The 2007 Bum Steer Awards
Oddities & Absurdities! See the violent vice president! Catch the bumbling bank robber! Deplane the mean ministers’s wife!
You know it’s going to be a good year for Bum Steers when 61 percent of the people vote against the governor’s reelection and he wins anyway. When Kinky Friedman asks, “How hard could it be?”—and finds out. When Tom DeLay steps down as U.S. House majority leader, resigns from Congress, and hands his district to a Democrat he had redistricted into oblivion in 2004. When DeLay’s temporary replacement, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, runs off his holdover staff with a temper tantrum and runs her chance to win the seat in 2008 into the ground. When George W. Bush contributes “thumpin’” to the political lexicon. When the Longhorns beat Southern Cal for the national championship but can’t beat Kansas State or Texas A&M. When the Spurs can’t beat the Mavs, the Mavs can’t beat the Heat, and the Rockets can’t beat anybody. When Bobby Knight is shown on national television slapping a player—imagine that—and Drew Bledsoe, who began the season as the Dallas Cowboys’ starting quarterback, plays like he could use a good slap. But none of these antiheroes measure up to the man we’re here to honor. A politician and a sportsman. A man who’s a real blast to go hunting with, who this year gave the country (and his friend Harry Whittington) a shot in the arm, among other places. He may be number two in the White House, but to us he’ll always be number one with a bullet. Or a pellet. Come out from that undisclosed location, Dick Cheney. You’re our Bum Steer of the Year.
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, WE AGREE WITH HIM
Appearing on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes, Tom DeLay said, “I haven’t had no ethical problems.”
IT’S FULL OF BALONEY, AND YOU NEED A REALLY BIG MOUTH TO EAT IT
Weinberger’s Deli, in Grapevine, named a sandwich after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
WHAT’S BLACK AND WHITE AND RED-FACED ALL OVER?
A referee called a technical foul on Tom Penders when the University of Houston basketball coach collapsed to the floor after his team was called for a foul, because he thought Penders was showing him up. Even though Penders, who wears a pacemaker, was carried off on a stretcher and treated by EMTs for dizziness, the referee refused to rescind the technical foul.
INSTANT MESSAGE—DAVYCROCKETT1836: Do I make you a little horny? SANTANNA: A little. DAVYCROCKETT1836: Cool.
Amid calls for speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert to resign over his handling of the Mark Foley matter, U.S. congressman Joe Barton, of Arlington, compared Hastert to the defenders of the Alamo.
DUDE, YOU’RE GETTING A DILDO!
Dell Inc. had to change the URL for its company blog, Dellone2one.com, because of a pornographic site with a similar address.
BEFORE YOU THROW THE BOOK AT SOMEONE, IT HELPS IF YOU CAN READ IT
Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez flunked a state licensing exam required for all law enforcement officers.
WE’LL DRINK TO THAT
In an annual survey by the Princeton Review, the University of Texas at Austin was ranked the nation’s number one party school.
ANOTHER INSTANCE OF KATRINA “WORKING VERY WELL” FOR SOMEONE
Former first lady Barbara Bush made a donation to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with the proviso that part of the money be spent to purchase software from her son Neil’s company.
START IN CORAL GABLES. GO NORTH AND TAKE A RIGHT ON BISCAYNE BOULEVARD
After the Dallas Mavericks took a two-games-to-none lead over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, Dallas city officials set the route for the victory parade. The Heat then won four straight games and the league championship.
“YOU, ME AND DUPREE” WAS REASON ENOUGH
Actor Owen Wilson was asked by a security guard to leave Whole Foods Market in downtown Austin because he was in bare feet.
JEFF. DAVE. WHO CARES WHAT THEIR NAMES ARE, AS LONG AS THEY STAY AWAY FROM TEENAGE BOYS!
At a campaign appearance for Republican congressional candidate Jeff Lamberti, of Iowa, President Bush repeatedly referred to him as Dave.
YEAH, BUT UNLIKE THAT OLD NAG RUMSFELD, BUSH DIDN’T HAVE TO PUT HIM DOWN
In an Election Day race at the famed Churchill Downs, a horse named Rove finished last.
