We knew it was going to be a great year for Bum Steers when the grand champion steer at the Houston Fat Stock Show turned out to be a phony. He was fattened up out of state, which is a no-no under the rules. Too bad, because there was plenty of fodder for Bum Steers right here. Just think of all that corn the federal government wouldn’t give to West Texans. Of course, the feds were more than willing to give them nuclear waste instead.
As you might expect, a year that was great for Bum Steers was terrible for sacred cows. Ross Perot drew a bead on high school football. Texas Instruments threw in the towel on home computers. The automobile struck out in Dallas, which opted for a rail system but not for expanding Central Expressway. Oil took it on the chin for the second year in a row, causing the state’s largest independent bank, First National of Midland, to go bust.
The biggest bummers, though, kept happening in Houston. Alicia was all wet. The grasshopper invasion was a plague. The Cougars choked away the NCAA basketball championship. The Oilers had the worst record in pro football. The Rockets got Ralph Sampson and still couldn’t win. The Hobbys sold the tattered remains of the Houston Post to a bunch of Canadians. Things got so bad that Houston lost the title of national murder capital.
But all was not lost in Houston. In the midst of all the doom and gloom, one person recaptured the glory days, when Houston was triumphant, can-do, on the move, and rich. Yes, we’re talking about Carolyn Farb, who emerged as Texas’ leading—well, at least Texas’ most conspicuous—socialite after her $20 million divorce settlement with Harold Farb. But don’t take our word for it. Let Carolyn tell you in her own words why she deserves to win the 1984 Bum Steer Award.
IT IS A FARB, FARB BETTER THING THAT I DO THAN I HAVE EVER DONE
1984 Bum Steer Award winner Carolyn Farb on Carolyn Farb, as told to W and the Dallas Morning News
• On why she deserved her $20 million divorce settlement: “Before I met Harold, he was just known as a man who builds apartments. After we were together, I gave his life a kind of magic. It was like living a fantasy. That should be worth something.”
• On the contribution she has made to the women’s movement: “I think when I won that case, I did something that has given women all over the country new hope. I did this for women everywhere.”
• On the People magazine report that said her clothes closet is as big as a three-bedroom house: “That story was exaggerated. My closet isn’t even as big as a one-bedroom house.”
• On food and marriage: “I always looked after him myself. I saw to it that he was very pampered. I banished chicken from the house because he hates chicken.”
• On food and divorce: “No one will ever manipulate me again. I went out and ate Japanese food the other night. I could never eat Japanese food with Harold. He hated it.”
• On why she likes Houston: “I think the buildings are so phallic-looking. When I’m downtown, I’m overwhelmed with the incredible sense of power.”
• On her affinity with Jackie Onassis: “It’s so overwhelming. When there’s so much money involved, you’re just in the spotlight every minute. In the middle of all this I couldn’t help but think about Jackie.”
• On her affinity with Nancy Reagan: “I’ve been misunderstood, just like poor Nancy Reagan. Nancy spends money and wears pretty clothes and gives parties to bring together talented people to help promote elegance and the arts. So do I.”
• On her affinity with Elizabeth Taylor: “This is a very Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton divorce. We’re still so attached to each other.”
• On her ambition: “I would love to interview the city’s artists, architects, and great divorce lawyers—the people who are shaping Houston.”
O GENTLE BEVO OF BETHLEHEM
The Reverend Jerold Shetler, pastor of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, chased a Longhorn steer through North Dallas after it escaped from the church’s traditional live Nativity scene twice in the same night.
THOSE WHO CAN’T, TEACH
After reports of widespread cheating by Houston teachers taking competency tests, the scores showed that 62 per cent failed the reading portion and 46 per cent flunked the math.
WHAT IF IT HAD BEEN A VASECTOMY?
After having his tooth pulled, a Dallas man returned to the office with a gun and opened fire, narrowly missing the dentist.
ONE OUT OF TWO ISN’T BAD
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that lethal injection drugs used to carry out the death penalty in Texas must be certified as “safe and effective.”
THEN THE IRS PROSECUTED HIM AS A TAX CHEDDAR
Gary Allerheiligen of Independence, Kansas, ordered tax forms from the IRS office in Austin and received instead ten pounds of government-issued cheese.
