The 1995 Bum Steer Awards

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

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