Congratulations, Governor! We knew you would like to win something by a decisive margin. Something with no need for a recount. Something even a butterfly ballot couldn’t make confusing. And here it is: You’ve been elected our Bum Steer of the Year. It’s quite an honor. Your dad was awarded it twice.

You don’t have to send James Baker to protest. We admit that there are no standards. We concede—indeed, we celebrate—that there’s opportunity for mischief. But you have to admit, nothing has been wackier this year than the election. If this were Tennessee Monthly—God forbid—Al Gore would be our Bum Steer of the Year. At least you carried your home state.

Perhaps you’d like to know about your competition. You beat the Dallas Cowboys (doesn’t everybody?), Dick Cheney (who had to prove he wasn’t a Texan in order to be vice president), and old favorites Anna Nicole Smith and Farrah Fawcett. Honorable mention goes to UT coach Mack Brown, who lost to Oklahoma, 63-14. Even Gore lost Oklahoma by only 21 points.

In closing, we wish you well. As you move closer to leading our country, keep in mind these uplifting words: “I think we agree, the past is over… . Our priorities is our faith… . Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream,” and finally, the new motto of Bum Steers, “I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans.” You couldn’t have said it better yourself. Actually, you did say it.


The Ultimate Absentee Voter
The obituary of James E. Fete, Sr., of Canton, Ohio, who died September 19, ended with the line, “In lieu of flowers, vote Bush.”

Just Trying to Make The Point That You’re Never Safe
Alvin police officer Randy Langston, who was ejected from his son’s baseball game (in which he was an assistant coach) following a heated argument at first base, was demoted to patrolman after he reported to work, returned to the ballpark, waited in his patrol car, and later issued umpire Terry Hessenflow a warning ticket for failing to signal a turn.

We’re More Concerned About the Big Dumbbell
Model-actress Anna Nicole Smith, embroiled in a court battle with the son of her late husband, sought a mistrial in the lawsuit she filed seeking half of the billionaire’s estate after a ten-pound dumbbell injured her hand during an early-morning workout session in her Houston home.

Better Than a Lot of Cracker in Yours
Former Georgia congressman and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich told fellow Republicans attending a Richmond, Virginia, rally that George W. Bush’s staff was “not quite up to speed” because the governor’s presidential campaign advisers still have “a little bit of Austin in their style.”

They Were Practicing Their Breast Strokes

The Southern Methodist University men’s swim team escorted its first-year members to the male-stripper club LaBare, where the newcomers performed impromptu dances good enough to earn tips.

Pre-Margarita, The Vote Was 31-0
In October reporters traveling on George W. Bush’s campaign plane—including representatives from the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and the Austin American-Statesman—sampled margaritas prepared in the plane’s fully stocked bar, then took a straw poll about their own presidential preferences, which favored Al Gore 26-5.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Tofu
Activists for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, carrying signs reading “For Christ’s sake, go vegetarian,” picketed steakhouses, barbecue joints, and other meat-centered businesses in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Amarillo, and Lubbock.

The Un-Coola
The Plano-based 7-Up company introduced a new television ad campaign, which depicted comedian Orlando Jones wearing a T-shirt that said, on the front, “Make 7,” and on the back, “Up Yours.”

A Scheme That Wasn’t Fully Hatched
A woman from El Salvador pleaded guilty in Houston to attempting to smuggle 1,500 sea turtle eggs into the United States.

You Can Get Details on Their Web Site
The Galveston County jail had to mobilize a team of exterminators after 33 inmates were bitten by brown recluse spiders.

“Tonight’s Specials Are Crime Brûlée, Big House Salad, Spaghettaway, Read Me My Rice, Wild Goose Chase, Death Roe, Cereal Killer, Sirloin Stakeout, Preliminary Herring, On The Lamb, Al Capon, Baba Au Rumble, Electric Eclair, Cheese It the Cops, Gruel And Unusual Punishment, Beets the Rap, Squash the Indictment, and Lots of Bread and Dough. Uh-oh. I’m Collard”
Keith David Harrier, a waiter in Dallas, called so much attention to himself by being overly chatty with police officers dining at the restaurant where he worked that one of them subsequently recognized his face while looking at a videotaped image of a bank robbery suspect.

