The 2006 Bum Steer Awards
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JUST LIKE HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT
After his powerboat, The Rough Rider, sped through a 5-knot zone at a speed of 30 knots, Ross Perot was fined $300 in Bermuda Magistrates’ Court for operating “without reasonable consideration.”
SHE ONLY HAD ONE CLIENT ANYWAY
Prior to her withdrawal as a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Harriet Miers admitted in a response to questions from the Senate judiciary committee that her license to practice law in Washington, D.C., had been suspended for failure to pay her D.C. bar association dues.
TRY THIS ONE: WHO’S BURIED IN GRANT’S TOMB?
Tom Craddick, the Speaker of the Texas House, told a seventh-grade history class in Austin that there are 454 U.S. representatives (there are 435) and 60 U.S. senators (there are 100).
WHAT WOULD JESUS DRINK?
The on-campus Starbucks at Baylor University removed coffee cups preprinted with notable quotes from the gay author Armistead Maupin.
THEY SHOULD HAVE CALLED IT DESPERATE HOUSE WHITES
ABC canceled plans to air the summer series Welcome to the Neighborhood, a reality show set in Austin’s Circle C Ranch subdivision, after fair-housing groups objected to the show’s premise, which was to allow white families to decide which of seven “diverse” families (black, Hispanic, Asian, gay) should win a free house in the neighborhood.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN STUPID, PART 845
Heath Boutte and David Martin pleaded guilty to charges that they had attempted to steal items from cars being held in the Houston Police Department’s impound lot.
AS SOON AS I’M DONE USING IT ON MY FOOT
At a Fort Worth concert, Bright Eyes lead singer Conor Oberst told the audience, “I don’t know if you know this, but I hate your [expletive] state. I’d put a [expletive] gun to my head before I’d live in your state.”
UNLIKE HER HUSBAND, THEY AREN’T DISPOSABLE
Denying rumors that her breasts were fake, Jessica Simpson told reporters, “Mine are definitely real. At school, my boobs were bigger than all my friends’, and I was afraid to show them. Now, I feel they make my outfits look better. They’re like an accessory.”
ACCESSORIES NOT INCLUDED
Avenue, a clothing retailer for plus-size women, began merchandising Jessica Simpson Denim.
WE ALWAYS SAID IT WAS HELL TO LIVE IN SAN MARCOS
Members of the clergy in San Marcos appealed to the U.S. Postal Service to change the city’s major ZIP code, 78666, stating their concern that, according to the Book of Revelation, the last three digits had satanic connotations.
EASILY RAISED BY SELLING ONE SHARE OF ENRON STOCK
Web surfers who used Google, Yahoo, and other search engines to find links to “Enron” and “Ken Lay” were directed to kenlayinfo.com, a sponsored site on which Lay assails the federal Enron task force and otherwise defends himself, at a cost to Lay of between 5 and 12 cents per visitor.
HE ALWAYS SAID HE WOULDN’T BE CAUGHT DEAD IN LOUISIANA
A corpse strapped to a gurney fell from a truck onto a South Dallas highway while en route to a Louisiana funeral home.
AND, APPARENTLY, TO USE EVERY BATHROOM
Since 1997, Rafael Antonio Lozano, of Houston, who now goes by “Winter,” has visited 4,958 coffee shops in North America and more than 200 in places as far away as Japan, in his quest to get a caffeinated drink at every Starbucks-owned store in the world.
STARTING WITH THE SALARY OF THE REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE TWENTY-SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Tom DeLay published an editorial in the Washington Times arguing that funds to pay for the recovery efforts for hurricanes Katrina and Rita could be raised by cutting billions of dollars in wasteful spending from the federal budget.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN STUPID, PART 846
Thieves broke into the just-built house of Dallas police chief David Kunkle and stole the oven and the microwave.
EVERYONE WAS GOING APE. THE ESCAPED BEAST WAS GIBBON THE ZOO PATRONS THE SCARE OF THEIR LIVES. A MAN GOT OFF THE COLOBUS, SPIDER ON A RAMPAGE, AND EXPLODED IN REAL LANGUR. “RHESUS CHRIST!” HE SHOUTED. “GRIVET LOTS OF ROOM. RUN FOR THE BABOONDOCKS! IT’S A MANDRILL!” ONE VICTIM SUFFERED A BROKEN LEMUR. MEANWHILE, THE COPS WANTED TO SIAMANG THE ZOOKEEPER. “THEY WANT TO SAKI TO ME,” THE KEEPER TOLD HIS STAFF. “CAPUCHIN UP,” THEY TOLD HIM. BUT THE COPS WERE MARMOSET IN THEIR WAYS. “ENTELLUS THE TRUTH,” THEY DEMANDED. “DON’T MONKEY AROUND WITH US.” “I SWEAR I DIDN’T FORGET TO CHACMA LOCK,” SAID THE ZOOKEEPER. “YOU CAN’T MAKE A CHIMP OUT OF ME.” IF ONLY HIS STORY HAD ORANG TRUE, HE WOULDN’T BE LOOKING FOR A LAWYER TO REPRESENT HIM PROBOSCIS.
