1988 Bum Steer Awards

January 1988By Comments

The best thing you could say about 1987 is that the stock market crash did little harm to the morale of Texas. Face it, the bull left outta here a long time ago. If 1986 was the year of the bust, then 1987 was the year of the busted. Two Hunt brothers filed for Chapter 11. So did Texaco, no thanks to a hands-off Texas Supreme Court. The feds caught up with savings-and-loan sultan Don Dixon and nabbed Houston wheeler-dealer J. R. McConnell. In Austin, which by year’s end was leading the nation in empty office space, only the bankruptcy lawyers were blowing and going.

Fact is, we’ve been down so long that all we have to export is the Houston Oilers—and they wouldn’t go. Meanwhile we’re being invaded, and not just by bank examiners. Chemical Bank now owns Texas Commerce. A guy named Abboud took over First City. J. C. Penney took over Plano. Whatever’s left will doubtless go to the Australians, Arabs, or Japanese. And by the way, who was that foreigner in the robes and funny hat? We thought the pope visited only the sorriest, most down-and-out places in the world.

Come to think of it, divine intervention was what Texas needed in 1987. Not even if we had enlisted the entire city of Midland, with its proven rescue record, could we have pulled ourselves out of the hole we’d fallen into. No, there was something blocking our way—a mean, sour-faced Bum Steer, personifying everything that went wrong in the year we hit bottom, 1987. His name? Bill Clements, of course.

On his first pass through the public china shop (1979-83), Bill Clements made a fine mess of Texas. Most noteworthy was his role in one of the worst oil spills ever to gunk up the Gulf Coast. Asked on that dark occasion what Texas could do about his crude performance, Governor Clements suggested they “pray for a hurricane.” These days, as Clements puts the finishing stains on the first year of his second term, Texans are praying harder than ever. Here’s a sample of what the guv let slip this time.

• Ponygate, Chapter I. A Dallas TV station reported that while Clements was chairman of the SMU board of governors he approved illicit payments to football players.

• Ponygate, Chapter II. When reporters accused him of being less than truthful in his discussions with the NCAA, Clements insisted that he hadn’t lied—because there was no Bible present.

• Ponygate, Chapter III. A committee of Methodist bishops reported that after Clements and his fellow SMU governors pulled off the play-for-pay scam, they attempted to cover up their misdeeds.

• Having campaigned on an anti-tax platform and boasting a “secret” economic plan, Clements urged the Legislature to make temporary gasoline and sales taxes permanent.

• After promising to veto a tax increase, Clements hemmed, hawed, double-clutched, then allowed a hike of $4.8 billion.

• Clements told the Amarillo Daily News that the FSLIC would not stand behind Texas savings and loans, thereby risking a run on the state’s thrift institutions.

• Clements asked Joe Madrigal, the state’s director of Hispanic and Latin American affairs, to act as his translator on a junket to Mexico, unaware that Madrigal does not speak Spanish.

• In response to a letter from the Texas Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Clements promised to do everything he could to help the mentally retarded.

• Eager to win the federal supercollider laboratory for Texas, Clements challenged the governor of Illinois to an Indian wrestling match.

• In the middle of a ceremony to honor the blind, Clements ordered a young boy to kick a Capitol reporter in the shins.

• And not surprisingly, by autumn Clements had earned a negative performance rating from 72 percent of the state’s voters.

Soon to Be Retitled, Geraldo Rivera: Dope of a Nation
In a live segment of Geraldo Rivera’s news show, American Vice: The Doping of a Nation, a camera crew accompanied the police on a raid of a Channel-view duplex, where, according to Rivera’s background commentary, “an alleged pimp and prostitute—a dude and his lady, real pros—are supplying truckers speed.” Cops and camera then burst into the house to find a lone woman in shirt and shorts painting the walls.

He Paid His Bail in Sand Dollars
Lang Nguyen was charged with attempted murder after attacking a Corpus Christi store clerk with a conch shell.

The Road to Jail Is Paved With Good Intentions
Harris County commissioner Bob Eckels was convicted of illegally accepting a gift when he allowed a construction company to build his wife a paved road for a wedding present.

That’s How You Shoot A Hole in One
Austin Parks and Recreation director Charles Jordan suggested that the way to prevent robberies on city golf courses is for police officers “to play for free when they’re off duty.”

