Wet and Half Naked

One way to smuggle cash

CRIME

Wet Dudes in Underwear
One way to smuggle $1.6 million

By Richard Connelly

More trouble for those pesky drug lords trying to get their cash from the marketplace in America to home in Mexico — an employee, Juan Sanchez, just got more than seven years in a federal prison for doing their dirty work.

We're sure the drug lords are taking that in stride. They may miss the $1.6 million Sanchez got nabbed with, but cost of doing business, right?

The best thing about it all is the visual that comes from the prosecutors' description of his arrest: He had stopped his cash-laden car on the U.S. side of the border in Laredo and proceeded to be seen conferring with "five individuals in their underwear, who appeared to have recently waded the river."

Because when you're dealing with $1.6 million in cash, nothing says "classy" like a bunch of guys standing around in their underwear.

If you're routinely smuggling large amounts of cash across the border, shouldn't you spring for some of those henchmen outfits from the old Batman series? Build a little esprit de corps. Show some pride for Team Coke.

Nope; instead you have your American guy drive a KIA sedan. You have him park it "at an intersection near the riverbanks of the Rio Grande River." And at this intersection, you have him meet five dripping-wet dudes in their underwear.

Sanchez tried to escape from the scene, but he was hampered by the fact he was driving a KIA sedan. Unless the Border Patrol's switched to Mini Coopers, Sanchez never had a chance.

The five other guys escaped, though. Back across the river, where one hopes they recovered their clothes.
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HURRICANE IKE

Five Things for the Flagship Amusement Park

By Richard Connelly

The not-so-beloved Flagship Hotel in Galveston is being torn down so Tilman Fertitta's Landry's Restaurants can build an amusement park on its pier.

What sort of attractions should be offered at the new destination? We have a few suggestions:

5. The Balinese Room Exhibit

NOT a freaking whitewashed, family-friendly recreation of the notorious gambling den, please. Remember those mannequin-type things that used to populate the Railroad Museum in Galveston before Ike washed them away? Get the same guy to replicate a scene of Frank Sinatra getting a blow job in the Balinese dressing room before a show. Put a little extra money into it and make them animatronic. Frank would have wanted no less.

4. The TV Reporter Ride

Visitors don logo-embossed raingear and get ready to do a stand-up on how Hurricane Whatever is bearing down on the island and authorities have long ago ordered an evacuation, and only an idiot or a frighteningly ambitious TV reporter would still be outside in this weather. The industrial-sized fan last used in The Perfect Storm is set on full power, daring you to keep your feet as buckets of windblown spray blind you. As you get thrown against the padded walls, a soothing anchorperson's voice tells you to "be careful out there." Just as in real life, the anchor won't even know your name unless it's written on the TelePrompter.

3. Build Your Own Ridiculously Vulnerable Beach Home!!

A tabletop model of the West End of the island sits before you as, using a computer and 3-D imaging, you "build" a vacation home — or hey, think big!! — a resort development that is the real-world equivalent of six inches from the high-tide mark. Watch in awe as a Cat 1 hurricane or even a tropical depression washes it all away, then clamor for taxpayer money to help you out of your "crisis." Repeat ad nauseam.

2. The Brandon Backe Wedding Whack-a-Mole

Re-enact the famous wedding party attended by former Houston Astro Brandon Backe that resulted in what was called "a riot" between guests and Galveston police. Kids are outfitted with a badge, a hat, a baton and an attitude; when the game operator says anything that might be construed as not giving the GPD all the respect it so richly deserves, start whacking away. (Also features a version where all the "moles" are black; no starting remark is needed — just begin whaling away whenever you feel like it.)

1. The Tilman Fertitta "Just Give Me Money" Ride

An exciting duplication of the thrills provided by the Kemah Boardwalk, this attraction features a park attendant with his hand out. Riders simply keep handing over money for no good reason. Don't worry: An ATM is handily located nearby.
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DOING IT DAILY

There is a ton of stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; you’re only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or “/rocks” or “/eating” or “/artattack”) and under “Tools” on the top-right side of the page, use the “categories” drop-down menu to find these stories:

Art Attack

We witnessed the ignition of internationally known artist Cai Guo-Qiang's massive gunpowder painting Odyssey at a packed-to-fire-code-capacity warehouse near Reliant Stadium. Texas's most self-deprecating city slogans were explored after we saw a bumper sticker advocating to "Keep Dallas Douche." (Which we love.) And we watched our favorite viral videos by local rapper/entrepreneur Chingo Bling. We're also looking for writers (and we pay). E-mail samples to artsblog@houstonpress.com .

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