Three families sued the City of Dallas after a 350-pound gorilla escaped from its habitat and bit three people before police officers shot it.
THE EYES OF SAN MARCOS ARE UPON YOU
Norwegian commentators expressed shock when President and Mrs. Bush flashed hook ’em signs to the University of Texas Longhorn Band during Bush’s inaugural parade, because they interpreted the gesture as a satanic salute.
ONE PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND TEXTBOOKS
The Judson School District ﬁred a substitute teacher after her camera phone, containing pictures of her having sex, was passed around her high school classroom.
HE SHOULD HAVE JUST BRUSHED HIM BACK
Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers was suspended for thirteen games and required to make a $50,000 charitable contribution after he injured a TV cameraman who tried to film him as he walked onto the field.
NOW PITCHING FOR THE TEXAS RANGERS . . .
Tom Benson, the owner of the New Orleans Saints, struck a TV camera and knocked off its microphone as a crew filmed him exchanging comments with a hostile fan.
A CLASSIC CASE OF PEANUTS ENVY
Bonnie Liebman, the director of nutrition for the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest, criticized Southwest Airlines for its high-calorie snacks and urged the airline to serve whole-grain crackers and dried fruit instead of the less nutritional snacks Southwest has traditionally offered. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN STUPID, PART 847
Joseph Fahnbulleh was arrested after he left his wallet on the counter of the store he had robbed and went to the Euless police station to pick it up after an officer called to tell him it had been found.
TAX, TITLE, AND DESOLATION CHARGES EXTRA
More than four hundred buyers, some from as far away as France and Hawaii, snapped up 8,500 acres of remote desert near Valentine offered on the Internet in 10- and 20-acre plots by California-based Zarzar Land Company, despite warnings on the company’s Web site that there was no survey, no water, and no utilities.
THE RUMOR WAS, SHE’D BEEN GOING TO DEBS PARTIES
A column by Norma Adams-Wade in the Dallas Morning News mistakenly referred to Dallas grande dame Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk as a “socialist” rather than a “socialite.”
HE MEANT TO CALL THEM COMMUNITES
Austin American-Statesman editor Rich Oppel apologized for alleging in an editorial that the city council of Vancouver, British Columbia, was controlled by communists during the eighties.
FUNNY, YOU DON’T LOOK ASSEMBLY OF GOD
Governor Rick Perry apologized to the state’s Jewish community when the rabbi he invited to give the closing benediction at a bill-signing ceremony turned out to be an ordained Assembly of God minister.
M(UCH) T(OO) V(ULGAR)
Anna Nicole Smith, in a stunt designed to parody Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” from the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, pulled down her dress during the MTV Australia Video Music Awards, revealing her breasts, which were covered by pasties sporting the MTV logo.
NO MORE PENCILS, NO MORE BOOKS, NO MORE SUPERINTENDENTS’ DIRTY LOOKS
Bruceville-Eddy school superintendent Dan Doyen was arrested after an employee discovered he had used a district credit card to purchase a video surveillance camera, which was later found in a women’s restroom disguised to resemble an air freshener.
HE MAY STILL HAVE HIS CURVEBALL, BUT HE LOST HIS CUTTER
Nolan Ryan was delayed at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after baggage screeners found a seven-inch pocketknife in his carry-on luggage.
YES, HER HANDS WERE LIGHT AND AIRY/AS SHE CARVED HIM OUT OF DAIRY/THE WHOLE CONCEPT’S PRETTY SCARY/CHURNIN’ LOVE!/ IT WAS A BUSTED CHUNK OF CHURNIN’ LOVE (AHHH!)/IT WAS A BUSTED CHUNK OF CHURNIN’ LOVE (AHHH!)
Artist Sharon BuMann’s statue of Elvis Presley, which she sculpted from eight hundred pounds of butter, collapsed just prior to the opening of the State Fair of Texas and had to be repaired before being displayed.
THE MARASCHINO CHERRY DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE
John Ellis Bush, the 22-year-old nephew of George W. Bush, pleaded no contest to a charge of public intoxication following his arrest on Austin’s Sixth Street.
HE WAS TRYING TO CATCH UP WITH SHARPTON’S MOUTH
A man driving the Reverend Al Sharpton to DFW Airport was arrested after a nine-mile car chase during which he was clocked at speeds over 100 miles per hour.
