Doing All He Can

Bomb Osama, a KRIV reporter sings

In the wake of September 11, television stations across the country began earnestly parading their patriotism. Anchors sported flag pins on their lapels and blouses; red, white and blue ribbons bedecked station logos, phone banks were set up to handle donations to victims' funds.

KRIV, the Fox station here in Houston, has gone them all one better.

Keep your ribbons and pins, you halfhearted wimps. Channel 26 reporter Ned Hibberd has you beat -- he's proudly and publicly singing backup vocals on a just-released CD single called "Bend Over Bin Laden."

Hibberd -- who's a straight-news guy, not a Fox equivalent of KPRC's Buzz Lady -- did a piece October 18 on the new promotional single being released through KSEV-AM, the harshest right-wing talk-radio station in the city, if not the state.

KSEV wants to raise funds by selling the single -- but in the station's typically loony style, the funds will go not to the victims, or even to help out the families of servicemen and women sent overseas; instead the money will go to buy a bomb for the United States to drop on Afghanistan.

The so-called JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) bombs being used in the campaign go for about $18,000 each; KSEV host Edd Hendee had the brainstorm to donate the equivalent amount to the government. One lucky winner will receive two tickets donated by Continental Airlines to fly to Boeing's JDAM factory in Seattle, present the check and sign his or her name on the bomb. ("Of course," Hendee said on his show October 24, "there might be some security concerns at the factory that would prevent us from doing that." Gee, you think?)

To raise the funds Hendee enlisted a friend, musician/ orthodontist Tom Pearson, to record "Bend Over Bin Laden" to the tune of (of course) "Roll Over Beethoven." (Yes, you have to endure a sample lyric: "We're gonna give you the red, white and blues…Bend over bin Laden, and tell Gadhafi the news." Gadhafi?)

Hibberd, who plays drums and once sang in a barbershop quartet, is also friends with Pearson, so he did a story on the recording session. And got caught up in the spirit.

"They talked me into singing -- at first I said, 'No, no, no, no,' " Hibberd says. "Eventually I sang all the backup parts."

The allegedly reluctant performer says he doesn't feel he crossed a line by singing the obviously political song, one being distributed by the foaming Clinton-haters at KSEV.

"The guys who did it aren't intimately wed with KSEV…so I didn't feel I was aligning with the station, or I wouldn't have done it," Hibberd says. "As for the politics, if it was anything else -- for instance, these guys have done a song about the Main Street light-rail line -- I wouldn't have done it. To me, this is like wearing a flag pin in your lapel."

He's heard no complaints from management, although that may be because management is in flux (news director Denise Bishop left effective October 19; no replacement has been named yet).

Hibberd admits he "went back and forth" about whether to mention in his news piece that he had participated in the recording, but decided to "put it in because I thought it was kind of funny."

He says he doesn't know if he will be a part of Pearson's next effort, of which we are giving you fair warning: "They're doing a song to the tune of 'Elvira' that's called 'Al Qaeda,' so that should be pretty good," Hibberd says.

Let the chuckling begin.

Jekyll and Hyde

Six months ago Craig Biggio was presented with a statue in honor of getting his 2,000th hit, an event that sent Houston Chronicle columnist Fran Blinebury into full adoration mode.

"Biggio the Person Is Real Masterpiece," the column's headline read.

Biggio, Blinebury wrote, is "remarkably unremarkable. He is, by the numbers and according to his peers and any other yardstick you use to measure, a star. Yet there is so little of the aura, because that's the way he likes it…He is, as they say, an old-school player, which means that he has too much respect for the game to try to make himself stand out above it…He is an open book upon whose pages are written very few complicated words."

Blinebury wrote that "There isn't much about him that we don't know," although one secret that manager Larry Dierker let slip to the columnist was that Biggio goes to Mass every Sunday, even on road trips.

But that was all six months ago. Before the Astros performed their annual playoff collapse, before Dierker was fired amongst lots of vague reporting about how the manager wasn't respected in the clubhouse.

On October 24 Blinebury did a postmortem on the season and Dierker's sacking.

He said, "there is little reason to doubt the sincerity of Biggio's on-the-record farewell bouquet to Dierker. Only that for most of his career Biggio has been the baseball version of Clyde Drexler -- a wonderfully gifted, hard-nosed, driven competitor whose talent is exceeded only by his ego and his penchant for spouting platitudes while doing more clubhouse lawyering than Racehorse Haynes."

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