The 1995 Bum Steer Awards
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We should have known it was going to be a Republican year when Bubba Groce, a two-time loser as a GOP congressional candidate in East Texas, won $19.5 million in the Texas lottery. Meanwhile, Texas Democrats didn’t have a lotto luck. After the passage of the GATT trade agreement, treasury secretary Lloyd Bentsen abandoned the sinking Clinton ship and gatt out of town. Bob Krueger, Bentsen’s successor in the U.S. Senate before losing his seat last year to Kay Bailey Hutchison, vanished from sight as ambassador to Burundi. Richard Fisher, the latest Hutchison victim, just plain vanished. The onetime hope of the Democratic party, Housing and Urban Development secretary Henry Cisneros, joked that his name was identified by a caller to C-SPAN as sounding “something like ‘cheese nachos’”—but the telephone jokes were on Cisneros after his former lover released the transcripts of their conversations. The governor lost, and so did 2 congressmen, 2 railroad commissioners, and 52 of 54 Democratic candidates for judgeships in Harris County. So meet our worthy successor to Ross Perot as Bum Steer of the Year: Texas Democrats. Hee-haw, in 1994 they made jackasses of themselves.
Do You Take This Woman To Be Your Unlawfully Wedded Wife?
Jose Lopez, the superintendent of the McAllen Independent School District, and Barbara Day, a middle school administrator, resigned following revelations that the couple had gotten married in Las Vegas during an education conference, although both were married to other people at the time.
In God We Trust. In Catalina We Don’t
Catalina Vasquez Villalpando of San Marcos, whose name appeared on U.S. currency when she served as treasurer of the United States during the Bush administration, was sentenced to four months in prison for conspiring to hide outside income and obstructing justice.
It’s the Perfect Place for a High Speed Variety
Naresh Vashisht of Fort Worth, the owner of a mushroom farm in Colorado, proposed growing mushrooms in five miles of the tunnel built for the superconducting supercollider.
In tha Jail, Not Gonna Be Any Bail
Waymond D. Jackson, a suspect in a Houston convenience store robbery and murder, was arrested at his uncle’s home in Eagle Lake, where the officers found him on the living room floor composing a rap song about life as a fugitive: “On the run . . . /Got to be strap with tha gun.”
The Students Weren’t the Only Ones In the Dark
Officials in El Paso-area school districts asked the Texas Education Agency to reschedule the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test that was planned for the afternoon following a morning solar eclipse because they were worried that the students would be distracted.
Honk If You Love Bureacracy
City of Dallas transportation officials demanded that Cowboy Cab Company driver Barry Russell remove a pair of horns from the roof of his taxi because it violated a city code that requires consistency in cab company logos.
What This Country Needs Is More Conservative Media Bias
Mike Snyder, a news anchor for KXAS-TV in Fort Worth, was suspended for serving as master of ceremonies at a Republican campaign rally, where he referred to George W. Bush as the next governor of Texas. When Bush addressed the rally, he said, “If we had a few more newsmen like Mike Snyder, America would be a much better place for all of us to grow up.”
Plus $1 Million in Punitive Damages
Advocacy, Inc., a federally funded organization that promotes the rights of the disabled, sued the Austin-Travis County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center to have the center’s board meetings changed from 8 a.m. to no earlier than 9 a.m.
We Hear There’s a Lot of Action at the Socra-Tease
When asked if he had seen the Parthenon during a trip to Greece, Orlando Magic center and ex-San Antonian Shaquille O’Neal said, “I can’t really remember the names of the clubs we went to.”
They Were Promoting Safe Sects
ReBarn gallery, run by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, featured an exhibit by Houston artist Donell Hill titled “Spiritual, Sensual, Sexual” that focused on sex and AIDS, but the exhibit was moved following protests to the Archdiocese of San Antonio that it contained paintings of explicit sexual acts, including an angel having sexual intercourse at an altar.
Have You Tried Using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Lard?
The Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest warned that Mexican restaurant food cannot be prepared in a healthy manner because it contains so much fat.
