Party On, Dan

Who knew HPD gave away free heroin shots?

The announcement that Dan Rather will be stepping down from the CBS anchor desk has left us feeling as antsy as a crack whore's fetus, as Dan himself might say.

Watching the ticking time bomb of Rather was always entertaining; we can only hope there's one last blow-up to come before he finishes.

The retirement brought many postmortems on Rather's career, tracing the son of a ditchdigger and a waitress (that would be two different people) from his early days in the Houston Heights through the beginnings of his journalistic career here at radio station KTRH and television's KHOU.

Sheila! (A Continuing Series): Even an easy 
re-election hasn't stopped Houston's Sheila Jackson 
Lee from getting in front of any camera available.
Sheila! (A Continuing Series): Even an easy re-election hasn't stopped Houston's Sheila Jackson Lee from getting in front of any camera available.

Everyone mentioned his groundbreaking performance hanging onto a tree during Hurricane Carla. Not many mentioned the time he had the Houston Police Department shoot him up with heroin.

Rather talked about the incident 24 years ago in an interview in the Ladies' Home Journal, of all places. "As a reporter -- and I don't want to say that that's the only context -- I've tried everything. I can say to you with confidence, I know a fair amount about LSD," he said. "I've never been a social user of any of these things, but my curiosity has carried me into a lot of interesting areas."

Wow. What is the frequency, Kenneth?

Rather continued on, rambling away like any stoner who won't shut up about that great shit he did that one time: "As an example, in 1955 or '56, I had someone at the Houston police station shoot me with heroin so I could do a story about it."

Free drugs for reporters? What's that HPD media relations number again?

"I don't think we have that program anymore, if we ever did," says spokesman Captain Dwayne Ready. "Why, do you want to sign up?"

Ready checked and couldn't find any old-timers with firsthand knowledge of Rather's claim. "I'm sure they did a lot of things back then that we don't do today," he says.

Damn. We feel as out of luck as Liberace at Lilith Fair. Although we guess if there actually were a guy at a Lilith Fair concert, he'd be kinda inclined to… dang, this metaphor stuff is tough.

Tougher than a two-dollar steak. At a Lilith Fair concert. Cooked by a crack whore.

Dress for Success

Nestled between the East Texas towns of Jasper and Vidor -- the Sodom and Gomorrah of Lone Star racism -- is the tiny town of Spurger.

Spurger's schools have had the odd (even for East Texas) tradition of something called TWIRP Day, which stands for "The Woman Is Requested to Pay," a kind of Sadie Hawkins spin-off where young boys go to school dressed as young girls.

Preteen cross-dressing has flourished in Spurger for many years, but not anymore. Parents who, we're guessing, voted Republican contacted the right-wing Liberty Legal Institute to make some lawyer noise, and the district immediately caved.

As well it should have, for, as one parent told a reporter: "If it's okay to dress like a girl today, then why is it not okay in the future?"

Instead, the school instituted "Camouflage Day," where kids came dressed to kill, so to speak.

Hey, if the right-wingers can be offended by a little transvestism, we can surely find a left-winger to offer some outrage on Camo Day.

Step right up, Ken Freeland of the Houston Coalition for Justice Not War. "It obviously has a paramilitary connotation," he says. "That's unavoidable…[W]hat they're actually asking the children to do is tacitly support that military activity [in Iraq], which of course our organization considers patently unjust and unwarranted."

We're sure Freeland soon will be getting an education on what Texas hunters wear when they're out there protecting animals from being overpopulated. And we're guessing Camo Day won't be shut down anytime soon.

One Man's Meat...

The boosters of Houston's new Midtown section think of themselves as hip, happening urban warriors. Living in Midtown is just like living in Greenwich Village or something.

Unless you're gay. Or at least the type of gay who likes anonymous sex at places with in-your-face names like the Meatrack.

The Meatrack offers one-stop shopping for the gay guy who doesn't need to hear someone's life story before getting it on. There's a dungeon, a "wet room" for "yellow hanky action" (which we assume involves the use of something other than hankies) and a maze with holes in the walls. The holes, the club's Web site states, are there so that patrons can "ask directions." On their knees, we presume.

The establishment got the Midtown Coalition in a tizzy, if not an actual dither. Media outlets were contacted, and television stations gleefully participated. Unlike most nightclubs, the Meatrack would rather not have klieg-light TV coverage, so it shut its doors.

Meatrack operator Tom Jones had no comment, but the Web site noted the club had received "disturbing phone calls."

The big victory for the Midtown Coalition, however, appears to be short-lived. The Meatrack had planned to be open only until the end of November anyway, when it begins its transition to a new Midtown spot a few blocks away.

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