The Year of Living Anxiously

Are We Having Fun Yet? Or is it just the jangly buzz of advanced urban stress syndrome?

Next Time He'll Run As "Law And Order" Eide
Republican businessman and failed congressional candidate Harold Eide got himself listed on the ballot as Harold (Oilman) Eide.

But He Doesn't Do Windows
Republican County Commissioner Steve Radack was caught red-handed by Channel 11 news cameras ripping down the campaign signs of the Democratic candidate for county judge, Vince Ryan. Ryan labeled Radack a "whacked out whacker"; Radack said he was just keeping the public right of way clean.

Standards Are Standards
Lake Jackson's City Council -- facing a shortage of the plant-and-flower names for which the community's streets traditionally are named -- nevertheless ruled that adjectives to describe the flora would not be allowed. Okay: Oak. Not okay: Bending Oaks, River Oak, Harvard Oak.

Creative Resume Writing 101
Newly elected court of criminal appeals Judge Steve Mansfield and U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman proved once again that Houston is the home of the self-made man -- the more self-made the better, as Mansfield managed to redefine almost everything about himself during his campaign, from his state of birth to his legal experience, and Stockman embroidered both his credentials and his outsider status in defeating Democratic warhorse Jack Brooks.

l994 DUD-O-RAMA

* Oilers owner Bud Adams wanted it, but scarcely anyone else did: a $235 million downtown sports dome that would have required $150 million in taxpayer support. Adams said he'd pick up his toys and play elsewhere if Houston wouldn't go along; perhaps the Oilers' abysmal season is his reward.

* Morticians Brian Dooley and Virginia Lynch asked Commissioners Court to create a morgue gift store selling personalized toe tags, beach towels adorned with chalk body outlines, coffee mugs, T-shirts and related morgue memorabilia.

* Galveston's foundering Star of Texas gambling ship finally sailed into the sunset, leaving behind $140,000 in unpaid dockage fees and disgruntled Filipino crewmen who claimed the ship's owners wouldn't send them back home as promised.

* Metro's 100-plus Hungarian-made Ikarus buses proved unequal to the Houston heat and spent most of their time in the shop. (Maybe the name was a clue.)

* After three days, space shuttle astronauts gave up on releasing U of H's Wake Shield Facility satellite, designed to create an ultra-pure vacuum, which clung to the shuttle arm instead of floating free.

* Former Secretary of State James Baker kept his presidential trial balloons in the air -- even when it meant publicly endorsing Oliver North's Virginia Senate ambitions.

* All the hype and cappuccino and picture hats in the world couldn't save the Sam Houston Race Park from having to cut purses drastically and pare the race schedule when attendance and wagering lagged far behind projections, causing a $5 million loss during one three-month period. Even Mayor Bob doesn't want to annex it anymore.

* On October 25, to much fanfare, KIKK/ 95.7 FM disc jockey Country Jones ascended the roof of the Texas Longhorn Saloon and vowed to remain there until the Oilers won a game; only a month later he disgraced his profession by quietly slipping down to spend Thanksgiving with his family.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Next Comes The Lovely Barbed Wire Topiary
The city of Pasadena abandoned a 12-block beautification project when thieves abducted half the new hibiscus plants. City fathers announced plans to replace them with cacti.

Pinata-Man, Spare That Tree
Park police ordered Easter Sunday picnickers to remove their volleyball nets and pinatas from city park trees, citing an obscure tree-abuse rule.

There's No Emergency Like A Dental Emergency
A 42-year-old Pasadena woman dialed 911 to report that her estranged husband was holding her top denture hostage until she agreed to drop divorce proceedings.

Laundering Done Here
Vice officers shut down a $13 million bookmaking enterprise -- the biggest in Houston's history -- that was operating out of the Best Auto Wash on Richmond.

Scoot Camp
Harris County's sieve-like new juvenile boot camp had to be abandoned for more secure quarters after ten boys escaped over its 10-foot barbed wire fence -- five of them just days after the camp had opened.

O Ye Of Little Aptitude
Eight Kingwood teenagers were arrested when a videotape they had made of themselves burning a home air conditioner and blowing up mailboxes fell into the hands of a constable.

What Large Pills You Have, Grandma
For the second time in six years, 82-year-old "Big Mama" Sally Evans Hubbard -- who has 72 grandchildren and great-grandchildren -- was delivered to jail in a wheelchair for selling marijuana and tranquilizers out of her Heights-area home.

The Case For Enchiladas
After fixing corned beef and cabbage for dinner, 30-year-old Bryant Ballentine was stabbed to death in a quarrel with his older brother, who complained the meal was too bland.

With Friends Like These...
After quadriplegic HPD officer Bill Storrs filed an EEOC complaint because he couldn't use the northeast substation bathrooms, Police Chief Sam Nuchia transferred him to the southeast station -- where his commute was 30 minutes longer and he had to be helped through five doors instead of one to get to his desk. A spokesman said Nuchia was just trying to help Storrs out.

Get Out Of Jail Free -- Hell, Make That At A Profit
At the HPD's new Southeast Command Center, nicknamed "The Emerald Palace," a man was robbed on the front plaza by a miscreant who had just been released from the center's jail.

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