1977 Bum Steer Awards
So, what are we going to do now? Darrell’s gone, the Bicentennial’s over, Lloyd Bentsen proved that a Southerner couldn’t be elected president, and W.A. Criswell blessed President Ford, who then lost, proving that a Christian couldn’t be elected president either.
Meanwhile, Americans busted out of a Mexican jail just in time to escape the devaluation of the peso. With all that behind us, who knows what’s in store? We hope, dear readers, that this year’s Bum Steer Awards will give some solace by recalling what we all managed to survive in 1976.
THAT’S WHY WE’RE AGAINST IT
Governor Dolph Briscoe justified his proposal to kill golden eagles in West Texas by saying it was for the “protection of poor defenseless little lambs and kids.”
HAND’S UP! WANNA SEE MARTHA AND THE KIDS?
After robbing a Houston Ramada Inn, Sam Pendleton left his wallet, with identification, on the counter.
THE QUESTION IS NOT IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH, BUT CAN THEY CHANGE A TWENTY?
The Texas House Administration Committee received a $495 expense account voucher signed on May 10 by James Cline. Cline died on April 16.
HE WON’T COME. HE’S INTO LEISURE SUITS AND WHITE SHOES
In the “Miracle at Pentecost” mural at the Biblical Arts Center in Dallas, Stanley Marcus was the model for the Pharisee who invited Jesus to dinner.
Madalyn Murray O’Hair, head of the American Atheist Church, declared Thursday the sabbath for American atheists because “that is the day I led the children of atheism out of the wilderness of religion and that was also when I created Heaven on Earth on a half-acre tract down here in the great state of Texas.”
Kim Yun-Suk was thrown in a Seoul, Korea, jail for wearing what police described as a vulgarly lettered T-shirt. It read, TEXAS WESTERN—24.
DEMOCRACY MEANS ALWAYS HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY
Texas voters elected Houston attorney Don Yarbrough, who had been found guilty of civil fraud and gross negligence in the practice of law, to the Texas Supreme Court after confusing him with political Yarboroughs Ralph and (the other) Don. Meanwhile, convicted felon Gus Mutscher, former Speaker of the Texas House, was released from the remainder of his probated sentence for conspiring to accept a bribe, given back his civil rights, then appointed and subsequently elected Washington County Judge.
LOUIE LEARNED IN JUST A WEEK
Denison rancher Louie Thurman spent seven months teaching his Brahman bull, J.R., to sit down.
THAT’S NOTHING, YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN HIM EAT LOBSTERS IN MAINE
Campaigning in San Antonio, President Gerald Ford tried to eat a tamale without removing the corn shuck.
THE CABS ARE CHEAPER AND ANYWAY, IT’S CLOSER TO MARFA
When New York banned the Anglo-French supersonic Concorde, Van Horn Chamber of Commerce president M.J.Mitchell offered his city as an alternate landing site.
THE KIDS WOULDN’T SPLIT THE TAKE
The Dallas School Board voted to put sweets and soft drink machines back in high schools when students were discovered profiteering from black market sales of candies and drinks.
ONE TERMINAL CASE OF MONTEZUMA’S REVENGE TO:
Dan Eddy, Jr., of Dallas, who complained after a recent business trip to Mexico, “A family trip? To that dirty place? If I would never get to Mexico again, it wouldn’t bother me. I don’t like the food or the climate.” Eddy is a board member of the Texas Good Neighbor Commission, a state agency designed to promote cooperation and understanding between Texas and Mexico.
BUT HE KNEW THE HANDSHAKE AND BROUGHT THE RACCOON TAILS
Swearing in city council members, Hunter’s Creek City Attorney Bill Olson read first a loyalty oath, then one for swearing in policemen, before finally getting the right one.
WHERE WAS LEE HARVEY OSWALD WHEN WE REALLY NEEDED HIM?
An Oldie But Goodie Bum Steer: one week after President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Austin American-Statesman sports editor Lou Maysel began his story on the 1963 Texas—Texas A&M football game: “Tommy Wade, as anonymous as a Secret Service agent this season, stepped in and foiled an assassination plot that almost took the life of another of America’s number one citizens, the University of Texas football team…” He continued, describing “the ruthless way they went about their assassination plot on this cool, windy day…. quarterback Jim Keller drew the sniper’s job…. He drew bead on the Longhorns…. It wasn’t long before Keller uncovered his rifle arm and pumped those three telling shots at the Longhorns.”
NO SPIT, SHERLOCK
Denton Police Chief Wayne Autrey prohibited his patrolmen from snuff dipping and tobacco chewing on duty because police cars had spit cans left in them and tobacco streaks down the sides.
