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,
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.
"Cheating is cheating," said lead prosecutor Alex Imgrund, "and neither the fishing community, nor this office, will tolerate it."
The fishing community — a shining beacon of justice. Think of that the next time you try to game the Bud Light Trail Boss Big Bass Tournament on Lake Ray Hubbard.
(Note: One of the commenters on this item noted that Rose should have known better. "It's hard to believe that he was any type of experienced, competitive fisherman," said Matthew Brown. "All such guys know that the contest officials are intense when it comes to investigating cheating. The competitors are polygraphed, fish are opened and inspected, hell the fish can even be sent through metal detectors in bigger tournaments!
"Fishermen hate cheaters. They also hate idiots."
DOING IT DAILY
There is a ton of new stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; you're only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. We break news, we cover sports, analyze the hot TV shows and dig up the things that make Houston and Texas unique. Head to http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or "/rocks" or "/eating") and under "Tools" on the top-right side of the page, use the "categories" drop-down menu to find these stories:
We examined who the Jets should draft to make the liveliest Hard Knocks series ever now that they have Santonio Holmes (Tip: draft Tim Tebow. "From Tebow trying to talk Holmes into joining a Bible-study group to Tebow going clubbing with [Jets' QB Mark] Sanchez and ordering a glass of milk (which shows up in a martini glass, of course), this needs to happen.")
We learned the Rockets' Shane Battier should never, ever sing in public, and we have the video proof. Oh, and Texas City Little League games should be rated R, with all the arrests for brawling and cursing coaches.
We talked with the key people in current productions of Tartuffe and Harvey (Alley actor James Black's invisible friend? Gabby. Who wasn't a six-foot rabbit.) For the 40th anniversary of Apollo 13's famous "problem," we examined the dorkiest "gotchas" from nerds criticizing the Ron Howard movie: "If a movie can't get the beer cans right, how can we trust it when it comes to the Lunar Module's Descent Propulsion System?"
And our Rocks Off blog's "This Just In" category kept everyone up to date on the odd lockout of the owners of the Meridian/Wired Live club.
Courts, Crime & Political Animals
On the crime front, we looked at a touching prison romance, if you like sadistic members of the Aryan Brotherhood; the inept attempt to rob a Heights-area coffee shop and the kiddie-porn producer who liked to spend time at a "family-friendly" nudist camp.
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We also noted state Senator Dan Patrick's bold move to kinda break from the GOP establishment, and the utter roasting he got on a national blog — for his looks, of all things.
Glee is back! Rejoice! To a degree: "Admittedly, I'm no Doors fan, but somehow they managed to make 'Hello, I Love You' even worse than it already is. And 'Highway to Hell' needs to be sung by someone whose testicles have descended," our critic said. (He did like other parts of it, we swear.)
American Idol got closer to nut-cutting time as the top talent continued to shine while the bottom-feeders got tossed. And we had our own take on Treme, one that didn't include any whining about how Houston allegedly got dissed.