It’s True—Pot Can Lead to Crack. And Vice Versa
After Carlton Meredith was arrested in Amarillo for possession of marijuana, police found $14,000 on him, including $8,050 hidden in his buttocks.

Next They Stopped and Boarded a Tanker Full of Cocktail Sauce
Four Coast Guardsmen in Galveston faced potential courts-martial after they stopped a shrimp boat, boarded the vessel, and then left with part of the cargo.

Pizza Would Have Taken Too Long
Houston ambulance driver Larry A. Wesley was suspended because, on the way to the hospital with an injured child, he stopped to get doughnuts.

Good Thing He’s Not From Hawaii
On special occasions, Kerry L. Neyland of Houston shaves his sideburns into the shape of Texas.

I [Bleep] You, You [Bleep]
MeLyrick Studios of Richardson, which created the children’s character Barney, the purple dinosaur, discovered that three hundred copies of the book Barney’s Sing-Along Songs had been bound with paper recycled from European sex-massage advertisements that featured a bare-breasted woman or contained words like “sex” and “lust.”

You Have the Right to Remain Stupid
After James Fitzgerald Johnson of Copperas Cove attempted to rob an Austin credit union, he fled to Round Rock, where he jumped out of his car and ran directly into the back yard of the Round Rock police station.

Put Them in a Lockbox
Harcourt School Publishers of Lewisville agreed to remove from a fifth-grade textbook a picture of Vice President Al Gore explaining to children the dangers of the Internet because of protests by San Antonio Republican legislators Frank Corte and John Shields.

Great Oafs From Little Alcorns Grow
The president of the Dallas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Lee Alcorn, told a KHVN radio interviewer that he was “concerned” about Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman or “any kind of Jewish candidate,” and that “we need to be very suspicious of any kind of partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level because we know that their interest primarily has to do with, you know, money and these kind of things.”

No Runs, No Hits, One Error
Texas Monthly declared that New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, who lives in Houston, is “losing his edge.” Two months later the Yankees won the American League Championship Series and the World Series, in large part because Clemens allowed no runs and struck out 24 in two games.

It Had Too Much Nose
Dallas restaurateur Dale Wamstad added to his wine list a bottle of 1926 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux supposedly once owned by Charles DeGaulle, but the wine, which he priced at $35,000, was rejected as bad by a customer.

See You in Court, Dear
Ohio-based Progressive Insurance Company declined to pay the medical bills resulting from injuries a Bryan woman sustained in a motorcycle accident until she established legal responsibility for the wreck by filing suit against the driver—her husband.

Didn’t She See His “Self-Important State Jerk” License Plates?
Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry, riding with an aide who was stopped for driving twenty miles over the limit, repeatedly complained to the highway patrol officer who pulled the car over by saying, “What’s the holdup here?” and “Why don’t you just let us get on down the road?”

All That Fighting Over a Mere Two Bucks
Phillip Stringer of Houston and Louis Bruni of Laredo agreed to settle their legal dispute over who had the right to keep the head of a twelve-point stag Stringer had shot on Bruni’s 13,000-acre Zapata County ranch. Because Bruni’s ailing mother was emotionally attached to the mounted head, Bruni was allowed under the terms of the settlement to make a $5,000 duplicate of the trophy, which can be displayed at Bruni’s ranch accompanied by a placard saying that Stringer did the shooting.

Please, No Pesti-Side Dishes
Invited to a science class to improve interaction with students, Texas A&M administrators found that they were being served steamed crickets and baked mealworms prepared by entomology professor Roger Gold to emphasize the food value of insects.

The Great Texas Turnoff
Harold Gunn of Houston lost his race for state representative in the Republican primary following revelations that in 1983 he wrote and appeared in a nudie flick featuring a naked woman jogging through Meyerland and another slathering herself with motor oil, entitled The Great Texas Showoff.

