:cueless

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

Ook-ook: Judy, an 11-year-old chimp, is electrocuted when she touches a power line after escaping from the Dallas Zoo. The French government condemns the death as "another act of Texas barbarism," but Gov. George W. Bush, reached on the campaign trail, assures reporters that he is certain that "no innocent ape has ever been electrocuted in Texas."

August

Burning bridges: From the Lie Down with Dogs, Rise up with Fleas Department: Dallas City Auditor Robert Melton, whose blunt-spoken reviews of city agencies had earned him foes on the city council and beatification in Buzz's eyes, lends aid and comfort to the enemy when it's revealed that he has been working full-time as a county auditor in Florida while still employed by Dallas. Melton, who we suspect left Dallas City Hall a day too late, defends himself by stating that how he uses his vacation and comp time is his own business, despite city restrictions on moonlighting.

Mike Moses
Dorit Rabinovitch
Mike Moses

Our boy Dubya: In a stirring speech at the GOP national convention in Philadelphia, soon-to-be President-suspect George W. Bush vows to "untie the nation in hominy" and cross party lines to work for "our nation's prosperatiousness, just like my daddy did."

Forked tongue: Lee Alcorn, president of the Dallas branch of the NAACP, is removed from office after he refers to Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Lieberman as a "Jew person" on a local radio program. "I think we need to be very suspicious of any kind of partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level, because we know that their interest primarily has to do with, you know, money and these kinds of things," Alcorn says. The campaign of Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan announces that Alcorn is on Buchanan's "short list" of potential nominees for secretary of education.

Hootchie-Gucci: D magazine Publisher Wick Allison orders 70,000 copies of his magazine destroyed after discovering that the issue includes two ads that he considers "obscene." One of the ads reportedly is for the fashion house Gucci and features a thinly clad woman sitting at the feet of a male model, her face level with his groin. Allison vows to keep blow jobs out of his magazine's pages, at least until the next time the business community needs his editorial support for a bond issue.

Smoke out: Sheriff Jim Bowles announces that smoking will be banned in Dallas County jails by the end of the year. The move is intended to improve security at the jail, which had been plagued by inmates stepping out to buy smokes and not returning.

September

Don't do as we do: In his annual state-of-the-city address, Mayor Ron Kirk decries conditions at DISD, calling for more community involvement in improving education. His comments echo those by leaders of Dallas' business community, who throughout the summer have pressured DISD trustees to appoint a suitable replacement for Bill Rojas, vowing to do whatever it takes to ensure better public schools--anything short of sending their kids to them, that is.

President potty-mouth: On the campaign trail in Illinois, Gov. George W. Bush, unknowingly standing before an open microphone in Illinois, refers to a New York Times reporter as a "major-league asshole," unaware that the phrase is considered a compliment in New York City.

Right on cue: In the greatest technical innovation since early hominids struck two rocks together and lit the spark that would eventually lead to Weber barbecue grills, Dallas-based Digital:Convergence unveils its :CueCat in a series of ads on WFAA-Channel 8. Unfortunately for WFAA's reputation, the ads are broadcast as part of the station's regular news program, thanks largely to Belo Corp.'s $40 million investment in Digital:Convergence. (Belo owns WFAA along with the souls of its news personnel, apparently.) The :CueCat, a cat-shaped device that plugs into Internet-connected personal computers, allows users to swipe bar codes on products and in publications, whisking them to Web sites with more information. The device also allows you to connect your computer to your television via a cable. Signals in certain programs will take your Web browser to a site with more information on what you're watching. The Belo-owned Morning News will follow up with its own series of breathless stories about the :CueCat in the weeks that follow, and begin publishing bar codes in what editors tout as the first "Internet-enhanced" daily newspaper. Sadly, early response to the :CueCats is poor, as hundreds of computer owners complain of damaged floppy drives after trying to jam the Internet-enhanced paper into their home PCs. Still others suffer electrical shocks as they move their home computers into their toilets in order to Web-surf and read the paper simultaneously.

Trouble, trouble: An invitation to Wiccan Bryan Lankford to lead the invocation at a Dallas City Council meeting is withdrawn in what Mayor Ron Kirk says is a misunderstanding. Lankford is later invited back to lead the prayer after Kirk assures him that the change in schedule was not intended as discrimination against the neo-pagan religion, and Lankford agrees to remove the curse that had turned Kirk into a newt.

October

To boldly go: Dallasite Jack Kilby, inventor of the microchip, is awarded the Nobel Prize for physics. A humble Kilby tells reporters that he never dreamed that when he created the first integrated circuit more than 40 years ago it would help give birth to a revolution that led to modern personal computers, cell phones, and "the greatest thing since sliced bread, the :CueCat." Oddly, that quote appears only in The Dallas Morning News.

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