By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Ebenezer Miller: At a community meeting, Mayor Miller suggests that Dallas consider enacting an ordinance that would allow police to ticket people who give money to panhandlers. The idea receives a chilly response. "Penalizing charity as a way to discourage beggars seems a bit hard-hearted," local resident Harold Fleenor says. "If we really want to end homelessness and panhandling in this city, we should do it the old-fashioned, compassionate Dallas way: Send the cops in to roust them and trash their belongings, arrest them for having shopping carts, ban temporary soup kitchens downtown, tear down their cardboard box shelters, that sort of thing."
They fart, the dog runs away: City council members threaten disciplinary action against City Secretary Shirley Acy for lapses in her office that allowed council members to fail to disclose instances in which they had financial interests in issues brought before the council. The Morning News reports that council members neglected to file the required forms in at least half the cases in which they were required by state and local law. "This is a black eye for the city," council member Dr. Elba Garcia says. "If only the city secretary had told us when we were voting on things that could potentially line our own pockets, we'd be much, much more honest. Damn you, Shirley Acy!"
Priorities: Thousands of Texas schoolchildren face a year with worn, outdated textbooks after state legislators fail to agree on funding for new books. Speaker of the House Tom Craddick blames the situation on a lack of time to deal with myriad pressing educational issues. "We take our responsibilities to Texas schoolchildren very seriously," Craddick says. "Why, on that sexy cheerleading bill alone, House members spent many hours reviewing videotapes of routines, trying to come up with reasonable rules. Many, many hours."
Hunka-hunka: The State Fair of Texas unveils a life-sized statue of Elvis Presley carved from 800 pounds of butter by New York artist Sharon BuMann. Fairgoers marvel at the lifelike rendition of The King, posed singing to three hound dogs. "You know, towards the end there, Elvis was about 90 percent butterfat his own self. Add a coupla pounds of bennies in there, and he'd probably just git up and walk," Elvis fan Lurleen Jenkins says.
No shit: A Dallas cab driver is sentenced to five years in prison for sprinkling his own dried, ground feces on pastries at a Fiesta grocery store in East Dallas. Employees at the store had uncovered the tampering after hearing complaints of a foul odor in the bakery department. News of the case causes all of Dallas County to temporarily lose Internet access as local e-mail servers are overloaded by office workers forwarding messages with the story and attached jokes about the incident--none of which will be reprinted here. (Christmas is a season of miracles: Buzz has found a level of humor to which even we will not stoop. Or squat.)
Here don't come the judge: President Bush nominates former Dallas City Council member Harriet Miers to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Dallasites familiar with Miers' service to the city praise the nominee, saying she will bring vast experience and a keen legal mind to the court. "Harriet never really said much at the council meetings, never really made any big proposals or engaged in any debates worth mentioning. Didn't even show up that much, really," council contemporary Max Wells recalls. "But she always brought these homemade cream cheese brownies to the council Christmas party. Man, those things were tasty. Those other eight guys are in for a treat." Miers later withdraws herself from consideration after religious conservatives in the Senate discover that the brownies were actually store-bought, not made from scratch.
Those party animals: The Smithsonian National Museum of American History acquires the first machine used to create frozen margaritas by Dallas restaurateur Mariano Martinez. It's unclear, however, when the machine will be placed on exhibit. "Dishplay it? Whaddya mean dishplay it?" curator Rayna Green replies to a reporter's question at a news conference announcing the acquisition. "Hey, know what? Know what? You're cute. Lesh go take the Shpirit of Shaint Louish for a li'l shpin. Woo! Ohmygaw, I think I'm gonna hurl."
The gnat and the bull: Mayor Miller roundly criticizes city staff and her fellow council members over their approval of a $6.3 million tax abatement for the construction of a new headquarters for Hunt Consolidated Inc. Miller, a frequent critic of oil man Ray Hunt and his hunger for public subsidies when she was a columnist for this paper, calls the deal "a stickup game with a toy gun." Asked for his response to the mayor's vitriol, Hunt replies, "Laura who?"
Spacey immigrant: Peter Mayhew, the actor who portrayed the character Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies, becomes a U.S. citizen at a ceremony at the Arlington Convention Center. Members of the Young Conservatives of Texas at UT-Arlington stage a protest outside the ceremony as Mayhew takes the Oath of Allegiance. "Luke Skywalker didn't risk his life destroying the Death Star so this country could be overrun by hairy Wookies from Kashyyyk," protest leader Jed Moore says. "Next thing you know, we'll be up to our asses in Gungans from Naboo, like Jar Jar Binks. Man, I hate that guy."