January 2003 Issue



Bottom’s Up

The U.S. Census Bureau says that Cameron Park, a Brownsville colonia, is the poorest community in America—and yet optimism thrives there. How do you explain to statisticians and demographers that poverty is a relative thing?


The End of the River

Why the mighty Rio Grande isn't so mighty anymore: a twisted tale of international politics, water rights, and environmental reality (with a drought thrown in for good measure).

Two Wings and a Prayer

Legend has it that an East Texas preacher's homemade flying machine took off in late 1902, nearly a year before Kitty Hawk. Are the history books wrong about who was first in flight—or are they right, brothers?


The 2003 Bum Steer Awards

It was a year of asinine atheists, buck-naked bad guys, crud-coated coins, duct-taped duds, ex-Enron exhibitionists, felonious Ferraris, gaffe-prone guests, hijacked heads, icky incumbents, jittery java junkies, kaput kampaigns, lascivious lawyers, Munsters maniacs, ninny newlyweds, obdurate officials, pesky perfumes, quickie-minded quadrupeds, risible reading, superannuated sodas, titillating textbooks, un-dry urbanites, vamoosed


Dick Armey: Armey Maneuvers

Dick Armey: Armey ManeuversArmey Maneuvers I: Backward, March!After House majority leader Dick Armey announced plans to retire from Congress at the end of 2002, his son Denton County judge Scott Armey, trying to capitalize on the family name, ran for his father’s seat but lost the primary runoff.Armey Maneuvers II:


Dependable, Lendable, Undefendable, Vendable!

Dependable!Bum Steers wouldn’t be Bum Steers without the Bushes.Econology Can Be So ConfusingPresident Bush described part of a conversation with Japan’s prime minister as “the devaluation issue,” causing a dip in the value of the yen until White House officials released a statement explaining that the president had meant


The 2003 Bum Steer Awards

The Bull Just Smiled and Declined to Press ChargesJoey Allen Long, of Paris, was charged in Mount Pleasant with the theft of $4,600 worth of bull semen.We Can Only Imagine What the Words “Bob Torricelli” Did to HimThomas Ray Mitchell, of Texas City, was convicted of aggravated assault for shooting

Around the State



O SUSAN! The Houston Grand Opera is throwing a party this month for Texas-raised diva Susan Graham, celebrating her triumphant Houston (and world) debut as the hero in the HGO’s staging of the Handelian melodrama Ariodante in November. Where’s the shindig? Why, in the second act of Lehár’s Merry Widow.


Straight Talk

THE CABLE GUY Conservative political columnist Robert Novak, the co-host of CNN’s Crossfire, will speak at the University of Texas at Tyler’s R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center on January 30.You’ve cultivated this image of yourself as tough, even mean, but everyone I know in Washington says you’re


Round Up

“YOU A REAL COWBOY?” Debra Winger asked that question of John Travolta more than twenty years ago in the film Urban Cowboy. Today, with a couple more decades of urban sprawl under our big, shiny belt buckles, it’s even harder to find one. But this month, if you look for



PLANE TO SEE Despite claims from folks in East Texas that a Pittsburg preacher named Burrell Cannon created the first operational aircraft in 1902 (see “Two Wings and a Prayer”), Austin’s Centennial of Flight Celebration observes the Wright brothers’ December 1903 takeoff. Even so, the commemorative event, held on January


The Joy of Sacks

Drew Brees's parents don't look forward to seeing him get thrown to the ground on national TV each week. But they sure do love having an NFL quarterback for a son.

Cartwright's Texas

The Idealist

If you're wondering why trial lawyers were once regarded as heroes rather than pariahs, let me tell you about my friend Warren Burnett, the late, great champion of little guys and lost causes.

Great Outdoors

Cast Away

There are rivers in Texas—some of the most beautiful places on earth—where the fly-fishing is great and you don't have to battle the crowds. Now, tell me again why I should vacation in Montana?


Jung at Heart

When I could no longer tolerate the religious fundamentalism of my childhood, I turned to the teachings of a Swiss psychiatrist—and rejuvenated my spiritual life.

Master Class

No one took the literature of Texas or the Southwest seriously until J. Frank Dobie put it, and us, on the map.



American Idle

They're ready for their close-up; are we? Our writer prejudges the thousands of celebrity wannabes at Austin's American Idol tryouts.

A Few Words With. . .

John Lee Hancock

The director of the new Alamo movie takes on the storied battle—and the eyes of Texas are upon him.


Pat's Pick

Riviera Grill

SEEING STARS Thank heaven the Riviera Grill has finally left that tatty suburban location and moved into glittering new digs in downtown Houston. The sleek Sam Houston Hotel is the perfect setting for chef-owner John Sheely’s inspired French and Italian cuisine. At dinner, the menu showcases dishes like velvety grilled

Pat's Pick

On The Road

CABIN FEVER Call us affected big-city snobs, but we never thought we’d see Hawaiian lomi lomi salmon on a small-town East Texas menu. Actually, the cevichelike dish was a special on our first visit to the Homestead on 19th in Huntsville. A fine nut-crusted wahoo filet was another, as was

Pat's Pick

Primary Flavors

PASS THE PEAS, PLEASE We have a friend—an all-grown-up adult friend, mind you—whose mother won’t let her leave the New Year’s table without downing 365 black-eyed peas (gulp!). That’s one seed of the lucky legume for each day of the upcoming year. But even if you have trouble swallowing this


Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed Pea SalsaMynetta Cockerell, Marty’s Bistro, Dallas1 can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed 1 teaspoon chopped garlic 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 1 cup diced yellow pepper 1 cup diced red pepper 1 cup diced red onion 1/2 cup finely diced poblano pepperDressing2 tablespoons cider vinegar 1 tablespoon lemon juice


Sea Scallops

Sea Scallops with Slow Braised Fennel and White Bean PureeBean Purée1 1/2 cups dry Great Northern beans 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1 rib of celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice 2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon

Web Exclusive

Reality Bites

Editor Katy Vine sucked it up and sat around the auditions with a bunch of young vocalist hopefuls keyed up with the prospect of becoming...an American Idol.

Web Exclusive

Bum Steer Banter

Paul Burka, senior executive editor and resident Bum Steer co-captain answers a few revealing questions.

Web Exclusive

Steering the Bum Steers

Senior editor Anne Dingus, who along with Paul Burka, organizes and supervises the annual Bum Steer Awards, gives insight on the history of the long-standing tradition.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails

Spend an afternoon antiquing or a weekend just relaxing—historic Salado is worth the trip.


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