They paid him in plastic-wrapped heads of lettuce
Richard Long, a British artist who began his career by trampling a path in grass, came to Houston to paint several monumental mud works -- using his hands -- on the walls of the Contemporary Art Museum.

We'll send Huey Meaux to Portland and call it even
A private north Houston jail, designed for immigration detainees, was discovered to be housing 244 sex offenders from Oregon after two of the felons escaped.

Party Down, Houston!

The Marie Antoinette doll came with its own little cake
At a silver tea for the Salvation Army, socialites auctioned off dolls they had dressed in such getups as ball gowns, bejeweled slippers and a Cinderella outfit of tulle, taffeta, gilded braid and tiny beads.

Coming in '97: The Magic of Betti Maldonado
Robin Leach, annoying cockney host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, served as emcee for a charity roast-n-toast dubbed "The Magic of Carolyn Farb."

The winner got two tickets to "The Magic of Carolyn Farb"
At a Room Attendant Rodeo to raise money for a local women's center, Houston hotel maids competed in a Bed-Busting Contest, a Waste-Basket Round-Up and an event that required them to thread toilet paper through an obstacle course.

For entertainment, they competed in a millionaire-roping contest and a Rolex Round-Up

Blond socialite Suzanne Saperstein, departing River Oaks for Malibu, was feted with an all-girl "Swedish wake" at which her friends dressed in white and decorated with a coffin-like box containing a blond, bejeweled mannequin, 12 Perrier-Jouet champagne bottles and an empty tin of caviar. Guests of honor: Saperstein's plastic surgeon and Saperstein's new pair of collagen-inflated lips.

Annals of Passive-Aggression
Never-married Alicia von Greisman was birthdayed by pals who all dressed in bridal regalia, dined on wedding cake to the strains of "I'm Getting Married in the Morning" and asked for the card of "best man" John Moritz, a private investigator who counted several divorcee clients among the guests.

Dear Elvis: Help, I'm being held prisoner at a really dumb party!
The Houston Chronicle's "Entertaining" section featured a monkey-themed soiree with a menu including parsley trees with carrot trunks, plus a table setting anchored by a ceramic monkey whose purse, suspended on a golden chain, opened to reveal "an intimate note to Elvis."

Can we substitute AstroTurf?
The Chronicle's "Entertaining" section also spotlighted a festive table setting by the Comtesse Sheila de Rochambeau, who served her guests quail egg nests on a "tablecloth" of live grass.

Those gender-bending Houston weathermen, Chapter 512
Former Channel 2 weatherman Doug Johnson attended a charity roast wearing a sequined blouse, long black skirt and black hat with netting and a feather.

Unfortunately, Doug Johnson was home with a bout of PMS
Male and female guests turned up at PR woman Molly Smyth's birthday party wearing blond wigs.

"Puerile Petrochemical Party" was too hard to spell
Members of Mensa, the self-styled high-IQ group, met in Houston at a national convention they officially named the "Bodacious Black Gold Blowout."

Spike Lee is thinking screenplay
Texas City cops busted up a peaceful block party and arrested seven attendees in a black neighborhood full of NASA workers, medical professionals, firefighters and teachers -- the same neighborhood where cops were ordered by a judge to cease erecting roadblocks that kept residents from getting home after church.

Salman Rushdie and Susan Sontag were busy that night
At a benefit for the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, among the authors who read from their works were Sidney Sheldon, Michael Crichton, Mary Tyler Moore and Richard North Patterson.

You are growing sleepy ... sleepy ... very, very sleepy
The Heart Ball's silent auction featured a "Couch Potato Package" that included a recliner, a TV set, a year's supply of potato chips, Dr. Pepper and Blue Bell ice cream, plus a year's subscription to the Houston Chronicle.

Prozac consumption went through the roof
The DiverseWorks alternative art space banned the wearing of black at its annual fundraiser.

Our Esteemed Neighbors

Alvin in their rear-view mirror
After three people were bitten, the Alvin City Council evicted the handful of prairie dogs from the city's Prairie Dog Park and sent them back to Lubbock. Quoth parks director Don Cramer: "It's just a doggone shame because there's nothing wrong with these prairie dogs, for gosh sakes."

We hear the Alvin parks director has sent out feelers
Escaped and abandoned emus, the world's second-tallest bird, were spotted running wild in Liberty County, where they stomped several dogs and exhibited no fear of automobiles.

But the reward for spotting wild emus stands
KLOL disc jockeys Stevens & Pruett announced on April Fools' Day that wild monkeys were running loose in West University Place and offered a $100 reward to anybody who spotted one -- a bounty they withdrew, in a rare display of good taste, after the Ebola virus surfaced in two monkeys at an Alice, Texas, primate center.

Followed shortly by a parade celebrating Uncle Hilty's death sentence
Conroe staged a parade and homecoming rally in honor of Michael New, who was booted out of the Army for refusing to wear United Nations insignia on a peacekeeping mission.

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