JUST ADD WATER AND RUN
Public-spirited Bayside residents spent nine months working to build a new water tower. While its tank was being filled, it collapsed.
WHERE’S ROSS PEROT WHEN YOU REALLY NEED HIM?
Former all-pro tackle Mean Joe Greene was appointed to the North Texas State University Board of Regents.
THE BEST NUMBER WAS “THE SOUND OF SILENCE”
Rolling Stone magazine reported that Simon and Garfunkel’s August 17 concert in the Astrodome “went well.” The show had been canceled because of Hurricane Alicia.
ALWAYS TEST THE MILD SAUCE FIRST
A driver for the San Antonio Public Works Department lost control of his truck and crashed into a utility pole when it skidded on jalapeño juice that had washed from a factory into the street.
YES, HE’S A PRINCE, BUT HE SEEMS LIKE AN SMU STUDENT TOO
Prince Jurgen von Anhalt of West Germany gave a demonstration in Dallas of his “jet art” painting technique: hurling paint into a jet exhaust to be splattered onto canvas.
TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF MY MELONS
The opening-night party of the DFW Sheraton Grand Hotel featured live models buried up to their necks in food and displayed as talking hors d’oeuvres.
RESEARCH, YOUR HONOR, RESEARCH
Gary Kansteiner of Austin, a lawyer with the Texas Legislative Council who helped draft the new, tougher state DWI laws, was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
TASTES LIKE ONE TOO
Dr. E. E. Burns of Texas A&M reported that nuclear waste can be used to preserve food—if you don’t mind the smell. “For example, angel food cake with irradiated egg whites smells like a wet dog on a rainy day.”
IF AT FIRST YOU SUCCEED, TRY AGAIN. THEN AGAIN. THEN AGAIN. THEN AGAIN. THEN AGAIN. THEN AGAIN. THEN STOP
Houston police finally apprehended Adrian Curt Davis after he robbed the same U-totem store for the eighth time in three months. He never wore a mask, and he always held up the same clerk.
DOC, PUSH THIS IN AND THESE OUT
Miss Texas, Dana Rogers of Boerne, revealed that she had had a nose job and breast implants.
CRIMESTOPPERS TEXTBOOK #983: STRATEGICALLY LOCATED TREES ARE A POLICEMAN’S FRIEND
A blind man in Dallas was convicted of stealing a television set in a burglary. A neighbor spotted the man during his getaway when he walked into a tree.
TO BE WHO I MEAN TO, OR NOT TO BE WHO I MEAN TO, THAT IS THE QUESTION
The English department at UT-Austin sponsored a technical writing workshop for engineers and scientists. It included such courses as “Who Am I Writing To?” and “To Be Who I Mean To.”
RIGHT NEXT TO BEARD’S MOTEL & DINER
Wesley Beard of Trent was charged with criminal mischief for littering I-20 with old car parts. Drivers whose cars suffered damage would take the next exit, which led to Beard’s Auto & Truck Repairs.
SO? JUST DON’T LET THEM SMOKE OR JIVE
Travis County official found that prisoners in the new $12 million county jail could open cell locks with foil from a cigarette package or magnets from a transistor radio.
I’LL TAKE A LETTUCE CRISPER AND ONE OF THOSE CUTE LITTLE HOLSTERS
Dianna Remmer of Dallas was injured at a Tupperware party when a .22-caliber pistol inside her purse discharged.
YOUR MONEY OR MY LIFE
A Houston man robbing a convenience story stabbed himself when he leaned over the counter to take the money from the register. An investigating officer said, “He forgot to turn the knife downward.”
YOUR MONEY OR YOUR BRISKET
A man in Beaumont armed with a large barbeque fork successfully held up a drive-in grocery.
BUT IT WAS HARD TO DETECT AMONG ALL THE HASHISH
For the second straight year technicians at the South Austin Allergy Clinic found marijuana pollen in the Austin air.
FINALLY, A REAGAN APPOINTEE WITH THE CONSUMER’S POINT OF VIEW
Henry Chavira of El Paso, who was under indictment for felony theft, was nominated by President Reagan to the board of the Legal Services Corporation.
