Bum Steer Awards 1983
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It was one of those years when nothing made sense. Bill Clements got a quarter of a million more votes than he did in 1978, but Mark White became the state’s first Democratic governor in four years. Ground level continued to sink in Houston, but the city council decided on a subway instead of an elevated line. The energy crisis turned into an oil glut, and the price of natural gas kept going up even though the demand for gas went down. SMU football coach Bobby Collins settled for a tie instead of trying for a perfect season and the national championship — and was promptly voted Southwest Conference coach of the year. Texas was supposed to be in a recession, but Braniff’s grounded pilots blocked a merger agreement that would have given them jobs but taken away seniority. The Public Utility Commission accused Houston Lighting & Power of mismanagement and as punishment awarded the company $290 million in profits for 1983. The pro football strike was supposed to be bad for everybody, but it allowed the Oilers to lose eight fewer games. It’s hard to love a year that was so mixed up —unless, of course, you love Bum Steers.
1983 BUM STEER AWARD
Texas A&M signed Jackie Sherrill to the richest contract ever given a football coach, $1.6 million. For their money the Aggies got:
• Winning football. In five games. Losing football in six.
• Stunning upsets. Heavily favored to win their opening game against Boston College, A&M lost, 38 — 16.
• Stoic determination. After the Boston College loss, Sherrill said, “It would be easy to say that there are no players here, that the program is terrible. But I’m not going to do that.”
• Daring gambles. With the Aggies trailing Houston by a touchdown with three minutes to go, Sherrill chose to kick a field goal. A&M never got the ball again.
• Strategic genius. After A&M lost to Texas, 53 — 16, Sherrill said that next year his kickoff coverage team would consist of ten students from the cadet corps.
• Hope for the future. Only five years left on the contract.
IT’S ONLY $848 VIA SAN ANTONIO, AND WE WON’T PAY A PENNY MORE
When Algerian tourists Kheira and M’hamed Mahallem arrived at the Houston Intercontinental Airport, unfamiliar with Texas and speaking virtually no English, they asked a cab driver how to get to their destination — a relative’s house in Odessa. The cabbie told them to get in, drove to Odessa via Galveston and Dallas, and arrived fifteen hours later with the meter reading $999.
LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE: THE SHOWER IS ALWAYS HOT
After state health examiners said that the water in Jersey Village was contaminated with radium, local officials said the town would continue to use the radioactive water because treating it was too expensive.
DON’T FORGET KIDNAPPING
Jessie Thomas of Garland, after stopping his car at a fire, risked his life by entering a burning building to rescue a little boy. When he drove off, a police officer issued him a citation for backing his car over a fire hose.
OH, THAT VOODOO ECONOMICS
Vice President George Bush told the Houston Post that he’d never called Ronald Reagan’s economic program voodoo economics, and he challenged the TV networks to prove otherwise. The next day NBC produced a tape of Bush calling Reagan’s economic program voodoo economics.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MEET ONE PUBLIC SERVANT WHO IS AN EXPERT IN HIS FIELD
A Dallas federal grand jury returned an indictment for arson against Bennie Lee Hanna, the fire marshal of Angus.
I LOOK SO MUCH BETTER IN STRIPES
After a Houston community newspaper printed the names and photographs of two men who were suspected of robbing a pawnshop, Ronald Stanley was arrested and charged with burglary when he stood in front of a grocery store where the flier was posted and said to passersby, “That’s me.”
I SHOT AN ARROW INTO THE AIR / IT FELL TO EARTH I KNEW NOT WHERE / WHEN I’D DONE MY LITTLE SHOT / POOR R. O. CARDWELL’S HOUSE WAS HOT
A Dallas repairman, called to service R. O. Cardwell’s broken air conditioner, discovered that the condenser and compressor had been shot with a bow and arrow.
THE LORD IS MY SEISMOLOGIST, I SHALL NOT WANT
Houston oilman Andrew SoRelle drilled for oil in Israel according to directions he said he found in the Bible.