Gig ’Em
A bill by State Senator Craig Washington to regulate vasectomies included a special exemption that would allow the operation to be performed on men who have attended Texas A&M.

Just Say Noink
Big Priscilla, the pig who became a hero three years ago after rescuing a child from drowning in Lake Somerville, swelled to 1,100 pounds and became addicted to morning glory vine.

That Many?
Jim and Tammy Bakker canceled their “Farewell for Now” concert at Houston’s 16,000-seat Summit arena because only ninety people bought tickets.

Rock of Ages Clipped From Thee
Bruce Williams and Christine Ward of the Abilene area were arrested after posing as mourners to steal jewelry from bodies at funeral homes.

Give Him an A in Biology
Valedictorian Mike Woosley was suspended from Kingwood High School for hiring a stripper to visit his physics class.

So Far She Hasn’t Noticed Any Sudden Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes In Her Health
Wanda Nichols of Dallas accused rock star David Bowie of sexually assaulting her and demanded that he take an AIDS test.

As Buddy Holly He Might Have Pulled It Off
A man billing himself as Dick Dodd, the leader of sixties rock band the Standells, appeared onstage at an Austin nightclub—unaware that the real Dick Dodd was there.

Dallas’ Buddy magazine refused to refer to the Deep Ellum section of Dallas by its real name because “it’s terribly racist, even if the ‘chilluns’ on the street have never thought about it.”

Money They Could Have Spent On a Bridge in Brooklyn
The Dallas Museum of Art acknowledged that three Mexican sculptures believed to date from A.D. 600 to 900 and valued at nearly $200,000 actually had been mass-produced in the fifties and are worth less than $20 each.

He Was in a Full Upright Position for Landing
A newlywed couple was put off their honeymoon flight in Houston after a passenger complained that the groom was kissing his bride’s bare breast.

Caution: Owner in Trunk
LaVerie Williams of Beaumont, eager to test the size of the trunk of her new car, had family members shut her inside—with the key clutched in her hand.

Hizzoner Was Brain Dead On Arrival
Houston municipal judge Felix Stanley, upset because an ambulance had taken his parking place, blocked access to the emergency vehicle, which prevented paramedics from unloading a stretcher needed to evacuate a sick employee.

Coming Soon: Horse-Drawn Lowriders
A press release from Texas A&M stated that the Amish may ultimately replace illegal Mexican labor in Texas.

Could Sex Be Next?
A new law in Anson allowed dancing for the first time since 1933.

Why Rodeo Will Never Be a Big Sport on the Bayou
Hazel Farrill of Houston discovered an eight-foot 230-pound alligator in her driveway. “He was a pretty nice feller,” she said, “until they roped him.”

Didn’t Your Mama Teach You Anything?
Rule number eight in Brazos Bend State Park’s guide to alligator etiquette: “When an alligator stands its ground, opens its mouth, and hisses, you have come too close.”

He Should Have Worn a Mask
A part-time baggage handler in Houston was arrested for stealing $20,000 in costumes, holsters, pistols, and silver bullets from Clayton “The Lone Ranger” Moore.

Here’s to Firmer Relationships
Robert West, the chairman of the board of Tesoro Petroleum, testified that he authorized hiring a $3,000 prostitute for the finance minister of Trinidad.

Next They’ll Want You To Fly United
Braniff airlines ran Spanish-language ads in Miami, urging passengers to “sit naked.”

He’d Had One Too Many Molotov Cocktails
U.S. representative Henry B. Gonzalez punched a customer in the eye at a San Antonio restaurant after the man called Gonzalez a communist.

Don’t Mess With Homosex—Oops, They Mean Texas
The Texas Highway Department suspended its Adopt-A-Highway antilitter program after the Austin Lesbian-Gay Political Caucus applied to become participants.

Make One Little Mistake And People Jump All Over You
Houston-based Commonwealth Mortgage Company of America evicted a family from its Miami home by breaking out windows and heaving bedding, toys, furniture, and antiques onto the lawn. After the residents protested, the company double-checked its records and determined that the correct house was in another neighborhood.

Now, If He Could Only Find A Cure for Bill Clements
Former governor Preston Smith is helping to market a pill called Rebound, which he is touting as a cure for hangovers.

