2005 Bum Steer Awards
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Better close off the balcony too
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, of Houston, requested that a corridor in her Washington, D.C., office building be closed off for eight hours so that she could meet privately with singer Michael Jackson.
4—6 minutes to high cholesterol
An eighteen-wheeler overturned on Houston’s Loop 610, spilling 30,000 pounds of eggs onto the freeway.
They were caught in the mission-ary position
Kristine Nissel and Matthew Hotard, both active-duty soldiers at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio, were arrested and charged with public lewdness after a security officer found them having sex at the Alamo.
Why not start at the top?
Waiting for a live broadcast to begin but unaware that her microphone had been turned on, Blandina Cardenas, the new president of the University of Texas—Pan American, in Edinburg, surprised listeners, including the school’s provost, by saying to UT regents, “I think we need a new provost.”
That’s because he didn’t have a tattoo of his insurance card
For seven days, employees of Wilford Hall Medical Center, at Lackland Air Force Base, were unable to identify a young man who was injured in a car accident, even though his last name was tattooed in large letters across his stomach.
Darlin’, your next 15,600 flights to Palm Beach are on me!
Neiman Marcus’s 2004 Christmas catalog included a lifetime pass on American Airlines for only $3 million.
That explains why his references sounded like they were talking through pantyhose
A man who robbed a Houston Whataburger was promptly arrested because he accidentally dropped a job application he had filled out for the fast-food eatery, complete with his name and address.
We need it to mean “We shoot first. You ask questions later”
Writing in Rolling Stone about the 2004 presidential campaign, journalist Hunter S. Thompson penned this description of Texas’s largest city: “Houston is a cruel and crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It’s a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West—which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch.”
During the filming of The Alamo in Austin, a group of actors including Billy Bob Thornton, who played Davy Crockett, and Kevin Page, who played Micajah Autry, got drunk and acquired tattoos as mementos, but Page later discovered that his tattoo actually read “Rememler the Alamo.”
Dead giveaway: Chuck doesn’t dot his i’s with little hearts
A Beaumont woman was indicted for using fake checks after she stole the identity of a Houston man, Chuck Rosenthal, who happens to be the Harris County district attorney.
Five years for assaulting the employee, five more for desecrating the cheeseburgers
Waynetta Nolan, of Houston, was sentenced to ten years in prison for striking a McDonald’s employee with her car following an argument in which she complained that the restaurant would not put mayonnaise on her two double cheeseburgers.
Takes one to know one
U.S. House majority leader Tom DeLay, of Sugar Land, received his third admonishment in five years from the House Ethics Committee. In response, DeLay said the charges had “insufficient merit.”
What’s the penaltyfor decent exposure?
University of New Mexico art student Jonathan Loth was arrested in Marfa for disorderly conduct because he was walking up and down the street wearing only a pair of boxer shorts printed with a picture of the crotch of Michelangelo’s David.
It’s his only chance to get out of the downward doghouse
Houstonian James Lee Cross, convicted of domestic assault for slapping his wife, was sentenced by Judge Larry Standley to take anger-management counseling and yoga.
Or he could scare him to death with his political views
At a hearing in Gatesville to enforce a political-sign ordinance against state representative Sid Miller, a process server testified that, during a telephone conversation, Miller said three times that if the marshal came onto his property to serve him with court papers, he would shoot him.
My name is William Thomasset and I approved this obituary
Relatives of William Kappes Thomasset ran an obituary for the 81-year-old Angleton man that concluded, “In lieu of flowers, Bill would be most honored and gratified by your vote for the Bush/Cheney ticket in November!”
That explains the “wide” in wide-open spaces
Six Texas cities appeared on Men’s Fitness magazine’s list of the fattest U.S. cities. Houston ranked second, Dallas third, San Antonio fourth, Fort Worth sixth, Arlington eighth, and El Paso twenty-fourth.
Yeah. Right after the mug shot
John George led Austin police on a 26-minute high-speed chase before surrendering after entering a dead-end street. He then asked arresting officers, “Don’t y’all have to quit chasing me after a certain amount of time?”