What’s More, the Tofu Isn’t Fresh, There’s a Shortage of Psychiatrists, Nobody Knows Any O.J. Jokes, and They Aren’t Trying to Deport Their Mexicans
In an effort to stop California companies from moving to Texas, the California Trade and Commerce Agency unveiled a $12 million advertising campaign that included a spot called “Why Texas Is Telling Tall Tales About California.” The ad said, “What they don’t mention is their own subzero weather, alternating with three-shower-a-day humidity. Along with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and mosquitoes that require runways to land. You’ll need big boots to wade through all the promises that states like Texas are making to Californians. What they still haven’t promised, though, is a surefire way to fit a gun rack on a convertible.”
A Giant Pie Was Seized As Evidence
State trooper Daniel Montemayor was arrested and charged with misdemeanor theft for trespassing on a Lubbock County farm and stealing pumpkins.
It’s Required by the New Penile Code
Male prison inmates protested the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s new design for white cotton pants because it eliminated the fly.
Just Say, “No, Dad”
A 35-year-old Victoria man was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana after his 14-year-old daughter tipped off the police that her father used drugs.
Get It Up
The Aggie bonfire collapsed after two months of work and had to be rebuilt in a week.
They Were Holding Out For Gruel Béarnaise
Inmates in the San Patricio County jail went on a hunger strike because Sheriff Leroy Moody would not stop serving them TV dinners.
Leonardo and Donatello Stayed Home
Two teenagers arrested while burglarizing a Baytown shopping mall were dressed in ninja clothing and carrying swords that they had taken from a store display.
The Alpo Omelet Had Too Much Cholesterol
Dennis Boitnott, the chef at the Houstonian Club, prepared six cups of one-inch squares of unseasoned boiled chicken to serve a guest on a promotional tour—Lassie.
Nobody Was Eating It Anyway
Two Texas Christian University students stole 1,759 forks from the student center cafeteria to protest the quality of the food.
The U.S. Postal Service announced that cowboy Bill Pickett would be honored with a stamp as part of its Legends of the West series, but most of the stamps were destroyed after postal officials discovered that the picture displayed was of Bill’s brother Ben.
The Car Wasn’t Poplar With the Neighbors. They Aster Once, They Aster Twice to be Anise Person, but She Wouldn’t Make a Dill. “You Bluet,” Said One. “Take That Caraway. It Better Begonia or I’m Going to Kalmia Lawyer.” Poor Martha Was on the Verge of Wisteria. “Kelp! Kelp!” She Cried. “They’re Going to Violet My Rights.” She Asked the City What the Law Mint, But All She Got Was a Clethra of Opinions. “I’ll Be Zinnia in Court,” She Said. “That Car May Be an Old Wrack, But You Can’t Privet. Iris My Case.” The Moral of Our Story: In the Fuchsia, She’ll Have to Take Life One Daisy at a Thyme
Martha Barnett, the owner of Baytown Motors Paint and Body Shop, painted a 1975 Mustang raspberry, placed it in front of her shop, and turned it into a planter filled with Mexican heather, wisteria, asparagus fern, and Texas sage. Baytown city officials cited her for violating the city’s junk car ordinance.
A computer at the University of Texas at Austin malfunctioned and disrupted e-mail communications between more than 1,500 computers in Moscow.
Attention Newt Gingrich
The Fort Worth City Council authorized a program using federal grants to pay local gang members $5 an hour to work as anti-violence counselors for one year.
He’s Well Known for His Passes
Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, wearing Dallas Cowboy jersey number 106 to signify that he is the 106th justice named to the court, attended a Cowboys practice and worked out with the team.
The World Will Little Note nor Long Remember What We Pay Here
Speaking at a property rights forum in Kerrville, Marshall Kuykendall, the president of Take Back Texas, gave an example of how the federal government took property without compensation: “When Lincoln freed the slaves, he did not pay for them.”
Snake, Rattle, and Rolled, Part I
A 24-year-old man from Pasadena walked into C & C Critter Company, a Houston pet store, and tried to sell two rattlesnakes to owner Shawn Cochran . . .
Snake, Rattle, and Rolled, Part II
When Cochran said that a city ordinance prohibited him from selling poisonous reptiles, the rattlesnakes’ owner grabbed seven pythons from the store and raced away in his pickup truck . . .
Snake, Rattle, and Rolled, Part III
Cochran gave chase in his own pickup and collided with the thief, who was bitten by one of the rattlesnakes when his truck rolled over.
