By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Now that's sophisticated Web-surfing. None of that namby-pamby upskirt-video shit, where the woman doesn't even know she's being used and abused.
This e-mail was sent to Rosenthal by Sam Siegler, husband of prominent prosecutor Kelly Siegler.
"I didn't intend for it to be offensive," Siegler told KHOU. "I didn't e-mail anybody that I thought would be offended by it."
Okay, you're saying — maybe Siegler just completely, totally misread Rosenthal and tabbed him as someone who would get a kick out of looking at a woman having her clothes ripped off on a public street. Why blame the Chuckster?
There is some evidence, however, that Siegler might have some insight into Rosenthal's sense of humor. He was the DA's personal physician, for crying out loud.
Sentences never uttered by Chuck Rosenthal: "My dear doctor, I fail to see the humor in this exploitative, misogynistic trash. Need I remind you, sir, my office vigorously and energetically prosecutes cases of attacks on women. Please confine your humor to watermelon jokes."
All right, maybe that last sentence was uttered.
All this — the watermelon, the unclothing of women — may have been excused as some silly sophomoric humor by the kind of guy who enjoys lighting off firecrackers in the stairwell.
But then there came the love letters.
When Rosenthal wasn't telling interviewers about how much Jesus loved him, about how Jesus would make darn sure no innocent man had ever been sent to Death Row from Houston, he was extolling his marriage.
Jesus loves a good marriage, you know.
So when e-mails emerged showing Rosenthal clumsily trying to act seductive towards his executive assistant, the main reaction was one of outrage.
Well, first the main reaction was a collective "Ewwww." No one wants a mental image of Chuck Rosenthal offering to kiss behind some woman's right ear.
The second reaction was — well, it was probably more "Ewwww," if you want to know the truth.
But the third reaction was, "Hey, why has this woman gotten such a plum salary and car allowance?" Which is right up there, by the way, in the pantheon of Questions Politicians Hope They're Never Asked.
Rosenthal's explanation was pure gold: Yeah, I had an affair with this woman 20 years ago, but nothing's going on now. Just an occasional ear-kissing e-mail or two, or three.
Which, you must admit, is ballsy. One might have expected Chuck to go for "By 'kiss' I meant Keep Incarcerating Sinful Suspects, and by "right ear" I meant the Harris County Jail."
One thing needs to be remembered in all this — these are the e-mails that Rosenthal didn't lose. What could have been in "Rosenthal, The Lost Bootlegs"?
The mind boggles.
The DA resigned, of course, and blamed it all on his doctor. The doctor who sent him the attacking-women photos.
Not that the doctor did anything wrong, Rosenthal said.
"Although I have enjoyed excellent medical and pharmacological treatment," Rosenthal said in announcing his retirement, "I have come to learn that the particular combination of drugs prescribed for me in the past has caused some impairment in my judgment."
Remember that line, Houstonians, the next time you get picked up for DUI. Or for ripping off a woman's clothes on a public street.
Chuck, we can't remember anyone who worked harder to make themselves a Houston Press Turkey of the Year.
Whatever pharmacological treatment you had, we want some of it.
POP CULTURE TURKEY:
It's not easy living in the shadow of a superstar. Well, it is easy, in the sense that you get doors opened for you worldwide that would otherwise be slammed in your face, and that you can basically have a career coasting on your relative's laurels.
But do people realize how hard you have it? No.
Consider the case of Houston's own Solange Knowles, sister of Houston's own Beyoncé Knowles, of Houston's own Destiny's Child (Note: A local ordinance mandates the inclusion of "Houston's own" before any mention of these entities.)
Beyoncé is out there, marrying Jay-Z, starring in movies, anchoring high-profile cosmetics campaigns, attracting paparazzi wherever she goes. If you're Solange, on the other hand, you're desperately hawking a mediocre album that's been dismissed by any critics who've bothered to review it.
So you end up giving a lot of interviews trying to push the thing. And all the media wants to talk about is your sister and brother-in-law, for crying out loud.
What can you do? You could blame the fact that reporters only care about things that are so-called "interesting," or you could take charge.
That's what Solange did, when she and her people made sure a Las Vegas station knew that if they wanted to talk to her, they'd better not ask any questions about Beyoncé or Jay-Z.
It's only fair. And the local station should have known, if they had simply taken the time to read the riders on the Solange Appearance Contract:
a) Solange does NOT appear in any mall that is not at least anchored by a Sears. No 99¢ Only Stores are allowed, unless, you know, the album's not doing that good.