THE JACKIE ONASSIS HOMEMAKER AWARD
John McFarlin of San Antonio promised Joan Manning $500,000 in 1973 if she would marry him, but she hasn’t kissed him since the altar. After paying her $350,000, he wants a divorce and his money back.
Radical attorney William Kunstler, speaking in Dallas, said he wasn’t very upset about the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy: “While I wouldn’t have done it, two dangerous men were eliminated . . . Dead presidents, you know, aren’t worth very much.”
OF COURSE, THE CHICKENS THEY WERE WRAPPED IN DIDN’T DO SO WELL
The Webster Intermediate School Science Club broke a world record when six of the fourteen specially wrapped eggs they dropped from an airplane 1000 feet above the school yard landed intact.
Hays County commissioners refused to remove a metal silhouette of a nude male tied to a ball and chain in front of the county jail because “it tells it like it is” and it was once in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN A RECORD, BUT THE POST OFFICE LOST IT
Jackie Jones of Lindale used 26 ball-point pens to write her sister in Prentiss, Maine, the world’s longest handwritten letter—318 feet long. It weighed fifteen pounds and cost $17.76 to mail.
A DAY EARLIER WOULDN’T HAVE MADE ANY DIFFERENCE
The day after the Thorndale City Council abolished the town’s one-man police department, two men robbed the Thorndale State Bank.
HAVE YOU LOOKED UNDER THE BED IN THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN ROOM?
Employees at the Goas Tamale Factory in San Antonio made a four-and-a-half-foot, 70-pound tamale to send to President Gerald Ford. The same company made a 43-pound tamale for President Kennedy in 1961, but it was lost in the White House.
THE COPS COULDN’T TELL A CREEP FROM A CRAWL
Hans Mullikin, a Baptist evangelist from Marshall, began crawling the 1200 miles to Washington, D.C., in order to “get the nation on her knees before God.” Wearing kneepads and a red, white, and blue jogging suit and pulling a cart loaded with religious material, a CB radio, and three flags, Hans was turned back in Shreveport when patrolmen informed him that creeping was prohibited on interstate highways.
After mentally retarded Marine Private Lynn McClure was killed in a boot camp training exercise, Sergeant Harold Faulkner, the Austin Marine recruiter who signed him up, said, “His hair wasn’t long. He was clean-cut, not in rags and tatters. He wasn’t drooling at the mouth.”
ONCE THEY START SELLING BULL, THEY NEVER GIVE UP
John Connally was auctioneer at the Santa Gertrudis Bicentennial cattle auction held in the Regency Room of Dallas’ Hotel Adolphus. Guests and bidders in elegant attire ate amid the cattle stalls.
HE WAS MEETING MATTHEW AND LUKE AT GAIDO’S
A Houston man stole a cab and then told the police he was Jesus Christ and needed to go to Galveston.
ASK THE JUDGE WHERE TO MAKE PLEA-PLEA
After a feud over jail bonds, Delta County Sheriff Benny Fisher moved County Judge George Bolger’s furniture into the courthouse men’s room.
COULD YOU ALSO SEND A BALD DEBUTANTE WITH 44 LEFT FEET AND A SMALL, ENGLISH-SPEAKING CHILD?
The Guatemalan Consulate in Houston reported that relief packages Texans donated after the devastating Guatemala earthquake included 44 left shoes, seven wigs with sets of hair curlers, fancy evening clothes, baby doll gowns, and books and games written and described in English.
BUT THE VET SCHOOL IS MISSING A 181-FOOT, 2-INCH DACHSHUND
Texas A&M students produced the world’s longest hot dog: 181 feet, 2 inches.
WHY DIDN’T WE THINK OF THAT
Freddie Aguilar of San Antonio won a free trip for two to Mexico City for his entry in a contest to name the new center of the Mexican American Unity Council. Freddie’s entry: The Mexican American Unity Council Center.
SHE’S ON THE UDDER LINE
After telephone servicemen in Tom Bean refused to move Tom Gregg’s phone into his relocated mobile home, he left the phone in a pasture and answered callers with a tape of his heifer, Elsie, mooing.
ANYONE WHO CAN’T WALK ON IT DOESN’T NEED IT
In an attempt to evict fifty tenants from rent houses it owned, Houston’s Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church gave them 24 hours notice and then disconnected their water. One of the tenants, an elderly woman, was hospitalized for dehydration and an intestinal infection.
NOW IT’S DAGWOOD BUMSTEAD
Thieves stole Fort Worth Assistant District Attorney Joe Shannon’s CB radio from his car. Joe’s handle is Dick Tracy.
