Stanley Marsh 3 had a bad year. Lance Armstrong did, too. For the Houston Astros it was the worst year ever. Did you donate to the Rick Perry for President Fund? You did, even if you didn’t plan to. Yes, it’s time to look back at 2012, a year we view with thanks — mainly that it’s over – before Texas Monthly steals all our ideas for its Bum Steer Awards.
Let us start with Boosting Our Circulation Dept.: Sarah Tressler, 30, filed a federal gender discrimination complaint against the Houston Chronicle alleging she was fired by the newspaper for not indicating on her employment application that she had worked as a stripper. Her lawyer said after Tressler was hired by the newspaper, she only rarely worked as an exotic dancer.
Don’t Know Much About Geography: The Texas Aggies were really excited to join the SEC. Just think of all those great road trips to Florida, Alabama and…North Carolina? Apparently the Aggies thought North Carolina has a team in the SEC, because they included it on a T-shirt sporting the SEC logo and a map of states purportedly in the conference. Also, the Aggies forgot Missouri, which is in the SEC. And if you’re thinking they forgot Texas, don’t worry — it’s on the back.. Thanks, Aggies.
Rearranging the Deck Chairs Dept.: To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, in which 1,514 men, women and children died a frigid death, Cullen’s restaurant south of Houston offered a 10-course final meal similar to what was served that last night. Price: $12,000 for 12.
Daddy Dearest: Houston millionaire heir John Goodman, facing both civil and criminal charges over a fatal car accident, adopted his 42-year-old girl friend in an attempt to save some of his fortune. The idea was to let his girl friend/daughter control a third of his trust fund set up for his two other children. Goodman was convicted.
R.I.P: Darrell Royal had his final dance with who brung him. Miss Edna Milton Chadwell, last madam of the famed La Grange Chicken Ranch, died at 84.
Happy Gays Are Here Again: The Oak Lawn area in Dallas has one of the strongest populations of same-sex male couples in America, according to a study from Trulia, an online real estate firm.
You Want Mustard on that Dog? Michael Terron Daniel, 22, of Waco, faced a felony charge after he allegedly bit, killed and ate a housemate’s pet dog while Daniel was high on drugs.
Hey, Teasips, two words: Johnny Football.
Les is More: Houston Rockets’ owner Les Alexander paid a record $45 million for a Manhattan penthouse. The five-bedroom duplex has four terraces and a swimming pool. Also in sports, of the top 100 blue chip graduating Texas high school football players last spring, only 56 stayed in Texas, but that’s probably a record. Ronnie Henderson, age 12, of Mesquite was banned from playing by the Pee Wee Football Association because he weighs 297 pounds and stands 6-foot-1-inch.
Stanley Marsh 3, the eccentric millionaire best known for his “Cadillac Ranch” art display along an interstate in the Texas Panhandle, was charged with 11 felony counts of molesting children. He denies the charges.
Irony & Steal: Former Harris County Housing Authority CEO Guy Rankin IV was fired over the agency’s financial problems including missing cash. Rankin sued for breach of contract, seeking $137,000 in severance its board agreed to pay him. The board said it couldn’t pay because, uh, it didn’t have the cash.
All Politics Is Loco: In the first months of the 2012 presidential campaign, Texans gave more money to the Super PAC of Stephen Colbert than to Mitt Romney’s. In Houston, individual donors gave Obama on average $607 and Romney on average $1,260. Hedwig Village, an island in Houston, gave the most money in Texas to the two major presidential candidates – a total of $1.55 million, $976,400 to Romney, seven times more than to Obama. In the Texas party primaries, not a single Democrat voted in 13 Texas counties and nary a GOPer voted in five – not even the party chairmen.
The Mansion was unlivable, anyway: Gov. Rick Perry’s official records show he spent exactly 27 hours and 30 minutes working as governor of Texas during his 160-day campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst — or the Senate president pro tem, when Dewhurst is out of the state at the same time as Perry — is allowed nearly $411 for every full day he subs for Perry. That added up to more than $32,000. No, the gov does not get his pay docked by that same amount, so we’re getting one for the price of two.
Sorry, school teachers, it’s for a good cause: The tab for DPS security during travels by Perry or his wife, Anita, outside Texas totaled more than $2.3 million since his re-election, figures from the DPS show. More than $1.8 million of that came after he announced for president. Perry’s direct travel costs are generally paid by his campaign, but the security detail (read: sherpas) is state-funded.
You can’t buy that kind of publicity: A poll conducted by Blum & Weprin Associates right after Perry left the presidential race found a combined 48 percent of registered voters said Perry’s presidential run had made Texas’ image either a little worse or a lot worse. The poll found 56 percent of registered voters didn’t think Perry should run for re-election.
Finally, we have this: “Lean, finely textured beef is a safe, nutritious product that is backed by sound science.” — Statement issued by a coalition of Midwest governors, including Rick Perry, defending pink slime. On that same day, Safeway, the nation’s second largest grocery store chain, pulled its pink slime off the shelves. We still haven’t gotten to Armstrong and the Astros, so we’ll continue next week.
Ashby spent the year at firstname.lastname@example.org