Snake, Rattle, and Rolled, the Sequel
Frank Agee of Pleasanton went to Wal-Mart to buy an oil filter, grabbed one from the shelf, and was bitten by a two-foot rattlesnake.
It’s the North Prong That Got Him in Trouble
The Reverend Gaylon Holt resigned as minister of the South Prong Baptist Church in Waxahachie after he confessed to exposing himself on the Texas Christian University campus.
All She Wants Is a Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Shannon Wynne decorated the floor of the women’s rest room at his new 8.0 Restaurant and Bar in Fort Worth with a terrazzo portrait of socialite Martha Hyder. After Hyder objected, her daughter and a friend were allowed to paint over the words “To Martha” so that they read “To Aretha.”
A Cat Got Her Tongue
During an appearance in Dallas, singer Betty Buckley began to perform a selection from Cats, in which she appeared on Broadway, but she forgot the words to the song “Memory.”
Co-Stars Hollywood remakes we’d like to see.
Henry Cisneros and Linda Medlar in An Affair to Remember. And if he should forget, she has all those tapes to remind him.
Ann Richards and George W. Bush in The Jerk. She said he was one. The voters said he wasn’t.
Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Actually, since she is 26 and he is 89 and a multizillionaire, the title should be Blondes Prefer Gentlemen.
Willie Nelson and Timothy Leary in Reefer Madness. Our story line: On the same day in May, Nelson, who has admitted using marijuana, is cited near Waco for misdemeanor possession of the drug, and Leary, who urged experimenting with LSD during the sixties, is cited for smoking a cigarette in Austin’s smoke-free airport.
Buddy Ryan and Kevin Gilbride in The Longest Yard. In this version involving (now-ex) Oilers coaches, the punching is done by people on the same side.
Lyle Lovett and Kelly Willis in Pretty Woman. The gossip columnists said she was taking over Julia Roberts’ role—in a different way.
We’re Gone to Change The Channel
The rap group Public Enemy used the site of the Kennedy assassination in Dallas as a backdrop for its new video—featuring an African American president, neo-Nazis in the crowd, gang fights, and a would-be presidential assassin—for its latest release, “So Whatcha Gone Do Now?”
Protests from women and crime victims forced Peter’s Wildlife nightclub in Houston to cancel “Slash ’n’ Dash,” an O. J. Simpson theme party that included free Simpson masks, free valet parking for anyone arriving in a white Ford Bronco, a gift certificate for a hunting knife, and a straw vote on Simpson’s guilt.
If It Doesn’t Work, Sue Him for Falsie Advertising
More than twenty women volunteered to be subjects for Michael Stivers on radio station KYNG-FM in Dallas after he said he could enlarge a woman’s bust size through hypnosis.
The Eyes of Pinochet Are Upon You
Potter County officials in Amarillo mistakenly flew the Chilean flag over the courthouse instead of the Texas flag.
He Never Causes Any Trouble, but His Attendance Could Stand A Little Improvement
Murchison Middle School in Austin sent the parents of Rod Nast a three-week progress report in which a teacher praised his attentiveness and class participation. Rod Nast attends Hyde Park Baptist’s private school.
It Was a Hit-and-Gallop Accident
A Corpus Christi man was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after he rear-ended a car on the Crosstown Expressway, saddled up the horse he was pulling in his trailer, and rode off.
They Should Change Their Number to 1-800-SHE-EATS
Esquire magazine ran a spoof of a feed-the-hungry ad featuring superthin fashion model Kate Moss. The ad urged, “For just 39 cents a day, less than the cost of a cup of coffee, you can keep this girl, and other supermodels just like her, alive,” and carried the 800 number SOS-WAIF. The number belongs to the Federal Wage and Labor Law Institute in Houston, which received more than two thousand calls.
D Days Here’s who lost the battles of 1994.
Prairie View A&M football team: DRUBBED. The Panthers set an NCAA record by losing their forty-fifth game in a row.
The Texas Rangers: DREADFUL. The American League West leaders became the first team in baseball history to finish on top of its division with a losing record—52 wins, 62 losses.
Barney: DEVALUED. Nationwide sales of Barney products dropped from $500 million in 1993 to $115 million in 1994.
Donny White: DESTITUTE. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback filed for bankruptcy, listing assets of $50,000 and debts of up to $13 million.
