Friday, January 2, 2024

Worst of Houston

"Houston isn't really a city; it's just a big machine for administering the interests of petroleum conglomerates." -M.Martin

Illustrations Tim Dorsey

Here we are again: Another January and another Worst of Houston. So let us clarify our intentions with this feature. We wish not to denigrate our fair city but to lift it up by shining a light on Houston’s most putrid aspects in the hopes that we can work together to eradicate them. Fair enough? Well, read on and let us know.

Worst Magazine: Downtown Magazine.

This goes beyond simply being bad; this is worthy of contempt! Even at first glance Downtown Magazine stinks of a publisher with infinite monetary resources and an inversely proportional amount of brains and taste to go with it. Just look at it - a thick cardstock cover, thick glossy pages, and even thin metallic red lettering; we’re talking big bucks here. There’s nothing wrong with having money behind your publication but, unfortunately, you open up this rag and it’s devoid of any worthwhile content or personality. It reads with less charm than a Greensheet except that, instead of trying to sell you a 1972 Chevy that’s naturally air conditioned, the brain trust at the Houston Downtown Management District and the Houston Downtown Alliance are trying to sell you on the idea that Downtown is the land of the wealthy, hip, and cultured. The only problem with this charade is the writing and the layout have the same sanitized and soulless plastic smile as someone greeting you in a visitor center and all readers can do is to cringe, shake it’s hand, then find the nearest bathroom to wash-off the ickyness. My suggestion to HDMD and HDA - stop wasting your member’s money on this fiasco and take up another less embarrassing hobby.

-Ramon Medina

Worst local statistics: Houston (and Texas’) uninsured residents

There are 1.1 million uninsured residents of Harris County. Considering there are 40 million uninsured nationwide, we have one of the highest rates and more than our fair share. That’s basically one in four people. The huge number of uninsured residents here means that health officials must make tough decisions every day about who gets treated and when. That equals rationing. As for Texas, it Sadly rates 1st in the amount of uninsured children in the state which is a staggering 24.1 percent according to the Census Bureau. According to USA today, “The state has forfeited more than $900 million in federal money under the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the past six years because it wouldn't put up 28 cents for each 72 cents in federal aid. Restrictions put in place in 2024 cut about 200,000 children from the program in a state with the highest percentage of uninsured children, nearly twice the national average.” Let’s face it, the system is broken.

- Omar Afra

Worst Juxtaposition of an impeccably, amazing burger with an inadequate fry count: Rudyards
Now I’m not saying this place is a “worst”, they just may be the best, but, their balance of fry to burger ratio is balanced like the Harris County Crime Lab. Come on guys, we know you have bags of those things in the little back area by the Dart Board, BUST EM OUT! I don’t understand the logic in providing the best Veggie Burger IN TOWN right next to the most meager portion of potato sidekicks IN LIFE. Several Houstonians have even suggested drawing a comic detailing the lives of the M.I.A. Rudyard’s Fries --- Are they out at the Seawall tryin to catch waves before the sun comes up? Have they found a more comfortable plate to rest their burnt ends? Please Rudz, please, for the love of all things Montrosian, find the fries and schedule them to work doubles.
-Shelby Hohl

Worst Media Fraud: The ‘return’ of the Public News

Ken Petty. an ex-evangelist out of Spring, TX tried to ‘re-launch’ the old beloved Public News this last year. PN was the standard bearer for underground music, art, and feature papers in this town before it was gobbled up by the parent company of the Houston Press. Well, the DBA that Houston Press acquired expired leaving the brand un-owned. Seeing this ‘golden’ opportunity, Petty paid the 10 bux for the DBA and tried his darndest to publish the shittiest piece of shit shit he could muster called Public News. He stole the original logo whch is now ostensibly intellectual property owner by Houston Press, went and downloaded a 10 year old version of Pagemaker, and got right to work. Managing only enough gumption to defraud enough advertisers and bamboozle staffers to publish 1 issue, the new version of what was the voice of the Montrose became rife with advertorials, articles about crap bands, and rants against the Montrose. It shortly thereafter folded and the internet is littered with complaints from staff members and advertisers who Petty owes money or lied to. Anyways, fuck you Ken Petty for trashing the good name of Public News (who many FPH staffers previously worked for.)

Worst of Local Band Beefs : ALL OF THEM.

Okay so Houston may not have the greatest music scene in the world but, at the very least, everyone involved should practice some kind solidarity to strengthen our growing musical nest. When I hear about local bands “beefing” I want to throw all parties involved in the trunk of an 88’ Olds’, drive them to Trinity Gardens and let anyone named “Tre” show them what real beef is. For one thing, what would Houston bands have to beef about? “That” girl in “that” band has the same streak in her hair as “that” girl from “that” band? Oh, “so and so” didn’t let you use their amp after they were done playing? Come on guys, none of this bullshit necessitates a “beef”. A beef is necessitated by the following: When rappers aren't good enough lyricists to have fans or just want some publicity, they will copy Tupac and Biggie and set up a beef with another rapper.