NOW APPEARING IN “ARSENIC AND OLD LACE”
Katherine Smith, of Hurst, the understudy in a play at L. D. Bell High School, surrendered to police in May after attempting to poison the lead actress by putting bleach in her soft drink.
ONE SMALL MISSTEP FOR MAN …
NASA announced it cannot locate the original videotapes of the first moon landing.
BOOBS IN TOOBS SOON TO BE RENAMED “LEERS FROM PIERS”
In July a San Antonio strip club put on an event called Boobs in Toobs at which customers could pay $25 to float down the Comal River with strippers.
BUT THE BIGGEST BOOBS IN THE DISTRICT ARE ON THE SCHOOL BOARD
As part of a new dress code, the Arlington Independent School District declared that “the display of cleavage is unacceptable.”
BUT THE MOST VISIBLE ASSES IN THE DISTRICT ARE ON THE SCHOOL BOARD
A Frisco art teacher was fired after taking fifth-graders to an exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art that featured a depiction of the naked human body.
ON THE PLUS SIDE, THE TEACHERS’ EDITION OF “INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGY” SEEMED A HELL OF A LOT FUNNIER
At least eighteen staff members at Lake Highlands High School, near Dallas, fell ill from eating muffins in the faculty lounge that lab tests later showed were laced with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
IF WE WERE IN MIDLAND, WE’D WISH FOR THE SAME THING
Governor Rick Perry told a Midland audience that he was glad to be in Abilene to start his reelection campaign.
DEAD GIVEAWAY: THEY WERE ALERT AND VIGILANT
During a raid of nightclubs in Laredo, the Texas Department of Public Safety arrested eight people for impersonating security guards.
AS USUAL, THE THRILL OF VICTORY FOLLOWS THE AGONY OF DE FEET
After spraining a toe on his right foot early in the baseball season because his shoes were too small, Texas Rangers right fielder Kevin Mench admitted he “didn’t know feet could still grow.” He then bought larger shoes and went on to set a major league record as the first right-handed batter to hit a home run in seven consecutive games.
DUZ ADVERTIZNG WERK? JOST DEED!
After Caitlin Campbell, of Amarillo, finished in eighth place in a national spelling bee, Lamar Outdoor Advertising honored her accomplishment by erecting a congratulatory billboard that misspelled her last name.
IN OTHER BUSINESS NEWS, LAMAR OUTDOOR ADVERTISING HAS ADDED A PLAQUE DIVISION
After winning the spelling bee at W. L. Cabell Elementary School, in Dallas, sixth-grader Savannah Bitz was awarded a plaque on which the word “elementary” was misspelled.
THERE WAS A SUSPICIOUS MILKY-WHITE FLUID IN HIS SIPPY CUP
Four-year-old Edward Allen, of Houston, was kept from boarding a Continental Airlines flight at Bush Intercontinental Airport because his name showed up on the Transportation Security Administration’s “no fly” list of potential terrorists.
WE’LL TAKE “IRONY IS NOT DEAD” FOR $200, ALEX
President Bush’s education secretary, Margaret Spellings, was beaten on Celebrity Jeopardy! by the actor who played Lenny on Laverne and Shirley.
HE’LL BE SKEWERED BY THEIR LAWYERS, AND HE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO A REAL GRILLING
A company hired to market steaks named after George Foreman sued the former heavyweight boxing champion for $50 million, claiming he reneged on a deal to promote them.
OF COURSE, IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE LIFELESS HUMAN BODIES, WE RECOMMEND A TEXANS HOME GAME
After two Houston museums simultaneously mounted exhibits featuring posed human cadavers, the CEO of the Health Museum remarked, “If there’s a city in the United States where two exhibits like this could happen … it’s Houston.”
THEREBY SCOTCHING HER CAREER
Jennifer Silva, a second-grade teacher, was fired by the Katy school district for taping shut the mouths of unruly students.
YEAH, WE WOULDN’T WANT A GOVERNOR WHO SPENDS MONEY HE DOESN’T HAVE
Felix Alvarado’s nascent campaign to be the Democratic nominee for governor ended when he bounced the check he wrote to the state Democratic party to pay his filing fee.