The Tigua Indians: DEALT OUT. The El Paso tribe lost its chance to have Texas’ first casino when an appellate court ruled against it.
New York: DETHRONED. The Census Bureau announced that Texas overtook New York to become the second most populous state.
Ronnie Earle: DECKED. The Travis County district attorney was knocked out of court when he unaccountably quit prosecuting ethics charges against U.S. senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in the middle of her trial.
Four Stars!!! Great Plot. Surprise Ending
Eight teenagers in Kingwood videotaped themselves committing burglary, arson, and criminal mischief. They left their video recorder in a park, where a passerby came across it, took it home, viewed the tape, and turned it over to law enforcement officials, who arrested them.
Count Two: Failure To Make Restitution for Personal Copies
Three juveniles were arrested for burglarizing Calvary Methodist Church in Weatherford after police officers identified one of the teens from pictures of his own face that he took on the church’s photocopying machine.
He’ll Be Back to Pick Up the Camera In Two to Ten Years
John Rickenburg of Cibolo was arrested for stealing a video recorder after he taped himself and his friends and then pawned the camera without removing the tape.
Don’t Leave Home With It
Ten months after Sigel Broudas Hensley of Houston and his wife won $471,761 in the Texas lottery, he was arrested for unlawfully using someone else’s credit card.
There’ll Be No More Terry Lee Watson Sightings
Terry Lee Watson ran for justice of the peace in Rockwall County using campaign signs in the shape of a silhouette of Elvis Presley with his guitar and featuring his work as an Elvis impersonator. He lost.
Just Walk Right Over When You Need Us
The Lee Chapel West Mortuary in Seguin ran an advertisement in the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise featuring the message “Conveniently Near All Local Nursing Homes.”
Five If You Count Richard
When U.S. Senate candidate Richard Fisher campaigned by bus through South Texas, the tour made a stop at the Fort Ringgold Motor Inn, which was identified on the campaign itinerary as the “Four Gringos.”
Where Is Terry Lee Watson When You Really Need Him?
American Airlines offered a special fare of $79 for a round-trip ticket from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to Memphis on the fifty-ninth anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth. Passengers who showed up dressed like Elvis would receive a $20 refund.
That’s Exactly Why You Have to Be on the Lookout for Them
Addison city officials warned restaurant owners to protect themselves against credit card fraud likely to be committed by Nigerians who came to Dallas to support their soccer team in the World Cup. A suburban newspaper reported that councilman Dick Wilke said that restaurant owners should call the police “if thirty people come in speaking Nigerian.” There is no such language as Nigerian, and the country’s official language in English.
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service
A seven-foot-long alligator crawled up to the back door of the Dairy King in Taft and had to be hauled away by a game warden.
Which of the Following Terms Is Out of Place? (A) Honky (B) Whitey (C) The Man (D) Instructor (E) None of the Above
Officials at Eastfield community college in Dallas defended Jane Penney, an introductory sociology instructor, after black students protested a multiple-choice test that Penney said was intended to show how language can be culturally biased.
The test asked:
* for the definition of a “handkerchief head”
* how long chitterlings should be cooked
* which word is most out of place here: splib, blood, gray, spook, or black
After All, David Did Say He Was Coming Back
George B. Roden, the former leader of the Branch Davidians who lost control of the sect to David Koresh, filed suit against the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and the Vernon State Hospital, where he is a resident, because officials there would not agree to teach him karate.
Overruled. It Would Fairly Prejudice the Jury
The attorney for Tyrone “Hitman” Jerrols of Houston, who was charged with murder, filed a motion to prevent the use of the defendant’s nickname during the trial on grounds that it would unfairly prejudice the jury.
Former gubernatorial candidate and independent oilman Clayton Williams barged into a meeting of the Texas Railroad Commission wearing a dinosaur suit, roared that he was a “dinosaurius damn-near extinctus,” and addressed the commission on the subject of excessive government regulation. “If my environment doesn’t improve, I’ll be more than an endangered species,” Williams said. “I will be gone.”
Also Missing: All the Tarter Sauce at The Local Grocery
Anat, a fish-farming company near Danbury, suffered a $100,000 loss when thieves emptied three spawning ponds and stole one million catfish fingerlings.
