The 2011 Bum Steer Awards

The 2011 Bum Steer Awards
Illustrations by Lou Brooks

How outrageous was 2010? Pretty outrageous. Heck, we could have named a Bum Steer of the Year every month beginning in January and never run out of contenders. Just think what we had to work with: The ridiculous State Board of Education, which seemed hell-bent on convincing the world that Texas is a state bored of education. Or the villainous BP, which took a giant leak in our Gulf and on our energy sector. Or the hapless Democratic Party, which couldn’t have done worse in Texas if it had renamed itself the Socialists Against Hunting Party. Or the listless Bill White, who put voters of all ideological persuasions to sleep with his “Look, Ma, No Excitement!” gubernatorial campaign. Or the shameless Rick Perry, who bravely refused to participate in a debate unless his opponent made public his eighth-grade report card. And let’s not forget the unscrupulous Tom DeLay, convicted money launderer, who fared no better with a Travis County jury than he had with the judges on Dancing With the Stars. Would the Hammer, the proud winner of our 2010 Bum Steer of the Year Award, be a back-to-back champ?

Alas, no. When it came to bestowing our lowest honor, we could not escape the case being made on a weekly basis by the two most prominent sports franchises in the state, the ignominious Texas Longhorns and the disastrous Dallas Cowboys. The Horns started the year playing in the national championship and ended it just hoping to qualify for a spot in the Leonard’s Lube and Oil Change Bowl. Which they didn’t. Meanwhile, up the highway, the Cowboys started the year by blowing up their old stadium and ended the year by imploding. America’s Team became America’s Bad Dream. Week after week, the Cowboys invented new ways to lose. Fumbles! Interceptions! Excessive celebration! But, hey, that just gives the team more time to get their new stadium (to which they still can’t sell naming rights) ready for the Super Bowl, in February. Those who can’t, host.

As we went to press, the two teams had a combined record of 8-15. We’ll leave it to others to explain how, exactly, these storied franchises collapsed so mightily and so simultaneously. Ours is not to reason why but, rather, to point fingers and laugh cruelly. And so, with not-so-great fanfare and all due disrespect, we declare a tie and split the dishonor. Congratulations to the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns, our bums and steers of the year.

Escaping back into his cell was the true genius of the plan

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials admitted that Skyler Steddum, an inmate at Sugar Land’s Central Unit, had, as many as seventy times, broken out, shopped at the Walmart across the street, and then slipped back in, with guards none the wiser.

He believes in double taxation for his representation

Garland state representative Joe Driver admitted that for years he had double-billed travel expenses to both the state and his campaign organization and pocketed the extra cash, claiming he thought that was the proper way to do it.

It was the breast of times, it was the worst of times

In a quest to acquire the largest fake boobs in the world, Houston’s Sheyla Hershey traveled to Brazil to have a surgeon replace her already huge implants with insanely mammoth ultra-bazongas (no U.S. doctor would do it). But after months of fighting a virulent, life-threatening postsurgical infection, she reluctantly had the implants and most of her badly damaged natural tissue removed.

“However, we can neither confirm nor deny reports that Mr. Gilbert is currently in possession of an overdue library book. Next question”

To preempt his primary opponents from using the information against him, Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner Hank Gilbert, of Whitehouse, revealed that he had been driving for the previous two years with an expired license.

A Family Connection Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson was found to have provided 23 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships to her relatives and the children of her top aide, even though none of them were eligible.

It’s hard to be inconspicuous in a dusty old tiara

Shannon Marketic, Miss USA 1992, was jailed for shoplifting an Oil of Olay product and several baby items worth a total of $90 from a Target in Denton.

The children on the bus go ow, ow, ow

Eleven Del Valle schoolkids were treated for bruises, bumps, and other minor injuries after their school bus made a sudden, unexpected stop during the morning route. Several kids claimed that bus driver Rene Nunez-Lemus had intentionally slammed on the brakes because they were ignoring his demands to be quiet.

Conspiracy theorists were quick to point out that the film showed an unfamiliar bush near the grassy knoll

Dallas singer Erykah Badu created a stir in Dealey Plaza when, during the filming of a music video, she stripped naked in front of onlookers and dropped to the ground as if dead near the spot where President Kennedy was assassinated.

Hook, line, and stinker

Garland’s Robby Rose pleaded guilty to attempted felony theft after he was caught stuffing a lead weight in a fish during a tournament at Lake Ray Hubbard in an attempt to win the grand prize, a $55,000 fishing boat.

Shoot first, make poor editing decisions later

Crawford’s Ted Nugent paid a $1,750 fine and pleaded no contest to baiting a deer and not having a properly signed hunting tag in California. A state game warden discovered the infractions while watching an episode of Spirit of the Wild , Nugent’s Outdoor Channel television show.

But I also have a nightmare

At this year’s annual ArtWalk in Abilene, the theme of which was “Intergalactic,” one of the featured events was a recitation of the “I Have a Dream” speech, read by “Martian Luther King.”

They Were Labeled “Does Not Contain Human Heads”

After a Southwest Airlines cargo worker at the Little Rock airport held up a

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