Keep Pestering Us and We’ll Have You Paroled
Sentenced to two years in prison for aggravated assault, Wayne Pratt tried to turn himself in to TDC officials in Huntsville but was told he didn’t have an appointment. He tried again five weeks later but was told he had arrived too late.

The Top Two Finishers Took Steroids
Nelda Harles of Texas City spent six weeks fattening up her pet cockroach, Sticky, to compete in the first annual National Cockroach Contest in New Rochelle, New York. Her TLC paid off, and Sticky, who earned his name because of “the cute way he stuck to the candy we fed him,” measured in at 1.8 inches—good enough to win the third prize of $200.

Texas, Our Texas, All Hail the Mighty State
According to a survey by the makers of Black Flag insecticide, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio finished one-two-three in a ranking of most-roach-infested American cities.

Warning: This House Protected By Vinegar & Wesson
An intruder tried to break into a house in Borger using a cucumber.

Maybe It Wasn’t Such a Letdown
“Due to unforeseen circumstances,” read the press release, “Male Stripper Night at the Westbury Place Retirement and Nursing Center. . . has been canceled until further notice.”

Now That’s Crop Cultivation
For $800, San Antonio hair stylist Mario Iturralde will custom design a hairpiece shaped to resembled a palm tree or cornstalk.

Soon to Be Renamed Thi Felta Goo
To prove to school officials that a fraternity tradition was not a form of hazing, 25 pledges of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Southwest Texas State volunteered to wear burlap underwear filled with eggs.

Filled to the Brim With White Trash
At a pep rally before a football game between predominantly white Plano Senior High and Dallas’ predominantly black Roosevelt High, Plano students played the part of Roosevelt fans by wearing black trash bags decorated with huge red lips.

Oh, Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Pontiac Trans Am? And Here’s a Picture So You Don’t Screw Up This Time
After San Antonio millionairess Leslie Negley bought a Camaro for fellow church member Maria Medina, Medina allowed that she had been praying for a Trans Am.

She Had Already Begun Praying for a Trans Am
Martha Rojas of San Antonio had given up hope of ever seeing her stolen Pontiac Firebird again—until it pulled up next to her at a drive-in movie.

The Oil Patch, Where a Buck Is Still a Buck
The Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association pleaded with Congress to hold special hearings on the plight of the oil industry, then begged off when the meetings were scheduled for the opening day of deer season.

Next Week: Stamps Licked by Fawn
During the contra hearings, Scrivener’s gift shop in San Antonio advertised “Confetti Shredded by Ollie.”

It Pays to Keep Good Records
As the county tax collector and sheriff’s deputies raided an Austin nightclub, the disc jockey played “Taxman” and “Busted.”

Whist for Wimps
In his first six years as a passenger aboard the vice-presidential jet, Air Force Two, George Bush gave away $59,000 worth of playing cards.

Profile in Courage
Native son Dan Rather, angered that a women’s tennis match was running over into his CBS Evening News, left the studio and did not return until the network had run six minutes of dead air.

Is That Worse Than Tort Reform?
George Roden, a preacher from Waco, got so angry over demands to pay delinquent property taxes that he threatened Texas Supreme Court justices with herpes and AIDS from God.

Like Flies


A bust is a bargain-hunter’s delight, and in 1987 a flood of red ink turned Texas into one big Blue Light Special. Don’t be shy. Step right up, and check out one of this year’s lovely liquidations.

1981 Drilling Barge, San Antonio
Picture yourself on a boat on a river with tangerine daiquiris and coveralled guys. That’s right, you could be the proud owner of a two-hundred-foot Texas classic. Original sticker price: $11.5 million. Yours for a slick $1.95 million.

1979 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, Midland
In an era when only pigeons can make a deposit on a new snowmobile, here’s a chance to keep up with the Basses, if not the Joneses. The FDIC inherited this darling and restickered it at $30,000.

Lost Herd, Amarillo
Jim Kassahn of Lubbock posted 32,000 head of cattle as collateral with the First National Bank of Amarillo, but when the bank went to collect, the herd in hock could not be located. Drive ’em away for $13 million—if you can find ’em.

Human Skeleton, Rockdale
For that buyer on a barebones budget, the H. H. Coffield estate passed on this delectable corpus for the low, low price of $140, tax and skull not included.