And He Calls Himself a Shrink
After forensic psychiatrist Bruce Cohen of the University of Virginia submitted a $63,100 bill to a state district court in Houston for his work in the Angel Maturino Resendiz capital murder case, presiding judge Bill Harmon asked Cohen to reduce the bill, which he did—to $61,100.

Pot—It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymorev
An Othello, Washington, man was arrested in Falfurrias for possessing more than two tons of marijuana, the smell of which he had attempted to disguise by loading his truck with rotten oranges.

Good Grief
Congressman Ron Paul of Surfside was the only member of the U. S. House of Representatives to vote against awarding the late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Let Them Drink Gatorade
During the summer drought, the Wichita Falls City Council voted to grant Midwestern State University an exception to the town’s watering restrictions so the school could keep its playing fields green and thus preserve its training-camp agreement with the Dallas Cowboys.

For $100 Million, We’ll Rename That River The Reaud Grande
Texas Tech University regents turned down Beaumont attorney Wayne Reaud’s offered donation of $12.5 million, which stipulated that the school of law be named for him and his wife, saying that the gift would have to be doubled before the board would consider naming the school for him.

Selena Some of the Time
Partway through a national tour, producers canceled further performances of the musical Selena Forever.

Dr. Richard Kimble Was So Relieved
Purcell, Oklahoma, automobile dealer Bud Hardcastle funded the exhumation of the remains of J. Frank Dalton of Granbury in an attempt to verify Dalton’s claim to be Jesse James, but because of a misplaced marker, the workers dug up the wrong body, which had only one arm.

At Last! Something Al Gore Didn’t Invent!
A freelancer at ABC News’ Southwest Regional Bureau in Dallas was fired after creating and accidentally sending to the network’s affiliates a mock script purportedly originating at WFAA and bearing the headline “Al Gore arrested today for killing small child with his teeth.”

It’s Definitely a Boy
Dallas Mavericks owner and dot-com millionaire Mark Cuban displayed a three-and-a-half-foot-long cigar at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas.

Where Is James Baker When You Need Him?
James Epperson of Edwards County, who ran unopposed for his county commissioner seat in the Republican primary, was ruled ineligible to serve because he voted in the Democratic primary, a violation of state election law that made it illegal for him to run as a Republican.

Michelangelo’s David Would Look So Much Better in Overalls
The Grace Museum in Abilene rejected four paintings from a planned display of European art after school superintendent Michael Moehler refused to permit students to view the exhibit if it contained nudity.

Curiosity Killed the Wrong One
Musician John “Mambo” Treanor of Austin crafts original headgear from roadkill.

Up Y’all’s!
A survey conducted by researchers at the University of North Texas revealed that employers are more likely to hire job applicants from California and Minnesota, whose accents are undetectable, than those with a pronounced Texas accent.

If You’ve Seen One, You’ve Seen All Six
A thief entered a conference room at a Grapevine hotel and stole six breast implants valued at $2,000 each.

Whatever Happened To Just Beating the Hell Out of Them?
Two volunteer chaplains at the Tarrant County jail took an inmate to a religious counseling area and attempted to exorcise Satan from his body.

They’re Into Heavy Metal
Students of the Academy of Science and Technology in the Woodlands constructed a playable 43-foot-long guitar.

Get V-8 to Contribute Too And You Can Call It Bloody Mary Park
The Starplex amphitheater in Dallas’ historic Fair Park accepted $6 million from Smirnoff for an eight-year contract guaranteeing that the concert venue, which attracts thousands of teenagers to dozens of events each year, would be renamed for the vodka brand.

Grab Your Crotch Gently Yet Firmly
The Texas Rangers baseball team hired an etiquette trainer to teach its prospects how to shake hands firmly, use the correct utensils at a seven-course meal, and observe other social niceties.

God, Save the Queen
The British tabloid Sun reported that Queen Elizabeth sings along with her very own Big Mouth Billy Bass, a plaque-mounted rubber fish that is manufactured in Irving and belts out “Take Me to the River” and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Sis Boob Bah!
The February cover story for Muscular Development magazine was titled “Pump Up With the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Strong, Sexy, & Fit.”