ADIOS, TOLL FOE
Two members of a group opposed to Governor Perry’s transportation plan claimed he made an obscene gesture toward them on his way into a campaign appearance in San Antonio.
HE’S NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO TOOK IT IN THE SHORTS
Actor Randy Quaid, a Houston native, sued the producers of Brokeback Mountain, claiming they got him to lower his fee by downplaying the film’s prospects.
LESSONS LIKE “DON’T DRINK BIG GLASSES OF DIZZY JUICE AFTER TAKING LOTS OF FUNNY PILLS”
The week after he allegedly attempted suicide, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens announced he would publish Little T Learns to Share, a children’s book that was described in a press release as Owens’s way of “sharing with children the lessons he didn’t learn as a child.”
BAD NEWS: THEY LOST THE GAME. GOOD NEWS: HE HAS DATES LINED UP FOR THREE YEARS
The sports blog Deadspin.com claimed that a photo of University of Texas basketball player Daniel Gibson in the Bryan–College Station Eagle revealed a seemingly enormous part of his anatomy. The disputed area of the photo actually showed a fold in the shorts of Gibson’s uniform.
AND OF THAT 10 OR 20 PERCENT, NEARLY TWO THIRDS STILL WOULDN’T VOTE FOR HER BOSS
The Texas Academy of Science chose as its 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist an expert on overpopulation who was criticized by Governor Perry’s spokesperson, Kathy Walt, for saying, “The world will be much better off when only ten or twenty percent of us are left.”
NOW THERE’S AN IDEA: BUILD THE WALL ON THE OTHER SIDE
Raj Peter Bhakta, a former cast member of The Apprentice, promoted his candidacy for a Pennsylvania congressional seat by flying to Brownsville and attempting to lead an elephant across the Rio Grande into Mexico to demonstrate how easily the border can be crossed.
FLUNK ’EM, HORNS
Even according to the NCAA’s more forgiving revised methodology, the University of Texas football team has the lowest graduation rate in the Big 12 Conference.
THEY’LL JUST SMUGGLE IT IN ON THE ELEPHANT
Ryan Lambert, of Plano, marketed Minuteman Salsa, whose label features a Revolutionary War–era minuteman, to “keep foreign-made salsa from slipping across the border into your pantry.”
IF IT WASN’T BEFORE, IT IS NOW
A Corpus Christi woman received a severed human finger in the mail, along with a note from her ex-boyfriend that said, “This is my last chance to touch you.”
THE ONLY THINGS HE VOLUNTARILY FORGOES ARE BAD NEWS AND GOOD ADVICE
In April President Bush took a seven-mile mountain bike ride on a trail in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, in Southern California, even though visitors are asked to voluntarily forgo the trail during the first half of the year to avoid disturbing the habitat of an endangered species of sheep.
OR ELSE THEY’LL ALL GO STRAIGHT TO HAIL
The Lubbock City Council and the Lubbock County Commissioners’ Court adopted resolutions urging residents to pray and fast for rain.
AFTER YOU MAKE IT RAIN, LORD, HOW ABOUT A PUFF PIECE?
In October Lubbock mayor David Miller e-mailed a request to nearly fifty city churches asking that their congregants pray for the media to cover him fairly.
CAN WE AT LEAST KEEP THE NAME OF THE SAM HOUSTON TOLLWAY?
Houston’s new professional soccer team changed its name to the Dynamo after its original name, the 1836, chosen to honor the year of the city’s founding, offended Hispanics, who complained that it was also the year Texas defeated Mexico.
