TxDOT Sues Over Steamy Novel


TxDOT Sues Over Steamy Novel
It's titled Don't Mess With Texas

By Richard Connelly

It's official: The Texas Department of Transportation hates bodice-rippers. Especially the modern ones with their manly, bare-chested men cradling lissome, sassy cowgirls. Especially if they involve former-cop PIs named "Dallas O'Connor."

And especially if they try to name themselves Don't Mess With Texas.

TxDOT has filed suit against publisher Hachette Book Group, Barnes & Noble and author Christie Craig over the use of their trademark motto.

"The book," TxDOT's suit says, "contains numerous graphic references to sexual acts, states of sexual arousal, etc." Selling it at Barnes & Noble, which sells many TxDOT materials with the slogan, would cause irreparable harm, the agency says.

"States of sexual arousal" apparently include, according to the search-inside function at Amazon, such pornographic sentences as "She glanced down at his sex, still standing completely erect."

And here's the ensuing sex scene:

As soon as the condom was in place, he rolled her completely on her back and was on top of her. Keeping his weight on his elbows, he adjusted his weight until things down south lined up. She felt the cool tips of the condom at her center. Closing her eyes, she pressed her head back in the pillow and waited for him to enter her.

"No. Open those baby blues. I want to see you when I first enter you."

She did as requested and he pushed inside. Slow, easy. Even wet with want, his fit was tight, hitting nerve endings she didn't know she had.

It continues from there until "Pleasure exploded inside her and her entire body shook with sweet spasms of release."

My, we think we have the vapors.

TxDOT's Karen Amacker tells Hair Balls the agency does not comment on pending litigation, but she notes it has won a similar suit once before.

Our efforts to contact the author, who is from Houston, and her publisher were unsuccessful, but Christie Craig's Web page notes that her books, which include Divorced, Desperate and Dating, Weddings Can Be Murder and Shut Up and Kiss Me, are "sexy, suspenseful and seriously funny."

TxDOT apparently doesn't think so.

(TxDOT sent out tweets to people who complained after this item was published, saying "Dont Mess w/ TX is a registered trademarked slogan for our anti-littering campaign. U cant misrepresent the meaning of the slogan — it dilutes the value of it. We hope u understand."

A federal judge refused the agency's request for a temporary restraining order, but the suit goes on.)


Musicians Don't Want to Be Associated With Osteens

by Richard Connelly

Joel and Victoria Osteen and Lakewood Church have been sued by two songwriters over the church's use of a song called "Signaling Through the Flames" in TV ads.

Richard Cupolo and John Emanuele say they had a one-year licensing agreement with Lakewood but it expired and was not renewed. The ads continue to air, they say.

And the two, who perform as The American Dollar, no longer want the Lakewood connection, it seems.

"They don't want to be tied to a global televangelist for the rest of their careers, and a controversial one at that," their lawyer, Jarrett Ellzey, tells Hair Balls.

Says the suit:

Their musical styles consist of meditative and inspirational instrumentals much like that of a dramatic motion picture soundtrack....[Their publisher] Yesh is not affiliated with any religious groups or political organizations, and does not desire to have its music associated with Defendants. Instead, Yesh desires broad marketing of its music without compromising its artistic integrity or alienate its niche following.

The suit says the duo "view their music as unique and marketable to media outlets seeking enhancement of their message through use of inspirational tracts," and that they "have explored certain licensing opportunities for their music."

The song is used in ads for the DVD Supernatural, they say, which sounds pretty cult-y to us. The suit says the song "contributed to the success of the Defendant's DVD and other marketing campaigns for other products, and substantially increased revenues and profits" for the church.

Must be a pretty powerful song.

Ellzey says the duo's expired one-year agreement with Lakewood okayed the song for use in a streaming Web video and in live performance, but not in any video of those live performances. (Their publisher told them they would market the song to a few large-venue churches, Ellzey says, but the two were unaware Lakewood would be one of them.)

"They have aspirations to market their music to Hollywood productions," he says, and don't want to be tagged as religious-music writers.


There’s tons of stuff each day on the Houston Press blogs; you’re only getting a taste of it here in the print edition. Head to blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs (or “/rocks” or “/eating” or “/artattack”).


A 14-year-old boy was allowed to sleep over at the home of William Bass (pictured), and bad things ensued. The Texas couple on Real Housewives of New Jersey are facing arson and fraud charges back home. A TABC agent got 20 years for raping a girl he'd used in an underage-liquor-sales sting, and one Montrose resident put up a flyer asking for the return of his stolen sex toys.


New Braunfels banned beer cans on the river, sending the state's tradition of beer-aided tubing into a new era; in response to Gawker naming us the 13th-worst state in America (actually better than we thought they would), we gave 50 reasons why Texas is the best state in America. We closely examined Texas-flag bikinis, and how they always get it wrong, and offered the ten sexiest things about the state's punishing drought and heat wave.


We made our own pizza dough, grilled salmon and baked some cupcakes that looked exactly like cheeseburgers. We had The Montrose at Amy's Ice Cream and homemade Peach Butter Pecan goodness at the new Eatsie Boys ice cream truck. We had some chicken and waffle wangs at Party Fowl, the new truck from the same guys as the Modular. We drank Pura Vida tequila at Brennan's, then prayed to the tequila gods at new "gastrocantina" El Gran Malo. Then, by God, we went out and did some gardening, and we gave readers five tips for not killing plants in the inferno that is Houston in August.

Art Attack

Back to school was the order of the day, as we listed what we miss most about the start of the school year, the prettiest (and ugliest) college campuses in the country, and listed the best teachers from the movies. We found some great archival photos in anticipation of Architecture Center Houston's Houston 175 exhibit, and all-out dissed Most Eligible Dallas, simply because it gives us one more reason to hate Dallas.


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