Calling Mr. Grant
Forget the millennial fervor. Forget that the Super Bowl is just weeks away. For Buzz, the best part of the new year is that January 1 is the scheduled start-up date for TXCN, A.H. Belo Corp.'s all-news, all-Texas cable channel.

We're not so dweebish as to become excited over the prospect of viewing repackaged TV news stories from Belo's Houston and San Antonio TV affiliates, which TXCN promises. What interests us are reports that TXCN has installed cameras in The Dallas Morning News' newsroom and will, we hope, give us occasional peeks at the newspaper's staffers at work.

Given that typical newsroom work largely involves talking on the telephone, typing, and consuming enough coffee and fatty snacks to kill a rhinoceros, we're curious as to what, exactly, TXCN will show us from inside the News. We're picturing C-SPAN, only not as sexy.

Still, we're hopeful. Maybe the News has staffers like some of our coworkers from previous newspaper jobs. For instance, Buzz once worked with a man who was afflicted with a chronic, highly personal itch and country manners, so to speak. (Scratch, scratch, scratch.) Or there was the copy editor who each afternoon adjusted his chair by slamming it on the floor repeatedly and cussing like a drunken stevedore, raging that someone messed up his finely tuned furniture. (After he left work at night, Buzz would "readjust" his chair for him. If that sounds petty, just trust us. He deserved it.) Then there was the columnist who left an oily stain on the wall next to his desk, where he leaned his head for the occasional afternoon nap.

Will the staid, stodgy News newsroom offer up anything that entertaining?
Lord, Buzz hopes so.
In the meantime, we're just glad the camera is there and not in our office. We'd hate to have to give up those pants-optional days during the heat of summer.

Smile when you say that
We certainly would have tuned in to TXCN to see staff members of the News' weekend Guide discuss the vitriolic letter the paper received from local lawyer E. Todd Tracy, a copy of which was faxed to the Dallas Observer.

Tracy was incensed by a restaurant review by the News' Lawson Taitte of Tracy's restaurant Rooster. Taitte complained that the food was too bland, partly because of a "niggardly hand with seasonings." Chef Bill Webb is black. Tracy is incensed.

He's also white. Nevertheless, he accused Taitte of being a venomous, spiteful racist and demanded a retraction, an apology, and, presumably, a public flogging for Taitte. (Apparently in response, the News last Friday published a paragraph offering its regrets for any misunderstanding.) The letter to the Observer urged us to share Tracy's outrage.

Oh, please.
According to our trusty Merriam-Webster dictionary, niggardly means provided in meanly limited supply. It's akin to the Old Norse hnogger and Old English hneaw, from the 14th century.

Tracy told Buzz he doesn't care what the dictionary says. He demanded to know if the Observer has ever printed the word.

Yup. Twice since 1995, which is as far back as our electronic archive goes. No one accused us of wearing white sheets, and frankly, we couldn't see exactly what Taitte had done to deserve such a bitter letter.

Then we read Tracy's letter more closely.
He is demanding a new review from someone less literate than Taitte, because Tracy believes Taitte's shameful bias cost him one of his four stars in the Guide's rating.

Ah, yes. Nothing gets one's political sensitivities up like dropping a star in the ol' ratings. Here's a thought about how to make things right:

Add more salt to the food.

From the mouths of babes
Planning for Dallas' upcoming millennial party, The Turn, is creaking along thanks to some help from local school children. This week, organizers of the year 2000 blowout in Fair Park, scheduled to begin next Thanksgiving, will unveil some children's "resolutions" for the millennium as part The Turn's educational outreach efforts.

So what do Dallas' children promise for the new century?
No gangs, no drugs, and no hitting girls.
In other words, the Cowboys are going to need to look well outside the city for new players in the next century.

On the bright side, Veronica Esmerado, 11, promises to "make all cockroaches go away."

Nice thought, Veronica. Once you're done at City Hall, come by Buzz's office. We've seen some beauties here we're afraid to chase out of the building for fear of violating the city's leash laws.

So long, Ron
Ron Dusek, press secretary for the Texas Attorney General's Office, is moving on after 13 years, thanks to November's Republican sweep in Austin.

In his farewell message to the media, Dusek was his usual gentlemanly self, almost to the point of excess. He recalls being hauled before a state Senate committee that questioned whether he influenced newspaper editorials on a bill to strengthen laws on colonia development.

Dusek says he told the senators that he doesn't influence newspaper editorial boards, but truth and justice do.

We hate to correct a man in what is clearly an emotional, if delusional, moment, but truth and justice motivating the minds of Texas' editorial writers?

Sorry, Ron, but they're well down the list, way behind the desires of car dealers, grocery store chains, real estate companies, and other big-ticket advertisers.

Better yet, if you really want to know what the state's editorialists are thinking, find out who their publishers have lunch with.

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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