By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Beware of geeks bearing flags: University of North Texas officials suspend the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity after some of its members are accused of confronting about 35 mostly black football recruits while waving a Confederate battle flag and chanting racial slurs. In an effort at damage control, chapter members assure the community that not all its members are "beer-swilling, stereotypical redneck Texas frat-boy bubbas. Some are from out of state."
Ewww: Penthouse magazine publishes an e-mail interview with Mark Cuban in which he reveals his strangest pickup line ("Wanna fuck?") and "the strangest thing a girl has asked [him] to do during sex." Cuban's answer (this is a real quote): "This one girl wanted me to let her bite me while she was giving me head. I yanked her off so hard I thought I would get sued for causing whiplash." Not to be outdone, Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones e-mails Penthouse offering to reveal details of his love life. Penthouse disconnects its e-mail server.
Swallow this: The Reverend James Simmons steps down as minister of White Rock Community Church after he fails to win a two-thirds majority in a vote of confidence by his congregation. Simmons, formerly a married father and evangelical minister named Wesley Barrett "Barre" Cox, vanished from a rural West Texas road 16 years ago only to re-emerge claiming that he had suffered amnesia, was found unconscious in the trunk of a car near Memphis, Tennessee, and was now gay and celibate. Doubtful church members, unable to find any records to verify his story, say they may be willing to accept a virgin giving birth and Jesus raising the dead, "but we're not complete idiots." Simmons later takes a position at a new church in Garland created by former White Rock members. The new church is dedicated to St. Patsy, the patron saint of the extremely gullible.
March & April
Good work, Sherlock: A police lieutenant and secretary claim that police Chief Terrell Bolton lied about his alleged role in limiting police enforcement at topless club Caligula XXI. The pair suggest that Bolton may have played some part in a scheme to reduce police investigations at the club at the behest of former city council member Al Lipscomb, who was accused of accepting a $7,700 bribe from the club's owner. Despite objections from Mayor Ron Kirk and others who believe an investigation is unnecessary, City Manager Ted Benavides pledges to look into charges. Eschewing the usual investigative techniques of interviewing witnesses or looking at FBI records, Benavides instead takes a clever, direct approach and simply asks Bolton if he did it. Bolton, equally clever, employs what is known in legal circles as the "Bart Simpson I-didn't-do-it defense." Case closed.
Woof and whinnie:Aircraft maker Boeing Co. announces plans to relocate its executive offices and 500 jobs from Seattle to one of three cities: Denver, Chicago or Dallas. City leaders and The Dallas Morning News welcome the news with open legs--we mean arms--engaging in a festival of civic promotion and salesmanship roughly on par with putting on a pair of fishnet stockings and trilling, "Hey, sailor." When Boeing opts for Chicago, outraged Dallas leaders ask what downtown Chi has that Big D doesn't, except Lake Michigan, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute, the El and people. "No way they can beat our wig and sandwich-shop selection. No way," a Dallas Chamber of Commerce spokesman says.
Waiving goodbye:Citing salary cap limits, the Cowboys cut veteran quarterback Troy Aikman. Aikman, who during his career suffered nearly a dozen concussions, later announces his retirement from professional football in an emotional ceremony, saying he "enjoyed my many years playing in whatever city I'm in and...HEY, SOMEONE ANSWER THAT DAMN PHONE! THAT RINGING IN MY EARS IS DRIVING ME NUTS!"
Say 35,000 Hail Marys:Citing the separation of church and state, city officials tell the organizers of a St. Patrick's Day Mass that they will not be allowed to have the service at City Hall despite earlier promises to the contrary. Worried officials fear that a Mass may lead City Hall further down the road to papistry. "Next thing you know, we'll be having confession here, and none of the city council wants that," a city worker says.
Soap drama:Dr. Peggy Little, assistant principal at Garland's Abbett Elementary, comes under fire from Hispanic groups that complain she forced a group of foul-mouthed first-graders to taste--just taste--dishwashing detergent as punishment. Garland-area dentists report a surge in business as crotchety middle-aged people grind their teeth in reaction to the notion that anyone anywhere could get in trouble for washing out a kid's potty mouth.
Make 'em drink the bottle:City Council member Laura Miller becomes the target of bullhorn-toting protesters at her home after she and fellow council member Donna Blumer continue to press the council to seek FBI records concerning police Chief Terrell Bolton's role in the Caligula XXI affair. The protesters, led by County Commissioner John Wiley Price, carry signs claiming that Miller is a "bitch," "whore" and has "penis envy" for pursuing the case against Bolton. An upset Miller, the mother of three, complains that the signs upset her children. "If anyone's going to use that kind of language around my kids, it's gonna be me," she says. Price later reluctantly apologizes for the language after Garland's Dr. Peggy Little threatens "to come down there with a jug of lemon-fresh Joy and go to town."