Poor Hector. He Was Born With a Silver Boot in His Mouth.
Mexican senator-elect Hector Murguia Lardizabal of Ciudad Juárez was accused by opposition party leaders of being ineligible to hold office because, they claimed, he was born in Texas.
You Can Use It to Keep the Religious Right Under Control
Hoping to attract the 1996 Republican National Convention, San Antonio civic volunteers brought two members of the Republican National Committee to the Alamodome for the Spurs’ season opener, but a pregame fireworks show set off a water cannon that doused fans with up to 2,900 gallons per minute.
The Refreshments Were Watermelon and Chitterlings
Bowing to protests, officials at Jester state prison units, in Richmond, canceled a Live Celebrity “Slave” Auction that was to be held during a party for employees. The highest bidder would have gotten to use the slave’s parking place for a week and have the slave wait on him during the party.
Texas Is Our Kind of Town
Explaining why the Houston Rockets wanted to win the Western Conference final in Houston rather than go back on the road to play the Utah Jazz, Rockets guard Vernon Maxwell said, “None of the guys like the city of Utah.”
He’d Requested “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
A San Antonio man was charged with aggravated assault after he attacked the owner of an ice-cream truck for repeatedly playing “Pop! Goes the Weasel.”
It’s the Perfect Attire for the Broad Jump
Carl Lewis posed for an advertising campaign photograph taken by Annie Leibovitz wearing a one-piece running suit and spiked heels.
The Rangers Need Lots of Support
To advertise its claim of offering the best sports coverage in the Metroplex, radio station KTCK-AM erected a billboard featuring a giant jockstrap.
Who Was That Masked Man?
A juvenile in La Marque stole a horse and began harassing people at an apartment complex until two mounted law officers rode up, pursued him into a nearby field, and arrested him.
But You Can Keep The Toothbrush
William Fagerberg sued his former fiancée, Patsy Dyess, in Williamson County for the return of an engagement ring with 21 diamonds weighing almost 6 carats and valued at $14,000. Dyess testified, “Needless to say, I love diamonds, and I became very attached to it. I mean, I clean this every morning like I brush my teeth every morning.” But the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin upheld a lower court ruling requiring Dyess to return the ring.
They Never Knew It Was The Harvard of the Orient
Texas A&M closed its four-year-old campus in Koriyama, Japan, because of low enrollment. “Texas A&M was not understood for what it really was,” said Demar Taylor, the assistant director for external affairs. “It was looked at by most citizens as a place where students who couldn’t make it elsewhere would come to school.”
Dumb Brits. Everybody Knows That Real Texans Say “Dubya”
The Economist, a British news-magazine, explained that in Texas, George W. Bush is referred to as “George Dubbaya.”
You Can Keep the Toys, But the Children Have Got to Go
The Falcon Point Homeowners Association in Katy sued John and Valanna Reed for violating deed restrictions by having children’s playground equipment in their back yard that was brightly colored instead of earth-toned and could be seen by passing golfers.
Even Flight Attendants Get the Blues
American Airlines flight attendant Jay Mauk sued the Dallas Cowboys and the airline for discrimination, contending that they had conspired to keep males from being assigned to the team’s charter flights.
Unfortunately, the Dog Was Uninsured
A jury in Harlingen awarded $1.8 million to Joe Smith of Port Isabel, who injured his knee when a small dog ran in front of his bicycle.
How About “The Ballpark At Miller Lite?”
The San Antonio City Council rejected an offer from Miller Brewing Company of $1 million in exchange for naming the new city-owned minor league baseball park Miller Lite Stadium.
Sensitive, Shmensitive. It Knows a Dangerous Weapon When It Sees One
Nueces County officials gave lawyers identification cards that allowed them to bypass the courthouse security system after female lawyers complained that the metal detector was so sensitive that the machine was set off by their underwire bras.
Have You Heard the One About the Uvalde Cops Losing Their Minds?
The Uvalde Police Department announced that it was establishing a rumor-control center. Interim chief John W. Looper said, “If a person has heard a rumor and they will give their name and address and telephone number, we will research the inquiry and give them a response in writing.”
