Imagine what it must be like being a furniture store owner trying to make a name in Houston through cheesy television ads. You are in the home of Jim McIngvale, a.k.a. Mattress Mac -- the Michael Jordan, the Stephen Sondheim, the Shakespeare of cheesy furniture ads. You are destined to be the Phish to his Grateful Dead. The Futurama to his Simpsons. He's Vegas, you're Reno. For years Hilton Koch, owner of Hilton Furniture, fought his brave battle against Mac by maniacally wielding a chain saw on late-night TV, apparently thinking chain saws require the same chopping motion as axes. Now he's got a new weapon: a toddler. He hasn't yet flung him about like an ax, but Houstonians are getting the chance to watch the child develop from swaddled baby to a kid mouthing his first words (the "Jack" in the tagline "That's the fact, Jack"). No doubt we have years of late-night viewing ahead of us watching him grow into a strapping young cheesy-ad man who thoughtfully helps his elderly dad hold on to a chain saw.
Bankruptcy law specialist Nancy Rapoport graduated from Rice University and headed off to California, where she got her legal training at Stanford. Although she quickly climbed the academic ranks to the deanship of the University of Nebraska College of Law, she never lost touch with her East Texas roots. After several false starts in its national search for a new law school dean, the University of Houston finally dialed the right number. "Female law deans get telephone calls all the time from schools wanting to lure them away," Rapoport commented when she was selected by UH, "but there was literally only one school I would drop everything for." Rapoport has settled into the Montrose, enjoys spending time with her parents, and pursues activities as disparate as weight lifting and ballroom dancing. As business scandals ravaged Houston corporations shortly after her arrival, the dean has also been busy putting that bankruptcy expertise to good use as a media resource.

We don't care what the Chron said in its June reaction to a glowing profile of Carolyn Farb in the London Financial Times (essentially: We knew Dominique de Menil, and you madam, are no Dominique de Menil), we still think Ms. Farb-ulous is the best collector in town. Oh, no, not just of art, although who else in Houston owns a Frida Kahlo? But also of people, projects and causes. She is the queen of charities in Houston, raising money for everything from art and architecture to education and the fight against cancer. Now that's a collection that's invaluable.

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