If you don’t know why this is funny, try Viagra
To the despair of local law enforcement, teenage pranksters repeatedly stole the signs from a particular street in the Woodlands: Morning Wood.
It’s my party and you’ll cry if I want you to
District judge Faith Johnson, of Dallas, hearing of the recapture of a defendant who, a year earlier, had been convicted of aggravated assault but had jumped bail before sentencing, welcomed him back to her courtroom with balloons, streamers, and a cake decorated with his name.
I see an ugly growth in your Ovilla
Thomas Patrick Remo, of Ovilla, was convicted of practicing medicine without a license after he ran ads in the Dallas Observer offering free gynecological services to women.
Eighty windmills outside Jerry’s office would work even better
Texas land commissioner Jerry Patterson accused New Mexico land commissioner Patrick Lyons of “wind swindling and breeze rustling” because an Austin-based company signed a deal to place eighty windmills on New Mexico state lands.
Are you going to bring up that little thing again?
After Congressman Pete Sessions, of Dallas, condemned Janet Jackson’s breast-baring during halftime at the Super Bowl, his Democratic opponent, Martin Frost, revealed that Sessions, as a freshman at Southwest Texas State University, had joined fellow pranksters and streaked across campus.
She could never get $50 a barrel for the other stuff
In Longview, city workers accidentally hooked up sewer lines to a pipeline used to carry oil from nearby wells, causing a local woman’s house to flood with crude.
Finally, a reason to drink Corona
Tecate beer ran a series of billboard ads across Texas and the Southwest showing a chilled bottle next to the slogan “Finally, a cold Latina.”
He made Oscar the Grouch change his name and put Cookie Monster on a diet
Sesame Street introduced a new character based on Dallas psychologist Phil McGraw named Dr. Feel.
Gag ’em, Aggies!
Playboy ran a cartoon showing three students—one with a ball gag, one with a whip, and one in a black-leather mask—in front of a large building emblazoned “Texas S&M.”
Lending new meaning to the phrase “Bite the bullet”
Cody Landry, of Sabine Pass, pled guilty to charges of felony criminal mischief after he shot sixteen cattle and butchered them to sell the meat, only to have a customer discover that the bargain steaks and roasts were marred by bullet holes.
The president is against destruction of life, but perhaps he’d be willing to make an exception
To promote the use of stem cells obtained from tissue removed during liposuction, plastic surgeon Robert Ersek, of Austin, held a press conference and was videotaped performing the fat-sucking operation on his own abdomen.
He was trying to close the gender gap
Sam Walls, of Fort Worth, a Republican candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, lost his primary runoff bid after photos surfaced showing him dressed in women’s clothing.
Reading is fundamentalist
After a Plano elementary school announced plans to hold a Harry Potter party to promote reading, parent James O’Connor went to court to block the event, claiming that the school district was encouraging Wicca, “an explicitly pagan, earth-centered religion.”
Note to TxDOT: Don’t try this in Plano
After the Texas Department of Transportation installed “Windy Man,” a cast-concrete image of a bearded face exhaling a blast of air, along a short stretch of freeway in Lubbock, dozens of residents complained that the image was pagan.
Fortunately, the air pollution keeps you from smelling anything
The makers of Old Spice deodorant conducted a survey to determine the nation’s sweatiest cities and awarded first place to El Paso.
Seems like El Paso would be a better market
Citing various factors including residents’ number of sexual partners and the abundance of local bars and lingerie shops, the makers of Axe Deodorant Bodyspray determined that Austin was the nation’s “No. 1 City for the Dating Game.”
Be sure you’re right, then clear-cut
San Antonio’s Historic and Design Review Commission nixed a caricature of Davy Crockett that was to appear on a large sign because it made Crockett look like a lumberjack.
If you say so
Mark Francis Roberts, of England, was fined $1,000 for trespassing because, at the end of halftime at the Super Bowl, he ran onto the field dressed as a referee, stripped to a G-string, and danced a jig. “If making people laugh is a criminal offense,” he said, “I should be sentenced to prison for life.”
