Spanning 60 acres east of Studemont, between Washington and Memorial, lies Glenwood Cemetery, the final resting place for a who's who of Houston families. Names such as Binz, Cooley, Elgin, Foley, Hermann, Hofheinz, Hobby and Jones all can be found here. Perhaps the most famous people interred at Glenwood are Hollywood celebs Gene Tierney, famous for her role as Laura in the movie of the same name; Maria Gable, wife of Clark; and Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire businessman and heir to his father's tool company. The sprawling, hilly grounds were first laid out in 1871 by an Englishman named Alfred Whitaker. Upon entering, you'll see a Victorian-era cottage, which is the caretaker's residence. Gothic monuments, along with examples of Greek and Roman revival style, abound in the carefully manicured lots. And, of course, the place is rumored to be haunted.

Montrose Clinic started as a agency to treat sexually transmitted diseases including syphilis and gonorrhea in Houston's gay community 20 years ago, but the onset of the AIDS epidemic redefined its mission. Throughout the plague years, Montrose Clinic has served Houston's HIV-infected patients with compassion and competence, something not always seen in AIDS nonprofits. When the AVES Clinic that served Hispanic HIV clients closed its doors last spring because of financial mismanagement, Montrose Clinic stepped in to take part of the caseload. The agency provides a wide range of services, from confidential and anonymous HIV testing to community outreach for HIV education and counseling. Montrose Clinic also recently added a fitness center after merging with Body Positive. As new treatments transformed AIDS from a terminal disease to a chronic but manageable illness, the services at the clinic evolved as well. Fitness and nutrition programs now have a much higher priority, and clinic executive director Katy Caldwell is eagerly awaiting further medical developments that will revolutionize the fight against HIV. "What we're looking forward to is when our outreach workers are out in the community and giving vaccinations," says Caldwell, "rather than waiting to do testing after people are infected."

Stepping into the large building of T.H. Rogers school a mile or so west of the Galleria is almost always an uplifting experience. First there's the incredible mix of students: The school's a magnet program, so every socioeconomic level is represented; it's both an elementary and a middle school, so there's a wide range of ages; and it's home to programs for both talented-and-gifted kids and those who are deaf or otherwise impaired. Second, there's the reason these varied groups all mix happily: the dedicated and enthusiastic teachers and staff. It's definitely one of HISD's finest success stories.

The beer joint or honky-tonk that really had the best name in Houston, Bugeyed Mary's, sadly went out of business this past year. The runner-up is the Stroker Club. A stroker in car salesman parlance is a customer who does not have the means or the intention to buy an automobile but who takes up the salesman's floor time with a show of interest and enthusiasm for a particular car. This comes from a pop psychological term, stroking, for making someone feel better through interaction; stroking the ego. A stroker can also be, of course, a masturbator. As such, it is a harsher term for slacker. Who would you likely find in a beer joint in mid-afternoon? A bunch of strokers, perhaps? Score one for truth in labeling.

Best Place to Hang Out with High Schoolers

Baskin-Robbins

Directly across the street from Lamar High School is the place to find out what the kids are wearing, what they're listening to and what's cool. Rid your mind of all of the negative press about teenagers these days, and go hang out at 31 Flavors. You'll meet friendly, open, intelligent kids who, according to the staff there, do nothing wrong, just buy lots of ice cream. The girls dress like J. Lo and the guys like Vin Diesel. They may appear unapproachable, but that's not the case. Buy a cone, sit down and start a conversation. When they're sure you're not a cop or a narc, a surprisingly pleasant conversation will ensue.

This is one of the strangest statues in town. The life-size angel itself isn't that odd. But if you walk a little closer, you'll see a plaque that says the limestone for the statue's pedestal was taken from room 301 of Brackenridge Hall, the now-demolished University of Texas dormitory where "The Eyes of Texas" was written. (Former cemetery owner Thomas C. Hall lived in room 301 with John Lang Sinclair, the student who wrote the song.) The lyrics about not being able to escape the eyes of Texas until Gabriel blows his horn are inscribed on the back of the pedestal. According to TexasExes.org, Hall was walking to class one day in 1902 when he saw prohibitionist Carrie Nation threatening to break the windows of a bar; he persuaded her to speak about temperance on campus instead. To quiet the crowd that had gathered, university president William Prather admonished: "Remember, young men, wherever you are, and wherever you may be, the eyes of Texas are upon you. You are expected to uphold her tradition and not act as hoodlums and cheer this poor deluded woman." The song was written. And years later, the statue of the angel Gabriel was erected.

Compaq Center (née the Summit) has been everything from the home of the Rockets to the host of rock and roll superstars like the Rolling Stones. But the place that once held a shimmying Mick Jagger and a slamming Hakeem Olajuwon will now house charismatic Lakewood Church preacher Joel Osteen (when you think about it, all three men are similar in that they've each earned huge followings). After several court fights and City Council debates, the "Oasis of Love" will take over the Compaq in November. The church's Web site promises a grand vision: a production studio, a health and wellness center and even a dining and retail plaza. But don't worry, the Compaq won't lose touch with its roots. The building's history "has been one of excellence, crowning champions in the world of sports," reads the church Web site. "And continuing in that great and awesome tradition, the Lakewood International Center will become a place that will crown 'Champions in Life.'" Can I get an amen?

Minister Aubrey Vaughan's literary diatribe against "sodomites," a response to his being quoted in The Insider advocating shipping gays to an island and leaving them there, appeared in the March 8 issue of the Houston Press. Vaughan took exception to the suggestion that he had been watching too many episodes of Survivor. "I have not watched one episode of Survivor," wrote the minister. "If it is true that the winner" -- corporate trainer Richard Hatch -- "was a sodomite, then I can offhandedly say the whole episode was set up by wealthy sodomites to manipulate the minds of the people into accepting and tolerating sodomites." Vaughan wants to make it clear to everyone he's not a bigot. "Sodomites are not a race," he explained. "A black man will not go to hell because he is black. But a sodomite will go to hell because he is a sodomite." Aubrey didn't explain where self-righteous ministers go when they die.
Okay, it's not really a room, per se, but the huge trophy case next to the front entrance of this old school holds bizarre and fascinating pieces of Houston memorabilia. Track-and-field trophies from the '20s sit alongside photographs of generations of local junior-highers with funny haircuts who brought home the brass for good ol' LMS. There are women's trophies from way back when, for archery, cheerleading, etc. What's most interesting is how the representations of winning athletes change over time, from clearly male and clearly female to genderless, then back again. It's an odd window into our ever-changing perception of athletes, both male and female.
Down but not out: Mecom Fountain, at the gateway to Hermann Park, is undergoing repairs but should be back up and spouting in time for the Super Bowl. This 40-year-old, three-bowled fountain has appeared in wedding pictures, travel spots and even the early-1980s flick My Best Friend Is a Vampire. Bob Hope noted the fountain and the tree-lined boulevards that lead up to it when he said the view from the penthouse at the Warwick Hotel was the most beautiful in the world. Thanks, Bob. RIP.

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