It will take decades for scholars and forensic anthropologists to tell us what to think about the year 2016. No one was immune to the craziness that ran roughshod over our fair land: not the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas A&M Aggies, TCU graduates, lovers of Franklin Barbecue, sellers of mattresses in San Antonio, and lots and lots of innocent Texans going about their daily business. But as the election season kicked into high gear, politics dominated our headlines. Thankfully, the country rallied around an unlikely “outsider” with a unique path to the White House who wasn’t afraid to tell voters the truth. That man was none other than Ted Cruz—wait, wait, sorry. Our Bum Steer notes are wrong. We meant Donald Trump, of course. And as Trump fever swept over Texas Republicans—and Democratic politicians remained as uncommon as live armadillos in the daytime—it left all of us hoping for the same thing: for 2017 to get here as fast as possible.
When You Absolutely, Positively Have to Be in Jail Overnight
Jeremy Laray Tate was arrested in Waco after showing up at a FedEx location to claim a package containing more than ten pounds of drugs. Police were tipped off by store employees, who noticed the package was improperly sealed and exuded a strong marijuana odor.
Heather Michelle Berry, of Quanah, was arrested by Hardeman County deputies for breaking into a home and assaulting a woman, whom she angrily accused of stealing both her vibrator and her boyfriend.
No Parking at Anytime His Honor Deems Inconvenient
Fort Worth city workers removed several counterfeit No Parking signs along a residential street near the TCU campus, which homeowners—including Judge Larry Meyers, of the Court of Criminal Appeals—installed to keep students from parking in front of their property.
He’s More Convincing When He Wears the Pantsuit
Unaware that a clip of Hillary Clinton speaking at a rally had ended and that he was back on camera, anchorman Gordon Collier, of KWTX, in Waco, delivered a mincing impersonation of the presidential candidate.
He’s Got Some Huevos
Austin mayor Steve Adler sought to raise the stakes—and the hype—in a culinary feud with San Antonio mayor Ivy Taylor by declaring himself “commander in chief” in “the Great Breakfast Taco War of 2016.”
Next Time I Will Say, “No, and That’s a Ridiculous Question”
Challenged during a live TV interview as to whether he would continue to support Donald Trump if the candidate were overheard to say, “I really like raping women,” U.S. congressman Blake Farenthold, of Corpus Christi, gave a clumsy, equivocating response that began, “Again, that depends . . .”
Lick Tha Police
Jacob Cunningham was happy to pose for his mug shot in Trinity County.
That’s His Trademark Tempo-Mandibular Grip
Spectator Edward Ferrero clambered into the ring and confronted a wrestler during a WWE Raw event in Corpus Christi. When a security guard tried to stop him, Ferrero bit his arm and was quickly arrested.
Figures It’d Be Someone Hailing From “Tactless Bureaucrats”
A staff member of the Austin Transportation Department was suspended for giving a presentation to a city commission that included a satirical map that replaced neighborhood names with phrases such as “Fitness Freaks” and “Dirty Co-ops.”
So That’s Why That Pain in the Ass Won’t Go Away
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones bolstered his assertion that there is insufficient evidence to link professional football with degenerative brain disorders by pointing out that “medicine is evolving. I grew up being told that aspirin was not good.”
Turns Out They Both Had a Lousy Season
A police officer in South Carolina was able to persuade a suicidal man not to jump off a bridge by establishing a rapport with him over their shared hatred of the Dallas Cowboys.
Seems He Can’t Stay Away From the Pen
Parolee Mark Dana Kenady was arrested in Austin for stealing a flat-screen TV and $50 in cash and leaving a signed note that suggested that the victim had it coming for failing to lend him $2 the day before.
Not, That There’s Anything, Wrong, With That
Because of a misplaced comma, the official platform of the Texas Republican Party stated that homosexuality was “shared by the majority of Texans.”
Still Waiting on the One That Says “Construction On I-35 Is Finished”
An unknown hacker kept changing the messages on electronic signs maintained by the Department of Transportation in Dallas.
He Wanted to Graduate to Level 12 in Candy Crush
Chancellor Bruce Leslie, of Alamo Colleges, in San Antonio, was criticized by students for spending time onstage during the school’s spring commencement ceremony engrossed in his smartphone.
More Like, Unleash the Painful Blisters Without
Five people were rushed to Dallas hospitals and dozens more were treated by EMTs after suffering burns to their feet and legs while participating in the climactic event of Tony Robbins’s Unleash the Power Within motivational seminar, a barefoot walk over hot coals.
To His Credit, He Did Not Bill for That Quarter Hour
Bob Hinton, a criminal defense attorney in Dallas helping to represent Johnny Manziel against domestic abuse charges, expressed an utter lack of faith in his client’s ability to stay off drugs and keep out of trouble—in a text message he inadvertently sent to the Associated Press.