Their audience of mainly wannabe, gangsta-rich, white folk love this because if they meet another wannabe gangsta who listens to a rival of their favourite rapper, they are allowed to exchange poorly thought-up insults such as 'yo mama'.


-Shelby Hohl

Worst Houston Sports Franchise Owner: Bob McNair

In 1997, Houston Texans and Stonerside Stables owner, Bob McNair, asked the National Hockey League about bringing a hockey expansion team to Houston. The NHL replied, “The Compaq Center is a shit hole and no one in Texas watches hockey,” (I’m sure the phrasing was slightly different). Clearly, Bob didn’t want to own a football franchise from the “get-go.” So then, why did he buy one?

The answer is: Let’s look at some statistics from those bat shit crazy analysts at Forbes Magazine:

The Houston Texans have the second highest operating income.

The Houston Texans have the fourth highest revenue.

The $300 million naming-rights deal for the stadium is the richest in the NFL.

The McNair Doctrine: if your team sucks every year then expectations are low- but people will still buy merchandise because people also have hope. He he he- ha ha ha. Cha- Ching!

Honorable Mention: Whoever owned the Houston Comets


Worst Eco-Friendly Farce : Houston’s Recycling ranking

Houston was rightfully labeled as the nation's worst recycling city this year in a waste survey encompassing the country's 30 largest cities. Though we are the energy capital of the world and the fourth largest city in the nation, we came in last place compared to over 26 cities with a smaller population, with only 2.6% of our waste being recycled. That pales in comparison to San Francisco, who ranked first with an impressive 69% of their trash being recycled. Just one more thing to add to the 'Why Houston Sucks' box.

-Andrea Afra

Worst Newspaper:
The Montgomery County Bulletin

It seems like every year this award goes to The Houston Chronicle, but this year a small alt-weekly from the suburbs is much more deserving. The Montgomery County Bulletin was investigated by the Washington Post's online magazine Slate in August for plagiarism. Since almost every article in the Bulletin was stolen, Jody Rosen, the reporter who broke the story, wondered if "in purely statistical terms, do the articles in the Montgomery County Bulletin amount to the greatest plagiarism scandal in the annals of American journalism?"
After the Slate article went live on August 6 the Columbia Journalism Review, one of the largest academic journals in the country devoted to the study of journalism, openly mocked the Bulletin for obviously stealing from such obscure sources as USA Today, Rolling Stone, Salon, Boston Globe, Dallas Observer and the Houston Press.
Honorable Mention: Houston Chronicle (for tradition's sake).

Worst Example of HPD'S Not-So-Hidden Fascist Agenda: Armored Vehicles in Montrose telling people to return to their homes during Ike
It was bad enough having to camp out in your own home in the aftermath of a natural disaster. It was worse having to deal with the insufferable insult of being told you could not leave the aforementioned home after dark, for fear of being treated like a looter.

But the absolute shit icing on the cake was the sight of what looked like HPD-logo'd armored personnel carriers roaming the streets, and having to listen to some asshole cop over a loudspeaker reminding you that you were locked down like the inhabitant of some wretched 3rd world banana republic that can't spend a dime on infrastructure, but has tons of cash for paramilitary toys....

Houston isn't really a city; it's just a big machine for administering the interests of petroleum the aftermath of Ike, that became all too painfully apparent.


Worst Fresh Baked Bread: All Kroger's Stores

Will someone please tell me what that funny yet not at all delicious smell is that emanates from the Kroger's bakery? I've tried many of their made in-store breads and even the pastries have an odd taste and odor reminiscent of institutional floor wax and warmed over feet. I just can't quite place it.

Worst Sound Guy: Take a guess..

He works at the House of Blues now, but before that he just recently got fired from The Meridian. Before that he was fired from The Engine Room. Both places are synonymous in the music community as having the worst possible sound and it's been because of him. I bet House of Blues starts giving locals and nationals the same shoddy treatment he gave to everyone at his old venues.
He is, hands down, the worst sound guy in town.

Worst Drivers: Westside Commuters

I speak specifically of soccer moms and corporate dads. You people are fucking crazy. Flying past me on the freeway at 90mph+ risking my and my children's lives just so you can gain a few minutes off your daily soul sucking commute. I get the fact that you are used to high speeds and that from your oversized house-on-wheels vehicles, it doesn't feel that fast. But I drive the speed limit in the slow lane just to stay out of your suicidal way and still you ride my ass, passing around me so close that your side tires don't even leave my lane. I used to make that drive myself but I realized that time is more precious than saving a few bucks on a shittily built home that looks like every other future tear down within 10 miles in exchange for the joie de vie being sucked out of me with every rotation of my wheels. Either move closer to where you work/shop/drink or slow the fuck down. Attention Soccer Moms: We built you an eighteen lane wide freeway to try and thwart the congestion you cause each day because you insist on barreling around town in your Suburbans while your 3.2 children are not even in the vehicle. I wonder how many lives would be saved if just cut to the chase and built you a Saks Fifth Avenue out at Katy Mills. 


