C'mon Get Happy

Even Buzz finds something to smile about in 2006

All about Eve: An 18-year-old student at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst is suspected of attempting to poison a fellow student in order to take her place as lead in a school play. Hurst police believe the understudy may have slipped a bleach-like substance into the lead actress' Mountain Dew. "The girl became suspicious when she sipped her Mountain Dew and it didn't taste like the usual combination of corn syrup cut with battery acid and bear piss," a police spokesman says.

Virgin for sale: An Oak Cliff homeowner offers for sale on eBay a tree that some say contains an otherworldly image of the Virgin Mary. Homeowner Gilbert Peña says his family had hoped to keep the tree and its 4-foot image of Mary, but the growing swarm of pilgrims coming to pray in his yard had become bothersome, prompting the sale. "We even had some guy claiming to be Jerry Jones lighting candles and praying for help with a quarterback problem," Peña said, "but we figured he was just a nut job."

SOP: Two committees of the Texas House accuse the city of Dallas of engaging in "ward-based politics run amok" for its controversial use of a state public nuisance law to target business owners who report crimes on their properties to police, part of the police's "don't ask, don't tell" program to improve the city's abysmal crime statistics. "The vast majority of what we did was all legal and much needed," Mayor Miller tells the Morning News, no doubt warming the heart of South Dallas car wash owner Dale Davenport, one the victims of what the city did that was not quite all legal or much needed. (Davenport was targeted for heavy-handed police harassment in 2004 after he testified on behalf of a man arrested at his car wash.) Police officials vow to stop bothering Davenport, choosing instead to harass his customers by ticketing men who offer to wash cars at his business. The tickets are for "illegal solicitation of a car wash." Crime victim advocates praise the police for their determination to end "the debilitating scourge of sponge-wielding clean freaks terrorizing peaceful neighborhoods."

Daddy Gotbucks: Highland Park father and GOP stalwart Ted Gambordella tells the Morning News that he will refuse to pay for his son Teddy's college education unless the youth switches his political allegiance from the Democratic Party to the Republicans. A GOP spokesman defends the dad's arm-twisting, saying, "Extortion, bribery and cash incentives shared among the privileged classes have a long and proud tradition in the Republican Party, and we don't see any reason to change that now."

Oh no, it's T.O.: The Cowboys reveal that they have reached an agreement to sign controversial receiver Terrell Owens. Owens, who was suspended last season by the Philadelphia Eagles for disrupting the team, tells his new teammates, "I'll be a better teammate, a better person, a better man in life." Cowboys trainers report a sudden surge in groin pulls among players who injured themselves while "laughing their asses off."

No-shows: Dallas City Council members James Fantroy and Don Hill learn that they may have to refund the city thousands of dollars in council pay because they missed too many official meetings the previous fiscal year, the Morning News uncovers. The pair finds an unexpected ally in Mayor Miller, a longtime political opponent who promises to "sell cookies, wash cars—hell, I'd even shake my moneymaker—to help them raise enough money so they never, ever, ever have to attend another city council meeting."

Right cause, wrong place: Hundreds of student protesters, angry over federal proposals to criminalize illegal immigration, skip classes and invade Dallas City Hall. The protesters flood the council chambers, causing havoc by pretending to cough while saying "bullshit" as council members speak, passing notes and repeatedly raising their hands to ask Mayor Miller, "A douche bag says what?" The students disperse, however, after being informed that their city representatives have nothing to do with drafting or enforcing federal immigration law. "I guess there are like all these branches and levels of government 'n' shit," protester Hector Cantu says. "Man, I sure never learned that at DISD."

Fish in a barrel: The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission comes under fire after its agents arrest bar patrons in Irving for public intoxication, part of a stepped-up program intended to pre-empt potential drunken drivers from getting behind the wheel. The TABC suspends the bar stings after being criticized for "Gestapo-like" tactics in busting prospective criminals. "Bars seemed like a natural place to go trolling for fall-down drunks," a TABC spokesman says. "But if that's out, I guess we'll have to go back to our old standbys—Baptist funerals, Catholic weddings and GOP fund-raisers."

They're here, get used to it: Up to 500,000 people march in downtown Dallas to oppose proposed new federal restrictions on illegal immigration. The peaceful rally is the largest civil rights gathering ever held in the city and is even more notable for one absence: Mayor Miller does not attend. Miller defends her decision to skip the protest, saying immigration is a federal, not local issue. "Besides, I was really busy. I had to pick up the dry cleaning, go to the grocery store, cook dinner and try to get my house straightened up," Miller says. "For some reason, my housekeeper didn't show up today, and I'll tell you what—come Monday, heads are gonna roll around here. Damn, it's hard to get good help these days."

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