WE PREFER A NICE SLOGAN LIKE “FORT WORTH: SEE PASTRAMI WHILE IT’S STILL ALIVE”
In an effort to promote tourism, the City of Fort Worth displayed a herd of Longhorn cattle in New York’s Times Square.
ON THE PLUS SIDE, THE HUSH PUPPIES HAVE NEVER TASTED BETTER
John Sweeten, the manager of a Long John Silver’s franchise in Conroe, was arrested on felony drug charges after he packed marijuana in to-go boxes and sold them in the restaurant’s parking lot.
TALK ABOUT YOUR STIFF SENTENCE
Published reports indicated that 253 registered sex offenders in Texas received Viagra through a state Medicaid program.
I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE-TRASH CHRISTMAS
Jennifer Scott, the parent of a third-grader, complained to school officials about the inclusion of the song “Leroy, the Redneck Reindeer” in the Onalaska Elementary School’s Christmas pageant.
ASK NOT TO WHOM THE TOLLS BILL
Evangelina Gonzalez, of Dallas, was arrested for passing through area tollbooths 2,953 times without paying, running up a total bill, including administrative fees, of $76,039.
TYPICAL SUV OWNER: ALL THAT ROOM AND ONLY ONE CORPSE
Unable to afford a funeral, Brenda Pitts Bennett, of Royse City, kept the embalmed body of her ex-husband in an SUV parked in her driveway for two days.
DON’T ASK. DON’T TELL
In Galveston to tout his plan to reform Social Security, President Bush asked the crowd whether the city still celebrated Splash Day, a festival that decades ago marked the beginning of the tourist season but now is an unofficial gay and lesbian beach party.
AND AS I SHOUTED, “YES! YES! YES!” I COULDN’T HELP BUT THINK ABOUT HOW JOHNNY HAD HIT SUZY DURING RECESS
An elementary-school teacher in Mansfield resigned after school officials discovered that she’d used a school computer to log on to her blog, which detailed her sexual exploits and contained disparaging comments about her students.
YOU MAY BE DESPERATE, EVA, BUT HE’S NOT
Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, a Corpus Christi native, apologized to Jennifer Aniston after she was photographed wearing a T-shirt that read, “I’ll have your baby, Brad.”
HE STILL COULDN’T CARRY ILLINOIS
On their 2004 income tax return, President and Mrs. Bush listed a Chicago post office box as their home address.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN STUPID, PART 848
Anthony Taylor was trying to beat a man who had been robbed by his accomplice when the victim fled in his car. Taylor chased him into the parking lot of an Arlington Police Department substation and on into the lobby, where he was promptly arrested.
State senator Jeff Wentworth and state representative Ruth McClendon, both of San Antonio, successfully sponsored a bill that changed the title of the assistant secretary of state to deputy secretary of state because of concerns that the acronym for the assistant secretary of state might offend people.
WE’VE GOT SPIRIT, YES WE DOO-DOO!
Four Keller High School cheerleaders were expelled from a University of Texas at Arlington cheerleading camp for “serious misconduct” when, after cheerleaders from Fossil Ridge High sent them a pizza as a gesture of goodwill, the Keller squad put human excrement on it and claimed their rivals had put it there.
THE KELLER HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADERS ARE LAWYERING UP
Ofﬁcials in Bayreuth, Germany, have been unable to discover who is responsible for adorning several thousand piles of dog excrement with little flags featuring a portrait of President Bush.
IT GOES BETTER WITH PIZZA
Dallas cabdriver Behrouz Nahidmobarekeh was arrested after he was seen on a security videotape sprinkling what turned out to be dried fecal matter on pastries at a Fiesta grocery.
THE SECRET WORD IS “VALERIE PLAME”
When theater students at El Camino Real High School, in Woodland Hills, California, tried to publicize a satirical play with posters depicting President Bush with a Groucho Marx–style mustache and a cigar, Principal Kenneth Lee ordered the posters reprinted, on the grounds that they promoted smoking.
IF IT WERE TIVO, TEXAS, THEY COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND PAUSE BEFORE MAKING SUCH A STUPID DECISION
In a deal with Dish Network, a satellite television broadcaster, the town of Clark, near Fort Worth, officially changed its name to Dish, Texas, enabling its residents to receive equipment and basic programming free for ten years.
HE’LL HAVE A BIG BEEF, WITH A SIDE OF NEPOTISM
State representative René Oliveira, of Brownsville, added a provision to eminent domain legislation that prevented the University of Texas from condemning Player’s, a restaurant co-owned by his cousin, to clear the way for construction of a hotel and parking garage complex.
LEAVE JERRY JONES OUT OF IT
Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs told the crowd at a fan appreciation event, “I know we don’t have any Dallas people here. They are the ugliest people in the world.”