Worst of Guilty Feelings Only Applicable to 1% of Houstonians: Having power during Ike
Every friend, neighbor, foe, and Lost Boy, experienced an extended loss of all things electrical during the weeks following Hurricane Ike. However, a few of us had power and were morally obligated to cater to anyone who needed anything from charging cell phones to just sitting in the air conditioning. I was one of the “chosen” and did not realize the severity of the power shortage most of Houston was enduring. During the first few hours of all power being out – I returned to my well-lit home, proceeded to set up a 150w Flood Light, and attempted to burn a screen for a concert poster that was due the next day, for a show that ended up not happening due to the weather. While my friends were scrambling to find ANYWHERE to charge their cell phones, I managed to short out my breaker box three times (that I just went and flipped back on), cooked 3-course meals, and caught up on any Adult Swim cartoons I may have missed. I just want to say sorry to everyone for being ungrateful, I should have actually made myself into a “worst of”….oh well, maybe next year.

-Shelby Hohl

Worst City Revenue Generator: Sex Trade

Take the money and run. That's the motto behind the City of Houston's stance on the sex trade in Houston. Never mind the studies that show how the majority of sex workers are victims of bad circumstance or worse yet, slaves via the human trafficking circuit, there's money to be made, people! Play along and you'll reap the rewards too. Hundreds of local businesses pay annual fees for sexually oriented business licenses to operate store front brothels posing as 'massage parlors' et al. Also consider the cash generated by task squads during raids and prostitution stings, where not only are fines issued, but all cash and valuables on the person or property that is busted are seized and auctioned off for a sweet commission.

-Andrea Afra

Worst cable Provider: COMCAST

Comcast Cable plays good cop, bad cop with their customers. They will send you a notice that they are raising the rates of their Internet service for instance. When I called they told me my rate would be the same, yet when the bill came it was double the previous month's bill. When you call, of course, you have to go through the usual phone menu. The billing department just refers you to a supervisor. They give you a number that nobody ever answers and when you get to the beep to leave a message the mailbox is full.
As fate would have it I ran into an old friend who works for Satan, er I mean Comcast. He told me what to do, and now dear reader I will reveal the secret to you. Call Comcast, go through the menu but instead of pushing the number for billing, push the number for Technical. Tell tech that you want to drop your service. Tech will immediately switch you to a covert department called Save. The save department will make everything right, reduce your payment amount or whatever it takes to keep you from dropping your service. Ta-da.

-Mr. Don’t attach my name to this because ComCast will fuck me

Worst of Local ‘Non-News’ Coverage : Hurricane Eduardo

Wow, can we say weather machine any louder? Local news stations had field reporters scouring the Seawall for any sign of cataclysmic fear tactic they could instill in the Houston public. For what was very obviously just a government test to see if New Orleans could withstand another storm, and a reason to implement Military Police at every corner of any metropolitan area on the Gulf Coast, the newscasters really made “Hurricane” Eduardo seem as if our only saviors would be our beautiful boys in blue and not asking any questions. I saw newscasters standing at 33 degree angles(wink wink) with NO WIND EVEN BLOWING to show Houstonians “how crazy it really was out there”. It makes one wonder what goes through the head of someone who is knowingly lying to all of their neighbors and loved ones about potential catastrophe for ratings that are only dropping because YouTube exists. Maybe the local news stations should send their field reporters into cyber space to create mock tragedies affecting all potential YouTube views for two weeks. Whatever you do, next time they feed us bullshit, don’t be afraid to ask why it smells funny.

-Shelby Hohl

Worst Stench: Most Bars After the Smoking Ban Started

We have all waited patiently and hoped that it would gradually diminish but to our olafactorial dismay, it has only gotten worse. Somewhere betwixt the realms of pickle-relish and red wine vinaigrette, lies the odor that has been left behind in the bars after the smoke has long cleared. Regular barflies may have grown accustomed to their watering hole's signature fragrance, but for those of us who bar hop, each establishment is distinguished by its own eau de funk.


Worst Local Wikipedia Editor: PostOak

Local Wiki editor ‘PostOak’ has a beef with FPH. After we truthfully and accurately adding the 2024 Worst of Houston accolade to socialite-philanthropist Carolyn Farb’s entry, this friend of Farb removed our addition. After we reposted it, he again removed it and subsequently removed the Free Press Houston Wiki-profile by citing it as a ‘non-notable’ publication. This was clearly a vindictive act not befitting an editor. If you know who this piss-ant is and let us know, we will buy you a steak and lobster dinner.

