Harry Potter's here!
Harry Potter's here!

Junior High Kid Goes Big-Time, Zero Tolerance

In the days since we wrote about Mayde Creek Junior High student Shelby Sendelbach — the 12-year-old who faced 120 days in an alternative school for writing "I Love Alex" on a piece of school property — she's gone big-time.

Interviews with Good Morning America and Fox News. Turning down interviews with CNN and Inside Edition.

Not to mention the true sign of being a celebrity these days — having your very own pervert.


zero-tolerance madness

The mail to Shelby's home July 16 included one envelope with no return address. It contained, according to her father Stu, "a graphic, sexually explicit letter from some sick SOB and it also had a sex-toy catalog."

Shelby's take on it: "I got mail the other day; it was really disturbing. They sent me a lot of inappropriate stuff. I saw the first page and went and threw it in the trash."

Stu has asked the Harris County Sheriff's Department for extra patrols in his neighborhood; he also casually mentions that he has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Shelby and her parents also got roasted on some message boards around the Web, with people saying they just knew that she's had previous discipline problems, criticizing the fact she wore mascara on TV, and that her parents are nuts for letting her have a 15-year-old boyfriend (when the Houston Chronicle printed a picture of Shelby and Alex, one commenter wrote, "I see two kids about to have sex. LOL").

So hey, Shelby, how great is it to be in the spotlight?

"I don't like the attention all that much," she says. "It got kind of annoying."

The incident has brought Shelby and Alex closer together. She says, as only a 12-year-old can, "He wants to support me and stuff."

So back off, all you perverts out there. She's taken.

It's a Sale-abration!!

Flying is an utter pain in the ass these days, especially dealing with the hyped-up security demands. One guy, somewhere, tries to set off what he calls a "sneaker bomb," and now everyone's fucking with their shoes as they line up for the metal detectors. (Someone invent a "bra bomb," stat!!)

People still try to bring all kinds of banned items with them, oblivious to the new reality. The Wall Street Journal recently looked at how airports get rid of all the nail clippers and box cutters that get confiscated by security. We asked around, and it turns out Houston is no different than the rest of the country.

Every couple of months, the federal Transportation Security Administration calls up the people at a state agency called the Texas Building and Procurement Commission (their motto: "World's Most Boringly Titled Agency") and tells them to send a couple of trucks from Austin to Houston.

Once they get here, they get loaded up with bins containing hundreds of pounds of pocket knives, scissors, box cutters and other sharp tools, says Shannon Kelley, the TBPC's Surplus Property director.

They also get stranger stuff, like a piñata stick, a lone bowling pin, lots of toy guns and even a set of crutches. "I don't know why [the crutches] were taken," she says. "I envision some poor person hobbling around, but maybe they were trying to use the crutches as a weapon."

(Every college football fan is now thinking of Florida International University's A'mod Ned, who famously entered an on-field brawl against Miami last year by swinging his crutches.)

The stuff is sold at an Austin store (Swiss Army knives go for $2.50 to $5) or online through eBay. When we talked to Kelley, there was a current eBay auction for a package of 445 corkscrews, with the top bid so far being $24.50.

(More hazardous stuff, like the previously barred 83,000 lighters confiscated in Houston so far this year, are disposed of by a hazardous-materials contractor.)

The oddest thing confiscated? An international traveler trying to board with what was described as "a glass jar filled with a mysterious liquid and ten eyeballs."

In case you're wondering, it's not available for sale.

Harry Potter's Here!

It’s the summer of Hogwarts, as the latest Harry Potter movie and the last novel in the celebrated series are both eagerly snapped up by consumers. Kids (of all ages!) feel a strong attachment to the world of Harry; here in Houston, it’s not hard to see why. Sometimes it seems we’re living in Potter-ville.


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