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Best of the 'Best and Worst' 

20 years of high absurdity.

Our annual "Best and Worst" issue stretches back deep into the years when the Arkansas Times existed as a monthly magazine, but the past two decades have provided brilliant examples of the bizarre, Arkansas-style. Bob Lancaster is responsible for most of what follows; David Koon is a later contributor.

1993

Worst party food

Minced mosquito meat pie, mosquito-chip cookies, mosquito supreme pizza and mosquito gumbo were served up at the annual World Championship Mosquito Calling Contest at Crowley's Ridge State Park in Greene County. Each dish included one-fourth cup mosquitoes.

Maybe he should check out "how to win friends and influence people."

For a September feature article, Sports Illustrated asked a number of college football coaches about their summer reading — which books they'd read over the summer did they enjoy? Which influenced them most? Razorback football Coach [Danny] Ford's response: "I didn't read no books."

1995

Best bait

The Flying W Food Mart at Springhill north of Conway installed Tom Sziszak's Vend-A-Worm machine featuring cups of about 25 fishing worms for $1 in quarters. "I think I'm filling a niche that no one else has touched," Sziszak told the Conway Log Cabin Democrat. "That of the 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. worm."

1996

Best court decisions

The state Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3 in November that a 6th grade student at Lead Hill should not have been suspended because he asked another student, within the hearing of a school administrator, "Did you fart?" The school official who overheard the remark and considered it an obscenity and suspended the boy was unrepentant after the high court's ruling against him. "If I had to do it all again, I wouldn't do it no differently," he said.

1997

Worst c.p. argument

Two days before A triple execution, which he had the power to stop, Gov. Mike Huckabee told a call-in AETN TV audience that if Jesus had been opposed to capital punishment, His crucifixion gave Him the perfect opportunity to say so. Since He didn't use that opportunity to speak out on the issue, the governor implied, Jesus must've considered capital punishment OK.

1998

Best headline

Garlic can make chicken manure smell like 'pizzaria' Batesville Guard

Worst nails

A circuit judge in Little Rock in January ordered a manicure for an inmate at the Pulaski County jail who had used his 2-inch fingernails to attack jailers and fellow prisoners. The inmate's lawyer argued that the man's slashing of authorities and bystanders was simply an exercise of his "freedom of expression."

Best marksman named Fred who's an iguana

A Bauxite man reported to authorities in June that he had been shot in the side with a handgun by his pet iguana, Fred.

Best birthday

Darthular Garner celebrated her 110th in July at Patterson in Woodruff County. Among the memories she shared with friends at her birthday party was finding out, in the 19th century, that there was no Santa Claus.

1999

Best casket

Caring Caskets of Fayetteville introduced a model called "The Razorback" in August for $2,550 wholesale, including shipping. It was advertised as "A heavy fiberglass construction casket in Razorback Red with exterior U of A seal and Razorback emblem on white velvet interior."

Best quotes

"The governor believes that all life is sacred. It is partially because of this belief that the governor supports enforcement of the death penalty." — Chris Pyle, family-life issues liaison to Gov. Huckabee, in a letter in May.

2000

Best quotes

"I love Arkansas but I think Arkansas has its share of unlit minds." — Bette Greene, author of "Summer of My German Soldier," after the Clinton school superintendent and members of the Clinton School Board tried in September to have her book, and any other book with "vulgar" language including the word "damn," removed from reading lists in the Clinton schools.

2001

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