For ex-Houston Rocket player and commentator Calvin Murphy: Resolve to get a vasectomy in 2005
He was acquitted by a jury for charges he molested several of his daughters years ago. But perhaps the most shocking fact to come out of the trial was that the diminutive NBA Hall of Famer is so much of a playa! Turns out that Murphy has fathered 14 children by nine different women, only one of whom ever answered to the name "Mrs. Murphy." Slam-dunk swordsmen like Dennis Rodman and Wilt Chamberlain -- hell, even Ol' Dirty Bastard -- haven't racked up such an array of progeny. Maybe that perfectly sculpted widow's peak is like catnip to the ladies. Perhaps someone needs to explain to the elfish Calvin that "Father of the Year" awards are not based on the number of birth certificates signed per annum. He should see his urologist immediately.
For Houston Chronicle columnist Ken Hoffman: Resolve to write about something new in 2005
The "humor" columnist and Houston Post holdover has hands down the sweetest job in local journalism. Two columns a week of bite-sized tidbits, a third answering his mail, a fast food review and animal profiles. But in the name of Dave Barry, man, is there anything left to know about his personal obsessions with the Beatles, the Stones, Jimmy Buffett, WWE, cycling, tennis, pizza and Playboy model searches? Hoffman's got a nose for news only if Paul McCartney passes gas. Even another World War II front-porch homily from living corpse Leon Hale is livelier than Hoffman's recycled pabulum. Get thee to Margaritaville -- and stay there until you vow to avoid these topics!
For community activist Quanell X: Resolve to pull over when followed by any official vehicle in 2005
Though he comes just below the ubiquitous Sheila Jackson Lee in his Zelig-like ability to pop up in front of a TV camera anytime the Man is puttin' some of his peeps down, this nattily dressed bow-tie enthusiast actually had something legit to complain about this year. While driving toward downtown Houston police headquarters to facilitate the surrender of his fugitive passenger, X was surrounded by police cars flashing their lights. He thought it was an official escort after receiving assurances from department higher-ups, but was hit with a misdemeanor offense for evading an officer when he didn't pull over. Next year, Quan baby, pull over when you see and hear any lights and sirens: police cars, ambulances, tricked-out pimpmobiles, even the Good Humor man. Oh, and don't forget to turn on your signal first. Wouldn't want to add a traffic violation to your record.
For restaurateur Tilman Fertitta: Resolve to go even further with publicity gimmicks to attract customers to the Aquarium in 2005
Okay, so early word on the much-hyped latest downtown attraction carped about the food prices, multi-ticket structure and an overall gaudiness that even SpongeBob SquarePants would find offensive. But Fertitta, lord of the Landry's empire, is so possessed with making his underwater kingdom an ohmyGodyou'veGOTtogothere destination for locals and tourists that he brought in four rare white tigers and got the joint legally declared a zoo. But why stop there? This smooth operator might also want to think about an old-fashioned freak show complete with gimps and Siamese twins. Or how about hourly Montrose drag queen parades for the folks from Midwestern red states? And I've got two words that will definitely fill seats and add zing to any happy hour: public executions. Just imagine the drink specials on Bloody Marys, brain hemorrhages and appleshocks.
For KPRC Channel 2 General Manager Steve Wasserman: Resolve to restrain thyself with sweeps month promotions in 2005
For years, local stations have juiced up their stories during the all-important "sweeps periods." That's when viewer ratings are measured, resulting in data that station salespeople drool over ("We're the No. 1 choice for news with green-eyed, one-armed, African-American hermaphrodites in the 18-to-24 age group"). Usually this means visits to strip clubs, dirty restaurants and even nail salons looking for corruption and cuticle crud. But this year Channel 2 has decided to look within its newsroom for these earth-shattering stories. Fiery-haired sex-kitten anchor Dominique Sachse's much-touted "big secret"? She's knocked up! So what? Now if Khambrel Marshall had been the daddy, that would have been a story. And what about the insufferable Radar the Weather Dog, an adopted mutt who essentially had his own mini-segment in every newscast for doing nothing but panting and blinking at klieg lights? The shameless station even ran a CSI-type takeoff in which scientists tried to track down Radar's long-lost siblings. Even more Dr. Phil would be better than this! Still, people fell in love following this shaggy-dog story, buying up stuffed Radars and sending Channel 2's ratings over the top. Note to Channel 13: Time to pair up Dave Ward with a spunky, finicky cat. And we're not talking about Jan Glenn.