TOUGH LUCK. NEXT TIME TRY SOMETHING RESPECTABLE, LIKE STOCK FRAUD
Ramsey Muñiz, who got 214,118 votes for governor in the 1972 general election on the Raza Unida ticket, was arrested in Mexico and returned to U.S. authorities a month after he forfeited his bond on charges that he was involved in smuggling large amounts of marijuana.
THEY SMELL THE SAME BUT LOOK DIFFERENT
Retiring Rice University football coach Al Conover announced plans to become a hog farmer.
NO ONE NOTICED FOR A WEEK
After his auto supply store was robbed of $450, Cisco Mayor John Webb imposed a midnight-to-dawn curfew.
THIS IS NOTHING. WAIT TILL HE PUTS ON THE MASK
Michael Romzek-Gambone, a UT economics teaching assistant, tried to stimulate interest in economics and Halloween by dressing for class as Keynes, the Wonder Frog.
THE WETBACK EXPRESS?
Texas International flies from Laredo to Houston daily but returns only on Saturdays.
IN CRAYOLA ON A BIG CHIEF TABLET
Protesting a dictionary proposed for use in public schools, State Representative J.L. Brisco copied down the definitions of 91 dirty words and mailed the list to the Houston Post.
OTHER THAN THAT, IT WAS ENTIRELY CORRECT
The San Antonio News published these corrections of a news story that it had printed about a fatal aircraft accident: The man killed was not a former Air Force pilot; he was not flying a plane owned by Beck Concrete Company but one owned by Crow Aviation Company; he was not making a mechanical check of the plane and trying to land but was making a low-level pass and was not trying to lower the landing gear; he had been flying in a two-plane formation with Harry Perez, not Joe Perez; Perez did not circle the area until help arrived but was already on the ground; the pilot’s father-in-law is Ed Dohman, not Charles Duhben, and he did not make the statements attributed to him in the story; the pilot was not trapped between the instrument panel and the engine but between the seat and the instrument panel; and (whew!) the engine was not across the pilot’s body but across his foot.
LUCKILY THE FULL-GROWN ROOSTER WAS MARRIED
Vincent Sutherland of Austin filed a “chicken-at-large” charge alleging that Patrick Doyle’s half-grown rooster chased Sutherland’s daughter on two occasions.
ALISHA’S THE ONE ON THE RIGHT
Alisha Dawn Crumley, 5, of Quitman, was crowned “Southern States Dainty Dixie Doll” in Fort Worth.
NO, NO, YOU IDIOT! I SAID THE H.E.B. PARKING LOT
Department of Public Safety agents arrested three persons trying to sell $15,000 worth of drugs on the DPS parking lot in Austin.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against an Eastland man who told investors he had psychics who were 100 per cent successful in finding oil and gas reserves.
WE HEARD EVERYBODY WAS USING THEM, BUT THIS IS RIDICULOUS
CB transmissions boomed out over the speakers at Dallas’ Wilshire Baptist Church, including “ten-four” after a wedding, “fer sure” during a sermon, and “OK, good buddy” after a silent prayer.
BETTER DEAD THAN RED
Oklahoma University football fan Cecil Samara had BIG RED permanently enameled across his front teeth and has already paid for a red-and-white casket in which he wants to be buried with his finger pointing up, symbolizing “Oklahoma’s Number One.”
MY ROD AND MY STAFF THEY COMFORT ME
“I would put my staff up against any staff on the Hill for efficiency, proficiency, and productivity,” said Corpus Christi Congressman John Young in response to charges that he had had sexual relations with staff member Colleen Gardner.
HE SAID HE ALREADY HAS A YARDMAN
Governor Dolph Briscoe refused for five months to grant an interview to José Nájera-González, the Mexican consul in Austin.
AFTER EATING BUFFALO GAP AND ABILENE
A piranha was caught in the Colorado River near Brady.
Del Rio residents are building a reception center for UFO travelers, which will include a clubhouse, swimming pool, kitchen, a six-foot concrete circular landing pad, and letters constructed from mirrors which spell out, “Linger When You Land Here, Birdmen.”
FEELING GUILTY, FRED?
Frederick Waring of Comanche was charged with trespassing after he skydived into the Arizona State Prison.
HE’S MAKING A LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE, GONNA FIND OUT WHO’S NAUGHTY AND NICE
A number of Dallas prostitutes propositioned Santa Claus in the Oak Lawn “meat market” area, only to discover that the bearded man in the red fur-trimmed suit was from the vice squad, not the North Pole. Jolly Old Saint Nick bagged nine hookers in ninety minutes, a new record for prostitution arrests.