-Omar Afra

Worst Public-Private Partnership: Discovery Green

If you had not read our 2024 feature on this park, then let me give you the skinny on Discovery Green. This city spent 122 million dollars on this park that is basically a green top to an overpriced parking garage. Think Kemah Boardwalk meets Sugarland Mall. There ain’t much green about it. It’s basically a couple fields, a playground, and a murky brown ‘pond’ that serve to facilitate traffic into the 2 restaraunts located in the ‘park’. Also, this is a public-private partnership so you can’t do the things you do at other parks such as barbecue, serve food to the homeless, etc. Considering the exceedingly high amount of neighborhood parks in Houston that are in disrepair, it’s a abomination to spend 122 million+ dollars on this plastic ‘park’.

-Omar Afra

Worst City ordinance: Houston newsrack ordinace

Sharon Lauder, publisher of the Houston Tribune, has appeared before City Council numerous times attesting to the unfairness of the ordinance which requires all sidewalk newsracks to be within specific parameters in size and weight, set atop a 95 pound concrete base, made of metal, and "fir green" in color.

According to Ms. Lauder, only a small percent of newspaper publishers were invited to the pre-planning of the ordinance, none of whom use the plastic newsracks. Most of the publishers of smaller, free papers use the plastic racks because they do not rust. Because they are free, these publications don't need coin operated boxes (i.e. metal boxes) which are more cost prohibitive.

She also asserts that the ordinance was twice altered to accomodate the Houston Press.

Ms. Lauder asserts that the practical effect of this ordinance is to make it impossible for small papers to distribute using newsracks and thereby limits the freedom of the press. Being unable to make any progress with City Council, Ms. Lauder filed a lawsuit in the Federal Court.

-Jo Collier

Worst way to conduct public business: Metro Rail

Do the people fear eminent domain powers run amock? Does the street flood?
Will they rob the property owners? What do you think.
With the current eco impacts, we may see Metro only build a rail line, but someday we will see the fruit of the seed planted by Metro's authority to take 162 acres of land around each rail station, or stop as it were. And the idiots I know say, "Oh I'll just go to the mayor and stop that." Sure thing. Who do think set this up with the local power dealers?

-Mr. Anonymous

Worst Vulgar Display of religion: Grace Community Church

Pastor Steve Riggle of Grace has proposed a daisy of an idea to build a 150 ft. high cross at both the north and south extremes of Houston where the two campuses of his church are. I am all for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom in general. But some things are just done in bad taste and are inflammatory. Considering the city just put the kibosh on the giant inflatable promo animals that car lots use, why not this symbol of genocide, oppression, and capitalism as well?

-Omar Afra

Worst Art Appreciator in Houston: Wayne Dolcefino

“So maybe someday cavemen trying to frighten traffic on Allen Parkway or a girl making nice with a Dr. Pepper bottle will sort of be like a Picasso.” –Wayne Dolcefino

The face of the Channel 13 Undercover Team, aka “Dolcefinko” aka “WD-400” aka “I Said No”, is sneering his way to infamy. No further evidence is needed than his constantly revised Wikipedia page, where spirited but spurious allegations like “Wayne rapes Asian babies” keep popping up. Dolcefino spent November digging up dirt on the Houston Arts Alliance, and devoted the opening segment on the seven o’clock news for a week and a half to convincing viewers they were being fleeced by the only public arts program in Houston. Ignoring the fact that a hotel occupancy tax that funds HAA is actually paid for by visitors to the city, WD-400 pounded away at HAA Director Jonathan Glus like a sweaty impotent drunk in the broom closet with his cousin. He asked Glus to read a sentence, which he shouldn’t have agreed to. It’s funny when people say “I’m not gay but I want someone to fuck me in the ass as soon as possible” on TV, but its not recommended for those who hold a decent job.
Five chin-wagging reports later Dolcefinko decided to take on, which is partially funded by the Houston Arts Alliance. I really don’t want to imagine his drooly delight when he watched a piece posted on B.S. Houston Artblog by the Performance Art Lab called “Dr. Pepper.” I would like to know the randy jokes he made up the next day when he brought the video into work and showed his co-workers (who probably don’t like him very much) the satiric advertisement where a woman fellates, ahem, deep throats, a bottle of good ‘ol DP. Oh yeah, he put it on the tube. He played two seconds of the beginning and then blurred the image, launching into a whole ‘too hot for TV’ routine. “Should YOU be paying for this smut?” The artist in a collective posted it on Youtube, the blogger picked it up and posted a link, the non-profit who employed the blogger received a grant from the organization that funds art with money received from the tourist tax, and the reporter who was too bored to find a real scandal says that you shouldn’t pay for it. God this is all so stupid. In his farewell, Dolcefino made a short aside, which qualified him as the Worst Art Appreciator of the Year: “Just so you will know, one viewer argued the Dr. Pepper video is art, because it's really mocking the use of sex to market beverages. Go figure.”