They’re Ready For the Big Game Against Columbine
Lubbock-Cooper High School faculty members approved a fundraising project for the men’s baseball team in which the athletes posed carrying rifles and clustered around a National Guard tank for a poster titled “Armed and Dangerous.”

Slow Traffickers Keep Right
A Laredo man was charged with possession of marijuana after officials found 88 pounds of it in his car, which was stopped by U. S. Border Patrol agents because he was traveling on a toll road that had not yet been opened to the public.

She Saw Her Window Of Opportunity
After Fort Worth police officers left their patrol car running and the cage separating the seats open to allow cool air to circulate, a woman they had detained on suspicion of auto theft squeezed through the open space and drove the vehicle away.

Being Barred From Entering Politics—That’s Like Winning the Lottery!
Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson announced he would run for Austin City Council only to find out that he was barred from seeking public office because of his 1984 California conviction for felony sexual assault.

Just Enough to Get Him to Purgatory
The late David Overton of Austin, a former UT math professor, left an estimated $278,000 in gold coins to the Phoenix Institute of Research and Education because he believed the California group’s assertion that a nine-and-a-half-foot-tall alien named Hatonn was “commander in chief of the Pleiades Sector Flight Command” and would take him away on a spaceship to eternal life, but a Travis County court reduced the institute’s bequest to $160,000.

Almost As Long As a Manual Recount
State comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander responded to an open-records request from the Texas Democratic party for fourteen months’ worth of the agency’s e-mail by saying the request would cost $5. 7 million and take 170 years.

Because of the Florida balloting confusion, the Austin American-Statesman had to recall 59,000 copies of the newspaper that were printed on election night with the single-word headline “Bush!”

True—We’re Sick of Stupid Politics
On July 7 the Democratic National Committee issued a travel advisory for people heading to Texas, noting that “Houston, Texas, has the lowest immunization rate of any large city in the country, and health officials fear the nation’s fourth-largest city is ripe for epidemic.”

It Could Be a W for “Why”
Texas Christian University students discovered that band members from TCU’s archrival, Southern Methodist University, had sprinkled seeds on TCU’s home field during their halftime performance the previous fall, which caused a giant rye-grass letter to sprout—M for Mustangs.

But What Was His Punishment?
A Longview man who attacked a police officer at a local McDonald’s was ordered by a state district judge to stay away from the fast-food chain for five years.

They’re a Bunch of Foolhardy Perennials
The city council of Watauga, near Fort Worth, voted to categorize the sunflower as a weed and compel citizens to cut the plants down to one foot tall or less.

For Auld Clang Syne
On New Year’s Eve, 1999, officials at Dallas’ Parkland Memorial Hospital, concerned about Y2K chaos, prepared to issue cowbells to patients in case their call buttons failed.

But They Found 219 Chads on The Ground
In February the owners of 2,220 Austin dogs tried and failed to beat a world record for the largest group dog walk, set by 2,439 British canines.

No Objections, Your Honor!
Visiting state district judge Lon Harper of Houston was reprimanded by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for repairing two Colt revolvers on the bench while presiding over a capital murder trial.

Just in Case He Ran Into Judge Harper
Harris County constables temporarily confiscated two handguns brought without a license into the Harris County civil courthouse by visiting district judge Jerry Sandel of Huntsville.

Knock, Knock. Who’s There? Felon. Felon Who? Felon Broke His Ankle.
Travis County jail inmate Michael Bailey was apprehended trying to sneak back into the recreation yard after his fellow escapee, Leslie Blaylark, tried to jump to freedom from a fifth-floor ledge and broke his ankle.

No Más, Tomás
Republican Thomas Wesson lost his race for constable in Dallas’ sixth precinct, which is largely Hispanic, despite changing his name to Tomás Eduardo Wesson.

She Wanted to Model The Dust Jackets
The London officials who present the Whitbread Book of the Year, one of England’s most prestigious literary awards, chose as a judge Gonzales-born model Jerry Hall, the former Mrs. Mick Jagger.

One Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
Rebecca Ramos of San Antonio, a granddaughter of Henry B. Gonzalez, the state’s first Mexican American congressman, posed in Playboy wearing only black stockings and later declared, “Just as my grand-father was a pioneer providing a voice for Hispanics, I consider myself a spokesperson for Hispanic women.”

Did You Hear the One About the Aggie Blood Drive?
Texas A&M at Galveston lost its appeal protesting a $250,000 judgment awarded former student Paul Bishop, who was accidentally stabbed during a 1994 drama club performance about Dracula because faculty advisers allowed the use of a real knife onstage.

Hey, Bud—Any Wiser?
Robert Charles Johnson of Port Bolivar and Daniel Joseph Doiron of Louisiana faced auto-theft charges in Port O’Connor after the two intoxicated fishermen stole an eighteen-wheeler full of Budweiser beer.

You Can’t Say His Campaign Lacked Gravity
Supporters of George W. Bush skydived from a plane while holding a banner reading “Bush 2000.”

Who’d Handle the Privates?
At a party in Philadelphia, House majority leader Dick Armey of Flower Mound, who once referred to openly gay Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank as “Barney Fag,” was asked by humorist Dave Barry, “Are you the real Dick Armey?” Armey replied with a well-known joke about his name: “Yes, I am Dick Armey. And if there is a dick army, Barney Frank would want to join up.”

Just Right for Fencing The . 003-Acre Ranch
J. C. Payne of Denton saved enough barbed wire to wind it into an eleven-foot-wide ball.

Two Bits, Four Bits, Six Bits, a Dollar— All for Injecting Jay, Stand Up and Holler!
Jay Martel, a regular on The Awful Truth, prepared a death-penalty skit for the political comedy show for which he hired Houston actors to perform outside the state prison in Huntsville just before the execution of cop killer Billy Hughes, Jr. Dressed up as cheerleaders, the troupe repeated a number of cheers, including “Florida oranges, Texas cactus/We kill convicts just for practice!” and “George, George, he’s our man/If he can’t kill ‘em, no one can!”

Got a Leaky Fawcett? Call Christopher Plummer
Farrah Fawcett was immortalized in American Rhapsody, a juicy memoir by screenwriter-producer Joe Eszterhas, who alleged that she had yanked up her evening gown, while attending a swanky Hollywood party years ago, and relieved herself on the grass.

Why Did They Add “Sports”?
Denton, the home of the University of North Texas, was named the worst sports city in America—332nd of 332 cities—by the Sporting News.

Crime for Dummies
An El Paso man entered a department store dressing room carrying a mannequin and reemerged having donned the mannequin’s garments and replaced them with his own clothes.

D Is for Double Standard
One month after the August cover of Dallas’ D Magazine depicted a naked woman in whipped cream, publisher Wick Allison destroyed the 70,000 copies of the September issue because he belatedly saw two fashion ads that he deemed obscene.

But He Voted Fourteen Times for Pat Buchanan in Florida
Since registering in Dallas County, where he moved in 1995, Republican vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney has voted in only two of sixteen elections.

Meet George Jetsam
While NASA, University of Texas marine scientists, and Nueces County officials worked to identify the ownership of a rocket nose cone that had washed up on Mustang Island, a beachcomber happened on the four-foot-wide spacecraft part and hauled it away to make a hot tub.

“What Ring? All I Can See Is Your IQ”
Bud Adams, the owner of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, formerly the Houston Oilers before a lack of support for a new stadium caused Adams to move the team to Tennessee, appeared at a news conference to show off a prototype of the Titans’ championship ring for 1999. In a reference to former Houston mayor Bob Lanier, who had opposed the Oilers’ request for a new stadium, Adams slipped the ring onto his middle finger, extended it, and said, “There it is, Mayor. Take a look.”

The Jerk
While hosting the National Book Awards in New York, actor-comedian-writer Steve Martin, a native of Waco, noted, “It’s a good thing these awards aren’t being held in Texas. Losers would be taken out and shot.”

The Devils Couldn’t Make Him Do It
Dallas mayor Ron Kirk promised to wear a New Jersey Devils sweater if the rival hockey team beat the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup finals but never followed through after the Stars lost the last game in double overtime.