“Your first card is . . . ‘the Fool.’ The next one is . . . ‘Judgment.’ That will be $26,850 apiece”
Diana Cortez, the former mayor of La Grulla, and Sandra Lopez, the town’s former bookkeeper, pled guilty to charges of theft after they used money from the city’s general fund to pay a psychic $53,700 for tarot card readings.
The rest of you might like to know about the trouble with the number one engine
Rodger K. Findiesen, of Annapolis, a pilot for American Airlines, was grounded after he urged all Christians on a Los-Angeles-to-New-York flight to discuss their faith with their fellow passengers.
You can keep the sausage
The Frio-Nueces Current ran a story about a group who, to raise money to clean up a historic graveyard, sold raffle tickets for an entire processed steer. The newspaper headlined the article “Cemetery Meat Raffle.”
Big deal. The Court of Criminal Appeals has approved of sleeping lawyers for years
District judge Raul Vasquez, of Laredo, appointed a master to determine whether lawyer Mario Castillo Jr. could bill a client for five hours of sleeping at $300 an hour because, while Castillo was working out of town, he was unable to put his children to bed.
Threat level: Borracho
Employees of the Wells Fargo Bank in Post called police after hearing clicking sounds issuing from a money bag. A combined team of sheriff’s deputies, police officers, and federal agents cleared the entire block around the bank and sent in a bomb squad to x-ray the bag, which proved to contain two small plastic boxes of Mexican jumping beans.
Now they’re National Meritless Finalists
Nine Georgetown High School students who helped plan the school prom used funds left over from the party to give themselves $500 college scholarships.
Almost as long as the Texas Legislature
State district judge John Dietz, commenting on the complexity of a lawsuit challenging the state’s funding of public schools, noted, “We could be waiting a long time. We could be talking in Rumpelstiltskin scale.” He later added that he meant Rip Van Winkle, who slept for twenty years.
Where’s Jack Ruby when you really need him?
Traffic Games, based in Scotland, released a video game that allows players to simulate the assassination of John F. Kennedy, using a digital re-creation of Lee Harvey Oswald’s viewpoint from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository.
Once again: Brown Building, Green lawn. Got it?
Federal district judges Sam Sparks and Lee Yeakel, of Austin, sent to the managers of the Brown Building, a residential tower across the street from the U.S. Courthouse, a copy of their order warning that dog owners would face a fine or arrest if they allowed their pets to defecate on the courthouse lawn.
The only good cartoon football game is a dead cartoon football game
Neil Bush, son of former president George Bush and brother of President George W. Bush, developed an educational program called Ignite that includes a rap song about the Constitutional Convention and a cartoon football game between Andrew Jackson and the Seminoles.
What? No tongue stud?
Departing from a campaign appearance, Jenna Bush expressed her feelings about the media. (See the January 2005 print version for a photograph of Jenna sticking out her tongue to the media.)
But at least they earned their atonement ribbons
The Army discharged two soldiers, husband and wife Refael and Margaret Chaiken, of Houston, because they skipped an interrogation-training class to attend Yom Kippur services.
She felt that no child should leave behind what left the behind of the child
A teacher at Dallas’s Gabe P. Allen Elementary School was placed on administrative leave because, after a first-grader soiled the classroom floor, she sent him home with the feces in his backpack.
Just a heartbeat away from civility
Vice President Dick Cheney, during an argument on the Senate floor about Cheney’s ties to his former firm, Halliburton Company, of Dallas, told Democrat Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, “Go f— yourself.”
But only to say “Go f— yourself”
During the vice-presidential debate, Dick Cheney stated that he had never before met John Edwards, the Democratic nominee, but various Web sites posted photographs showing that he had been with Edwards on at least three previous occasions.
Go fact-check yourself
In another exchange during the vice-presidential debate, Dick Cheney said that viewers could get accurate information about Halliburton by going to the Web site factcheck.com when he meant factcheck.org. The site he mentioned promptly redirected traffic to another Web site, titled “Why we must not re-elect President Bush.”
And it’s a slam dunk that they have weapons of mass destruction
White House adviser Karen Hughes, discussing abortion rights with CNN newsman Wolf Blitzer, referred to pro-choice advocates as “the terror network we fight.”