-Buffalo Sean

Worst shit that has happened to local music: Venue closings

2008 was a shitty year for Houston live music venues. Proletariat closed. Engine Room closed. Super Happy Fun Land closed temporarily. Notsuoh maybe sold. Fuck.
-Omar Afra

Worst dick move: Great American Insurance

Great American Insurance refused to pay $25 million in liability for a 2024 office fire that killed three people.

The basics: In 2024 Vocational Nurse Misty Ann Weaver started a fire to cover the fact that she had missed a paperwork deadline. The fire raged out of control and three people died from smoke inhalation. Since the people died from smoke inhalation instead of flames, Great American is trying to use a "pollution exclusion" to avoid paying for the deaths. Apparently in the mind of Great American a fire produces light, heat and smog.


Worst Death: Pimp C

The Pimp is gone. What a waste. Sizzurp, along with the rest of opiates, fucking suck.

"My man RoRo jus lost his baby in a house fire
And then when I got on my knees that night to pray
I asked God why he let these killas live and take my homeboy's son away
Man if you got kids show em you love em cuz God jus might call em home
Cuz one day you here but baby the next day you gone "

Pimp C from One Day

-Omar Afra

Worst Fall from Grace: Luby's Cafeteria

I ate so much Luby's when I was a kid that it has permanently mutated into my DNA. I have great memories their of fried fish, mash potatoes, and green beans. Unfortunately, the homegrown cafeteria was bought out by the Pappas company and has evolved into a middle school cafeteria. My first gripe is that now just about every single vegetable has bacon in it. I mean, a motherfucker says 'I wanna eat vegetables'. Let him eat vegetables without the ass of swine. Both kinds of green beans they offer have bacon. Even more annoying, despite the cafeteria setting, Luby's now has waiters come to your table after you have purchased and paid for your food. They want tips for bringing you napkins and straws. Their prices have gone up as everyone else's has yet the quality has taken the plunge. I now got to Cleburnes.
-Omar Afra

Worst bunch of Bastards: HPD

That's right fuckers. You won't find me. I am the one that put boogers in your cheeseburger. Go fucking catch a burglar instead of harrassing me for my music being too loud. I know some of you guys are good, but the lion's share of you screw it up for the 3 or 4 nice cops.

-Belligerent Me

Worst resignation: Paul Bettencourt

Former Harris County Tax-Assessor Collector Paul Bettencourt was without a doubt the sleaziest resignation in a year dominated by sleazy resignations. Bettencourt resigned a month after being re-elected in order to "pursue a career in the private sector." By resigning almost as soon as he was re-elected he screwed the voters by giving the county commissioners a chance to handpick the county's Tax-Assessor Collector. Many Texas politicos think that Bettencourt's resignation was either planned months ahead of time or enacted after he'd been named in a Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit. The Harris County Democratic Party is suing Bettencourt over allegations that he disenfranchised voters. For those that didn't pay attention in government class, in Texas the county Tax-Assessor Collector is also the county vote registrar. Bettencourt is accused of failing to process 13,000 voter registration cards before election day as well as unfairly and unjustly disqualifying many of the cards his office did process for "mistakes."

- Alex

Worst local public servant scandal: Chuck Rosenthal

He sent his secretary an e-mail about 'toys' from his work address? Come on man, what were you thinking? Everyone knows that if you set up an anonymous e-mail account, make sure it isn't named Jesus, didn't you learn anything from prosecuting all those criminals?


Worst weather reporting of the year: February cold front

Wall to wall coverage of a winter freeze. 24-hour-news coverage of falling temperatures. Reporters watching ice melt. It was 30 degrees and TV news treated it like it was the end of the world.


Worst Dancers: Houstonian concert goers who think it's cool to just stand there

I feel really sorry for the bands that bust their asses to come up with great tunes to rock your bod while you just stand there with hands in too tight jean pockets and look miserable. That's what I look like when I'm waiting to get my registration renewed. If the band sucks that's one thing, but if I like them I'm going to dance and you will join me or I will call you out on it. Like I just did. Resolution for 2024: To make Houston known for it's booty shakin' grin'in', whinin', live show is that too much to ask? It's not like I'm asking you to recycle.

Worst/Scariest local commercial: Brown Hand Center 
It's not enough that the owner of the Hand Center left his wife to remarry a younger faker wife, but he had to edit the commercial to show this new family. The worst part though is the final line of the commercial delivered by his daughter in a voice that sounds like it was ripped from an old seventies horror film
"Daddy's ba-by giiiiirrl"...freaky shit.

-Tiffany Ferguson

Worst Hipster Fashion Trend: Keffiyeh

My first inclination upon seeing hipsters wearing the symbol of Arab, and notably Palestinian, resistance was to rip them off their necks and replace them with the Vulcan death grip. But after thinking about it for awhile I decided, maybe us Arab folk should allow it under one condition: We may one day call on you to ‘do us a favor’ and help us in our next big attack. What a small price to pay for a little ‘terrorist chic’ accessorizing? So listen up college aged white people who are not familiar with the Palestinian plight: If your not willing to strap plastique to your chest for the cause or can’t spell P-L-O, then don’t wear the keffiyeh.

