Buzz

Maybe she can talk to Bob
These days, e-mailing Jesus is easier than reaching Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Just ask Linda Terrell, who has been working for two months on behalf of Denise Cowle, a Dallas woman who is dying of cancer and wants to meet cyber-god Gates as her last wish.

Terrell, founder of Wishing on a Lone Star, which tries to fulfill terminally ill adults' last requests, reports that after weeks of shamelessly begging Microsoft to permit a brief meeting between Cowle and Gates--Cowle offered to pay her own way to Seattle--the best Terrell has come up with is a local Internet provider's offer to donate online time for Cowle to send missives to Bill's public e-mail address.

Meanwhile, Buzz was uplifted by an April 17 Dallas Morning News story about a Dallas fifth-grader who--bless her--did her bit to build Bill's empire by winning a Microsoft-sponsored essay contest. The prize for her efforts? A meeting with Gates and a tour of company headquarters in Seattle.

Cowle, meanwhile, is pecking out fan mail to Gates on her home computer: a (you gotta love it) Macintosh.

The story from hell
With a couple of embarrassing and controversial bungles on their hands, Fort Worth Star-Telegram editor Debbie Price and publisher Rich Connor figured they'd hunker down and wait for it to blow over. Sure, they had looked chickenshit by reassigning a gay editor after one letter of complaint from a member of the right-wing American Families Association. And so what if a punitive measure against the Observer--pulling Molly Ivins from our pages because we'd reported their tribulations--blew up in their faces, attracting the derisive attention of even the august New York Times? All you have to do is pull back further into the safety of that moss-backed shell known as Cowtown--right?

But Lordy, it just won't go away! This month's American Journalism Review resurrected both stories under the headline, "Fort Worth Fallout." The journalism trade journal went as far as to reprint what Molly had warned her S-T editors: "...you guys are going to look like petty shits." Even more stinging, the article contrasted Debbie's handling of the gay-editor incident with that of Austin American-Statesman editor Rich Oppel, who blew off the AFA when it tried to put a similar squeeze on one of his gay journalists. "I think those things can have a perverse undermining and corrosive quality unless somebody just says, 'Hell no,'" Oppel told AJR.

AJR hinted at Debbie's unique personality traits when it pointed out that "Price called AJR back five times" to insist she had not knuckled under to the AFA--but would not comment on the matter.

If you've got a Buzz--or just a connection to Bill or Jehovah--call us at 757-8439, fax it to 757-8593, or e-mail it to buzz@dallasobserver.com.

 
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