TALES FROM TRANSIT
Metro still won't put ads on buses
By Richard Connelly
Anyone who has taken mass transit in most major cities knows one thing: There are a ton of ads on the buses and trains.
Not in Houston, though. And that policy won't change anytime soon, even though one study showed Metro could get "tens of millions of dollars" over 15 years if it did so.
We guess when you're tossing around big bucks on rail, a couple of tens of millions isn't much.
When Metro was first created way back in the 1970s, advertising was frowned on by the founders, who thought it was tacky. Occasionally the matter has been broached since then.
About five years ago, Metro VP George Smalley tells Hair Balls, the agency put out a request for bids for bus-shelter ads. The results showed the aforementioned "tens of millions" in revenue and savings over a 15-year period were possible. (The savings would come from bus-shelter maintenance being the responsibility of the winning bidder, not Metro.)
But there were problems: "The effort stalled, in part, because of an existing city ordinance prohibiting commercial advertising in city rights of way, which is where our shelters are located," Smalley says.
Last year, the agency tried again, this time looking into advertising strictly on buses. Again, no go. "This was during the national economic collapse," Smalley says. "I don't recall the specific numbers in the bids, but the revenue potential was anemic and not deemed sufficient enough then to further pursue advertising on buses."
He says there are no current studies, or plans to further request advertising bids, underway at Metro.
So you'll just have to keep entertaining yourself with the Metro informational posters on the buses, we guess.
UT: Tastes Like Entitlement
By Richard Connelly
If there is one thing this world doesn't have enough of, it's bottled water. The University of Texas is addressing that heartbreaking shortage by introducing H2Orange, which is water in a bottle shaped like the UT Tower.
Sales will go to fund scholarships, school officials say.
"Our battle cry is 'Drink water. Bleed orange.™ Fund scholarships,'" one said at a press conference, and you know it's official because they made sure to put the trademark sign next to "Bleed Orange."
What can you expect from your H2Orange?
1. A huge sense of entitlement.
Carrying around a bottle of H2Orange will enable you to feel superior to graduates of any other Texas college, for no immediately apparent reason.
2. SUVs will now be equipped with cupholders on the outside of the vehicle.
That way, people will know you're from UT. In case they missed the Texas Exes sticker, the vanity license plate, the longhorn medallion and the well-worn bumper sticker from that one time you won the BCS title long ago.
3. The water will taste like any other water, but you will somehow convince yourself it tastes better.
Because it comes in a UT bottle!!
4. Arrested Longhorn players will now demand only H2Orange while they're waiting to make bond.
So that other kids can have scholarships, too.
5. Aggies will discover interesting things to do with H2Orange bottles.
We have no idea what that might be, or what bodily fluids might be involved, or animals, but we're sure they'll think of something.
Snatching Some Meth
By John Nova Lomax
A wee-hours traffic stop led to a slew of charges against a Montgomery County woman recently.
Around 1 a.m. one day, Montgomery County Deputy J. Bergland was patrolling Newton Drive in New Caney when he spotted a car with an expired inspection sticker and partially obscured license plate. He pulled the car over and soon turned his attention to the passenger, 28-year-old Nicole Ileen Murphy of New Caney.
Bergland knew Murphy, who was not wearing a seat belt, as a repeat drug offender, and it was his view that right at that moment, she appeared to be tweaked out of her fucking gourd.
And so he asked for permission to search the car, which was granted.
And he found nothing, but the search was just getting underway.
Bergland evidently knew Murphy well, and so he just knew there had to be some crank around there somewhere.
The deputy ran Murphy in to the jailhouse for the seatbelt violation, and while being interviewed there, Murphy caved.
Yes, she did have some meth on her. Or rather in her, as in inside her vaginal cavity, from which it was thereupon voluntarily removed and surrendered to police. Presumably in a bag or other such form of conveyance...
Talk about ridin' dirty...
So now Murphy is in a real heap of shit. She is charged not just with first degree felony manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, but also an added charge of bringing those drugs into a jail. Plus that pesky seat-belt violation that led to her undoing, which brings us to the moral of this story:
If you're gonna ride around east Montgomery County with crystal meth in your snatch, make sure you buckle up first.
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. 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:
Courts and Crime
The widow of a heroic Wharton firefighter was sued by his ex-wife and mom because, they said, she was born a man and the marriage was therefore invalid. A prominent new hire at the UT Medical School-Houston has a checkered past with sexual-discrimination claims. And if you litter in La Marque, you're not just getting a ticket, you're going to jail.
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The Rockets tried out new Power Dancers, and we were there to assess. Bob McNair may be a main player in the killing of the 2011 NFL season, and we followed Astros GM Ed Wade's moves as the team threw in the towel on the season and looked to trade veterans to teams that actually have a chance to win. And an open letter to an AWOL Carlos Lee found a ton of support from frustrated Astros fans.
Coyotes — the animals, not the human smugglers — were found in Montrose, possibly. One thing definitely found in Montrose was the Tea Party: U.S. Representative John Culberson, whose district includes conservative suburbs and the gay enclave, happily and proudly joined Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus. As if that weren't enough, a national study showed Houston — the largest American city with a gay mayor — isn't one of the top 20 gay cities in the country.