After patrol car number 13 was involved in five accidents, including being struck by an unmanned dump truck that went out of control, the Pampa police changed its number.
LOST: ONE MIND
Abilene oilman Jack Grimm, whose attempt to salvage the Titanic has proved unsuccessful, announced that he would award a facsimile of the Titanic, filled with gold coins, to the person finding a secret object in a treasure hunt. Grimm said treasure hunters could find it by following cryptographic clues, assembled by a former CIA deputy director that will run in the classified pages of the National Star beginning in January.
THE OTHERS ALL GOT PROBATION
Harris County commissioners named a new county building after former commissioner V. V. “Red” Ramsey, the only commissioner ever sentenced to prison for taking a bribe.
IN A DOUBLE ONION RING CEREMONY
Debby Beard and Rudy Lane of Jasper were married in the local Burger King.
STEP ONE: THERE’S A GOOD LANDING SPOT CALLED THE BAY OF PIGS
The Center for Strategic Technology at Texas A&M sent the Defense Department in Washington an unsolicited plan for the invasion of Cuba.
YOUR HONOR, HOW ABOUT IF SHE JUST FOOLS AROUND A LITTLE?
In a lawsuit between rival kennel owners over the choice of a mate for Castlebay’s Sprinter, a prize-winning female Labrador retriever, federal judge David Belew, Jr., of Fort Worth, issued an injunction to prevent the dog from being bred.
THE PRECEDING MESSAGE DOES NOT REFLECT THE SANITY OF THIS STATION
When Fort Worth oilman Eddie Chiles brought his “I’m mad” radio political advertising campaign to the Washington, D. C., market, there were so many complaints from listeners that area stations added disclaimers to the commercials to dissociate themselves from Chiles’ arch-conservative views.
THERE WAS ENOUGH DEADWOOD AROUND WITHOUT HIM
After employees of the Brownsville Community Development Corporation thought they saw a hooded figure stalking though their office hallways and thought they heard sounds from a pipe organ emanating from the walls, workers kept crucifixes and vials of holy water on their desks and the agency announced plans to abandon the building because it was haunted.
CRIME DOESN’T PAY, BUT TAXIDERMY IS QUITE PROFITABLE
After finding five feet and four hands in Lake Conroe, the Montgomery County sheriff’s department announced that it was investigating a triple murder. When a local taxidermist said he’d been dumping bear paws into the lake to feed the catfish, the investigation was canceled.
GREAT MOVEMENTS IN THE ADVANCEMENT OF MANKIND, PART I
Students in a food science and technology course at Texas A&M have developed guacamole made from English peas.
WELCOME HOME. FIRST THE GOOD NEWS. WE SAW NO SIGN OF BURGLARS
When Coit and Rosemary Stevenson of Richardson left on vacation, they asked the police to watch their home. When they returned, they were arrested by an officer who, while they were gone, had discovered marijuana growing in their back yard.
THE FAULT DOES NOT LIE WITH THE CHICKEN
Ted Randolph Stokes of Houston, who rigged up a chicken in a suspended harness that moved the bird a few feet in front of a bulldog running on a circular tract, was acquitted of cruelty to animals because Judge Billy Ragan said there was no way for him to probe the IQ of the chicken.
WHAT’S A NICE BOY LIKE HIM DOING IN A PLACE LIKE THIS?
In an attempt to expose call girl operations in local hotels, Dallas TV newsman Tom Steyer let himself be filmed in a hotel room with a hidden camera while he met with women from nude modeling studios and escort services that he had contacted. He received no offers.
WITH THE JAWBONE OF AN ASS, I HAVE SLAIN A THOUSAND MEN
After the Texas Rangers baseball team got off to a miserable start, principal owner Eddie Chiles said that it is not his style to fire somebody just because something goes wrong. Eighteen days later he fired general manager Eddie Robinson. Afterward Chiles said that Robinson wasn’t fired, nor did he resign; he just doesn’t work there anymore. Then Chiles said that manager Don Zimmer’s job wasn’t in jeopardy. Four days later Zimmer was fired.