And they have ties with Al Qaeda
Secretary of Education Rod Paige, criticizing the National Education Association for resisting many of the reforms of the No Child Left Behind law, called the teachers’ union “a terrorist organization.”
There goes our chance for an oil-for-food program
Despite the request by President George W. Bush that all governors observe United Nations Day, Governor Rick Perry refused to do so.
And the next four years will prove it
At the signing ceremony for a $417 billion defense-spending bill, George W. Bush told attendees, “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”
They just can’t stirrup trouble like they used to
At a rally in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, George W. Bush, commenting on the rise in frivolous lawsuits, noted that “too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many ob-gyns aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.”
Lucky to find a great guy like Laura
During an appearance at a gathering that included Bill Frist, George W. Bush said of the Tennessee senator, “He married a Texas girl, I want you to know . . . A West Texas girl, just like me.”
It was a poplar restaurant. The customer wanted to powder her nosegay. She went to the restroom to spruce up and was feeling mallow, when she spotted the video camellia. It was a plant. “Areca! I’ve found it,” she exclaimed. No one had aster permission, so she decided to get a lawyer and sumac. “Holly cacao!” she said. “What’s anise girl like me doing in a place like this? Somebody here is a real creeper.” The owner knew he was taking a big tamarisk, but he made a larkspur-of-the-moment decision: Take a pecan savory it. “Strike a pretty posy,” he whispered to himself. “Here’s looking at you, orchid.” The customer was filled with glume. She wanted to drive her caraway, but first she called the copse. “Kelp! Kelp!” she said, her impatiens getting the best of her. “Of gorse,” the cop said. “I lichen it to smut. But primrose me that when I ash you questions, you’ll tell me no lilacs. Do you want to cypress charges?” “Yew betel,” she replied. The cop drove out to a parsley populated area near a pomegranate quarry. The owner knew he was in a no-whin situation. “You’re on privet property,” he yelled, but the cop was alder and wiser. “Lotus of luck,” he shouted back. “I’m comin’ in, you dirty old mango. You have no fuchsia here.” And he crashed through the durra. By this time the customer was near wisteria. The cop gave her a reassuring periwinkle and grabbed the man standing nearby. “Are you the owner?” he asked. “Je ne sequoia,” the man replied with a shrub of his shoulders. “Up against the wallflower, motherwort,” the cop commanded. “I’ll soy it again. Are you the owner?” “I’ll stipula,” the owner said. “I’m sorrel. I mint no harm. Iris my case.” “She’s barley legal,” the cop snarled. “The truffle with you is, you’re preoccupied with your thallus. Listen, bud. This is a mossy situation. You bluet. You’re gonna do some thyme for this caper.” And as he hauled him off to the insane alyssum, the moral of our story will maize you: maidenhair today, tarragon tomorrow.
Chien-Jui Kuo, proprietor of the Pango Tea Room, in Austin, was charged with improper visual recording after a customer using the women’s restroom spotted a video camera hidden in a potted plant.
Lord of the Rungs
Trucker Jorge Charles-Walle, of Nuevo Laredo, was arrested on federal drug charges after Border Patrol agents found 7,278 pounds of marijuana hidden in his shipment of ladders.
Too bad. The congressman was really high on the kid
A Washington intern for U.S. representative Ron Paul, of Surfside, was arrested coming into the congressman’s office building with marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Thinking quickly, they turned their pumper truck into a giant bong
Joseph John Nowicki, of Santa Fe, near Galveston, was charged with possession of marijuana after a neighbor reported a grass fire and the firefighters who responded discovered 451 five- and six-foot-tall marijuana plants.
But, officers—it’s medicinal hibiscus
A ten-man unit of the Harris County Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force burst into the home of Houston landscaper Blair Davis and held him at gunpoint because they thought the Texas Star hibiscus growing in his front yard was marijuana.
Don’t bogart that parfait
A teenage girl who ordered a frozen yogurt parfait at a McDonald’s in San Benito returned to the counter to show employees a partially smoked marijuana cigarette she claimed to have found in her food.
Both were seedless
Noe Ramirez, of Raymondville, was charged with delivery of marijuana after law officers in Hays County searched his eighteen-wheeler and discovered 192 pounds of pot concealed in a load of watermelons.
