By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
You probably don't realize it, but the Houston school district's Web site has a page dedicated to prominent alumni, listed by high school.
Unfortunately, many of the "prominent" alumni are politicians, especially current and former HISD board members. Any definition of "prominent" that includes HISD board members is probably a little too loose for our taste, but we guess the people who put the list together like to keep board members happy.
With that in mind, here are Six Things About HISD's List of Prominent Alumni:
1. Austin High has four alumni prominent enough to make the list. But three are politicians and one is Ken Spain, who you probably didn't realize played in the American Basketball Association.
2. Furr High School has three: a politician (FAIL!), Carolyn Campbell, "TV Reporter for Channel 11" (whose longtime stint with that station ended unceremoniously two months ago), and Anthony Young, "professional baseball player." (The list somehow doesn't mention that Young holds the major-league record for most consecutive losses.)
3. Lamar High has the longest list — 18 alumni who have become famous enough to be called "prominent." These people include "Buddy" Brock ("much-loved local bandleader who kept Houstonians entertained for more than 40 years"), Hubert Bailey ("part-time NASCAR driver") and Jonathan Day, a partner at Andrews Kurth. To be fair, the list also includes former Charlie's Angels star Jaclyn Smith and, ummm, Marvin Zindler.
4. Unlikely actors who make the list: Larry Hovis, who was Sergeant Carter in Hogan's Heroes (from Reagan High); Renee O'Connor, who played the blond Gabrielle in the lesbo-fave Xena: Warrior Princess (HSPVA); Shelley Duvall, patient wife of Jack Nicholson in The Shining (Waltrip); Playboy and Red Shoes Diary star Joan Severance (Westbury) and Trey Wilson, the character actor most famed for playing furniture-store mogul Nathan Arizona in Raising Arizona (Bellaire).
5. The Saddest High School has to be Lee: Take away ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons and you're left with Melanie Hauser, "one of the most respected golf journalists in the country," Randy Lemmon, who hosts a gardening show on local radio, and Ron Stone Junior, who is the son of TV icon Ron Stone (who would be considered prominent, but apparently did not attend Lee High).
6. Six people are listed with asterisks, denoting "the person attended but did not graduate from that school." They include former New York Giant Michael Strahan (Westbury), Beyoncé (HSPVA), her bandmate Kelly Rowland (Lamar) and race-car driver A.J. Foyt (San Jacinto).
Bonus Question: Cosmetics queen Mary Kay, Racehorse Haynes and Dan Rather all attended the same high school. What was it? (Answer: Reagan.) — Richard Connelly
World's Worst Christmas Spirit
Man, the Christmas season really blows for disbarred attorney Tom Zaratti.
First, on Christmas Eve 2003, he was arrested for possession of child pornography, which ultimately led to a ten-year, $10,000 sentence. But while fortune smiled in the form of early parole, the anti-Christmas spirit came back to bite him in the ass: On December 18 of this year, Zaratti was arrested for "unlawful possession of body armor" by a felon, as well as possession of a "bayonet-type" knife. The items were apparently discovered by at least one parole officer and members of the Texas DPS criminal intelligence unit.
Hair Balls hasn't been able to figure out exactly what type of "body armor" Zaratti had — he hasn't returned phone calls, and his parole officer was not available for an interview. We haven't heard back from prosecutors, either.
One thing is stunningly apparent, though: Zaratti still sucks at keeping his unlawful activity on the down low. To wit: This is a guy who took his computer, which contained files such as "Daddy Had Sex With Eight-Year-Old" and "Preteen Blow Job," to Best Buy for servicing in 2003.
The thing is, when the cops subsequently searched Zaratti's house, they found a safe containing about $250,000, which begs the question: Did Zaratti ever say to himself, "You know, I'm sitting on a huge pile of money, and I can easily afford another computer with which to download kiddie porn, but I think instead I'll save a few bucks and take it in to Best Buy. I really don't think they'll notice my 'Ten-Year-Old Orgasm' MPEG"?
Although Zaratti was sentenced for the porn in 2006, he wasn't disbarred until earlier this year — an action he of course fought against, because he apparently thought he had a leg to stand on. Note to Zaratti: People tend to frown upon child porn. And the next time you come across a bayonet — no matter how wicked cool you think it is — you should probably think long and hard before deciding to buy it. Season's greetings! — Craig Malisow
Arrested in 30 Minutes Or It's Free
It seemed like a great idea — in this crazy, busy world, who has time to actually go pick up their crack? Doesn't the convenience of free delivery make a great deal of sense?
John Lacour of Galveston thought so. He took orders by phone and delivered your rock to you, no questions asked.
Maybe he should have asked some questions, though, recently — when the person on the other end of the phone making an order was a Galveston police officer