John Connally Memorabilia, Floresville
There’s no way to put a price tag on a lifetime of enterprise and public service, but the bankrupt ex-guv and wife Nellie are giving it their best shot anyway. Auction items include a 1978 “Texan of the Year” paperweight, a monogrammed white-leather saddle, forged artwork, and a brace of Chippendale-style mirrors detailed with feathered crests and the mythical Japanese ho-ō birds.

China Cabinet, Porcelain Bowl, Karastan Carpet, Austin
The boys at United Bank couldn’t make ends meet, but they sure could decorate, and now direct from the FDIC to you comes an elegant array of banker’s baubles. Bottom line on the above items was $10,500, $5,300, and $3,000, respectively.

Photo of Willie Nelson and Darrell Royal, Austin
This portrait of the Red Headed Stranger and the Burnt-Orange legend has been gathering karma in the hallowed Villa Capri Motor Hotel for years. But when the No Vacancy sign went on for good, the Travis County tax assessor parted with this knock-out knickknack for a mere $275.

Brahman Bull Semen, Longview
Here’s a bundle for the husband who has everything. A bankrupt dentist agreed to part with 850 straws of precious bodily fluid from the late Jose 417. Now, that’s what we call liquidation. Price: $25 a pop.

River Place Country Club, Austin
Sick of soaring green fees? Why not score your own hole in one? It’s hard to pin down an asking price because the For Sale sign is not up yet, but Lamar Savings’ overall loan for clubhouse, eighteen-hole course, and luxury development exceeded $50 million.

Boardwalk Condominiums, South Padre Island
Originally priced around $500,000, these forty lovely seaside sanctuaries were marked down to move like driftwood during hurricane season. Half price? Half price? Sold for half price.


Geez, Sarge, a Bombshell Is a Bombshell . . .
A congressional committee investigating lapses in security at Amarillo’s Pantex plant, where nuclear weapons are assembled, alleged that on lonely nights “some guards lay down their machine guns and pick up sex partners.”

. . . Is a Bombshell
Aletha Rollins, a missile repair-woman at the Red River Army Depot near Texarkana, temporarily lost her security clearance after her superiors spotted nude photos of her in Hustler magazine.

Clothes Overboard
A technical error at Austin’s Channel 36 inadvertently inserted seven seconds of porn into a rerun of Love Boat.

He Thought the Coach Could Stand a Few Pointers on Offense
After the Calvert High Trojans lost a football game, 37—0, Calvert school board president Daniel Von Hurst came after coach Isaac Wells with a knife.

Winner of the Judge Roy Bean Award for Judicial Expedience
Upset that a neighbor’s son had broken one of her son’s toys, state district judge Marsha Anthony of Kingwood pulled a gun on the child’s mother.

One Hell of a Way to Say Thanks
A poacher in East Texas won a suit against the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife in which he claimed that after wardens had arrested him for hunting squirrels out of season, they permitted him to get drunk and then pulled off the highway so he could catch a rattlesnake, which bit him.

Try That Again, Lady, And He Gets It in the Kneecap
Splendora police officer William Ford, upset that his girlfriend had left him, shot himself in the arm and told his comrades he had been wounded by two holdup men.

Now He’s Flushed With Success
Walt Hibbs of Houston patented the Seat Down, an automatic toilet-seat closure device designed to prevent rude awakenings in the wee hours.

Even Though Witnesses Had Dropped Out of Sight
Charles Lovejoy sued the city of Houston and won $400,000 after his sports car struck a three-foot-wide, eight-inch-deep pothole and bounced into oncoming traffic.

Hey, Pal, Where’d Ya Get That Cauliflower Ear?
Misdemeanor assault charges were filed against Dallas city council member Al Lipscomb for allegedly hitting a vendor during a dispute over who was next in line at a farmer’s market garbage bin.

He Had Her Sentenced to Ninety Days in the Evidence Locker
Sharon Moody, then the wife of Smithville police chief Larry Barmore, was arrested for selling cocaine to an undercover agent.

Don’t Be Stupid, Cupid. This Is Houston, 1987
For a mere $11,500 the Remington Hotel in Houston offered a valentine package that included dinner and the night at the Remington, breakfast in bed, a private jet to Dallas for brunch at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, another jet flight to Los Angeles for dinner and the evening at the Bel-Air Hotel, and yet another champagne-and-caviar flight home to Houston. There were no takers.

