The Year of Living Anxiously

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

No, "N" Is For Numskull
When a black Houston musician asked an HPD officer why he'd written "N" in the box reserved for race on her speeding ticket, she was told that it stood for "Negro."

Even Snakes Don't Like To Be Used
A Houston man trying to sell two rattlesnakes to a Pasadena pet shop owner fled the store with seven boa constrictors and pythons. When the hotly pursuing owner whacked the snake thief's truck with his van, the snakenapper was bitten by his own rattler.

What Was That "N" For Again?
Baytown police called to the San Jacinto Mall at 11 p.m. found two teenagers dressed in head-to-toe ninja regalia -- including samurai swords and throwing stars. The pair had stolen the martial arts gear at Lam's before loading shopping bags with $80,000 of Sears loot.

The Airbag Did It
State District Judge Richard Bianchi's lawyer insisted the reason the judge failed sobriety tests at the scene of a one-car accident -- dropping letters of the alphabet, not to mention registering .11 and .12 on the breathalyzer -- was that his airbag had knocked him silly when he hit the guardrail.

He Was Only In It For The Coffee
When cop groupie Timmie Griffin, who used a fake badge to arrest and then rob victims, was busted by the real police, they found among his possessions two convenience-store coffee cups that cops use for free refills.

Snoop Doggy Dogg Calling For Mr. Jackson
Seventeen-year-old Waymond Jackson, wanted for the slaying of a Houston convenience store clerk, was lying on the floor composing lyrics to a rap song that began, "On the run ... got to strap with that gun," when Eagle Lake police broke in and arrested him.

But Mr. Dogg Passed On The Rap Song
The FBI was called in to investigate the disappearance of a million catfish fingerlings -- worth about $100,000 -- from the spawning ponds of a Houston aquaculture company.


Mayor Bob's diminutive co-chief of staff Dave Walden is a hatchet man of rare verbal style: he's smart, quick and -- most important in the manufacture of memorable sound bites -- mean (even Lanier concedes that "the warm milk of human kindness runs gently through his veins"). He's the kind of guy who dotes on the movie Apocalypse Now, and when favorite target George Greanias, the city controller, predicts that an issue may blow up in the administration's face, Walden is apt to deadpan, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." A warm-and-fuzzy 1994 Walden sampler:

* On a rumored federal post for vanquished Lanier opponent Kathy Whitmire: "It's like me getting sent out to be center on an NBA basketball team."

* On Lloyd Kelley, the loose-lipped new councilman: "Lloyd came waltzing in and thought he'd be the new leader on City Council but ended up dancing by himself. He wants to do the twist, but everyone else is doing the funky chicken."

* On Greanias' criticism of city attorney Benjamin Hall: "George is so unfamiliar with the law. If you want to hide something from him, you put it in the law book or the Bible."

* On Greanias' various efforts to confound Lanier and company: "George is here so little doing his job that he has the smallest grease spot in the city hall parking garage."


If They Wore The Organza, They Would Have Been Recognized
Uniformed HPD officers donned ski masks for July raids on several local gay bars.

Elyse, If You're Looking For A Downtown Theme For Spring...
For Valentine's Day, Macy's ran an ad for boxer shorts embellished with large, shine-in-the-dark bananas and the legend, "Is your underwear glowing or are you happy to see me?"

Or Maybe She Can Just Go With The Hakeem Line
Hakeem Olajuwon guested on the David Letterman show clad in a radioactive-yellow blazer and luau-style shirt from his new line of clothing, "Dream Wear."

Preventive Dressing, Part 1
Sam Houston High School required students to wear see-through backpacks made of clear plastic, the better to determine whether contraband weaponry was inside.

Preventive Dressing, Part 2
The Deer Park school district issued silent panic beepers to teachers posted to classrooms in outlying buildings or at the end of long hallways.

First Spandex Bike Shorts, Now This
The city's two police unions spatted over the propriety of a fundraising calendar for which local models posed cheesecake-style in skimpy mock-cop uniforms -- including hot pants and a bra with a gold badge attached.

Oh! We Thought That Was Horse Asses
In honor of the new race track, Houston florist Scherry Lindley created blooming "horsages" in jockey colors.

Ready, Set, Totter
Superstar photographer Annie Leibovitz shot a Pirelli tire ad featuring Houston sprinter Carl Lewis posed in a racing start position -- wearing a tank suit and spike heels.

He Drew The Line At A Wonderbra
KTRK/Channel 13 anchorman Dave Ward appeared at the Houston Chronicle's Best-Dressed List luncheon wearing high heels, red sequined gown, boa, lipstick and wig.

I Pledge To You My Holy Trout
At model Marilyn Smith's wedding to Hakeem Olajuwon's brother, Akinola, the bridesmaids wore black veils and black gowns with fishtails.

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