By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
We've been trying to see DART's stretch limos as hotbeds of passion and romance--Love Boats of the road--ever since we first noticed the bus line's new ad campaign. "Some Things Are More Important Than Driving," say the ads, which feature photos of various moony-eyed couples riding the bus.
Riding the bus?
Don't get us wrong. We love mass transit. We think DART is a fine system: clean, efficient, reasonably priced, not too many shootings, but please. The last time we rode the bus, it involved a sweaty 20-minute wait at a stop in 400-degree heat. The ride was nice, if a bit funky, and even entertaining at the end, when some old geezer started a loud, semi-coherent soliloquy about all "the goddamn doctors at the goddamn VA." But that hardly left us thinking of love.
Some things are more important than driving? Yeah, like surviving heat stroke or picking up signals from Venus with that plate in your head. But makin' love on a DART bus just ain't one of them.
Gambling good. Beer good. Gays bad.
So the state board of education has struck a blow for Texas children by ridding itself of its stock holdings from those evil violence and sex mongers at the Walt Disney Co.
We'd feel so proud of our duly elected board members for their brave, moral stance if it weren't all just a steaming mound of horse poop. Sorry, we wanted to be subtle on this one, but the board's decision and subsequent publicity spin are that none-too-rare combination of hypocrisy and anti-gay hatred that just gets Buzz's back right up.
The board voted to divest the $17.65 billion Permanent School Fund of $43 million in Disney stock to send a "message to Miramax...that the public in general has had enough of exposing children to the violence and explicitness in these movies," according to chairman Jack Christie. Disney owns Miramax, which distributed Pulp Fiction, among other films.
We asked the Texas Education Agency for its most recent portfolio. Included in the 17-page list of hundreds of stocks are media companies Sony, CBS Corp., HBO & Co., News Corp. (owner of Fox), and Time Warner, themselves occasional purveyors of filmed sex and violence. (The list also includes casino owner Harrahs and several breweries.)
So why pick on Disney? The company has been targeted by the homophobic American Family Association and Southern Baptist Convention for daring to offer Gay Days at Disney theme parks and health insurance to same-sex partners of employees.
In other words, the board of education is telling Texas' youth that it's (wink, wink) really OK to see violent and titillating movies, get drunk, and even gamble. That's a fun date. Ride the bus! But if you and your date are the same sex, just don't do the nasty. You wouldn't want to upset the board of ed.
Federal drug agents had no trouble identifying Cushon Holmes after they arrested him for selling several ounces of crack cocaine to undercover agents in Fort Worth's Butler Place housing project.
They recognized Holmes in a 4-by-5 photo that ran in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, as part of a lengthy feature lionizing "Lil Cushon" as the leader of a group called, appropriately enough, M.O.B. (Men of Butler).
M.O.B., the paper claimed, was turning "drug dealers and gang members into community activists."
Unknown to the paper, Holmes also had been turning a profit in the crack biz.
U.S. District Judge Terry Means sentenced Holmes last week to six years in prison. Holmes, who was selling crack to supply street dealers, pleaded guilty in April and was sentenced under a federal law that provides for stiffer penalties for people who deal drugs in public housing.
In the August 1997 puff piece, Holmes convinced Star-Telegram reporter Liz Stevens that, although he wasn't living in Butler Place, he was hanging out there because he has a "hard time staying away from the old neighborhood." She reported that he was hanging around the project to "care for his teenage brothers, find a new job, and support his children." Buzz supposes that's the truth, in a way. Holmes just neglected to mention a vital fact--exactly how he was supporting his children.
Perhaps taking a lesson from Holmes, the Star-Telegram neglected to mention that fact itself. Despite receiving a press release from U.S. Attorney Paul Coggins detailing the bust of "Lil Cushon," the paper has yet to print a word admitting how badly it was had--or letting readers know that M.O.B. is not exactly doing the Lord's work.
Running in place
DISD trustee Don Venable hadn't seen his name in Buzz for a while, so he called to let us know that he has survived seven months as a school board member. Asked if anything has changed, Venable noted that the board isn't fighting publicly as often as it used to. "It's not open warfare," he said. "Our board meetings are more civil. Most of the open animosity has gone."
The next logical question, of course, was whether the board had begun to learn how to work together. Well, yes, Venable said. "The board is working together very hard not to get anything done."
Somehow, knowing that, Buzz rests just a little easier.
Take it on the fun
It was only a matter of time before the long arm of the law caught up to REO Speedealer. Seems the old men of REO Speedwagon are tired of ridin' out the storm and have filed a cease-and-desist order against the Dallas-based rock band. On May 28, the Speedwagon's lawyer sent the 'Dealer and their label an order claiming the band was infringing on the Speedwagon's copyright. The lawyer informed the label it was not to release REO Speedealer's self-titled debut, which hit stores last month.
"Your company's distribution of this album and your presumably signed band's use of REO SPEEDEALER is likely to cause confusion amongst the public and in the music industry," the order states.
Since then, lawyers for both bands have reached an agreement that will allow Dealer to sell the remaining 5,000 copies of its debut already on shelves. But the band will have to change its and the album's names on further pressings.
Never mind that REO Speedwagon stole its name from the car created in the 1920s by Ransom E. Olds, the first man to actually manufacture a car in Detroit. The Reo Speedwagon was among the first vehicles used regularly by fire departments around the country--and its logo was identical to the one used on the cover of REO Speedwagon's self-titled 1971 debut. So stop being hypocrites, fellers, and roll with the changes.
Reading in fundamental
What, exactly, do Dallas' big retailers see when they peer southward, across the Trinity River? Do they have maps in their corporate offices that mark Oak Cliff with a blank space and "Here be dragons"?
That's a question being asked by former Dallas Observer columnist and City Councilwoman Laura Miller. Miller, whose father was once president of Neiman Marcus, apparently knows that it's not enough for council members to bring the people decent roads, well-stocked libraries, and adequate police protection. This being Dallas, what they really want is a good place to shop.
Like a Barnes & Noble Booksellers store, for instance, or a Starbucks.
Miller tells Buzz she has been lobbying Barnes & Noble to build one of its mega-bookstores on Colorado Boulevard in her Oak Cliff district, which--let's face it--is currently a foo-foo shopping wasteland. In a twist on the politician's promise of a chicken in every pot, Miller also says she has been keeping an eye on plans for a new Tom Thumb in her district, trying to ensure it has a deli, fresh fish, and Belgian endive.
For its part, Barnes & Noble asked Miller to come up with proof that 30,000-35,000 college graduates live in the area before they would consider locating a store there. (Barnes & Noble reps did not respond to Buzz's request for comment.) Which, if you think about it, is pretty damned insulting. But hey, business is business, and the Observer is happy to do its part for the retail-starved masses to the south. That's why our Web site, www.dallasobserver.com, this week features an I.Q. quiz as part of its Search for Intelligent Life in Oak Cliff.
Check it out, presuming computers and phone lines have made it into Oak Cliff, or send us a letter with your evidence of intelligent life to Buzz, c/o Dallas Observer, P.O. Box 190289, Dallas TX 75219.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams
Is there intelligent life in Buzz? What do you think? Take your best shot by e-mail at email@example.com.
Correction:The July 16 edition of Buzz incorrectly stated that HBO & Co. was among the media companies invested in by the Texas Board of Education. Time Warner Inc. owns Home Box Office. As Buzz pointed out, the board also invested in Time Warner, but HBO & Co. is not Home Box Office.