We Regret the Sincerity. It’ll Never Happen Again
The Republican Party of Texas hurriedly deleted a tweet meant to be derisive of Hillary Clinton, after viewers pointed out that the accompanying photo might leave the impression they were praising her.
Extended Forecast: Partly to Mostly Unemployed
Meteorologist Bob Goosmann resigned from Dallas–Fort Worth radio station KRLD after he posted a racially insensitive comment on Facebook during the Democratic National Convention, which he prefaced, “As many of you have probably noticed, I’ve stayed away from politics on FB.”
Meat You There, Sucker
After turning away a number of people empty-handed, Austin’s popular Franklin Barbecue warned the public that an impostor was bumming late-night rides from strangers around town by claiming to be a Franklin pitmaster who could give them free barbecue on their next visit.
How Were They to Know a Foulmouthed, Know-Nothing Clown Might Be an Upset Winner?
Voters elected Robert Morrow, who is best known for his sexist and homophobic attacks on social media and for wearing a jester’s hat in public, as the chair of the Travis County Republican Party.
Accept This Unwanted Publicity as a Token of the Campaign’s Appreciation
During a visit to San Antonio, Donald Trump posted a video of police officers on the tarmac outside his plane wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
. . . . That Time We Lost Our Jobs
Miracle Mattress, of San Antonio, endured national backlash for advertising a September 11 sale. The TV spot ended with employees’ falling into twin “towers” of stacked mattresses as the owner’s daughter looked into the camera and said, “We’ll never forget.”
Other Katrina Regrets the Error
Asked to explain why she falsely claimed during an interview on CNN that President Obama started the war in Afghanistan, Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, a Dallas native, blamed her earpiece, which she said caused her to hear an echo of herself.
Good Luc With Your Careres, Graudates!
In large print on page one of the program for the 2016 commencement ceremonies of Texas Christian University, the word “university” was misspelled.
And Then They Put the Squeeze on the Driver
A drug-sniffing dog for U.S. Customs and Border Protection hit on a tractor trailer from Mexico in which agents discovered more than four thousand pounds of marijuana disguised to blend in with the truck’s cargo of fresh limes.
What? This Old Rag?
Social media had a field day when Plano-based JC Penney promoted a floral-print skirt whose pattern resembled a large menstrual bloodstain.
Bing! Non-English Speakers, You Are Free to Move Out of the Cabin
Southwest Airlines removed a man from his flight and escorted him to police officers waiting at the airport based on another passenger’s concern that the man, an Iraqi refugee and UC Berkeley student, had been speaking in Arabic on a cellphone.
They Were Hoping for a Tempura Restraining Order
A Texas couple summoned police to a Japanese steakhouse in Tennessee and alleged that the antics of their table-side chef rose to sexual assault when he squirted the woman with water from a gag “wee wee” doll. In declining to pursue the complaint, police noted that the toy was not anatomically correct.
A Second Charge of Failing to Put His Dirty Plate in the Dishwasher Is Pending
Rodolfo Martinez II was arrested for burglary after his mother called New Braunfels police to report that he broke into her home and helped himself to a chocolate doughnut and a pickle.
If You Like Piña Coladas and Getting Caught in the Nude
Officers responding to a burglar alarm coming from a historic home near Lamar State College, in Port Arthur, reported finding James Vanwright in the kitchen, naked and drinking piña colada mix.
Gone in Sixty Keystrokes
Using a laptop and stolen dealer codes, two Houston thieves reprogrammed electronic keys and stole more than one hundred late-model Fiat Chrysler vehicles before authorities caught up to them.
Theems He Methed Plenty With Hith Own Thelf
Adrian Harold Pounders was arrested in Crockett for possession of methamphetamine and had his mug shot taken wearing a “Don’t Meth With Me” T-shirt.
Doughnut Think You Can Infringe on Our Brand or Profiterole From Our Intellectual Property. This Is Not Some Sort of Misconstrudel. So You Bear Claw a Lawyer Because We’ll Make You Cruller Cross the Courtroom Floor. And Don’t Try to Play to the Jelly-Filled Hearts of the Jury, Because No One Éclairs. Do We Have to Paint It in Pasteles? It’s Samosa Story. You Croissant That Line, And You’re Gonna Get Crèmed. We Cannoli Hope You Learn Your Lesson. So Go Baklava Where You Came From and Don’t Let Us Kolache You Doing It Again
Attorneys from the University of Texas at Austin sent a cease and desist letter to Donut Taco Palace for selling a glazed doughnut shaped like a hand flashing the Hook ’Em sign, which had been on the menu for years.