-Omar Afra

Worst TxDot project : Crawford Elysian Viaduct

The existing plan to convert the Crawford Elysian Viaduct into a so called parkway on the ground like Memorial Drive-- yeah, sure! No really, the plan is pushing for a worst result-- to rebuild a bridge that is not used much and make that a connection for the Hardy Toll Road even though the Toll roadway extension into the near I-10 area already has a ramp connecting to let's waste some money. Why rebuild an old funky mile long viaduct which already functions fine as an elevated? It carries one via a lovely ride over the old industrial Fifth Ward and part of Second Ward and descends into town with a cool view of the bayou and skyline.
TxDot: You guys suck and you're way out of money. Try something new like preservation and conservation. Perhaps an honest respect for archeology would be a good new program for you guys. What a waste of our real resources.

-Mr. Anonymous

Worst Song and Dance request for money: My car is out of gas

“Look man, My car is outta gas. My wife and kids are stuck down the block. I just need 5 bucks to get to Texas City. If you write down your address I will send you the money back”

-Omar Afra

Worst Houston Resident: The Douche Bag

Ungodly amounts of hair gel/product, expensive bottle service and bouncers helping them feel important marks the territory of the worst kind of Houston resident- the Douche Bag. They are most often male these Douche Bags, but the girls that consider them cool or attractive are just as depraved.
Douche Bags are merely weekend warriors when it comes to drinking. They save up all of their money during the week so they can spend it on one giant bottle of Grey Goose at one bar on Friday or Saturday night. So naturally, Douche Bags are shitty drinkers. They get drunk fast but due to the fact that their vocabulary is infinitesimal (a word not included in the Douche Bag dictionary) you really can’t tell how drunk they are. They just keep yelling things like: “Jager Bomb” and “Pomade” and “Oh my God! My collar!” At the end of the night they drive (drunk) themselves and the rest of their Douche Baggage back to their apartment or house located safely (for us) outside the Beltway.
My assumption is that Douche Baggery started somewhere in the vain city of Los Angeles. The lifestyle was somehow popularized on television and began to drift eastward. The entire city of Dallas is a Douche Bag. So, if you are from Dallas then you are a Douche Bag. You can never be too explanatory about these things.
Douche Bags do not live lavishly in their day to day life. Not at all. We’re talking about a hybrid of the $30k Millionaire. Douche Bags spend their days in Accounts Payable or putting up aluminum siding on something. Sometimes they peddle insurance or real estate. But by all accounts, they are average people (in fact, they’re the reason why we have the word “average”), which is why they have an undying need to feel important or elevated. Enter the reason why we have Douche Bag Bars.
Mostly located in Midtown and Washington Ave, these bars have the easiest job in the world: make the Idiot feel like a Jedi. This is accomplished by having long lines of Douche Bags waiting outside to get in. Once the Douche Bag gets in the bar, a resounding whisper in their head says, “You made it. You’re cool now.” Couple that with the VIP feeling that bottle service provides and you’ve got yourself a bar full of morons. Like I said, it’s the easiest business in the world. The Douche Bag ego is constantly treading on thin ice, so any little bit helps. For example, when the bouncer at the door says, “Hey man, cool shirt with a dragon on it,” he’s not saying that your shirt is cool. He’s merely suggesting that he has the same poor taste in clothes.
The Douche Bag is why we used to be the nation leading in the advancement of technology but now work on mastering ways to give you a suntan. The Douche Bag lives well beyond his means and is a direct contributor to inflation and the credit crunch. The Douche Bag goes to Rockets games and, instead of cheering in their seat, hangs out in the Lexus Lounge and watches the game on TV. They are poor in the brain. They are poor in the pocket. And if they had one, they’d be poor in the soul.
That’s right. I said it. Douche Bags have no soul. Their life is in pursuit of what’s popular on television. You know what should be popular on television? Suicide. Cheers.

