The 2009 Bum Steer Awards

The 2009 Bum Steer Awards
Clemens: Corbis
Ball: istockphoto.com

We knew it was going to be a Bum Steers kind of year when, right off the bat in January, Harris County district attorney Chuck Rosenthal was found to be using his official e-mail account to send sexist and racist jokes and pornographic videos. OMG! LOL! Then the mayor of Alice resigned after news broke that she had stolen a tiny dog named Puddles from her neighbors and lied about it for months. What a shih tzu storm! And the fun was just beginning: Lance Armstrong was shocked by his own water bill; Mark Cuban was coldcocked by the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Longhorns were knocked out of the Big 12 championship by a computer; and the Texan in the White House was clocked with a 20 percent approval rating, the lowest in history. Heckuva job, Bushie!

But nothing compared with the enhanced performance turned in by our Bum Steer of the Year: Roger Clemens. Here’s the dope: Not long ago, the former Longhorns and Astros star was a legitimate candidate for best pitcher in the history of the universe. Then Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report identified him as a steroid user. Batter up! Huffing and puffing, Clemens traveled to Washington, where members of Congress found his protestations so unpersuasive they asked the FBI to investigate him for perjury. Strike one! Faced with damning testimony from Yankee southpaw Andy Pettitte, Clemens first discredited his longtime friend and then implied that the drugs had been for his wife. Strike two! And just when it seemed that things couldn’t get any worse, the New York Daily News reported that Clemens had carried on a long-term affair with singer Mindy McCready that had started when she was fifteen years old. Yer outta here! And you’re our Bum Steer—make that Bum Steeroid—of the Year.

We’re Number One, Not Two, Not Three, Not Four! We’re Gonna Win, Not Lose, Not Tie The Score! We’re on Top, Not Bottom, Not In Between! We’re Going To Violently Slaughter Our Opponents As Part of This Routine! A cheerleading skit during a September pep rally at Nacogdoches High School simulated the execution-style slaying of players from a rival school.

Warning: Side Effects May Include Drowsiness, Itchy Palms, And Career Loss Harris County district attorney Chuck Rosenthal resigned after news broke that he had deleted more than 2,500 e-mails subpoenaed in a federal civil rights lawsuit. Officials later determined that Rosenthal had used his official e-mail account to share racist jokes and sexually explicit videos, send campaign messages, and write love notes to his assistant, all of which he attributed to being under the influence of prescription drugs.

In an Attempt To Prevent This From Happening Again, Hot Wings And $6 Pitchers Of Domestic Draft Will Now Be Served at Snack Time A five-year-old boy at a Denton day care facility asked for permission to use the rest room, whereupon he slipped out of the building and wandered to a Hooters restaurant half a mile away.

Ceaze And Dezizt In a year marred by an expensive fight to fend off a Microsoft takeover, an enormous earnings drop, and plans for big layoffs, Internet giant Yahoo still managed to find time to instigate legal action for trademark infringement against Yahooz, a Tyler-based chain of three drive-through coffee shops built to resemble giant hats.

Rebels Without A Clue The Southern Legal Resource Center filed a suit on behalf of Burleson teens Ashley Thomas and Aubrie McAllum, who felt that Burleson ISD had violated their rights by banning them from carrying purses displaying the Confederate battle flag in school.

I Don’t Know. Will We Still Call You the Grand Dragon? A vendor at the Republican state convention, held in Houston last June, sold buttons posing the question: “If Obama is President . . . will we still call it The White House?”

Thank God It Wasn’t Jock Itch Jorge Espinal, of Fort Worth, shot himself attempting to use a revolver to scratch his back.

Take Heart, Anjali: With Your Brains And Work Ethic, You’ll Never Get Stuck Working at the Grapevine-Colleyville ISD Despite the fact that Anjali Datta had graduated in three years and had the highest grade-point average in school history, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD administrators refused to name her the valedictorian of Grapevine High (and grant her the corresponding scholarship) because school district policy states that the valedictorian must be the student with the highest four-year GPA.

He Thought Pat Wanted A Shiner When Austin country singer Pat Green asked a Michigan concert audience, “Anyone got a beer?” a crowd member threw a can of suds onstage, hitting Green between the eyes and knocking him unconscious.

Matched Only By Its Disdain For the Environment Streak A study by trade magazine Waste News found that Houston recycles only 2.6 percent of its solid waste, lowest among the nation’s thirty largest cities, a fact Mayor Bill White attributed to the city’s “independent streak.”

It Mustard Been An Inside Job, But We’ll Hope For A Hero Who Won’t Loaf, Who Will Find Those Turkeys And Toast Their Buns, And When The Law Does Ketchup And The Cell Door Salamis Shut, The Caper’s Perpetrators Will Swiss They Were Somewhere Else. They’ll Be Bacon For Mercy. So Lettuce Reflect On This: Mayo Never Find Yourself In A Similar Pickle A Subway employee dressed as a giant sandwich was assaulted by three youths outside the Flower Mound restaurant where he was waving to passing motorists. The youths tackled the helpless mascot, stole his costume, and fled in a getaway car.

In the Final Urinalysis, It Was Money Piss-poorly Spent The State of Texas shelled out $3 million last year on a brand-new program to test 10,407 high school athletes for performance-enhancing drugs. Two kids tested positive.

Oy Holy Night For a White House Hanukkah reception George and Laura Bush sent Jewish leaders across the country invitations featuring a Christmas tree.

Or Give Them a Clothing Allowance for Fishnets After Cleveland teacher Laurie Ann Lewis was busted for prostitution

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