Late last year, the rampant purges by assorted Montgomery County puritans seemed excessive [see "(Cl)ass Warfare," by Beth Gullett, December 5].
The county's Republican Leadership Council had declared a prudes v. nudes showdown. Sympathizers and the group groped to find library books to ban. They fig-leafed a David statue and forced an Italian cafe to cart off two classic paintings that included nekkid figures. Meanwhile, Montgomery High seniors had their class T-shirts -- "Kiss My Class Goodbye" was the slogan -- barred from campus.
As silly as that seemed at the time, it all makes sense now to Hair Balls: Montgomery County is obviously home to some of the horniest creatures this side of Sodom -- even those who head up the Conroe school district itself.
They must have known about the looming sex harassment lawsuit by two district PIOs against then-CISD Superintendent David Lusk and his sidekick, district CFO Brian Miller. Puritans had to be scared shitless that the mere hint of painted flesh in a pizza joint would incite the CISD pair to drop their pants and start porkin' pasta.
Lusk (pronounced "lust"), 58, is alleged to have repeatedly threatened to fire 24-year-old aide Shannon Weaver unless he got loin-patrol privileges. The supe is accused of hauling an Ab Roller into his office and having the skirted assistant work out on it so he could get exercised over beaver shots.
The suit says Lusk whetted his appetite by regaling her with old tales of a fraternity hazing incident in which he dipped his dong in molasses and covered it with corn flakes. Talk about a breakfast turn-on!
Miller, 45, was said to have been mentored by Lusk to join in the nasty talk. Just a few months ago, he told Weaver "she should go down the hall and give Lusk a blow job so that everyone could go home early before Spring Break," the suit says.
Weaver and co-plaintiff Nicole Segura say they went to the district's in-house counsel and the board's vice president to complain -- only to be told that Lusk had harassed them sexually, too.
But don't accuse the Montgomery prudes of having double standards. Miller resigned and took a $90,000 job with another district. The supe called it quits and the school board meted out its punishment: It wrote him a quarter-million-dollar good-bye check.
Now that's teaching Lusk a real lesson.
(And two paws up to a feisty newspaper, The Courier, for keeping after the district to disclose information in the case, and for running the suit on its Web site.) -- George Flynn
Making a Splash
The Travel section of the Houston Chronicle beckoned locals to the Florida Panhandle with the enticing main headline "The Forgotten Coast." A hefty amount of the section was devoted to plaudits about the "unspoiled and uncrowded beaches" and life there.
That big spread ran on Sunday, June 8. By 9 a.m. the following day, a story on the Chronicle's Web site seemed to answer the obvious question -- why these beaches and waters are so unused. It reported:
"A Houston man was one of five people who drowned this weekend because of rough waters off the Florida Panhandle, officials said. Nearly 40 others were rescued." -- G.F.
Every so often major-league baseball will try to lure fans in with a Roll-Back-the-Clock promotion, where teams dress up in uniforms from long ago. This particularly embarrasses players when the clock rolls back to the 1970s in Pittsburgh and the South Side of Chicago.
Houstonians, however, don't need to wait for any bogus, gimmicky event to get a taste of baseball nostalgia. Every day is throwback day at Minute Maid Park lately.
Look at the Astros' starting lineup: Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, Adam Everett, Morgan Ensberg, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Orlando Merced, Brad Ausmus and any of the starting rotation. Notice anything unusual? Take away Merced, the Pumpsie Green of Houston, and this group of starters is whiter than any team outside a Stanley Cup game. (Obscure baseball note: In July 1959, Pumpsie Green entered a game for the Boston Red Sox, the last major-league team to integrate.)
About 40 percent of major- leaguers are minority, with most of those being Hispanic. The Astros, though, look like a NASCAR crowd. Or maybe, since a disturbingly large proportion of the team is also old -- the injured-reserve list is going to get crowded in August, we're guessing -- they look more like a matinee crowd at a Jackie Mason show.
We're not saying anyone in Astros management is racist. We're just saying there's one heckuva 1940s vibe at the old ballpark these days. -- Richard Connelly
Plain-talkin' Jimmy Ray is actually multilingual in the most complex of computer languages. He signed on with Harris County in 1975 and spent the next couple of decades dodging the bullets of county politicians' turf wars over high-tech equipment.
In that ground zero, Ray and his small crew fathered the mother of all computers, JIMS (Justice Information Management System), which grew into a national showpiece for the county. With equal parts baling wire and ingenuity, Ray rigged a sturdy system used by some 280 agencies to track almost all things Harris County: cops, criminals, jury summonses, court cases, bail, jail, prison and final passage.
"It's like an old Ford pickup," he says through his drawl. "It runs fine." So does his Suzuki Intruder 1400 motorcycle.
Ray, increasingly relegated from JIMS operations, had boss Steve Jennings summarily reject his routine request to attend the state's integral computer users conference (Ray's been a longtime director of the group). So he paid his own way and went on his own time -- and announced he was leaving Harris County in May, after 28 years.
County commissioners declared Jimmy Ray Day. Of course, nobody in his own office bothered to tell him to be at the meeting to receive his honor.
"That doesn't really matter," Ray says. He's ready to roar off on the motorcycle and away from petty county politics. "From now on, every day's gonna be Saturday." -- G.F.
Five Ways to Spot Houston Hookers
Beginning this month -- pending an all-but-certain court challenge -- Houston police can arrest "known prostitutes" if they catch them "enticing, soliciting or procuring" someone.
The new law defines a "known prostitute" as someone convicted of prostitution in the past year. It doesn't contain any provisions that they wear a large P, so it does seem like someone could be arrested just for standing around, being alluring while also somehow looking skanky. In which case a lot of pseudo-trendy downtown clubs will be in danger of losing many of their River Oaks wanna-be-bad-girls customers.
HPD no doubt wants to minimize the number of innocent (yet skankily clad) pedestrians it harasses. So here's how to spot actual Houston Hookers.
They save their best outfits for television sweeps months.
They all know KPRC Investigator Stephen Dean by name. (Not on a professional basis, for all we know; purely from his Javert-like dedication to doing a story on every whore in the city.)
They know every KPRC cameraman by name. (Again, not as customers. Maybe.)
And, not to be too constitutionally nitpicky about it, they actually offer sexual favors in return for money. -- R.C.
She's helped almost all of us --now Martha Stewart surely needs our help in her fray with the feds.
So get out that Kmart spade and dig deep. Send your money to Martha Stewart Defense Fund, c/o Hair Balls, Houston Press, 1621 Milam, suite 100, Houston TX 77002.
Martha won't be picky. She asks only that contributions be enclosed in a tasteful, eggshell-blue envelope, and addressed with deep violet ink penned in Parisian script. Secure currency with a finely curled silk ribbon strand.
Scenting with light lavender oil would be a mauve-e-less touch for the one who has touched us all. -- G.F.
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