YOU HAS A RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
When job applicants for the El Paso County sheriff’s department were tested on elementary school skills, 63 per cent of them flunked.
THE TURBOT-CHARGER NEARED HIS PEARCH. HE WAS WHITING FOR IT. SPRAT! RIGHT IN THE GRILSE. OUT JUMPED A STATE GROUPER, LOOKING TO CACHALOT OF PEOPLE. BUT HE FOUND JUST ONE SOLE. “SALMON YOU,” SAID THE COP, TO WHICH THE PORGY REPLIED, “AM I MY BROTHER’S KIPPER?”
A man was arrested in Dallas for throwing dead fish at passing cars.
JUDGE, IT WAS EITHER THAT OR THROW THEM AT CARS IN DALLAS
The Texas Bass Association disqualified tournament winners suspected of smuggling in frozen bass from Florida.
THE OPERA AIN’T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY DRAWLS
The Dallas Opera inserted in its French-language production of The Daughter of the Regiment a speaking part in English in which a duchess drawls that she’s really just a good ol’ gal from Texas who married well.
Harold Farb and Eva Gabor
Luci Baines Johnson and Ian Turpin
Joanne Herring and Congressman Charlie Wilson
Braniff International and Hyatt Corporation
ULYSSES WAS THIS TOTALLY AWESOME SURFER, SEE
As its entry in the Richardson School District’s program for advanced students, “Olympics of the Mind,” one team acted out Homer’s Odyssey in Valley Girl talk.
CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN
Houston mayor Kathy Whitmire was nicknamed Tootsie after she and actor Dustin Hoffman tied for tenth place on fashion designer Mr. Blackwell’s annual list of worst-dressed women.
AT LEAST ROBERT KNOWS WHO WAS RIGHT
In a fight between two Texas Department of Corrections inmates, Clayton Phillips stabbed Robert Landrum to death following a Bible class argument over the proper method of baptism.
WHERE THEY LEARNED A SECOND WAY TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
All 33 members of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders were required to take a Dale Carnegie course.
“I KNOW,” THE GOVERNOR RESPONDED
Governor Mark White extolled the virtues of Wichita Falls to a visiting chamber of commerce delegation. At the end of the speech, one delegate protested, “But we’re from Sherman.”
THAT’S OKAY. THEY’RE EXPECTING THE POPE FOR BRUNCH NEXT SUNDAY
A Houston couple sent out invitations to a “Secret Dinner” with tenor Luciano Pavarotti. Hours before it was to occur, they invited Pavarotti himself. He said no.
I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ART, BUT I KNOW WHAT I LIKE TO SMASH
Cullen Davis and evangelist James Robison smashed $1 million worth of oriental statuary from Davis’ private collection because, they said, the art was associated with idolatry.
THE LORD IS MY DEALER, I SHALL NOT WANT
The Baptist General Convention of Texas has voted to hold its 1985 meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.
THE LORD IS MY WHEELER-DEALER, I SHALL NOT WANT
Humble banker Ronnie Archer was convicted of embezzling his aunt’s money to bankroll his Christian bookstore.
ELEMENTARY, DR. SCHOLL
Carl Fuery of Dallas was arrested for aggravated robbery at the Parkland Hospital emergency room after the police found his toe at the scene of the crime.
IF GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT-GREAT GRANDFATHER HEARS ABOUT THIS, HE’LL DIE
The Texas Highway Department was forced to cancel the public display of a human female skeleton thought to be around nine thousand years old after American Indians protested that is might be the ancestor of a living Indian.
DEF AND DUM
Joe Elliot, lead singer for the British rock band Def Leppard, apologized for calling El Paso “that place with all the greasy Mexicans.”
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Civic leaders in Lubbock hired a San Antonio engineering firm to study the feasibility of a downtown riverwalk to attract tourists. Lubbock has no river.
I’M NOT ABOUT TO—I ALREADY HAVE
After John Tower announced his retirement from the Senate on August 23, his supporters received a letter soliciting contributions and saying, “I want you to be among the first to know that I am not about to give up the responsibilities I now have in the United States Senate.”
