The 2001 Bum Steer Awards

Congratulations, Governor! We knew you would like to win something by a decisive margin. Something with no need for a recount. Something even a butterfly ballot couldn’t make confusing. And here it is: You’ve been elected our Bum Steer of the Year. It’s quite an honor. Your dad was awarded it twice.

You don’t have to send James Baker to protest. We admit that there are no standards. We concede—indeed, we celebrate—that there’s opportunity for mischief. But you have to admit, nothing has been wackier this year than the election. If this were Tennessee Monthly—God forbid—Al Gore would be our Bum Steer of the Year. At least you carried your home state.

Perhaps you’d like to know about your competition. You beat the Dallas Cowboys (doesn’t everybody?), Dick Cheney (who had to prove he wasn’t a Texan in order to be vice president), and old favorites Anna Nicole Smith and Farrah Fawcett. Honorable mention goes to UT coach Mack Brown, who lost to Oklahoma, 63-14. Even Gore lost Oklahoma by only 21 points.

In closing, we wish you well. As you move closer to leading our country, keep in mind these uplifting words: “I think we agree, the past is over… . Our priorities is our faith… . Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream,” and finally, the new motto of Bum Steers, “I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans.” You couldn’t have said it better yourself. Actually, you did say it.


The Ultimate Absentee Voter
The obituary of James E. Fete, Sr., of Canton, Ohio, who died September 19, ended with the line, “In lieu of flowers, vote Bush.”

Just Trying to Make The Point That You’re Never Safe
Alvin police officer Randy Langston, who was ejected from his son’s baseball game (in which he was an assistant coach) following a heated argument at first base, was demoted to patrolman after he reported to work, returned to the ballpark, waited in his patrol car, and later issued umpire Terry Hessenflow a warning ticket for failing to signal a turn.

We’re More Concerned About the Big Dumbbell
Model-actress Anna Nicole Smith, embroiled in a court battle with the son of her late husband, sought a mistrial in the lawsuit she filed seeking half of the billionaire’s estate after a ten-pound dumbbell injured her hand during an early-morning workout session in her Houston home.

Better Than a Lot of Cracker in Yours
Former Georgia congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told fellow Republicans attending a Richmond, Virginia, rally that George W. Bush’s staff was “not quite up to speed” because the governor’s presidential campaign advisers still have “a little bit of Austin in their style.”

They Were Practicing Their Breast Strokes

The Southern Methodist University men’s swim team escorted its first-year members to the male-stripper club LaBare, where the newcomers performed impromptu dances good enough to earn tips.

Pre-Margarita, The Vote Was 31-0
In October reporters traveling on George W. Bush’s campaign plane—including representatives from the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and the Austin American-Statesman—sampled margaritas prepared in the plane’s fully stocked bar, then took a straw poll about their own presidential preferences, which favored Al Gore 26-5.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Tofu
Activists for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, carrying signs reading “For Christ’s sake, go vegetarian,” picketed steakhouses, barbecue joints, and other meat-centered businesses in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Amarillo, and Lubbock.

The Un-Coola
The Plano-based 7-Up company introduced a new television ad campaign, which depicted comedian Orlando Jones wearing a T-shirt that said, on the front, “Make 7,” and on the back, “Up Yours.”

A Scheme That Wasn’t Fully Hatched
A woman from El Salvador pleaded guilty in Houston to attempting to smuggle 1,500 sea turtle eggs into the United States.

You Can Get Details on Their Web Site
The Galveston County jail had to mobilize a team of exterminators after 33 inmates were bitten by brown recluse spiders.

Tonight’s Specials Are Crime Brûlée, Big House Salad, Spaghettaway, Read Me My Rice, Wild Goose Chase, Death Roe, Cereal Killer, Sirloin Stakeout, Preliminary Herring, On The Lamb, Al Capon, Baba Au Rumble, Electric Eclair, Cheese It the Cops, Gruel And Unusual Punishment, Beets the Rap, Squash the Indictment, and Lots of Bread and Dough. Uh-oh. I’m Collard”
Keith David Harrier, a waiter in Dallas, called so much attention to himself by being overly chatty with police officers dining at the restaurant where he worked that one of them subsequently recognized his face while looking at a videotaped image of a bank robbery suspect.

It’s True—Pot Can Lead to Crack. And Vice Versa
After Carlton Meredith was arrested in Amarillo for possession of marijuana, police found $14,000 on him, including $8,050 hidden in his buttocks.

Next They Stopped and Boarded a Tanker Full of Cocktail Sauce
Four Coast Guardsmen in Galveston faced potential courts-martial after they stopped a shrimp boat, boarded the vessel, and then left with part of the cargo.

Pizza Would Have Taken Too Long
Houston ambulance driver Larry A. Wesley was suspended because, on the way to the hospital with an injured child, he stopped to get doughnuts.

Good Thing He’s Not From Hawaii
On special occasions, Kerry L. Neyland of Houston shaves his sideburns into the shape of Texas.

I [Bleep] You, You [Bleep]
MeLyrick Studios of Richardson, which created the children’s character Barney, the purple dinosaur, discovered that three hundred copies of the book Barney’s Sing-Along Songs had been bound with paper recycled from European sex-massage advertisements that featured a bare-breasted woman or contained words like “sex” and “lust.”

You Have the Right to Remain Stupid
After James Fitzgerald Johnson of Copperas Cove attempted to rob an Austin credit union, he fled to Round Rock, where he jumped out of his car and ran directly into the back yard of the Round Rock police station.

Put Them in a Lockbox
Harcourt School Publishers of Lewisville agreed to remove from a fifth-grade textbook a picture of Vice President Al Gore explaining to children the dangers of the Internet because of

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