EXCEPT THE STATUE DIDN’T DUCK OUT ON CLOSE VOTES
The Texas Juneteenth Cultural and Historical Emancipation Commission declined to install a statue, called The Lawmaker, that had been planned for the Capitol grounds after complaints that it was too large and its likeness bore too close a resemblance to that of the commission’s chairman, state representative Al Edwards, of Houston.
After Donald Trump exhorted a contestant on the reality show The Apprentice to be as aggressive as he himself had been in a dispute with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Cuban replied, “He needs to step away from the Cialis. Those four-hour erections have started to have an impact on his thinking.”
EVEN WORSE, THE CADDIES WERE HOLDING THEIR SHAFTS
Homeowners who live along the LakeRidge Country Club golf course, in Lubbock, complained to course managers that golfers were urinating on their lawns, even though club restrooms were nearby.
SOMEBODY SUCKS, BUT NOT BLOOD, AND IT AIN’T THE KID
After a fourteen-year-old aspiring Eagle Scout placed three bat houses in a Dallas park with the permission of the city’s parks department, city council member Mitchell Rasansky appeared at city hall wearing plastic fangs and publicly mocked the boy as “Count Dracula.”
BUENAS NOCHES, LAST SHRED OF RESPECTABILITY
Believing the microphone and camera were no longer on following an interview, Governor Rick Perry signed off by saying to the departing reporter, “Adiós, mofo.”
BUT IT’S A MEDICINAL PALM TREE
Lost Highway Records provided Wal-Mart stores with an alternate CD cover, featuring palm trees, of Willie Nelson’s reggae-inflected Countryman instead of the cover offered at most other retail outlets, which featured marijuana leaves.
TOM’S LEARNING THE WORDS TO “JAILHOUSE ROCK”
Tom DeLay posed with an Elvis impersonator at a sock hop at the Sugar Land Community Center.
WANTED: WHITE KIDS WHO CAN TACKLE VERY, VERY WELL
After a 48–10 loss to Texas Christian University, Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry complained that TCU had more “Afro-American kids [who] can run very, very well.”
TRY LOOKING UNDER “PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF AUSTIN”
In a ranking of the most liberal U.S. cities, the Bay Area Center for Voting Research, in Berkeley, California, put Austin in ninety-second place.
HE VERIFIED THAT THE MONEY WOULD LOOK BETTER IN HIS WALLET
Donald Stokes Jr., a “verifier” at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Fort Worth, one of two facilities in the country that print paper money, was arrested for stealing around $30,000 in sheets of $20 bills over the course of several years.
WHAT IF WE JUST NAME THE LEFT LANE AFTER HIM? Republican state senators Steve Ogden, of Bryan, and Jeff Wentworth, of San Antonio, opposed plans to name a stretch of Texas Highway 130 in their districts after Willie Nelson, citing the singer’s history of smoking marijuana and supporting Democrats.
PARDON US. THAT SHOULD READ, “SMART BLACK GIRL”
The caption for a photo of National Honor Society members in the Waxahachie High School yearbook identified an African American student as “Black Girl.”
A CATEGORY-5 WINDBAG
Minister Dwight McKissic, of the Cornerstone Baptist Church, in Arlington, suggested that Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of ridding the country of homosexuality and other “sins.”
AND A STRONG CATEGORY 4
Following the evacuation of New Orleans residents to Houston’s Astrodome in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, former first lady Barbara Bush said, “What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. So many people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged, so this is working very well for them.”
THE SUSPECT MAY BE ARMED AND IS CONSIDERED SLEAZY
On an episode of the NBC police drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent, a police detective searching for the killer of an appellate judge and another judge’s family mused, “Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt.”
ONE NINNY, UNDER BUSH
Speaking to an Egyptian opposition leader, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes defended frequent references to God in the president’s speeches by wrongly claiming that the U.S. Constitution includes the phrase “one nation, under God.”
A FEW DROPS ON THE BACK OF HIS NECK KEEPS REFEREES AT BAY FOR A WHOLE GAME
Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight appeared on Lubbock television to endorse Sergeant’s anti-flea pet products.
AND WE THOUGHT IT WAS ALL TOM CRADDICK’S FAULT
The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi—a leading proponent of Vedic architecture, which promotes the idea that a building’s physical orientation affects the performance of the people who use it—warned government leaders that a government building with an entrance facing to the south would “promote disorderly thinking, conflict, negativity, and widespread problems.” The entrance to the Texas capitol faces south.
AND THEN HE EXITED THE HEARING ROOM TO THE SOUTH
Testifying before the Texas Senate Education Committee, Bill Grusendorf, the executive director of the Texas Association of Rural Schools and the uncle of state representative Kent Grusendorf, the author of the House education bill, said, “If you’ll quit listening to my nephew, we may eventually get a good bill out of the Senate.”