DON’T EVER TRY ANYTHING LIKE THAT AGAIN
The Texas Department of Human Resources suspended AFDC payments to an unemployed Houston mother because she had earned a $500 reward for helping police find a murder suspect.
DON’T FORGET THOSE PARKING LOTS
Citing a state law that provides tax breaks for land set aside as open space, Fort Worth country clubs demanded lower appraisals for their gold courses.
AND THEN HE WANTED TO HELP WITH HOMEWORK
San Antonio substitute teacher Ronald Beck was arrested after police officers said he showed hard-core sex films, including Debby Does Dallas, to junior high boys as an aid to sex education.
BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?
It was a very bad year for:
• Braniff International. Braniff ceased operations in May and filed for bankruptcy, owing more than $700 million.
• Governor Bill Clements. Despite raising $10.4 million in campaign contributions, Clements ran out of money, had to borrow another $3 million, and lost the election anyway.
• Mexico. With his country facing the largest foreign debt of any nation in the world, $81 billion, President José López Portillo devalued the peso, plunging Mexico into chaos.
• Lone Star Steel Company. The largest employer in Northeast Texas laid off 3500 workers in August, threatening the future of the towns of Daingerfield and Lone Star.
• Texas International Airlines. After losing $47 million, TI lost its separate identity when its parent company merged it with Continental Air Lines.
• The Legislative Health Services Committee. It overshot its budget by $6500 because of Chairman Ron Wilson’s spending, which included $11,340 in per diem claims for 189 days of work. Wilson also charged the state for $4000 in long distance telephone calls, including more than 150 calls to Hollywood talent agencies, film studios, and an actor.
IDEAL FOR SPAGHETTI FACTORY, BOWLING ALLEY, OR PUTT-PUTT-PUTT-PUTT-PUTT GOLD COURSE
The federal Bureau of Land Management offered for sale a parcel of land bordering Texas in the Oklahoma Panhandle with dimensions of one mile long by two and a half feet wide.
GOOD POINT, MIKE
Mike Martin of Longview pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor perjury and resigned from the legislature after investigators said he had hired his cousin Charles Goff in 1981 to ambush him with a shotgun in order to advance his political career. Then Martin sued Goff for shooting him, saying, “Regardless of the reason, that is against the law.”
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR
In 1979 the residents of Liberty City voted to incorporate but elected an anti-incorporation candidate as mayor. In 1982 the residents of Liberty City elected a pro-incorporation candidate as mayor but voted to disincorporate.
FELONS, DEMOCRATS, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Governor Bill Clements’ Secretary of State, David Dean, sent county election officials a list that was supposed to consist of names of felons who had illegally registered to vote. The list turned out to include thousands of names of people never convicted of a felony.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCEED, TRY A NOSE JOB
After failing to win the Miss Texas pageant on three occasions, Debra Sue Maffett moved from Cut and Shoot to California, had her nose operated on, and was selected Miss America.
AND GRENADES ONLY BY PEOPLE WITH NOT TEETH
U.S. Customs officials announced that switchblade knives could be brought into the country only by people with one arm.
CALLING ALL CARS: BE ON LOOKOUT FOR SPECIAL AGENT, FOUR STARS ON COLLAR, CLAIMING 8861 SMUGGLERS KILLED, 5902 WOUNDED
The Ward County sheriff’s department issued an all-points bulletin for retired general William Westmoreland after Edith Mello of El Paso, who had run out of gas near Monahans, told sheriff’s deputies that she was an Air Force general traveling incognito with Westmoreland in separate cars as they worked under cover to detect drug smugglers.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE $25 THEY GAVE TO THE UNITED WAY?