Honorable Mention: the Katy Transplant- aka the Illiterate Douche Bag


Worst Predicament: Unemployment

It wasn't always like this. I remember mornings spent mixing and matching the same three suits to make my wardrobe appear more extensive, avoiding coffee stains in transit to my office, cleaning coffee stains with the back of my tie on the elevator up my floor. Times were good. I had a job.
I moved to Houston this August in hopes of finding gainful employment in the city in which I grew up. The job well had all but dried in New York City and it was time to take my attentions elsewhere. In an article released this summer by BusinessWeek's Proshant Gopal analyzing the top job markets for major cities across the United States, Houston invariably topped most lists of highest average income (cost of living adjusted) for a multitude of skill positions. My metropolis built on mud and magnolia was purported to be relatively insulated from the disastrous economy and subsequent horrendous job market affecting the rest of the country. I gave up pretzels on the subways for tacos on the corner. Surely my triumphant homecoming would result in a work place of my choosing. Call it youthful naivety, but at twenty-six and walking on the sunshine of my recent foray into the working world, I considered my new, swampy world my oyster.
In the last two months I have applied to over twenty jobs, ranging everywhere from assistant curator of a speaking forum to assistant editor of the very periodical you're reading. Keep in mind the word "assistant;" I have no illusions of grandeur and, having little experience in the realm of publishing, know I must start from the bottom. To provide some background, I am a fairly recent college graduate (3.79 GPA in English in case any of the faceless multitudes of human resource workers are reading- always network!) and am fairly adept with the written word. While I have worked in a law office, the hospitality industry, a surgery center, etc. I have no real practice in the literary business. The horrible catch-22 of finding employment in an industry like publishing, though this obviously applies to many other markets, is that you need experience to gain experience. While nothing new, this paradox certainly does make itself more apparent every time the dreaded "2-3 Years Experience Preferred" demand rears its ugly head in the majority of employment posts I've stomached every day for eight weeks. I apply anyway, though I feel like I'm auditioning to be a crewman on the Titanic.
I've heard more than one mention of my generation as having been brought up in "The Age of Entitlement." Those mentioning this ubiquitous line are usually of Baby Boomer ilk, murmuring admonitions about the current state of spoiled youth and our inability to earn a living. However, I'd like to point out in deference to my generation this can only be a distant echo of what our parents' parents must have thought about an age characterized by droves of longhaired flower children, sit-ins, and free love. Also, we are only the product of our environment. One can't help but hate the parents, the enablers of entitlement, on shows like MTV's "Sweet Sixteen." There is no surer sign of the apocalypse than a girl with braces crying that her convertible is the wrong color.
But I digress. Rather than dealing with the "why?" behind America's current state of affairs in the job market sector, I'm more concerned with the "what's next?" Two of my closest friends were recently laid off. One is now addicted to youtube and the other spends his nights out so the days can be slept away (there is no small connection between the current hiring environment and the recent stock surge in Anheuser-Busch). Trying to find a new job leaves one with a lot of time on his hands and finding filler can be difficult, especially when the temperature drops below t-shirt weather. I suggest joining a gym. A new, healthy body can counter the insecurities of moving back into your parents' house.
It wouldn't be so bad if I at least heard back from these potential employers. Even a simple response, a modicum of civility acknowledging the application process, would be acceptable. I could even handle an "LOL" reply to my resume from the Human Resource department of X Periodical. Hey, they recognized I tried.
And is there anything more miserable, more humiliating, than writing the dreaded Cover Letter? The rhetoric of these letters lies somewhere in the gray area between used car salesman and pompous bore. I find myself again and again pandering hopelessly to a faceless but omnipotent entity. Headhunting organizations and job search firms across the country teach applicants to use "buzz" words and phrases like "enthusiasm" and "ideal skill set." How mind-bogglingly tedious it must be for workers in the hiring department to sit through page after page of the same self-aggrandizing tripe. This process is made even more daunting by the fact that the competition for employment has never been fiercer. It's like I'm being interviewed, along with around one hundred other potential and much better looking suitors, by a new girlfriend's parents and they have a portfolio of all my previous relationships. Oh, and I'm naked.
On the other hand, perhaps there has never been a better time to be unemployed. For starters, people don't seem that baffled when you explain why you're wearing pajamas in Central Market at four in the afternoon. Everywhere you look companies are tightening up and cutting jobs. Even the company Christmas party, that time honored tradition of uncomfortable speeches and attempting to appear sober, is on the decline. Who wouldn't prefer a day off rather than experience the awkwardness of ludicrous small talk with coworkers in a fabricated social environment? Also when your friends lose their jobs you'll have someone to commiserate with over a round of golf. And when you can't afford that, you can make a fort with your resume rewrites.
But I'll keep plugging away. My savings are all but gone and I haven't eaten this much Ramen since college, but my will is strong. I want to work and haven't given up hope yet. I'm not sure exactly how much longer I will be able to maintain a lifestyle of no income and exorbitant Kinko's fees, but there are always other options on the table. In the words of my grandfather, "The world needs ditch diggers too." I just hope they're hiring.

