Chron's Feelings Are Hurt

HBO drama didn't celebrate Houston as best-est place.


Chron's Feelings Are Hurt
HBO drama didn't celebrate Houston as best-est place

By Richard Connelly

In case you hadn't heard — and there's no way you haven't heard, since seemingly everyone who writes for a living in America worships David Simon's TV shows — Treme premiered recently.

It's a story about New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. The premiere contained two passing references to Houston: One, a mention of a guy getting killed "in one of those Telephone Road bars"; two, a character saying "all the crime moved to Houston."

Pretty innocuous stuff; ­Telephone Road isn't exactly murder ­central, but the name is irresistible.

Still, the Houston Chronicle, in the guise of an assistant features editor, has had its feelings hurt. Ronnie Crocker wrote in their pop-culture blog:

That's the only recognition Treme could muster for a city that took in perhaps 240,000 storm victims, many of whom arrived in buses with nothing but the clothes they were wearing?

Our area, according to my recollection, played a pivotal and overwhelmingly positive role in the Katrina story. Who couldn't have been impressed by the masses of volunteers who showed up at the Astrodome to feed and shelter the evacuees? Houstonians swamped clothing and furniture drives with so much that donations had to be halted...All I know for sure is that Houstonians can be proud of the role they played in the Katrina disaster and secure in the knowledge that, should the need ever arise, we would do it all over again.

Houston Proud!! We can ­imagine they took further steps:

To: David Simon

From: Houston Chronicle

Re: Proposed Treme episode

Please read and use the attached script for the second episode of Treme. We realize shooting and editing the episode in time for Sunday might require some extra hours, but we feel it is absolutely necessary. Not to mention the script is, if we say so ourself, damn good. Here's an outline.

Title: There Are Angels in Texas

Act One: The episode opens with a montage of Houstonians enjoying their city — going to the museums, enjoying the white tigers at the Aquarium restaurant (or any other Tilman Fertitta establishment), cheering the Astros, listening to our world-class symphony, strolling in Discovery Green. (Length of Act One: 35 minutes.)

Act Two: As word hits of Katrina, Houstonians of all races, creeds and colors leap into action, rummaging through their closets for clothes that no longer fit. Steely-eyed government officials say things like "Damn the red tape, just do it!!! This is Houston, where we get things done!!" (Length of Act Two: Ten minutes.)

Act Three: Pan over the Astrodome like the after-battle scene in Gone with the Wind. Mariah Carey singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" plays, with the title word in the chorus replaced by "Thank You, Houston." Show plenty of shots of refugees gratefully accepting Members Only jackets from soccer moms who tell them "it's nothing, really." Close with testimonials from actual Katrina evacuees saying how great it is. Last shot: As you pan back from the Dome floor, fade to black. The screen fills with white lettering:

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

— Barbara Bush

Fade to black. Credits roll over a montage of Apollo 11's first words on the moon, Jean Michel Jarre's 1986 downtown concert and...and...we'll get back to you with other highlights.

Thank you for your consideration,

Houston Chronicle


Get the Lead Out

By Richard Connelly

Wily criminal minds never sleep. Luckily for the forces of good and justice, neither do the dedicated men and women of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Robby Rose, 45, a competitive fisherman from Garland, was playing (fishing?) in a bass tournament in Rockwall County last October. Apparently the big ones weren't biting, so he decided to give Mother Nature a little help.

According to the TPWD, he stuffed a one-pound lead weight in the belly of one of the teeny, tiny fish he managed to catch.

The agency says:

Halfway through the competition, Rose turned in a fish. While Rose went to the polygraph area, weigh-in officials noticed that the bass had settled near the bottom of the tank it had been placed in. After examining the fish and finding a lump in its belly, they located Rose and told him they intended to cut it open.

The problem for Rose, besides being exposed as someone who would cheat in a bass tournament, was that the grand prize for winning was a $55,000 boat. That meant he could be charged with attempting theft of between $20,000 and $100,000, a state jail felony.

"We took this case very seriously," said Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney Kenda Culpepper. "As far as we were concerned, the case was about a $55,000 bass boat, not a ten-pound fish."

Rose pleaded guilty last week to the charge, and received five years probation and 15 days in jail. Even worse — he has to give up his fishing license while on probation.

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