By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
It's time once again for Buzz to look back on the year that's passed, to recall the noteworthy events of 2002, to pause and reflect and grind out roughly 4,000 words of warmed-over hash served with a side of wise-ass.
All right, let's roll. Here they come, the events of 2002, bubbling up in Buzz's brain.
Um, no, that was just gas. 'Scuse us. Where were we?
Ah, yes. 2002. Lessee, we vaguely remember something about an election or two. And the war on terrorism. Is that thing over yet? And fake drugs. We just know there was something about fake drugs.
Forgive us. We spent the better part of the year holed up in a bunker with a gas mask and a case of Cipro waiting for the other shoe-bomb to drop, so we're feeling a bit out of touch. And frankly, our memory is just not what it was back when we were 39.
That's right. Buzz turned 40 this year.
So you're probably thinking that's not, strictly speaking, a significant event in the life of the city of Dallas. Indulge us anyway. We're old.
At four decades, you find yourself looking back at all the things you hoped to accomplish and seeing how well your real life stacks up. At 16, Buzz had a well-defined list of things we hoped to do by age 40:
1) Retain at least 85 percent of our hair.
2) Win the Nobel Prize for Something.
3) Drop acid.
We batted one for four; obviously, it's time to reassess and come up with a list more tailored to our abilities. So here's Buzz's all-new slate of things we hope to accomplish by the time we're 50:
1) Drop more acid.
2) Don't die.
As you can see, Buzz's ambitions, not exactly Olympian to begin with, have tailed off a bit. But that's fine. With age we've learned that one of the keys to happiness is not to expect too much. And thus, we cleverly arrive at a theme fit for this post-boom age: 2002, The Year of Lowered Expectations.
What do we mean? Well, for instance, we bet that not long ago you expected your 401(k) to provide a happy and affluent retirement.
Or you might have expected that narcotics officers in the eighth-largest city in America could tell the difference between cocaine and powdered chalk.
No, that would be asking too much.
Or perhaps you expected the race for Texas governor to offer at least one candidate worth voting for, or barring that, to possess at least as much dignity as a drunken brawl at a cockfight in El Reno, Oklahoma.
And those Dallas cops. Did they really expect to persuade voters to pass a referendum giving them a 17 percent raise during a recession?
Chalk that one up to naïveté. Of course, ample evidence--or rather the lack thereof--suggests those guys are easily duped.
You get the point: You can't set the bar too high these days, lest you trip over it.
Still, a nagging thought troubles us. Maybe our sights are set too low; a man's reach should exceed his grasp and all that. Why, look at Laura Miller. She started out as a humble (yeah, right) columnist for this paper, and today she's mayor, sitting at the big table with all the grown-ups on the Dallas City Council. If she can do it, then maybe it's time for Buzz to seek our second wind and acquire a little ambition.
We'll get right on that. But first we have to shoo away all these damn talking pink bats that flew into our office...
January & February
I scream, you scream:The NBA fines Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $500,000 for "repeated public criticism of NBA officiating," bringing his total fines for two seasons to just more than $1 million. The latest penalty, which one-time billionaire Cuban paid with loose change found beneath his sofa cushions, comes after Cuban says he wouldn't hire the director of NBA officiating "to manage a Dairy Queen." Capitalizing on the publicity his remark stirs, Dairy Queen brings Cuban in to work a shift at a Coppell restaurant. The stunt backfires, however, when Cuban chest-butts 5-year-old Mary Lou Tate after she orders a Blizzard with both Heath Bars and Oreo cookies. "That kid's an idiot," an unrepentant Cuban later explains. "That's just way too much chocolate. She made a bad call."
No, you take him: Controversy erupts in the race for Dallas mayor when candidate Domingo Garcia, the third-place finisher in the first round of voting, claims that a supporter of fellow candidate Laura Miller offered to help pay Garcia's campaign debt in exchange for his endorsement, valued at $1.95. Miller denies the charge, saying that she in fact offered to pay Garcia to endorse her runoff opponent Tom Dunning.
Arresting development:A state law intended to curb the practice of racial profiling by police conducting traffic stops takes effect. Officers no longer will be permitted to pull over motorists simply for "driving while black." Under the new law, police may only stop drivers who break traffic laws, drive erratically or possess black hair and "a really nice tan."
A long detention:Three students at Skyline High School are charged with robbing a teacher at gunpoint before the start of classes. The three are arrested after one of the youths turns in two of his alleged accomplices in hope of collecting a reward. The students, reportedly members of the school's Junior Achiever business club, are given an "A" for enterprise, but their overall grade is lowered to a "D" for being stupid enough to think that a public school teacher has any money.