Had He Been Selling Doughnuts, They’d Have Been All Over Him
Jason Higdon, who had covered University of Texas football for Horns Digest, sold merchandise bearing the words “Let’s ride,” a catchphrase used by former head coach Charlie Strong. University officials learned too late that Higdon had secured two trademarks granting him exclusive commercial use of the expression.
It’s Not Like He Would’ve Told Them Anything Anyway
Utility workers in Austin found the body of a driver near the scene of a two-car collision that had been cleared hours earlier. State troopers had closed their on-scene investigation having talked with only one of the drivers involved, assuming that the unaccounted-for driver had fled on foot.
To Think, Three Thousand Years From Now People Will Still Be Asking, “Who?”
Houston Rocket Bobby Brown quickly apologized for the furor he created by signing his name and jersey number on the Great Wall of China and then posting a photo of it on social media.
This Assignment Really Blows
Keller ISD officials promised an investigation after a parent complained that a lesson handout, intended to illustrate how to follow a sequence, gave step-by-step instructions for “how to become a drug dealer.”
Can Start in Seven to Ten Years
Courtney Wheat was easily identified as the suspect who stole a car from the parking lot of a Kilgore Taco Bueno because, just moments before, he had handed the store manager a job application.
The Results Left Her Undisturbed
The obituary for Elene Meyer Davis, of Houston, said that her death, at age 91, was caused in part by the 2016 presidential campaign.
The Reception by the Public Was Frosting
In dropping his highly publicized lawsuit against Whole Foods Market and issuing the company a public apology, Jordan Brown admitted that he had fabricated a claim that the company’s flagship Austin store had written an anti-gay slur on a cake he had ordered.
Less GoFundMe, More IScamYou
Juanita Garcia, of Hidalgo, was arrested after raising money through a social media campaign for her seven-year-old daughter, whom Garcia had claimed was terminally ill but, authorities discovered, was perfectly healthy.
San Antonio police officer Gary R. Nel was suspended for declining to interrupt his meal to assist a fellow officer, even though the officer was responding to a disturbance call from the very same Whataburger where Nel happened to be eating.
Disciplina Praesidium Inaccuratis
On the fiftieth anniversary of the UT Tower shooting, the University of Texas at Austin dedicated a granite memorial whose Latin inscription was incorrect.
All Units, Be Advised: Suspects May Be Armed and Highly Synchronized
After receiving a call from a concerned parent who reported seeing a student with a weapon on a passing school bus, Austin police stopped, evacuated, and searched the vehicle, only to discover the “weapon” was a wooden drill team rifle.
Wrap Your Firearms Around Me, Jesus
Police responding to a Wednesday night 911 call from the Davis Street Baptist Church, in Sulphur Springs, found a man dealing with minor injuries after he accidentally shot himself in the foot while in the church’s family life center.
So Far College Seems Like a Snapchat
Texas A&M freshman Miranda Kay Rader was arrested for DWI after she crashed into a parked police cruiser while driving with an open bottle of wine and trying to take a topless selfie to send to her boyfriend.
Until You’ve Seen Brett Shirtless, You Don’t Know Deplorable
Brett Mauthe, of Bulverde, was arrested for improper electioneering after refusing to remove his “Basket of Deplorables” T-shirt at an early-voting polling location.
That Is Some Crappy Police Work
Matthew Luckhurst was fired from his job as a San Antonio police officer following an investigation that resulted from his bragging to colleagues that he had given a homeless person a sandwich laced with excrement.
Talk About a Chili’s Reception
Responding to another diner’s complaint, the manager at a Chili’s in Cedar Hill challenged Ernest Walker to prove he was entitled to a complimentary Veterans Day meal. Walker, who served in the Army in the eighties, provided his military ID and discharge papers, but the manager took his food away anyway—but not before claiming that Walker’s service dog wasn’t a real service dog.
Have Fun in Jail, Bozo
Noah Adam Hollingsworth, who attended high school in Austin, turned himself in to authorities after creating a fake social media account from which he made threats against his campus in the guise of an evil clown.
Oh, Sure. We All Know What “Software Conference” Means
Eric Tucker tweeted a series of photos of buses he took in downtown Austin, suggesting Democratic operatives had chartered them to bring protesters to a supposedly spontaneous anti–Donald Trump rally. His conspiracy-mongering was retweeted thousands of times despite the fact that the buses had actually shuttled attendees to a software conference.
Why Didn’t Someone Tell His Imam?
Mineola’s Mary Lou Bruner, a candidate for the State Board of Education, drew national press attention during her primary campaign for her controversial views, such as her assertion that President Obama had once turned to homosexual prostitution to pay for his drug habit.