Get the Uvalde Cops to Check It Out
The March 11 edition of the Texarkana Gazette published a list of rumors about racial violence received by the paper. The list included:
* “26 busloads of black gang members were in Texarkana from Los Angeles to riot”
* “Several SWAT teams from New York City had been flow in to Texarkana to battle the California gang members”
* “U.S. Marines landed at noon at Texarkana Regional Airport”
* “The airport had been closed down”
* “The National Guard was lining U.S. Highway 59”
* “A submarine was coming up the Red River with troops aboard until the river became too shallow for it to go to periscope depth”
Who Cares Cares?
Hollywood producer Herbert B. Leonard of the Rin Tin Tin TV series sued Daphne Hereford of Pearland, the owner of a descendant of Rin Tin Tin and a dog-breeding business called Rin Tin Tin German Shepherds, over who has the right to use the Rin Tin Tin name.
He Was Making Catsup
Following testimony by his ex-girlfriend that he was jealous of her two cats, John David Celinski of Houston was found guilty of misdemeanor animal cruelty after he was accused of cooking the cats in her microwave oven.
Before We Sign Up, We Have One Question. What Exactly Are the Hands on?
The University of Texas at Austin hosted the National Graduate Student Conference on Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual, and Gay studies. Among the conference topics were:
* “Viva la Vulva: Performing Lesbian Identity”
* “Style Switching Among African American Drag Queens”
* “ ‘I Like to Watch’: Towards a Theory of the (Queer) Spectator”
* “Internet Resources for Conducting Research in Queer Studies: A Hands-on Demonstration”
Promoting the Three R’s: Reading, Rioting, and ‘Rithmetic
In the hope of stimulating interest in reading, radio station KYNG-FM in Dallas announced that station officials had hidden cash inside books at the Fort Worth Central Library. An estimated five hundred people raced to the library and searched through the stacks, throwing more than four thousand books on the floor.
You’re Never Too Old To Start a New Career
Sally Evans Hubbard of Houston was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to selling drugs. She was 82 years old.
No Pay, No Play
The Highland Park School Board approved charging a $100 fee for any student who wanted to participate in organized athletics.
Interstate 635, Cowboys 0
In a period of three weeks four Dallas Cowboys players were injured in automobile accidents, including all-pro tackle Erik Williams, who was lost for the season.
Watch Out for the Temporary Water Hazard on No. 18
Ed Gifford of Houston teed off for a round of golf while the clubhouse at Inwood Forest Country Club burned. “It’s a good time to play because nobody’s on the course,” he explained.
Fortunately, the Hunters Wanted a Buck
Aleta Fairchild of Austin was arrested and charged with harassing a hunter after she tried to keep deer from coming to a deer blind by urinating on feed corn, unaware that she was being observed.
Like, Wow, Man, That Wasn’t What Was Going Down, You Know. Peace
The Congressional General Accounting Office reported, and the U.S. Air Force confirmed, that the Air Force had conducted experiments with LSD on patients at Baylor University medical schools in Houston and Dallas between 1956 and 1968. The Houston school confirms that the research took place. The Dallas school denies it.
The Criminals Are Moving Too
Carolyn Barrentine and Billy Johnson of Pompano Beach, Florida, packed a U-Haul truck with all of their belongings and moved to Dallas to get away from crime. Two nights later, thieves stole the truck from the Fellowship Bible Church parking lot.
At Least Our Targets Aren’t Live
Writing in the New York Post before the beginning of the NBA championship series, columnist Wallace Matthews described Houston in an article headlined THIS PLACE IS A HELLHOLE as “a steamy, bug-infested, nondescript prairie town” where “there’s plenty of nightlife if you’re one for upscale strip joints, 24-hour fast food, and all-night shooting ranges.”
Hit the Road, Jack Politicians we were glad to see lose.
Congressman Jack Brooks, Democrat, Beaumont. After a 42-year career of dipping into the federal pork barrel, he tried one time too many. He slipped a $10 million project for Lamar University into the Clinton administration’s crime bill but lost when Republicans made it a national symbol of congressional boondoggling.
Jeb Bush, Republican, Dade County, Florida. Nothing personal, but if a governor named Bush is going to be a big shot Republican, it might as well be ours.
Congressman Michael Huffington, Republican, Santa Barbara, California. The son of megarich Texas oilman Roy Huffington tried to buy a U.S. Senate seat, spending $28 million of his own money, but lost after incumbent Dianne Feinstein ran ads calling Huffington “the Texas oil millionaire Californians can’t trust.”