Can You Say “Earthquake?”
The San Diego Reader, an alternative newspaper, offered as the last-place prize in a sports-news contest a round-trip airline ticket to “a sensational destination, Lubbock, Texas! Do you grasp the vision? A corner room in the local Motel 6. You and that special guy, gal, or family pet. Add a long, leisurely, after-hours stroll through the cattle yards of Lubbock. Can you say, ‘Romance!’?”

It Was the Winner of the San Diego Reader Contest
Following a report that a person was trapped inside a wall in the basement of the campus art building, Texas Tech University campus police confiscated part of a graduate student’s art project, an installation about mental illness that included a recorded voice pleading, “Somebody help me!”

Justice Is Blindfolded
Judge Robert Hollman of Odessa was reprimanded by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct because he repeatedly bound and gagged a female assistant and timed her efforts to free herself while watching bondage videos or surfing pornographic Web sites.

Telling the Truth Would Be Worse
The city council of Argyle, near Denton, voted 4-0 in January to penalize municipal employees for “rumor spreading” about the city government or its staffers.

Got What They Deserved?
Playing off the slogan, “Got milk?” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals launched a campaign in the Daily Texan and other campus newspapers complaining that milking cows is cruel, using the slogan “Got beer?”—only to suspend it after protests from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

We Hear There’s an Opening in Austin
A Smithville school bus driver whom students suspected of being drunk was fired after two of the teenagers on board observed her making overly wide turns and seized the keys.

We Hear There’s an Opening in Smithville
An Austin school bus driver was fired after she got lost her first day on the job and ended up driving her students almost to New Braunfels.

A reporter for the Liberty Vindicator, whose father had lost a race for the Republican nomination for Liberty County sheriff, was fired after a political ad paid for by Will Cox, the victorious candidate, appeared in the Vindicator with an altered line claiming it had been “paid for by the KKK Grand Dragon.”







Have words, will mangle: Our second annual George W. Bush language quiz. Fill in the blanks with what George W. Bush really said.


1. “I don’t think we need to be _____________ about the differences between our views on prescription drugs.”
(a) subliminal (b) subliminable (c) sublime (d) key lime

2. “It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from _____________.”
(a) Iraq (b) Iran (c) I dunno (d) overseas

3. “A tax cut is really one of the _____________ to coming out of an economic illness.”
(a) antidotes (b) anecdotes (c) antipodes (d) ante up

4. “We don’t believe in planners and __________ making the decisions on behalf of Americans.”
(a) deciders (b) decisivists (c) decisioners (d) deciduous

5. “Reading is the _____________ for all learning.”
(a)(a) basis (b) basics (c) first base (d) home plate

6. “The senator [can’t] have it both ways. He can’t take the _____________ and then claim the low road.”
(a) high road (b) high horse (c) hyena (d) interstate

7. “This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It’s what you do when you run for president. You gotta __________.”
(a) persevere (b) preserve (c) strawberry preserves (d) jam

8. “We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation ____________.”
(a) hostage (b) hostile (c) hostel (d) hospital

BONUS QUESTION: What issue was George W. Bush talking about when he said, “It’s going to require numerous IRA agents?”
(a) Irish foreign policy (b) terrorism (c) individual retirement accounts (d) Al Gore’s tax-cut plan



God works in hilarious ways.


Sunnybrook Christian Academy of San Antonio suspended four students for violating a school rule against “involvement with inappropriate music” because they attended a concert by the Backstreet Boys.

Musician Frank Rodarte of San Antonio planned three “drive-by concerts” featuring a huge picture of Jesus Christ mounted on a flatbed trailer that was pulled through the streets of several high-crime areas.

Hundreds of pilgrims visited a Southwest Houston apartment complex to view a spilled ice cream stain that they believe resembled the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The National Catholic Reporterreproduced a painting by Michelle Karam of Texarkana of Jesus as a homeless man, carrying a cardboard sign reading “I Am for You” and wearing a cap emblazoned with a Bible verse.

