Toll-Free Hassle

When good EZ TAGs go bad

Oooooh, look, Little Billy -- it's the awesome Stuffed Jockstrap Monster! And over there, with the fistful of dollar bills and the apple martini -- it's the legendary Shit-Faced Maid of Honor!

Now that's scary. Alas, it is not to be.

The show will be strictly "G-rated," the folks at La Bare say.

Explorer? Mustang? It's all the same to Harris County.
Daniel Kramer
Explorer? Mustang? It's all the same to Harris County.

"There's going to be a costume contest, a dance contest -- there's going to be no stripping or alcohol or anything of that nature here," said the guy who answered the phone at La Bare.

Proceeds will go to charity, although just which charity the guy couldn't say.

He was somewhat busy, so we didn't have time to get his advice on how parents should answer the question "Mommy, how did you find out about this place?"

Theater of War

The smoky upstairs pool room at PJ's Sports Bar on West Gray isn't often home to heated political arguments. Or to C-SPAN cameras.

But on October 20 the cramped quarters hosted a debate between John O'Neill, the leader of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and Glenn W. Smith, head of Texans for Truth.

O'Neill's Truth is that John Kerry is lying about his service in Vietnam; Smith's Truth is that George W. Bush is lying about his service in the National Guard.

Since the two Truths don't really oppose each other -- both could be right or wrong at the same time -- there doesn't seem much to debate about, but the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists set it up anyway.

Things started out nicely enough, but soon degenerated. O'Neill is a slick public speaker; it's usually only after an event, when you can check on his glib comments, that you find things might not have happened as he described. Smith is a more mellow type, and seemed somewhat overwhelmed by his feisty opponent.

Almost all audience questions were focused on the Swift boats, but then again some of the questions were along the lines of "Don't you think Bush allowed 9/11 to happen so he could invade Iraq?"

Not many minds were changed during the two-hour event. But it's a good thing the debate didn't go any longer, for O'Neill's sake. At the beginning, he noted that he had lost 15 friends in Vietnam. By the end of the night, the figure was 55.

There's no telling how high the body count would have gone if the thing had continued.

Even though the event devolved into silliness, C-SPAN went ahead and aired it. Which is fortunate, because we wanted to see the graphic solemnly locating the event at PJ's.

Frankly, though, we're in shock that PJ didn't manage to put up a huge banner announcing the Thursday Steak Night Special for the C-SPAN cameras. Maybe next time, when the pool room wins its bid to host the 2008 vice presidential debate.

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