Make That the Upchuck Wagon
The Chuck Wagon Gang, a charity group from Odessa, made the Guinness Book of World Records with a Frito pie weighing 13,362 pounds.

After All, Wichita Falls Is Just a Day’s Drive From Harlingen
To help out the Nicaraguan contras, John Ramsey of Wichita Falls proposed collecting second-hand shotguns and shipping them to Central America via a convoy of trucks.

What Becomes a Legend Most?
Prince Chablis, a whippet owned by Houston jewelry designer Birdie Wheeler, appeared in a fashion show modeling a custom-made Blackglama mink with a black fox collar.

He Violated Robbers’ Rules of Order
Clay Sanders took so long sticking up an Abilene convenience store that the clerk had time to serve three customers and trip a silent alarm.

It Was the Only Thing Keeping the Astros Afloat
Billy Hatcher, the Houston Astros’ best hitter, was suspended for ten days when his bat broke during a game against the Chicago Cubs, revealing that it had been filled with hit-enhancing cork.

Once an Underachiever, Always an Underachiever
During a DWI trial in which he was acquitted, Brazoria County tax assessor-collector Ray Cornett repeated the physical-skills test for sobriety that police gave him at the time of his arrest—and did worse.

SWC School Wins National Press Award
For the second time in three years, Sports Illustrated declared Texas Tech’s campus the ugliest in America.

Reach for the Friendly Skies
Dallas—Fort Worth International Airport and Houston Intercontinental Airport finished one-two in the nation for the number of people caught attempting to carry pistols through metal detectors.

Like, Y’Know, the Dude Walks on Water
Surfside Witness, an all-girl evangelical Christian surf band from Houston, spreads the word with songs like “Bible Beach,” “Sunday School Dropout,” and “Surfin’ With the Savior.”

Yeah, But He Struck Out Three Beer Vendors in a Row
Texas Ranger pitcher Greg Harris admitted to team doctors that his swollen right elbow might have resulted from flicking sunflower seeds into the stands from the bull pen.

Dog Whistles Banned In College Station
Patricia Luttgen, a veterinarian at Texas A&M, now prescribes hearing aids for dogs.

Who Made a Monkey Out of Whom?
Houston defense attorney Rayford Carter described a Nigerian burglary victim as “swinging from limb to limb with a banana or coconut in one hand.”

They Ate Their Words
“God will get you for this.” “Go back where you came from.” A Colombian couple living in San Antonio opened their mailbox to discover a stack of such threatening notes—written on tortillas.

But What If Marvin Zindler Bought Next Door?
Todd Hoffman came up with a scheme to sell 45 million square-inch plots around the site of the original Chicken Ranch, the erstwhile Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Thank Goodness They’d Never Heard of Branch Banking
Two teenagers used tree limbs to rob a San Antonio convenience store of money and an undetermined number of honey buns and cherry pies.

A Stamped, Self-fulfilling Prophecy
Jack Rains mailed out invitations to his swearing in as Secretary of State—a week before the Texas Senate okayed his appointment.

W. C. Fields Was Right
San Antonian Oscar Gutierrez died of water intoxication after drinking a dozen glasses of water in rapid succession to flush the devil from his system.

He Should Have Tried Twelve Glasses of Water
Racked by remorse after killing his girlfriend, Joseph Randle, Jr., of Houston tried to slash his wrists, but it hurt too much. Next he tried to drown himself, but the water was too cold. Finally he tried to end his life by chain-smoking two packs of cigarettes and eating some rancid chicken. He survived to be sentenced to fifteen years.

I Have Not Yet Begun To Eat Cabrito
Though Joseph Burris of Sharpstown argued that as a commodore in the Texas Navy he was entitled to keep a billy goat mascot in his back yard, a jury nonetheless found him guilty of breaking a city livestock ordinance. “If it were up to me,” said the commodore’s wife, “I’d barbecue the thing.”

No, No, A Hundred Times No
A runaway automatic dialing machine called a Dallas family one hundred times in a row with the message, “Dennis Exberg, please call the message center.” The family’s name is not Exberg.