Records filed in federal tax court indicated that W. Herbert Hunt, Nelson Bunker Hunt, and Lamar Hunt, whose combined family fortunes are estimated at between $8 billion and $12 billion, paid no federal income taxes in 1976.
WHERE IS JOHN WAYNE WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM?
The San Antonio City Council banned future performances in the city by rock singer Ozzy Osbourne after he was arrested for urinating on the Alamo wall.
TELL IT TO THE POPE
Bailey Smith, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said that a person who is not born again should not call himself a Christian. “There is only one kind of Christian on Earth, and that is a born-again Christian,” he said. “If you have not been born again, you are not a Christian and you’re one heart-beat from a devil’s hell.”
HOOK ‘EM, HORNIES
Playboy magazine rated the University of Texas the sexiest college campus in the country.
BUM HEIFER AWARD
A cow belonging to Ross Calhoun of Franklin gave birth to two calves, one Angus and one Brahman.
A PUBLIC OFICE IS A PUBLIC TROUGH
Your tax dollars at work:
· The Pecos Enterprise reported that Reeves County sheriff Raul Florez used jail inmates to paint his home.
· One week after Tarrant County Commissioners adopted a resolution calling for stricter controls on the use of county road crews, Commissioner B. D. Griffin asked for legal approval to pave the parking lot of Billy Bob’s Texas nightclub.
· Dallas County commissioner Roy Orr spent $12,200 in county funds to widen a road where it passed in front of a bank he was a partner in.
· To get publicity for its upcoming bowling tournament, the City of Grand Prairie spent $900 to send two city councilmen to a bowling tournament in Las Vegas.
· The City of University Park paid $78,000 to rent a garbage dump, while other land the city had previously purchased for a garbage dump was used as a fishing hole for the city staff.
NOW IS IT CLEAR?
After Secretary of the Interior James Watt received a personal letter from natural gas lobbyist Tim Donohoe asking for further clarification of Watt’s statement “I never use the words ‘Republicans’ and ‘Democrats’ — it’s ‘liberals’ and ‘Americans,’ ” Watt forwarded the letter to Donohoe’s employer, Dallas-based Enserch Corporation, which fired him.
THANK GOODNESS THEY ONLY TOOK A LITTLE
After her BMW was broken into, an SMU student reported to police that she had been the victim of a major theft — $30 worth of cosmetics.
GREAT MOMENTS IN THE ADVANCEMENT OF MANKIND, PART II
H. Ross Perot, Jr., whose father is a multimillionaire computer executive, became the first person to fly around the world in a helicopter. Upon Perot’s return to Dallas, Mayor Jack Evans said it proves that “Dallas is a can-do city.”
THEY DEMANDED AMNESTY AND A HUNDRED CANS OF RAID
Angry because the Mexican agriculture department reneged on a promise to provide $4.9 million in cash and equipment to the Hermanos Escobar school in Juárez, students seized a laboratory and threatened to kill 15 million insect larvae.
YOUNG COUPLE OF THE YEAR
HE’LL SETTLE FOR A PERCENTAGE OF THE TV REVENUE
Quarterback Bradley Craig, described by his parents’ attorney as “the most sought-after eleven-year-old football player in the country,” sued for the right to transfer from the Sharpstown Steelers to the Alief Tigers in the FUN Football Southwest Houston Conference.
SHE GOT A RAH DEAL
Jim and Karan Wolfe retained an attorney and protested to the Van Alstyne school board, arguing that inexperienced judges kept their thirteen-year-old daughter, Michelle, from being chosen as a junior high cheerleader.
PLUS, MY JIMMY DIDN’T FIT THE DOOR
San Antonio boxer Tony Ayala, charged with burglary, explained that he’d been drinking and had mistakenly thought he was in his own home: “I knew I was in the wrong house when I went to go upstairs to bed and there were no stairs.”
IT’S A GOOD THING SHE WASN’T A CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST
After Emma Johnson of Abilene got stuck while reaching into a toilet to retrieve a deodorant ring, firemen took her and the entire commode to a hospital emergency room, where they broke the commode with a hammer.