NOT TONIGHT, DEAR. I’M STIFF AS A BOARD
After an El Paso thief stole a female mannequin from a formal wear shop, police found him embracing her in the back seat of his car.
SURE IT LOOKS BAD, OFFICER, BUT THAT WAS LAST YEAR’S AWARD
Houston police officers, searching Ray and Sara Johnson’s apartment for drugs, found several bags of secobarbital tablets and a large plaque reading, “Ray and Sara, the Mandrax Connection of the Year.”
TWO BITS, FOUR BITS, SIX BITS, A DOLLAR. IF YOU USE DRUGS, I’M GONNA HOLLER
Malcolm Dennis, assistant principal at Lewisville High School, praised a program that paid students for informing on their classmates about drugs, saying, “Some have even turned in their best friends.”
DEAR AIR FORCE: COULD WE INTEREST YOU IN A MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION?
General Dynamics in Fort Worth quoted the U.S. Air Force prices of $7417 for wire that sells in a hardwire store for a few pennies, $9609 for a 12-cent allen wrench, and $1158 for a $5 cutting tool.
A Vidor Christmas parade to collect toys for underprivileged kids was cancelled after the Klu Klux Klan refused to withdraw its float.
IT HELPS THE SALE OF HER BROWNIES
Tanzalear Hughey, an eighty-year-old grandmother from Balch Springs, was sentenced to prison after being convicted for the third time in a year of selling marijuana.
AND THEY SAY THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS MILITARY INTELLIGENCE
A detachment of 35 Fort Hood soldiers had to dig through the Killeen sanitary landfill to find the missing master keys to the base’s five thousand residences.
GOOD PITCHING STOPS GOOD HITTING EVERY TIME
Two Texas League teams set a professional baseball record for runs scored when the El Paso Diablos beat the Beaumont Golden Gators 35-21.
BLOOD IS THINNER THAN SALSA
Ninfa Laurenzo’s restaurant chain sued her son Jack to prevent him from using her Mexican recipes at his Buena Vista Bar & Grill in San Antonio.
Texas A&M president Frank Vandiver had to abandon a plan to protect visitors to the campus under which Vandiver had himself commissioned as a campus policeman and bought himself a nickel-plated .357 magnum pistol.
THE NAPKIN-SCENTED FOOD WAS A FLOP
Rainbow Creations in Mexia has produced a new commodity for the dinner table—food-scented napkins.
ALL THE MEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT
The San Antonio News plugged its March 25 edition with a large newsstand poster reading, 4 UNBORN KITTENS KILLED. GUNNED-DOWN PREGNANT CAT FIGHTS FOR LIFE.
TAKE ME TO GRENADA
A San Antonio thief told police that the voice of Ronald Reagan had instructed him to steal a taxicab.
THEN HE RECOMMENDED HIRING A CONSULTANT
General Hugh Robinson of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers submitted to Congress in March a report on flood damage prevention in Houston. The report was authorized in 1948.
NO, NO, JIM BOB. I SAID, ‘DIS ROBE,’ NOT . . .
A San Antonio nudist group applied for a parade permit, hoping to divert attention from a simultaneous march by the Klu Klux Klan.
AND THEY WOULDN’T KISS HIS FEET EITHER
State district judge Michael McSpadden of Houston ordered two defendants to spend thirty days in jail for contempt because they answered his questions with “Yes” instead of “Yes, sir.”
HARVARD HAS IVY; A&M HAS . . .
In order to make new bricks on a campus building blend in with old ones, Texas A&M announce plans to paint the entire building with cow manure.
GEORGE’S MEMOIRS WERE TURNED DOWN
Doubleday announced the publication of the memoirs of C. Fred Bush, a golden cocker spaniel belonging to Vice President and Mrs. George Bush.
MEN AT WORK
YOU CAN GET BY WITH KINDERGARTEN IF YOU MARRY RIGHT
Henry Billingsley, Dallas real estate executive and son-in-law of Trammell Crow, said this about his profession: “Real estate is a business that if you can’t do anything else, you can go into real estate. All you need in the real estate business is about a first-grade education. Everything beyond that is excessive. It will do nothing but hamper your success.”