THAT’S BECAUSE LUBBOCK IS IN BLACK AND WHITE
Ninety per cent of the households in Lubbock have color television sets—the highest concentration of any city in the country.
THE OTHER 80 PER CENT ARE STEALING THEM
The Federal Communications Commission reported that 20 per cent of the families living in Garland own a CB radio, the highest percentage of any city in the country.
WIN ONE FOR THE RIPPER
Magnolia Independent School District athletic director Don Fuqua lost his job after the district accused him of taping thumbtacks to the fingers of his football players.
WHO SAID CHICKENS ARE STUPID?
Because excessive noise disorients chickens, a Gonzales feed company refused to supply 72,000 chicks to Morgan Mills, Sr., until after Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnic, which took place next to Mills’ ranch.
IT WAS UNDER THE TREE WITH HIS NEW DOGGIE
Ideal Toy Corporation created a J.J. Armes doll. Like the real-life El Paso detective, the doll has mechanical hands, with a miniature gun attached to the clawlike prosthesis.
LET’S JUST SING PAT ROVER’S A BIG OLD GOOSE
To celebrate the Bicentennial, Patrick Roper of Dallas formed the Hands Across America Committee to organize a human chain of four million people, including 780,000 Texans, to link hands across the continent and sing “God Bless America” on the Fourth of July.
GLOOM OF NIGHT WILL BE NEXT
At their national convention in Houston, letter carriers demanded the right to come in out of the rain during their rounds.
THE WARWICK WAS BOOKED
Thomas Smith, after falling asleep in a Houston trash dumpster, awoke inside a garbage truck where he managed to survive ten mashes by the trucks compactor before the driver spotted him.
HE COULDN’T HAVE FOUND IT ANYWAY
Almost ninety years after it was built, the Texas State Capitol was designated a historic landmark at official ceremonies to which Governor and Mrs. Dolph Briscoe were not invited.
THE OTHER 238 HAD REDEEMING SOCIAL VALUE
Twelve of 250 pornographic films were stolen from the Houston Police Department property room.
THE REST HAVE TO SAY “MAY I?”
In Houston the majority of the first 135 impotent men who had a hydraulically operated penis erection prosthesis implanted can now achieve erections and have sexual intercourse whenever they wish.
AS FOR RED RIVER DAVE, HE’S “BANANAS”
San Antonio singer Red River Dave McEnery announced plans to give America’s first sermon in CB slang from his Little Country Church for Country Music People, whose slogan is “Roping ‘Em in for Jesus.” Women would be called “Beavers,” said Red River Dave. As for God, he’s the “Big Breaker in the Sky.”
WHO SAYS JUSTICE IS BLIND
After an Odessa high school coed was convicted of theft, District Judge R.L. McKim released her on three years’ probation on the condition that she return to high school and wear a bra.
WE’LL BITE. WHAT WAS THE CONTEXT?
After Dallas Police Chief Don Byrd was quoted as saying, “If you put two women together in a squad car, they fight. If you put a man and a woman together, they fornicate”; and “The niggers have to wear badges to keep themselves from killing each other,” Byrd said the quotes were taken out of context.
IS THAT A PISTOL IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?
Leslie Smith invited Killeen police officers to a free screening of Deep Throat at his Roaring Twenties Club. At the conclusion of the film, they filed obscenity charges against him.
THERE WAS A THUNDERSTORM IN THE ROTUNDA
State Representative Tom Cartlidge complained that it took seven days for a letter to go 350 feet from his Capitol office down the hall to the Secretary of State’s office.
WHEN IN DOUBT, PUNDIT
Analyzing the chances for Lloyd Bentsen to win the Democratic presidential nomination, Texas Monthly political writer Al Reinert warned that “perhaps ‘lightning will strike,’ as the phrase goes in Washington, and someone—Udall or Jackson or Bayh, or even Fred Harris, will catch the national fancy and emerge from the early primaries.” Reinert did not mention Jimmy Carter.
THEY GOT DISGUSTED AND LEFT
Protesting bad housing conditions in Dallas, Charlie Young loosed a box of cockroaches in a city council meeting.
BIG DEAL. WHERE WAS HE ON JUNE 3?
Bill Adams of Wichita Falls has attended Sunday school for 3642 consecutive Sundays, beginning on June 10, 1906.
HE LEARNED FAST
Lubbock Republican Joe Franklin Robbins was arrested for public drunkenness while he was celebrating the end of an Austin orientation class designed to inform freshman legislators about their duties.