BETTER MAKE IT INSTANT
Marin Burkhart, Jr., of Weatherford, who was shot in the neck while sitting in his truck outside the Austin Truck Terminal, drove to the front of the restaurant, staggered inside, sat down at a table while coughing up blood, and ordered a cup of coffee.
WHY CAN’T ONE OF US PLAY WIDE RECEIVER?
SMU officials approved recognition and funding for a new campus organization called the Association for White Students, which was formed to protest discrimination against white people at SMU, where the student body is 96 per cent white.
BILL, IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THE GUTS TO SAY THESE THINGS, YOU WOULDN’T BE WHERE YOU ARE TODAY
Governor Bill Clements, disagreeing with Mexico’s leading immigration expert on the number and effect of illegal Mexican aliens in Texas, called Dr. Jorge Bustamante “just another Mexican with an opinion.”
AGE OR BATTING AVERAGE?
After the Texas Rangers baseball team set a club record by losing twelve consecutive games, the team hired a new hitting coach — Lew Fonseca, 83.
SO WHAT? THAT’S NOT WHAT HE KICKS WITH
A Dallas Cowboys spokesman admitted that the club withheld medical information from kicker Rafael Septien during the 1981 season, telling him he had only a groin pull when in fact he needed surgery to correct a hernia.
ONE JET LAG HEADACHE AND TWO EXTRA-STRENGTH TYLENOL CAPSULES TO:
Wilmer-Hutchins school trustees, whose school district is so poor that some students have no desks and some teachers no textbooks. The schools were threatened with a loss of accreditation following an investigation into questionable school board use of public funds, including:
• $2192 for trustees to attend a convention in Dallas, less than twenty miles away, where they set themselves up for three nights of partying in the DuPont Plaza Hotel
• $3336 to carpet the boardroom and buy plaques for trustees to give each other
• $4000 to send five members — three of whom had already been defeated for reelection — to a convention in Atlanta
• $15,000 for trustees to attend conventions in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Nashville, Washington, D. C., and other cities
AND MRS. LINDON APPEARED TO BE WELL ARMED
A Houston police helicopter spotted Mrs. Francis Lindon working without a blouse in her seven-acre back yard and swooped down repeatedly for a closer look. When Mr. Lindon angrily waved a shovel at the aircraft, the police landed and arrested him, claiming that the shovel appeared to be a weapon.
NUMBER 19: SAY “YUCK”
The Del Taco Corporation provided prospective eaters with a diagram illustrating the correct eighteen steps for taking bites from a taco.
GREAT MOMENTS IN THE ADVANCEMENT OF MANKIND, PART III
Kountze High School defeated Kirbyville, 3 — 0, to break the longest losing streak in the state, 53 games.
SO THAT’S WHAT THEY MEAN BY A LIBERAL EDUCATION
After SMU officials learned that alumni association president Max Derden had falsely claimed, in court and on personal résumés, to hold bachelor of science and law degrees from the university, they awarded him the bachelor’s degree.
COMPLETE THE COLLECTION:
Coca-Cola officials told Ella Blair of Pampa that her contest winning collection of bottle caps spelling “HOME RUN” was not valid because six of the letters came from the Amarillo bottling plant while the R came from Lubbock.
THE ATTIRE WAS BULLETPROOF VESTS
Cullen Davis, acquitted on charges of murdering his stepdaughter, threw a private fund-raiser to help pay the legal bills for Pamela Ruth Fielder, who was on trial for murdering her husband.
HE’D RATHER RENT, ANYWAY
South Texas rancher-oilman Clint Manges explained his contributions totaling $900,000 in the Democratic primary — including $362,500 to losing gubernatorial candidate Bob Armstrong and $204,179 to losing Supreme Court candidate Woodrow Bean — by saying, “I only contribute to candidates who can’t be bought.”
