:cueless

Buzz hacks through the past in search of the cool cats and fools of the year that was

Slam-dunk.com: Internet billionaire Mark Cuban, flush with cash from the sale of Broadcast.com, the Web broadcasting company he co-founded, reveals his plan to purchase a majority share of the Dallas Mavericks. The deal sets the value of the team at $280 million, or roughly $1 million for every point it scored during the 1998-'99 season. Cuban promises to be a hands-on owner, bringing the same innovative spirit to the court that he brought to the Internet with Broadcast.com: Mavericks games will now consist of four two-hour quarters, with 11 random, mandatory timeouts of anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes' duration.

The other slam dunk: An Amarillo jury convicts Dallas City Council member Al Lipscomb of 65 counts of conspiracy and bribery concerning cash payments he received from Yellow Cab Co. in exchange for his vote. Despite the verdict, Lipscomb continues to claim that the monthly $1,000 he secretly received from cab company owner Floyd Richards was not a bribe, but merely a gift from a "generous friend" who generously ratted him out in a deal with prosecutors. Lipscomb eventually will be sentenced to 41 months' home confinement. After the verdict, federal prosecutors reveal allegations that Lipscomb also received more than $7,000 from local topless-club owner Nick Rizos in exchange for influencing police enforcement at the club. Lipscomb insists that this also was not a bribe but merely gratuities he received for "a little booty-shaking" he did at a drunken bachelor party.

February

Air power: Concluding years of legal wrangling among Dallas, Fort Worth, and American Airlines, the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals clears the way for Legend Airlines to begin long-haul flights from Love Field. Legend promises fliers fine dining, extra legroom, and first-class service at coach prices. Not to be outdone, American announces its own plans for expanded service out of Love featuring in-flight meals with macadamia nuts and roasted almonds instead of pretzels.

The Worm returns: The Mavericks sign aging power forward and Oak Cliff native Dennis Rodman to a $450,000-plus contract. As part of the deal, Rodman will be allowed to rent Mavs owner Mark Cuban's 4,000-square-foot home for $3,000 a month, plus have access to a full line of smart little strapless Halston numbers with matching pumps along with free bikini waxes. Rodman will be cut from the team less than a month later, despite leading the team in rebounds and groin kicks.

If you can't say something nice: After a week of jokes by national media, the tiny Denton County community of Argyle revokes a ban on negative comments and "rumor spreading" by municipal workers. Sensing which way the wind is blowing, Dallas City Council shelves plans to place a bounty on the head of City Hall gadfly Sharon Boyd.

Tip of the hat: Dallas mourns the passing of former Cowboys coach Tom Landry, which Buzz mentions here only to suggest that "Tom Landry Stadium" would be a fine name for the Pokes' home field.

March

Al was a bargain: Dallas Stars goalie Eddie Belfour is arrested on misdemeanor charges of assault and resisting arrest after a drunken scuffle at The Mansion on Turtle Creek. Belfour purportedly offers police officers a $1 billion bribe to avoid arrest. News of the offer reaches a stunned and disappointed Al Lipscomb, who is rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital suffering what doctors describe as a "major shit fit."

The roof is on fire: Dawn Rizos, wife of Lipscomb pal Nick, announces that the couple won't rebuild their Caligula XXI strip club, which burned down in late 1999 when men attending a bachelor party reportedly rioted after becoming overexcited by the "booty-shaking of a skinny old guy."

Deserting a sinking ship: School officials in DeSoto announce plans to eliminate rats plaguing two campuses. "They've been scurrying down here like crazy from DISD ever since we advertised some administrative job openings," a frustrated DeSoto official says.

Hooray for Hollywood: Former Dallas Cowboy Hollywood Henderson, now living in Austin, wins $28 million in the Texas Lottery. A caravan of Dallas crack dealers, speeding south on Interstate 35 to greet the winner, turns back at Georgetown after learning that Henderson has overcome past drug and alcohol problems and is now a devoted community activist.

April

Bars for a bar: A jury in Tyler sentences a 29-year-old man to 16 years in prison for stealing a $1 candy bar. "It was one of the good kind, with nuts," a jury member says, explaining the sentence, which draws further international attention to Texas' tough judicial system. The verdict is later overturned. A retrial leads to a sentence of death by lethal injection.

Last roundup: In separate ceremonies weeks apart, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and running back Emmitt Smith wed--women, not each other. Aikman's ceremony is marred when bride Rhonda Worthey slips while tossing her bouquet, striking Aikman in the head and causing a concussion that benches him for the duration of the honeymoon.

Gift horse in the mouth: The Dallas City Council votes not to use a $50,000 donation from the ExxonMobil Foundation for its intended purpose of repairing and upgrading two of 26 aging wading pools closed by the park board. Councilwoman Laura Miller had solicited the money to repair the two pools, including one in her district. Citing issues of cost, safety, and fairness, the council opts instead to place the money into the general park fund. Citing the fact that many council members are mendacious, petty buttheads looking for a little payback to the abrasive Miller, voters from across the city begin a private fund-raising campaign to save the pools themselves. The drive includes a benefit at which Miller is soaked in a dunking booth. (To the surprise of many, she doesn't melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.) Bowing to pressure, the council eventually relents, graciously allowing the public to spend its own money on public amenities as it sees fit.

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