A Last Bite of '97

Time, as has-been '70s rocker Steve Miller once observed, keeps on slippin', slippin', into the future.

Or maybe it was noted 5th-century B.C. Greek philosopher Heraclitus who said that.

No matter. It's an immutable truth: You can't stop the clock. There's no sense even trying.

Nonetheless, year's end is the time most of us try to slow down a bit, if not stop outright, and take one last look back to see where we've been and what we've done. A time to pause, if you will, to clear our sinuses and check to see that our fly is zipped and our hair is fluffed just right before we take another turn around the sun.

We at the Houston Press are no different. Although many of us have a hard time remembering what we did yesterday, much less six months ago, we figure this is as good a time as any to check up on some of the characters, sympathetic and otherwise, whom we've written about over the past 12 months.

Nineteen ninety-seven, as you may recall, was the year Houston lost a football team and gained a new mayor -- events that probably left you yawning as loudly as we yawned. But the local economy kept humming at an ever-higher frequency, and who needs circuses when you've got the bread?

Of course, you know all about that, and you probably know what has happened to -- or what's been done by -- some of the more high-profile people, places and things we profiled or exposed in the past year. Others you may have wondered about. So did we. In our own way, we're fond of them all.

Well, most of them.

Les Alexander ["Greed Head," by Bob Burtman, February 13] still owns the Rockets and the Comets, and Houston still has no concrete plans to build a new downtown basketball arena for him. But Alexander has a new best friend named Lee P. Brown.

Hans Marticiuc ["Bad Boy in Blue," by Steve McVicker, January 2] is still president of the Houston Police Officers Union, and is still agitating for higher police pay. He, too, has a new best friend named Lee P. Brown.

Kristen Pain, who lost her job as an assistant district attorney after being caught snorting cocaine on-camera by the FBI ["Pain for the Prosecution," by Steve McVicker, June 26], had her law license suspended by the State Bar of Texas last month for the duration of the eight-year probation she's serving. But Pain, who pulled 45 days in the county jail after pleading guilty to possession of a controlled substance, has moved on to other pursuits: She's joined new husband Scott Langham (who was busted with Pain and also served 45 days in jail) in business as a personal trainer. Pain also continues to hone the well-chiseled musculature that drew so many comments after she appeared on the cover of the Press. In September, she was the runner-up in a female body-building competition in Galveston.

Eddie Webster resigned as president of the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau just as the Press was finishing a story on the high salaries and bonuses and questionable expenses of the bureau's top management ["Fast Eddie's Getaway," by Michael Berryhill, July 3]. After Webster took flight, the high-priced associates he brought with him to the bureau also resigned, leaving interim president Jordy Tollett with a million dollars in unpaid invoices -- some of them two and three years old. Webster, meanwhile, was among the finalists for the job of president of the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus, an organization that steadfastly defended his management practices in Houston to the Press. Although Webster was a member of the association's board and frequently traveled to its Washington meetings, he didn't get the job. Write if you get work, Eddie.

Donna Ballard ["Basic Ballard," by Brian Wallstin, March 13] resigned from the State Board of Education in October, when she moved from The Woodlands to Midland to be with her preacher husband. But Ballard, who was the most outspoken of the six-member bloc of social conservatives on the education board, apparently can't get the taste of politics out of her mouth: She's thinking of challenging a Democratic incumbent for a West Texas board seat in this year's election. Write if you get work, Donna.

Sherwood Cryer picked up the phone on a Friday night, and with the sounds of redneck revelry in the background, said he is as he was, and nothing has changed. After his story appeared in the Press ["Sherwood's Rules," by Randall Patterson, May 15], some people called to tell Sherwood he was their hero. Others told him he really needed to get Jesus. Still others said, "You no-good sumbitch." They always hung up before Sherwood got their names. "Hell," says Sherwood, "you can't please everybody."

He has heard that the daughter he's suing has had another child. He's a grandpa again, and "it kinda tears me up," he says. Sherwood is still living and working in G's Icehouse, the tin-shack, one-letter remainder of his Gilley's empire, and he is still driving by the fine house of the man he believes stole his empire away. Someone told him a while ago that Mickey Gilley was recently on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Sherwood still keeps track of such things.

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