HIS SOUTHERN CAL SCORE WAS MORE IMPORTANT
The Houston Texans declined to use their top draft choice on Texas Longhorns quarterback Vince Young after it was reported that he scored 6 out of a possible 50 on the Wonderlic test, which is given to NFL prospects to gauge their ability to learn new tasks and solve problems.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY, I’D ASK YOU TO PAWS. YOU DON’T THINK MY CLIENT HAS IT RUFF? AND WHAT DO THEY CALL HER? A BITCH! WE HAVE CHARACTER WITNESSES WHO WILL POINTER OUT AS A MODEL CITIZEN. BUT TO TRAMPLE HER RIGHTS, IT’LL TERRIER UP. PUG YOURSELF IN HER PLACE. SHE KNOWS SHE’S IN THE DOGHOUSE. POODLE LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEARTS FOR A PET CAUSE. THE PLAINTIFFS DON’T KNOW SHIH TZU. HOW CAN THEY SAY HER BARK IS WORSE THAN HER RIGHT? WOULD YOU HAVE HER ROTTWEILER OWNERS WAIT IN VAIN? DOES MY CLIENT NOT HAVE FEELINGS? IF YOU PINSCHER, DOES SHE NOT FEEL PAIN? IF YOU WHIPPET, DOES SHE NOT YELP? SCHNAUZER TIME TO STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. WEIMARANER SIDE? BECAUSE THIS DALMATIAN OF OURS WAS FOUNDED ON CERTAIN PRINCIPLES. AKITA UNDERSTANDING MY CLIENT IS PEKINGESE AT YOU RIGHT NOW FROM THE WITNESS STAND. I IMPLORE YOU TO HAVANESE A LITTLE COMPASSION.
Monty Stevens, an El Paso attorney representing a couple being sued by a neighbor who was disturbed by their barking dog, told the El Paso Times that the dog was exercising its right to free expression under the First Amendment.
BUT THEIR GREEN MONSTER NEEDS A FACE-LIFT. OURS ALREADY HAD ONE
Monopoly: Here and Now, an updated version of the venerable board game, features among its 22 new properties Texas Stadium, in Irving, which is valued at only $600,000, compared with $3.5 million for Fenway Park, in Boston.
TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE
When disgruntled voters sent Rick Perry checks for campaign contributions in amounts as small as a penny to protest his business tax, his campaign endorsed the checks “ASS ’06”—an acronym, the governor’s spokesman explained, for “a small supporter.”
WHO’S THE DUMBO IN THIS STORY?
After bypassing a moat, climbing a wood-and-metal barricade, scaling an eight-foot rock wall, and skirting an electric wire at the Cameron Park Zoo, in Waco, a 25-year-old woman sustained minor injuries when the elephant she was trying to “play” with hit her with its trunk.
BUT THEY HAD TO CANCEL THEIRS WHEN THEY COULDN’T FIND ANY PHONES TO TAP
Defending President Bush’s controversial electronic eavesdropping program, U.S. attorney general Alberto Gonzales claimed that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were among the past presidents who’d “authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.”
FIRST I’M GOING TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE FOR ALL MANKIND. THEN I’M GOING TO STRANGLE THAT BITCH WITH MY SASH
Margaret Ann Garza, Miss Southwest Texas 2006, and Elisa Marie Rodriguez, the sister of Miss Laredo 2006, filed assault charges against each other following their fight in a Laredo nightclub parking lot in July.
IF THE ROAD TO THE BRIDGE IS CLOSED, MOVE AHEAD THREE SPACES TO THE TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY
After Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy was arrested for driving under the influence, Dallas-based Blockdot released an online game called Drive Like a Kennedy, in which players could choose to drive erratically like Patrick or his father, Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy.
OKAY, HOW ABOUT “THE GAY- MARRIAGE- LOVING, ENDANGERED- SPECIES- HUGGING, GEORGE-BUSH-HATING, CIGARETTE-SMOKE-BANNING CAPITAL OF THE SOUTH”?
Residents of Austin, including the mayor, deluged the New York Times with angry letters after reporter Shaila Dewan described the self-appointed “Live Music Capital of the World” as the “Live Music Capital of the South.”
LIKE WE ALWAYS SAY: IT COSTS LESS TO SUBSCRIBE
Authorities in Round Rock arrested Paul Wendell Gunn, who had just robbed the First State Bank, after he sat down in the bank’s lobby to read the October 2005 issue of Texas Monthly.