For Harris County D.A.'s office prosecutor Kelly Siegler: Resolve to take acting lessons in 2005
The facts of the case seemed to speak for themselves. Petite, blond, pretty Susan Wright seduced her husband and tied him to the bed. But instead of offering kinky action, she stabbed him 193 times, then buried his body in the backyard. But that mental picture wasn't good enough for Harris County thespian-inclined prosecutor Siegler, who covered her esteemed profession in glory by assembling the couple's bed in front of the jury, complete with blood-stained mattress. After tying up a fellow male prosecutor to the bed, she then straddled him and began slashing in the air in what has to be one of the most bizarre reenactments in legal history (luckily for her colleague, she eschewed the penis-slicing portion). ABC is working on a series based on Siegler, but Wright's legal team has made the sensational demonstration the center of their appeal. So maybe some acting lessons from one of any of Houston's local theater groups (we're thinking Infernal Bridegroom) might make her courtroom transformations more Oscar-worthy and less prone to appeal.
For Houston's local bands: Resolve to stop whining about the lack of a local scene in 2005
You hear the complaint often, reverberating through the walls of local clubs, rehearsal spaces and wherever musicians gather to cop some weed: That Houston -- unlike Dallas or Austin -- has no identifiable scene and its audiences are populated by slavering idiots who are there for cheap Lone Star instead of fully appreciating your sonic art. Get over it! While the city does lack the centered club district or breakthrough national artists, it is home to the most diverse types of bands with plenty of places to play. Just look at the weekly listings in this paper: You can find live blues, country, rock, punk, hip-hop, acid jazz, DJ, metal, funk, cover bands and maybe even Polynesian house music any night of the week. Those looking for some sort of unifying collective organization or promotion from hundreds of bands who are lucky if their drummer can get off his shift at Soundwaves or Pappasito's to make a gig are dreaming. So instead of complaining about what you think Houston doesn't have, embrace what it does have and stop wondering why Sony doesn't send a rep out to see your band on a Tuesday night with contract in hand.
For downtown construction planners and crews: Resolve to make at least a third of the roads passable in 2005
Looking at the condition of downtown streets, you'd think we were searching for King Tut's tomb or half expect Nicolas Cage to show up in search of the national treasure. But the never-ending nightmare that is driving through downtown and its ripped-up rebar, detours and orange cones has got to end, especially if you're trying to attract more business and foot traffic. But the way that crews work on spots throughout many areas as opposed to, say, completing one and then moving on (thanks for the legacy, Lee Brown!) makes navigating the streets like a live-action version of the old Mouse Trap board game. While road maintenance and improvement is a fact of urban life, it could be better coordinated. But hey -- at least the damn Hilton and Toyota Center are finished!
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For downtown drivers and pedestrians: Resolve to avoid collisions with the Metro light rail in 2005
That no one has actually (as of this writing) been killed yet by colliding with the much-hyped Metro light rail is really just a matter of time and not navigational skill. But car-vs.-rail and feet-vs.-rail matches inevitably have the same result: Rail wins, your insurance rates go up, and you are instantly entered in the city's collective consciousness and those of your co-workers as "that idiot." So, drivers and pedestrians, be mindful of that gleaming silver bullet that races through downtown carrying, oh, literally handfuls of passengers who've decided to eschew their own vehicles and give up the money they've saved to aggressive onboard panhandlers.
For Mayor Bill White: Resolve to stop the self-deprecating bald jokes in 2005
Okay, Bill, we got it during the campaign: make fun of your own chrome dome before anybody else could. It seemed to have worked, and certainly garnered you the follicly-challenged vote, which crosses all traditional party lines. But now it's time to be proud of your pate and embrace its manly virility. Telly Savalas, Yul Brynner, Ving Rhames, even Isaac "Shaft" Hayes have been a proud part of the No Hair Club for Men, and now you can, too! Maybe you could even take a portion of Jordy Tollett's salary and commission Hayes to write you your own theme song, perfect for strutting up and down the corridors of power. Just don't let him talk you into wearing the gold-chain vest.