“Sorry, Man. I Left My Wallet at Pat O’Brien’s”
It was hours into what should’ve been a thirty-minute cab ride to his fraternity house in San Marcos before Texas State University student Cody Nichols realized he hadn’t been on Austin’s Sixth Street, as he’d thought when he hailed the cab, but on Bourbon Street, in New Orleans. His fare came to more than $1,200.
She Had Tried So Hard to Be Gouda
Ankitha Gadag, of Austin, was arrested after police responding to a domestic disturbance call found her boyfriend with “numerous scratches and cuts.” Gadag was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, namely a cheese grater.
And She Won’t Just Be Riding a Unicorn, It’ll Be a Blue Unicorn
Among the many totally wrong predictions bruited about by some members of the punditocracy during the presidential campaign was one suggesting Hillary Clinton might win Texas over Donald Trump.
Texas, Our Texas—Really?
Despite the deep divisions among Texans that were laid bare by the 2016 presidential campaign, it’s fair to say the election itself brought us together, in that collectively our freakin’ mind was blown. The surprising result and its correlate, a growing acceptance of “post-truth” rhetoric, may have left many Texans wondering whether everything we know is wrong. So here’s an effort to look at some common folk wisdom and separate fact from myth.
A man trying to conceive a child should avoid swimming in Austin’s Barton Springs.
Claims that the 68-degree water harms swimmers are overstated. But to clarify, such a man should definitely avoid Barton Springs while trying to conceive a child.
The Marfa Lights are reflections from cars and trucks.
This once-obscure roadside attraction has so deeply insinuated itself into U.S. commerce that you can buy an E.J. Victor “Marfa Lights” sofa, asking price $6,435. Now, that’s a phenomenon.
ANSWER: Fact, sofa as we know it
Decades after Marty Robbins’s hit song “El Paso,” Rosa’s Cantina remains a tourist destination to take in the bewitching dancing of Felina.
Felina is teaching Zumba now.
ANSWER: It’s complicated.
NASA’s Building 43-A, in Houston, is where it keeps extraterrestrials from Area 51 cryogenically frozen until it can figure out what to do with them.
Hmm, that’s odd. NASA makes no mention of Building 43-A.
ANSWER: This has a ring of post-truth to it.
The Alamo was built with the goal of luring an NFL franchise to San Antonio and revitalizing an underutilized area near its downtown.
Did you mean the Alamodome?
ANSWER: Myth, but by less than a mile
The Second Annual Louie Gohmert Lifetime Achievement Award
Last year the editors decided that Louie Gohmert, a Republican congressman from Tyler, had achieved such heights in Bum Steer–ology that it was only fitting to immortalize him for all the times he confirmed the country’s stereotypes about Texas politicians. That inaugural award unanimously went to Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. This time around was no different. He sent oranges to other public officials—that were grown in Louisiana. After his Twitter account retweeted a horribly offensive description of Hillary Clinton, his campaign initially said that he had been hacked before acknowledging that he hadn’t. You win again, Sid. But if you need more validation, keep reading . . .
- Miller said he would boycott the National Football League—except the Dallas Cowboys—unless players were required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.
- He continued his mastery of social media, sharing a fake photograph of Obama holding a Che Guevara T-shirt.
- Finally, it was discovered that he flew to Oklahoma for a “Jesus” shot to help with chronic pain, then initially tried to have taxpayers pick up the bill.
The Year in Bum Steers Sports
Things seemed so familiar in 2016—coaches got fired (Charlie Strong), players behaved badly (Johnny Manziel), and a certain pro-football team owner from Arkansas said a series of goofy things (what’s his name again?). Texas Monthly was not immune to the curse. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo appeared on the cover of the September issue with the line “Now or Never.” The answer became clear almost as soon as the issue hit newsstands: Romo went down with an injury in a preseason game, but the team went on to set a record of consecutive victories with rookie Dak Prescott under center. We might score it this way: Bum Steers 1, Texas Monthly 0.
It Didn’t Gomez the Astros’ Way
After batting a paltry .210 and hitting only five home runs in 85 games, two-time All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez was released by the Houston Astros. Gomez was later signed by the Texas Rangers and then batted .284 while hitting eight home runs in 33 regular-season games.
Somehow “Johnny Douchebag” Doesn’t Have the Same Appeal
Johnny Manziel and three others were sued by the landlord of a Hollywood mansion, who alleged that after receiving complaints over wild parties they initially denied having, they abruptly moved out, leaving over $150,000 in damage.
“Yet Today . . . I Consider Myself the Luckiest Man on the Face of This Earth . . . as I Am Still Owed $106 Million on My Guaranteed Contract”
While Prince Fielder announced his retirement from Major League Baseball because of chronic neck injuries, a reporter asked the Texas Ranger if he understood what Lou Gehrig, the baseball icon famously cut down by the fatal neurological disease ALS, must have felt like.
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