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  • Article

    News of the Weird

    Lead Stories *The November Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton, Alberta, featured the very popular "Cowboy Poker," in which four men sit at a table in the middle of the arena "playing cards," while a particularly aggressive bull is turned loose. As...

    by Chuck Shepherd on December 31, 1998
  • Article

    Santa's Push Cards

    Aspirants for Houston City Council are always thinking up new and ingenious ways to get a foot in the City Hall door, but attorney Gordon Quan may be the first to try to ride in on Santa's sleigh. Quan is bombarding a selected political mailing list ...

    by Tim Fleck on December 31, 1998
  • Article

    Letters

    Scotch the Sodas As the mom of a brilliant, gifted and talented child who has a deficit of attention and an abundance of energy, I can't thank you enough for publishing "Carbonated Cash" by Kimberly Reeves [December 17]. I feel angry and fru...

    on December 31, 1998
  • Article

    Slipping Under the Bar Radar - Will a less-than-Frank Reyes cloud O'Quinn's win?

    You figure the three lawyers representing the State Bar of Texas felt pretty stupid. A Harris County jury deliberated little more than a half-hour before rejecting their arguments and evidence in the disbarment case against super plaintiff's lawyer J...

    by Tim Fleck on December 31, 1998
  • Article

    Santa's Selves - Inside every tired fat man, there's a merry prankster trying to get out

    It was thought that Santa Claus, like God, was everywhere. For this photo project, the Press's Phillipe Diederich looked on street corners, in schools and homeless shelters, but Claus was reliably found only in the shopping malls. The Santa of the...

    by Randall Patterson on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    To Bloom Again - Quiet, intellectual John Bloom transformed himself through his alter ego, Joe Bob Briggs, into a drive-in-movie critic on TV. Now a new character is emerging: John Bloom himself.

    It's an unusually warm afternoon for a Texas Saturday in December, but inside the AMS Studios in Addison, the air feels cold enough to hang beef carcasses. Nobody feels this more than Rusty the TNT Mailgirl, a strawberry-blonde waitress at Humperd...

    by Jimmy Fowler on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    Letters

    Good Dream and Bad Perhaps my greatest disappointment in reading Brad Tyer's article about the crack and chip repair curbside business entrepreneurs ["Risky Business," December 10] was not that the Norrises were victims of extortion by a neighbor...

    on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    Then There Were None - Health Department fires a final whistle blower

    Bhirag Bhatt says he never knew who made the accusations that triggered the investigation. The head of the city health department food inspections bureau, Bhatt was the target of a 1997 police probe after several of his employees alleged he routinely...

    by Bob Burtman on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    Let's Go Lobby - Midwives to laws you might not like

    With the state legislative session set to unfold in the new year, some of the best bullshitters in Texas, a.k.a. lobbyists, are honing their pitches on behalf of governments, industries and individual clients. There's a world of Lone Star State laws ...

    by Tim Fleck on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    Merry Xmas, Mr. Waldhauser - A hearing officer finds that a convicted killer did not violate parole

    Things appear to be looking up for Walter Waldhauser Jr. After being convicted of playing a central role in a gruesome triple murder-for-hire in Houston in 1980, he was released from prison in 1990 after serving a third of his plea-bargained sentence...

    by Thomas Korosec on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    Pass the Gas for Garza

    You can't fault Enron Oil & Gas chief executive Forrest E. Hoglund for lack of enthusiasm about recently elected Railroad Commissioner Tony Garza, the Republican secretary of state under Governor George W. Bush. In his zest for raising late-train cas...

    by Tim Fleck on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    News of the Weird

    Lead Stories *A November Associated Press dispatch described the work of commercial leech and maggot suppliers that sell to hospitals for medical treatments. A Welsh firm, Biopharm Ltd., moves about 20,000 three-inch-long leeches a year at $17 ea...

    by Chuck Shepherd on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    All Good Dogs Go to Heaven - The connection between pets and their owners doesn't necessarily end with death

    Shadows from the oaks sweep down across these few green acres of Southwest Houston, where barking guard dogs summon forth an unshaven man in a faded T-shirt. Caretaker John Alpert silences the canine sentries and shows a visitor the Houston Pet ...

    by George Flynn on December 17, 1998
  • Article

    King of the Pile - Butch Forrest lives off the land. Need a used doughnut fryer?

    Butch Forest is 53, on the tall side, gregarious, strong, nondescriptly handsome, with the sort of casually bearish bearing and the sort of textured skin tone and the sort of thatchy blond forearm hair that begs he be described as sandy. Central cast...

    by Brad Tyer on December 17, 1998
  • Article

    Carbonated Cash - Drink up, kids. Keep those soda dollars coming.

    Late in the fall, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released a "Liquid Candy" study warning that soaring soft drink consumption by kids constitutes a very real long-term health threat. Forty years ago, kids drank twice as much milk a...

    by Kimberly Reeves on December 17, 1998
  • Article

    Battle of the 'Bots

    The point of ELEC 201, Dr. John Bennett said, is to prove that engineering, and engineers, aren't dull. Explaining the joys of creation, Dr. Bennett quoted Sartre ("to do is to be"); he quoted John Stuart Mill ("to be is to do"), and he quoted Sinatr...

    by Randall Patterson on December 17, 1998
  • Article

    Coming Down to the Liar - The second sting trial ends where the investigation began

    Former city councilman Ben Reyes dabbed wearily at his shadowed eyes and momentarily seemed on the verge of tears. As a defendant in the city hall bribery conspiracy sting trial, his last stint on the witness stand inched toward a conclusion last wee...

    by Tim Fleck on December 17, 1998
  • Article

    News of the Weird

    Lead Stories *The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (Alberta, Canada) announced in November that this year's single permit to hunt an Alberta big-horn sheep was won by Sherwin Scott of Phoenix with a high bid of $405,000 (U.S.). The foundation will u...

    by Chuck Shepherd on December 17, 1998
  • Article

    Letters

    18-Wailers I read with some bemusement your recent article on the difficulties encountered by Pasadena police when trying to get trucking companies to obey the law ["Semi Safe," by Bob Burtman, December 3]. A couple of years ago, the Internal Rev...

    on December 17, 1998
  • Article

    Pass the Gasfor Garza

    You can't fault Enron Oil & Gas chief executive Forrest E. Hoglund for lack of enthusiasm about recently elected Railroad Commissioner Tony Garza, the Republican secretary of state under Governor George W. Bush. In his zest for raising late-train cas...

    by Tim Fleck on December 17, 1998
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