-Steve Thompson

Worst Jury : The Folks who acquitted Jason W. Buckaloo and Christopher S.Jones

On July 18th of 2024 Pasadena Police arrested Pedro Gonzales for Public Intoxication. At 1 am on July 21st, Gonzales was released. At 2am, Gonzales was arrested by Pasadena officers Jason Buckaloo and Christopher Jones. By morning Gonzales was dead. Buckaloo and Jones reported that he was drunk and had fallen, which must have explained how one of 8 fractured ribs had punctured his lung. The officers had not turned on their dashboard camera to substantiate their claim yet a passerby who called 911 in an attempt to report 2 police officers beating and jumping on a Gonzales provided a very different story. Buckaloo had previously avoided a conviction in 2024 for slamming a South Houston High School Student into the wall. The officers were tried for criminally negligent Homicide and found not guilty in July of 2024. The case came down to the prosecutions case that Gonzales had died from a punctured lung filling with blood, and the defense arguing that Gonzales had died from alcohol withdrawal. So, Cops who beat a 51-year-old man to death, and lied about it, won their case by attacking the eyewitness and blaming the death on alcohol withdrawal.
Moral of the story: don’t go to Pasadena. Ever.

Worst Contractor: Timberwood Carpentry

Hurricane Ike is estimated to have done more than 25 Billions Dollars of damage to property along the Texas Gulf Coast. Timberwood Carpentry (10422 Telephone Rd) contracted workers from as far away as Florida and the Carolinas, as well as Louisiana and Texas to work in Port Arthur, Galveston and Houston to do clean up work. Workers were promised transportation, lodging, food, and jobs. Timber wood carpentry provided no safety equipment for the workers cleaning buildings and provided no care
to the their health needs which included skin infections, eye infections, and kidney infections acquired while working in contaminated buildings. They also refused to pay workers the wages owed for the labor provided to around a thousand workers. While protest by workers and supporters, like the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center, got many of these problems partially resolved, it reminds you we have bunch or crappy thieving neighbors.


Worst Anarchist Bookstore: Sedition Books

Sedition Books is the worst anarchist bookstore in the city of Houston and quite possibly the worst on the gulf coast east of New Orleans. Odds are that if you go to their store at 901 Richmond Ave. you will find some punk sleeping on a couch and have to wake them to explain the library system and that you actually have to pay 5 buck to take out books. It’s enough to make you want to shoplift. It's the smallest anarchist bookstore in Houston and if you go to one of their events they host they can barely squeeze in 40 people to watch films, participate in workshops or hear a presentation which is usually for free or a donation. Their beverage options are
disgustingly limited. While you can get sangria soda, they do not have daiquiris, hot chocolate, or pineapple juice.


Worst Houston Sportsman: Tracy McGrady

Who does this guy think he is? Roger Clemens? At $20.3 million, Tradey McGrady is the 9th highest paid player in NBA. He plays when he wants, he sits when he wants, he owns dogs that try to eat people. A diva and a charlatan, Tradey suffers from a hero complex brought on by the lack of an attempt at a college degree. He’s broken. Sell him for parts- or futures in oil.
Honorable Mention: Steve Francis


Worst Houston SportsTalkRadio Host: Mark Vandermeer

This guy is the worst “homer” and yet he’s from Massachusetts. A bloody yank is the voice of the Texans. I miss the days when you could hear the ice in Bum Phillips’ rocks glass that was chock full of whiskey. Vandermeer’s morning show on Sportsradio 610 is akin to Sesame Street. And his play by play as the voice of the Houston Texans is almost exactly like a young boy reaching puberty. Get this- his tag line is “Rock and Roll!” Creative genius.

Honorable Mention: John Granato and Lance Zerline

- Mills-McCoin

Houston’s Worst Taxidermist: Jimmy Sparks, taxidermist

I murdered a bear in cold blood and took the carcass to Jimmy. My Lord, he fixed it right up so good that when I set the bear in my livin’ room; he done come back to life and ate my kids. I’m just kidding, I don’t have kids. The other thang’s wrong with Jimmy is that he ain’t got no air conditionin’ in there. Damn it man! How you ‘bout to start thinkin’ ‘bout stuffin’ a pig in heat?

Honorable Mention: Danno’s Taxidermy- Boy, I got some stories ‘bout him too!

- Mills-McCoin

The Worst Thing About Houston Traffic: Cheap Gas

Not a one of you is a good or even semi-decent driver; and now that gas is “cheap” again, you can “afford” to continue driving poorly. When the price of a gallon of gas was $3- you still bought it. Now that it’s around $1.50- you’re buying it more. It is my sound and wise opinion as a prick and an asshole that the price of gas should be near $10. You would change how you live if that were the situation. For the sake of me, the environment and others around you that could get in my way, please carpool, walk, ride a bike, give me a bike or stay home.

Honorable Mention: Pedestrians

-Mills McCoin

Worst Houston Starbucks: The Only One Left From “The End of the Universe”

A number of years ago a brilliant comedian named Lewis Black once referred to the Starbucks situation at the corner of West Gray and Shepherd as “The End of the Universe.” The situation was that there were two- across the street from each other. You can see why there was some cause for alarm.

But now there is only one. The one with the drive thru. So maybe Lewis Black was right and Starbucks was simply off by a few years ( 2024).

Honorable Mention: The Starbucks in Midtown- nothing wrong with the Starbucks, just the clientele.