Hello, Vickie. This Is Dennis Exberg. Any Messages?
Dallas star Victoria Principal sued Joan Rivers for $3 million after the talk-show hostess revealed the actress’s unlisted phone number on television.

The Things You Have to Do These Days to Get Money For the Contras
A man robbed a San Antonio furniture store, wearing a trench coat and a Ronald Reagan mask.

The Diaspora of the Cellulites
Believercise, a Christian aerobics studio in Plano, sold 100,000 workout records worldwide.

They Wouldn’t Have Tried It At Harpoon Harry’s
Two men tried to rob a San Antonio Long John Silver’s using a crossbow.

A Chance to Get Under A Good Boss and Work Up
Ad for an accountant in the Austin American-Statesman: “Preference will be given to those with a strong sex background.. . . We have a Wang 2200. . . . After initial interview you’ll be tested by our CPA sex specialist on sex reporting ability. There is opportunity for growth within this position.”

Don’t Tell Me, Son—Your Lucky Number Is Zero
When San Antonio burglar David Gaitan pleaded not to be sentenced to seven years in prison because seven was his unlucky number, district judge David Berchelmann, Jr., sentenced Gaitan to eight.

What He Really Meant Is That He Never Impersonated His Starting Quarterback, Warren Somebody
After an altercation in a suburban Buffalo hotel, Houston Oilers general manager Ladd Herzeg admitted to slapping a wedding guest, but “categorically denied that I mooned anyone at anytime, anywhere.”

No Time to Be Soft on Crime
Edward Williams, the materials manager at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston, was accused of stealing 79,680 rolls of toilet paper.

Good to the Last Wiggle
Austinite Frank Trevino was ready to dig into a cup of instant soup until he discovered that his cup was writhing with brown worms. When he looked over at his grandson, Raymond, the child’s cup was already empty.

Records Are Made to Be Eaten
Brian Williams says he pulled a thirteen-pound walleye out of Lake Stamford in Haskell County and fileted it without first talking to Parks and Wildlife officials. The state record for walleyes is eleven pounds, six ounces.

It’s 10 p.m. Do You Know Where Your Fudgsicle Is?
Shirley Overton, a mother in Arlington, pleaded with city hall for stricter regulation of ice-cream vendors. Cried she: “You don’t know where that ice cream’s been, where it goes at night.”

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
A study of U-Haul traffic by Baylor economist Ray Perryman shows a trend of trucks and trailers leaving Dallas for Houston, Houston for Austin—San Antonio, and Austin—San Antonio for Dallas.

The Honeymoons Had to End Sometime
Richard Reyes of Waco went to jail for marrying off his wife to two different illegal aliens, who each paid Reyes $1,000.


On September 13 San Antonio entertained the first pope to ever set foot in Texas, John Paul II. An estimated 300,000 people attended mass at a 144-acre site in northwestern Bexar County, and thousands more lined the streets of San Antonio for several parades. The media covered the events with an almost excruciating thoroughness, but here are some of the headlines you might have missed.

Pontiff Compared To Nauseating Amusement Ride
Claudia Guerra of San Antonio said her peek at the pope was “like waiting an hour to get on Greased Lightning at AstroWorld for a one-minute thrill.”

Failure of the Holy See
Julia Rosenfeld ordered five thousand Popescope periscopes but sold only eighty along the parade route.

Which Way to the Vat-I-Can?
Lines for the portable toilets weren’t so bad, said one potty concessionaire. “After all, this wasn’t any rock concert that goes from sunup to midnight with people slamming down beers.”

Pope Doesn’t Like It Hot—Or Cold
A hungry John Paul II was offered steak, potatoes, and string beans and for dessert, strawberry shortcake and pecan pie. He asked not to be served spicy food or ice.

The Miracle of the Guacamole
“At least fifty people have called me to make reservations for my yard,” said Josephine Rodriquez, whose house is across the plaza from where the pope spoke. “I’m going to make lots of dips and sandwiches and lock the front gate.”

Holy Cowboy
John Paul II was presented with a $3,000 pair of handmade black alligator cowboy boots with a ruby-encrusted papal seal. “The color provides an outlet for different occasions,” said Dan Ponder of the Tony Lama boot company. “The black won’t clash with his red, purple, and white robes.”