BUT SKIP, ALL SHE WANTED WAS A SET AND COMB-OUT
Skip Bagaley of Houston set a world hairdressing record of 123 hours, 50 minutes.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Two Fort Worth area CBers, Dirty Bird and Blue Goose, got into an argument on the air, cursed each other, and agreed to fight it out. The ensuing shootout left one dead and the other critically wounded. Later, the widow of Blue Goose got on her own CB and broadcast to the killer: “I hope you’re satisfied. You have killed a fine CBer and the father of my children.”
SO ARE VICE DETECTIVES
Austin Police Major Burch Biggerstaff outlawed neck jewelry such as puka-shell necklaces and gold chokers for detectives, saying, “Beads are for girls.”
ONE E. HOWARD HUNT PLUMBER’S FRIEND TO:
Pasadena Rayburn High School orchestra director Dr. Jay Dunnahoo, who obtained a pass key and entered honor student Katherine Sicard’s hotel room while she was participating in a school orchestra trip. She was “sentenced” to thirty days in a discipline center and barred from further music competition after he found two unopened bottles of cherry vodka.
STEER BUM AWARD
David Krause and B.J. Brown of Austin began selling framed Longhorn manure, dipping the chips in lacquer to make them look moist, and including on each box a short history of the chip—at $29.95 per dump.
THAT’S NOT BAD. BUT WE’D HAVE PREFERRED THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
After resigning as secretary of the Texas Senate and pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge in exchange for the dropping of five remaining felony indictments against him, Charles Schnabel took another state job with the Texas Department of Rehabilitation.
AT LEAST HE WASN’T EATING
Floyd “Fatboy” Johnson broke the world record for consecutive hours performing as a one-man band by playing electric piano, drums, cymbals, guitar, harmonica, xylophone, and kazoo for 17 hours, 57 minutes at a Houston bar.
WAKE ME WHEN WE GET TO CUBA
Joe Garcia, Jr., hijacked a Houston city bus, robbed the driver of $12, took a seat, and fell asleep.
HANDS UP! THIS IS A MISTAKE
After his agents terrorized three innocent persons by breaking into their apartment with a sledgehammer, Amarillo Police Lieutenant Jimmy Davis said, “As far as I know, no one’s done anything wrong except make a mistake.”
HE CALLED HIM A SON OF A BEECHCRAFT
After a routine Texas Aeronautics Commission meeting, Rex Cauble punched out fellow commissioner Jack McCreary.
HE NEVER SHOWERS WITH LESS THAN EIGHT
At a late-night Austin party, seven women beat, robbed, and stabbed a 20-year-old man when he refused to take a shower with one of them.
NOW WE KNOW. THE AGGIES REALLY CAN’T TELL IT FROM SHINOLA
Texas A&M University, which offers courses on the operation of sewage plants, was cited by the Texas Water Quality Board for discharging effluents into nearby Shinola Creek.
TOO BAD HE WAS OUT
While out picnicking one Sunday evening in an Austin park, David Andrews and his family heard a lot of sirens, which they decided to try to locate. After searching ten minutes they gave up and headed home to find their own house in flames. It had been struck by lightning.
OH. WELL, THAT’S EASY
The Bryan Eagle wrote that the Unitarian Fellowship Class was going to review the book How to Say No to a Baptist and Survive. The correct name of the book is How to Say No to a Rapist and Survive.
WE WARNED YOU LAST YEAR. USE SAFEGUARD, NOT DOVE.
For the second straight year, prisoners escaped from the Cameron County (Brownsville) jail brandishing a pistol carved out of soap.
WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARED, THERE WERE ONLY THREE OPPONENTS
Marsha Richardson challenged her six opponents in the Dallas County sheriff’s election to a target-range shootout and demonstrated her skill by putting eight of twenty shots into a human silhouette fifty feet away.
FOR NEXT YEAR’S SHOW THEY’RE BUYING OVENS
The Confederate Air Force in Harlingen reenacted the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, complete with a simulated mushroom-shaped cloud and the pilot who flew the Enola Gay in 1945 at the controls.
VY VEREN’T DER VIPERS ON DER VINDSHIELD?
The Houston thief who stole Martin Powell’s car got not only a 1970 gold Fiat, but also two deadly two-and-a-half-foot-long rhinoceros vipers that were in a box on the floorboard.
GOOD NEWS TRAVELS FAST
After editors of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal announced that readers could come by and read privately the comments that led to the resignation of Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, a Yoakum County farmer and his wife drove seventy miles, copied the statement, and returned to spread the word among the farmers back home.