AT LAST, THE CASE FOR BUD ADAMS
Donald Fisher, Jr., owner of Houston’s new International Football League franchise, said he would add class to the league. “I’m still a lawyer,” he said, “and I’m never going to come off my pedestal.”
READING, ‘RITING, AND ‘ROTICISM
“Tonya,” the pseudonym of a junior high teacher in Dallas who works for a telephone sex service, said in a newspaper interview, “I find the work fascinating. Since I work out of my house, I can grade students’ papers between phone calls.”
The world will little note nor long remember that:
• Bob Hope was declared lifetime distinguished visiting professor at SMU.
• The Port of Beaumont loaded the largest cargo of bagged flour ever to be placed aboard a single ship.
• The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin added George Foreman’s heavyweight championship belt to its permanent collection.
• Merle Haggard set a world record by buying a round of drinks for all 5095 patrons of Billy Bob’s Texas.
• At a Las Vegas-style musical extravaganza, the Northwest Dallas Chamber of Commerce proclaimed that the towns of Addison, Carrollton, Coppell, and Farmers Branch would henceforward be known as the Metrocrest.
• The California-based International Chili Society and Dallas chili parlor owner Frank X. Tolbert engaged in a court battle over the right to use to phrase “World’s Championship Chili Cookoff.”
THIS IS DALLAS
Deity Does Dallas
Dallas Morning News editorial writer William Murchison proposed Dallas as a suitable place for the Second Coming. “Dallas,” he wrote, “could manage it with aplomb and dignity, and, doubtless, an appropriate turnout.”
DON’T WORRY, ANNE. IF THEY SHOW UP, WE’LL NAIL THEM FOR RWI
Anne Morris of University Park wrote a letter to the editor protesting the building of a library in her neighborhood: “I worry that a library might attract a bad element to our friendly little city. It is a well-known fact that winos practically live in libraries.”
HE SHOULD HAVE PELTED HIM WITH MARASCHINO CHERRIES AND THEN STABBED HIM WITH HIS LITTLE PLASTIC SWORD
Charles T. Terrell, a former member of the Dallas City Council, was sued for battery by real estate executive William Randall Ackerman after a dispute over seating at the exclusive Dallas nightclub Nostromo.
THAT’S BECAUSE THEY GREW UP IN PALACES TOO
After hostessing Prince Albert of Monaco, Trisha Wilson of Dallas said, “He is so totally normal that it is hard to remember that he’s a prince that has grown up in a palace. He is more like an SMU student.”
YOU SAID IT. WE DIDN’T
Developers of the InterFirst Plaza in Dallas beamed a computer-guided laser image of their planned seventy-story building into the night sky to the tune of an original music score. An executive said of the all-but-invisible show, “The opening deserves Dallas and Dallas deserves the opening.”
NEXT SEMESTER: HOW TO DIVORCE EVEN BETTER
Sally Blanton taught an independent adult education course called How to Marry Wealthy, which included such topics as the happiest hunting grounds (the car wash on Preston Road near Lovers Lane; a box at Texas Stadium) and potential pitfalls (prenuptial contracts; resentful children afraid of losing their inheritance).
THIS IS HOUSTON
COME ON, BABY, LIGHT MY FIRE—OR ELSE
A Houston data processor admitted setting more than fifty fires out of frustration after visiting singles bars and leaving alone.
WELCOME TO HOUSTON, HOME OF CLEAN AIR, SWIFT TRAFFIC, FULL EMPLOYMENT, AND WINNING TEAMS
Richard Hite formed Pro-Houston, Inc., with a goal of raising $1 million for an advertising campaign to improve the city’s image.
WISH WE COULD SAY THE SAME FOR EPIDEMIOLIGISTS
Justus Baird, chief of the epidemiology division of the Houston Health Department, said, “Unless rats bite you, they really don’t cause much of a problem.”
HE WAS DETERMINED TO BE STRONGER THAN THE ONIONS
Following an altercation at a downtown hot dog stand, Houston police officers discovered that state district judge Felix Salazar was carrying a .380 semiautomatic pistol, a .22-caliber derringer, and two knives.
GOTTA HAVE SOMETHING TO OPEN THE CAN AND THE BOTTLE
Anita Lee Deal was searched in the Harris County courthouse and discovered to be carrying a bottle of wine, a can of snuff, and a tomahawk.
THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON’T INVITE THE PRINCPAL
A Houston junior high school teacher was fired for throwing a beer party in her classroom for seventh- and eight-grade students.
OUR FRIENDS THE ANIMALS
THEN DOGS FOR THE CATS, THEN GATORS FOR THE DOGS
Building managers at Medical Park Tower in Austin stationed cats on a narrow fifth-floor ledge around the clock to ward off pigeons.
FOR THE SOLUTION, CALL MEDICAL PARK TOWER
Twenty-five thousand cattle egrets took over the town of Avinger, outnumbering humans forty to one. Townspeople who complained about the ammonia stench were told by federal and state officials that anyone who harassed the birds would be fined.
SPEAK, OSCAR. ROLL OVER. NOW FETCH
Lynn Sakowitz Wyatt, talking about her husband in an interview in W, said, “If it were up to Oscar, he’d stay home like a big Labrador every night.”
THEY LOVE WATCHING THE BIG SILVER DOES JUMP
White-tailed deer, accustomed to the noise at Houston Intercontinental Airport, often wander onto runways and will not budge. Attempts to shoot them with tranquilizer guns and to frighten them with recordings of mountain lions have failed.
WAIT! THE MIRANDA WARNINGS!
A woman visiting Austin was attacked by a “killer squirrel” that climbed up her coat and bit her shoulders. A policeman looking for the squirrel found it chomping through his boots and stomped it to death.
NEXT TIME WE’LL DO TO YOU WHAT WE DID TO THE SQUIRREL
It took Lake Jackson police more than three hours to subdue an elderly, one-eyed, almost toothless eleven-and-a-half-foot alligator that had wandered into town.
GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS
• Hundreds of people came to Mary Ibarra’s house in San Antonio to see what they took to be an image of the Virgin Mary, which appeared when the Ibarras’ porch light cast a reflection off their car onto the house next door.
• Hector Flores of Laredo built a shrine in his living room after plaster fell out of his wall, leaving what he said was a silhouette of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
GOD WORKS IN NOT-SO-MYSTERIOUS WAYS
• Walter Rode, owner of the Severne Apartments in Houston, charged some tenants no rent, claiming God would solve his financial problems. The apartments were sold at a foreclosure auction.
• The City of Houston awarded unemployed construction worker James Scott $1.4 million in cleanup contracts after Hurricane Alicia even though he had no office, no dump trucks, no equipment, and no phones. Scott said “Lord Jesus” would see him through, but many of the workers are still unpaid, two subcontractors have filed writs, and one contract has been cancelled altogether.
BUM STEER GIFT GUIDE
• The Dallas Diet (Perrier martinis and a week at the Greenhouse? No. Fiber bars), by Care Free International, Irving
• Firm Believer, an exercise album for Christians, by Dayspring Records, Waco
• Support capital punishment T-shirt, by three police officers doing business as Grim Reaper Products, Beaumont
• Your Housekeeper CAN Cook, basic recipes (fried chicken, frozen Green Giant corn, spritzers) translated into Spanish, by Nancy Levicki, Houston
• “Tenny Lamas,” rubber-soled athletic shoes for bootophiles, by Tony Lama, El Paso
• “28 Men & a Woman,” a calendar with beefcake photographs, by Gray Hawn, Austin
• Amorous armadillos, a 100 per cent brass objet d’erotica, available from—oh, you don’t really want to know
A PUBLIC OFFICE IS A PUBLIC BUST
Texas Attorney General
Indicted for commercial bribery after threatening lawyers from Houston’s Fulbright & Jaworski law firm.
Speaker of the House
Paid $800 fine for failing to disclose his business ties to liquor distributors and a horse-racing lobbyist.
San Jacinto County Sherriff
Sentenced to ten years in prison for civil rights violations after subjecting prisoners to water torture.
Former Supreme Court Judge
Arrested as a fugitive from justice and returned to Texas to serve prison sentence for perjury.
San Antonio Councilman
Mugged in park at 3 a.m. while “fooling around”; fled scene, leaving companion to be assaulted; later called mugging a “police assassination attempt.”