Even worse, there was a tire iron in his trunk
Citing their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, officials at Diamond Hill—Jarvis High School, in Fort Worth, suspended a sixteen-year-old junior-varsity baseball player because they found in his car an eight-inch-long wooden bat that had broken off a sports trophy.
So confused that it took them eleven years to find the courthouse
Three high school classmates of Richard Linklater’s filed suit against the Austin director, claiming that he had defamed and ridiculed them in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused,which chronicles the antics of a group of dope-smoking teens on the last day of school in 1976.
They wouldn’t have had this problem on the South Beach Diet
A fire station in Lancaster, near Dallas, suffered $125,000 in fire damage because firefighters went out on a call and, according to news reports, left potatoes cooking on the stove.
“Dear Mrs. Kennedy-Killer . . .”
The History Channel aired a documentary called The Guilty Men claiming that Lyndon Johnson was involved in the plot to assassinate John F. Kennedy, but following protests from the Johnson family and a review of the show by a panel of historians, the network mailed a letter of apology to Lady Bird Johnson.
Guns don’t kill people; cross-dressers do
The Spurger Independent School District canceled TWIRP Day, in which boys dress like girls and girls dress like boys, because a parent charged that the annual tradition promoted a “homosexual agenda.” Officials substituted Camo Day, in which students were urged to wear military camouflage clothing.
Definitely not a case of divine intervention
During a Texas Rangers baseball game, Matt Starr, a former youth minister, knocked a four-year-old boy out of his way so he could catch a foul ball.
Now pitching for the Indiana Pacers
Texas Rangers relief pitcher Frank Francisco was charged with aggravated battery after he grew annoyed with boisterous Oakland A’s fans and threw a metal folding chair into the stands, giving one woman facial lacerations and a broken nose.
UT didn’t score either
An Oklahoma woman who was angry because her boyfriend flirted with another woman at a party sold their Texas-OU tickets on eBay—along with a pair of her blue satin thong panties—for $611.
What we want to know is, What happened to the OU tickets?
Andrew Moody, a Dallas seminary student, bought a $5 pair of Mormon men’s underwear from the official Web site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and resold them on eBay for $70.
Put the Cowboys in jail for six months and let the gang play football
The Dallas Cowboys held their summer training camp in Oxnard, California, where their logo and star have been adopted as symbols by a local gang and wearing Cowboys paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.
Editor’s note: It should have read “Enron Field.”
We regret the error A photo caption in a special-advertising section in TEXAS MONTHLY’s January 2004 issue identified the Astrodome as Reliant Stadium.
And they didn’t even have a blue satin thong to show for it
The Texas Longhorns lost to the Oklahoma Sooners, 12—0, snapping the nation’s longest streak without going scoreless, 282 games dating back to 1972.
The zone defense rests
During a Spurs-Lakers playoff game in San Antonio, accused rapist Kobe Bryant was greeted by locals chanting, “Go, Spurs, go! No means no!”
It’s that state between Oklahoma and Nebraska
As part of his research to create the Global Puzzle, a tool to help Americans learn modern geography, Roger Andresen, of Georgia, determined that Texas ranked forty-ninth in the U.S. in geographical knowledge, beating out only Arkansas.
All the pictures in the books had been colored anyway
Commissioner Joey Orms, of Upshur County, was defeated for reelection after he said, during a discussion about funding for the Gilmer library, the only one in the county, that “the county doesn’t need to be in the library business.”
Happy childhood diabetes to you
After angry parents called to protest, the Texas Department of Agriculture rescinded its ban on birthday cupcakes in the state’s public schools.
Tonight’s episode: Trying to rescue his career, Bobby moves to Lubbock, criticizes the fans for poor attendance, and encounters the university chancellor
Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight met with CBS network officials in Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of creating a half-hour sitcom based on his life.
Once again, he made a real aspic of himself
Bobby Knight was reprimanded by Texas Tech officials after he ran into the school’s chancellor, David Smith, at Market Street, a Lubbock grocery store and cafe, and—when Smith commented, “Bob, you’ve done a really good job lately”—began cursing at Smith and spilling his salad.