January 2005 Issue


The 2005 Bum Steer Awards

It was a year of: Alamo amour, bollixed Bush, cheeseburger chagrin, dissed Davy, egregious ethics, film flops, guileful gynecologists, hibiscus hullabaloo, in-flight idiocy, jiggling Janet, konservative kross-dressers, laughable liposuction, microphone mishaps, numskull name-nabbing, opinionated obits, pot parfaits, Qaeda qualms, reckless Rather, streaking solons, tasteless Tecate, UT users, vulgar veeps, Wicca


2005 Bum Steer Awards

Better close off the balcony too Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, of Houston, requested that a corridor in her Washington, D.C., office building be closed off for eight hours so that she could meet privately with singer Michael Jackson.4—6 minutes to high cholesterol An eighteen-wheeler overturned on Houston’s Loop 610, spilling


The Bottom 10

10. The AlamoThe film was as big a disaster for Disney as the 1836 battle was for its valiant defenders—a commercial and critical flop that, unlike the original, is better forgotten.9. The Texas Longhorns baseball teamThey lost twice at the College World Series: once on the field to Cal State—Fullerton,


L. on Wheels

Eight days in a rental car with Larry L. King, the crotchety West Texan who has written some of the greatest magazine stories of all time, would be enough to drive anyone crazy. Except his biggest fan.

Around the State

State Secrets

The month in politics.Thousands of Texans descend on the capitol during a legislative session, ranging from lobbyists to tourists (you’ll have no trouble telling which is which). Visit during the 140 days from January 11 to May 30, and by all means take the thirty-minute guided tour. But if you

Jolly Good Fellow

The Sam Rayburn Library and Museum, in Bonham, hosts an open house on January 6 to celebrate what would be the 123rd birthday of the former Speaker of the U.S. House. H. G. Dulaney went to work for Rayburn in 1951 and oversaw the library from 1957 to 2002. He

Tour Of Duty

Political junkies who have felt adrift since the end of the presidential campaign should make their way to Dallas this month, where three exhibits will help fill the void. At Southern Methodist University’s Bridwell Library until January 20, “From George to George: Presidential Elections in the United States From 1789

It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

In 1932, when the Citrus Fiesta held its first PRODUCT COSTUME STYLE SHOW, Mission’s beauties slipped into outfits that were, shall we say, crude—just imagine the look, and smell, of models decked out in cabbage leaves. But technology and ambition over the years have led to a more sophisticated couture:

King of the Crop

Fairs, fests, and other reasons to get together.The Royal Coronation, one of the most anticipated events of the festival, takes place on January 27. Among those honored will be the new King Citrus, whose identity is top secret until the night of the ceremony. Jud Flowers, 2004’s king, shares his

Texas Citrus Fiesta

Part folk art, part pageantry, Mission’s Texas Citrus Fiesta (January 21—29) is one of America’s classic festivals, displaying native creativity while promoting the area’s main export: fruit. Locals spend hundreds of hours decorating costumes and floats with Valley produce for the Product Costume Style Show and the Parade of Oranges,



Same Mother

Like the blues, jazz is steeped in such tradition that players can spend decades finding their own voice. Many never do. Which makes what JASON MORAN has accomplished in just over five years of recording even more remarkable. Same Mother (Blue Note) is simply the latest in a series of—there’s

We Can’t Make it Here

No one’s more of a populist than JAMES MCMURTRY, whose tales put a human face on the downtrodden. The only thing surprising about his entry into protest music is that it took him so long. WE CAN’T MAKE IT HERE  is a seven-minute state-of-the-union mantra that looks at the Bush

Loteria De La Cumbia Lounge

Michael Ramos used to be a coveted player in the Austin scene; now he’s sought out by the likes of Paul Simon and John Mellencamp. Ramos spent years as a member of the BoDeans, but it’s his current employer, Patty Griffin, who encouraged him to explore his own unique fusion

The Language of the Sycamores

There is nothing subtle about THE LANGUAGE OF SYCAMORES (New American Library), the latest novel from LISA WINGATE, a Central Texas writer who moonlights as an inspirational speaker (or vice versa). Wingate delivers a relentlessly uplifting message in the voice of narrator Karen Sommerfield, who is struggling to weather a

Judgement Days

Lyndon Johnson cited passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as the proudest moment of his presidency, and in JUDGMENT DAYS (Houghton Mifflin), Pulitzer prize—winning journalist NICK KOTZ puzzles together the complex alliance between LBJ and Martin Luther King Jr. that resulted in the landmark civil rights accomplishments of

Book Review


Houston native JAN BURKE has reprised salty-tongued reporter Irene Kelly for the first time since 1999 in BLOODLINES (Simon & Schuster), an ambitious thriller that spans decades to deliver a sprawling tale of murder, missing persons, and mistaken identity. The elaborate plot kicks off on one eventful night in 1958,

The Dallas Morning Blues

Why isn’t this man smiling? If you were the chairman of Belo, the suddenly stumbling media conglomerate, you wouldn’t be smiling either. Then again, Robert Decherd is sure there’s only good news ahead.


Web Exclusive

Two for the Road

Associate editor John Spong on spending eight days listening to author Larry L. King’s outlandish stories—and on writing about his hero.

Pat's Pick


As nearly as I can tell, chef Robert Gadsby’s mind is moving at warp speed. His complex, multi-ingredient, Asian-inflected French cuisine took shape when he opened the first Noé restaurant, in the Omni Hotel in Los Angeles, in 2003, and his globe-trotting experiments continue at the second Noé, in

Pat's Pick

Photo Op

Do you suspect that your friends hit the “delete” key whenever they see that you’ve e-mailed them the usual lame, out-of-focus pictures from your vacation? You’re right—which is why you might want to sign up for the Travel and Food Photography Workshop in Mexico this March. Under the keen eyes

Web Exclusive

The Funnies

Illustrator Tim Bower, who worked on this month’s cover story, talks about drawing, humor, and his favorite Bum Steer.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails

After a quick trip to Houston for a football game—and a visit to the Johnson Space Center—I’ve come up with a new mission.


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