Onward, Christian Soldiers
The American Atheists were issued a parade permit for an antipope demonstration but decided against it because President John Murray was afraid of getting “beat up, stoned, or shot.”

Blame It on Immaculate Congestion
The pope “seems the person as close to God as you can be,” said San Antonian Danny Gonzales, who stayed home because of the traffic.

The New Centurions
“It’s kind of ruining our weekend,” said a National Guardsman.


Born With a Silver Slipper in His Mouth
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld stood up a crowd of Houston socialites at a Costume Institute benefit, where he was to receive the institute’s first annual Silver Slipper award. “It was poorly organized from the beginning,” he explained by way of excuse. “It was a one-night thing. The flight was canceled for the day. They said I could get another flight; I would be late for Houston, but I could put on my black tie in the pee-pee room of the Atlanta airport. I told them no. I had to be back in Europe the next morning, and there was no Concorde for Paris then. I am not a young, starving musician. I am not a one-night stand. I think it was a little cheap. I like very much the people in Houston, but I will not change in the pee-pee room of the Atlanta airport. I have to have a private jet. I don’t want to hurt the—perhaps these things are okay when you are twenty and in love, but I am Karl Lagerfeld, I am a creative genius, I don’t go home on a cargo flight. Those days are over. I am sorry, but life is life.”

It’s Not Over Till The Spear-Chucker Leaves
During a performance of the Houston Grand Opera’s Abduction From the Seraglio, which was set as a thirties desert romance, tenor Plácido Domingo wandered onto the stage dressed as an Egyptian spear-carrier from Aida, the opera onstage next door.

She Earned Her Title As Head Cheese
To counter disparaging comments about the University of Texas at El Paso, interim president Diana Natalicio designed a series of press releases called “Baloneygrams.”

Good Thing the Civil Defense Guys Weren’t Invited
Three TV weathermen who had predicted clouds and only a slight chance of rain served as grand marshals for the Battle of the Flowers parade in San Antonio. It poured.

One More Vote Than a Dead Man
David Rubio’s vote in favor of $10 million in bonds for Northwest Bexar County road district number four turned the election into a landslide. Rubio is the district’s only resident.

His Payments Were in Arrears
A Bay City woman says she allowed her doctor to spank her repeatedly because he promised her $2,500 for participating in pain research.

While You’re at It, How About Repo’ing the White House?
An IRS employee in Austin set up a computer file indicating that a federal tax lien had been filed against President Ronald Reagan.

What’s It Now? The Eighter from Nacogdoches?
Domino playing in Decatur’s Wise County courthouse is now prohibited.

I’ll Slice the Pork, You Bring the Bread
U.S. senator Lloyd Bentsen announced a plan to invite lobbyists and heads of political action committees to a monthly breakfast meeting—and charge each of them $10,000.

Alamo Lovely This Time of Year; Scores of Texans Slaughtered
Caption for a Houston Chronicle photo of people standing on a dock watching another group of people aboard a boat: “The Island Queen arrives at Allen’s Landing in downtown Houston Saturday afternoon, carrying facsimile members of the Texas Army of old. The arrival of the sternwheeler at the head of the Houston Yacht Club Boat Parade kicked off the Sixth Annual Waterfront Festival, which combined music and history on the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The festival was marred, however, when participants found a body floating in the bayou.”

Not That It Ruined His Reputation
Austin musician Dino Lee, who drives a purple Cadillac, favors wigs and lamé costumes, and calls himself the King of White Trash, was stopped outside the State Motel because police mistook him for a pimp.

And That’s Why Star Wars Will Be Foolproof
The U.S. Army in El Paso, thinking it was selling empty boxes to a Mexican scrap dealer, accidentally allowed 23 fully armed rockets to be transported across the border into Juárez.

Tell Her to Stay Out Of the Basement
Bankrupt Cullen Davis acknowledged that he was so broke that he had to let his maid go, though she continues to do his laundry for free.

Maybe She Was Trying To Turn Herself In
A seventy-year-old Lubbock woman was charged with DWI after she crashed her pickup into a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission building.

Maybe the Judge Should Reverse the Charges
A man telephoned a Laredo convenience store and ordered the night clerk to put the money in a bag on the counter, lock himself in the bathroom, and count backward from one hundred. When the clerk opened the door, the booty was gone.

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