The 2008 Bum Steer Awards

It was a year of angry Aggies, Baptist bravado, confused Cheney, death row drollery, enemas in evidence, fetid feet, ghetto gobbledygook, helicopter hunts, insurance idiocy, jerk judges, kin kidnappers, lawbreaking Longhorns, meshuggener misfires, NASA nimrods, Oswald online, pooped-on presidents, quick quarrels, requested roaches, scrotum-scarring Sooners, taped teenagers, unhinged urinators, visible Virgins, weaselly Whole Foods, X-rated x-classmates, yuletide yikes, and zeroed-out zebras.
Illustration by P. Loughran

You know it’s been a weird year when Ron Paul runs for president and makes more sense than his Republican rivals. When Tom Craddick claims to have total power but a Speaker’s race rages 24/7/365. When pro-life, gay-hostile, gun-friendly Rick Perry signs on with pro-choice, gay-friendly, gun-hostile Rudy Giuliani. When Kay Bailey Hutchison sounds as if she might really run for governor after all. When George W. Bush and Al Gore talk global warming in the Oval Office. When Karl Rove leaves the White House (don’t come back, please).

Sports was just as strange as politics. The Dallas Mavericks became the first top-seeded NBA team to lose to the bottom-seeded team in a seven-game playoff series. Bobby Knight did his best Dick Cheney impression, spraying pellets during two hunting trips outside Lubbock. The Houston Astros fired their general manager and manager and lost Craig Biggio to retirement; mainly, though, they lost—89 times. The woeful Texas Rangers set a major league record by scoring thirty runs in a game. Of course, they still finished last in their division.

Of all the Bum Steer sagas that played out over the past year, however, none was stranger than that of the man ESPN called “dumber than a blocking sled.” Yep, it’s the Aggies’ own Dennis Franchione. His $2 million salary evidently wasn’t enough; he moonlighted as the author of a VIP newsletter, which he sent out by e-mail to 23 well-heeled boosters willing to pay $1,200 for inside dope about injuries and recruits. Unsportsmanlike conduct! When A&M learned of his other gig, the university had to report two rules violations to the NCAA. Even beating Texas two years in a row couldn’t keep him in his job. Congrats, Coach Fran. You’re the Bum Steer of the Year.

Funny, the opposite happened to Representative Passhole Jones In the Texas House directory for the Eightieth Legislature, the listing for Representative Richard J. “Rick” Noriega, of Houston, added the letter p to the beginning of his nickname.

Two rongs don’t make a write A caption accompanying a picture of Anna Nicole Smith in the Houston Chronicle noted, “The model could barely right a sentence.”

You know what they also say?

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