Inspect Yourself

No one disagrees on the latest pro-development plan

Houston's mayor and City Council, in their never-ending effort to bend over backwards for developers, have come up with a positively surreal proposal: Instead of using city inspectors to make sure new homes and other construction is up to code, let builders hire their own inspectors.

If you think this sounds like letting criminal defendants hire their own judges, you're just not a forward-thinking Houston Proud type of person. You're probably one of those tree-hugging losers.

City Council had a public hearing on the proposal October 6. Representatives of the city's largest home builders were there, but none chose to speak, the wheels already having been well greased by now.

But Larry Parr, a builder, did get up and speak in favor of the proposal. And he made perfect sense, as long as you've never even figuratively hugged a tree.

Where to get private inspectors? He suggested a program to recruit "kids who have dropped out of high school…We can have a farm team going."

And Larry, what's one of the best things about hiring your own inspector? "You'll be allowed to fire him," he said. (We couldn't see if the well-dressed big-home-builder lobbyists even bothered to cringe at that.)

Contractors such as plumbers and electricians say they are already being pressed to cut corners and argued against the plan -- using Parr's logic. "This is about builders owning the inspectors," said Stanley Briars, representing plumbers, air-conditioning techs and mechanical engineers. "If they're not passing everything, they're not going to get called back."

Hey, at least both sides can agree on that.

Mayor Bill White insisted the change is needed because builders have told them they have to wait too long for inspectors to show up. When one contractor said he'd never had a problem scheduling an inspector with 24 hours' notice, White asked him about the claims by the builders.

"Are they hallucinating, or are they corrupt?" he harrumphed.

Hmmm…big home builders like Perry Homes…nah, they'd never cut corners.

Look, who do you want inspecting new construction -- some drone of a City Hall bureaucrat, or some young go-getter eager to move up in a dynamic organization like, ummm, Perry Homes?

If you didn't say "Give me the go-getter!" then go hug a tree, willya?

Weather Update

KHOU's weather guru, Neil Frank, wants it known that he definitely was either misquoted or taken out of context by the Web site Spirit Daily, which -- as we wrote last week -- reported that he believed prayer could make hurricanes shift course.

Frank says he was out of town and unable to get back to us earlier, but that he didn't believe, as Spirit Daily claimed he did, that 700 Club's Pat Robertson prayed Hurricane Betsy away from Virginia and into New Orleans.

"I have trouble with one group of people praying it away from them and into someone else," he says. "As it approached New Orleans, I'm sure a lot of people were praying there, too."

Yeah, but New Orleans is a city of liquor-guzzling, titty-baring sinners. You think God's gonna listen to them?

At any rate, Frank noticeably did not tell us it was impossible that hurricanes can be moved by prayer. He simply says he's not sure.

"I just don't know," he says.

Frank says the ability of prayer to affect hurricanes is not as well documented as prayer's ability to trigger miraculous recoveries in dying patients.

Which means, we guess, that we're glad Frank is doing Channel 11's weather and not its health reports.

Not Talking Dirty

Every year Cosmopolitan magazine picks the "Hunkiest Hunks in America," consisting of one suitably manly man from each of the 50 states.

This year's Texas hunk is Houston's Michael McGown, a 31-year-old investment banker. As the photo shows, being a hunk requires posing for cheesy photos. It also requires talking to Hair Balls:

Q. Cosmo editor Kate White called this year's group of men "a veritable smorgasbord of studs." What does that make you?

A. For the sake of the smorgasbord, I'm not going to dignify that with a comment.

Q. Cosmo is famous for giving girls the 411 on how to please their guy. Any sex tips you'd like to share?

A. I think I'll save those for my stalkers, thanks.

Q. I've checked out Cosmo's Web site, and it suggests that men like to have their eyelids licked. Can this possibly be true?

A. If a guy likes a girl, he'll enjoy just about anything. [Hair Balls note: Except eyelid-licking.]

Q. Cosmo also recommends something called "bathroom booty." How's that work?

A. Really, I can't go there. My sister nominated me for this, remember?

Seeing how a tepid topic like "bathroom booty" gave this guy the vapors, we figured he'd be positively flummoxed by other Cosmo subjects this month, such as "How do I give my guy anal pleasure?" [Hair Balls tip: Don't lick his eyelids.]

So gals, have at it if you like. We guess Hunk-ism doesn't require stimulating conversation.

Dear Alumnus

Alumni of the University of Houston recently got the latest communiqué from the school, full of the usual tidbits of information on fellow Cougars.

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