Houston Is Under Attack
Bedbugs threaten our slumber
BY CRAIG MALISOW
In case you haven't been paying attention, Houston is under attack from bedbugs. Of course, Hair Balls has never had to deal with these savage beasts because all the roaches in our apartment get to them before they can get to us, but we still wanted to share some interesting, if disgusting, tidbits, courtesy of Matthew Mishler, who works in the pest-control industry. He wants everyone to be more aware of this increasing problem, and to keep your eyes peeled for these suckers.
Bedbugs are vampiric fat-asses that can live for a year on your stored blood.
"When they're empty, they're flat, they're almost transparent. When they're full, they basically round up like a Tic Tac — not that big, but you get what I'm saying — and they're blood-red. You squish 'em, there's blood. So they can drink three times the amount of their body weight. I've literally seen them in a Ziploc bag in our office for months.
Exterminators have apparently consulted Nazis and that dude from the Saw movies for exciting and sadistic new ways to kill the bastards.
"A roach, whenever you put down [anti-roach] dust, a roach will go across it and he ingests it because he grooms himself. Well, a bedbug, the only thing he eats is your blood. He doesn't eat anything else. So they actually have this dust with glass particles in it, that as they go over it, it cuts their exoskeleton...[Another thing is] insects have a lot of wax...We use a method called heating. We can heat them up, the wax melts and they bleed from the inside out. We also have this rapid-freeze."
Bedbugs are ninjas.
"[At night ] they know you're resting...What they do is, they come out from by the bed, under the bed, a light socket, and they actually come up to you and they rub a little anesthetic on you and then they stick you. So you don't feel it...That's why people don't know they are bitten. And then they start sucking.
They bone like rabbits.
"They lay three to five eggs per day. If you're infested...you could be bitten as much as 500 times a night and not know it."
Bedbugs don't clean up after themselves.
"Pull back the beds, look at the sheets...take the headboard off. Look at the headboard. Pull the drawers out in the cabinets and look there. What you'll see is fecal matter and then the husks."
Okay, "husks" did it for us. We will never sleep again. Godspeed, Houston.
Drawing the Line
BY MARGARET DOWNING
City Councilwoman Sue Lovell has identified a cancer in our midst in the ongoing battle to keep Houston fiscally fit during these recessionary times.
As she puts it in her latest newsletter, graffiti eradication is costing this city perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars. She urges these paint sprayers to stop, but if they won't, then she encourages their fellow residents to turn them in to authorities. There may even be a reward.
Here's her pitch:
"This weather has been incredible. But unfortunately, the graffiti is in full bloom, too — and it's not pretty. At a time when we at the City of Houston are struggling with a budget shortfall, cutting library hours, and doing everything we can to ensure we do not have to lay off one city employee, we will now have to spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars for graffiti abatement. I am asking all of you to please report graffiti you see to 311. I am asking the graffiti taggers to stop and to join their fellow Houstonians in our efforts in cutting the budget shortfall. The money spent on graffiti abatement could be used in more productive ways, such as keeping a library open longer hours."
She goes on to say that graffiti is a crime and if you know a tagger, then call Crime Stoppers of Houston at 713.222.TIPS and report it. "You might even get a reward."
Who's Crying Now?
BY JOHN NOVA LOMAX
The story shocked Beaumont and prison guards all over America: A federal correctional officer and his wife Monique, both Marine veterans fresh back from a tour in Iraq, were apparently burned out of the house they just bought less than a month before the April 10 blaze.
The low-down scumbags simply hated cops, said homeowner Monique Davis, who also claimed that they burgled some big-ticket items, spray-painted "Pig" on a table and some walls and lit fires in several rooms.
Wow. Terrible. What's the world coming to?
"It's still a shock, you know; you can only cry so much," she said as she showed reporters around the charred remnants of her home. But she wasn't that surprised, as she had been warned. Davis claimed that bad elements had told her they knew she had two kids and that "they didn't take too kindly to cops around here."
Don't take kindly to cops? Are we talking Beaumont or Dodge City here?
A reporter took note of Davis's husband's Marine Corps medals in the smoldering ruins. "It's scary, trying not to cry; you can't get this stuff back. You can't get back that moment the medal was placed in your hands or placed on your uniform; you can't get that stuff back," said Davis.
Nope. You sure can't.
TV station KFDM took up a collection to aid the family. Prison guards at this forum expressed a desire to help, too, as well as a burning thirst for justice.
But it looks like that search for justice need go no further than Monique Davis herself.
Beaumont Fire Marshal Brad Penisson told KFDM that Davis had confessed to the crime. She is alleged to have removed some of those big-ticket items she said had been stolen, and Penisson says he saw them safe and sound after the fire.
As for a motive, Penisson said Davis told him she just didn't like the neighborhood she was in, so she decided to torch her place and blame the neighborhood Manson Family.
Only Monique Davis is implicated in the crime, and she is charged with arson. There were no injuries in the blaze, but Davis could get anything from probation to 20 years in prison if convicted.
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 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 looked at the NFL draft, with rounds 2 and 3 to go, and ran out the winners and losers from round 1. One winner: Jim Ross, who owns a barbecue joint in Norman, Oklahoma. "Three of the first four players taken last night were Oklahoma Sooners, two of them near or above the 300 LB mark. Big signing bonuses mean lots of barbecue sales in Norman."
We wondered why anyone was surprised when Carlos Lee couldn't pick up a baseline ball, or why Lee and Lance Berkman were both easy outs in their 5-1 loss to the Marlins.
TALES FROM TRANSIT
Metro provided us with a lot to write about last week, including a board meeting that pretty much exonerated its president, Frank Wilson, of any wrongdoing when he and his chief of staff and alleged girlfriend Joanne Wright took a trip to Spain.
We wrote an open letter to Metro spokesman George Smalley, who went online to defend his company against allegations that KHOU had made about the bus company's operations. Thing was, Metro didn't make president Wilson available to answer KHOU's questions when the TV station was putting together its report.
COURTS, CRIME & POLITICAL ANIMALS
Our crime coverage continued unabated. A high (or low) light: The Piney Woods area of Texas seems to have been hit by serial masturbators. One of them was a regular in the toy aisle at the Lufkin Walmart.
Over in Beaumont, an armed man held a pistol to the head of a Domino's deliveryman and demanded his hot wings and pizza.
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And we re-covered Newsweek magazine's cover story on our governor, Rick Perry.
In honor of Earth Day, our culture blog picked out five movies that show this planet is a pretty tough one and can handle itself well without pandering to rank environmentalist ideals.
We also thanked actor Kiefer Sutherland for being so willing to make an ass of himself, providing boundless years of entertainment — all in a non-mean-spirited kind of way.