Craig Washington, Democrat, Houston. He missed 80 percent of the roll-call votes cast in Congress for the year, including 68 votes in a row. When the streak ended on October 4, the Houston Post headlined the event REP. WASHINGTON SHOWS UP FOR VOTE.
They’ll Look Great at the Museum of Modern Heart
In an effort to convince children that high-fat foods are bad for them, the Austin Children’s Museum persuaded three local chefs to carve 75-pound blocks of lard into sculptures.
Formerly Known as the Killer Beehive
Independent Business magazine polled readers to choose their favorite business name, and the winner was the Curl Up and Dye beauty show in Dumas.
We Nominate John Mackovic
After a Singapore judge sentenced American teenager Michael Fay to six lashes with a rattan cane for committing vandalism, Harlingen South High School assistant football coach Daniel Vogler volunteered to go to Singapore to take Fay’s punishment.
Murder, He Wrote
As a prank, Wheeler County sheriff Jim Adams obtained human bones from a junkyard, placed them under a bridge near Shamrock, and sent an unsigned note to the Shamrock Police Department intended to make police chief Bruce Burrell think that a murder had been committed.
But Texas Was on Your Side, Ed
Former attorney general Ed Meese confirmed published reports that the Reagan administration helped bring about the collapse in oil prices that plunged Texas into a recession in 1986 for reasons that included hurting the Soviet Union.
His Escape Counts as One
The radio and television commercials for the Reverend Mike Evans’ God Bless Cambodia crusade promised that “blind eyes will open, the paralyzed will walk,” but the Euless evangelist was forced to flee that country when an angry crowd rioted outside his hotel over his failure to perform miracles.
Better to Give . . . The Bum Steers Catalog.
Hemp Today, a book about the hemp plant and derivative industries, including a discussion of whether hemp is “the miracle plant which can save the planet,” with an introduction by Willie Nelson, from Quick American Archives, Oakland, California, for $19.95.
Bib-Elite, a dressy bib for eating out, available in two styles (Tuxedo and Princess) from Eat Elite Company in Conroe for $13.95.
Clutch City, a board game about the Houston Rockets, offered by mail from Allen Olafson in Missouri City for $27.50.
One sixth of the $5.4 billion South Texas Nuclear Power Plant, advertised in the Wall Street Journal by the City of Austin, for $900 million.
Texas Speed Bump Coaster, resembling a roadkill armadillo with tire tracks on its back, sold at Granny’s Corner Craft, San Antonio, for $4.75 each.
Rockets Wit, a collection of sayings by the NBA champion Houston Rockets (“Choke City? Where is Choke City now?”—Hakeem Olajuwon), compiled by Andrew Merz, available by mail from Mertz in West Chester, Pennsylvania, for $5.95.
Autographed satin panties, worn by legendary stripper Candy Barr, signed in silver with a drawing of a heart, from Norma’s Jeans collectibles, Bethesda, Maryland, for $135.
Players jewelry, featuring “action-packed images of Dallas Cowboys players” in 14-karat gold and sterling silver, manufactured by ChamCor of Fort Worth and sold at selected J.C. Penney stores; prices range from $30 to $350.
NFL Cologne for Men, featuring the Dallas Cowboys logo, offered by Shiara, Inc., of Shaumburg, Illinois, for $25 for a 3.4-ounce bottle.
Miracles by Mail, a lifesize poster of evangelist Robert Tilton and instructions for his 21-Day Prayer of Agreement Miracle Campaign (“For the next 21 days, I want you to place your hand on top of mine here. Agree with me and say out loud in faith, ‘I stand in agreement with Bob and believe God for my miracle!’”), distributed for “an offering in faith to Him” each week made in care of Robert Tilton Ministries in Dallas.
Voices of Fire, a CD featuring two songs written and performed by David Koresh along with an hour-long sermon by the late Branch Davidian leader, on the Junior’s Motel label, for $14.99.
Diamond in the shape of Mickey Mouse, 4.06 carats, from I.W. Marks Jewelers in Houston for $50,000.
Anna Nicole Smith 1995 Calendar, with pinup poses of the Playboy Playmate of the Year, available by calling 1-800-365-YEAR, for $11.99.