.

He Was Just Parking
Neil Richmond, the principal of Midland High School, suspended senior Casey Riggan and placed him in an alternative school because Riggan refused to write a letter of apology after he and a group of friends photographed Richmond’s car while it was sitting in front of a female teacher’s house on a Saturday afternoon.

Coming Next Year: Frankenstein: The Campaigning and the Losing
San Antonio city councilman Mario Salas wrote a sequel to the horror classic by Mary Shelley, which he titled Frankenstein: The Dawning and the Passing.

But It Was a Breathtaking Billboard
Scenic Dallas, a nonprofit anti-billboard organization dedicated to the enhancement and preservation of the city’s visual environment, undertook a campaign to eliminate billboards in the city by placing its slogan—“Nothing is more beautiful than a breathtaking view”—on a billboard.

Everything Farther South Had Already Been Fixed
For the first

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