THE DRAIN IN SPAIN IS MAINLY IN THE BRAIN
When the Spanish magazine Lectura sponsored a contest offering a free trip to Dallas for the cleverest answer to the question “Is J.R. really ugly?” the winning entry was, “No, J.R. has a sweet baby face that no one could hate.”
THERE AREN’T ANY, AND WHAT’S MORE, WE WANT THEM ALL
At a time when Texas’ unemployment rate was the lowest in the nation, Harry Hubbard, the president of the Texas AFL-CIO, publicly warned labor leaders in other states that there were no more job openings in Texas.
Speaker of the House Billy Clayton, a veteran of twenty years of lawmaking in the Texas Legislature, attempted to qualify as a licensed attorney by taking the Texas bar examination. He flunked.
NO, BUT HOW ABOUT A TOM LANDRY POSTER?
Ruby Riggle Richey of Dallas, West Virginia, wrote an open letter to the residents of Dallas, Texas asking them for $5000 to help heat her town’s community center.
HE’S SORRY HE COULDN’T TESTIFY IN PERSON, BUT HE LEFT A WRITTEN STATEMENT
While the Bastrop County grand jury was meeting to consider the problem of frequent escapes from the county jail, a car thief broke out of the jail.
NOW JACKIE WANTS A RAISE
In an attempt to lure Nobel prize-winning physicist Sheldon Glashow away from Harvard, Texas A&M offered to pay him as much as football coach Jackie Sherrill.
NICE GUYS FINISH LAST
During his unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate, Walter “Mad Dog” Mengden of Houston proposed that the United States solve the problem of disposing of nuclear waste by shipping it to El Salvador as a condition of foreign aid.
SORRY, HONEY, THEY’RE ALL STAYING AT THE ADOLPHUS
Princess Alexandra von Anhalt of Germany took up residence in a $350-a-night suite at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas and announced that she would remain there until she found a rich Texas rancher to marry.
HE’LL NEVER GET A HEAD
The Texas Department of Community Affairs persuaded a court to uphold its firing of Frank Curtis of Austin for using a bathroom on another floor instead of the one nearest his office.
WE’LL TAKE HIM. WE’RE DESPERATE.
Billboards in Dallas carried the message NIGH FOR GOVERNOR. George Nigh was running for governor of Oklahoma.
EXTRA! EXTRA! NEW LAW MAKES LEGISLATORS ELIGIBLE FOR WELFARE
After officials discovered that a proposed constitutional amendment, designed to raise the $80 million ceiling on total welfare payments, would have allowed each individual welfare recipient to receive up to $80 million, the Texas Legislature was called into special session to pass a new law.
BUT HE HASN’T RULED OUT A PREEMPTIVE STRIKE
Mayor Felix Robinson of Whitewright bought four rapid-fire machine guns for the two-man local police force to defend the town against nuclear attack.
THE BAZOOKA DEMONSTRATION IS AFTER CHURCH
Four high school students in Spring Branch were arrested for selling semiautomatic weapons that had been modified into machine guns and fragmentation bombs after one of the students told an undercover officer, “Let me spray some rounds out here on the school grounds.”
FOR $50,000 MORE, HE’LL TELL YOU WHAT LANGUAGE THEY DO SPEAK
Governor Bill Clements’ task force on undocumented Mexican workers paid $142,000 in tax dollars to V. Lance Tarrance, the governor’s campaign pollster, for a 31-point study that concluded that illegal aliens don’t speak English well.
WE KNOW SOMEONE WHO WILL HANDLE THE APPEAL FOR JUST $1,081,740
After Houston prosecutor Rusty Hardin was late for a hearing, district judge Doug Shaver ordered him taken into custody, and Hardin was handcuffed to a bench outside the courtroom for fifteen minutes as punishment.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT, LANCE TARRANCE
For its eight months of work in appealing a federal court order that the State of Texas reform its prisons, the Houston law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski billed the states $1,081,740.