After religious activists provided Ten Commandments book covers for students in the Grand Prairie Independent School District, John and Shelly Hattan distributed atheist book covers that quoted several U.S. presidents as well as Madalyn Murray O’Hair.



On-line and off the wall.


Taking advantage of a rule that allows death row residents to have five witnesses at their execution, Michael Toney attempted to auction off seats at his lethal injection for a starting bid of $100 each on the Internet site eBay.

Mitch Maddox of Dallas legally changed his name to DotComGuy and undertook a year-long project to live in a one-bedroom apartment and obtain everything he needed via the Internet, through which, thanks to a live video camera in his living room, interested observers could watch him twenty-four hours a day.

Siblings David and Sandy Hastings of Fort Worth changed the name of Halitosis Alert, a service they had established to allow people to anonymously inform friends who suffer from bad breath, to, a Web site offering some twenty letters that can be sent to people who have problems ranging from a lack of personal hygiene to out-of-control kids.

Tony Northrup of Pflugerville won a national Sexiest Geek Alive contest.

More than five hundred people showed up for the usually underattended monthly meeting of the Dallas Internet Society after president Gregg Wetterman rechristened the group’s regular gatherings “Geek Meets.”

So many drunken revelers along Dallas’ Lower Greenville area, a popular bar and restaurant strip, used nearby bushes and parking lots as restrooms that residential neighbors began snapping pictures of the acts and then handing the offenders a card with the address of the Web site on which they planned to post the photographs.



In search of the straight poop.


Lone Star livestock produced some 140 million tons of manure in 1999, making Texas the top-rated state in the union for manure production.

Bill Warren of Driftwood lost and appealed a $50 million lawsuit against the United States government over the possession of the Caribbean island of Navassa, which is laden with bird guano.

A fire at an Ennis apartment complex was attributed to a soiled diaper sealed in a plastic bag, which was left on an apartment patio and burst into flames because of high temperatures, causing $3,000 in damage.

As a fundraiser, the Angleton Chamber of Commerce divided the local football field into squares and hosted a county-wide contest of cow-patty bingo, in which the first plop produced by a heifer set loose on the field determined the winner.

A 22-year-old Austin man, while roaming a wooded area of the city with friends in an impromptu nighttime reenactment of The Blair Witch Project, had to be rescued by emergency workers after he fell ten feet into a sewer.



The Bum Steer bookshelf.


HOW TO MARRY RIGHT AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER, by Daniel Lee Shinzing of Cleburne (Dani Lee Productions, $14.95). Do-it-yourself marriage-counseling manual features valuable tips, such as “A woman out looking for a husband is probably going to do something stupid!” as well as personal reflections, like “I wonder if there are too many men out there thinking with the wrong head? And too many women looking for security? Do you think I’m onto something here? Maybe?”

WHO CUT THE CHEESE?, a parody of the management best-seller Who Moved My Cheese?, by Stilton Jarlsberg, M.D., a.k.a. Stephen White of Plano (Crown Publishers, $12.95). Four characters must navigate a maze to claim their Cheese, a reward “symbolic of the things that we all want out of life: success and self-confidence, a nice house, a loving marital relationship, perfect children, a loyal dog, indoor plumbing, good Chinese food, several million tax-free dollars, and red-hot sex with multiple partners.”

TEXAS MEN, by Martana (Ten Speed Press, $49.95). The 81 title characters, hunky and otherwise, are asked to answer such questions as why they are real cowboys. Subjects include singer George Strait, coach Darrell Royal, NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte, and actor Chuck Norris (“I’m a real cowboy because: I kiss my horse and pat my woman”). Contributors of Lone-Star-male anecdotes include Texas Monthly publisher Michael R. Levy and senior editor Pat Sharpe.

SURVIVING MEXICO: THE INSIDER’S GUIDE TO SAFE TRAVEL, by John Stanley, a onetime smuggler, counterfeiter, and auto thief who lived in Mexico for eight years while a fugitive from U.S. justice, written with Ona Barry (Adios Press, $17.95). Stanley proffers advice for dealing with the seamier side of south-of-the-border life (“[I]f you are incarcerated, be concerned about release”).