Turkeys of the Year

The 2006 Collectors Edition

Even if she doesn't get extensive tax legislation passed, Sekula-Gibbs's brief stint in the House will not be totally unworthy of note. The City of Houston, for one thing, will now have to spend up to $2 million running an election to replace her on the council.

Thanks, Shelly! Or Kelly. Or Shelley. Or whatever your name is.


Wild Turkey of the Year: Jeff Skilling

If you're a disgraced Enron exec, there are several ways to go -- dying, like Ken Lay; squealing on your buddies, like Andy Fastow; or partying like you're Mel Gibson's wilder brother, like Jeff Skilling.

Skilling further cemented his rep as the Keith Moon of Enron by getting arrested in Dallas this year for public intoxication, a couple of years after he had been arrested in Manhattan for public intoxication.

PI charges are normally reserved for barfing frat boys, or as a way for cops to hassle minorities. White-collar types like Skilling don't fit the profile.

It's all somewhat baffling, so we turned to our expert on all things rambunctiously alcoholic, Brian McManus. Formerly the Houston Press's Nightfly columnist, he's now living in Philadelphia and a member of the raucous band the Fatal Flying Guilloteens.

Houston Press: Have you ever been arrested for public intoxication? Ever come close?

McManus: No. But not for lack of trying. One time, a cop shined a flashlight on me while I was urinating outside a club, let me finish up and then gave me a talking-to: "Come on now, guy." But he didn't write me up. I have a tendency to be over-nice and very gracious when it comes to dealing with officers of the law: "Yes, officer. No, officer. You're completely correct, officer." That sort of thing. That means I'm a bitch. A bitch with no priors.

HP: How hard do you have to work to be arrested for PI, if you're not Hispanic?

McManus: I think it's pretty damn tough. Most cops -- and you see this all the time in the countless TV shows about them and the terribly difficult job they do -- don't like getting bogged down in paperwork. If you're visibly intoxicated but seem to pose no serious physical threat to those around you, you will most likely be let go simply because they don't want to sit at a desk and fill out forms. It's been my experience that if you're not shouting racist insensitivities in the middle of the street, throwing punches at women or attempting to drive a vehicle, you won't make a cop's radar.

HP: In his Dallas arrest, Skilling's attorney said his client "had drinks with dinner at a Mexican restaurant and then went for a walk." Is he somehow leaving out some details, or are the cops in Dallas total fascists?

McManus: The cops in Dallas are fascists. Skilling's attorney has a point. That said, something must've tipped the cops off. Perhaps he shit his pants or started walking down the train tracks that are just off Market Square.

HP: Getting a PI arrest after a federal judge had ordered you to stay sober as part of your bond -- ballsy? A cry for help? Evidence that the margaritas in Dallas are unfairly strong and can victimize a naïve Enron executive?

McManus: I've read Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, and by that I mean I've seen the movie. Skilling really liked taking risks. He loved riding dirtbikes at unsafe speeds and yeah, there was something in there, too, about him stealing millions of dollars from company pensions to cover his own ass. Does that make him ballsy? Is he a wounded, misunderstood victim of his own genius? Maybe. But I just think it makes him Republican.

HP: In his New York arrest, Skilling blew a .19, lifted a woman's blouse to see if she was wearing a wire, tried to steal a license plate and, according to the police report, at one point "went to the middle of the street, put his hands behind his back and began talking to the sky, asking if FBI cameras were capturing what was happening." What kind of style points would you award? And what's the deal with the license plate?

McManus: That sounds like some sort of Martin Lawrence "I've been doing cocaine for days on end" type of story that always ends with the suspect shouting conspiratorial this-and-thats about being followed or under surveillance. As for the license plate, that's just par for the course. When you're really blasted on goofy juice you wind up doing stupid things. I know a guy that bought a live chicken in the Italian market one morning after a bender and then walked it around on a leash. That sort of thing just happens.

HP: Would you like to party with Jeff? Where in Houston would you take him, and what would be the sound track for the evening?

McManus: I'd love to party with Jeff. He seems like a corporate dickwad, but the kind of dickwad who, after a few, would completely agree with you after you shouted "Mannnnnnnn, you're a dickwad!!" in his face. As much as I'd love to take him to Leon's Lounge or Lone Star Saloon, I'd really just want to take him to a bar where people would know who he was the second I introduced him -- a steakhouse bar or Pesce or something like that. I think it would be pretty easy to score free cocktails like that.

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