"If you're against apologizing for slavery, then you gotta be against giving welfare to the American Indians because of the fact that 200 years ago they were whipped in a war. And let's just call it what it is: They lost a war." These erudite words were spoken by radio host Michael Berry — a former Houston City Councilman — last March. Condensing a thousand lifetimes' worth of stupidity into two sentences is kind of like pulling off a triple-gainer or a DVDA — it's downright difficult. But he did it. Berry later apologized and said he didn't have all his facts straight. You can believe him or not, but the fact of the matter is: Saying stupid shit makes for good radio. Listening to well-informed, reasonable discourse gets boring. Listening to someone who makes you want to rip out your car stereo and throw it at a puppy is compelling radio. We'll be tuning in to Berry often, just to hear his stance on federal aid vis-à-vis nappy-headed hos.

Houston has been happily waking up with José Griñan for over a decade now. Part of the FOX 26 Morning News since its inception, José Griñan is on-air every morning from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then again for the FOX 26 News at Noon. Unlike his "wring the emotion out of every story" counterparts, Griñan is evenhanded and objective, remaining professional even when reporting the most wrenching of stories. It's that calm that viewers have come to trust. The Cuban-American Griñan began his career as a serviceman making documentaries for the Army. From there he went on to work in New York, Miami and L.A. before coming to Houston. While a FOX 26 news anchor, Griñan has covered major events of all types, including floods, hurricanes and the Branch Davidian siege in Waco, where he was one of the first reporters on the scene. Griñan regularly hosts the community affairs program The Black Voice and occasionally sits in as host for Hola Houston.

When you need to know, you need Channel 26 News. Forget about the hype and scare tactics that other stations use to draw you in — Channel 26 News delivers the most comprehensive, well-researched and balanced newscast in the city. Whether it's the tragedy of Katrina or the victory of Craig Biggio's 3,000th hit, Channel 26 is there. The Fox team, one of the largest and most diverse in the city, delivers three weekday newscasts (early morning, noon and 9 p.m.) and nightly newscasts on the weekend.

It's early Saturday morning, you're hung over and you can't sleep. You flip on the TV for something to soothe your aching brain. Local news is the last thing you want — no cheesy, chatty, cookie-cutter face blathering on about red-light cameras, thank you. But there's anchorwoman Chau Nguyen, making sense. She's not talking down to you. And before you know it, you're learning something. And you remember, "Hey, that's the whole idea in the first place." Later in the week you find her out in the field, wearing her reporter hat this time. And you wonder, "Why can't more broadcast news be like this?"

KHOU Channel 11's Great Day Houston host and senior producer Whitney Casey has plenty of brains under her perfectly coiffed blond hair. Before coming to Houston, the Emmy Award-winning Casey was one of CNN's youngest correspondents ever, and her television news duties included coverage of the September 11 attacks in New York, the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy and the 2000 presidential election. She interviewed many of the major political figures of the day, including President George Bush, President Bill Clinton, and King Abdullah II of Jordan. Somewhere along the way, she hit the red carpet and decided she liked celebrity and lifestyle reporting. Having landed in Houston and started up with Great Day Houston, she now covers fashion, lifestyle, health, décor and more for Houston's daytime viewers, all while offering her signature "Whitticisms." Her resume is packed, but it's really Casey's charm and enthusiasm that keeps viewers coming back.

Best New Development (If the Artist's Renderings Are True)

West Ave

The corner of Kirby and Westheimer has always seemed undeveloped, but that's about to change big-time. Gone are the Shell station and, more sadly, Jalapeño's Restaurant. So should we expect yet another dull strip mall, maybe livened up with a few allegedly classy architectural touches? Not this time. If the artist's renderings that line the protective fences around the site are to be believed (and if you can't trust an artist's rendering, what can you trust?), this is going to be one hell of an addition to the area. Apartments will be built over two floors of retail shops, restaurants and bars in what looks like an eminently walkable couple of blocks. We don't want to think just right now about what traffic will look like when this and several nearby projects are finished; right now we're just happy we're not getting another strip mall.

No new local laws have stirred up such attention and made the dividing line so clear between those who support and those who oppose the law. Drinking smokers despise the ban, which has forced their nicotine-loving habit outdoors. Nonsmokers and bar employees rejoice in its passage, because they will now smell only of cheap booze once they leave the bar, instead of like an ashtray. No more burning red eyes from bars filled with more smoke than a chimney. No more being burned when some drunken dude accidentally bumps into you with his cigarette. The only downside is you will realize just how bad everyone else at the bar really smells without all that smoke to cover it up.

When His Royal Highness of Funk, George Clinton, is your parade's grand marshall, it's a safe bet that you have the coolest parade in town. And such was the case with the Orange Show's 20th annual Art Car Parade. The 282 entries this year included a few Lord of the Rings-inspired rides, and a sort of serial-killer-with-the-munchies-themed Classic Toaster Van — a van with two giant Pop Tarts jutting out of the roof. The Art Car Parade seems to be the one event everyone can agree on, drawing spectators of all ages and races. So why exactly is the sight of hundreds of geniuses/freaks tricking out their cars so alluring? You'll have to go next year and find out for yourself.

Sometime before the Texas Revolution, James Campbell settled on a point near Galveston Bay in what is now Texas City and took to farming — with a little sideline in smuggling. His past was murky — some called him a privateer, while others said he was a pirate. It all depended on what you thought of his boss — Jean Lafitte. Among his possessions was a spyglass, and he passed it down to his son, and on and on, until it was donated to the Moore Memorial Library about 20 years ago. A legend had blossomed around it — supposedly, Lafitte had given the spyglass to Campbell, his trusted lieutenant. Four years ago, the PBS show The History Detectives investigated the spyglass and determined that it could not have belonged to Lafitte — it had been made in Liverpool after Campbell and Lafitte had parted ways. Still, it did belong to Campbell, and he was a pirate himself. In our book, that's plenty cool enough. If that spyglass could talk, just imagine the tales it could tell.

First of all, it's important to note that Dumpster diving does not actually entail climbing inside and rummaging around one of those giant metal bins. It's more like yard-sale shopping, except nobody has taken the time to set up poster-board signs and sit outside collecting quarters for old flannels and ashtrays. Some call it alley-shopping, since essentially what you're doing is surveying curb trash for treasures. Whatever you call it, here's the skinny: Go to Tanglewood. After all, it only makes sense that Houston's richest neighborhood will turn up the best finds.

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