It's got to be the most amazing public-relations coup since Mike Tyson's comeback.
Dallas-based country singer Ty Herndon is surfing a tide of popularity with the release of his second album, Living in a Moment, and his career couldn't look brighter. Hard to believe a short year ago it looked like Herndon would have trouble getting a gig at a feed store opening.
Herndon pleaded guilty to drug possession last July, and was sentenced to five years' probation, 200 hours of public service, and a month in drug rehab.
Dabbling in substance abuse, of course, merely catapulted him into the ranks of country music stalwarts like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams himself. And having Ty mouth the usual homilies about cleaning up his act during an artfully orchestrated video and radio blitz--while prohibiting the news media from asking any embarrassing questions whatsoever--was a public-relations move of impressive greasiness.
But the bona fide miracle pulled off by Herndon's PR geniuses was separating their client from those other, nasty charges--the ones that God-and-country western fans aren't usually so forgiving of. The campaign was so successful, in fact, that Billy Ray and Tammi Jo are probably saying right now, "Duh-huh?"
Under hypnosis, you may recall that the possession of a small packet of methamphetamine was only a bonus for the vice officers who arrested Herndon. Ty was busted initially for allegedly exposing and demonstrating his magic microphone for a male undercover police officer in Fort Worth's Gateway Park--a popular gay trysting place.
We don't think Hank did it that way.
But Herndon's legal folks, smooth as Bible salesmen jacked up on goof balls, got him a plea bargain, allowing him to cop to the relatively benign drug charge, in exchange for the prosecutor making that career-killing indecent-exposure charge disappear.
At one point Ty almost blew it with a lame excuse that was a clinker even to his tone-deaf fans: "I honestly can tell you that I had no idea that speed was a narcotic," Herndon said during a carefully controlled radio interview in August. "I'm from Alabama and I'm stupid, I guess."
True, Ty, but fortunately, you've got some city slickers working for you, who are way, way smart.
Now, as the hayseeds like to say, the circle is unbroken. As part of the campaign to kick off the new album and complete the image rehab, Ty will give a free local concert and sing the national anthem next week at a Dallas Cowboys game. Could it be that Jerry Jones invited Herndon as an inspiration to the 'Boys so that they, too, can burnish a tarnished image?
Forget Heathcliff and Cathy. Jump back, Maria and Tony. Donald and Ivana who? Your romances can't hold a candle to Dallas' star-crossed lovers: Johnnie and Rachelle.
He, a smoldering-eyed cop with a heart too big. Authority, badge, gun, honor! She, an all-over-tanned stripper who stood up in district court and bared all. (Hey, it's a metaphor.)
When it comes to sizzling romance, does it get any better? Johnnie Hernandez was accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill an ultrapowerful Dallas Cowboys football star to protect his beloved, Rachelle Smith. (Unfortunately, he was way late to protect her honor.) His love, he says, overwhelmed his ability to tell right from wrong. As those romantic Italians say, "Love rules without rules."
Like any couple, the two had their ups and downs. He was allegedly about to begin a career as a stooge for drug dealers. She performed lesbian sex for Michael Irvin and his pals. Buzz says what's important is that they were willing to forgive!
Now that Johnnie's cut a deal that will put him in the slammer for six years, she'll wait for him. Don't you think?
This cute new trend of putting "expectant moms only" parking spaces next to the handicapped spaces at stores like Kroger and Venture gives Buzz the vapors. Is pregnancy sort of like being handicapped? Sure wouldn't want a woman with one in the oven to get some exercise, would we?
While we're taking these steps backward, why don't we reintroduce confinement for expectant moms? And maybe we should stop allowing them to come to work in those final few dangerously overinflated and aesthetically challenged weeks?
What happened to the days when a Texan squatted behind a sagebrush, foaled, and then went back to work? The whole trend makes us swoon.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.