The 2012 Bum Steer Awards

2012 Bum Steer Awards
Illustrations by John Ritter

Did anyone enjoy 2011? Rick Perry thought he would: he started it with his historic third inauguration. But his year would not end as well as it began. Fact is, we can’t remember the last time anybody raced from hero to punch line at such high speeds. Not that he was alone in his stumbles. The Legislature swerved downhill as well, crashing through one regular and one special session, making sure that billions of dollars were slashed from education while billions were stashed in the Rainy Day Fund. Speaking of rain, Mother Nature denied us a drop of it. And with no money and no rain, it was every man for himself. Just ask the Longhorns and Aggies. The University of Texas scored a $300 million TV deal for a station almost nobody could watch, and Texas A&M split for another conference entirely, but not before firing its coach on the way out.

Yet no other Aggie had a year quite like the governor’s. No sooner had he declared his candidacy and found himself sitting atop the polls than he began his precipitous descent. On his travels north of the Red River, the governor just seemed to forget how to talk. From Iowa to New Hampshire, where he delivered the most bizarre public address since Sean Penn accepted an Oscar, Perry had so many goofs, flubs, and brain freezes that his campaign released an ad in which he explained, “I’m a doer, not a talker.”

But all of this was mere prelude to a gaffe so epic it gave late-night comedians more material than they knew what to do with. As millions of viewers watched, Perry spent 53 excruciating seconds of the November 9 Republican debate trying to remember the word “energy.” (To be fair, it does have three syllables.) Not since Perry’s predecessor asserted that he knew how hard it was for working-class families “to put food on your family” has a 
politician enriched the Internet with so many 
I-can’t-believe-I’m-watching-this videos. 
Sure, sure, our misoverestimated leader could still recover and follow George W. Bush to the White House. But even if he does, we’ll make sure that on his curriculum vitae, right between the entries for “47th Governor of Texas” and “45th President of the United States,” there stands one other worthy accomplishment. Rick Perry, you’re our 2012 Bum Steer of the Year!

Click here to see our Venn diagram showing Rick Perry’s talking problems.

If you see THE suspect, call police and leave—don’t wade around

A man wielding a gun stole an inflatable kiddie pool from a San Antonio 
Walmart Supercenter. He tried to steal an inflatable boat as well but quickly abandoned that idea before stepping into his getaway car, a taxicab.

Clearly he 
was incontinent 
to stand trial

While on trial in 
Tyler for shooting at a peace officer in a Smith County juvenile facility, seventeen-year-old Corey Webb urinated in a courtroom trash can. Judge Kerry Russell told Webb, “I don’t know how you were raised, but peeing 
in a trash can in a state district courtroom is inappropriate behavior.”

I see dead 
law enforcement 

News sites around the world posted near-real-time updates as Liberty County sheriff’s officers and FBI agents mounted urgent, high-profile searches of two properties on consecutive days, fruitlessly looking for a purported mass grave of up to thirty bodies. The law officers later admitted that the operation was based on unsolicited tips from a self-described psychic.

Or maybe force 
you to watch 
 Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure

After Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, claimed that a cabal of “Hollywood star whackers,” who may have murdered David Carradine and Heath Ledger, was out to kill the Houston-born actor, Quaid released a song, “Star Whackers,” which lists a number of unusual methods an assassin can employ, including “maybe squeeze your balls with a nylon rope.”

Click here to watch Quaid singing “Star Whackers.”

Few know that 
the W stands for “Watch out below!”

Just months after its grand opening, the ultra-hip W Hotel in downtown Austin was forced to close when glass panels from the high-rise’s balconies began crashing to the ground, injuring multiple people.

He’s not just a team 
mascot, he’s also a member

For obvious reasons, the fledgling Amarillo Sox baseball team retired 
its mascot’s new costume 
after one game.

And to find the 
route to Madame 
Chi Chi’s with 
the fewest transfers

Houston METRO president and CEO George Greanias was suspended for one week without pay—a financial hit of approximately $4,500—after an internal investigation revealed that he had used the agency’s 
Internet access 
to visit websites 
advertising adult 
escort services.

Renny has just checked in at the 
Travis County 
Correctional Complex

The victim of a daytime office robbery told Austin police that the man who held her up had distinctive 
tattoos and heavy black-framed glasses. Soon afterward, she saw a man named Renny Harvard in a Crime Stoppers ad and thought he might be the perpetrator. The ID was confirmed by a quick look at Harvard’s Facebook page, which featured photos of him sporting the tattoos and glasses she had described.

Dude, you’re 
getting a cell!

Round Rock police—including the SWAT team—responded to a report of a masked gunman entering a building on Dell Inc.’s campus and herding frightened employees into the lobby. The commotion ended when officers realized the “threat” was an in-house promotion for a new product launch gone wrong.

Two things that 
come to mind are 
destructive acts of petty jealousy 
and reckless self-

Looking into a suspicious fire that destroyed a pickup truck, Austin arson investigators learned that seventeen-year-old Taylor Zane Cross allegedly showed friends an iPhone video of the truck, which belonged to a romantic rival, going up in flames. Cross reportedly admonished his friends not to talk, because, he said, “you know what I am capable of now.”

It’s Just Around 
the Corner 

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