HE COULD’VE JUST STAYED PUT, READ “TEXAS MONTHLY,” AND SAVED HIMSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE A WHOLE LOT OF GRIEF
Michael Paul Hammonds was arrested after robbing Peoples Bank, in Paris, partly because a man on a bicycle was able to pursue his decrepit pickup long enough to give police a detailed description of him and his license plate number.
SOIDONTENDUPANIGNORANTJERKLIKEYOU.COM MUST HAVE BEEN TAKEN
After his father refused to pay for his college education unless he became a Republican, seventeen-year-old Teddy Gambordella, of Dallas, launched the Web site onemillionreasonswhy.com, hoping to generate advertising revenue that would cover his tuition costs.
IF WE CAN’T BE FIRST, WE’D RATHER BE SIXTH. THAT WAY, WE’D HAVE A FIFTH IN FRONT OF US
Austin ranked fifth on a list of “America’s drunkest cities” compiled by Forbes.com.
FROM THE LOOKS OF TOWN LAKE, HE WAS TRYING TO COMMIT SEWERCIDE
Burglary suspect Brian Maxwell, of Austin, slipped out of his handcuffs, jumped from a moving police car, and leaped from the Congress Avenue Bridge into Town Lake, where he was apprehended by the Austin Police Department’s scuba team.
YOU KNOW, LIKE FORECLOSURES ARE AN UNFORTUNATE SIDE EFFECT OF LOANS
After dead and dying pigeons fell out of the sky in downtown Texarkana during a weekend festival, officials traced the problem to a CapitalOne bank branch, which had hired a pest control company to get rid of pigeons roosting on the bank’s roof. The exterminator distributed poisoned corn intended to sicken the birds, but, he said, sometimes death was an “unfortunate side effect.”
HE MUST BE FLUSH WITH CASH
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban invested $1.3 million in a company that is trying to market a high-tech toilet.
TELL ME THE TRUTH: DOES NOT WEARING THESE JEANS MAKE ME LOOK LIKE A BIG ASS?
The Tarrant Apparel Group sued Jessica Simpson for failing to promote a line of blue jeans named after her despite signing an $8.2 million endorsement deal.
SHE DIDN’T WANT TO DO THAT EITHER
When sixteen-month-old Miranda Bolls, of Dallas, pushed the button on her new Potty Time With Elmo book, a voice asked, “Who wants to die?” instead of “Who wants to try to go potty?”
BE ALL YOU USED TO BE
Eighty-seven-year-old grandmother Lillye England, of Oak Cliff, received a recruiting letter from the U.S. Army.
NEXT THING YOU KNOW, THEY’LL BE MARRYING THEIR COUSINS
Texas A&M University officials protested to the Seattle Seahawks that referring to Seahawks fans as “the twelfth man” violated the university’s trademark on the phrase.
IF JESUS IS REALLY YOUR CO-PILOT, WHY ARE YOU FLYING COMMERCIAL?
Pastor Joel Osteen, of Lakewood Church, in Houston, and his wife, Victoria, were kicked off a Continental Airlines flight after a dispute with a flight attendant caused Mrs. Osteen to allegedly push an airline staffer and attempt to get into the cockpit.
IT WAS HER REACTION TO SKILLING THAT MATTERED
The trial of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling was momentarily halted after a juror complained to the judge that she was overwhelmed by the cologne worn by Skilling’s attorney, Daniel Petrocelli.
EXXON, SI. CUBA, NO
The U.S. Treasury Department forced the owners of a hotel in Mexico City to kick out a group of Cuban government officials who were meeting with Texas oilmen about prospective offshore drilling agreements.
STILL, HE MAY BE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN’T SPELL IT
Referring to his native Connecticut, President Bush said, “I may be the only … presidential candidate who never carried the state in which he was born.” In fact, there have been many others.
STICK TO THE FART JOKES, SIR
At a Rose Garden press conference in June, President Bush teased a reporter for wearing sunglasses, pointing out, “There’s no sun.” The reporter was legally blind.
ROUGHING THE CANDIDATE!
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, an Austin native, ordered his estranged mother, Mina Brees, to remove his likeness from campaign ads promoting her bid for a seat on the Texas Court of Appeals.