BE PATIENT, LADY, THE GRANT MONEY IS ON THE WAY
A woman resident of El Tesoro apartments in Fort Worth filed a complaint alleging bathtubs filled with raw sewage, exposed live wire, and a broken second-story balcony. The apartments are owned by Dick Eudaly, the regional administrator for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
NEXT TIME YOU’RE IN TROUBLE, CALL A DEVELOPER
The City of Wilmer disconnected its police emergency telephone number so that Dallas speculators purchasing land in the area would have a second toll-free line to discuss zoning changes with Wilmer officials.
THAT EXPLAINS IT
Randall King, owner of King Air Service in Dallas, asked a Nueces County district judge to grant him pauper’s status for the appeal of his conviction for felony possession of marijuana. During his trial, King had been represented by five attorneys, including Racehorse Haynes.
ANYONE WHO BREAKS THIS RULE WILL BURN ETERNALLY IN HECK
As the result of a decision by state education commissioner Raymon Bynum that Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary not be considered for adoption because it contains obscene words, Texas high school libraries must use dictionaries printed no later than 1969.
IT’S A TOUGH JOB BEING A COP, AND YOU LOSE MORE THAN YOU WIN AGAINST THE GUYS IN THE BLACK HATS, BUT SOMETIMES . . .
A group of SMU students touring the county jail were asked to leave their driver’s licenses with a deputy as a procedural precaution. Deputies ran a computer check of the licenses and then arrested one student with over $200 in unpaid parking tickets.
DON’T GET MAD, GET EVEN
When federal officials complained that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas had a backlog of more than a million Medicare claims, the company saved time by canceling its computer program to detect phony and erroneous claims — costing the feds $26 million in overpayments.
HE MEANT, “I WANT MY LAWYER”
Testifying on behalf of David Ruiz at a hearing to determine whether the prison reform activist’s parole should be revoked, county court judge Steve Russell in Austin described Ruiz’ statement “I did that robbery” as “a slip of the tongue.”
BUT THANKS TO THE AUTHENTIC SMOKE FLAVOR, THEY BOUGHT FIVE ORDERS TO GO
Citing a city ordinance that prohibits firemen from answering calls outside the city, a truckload of Cleburne fire fighters sat and watched Charlie Perkins’ barbecue restaurant —bordering the city limits three blocks from downtown — burn to the ground while Perkins fought the blaze with a garden hose.
IT STILL BEATS DETROIT
Six months after district judge Ted Poe of Houston told Richard Judd to either go to prison or return to his native Michigan within thirty days and not come back to Texas for two years, Judd was found in Houston and sentenced to the penitentiary.
HER JOINTS WERE STIFF
After police found marijuana growing in Laura Clark’s back yard, a Houston jury convicted the 82-year-old great-grandmother of felony possession of marijuana, although she said she was growing herbs to treat her arthritis.
THE ORGANIST IN THE MARCHING BAND GAVE IT AWAY
Aldine High School officials argued in court that their school song is not a prayer. The lyrics of the song are “Dear God, please bless our school and all it stands for / Keep us free from sin, honest, and true / Give us courage and faith to help make our school the victor / In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.”
OOPS! I MEANT THE GREAT BLACK SPADE
While campaigning for reelection, Texas agriculture commissioner Reagan Brown referred to Booker T. Washington as the “great black nigger.”
PRESENTED IN MEMORY OF BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
Texas agriculture commissioner Reagan Brown, meeting with Amechi Umerah of Nigeria concerning exports of Texas cattle, gave his visitor a certificate reading, “Official Texas Sharecropper.”
“AND I MEAN IT, OR ‘SPCA’ DOESN’T STAND FOR THE SOCIETY FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF CAT ASSASSINATIONS”
Dr. Marjorie Sewell, assistant director of the Dallas County health department, said during a radio interview that if a stray cat walked into her yard, “I would shoot it with a gun. I just hope I hit it between the eyes because I don’t want him in my yard. I want people in my neighborhood to know I won’t tolerate their irresponsible pet ownership.”
