Hurricane Rachael Ray

Here she comes to save the day

They survived Hurricane Ike. Now they'll have to survive Rachael Ray.

Fifty Houston couples whose wedding plans were disrupted by Ike will now have a very special wedding thanks to Ray, who in our limited knowledge of such things seems to be a Martha Stewart knockoff.

By "very special wedding," we mean one where TV crews follow you around and then you get married with 49 other couples on the field at Minute Maid Park. Which is "very special" to some people, we guess.

Read on:

"When RACHAEL RAY heard about the situation, she wanted to help by sending a team to Houston to begin planning the gift of a lifetime. Eliminating the couples' financial worries, the RACHAEL RAY show will host the wedding of the year with everything for their special day including wedding gowns and tuxedos, cake, flowers, decorations, professional photography, and a live musical performance. Ray is also personally creating a menu for the reception."

We don't know why RACHAEL RAY has to capitalize her name in her press releases, but we assume it's because she is an extremely caring, openhearted individual. We know MAHATMA GANDHI always did the same thing.

Expect lots and lots of product placement for the wedding, which is scheduled for November 2. The show will air later that month, on whatever channel the RACHAEL RAY show is on. Richard Connelly

Rent-A-Snafu

When the police pulled over Malcolm Riles recently and told him he was driving a stolen car, the 29-year-old TSU grad student didn't know what to think.

Initially, he said, one HPD car was behind him, but by the time he pulled into his apartment complex's parking lot, he and his passenger were surrounded by six cars. That's when he was ordered out, handcuffed and stuck in the back of a car while he tried to explain that, yes, the car was not his — it was rented from Toyota Rent-a-Car. Meanwhile, Riles's neighbors came outside to see what the commotion was all about. That's when they saw Riles in the back of a patrol car — not exactly the image one wants to present to one's neighbors.

Riles told Hair Balls that it took about two hours for the police to straighten things out.

Apparently, the car he rented was reported stolen in July, but it was quickly recovered. Unfortunately, the folks at that rental branch forgot to notify police. And when the branch manager didn't seem sympathetic or apologetic, Riles says, he filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

"She was more concerned about when we were going to return the vehicle, versus...'Is the customer okay? Is there anything I can offer to do for you?'" Riles says. Ultimately, he says, he got a call from Operations Manager Andrew Iatridis, who offered him a full refund.

"They should have refunded the money to begin with...she should have automatically said, 'You know what? We're not going to charge you for your rental,'" he says.

Riles says he wants at least three free rentals from the company. Hair Balls left Iatridis a voicemail to see what he had to say about that, but he hasn't returned the call. Maybe he's stuck in the back of a police car... Craig Malisow

 
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