By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Someone at the University of Houston has a puckish sense of humor.
It's one thing to schedule the Harris County Republican Party Convention in one of the school's auditoriums at the same time a history class is meeting there. It takes it to a whole 'nother level when that history class is being taught by professor Bob Buzzanco.
You might not recognize the name, but Buzzanco is a guy who isn't shy at all about expressing his political opinions. Opinions that, he says, got him kicked off of Pacifica's KPFT-FM for being too liberal.
Buzzanco arrived at his once-a-week Introduction to U.S. History class March 25 to find, instead of the usual 100 or so students, a roomful of Republicans.
"[They] were all white and over 50 -- they looked very much like Texas Republicans," he says. "It was like a Stepford campus."
The prof calmly asked what, perchance, was going on -- Buzzanco style. "I frankly said, 'But I have a fucking class here.'" The GOPers asked him to apologize, he says, but then "the guy told me to go fuck myself, so it was kind of ironic."
He wasn't the only one having trouble. Art professor Steven Potter was giving a midterm that day, and he too discovered the room had been taken over.
"There was a Republican political rally in full tilt, with placards waving, people crying and denouncing all of the evils of the Democratic party," he says. "It looked like a convention on TV or something."
What it didn't look like was a good place to take a 100-question midterm on the history of art.
As with Buzzanco, things weren't settled amicably.
"Their demeanor was horrible with us....They were laughing at me and laughing at our students' situation," he says. (Party officials didn't return calls.) The students did their bit, heckling delegates about cuts in education funds.
But if it does, we hope they televise it.
If you were tooling along Memorial Drive last week, you might have noticed an odd sight -- cops on horseback with radar guns to catch speeders.
Now there's a picture -- some SUV comes by at 60 mph; the cop dramatically rears his horse up on its hind legs and takes off in dauntless pursuit.
Until he realizes a horse can't go 60 mph.
That can't work, can it? Outside of the movies, anyway.
HPD Sgt. Michelle Sandoval says, alas, that the horses do not get involved in any chases. Instead, the officers just point at the speeders and signal them to pull to the side of the road.
"Normally, if you wave to someone it's not that difficult...they know they're the ones speeding, and if they keep on going you just get a license plate and call it in," she says.
The horse-radar program has been "very successful," she says.
So if you're speeding, don't just look out for lurking patrol cars. Keep an eye peeled for horseflesh, too.
It's White in Herre
Houston's obviously a thriving soccer market; Reliant Stadium regularly gets large crowds to watch visiting teams from Mexico play.
So why are the Dynamo crowds at Robertson Stadium so... white? Is it because they first tried the name "Houston 1836," which unfortunately reminded Hispanics of when Sam Houston's Texians defeated Santa Anna in a bloody battle?
We asked Oliver Luck, Dynamo president and GM.
Q. First game, the fans seemed pretty white-bread. Where's the Hispanic market?
A. People said, "Well, you'll be 95 percent Hispanic." No...it's going to take a slow, gradual build to get the Hispanic fan who is rabid about, say, the [Mexican team] Tigras to embrace the Dynamo.
Q. Is that because they don't think the Dynamos are good enough?
A. No. Their first allegiance up until now has been to Tigras. Number two, I think they need to come out and see how good the quality of play is. Sure, I would think the average Mexican soccer fan would think the Mexican club was better than MLS.
Q. What kind of marketing are you doing to reach Hispanics?
A. We have sales reps. They're making a strong push into the Hispanic adult leagues...My assumption was that it was going to be more of an Anglo crowd [at Dynamo games] initially. That's good, because quite honestly the Anglos are buying season tickets, are buying T-shirts. They're used to that. They're season-ticket holders for the Astros. They have Rockets tickets, Texans tickets. It's part of the normal culture of the Anglo world. Yeah, you buy some sports tickets and take your kids out, take your client out.
Q. And you don't think it's as much a part of the Hispanic culture?
A. I don't think in Houston it is. Back home it may be.
Q. Do you think you'll get a lot of Europeans out?