MAYBE WE’VE BEEN WRONG ABOUT THE AGGIES . . .
Scholastic aptitude test scores for entering freshmen at Texas A&M were higher than those for freshmen at any other public university in the state.
. . . ALL THESE YEARS . . .
Bryan-College Station, the home of Texas A&M, has the highest per capita use of libraries in the nation.
. . . THEN AGAIN, MAYBE NOT
The Aggie calendar for 1982 printed and distributed by the Texas A&M Association of Former Students, contained calendars for months in the following order: January, February, March, June, July, June, July, August, September, August, September, December.
THIS IS DALLAS
IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO WORK UNDER COVER
The police department in the Dallas bedroom community of University Park announced plans to purchase a Mercedes-Benz for use as a patrol car.
NEXT: THE QUICHE FACIAL
Neiman-Marcus offered a Perrier Perm, a permanent topped off by pouring chilled Perrier water on the head.
AND A SILVER SPOON STUFFED IN THE MOUTH
An Idlewild debutantes’ ball in Dallas featured a punk rock masquerade with costumes that included real blood on the face and a safety pin stuck through the cheek.
THE HUNTS WANTED SILVER CORNERS
Arnold Weber built over 150 tennis courts in Dallas last year using designer colors.
THERE ARE A MILLION HEARTACHES IN THE BIG CITY, BUT A MAN’S GOT TO KEEP ON GOING ANYWAY
Some Dallas Cowboys season ticketholders were unable to find space in the Texas Stadium parking lot because so many others arrived in limousines that took up more than one parking space.
FIRST PLACE WENT TO “MY DAD BELIEVES IN FREE ENTERPRISE, ABOLITION OF THE PROGRESSIVE INCOME TAX, AND RIGHT TO WORK”
The Dallas newspaper Park Cities People held a Father’s Day contest for kids to write in telling why they loved their father. Second place went to a letter that began, “My dad is the best dad, because he makes money.”
THIS IS HOUSTON
MOMMY, WHY IS THE SWIMMING POOL BLACK?
Houston city officials and the Davis Oil Company reached an agreement to drill for oil in the city’s Herman Brown Park.
THEN THEY THREW HER IN THE BAYOU
Houston police officer R. B. Springer pressed an assault charge against a rape victim who had gouged his hand with her fingernails after he found her screaming in a ransacked apartment. Judge Jimmie Duncan fined her $150, plus $65 in court costs.
THE OTHER 59 PER CENT WERE WRONG
PBS radio reported that when the residents of Houston were asked in a poll to name the citizen they most admired, 41 per cent couldn’t name anyone.
SOLD, TO JACKIE SHERRILL
A Houston security company offered for sale the Shah of Iran’s 1979 Cadillac, bulletproofed and loaded with anti-terrorist and anti-kidnap devices, for $118,000. The extras included a built-in surveillance system, a remote starting system in case the ignition sets off a bomb, tear gas, a telephone with debugging and scrambling systems, and an oil slick sprayer.
SPEAK NOW, OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE
A Houston motorist became irate when two newlyweds in a car with ”Just Married” painted on it lingered at a stop sign for a kiss in front of his pickup. After the pair started up again, the motorist headed them off, jumped out of the pickup, accosted the couple, and wounded the groom with a knife.
BUM STEERS GIFT GUIDE
For the man or woman who has nothing:
• A six-pack of Clyde’s Chili With Beans from Britches in Washington, D. C., $22 postpaid
• A religious record album titled Little Big Lunch, by Sonny Salsbury
• A book called The Best Dallas Strippers
• For $1, a genuine 1978 Dolph Briscoe for governor lunch pail
• A book titled Purt’ Near 100 Uses for a Texas Cow Chip
• An empty bottle of Genuine Texas Hot Air
• “The Men of Texas,” a beefcake calendar of UT males