We don’t have the money for an actual building yet, but maybe Ross Perot can empty the loose change from his pockets and pay for one. Or possibly Tom DeLay’s lobbyist friends can pony up; they always seem to. To the Aggies, we say: Don’t worry. You don’t have to write an acceptance speech—in pen, pencil, or crayon. To Anna Nicole Smith and Jessica Simpson: Sorry your marriages didn’t turn out better. But thanks for the mammaries!
A GREAT UNIVERSITY, but an even greater source of Bum Steers. Where would we be without Aggies’ being fined for dumping effluent into Shinola Creek…giving a speech on rodent control, during which six rats scurried across the stage…keeping a dead Reveille in a deep freeze during the summer so that returning students could see the former mascot before burial…calling the police to report the theft of a marijuana plant…having an entomology professor feed steamed crickets and baked mealworms to a group of A&M vice presidents to emphasize the food value of insects? Gig ’em indeed.
MADE FIRST B.S. appearance in 1998 for joining a rebellion against Speaker Newt Gingrich that collapsed; thereafter warned religious-minded parents not to send their children to Baylor and Texas A&M, because the schools had lost their conservatism. Shared Bum Steer of the Year award for 2003 (with Rick Perry, Tom Craddick, and David Dewhurst) for redistricting. Three special sessions! Weird-looking districts straight out of a Rorschach test! Democrats running off to Ardmore and Albuquerque! And his ongoing ethics problems are always good for a yuk. Or is it yuck?
THE ONLY BACK-TO-BACK winner (loser?) of the Bum Steer of the Year, in 1993 and 1994. One of two Texans on the presidential ballot in ’92; neither won. Went from out of the race to first place in the polls in four months. Then went from first place in the polls to out of the race in four weeks. Reemerged in the fall, blaming his previous departure on fear that the Republicans would disrupt his daughter’s wedding. Repeated in ’94. Tried to defeat NAFTA; lost TV debate to Al Gore; settled for being satirized by new Sesame Street character H. Ross Parrot. Polly want a crackpot?
REDEFINED DITZ. On a can of tuna: “Is this chicken—what I have—or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says chicken…by the sea.” On the number 23: “Twenty-three is old. It’s almost twenty-five, which is, like, almost mid-twenties.” On being offered buffalo wings: “No, thanks, I don’t eat buffalo.” Edged out sister Ashlee, who got caught lip-synching (with her lips closed!) on Saturday Night Live, to become 2004’s Bum Steer of the Year, thanks to her response upon being introduced to the Secretary of the Interior: “You’ve done a nice job decorating the White House.” With Jessica, it’s the exterior that counts.
ANNA NICOLE SMITH
IF BUM STEERS didn’t exist, they’d have to be invented for her. Two-time Bum Steer of the Year and perennial finalist. As a 26-year-old model, married octogenarian oil tycoon Howard Marshall; showed up at his funeral, according to People, in “a white gown with its neckline at half mast”; feuded with his family for a share of his fortune. Featured on the cover of New York magazine’s “White Trash Nation” issue gobbling junk food; sued and won a settlement. “Host” of abominable cable TV reality show (see Anna Nicole cuddle her late husband’s urn!). Ashes to ashes, dust to bust.