What's in a name

So Gordon Keith, KTCK-AM radio jock and sometime contributor to this paper, agreed to change his name to Dallasmaverick for one year and have the team's logo tattooed on his body in exchange for $125,000 from Mavs owner Mark Cuban--half the money going to Keith, the other half to his favorite charity. Now Keith is having second thoughts, which leads Buzz to the inevitable question: Is he nuts? Not for agreeing to the change, we mean, but for having second thoughts.

Apparently, radio folk make a lot more money than one might suspect. Ask yourself, Mr. and Mrs. Average Wage-earner, What's the foulest name you might take for a year in exchange for $62,500? If your Visa bills are as large as ours, your answer describes acts that are illegal in Texas and Mississippi.

So we called Keith and asked him, "Why the second thoughts?"

"It gives me the feeling I'm a cheap whore," he answered.

We suggested that the price, as whoring goes, was pretty good.

"I guess I should remove cheap from it," he conceded.

Keith says the offer is still on the table, but he has yet to work out the final details with Cuban, though he thinks both the NBA team and his employer are eager for him to go ahead with the change for the publicity it will generate for both.

"It's great for them, but I'm the one who's going to have to get the name change," Keith says.

Buzz can see his point. Cuban has a zillion dollars; who's he to think he can make anyone sacrifice his or her dignity for a few bucks? (Short answer: He's a guy who has a zillion dollars.) Nonetheless, we think Keith should go for it. A charity could use the dough, and Dallasmaverick isn't that bad a name, though it makes him sound like a lap dancer on Northwest Highway. But it could be worse. Cuban could have asked him to change his name to Shawn Bradley.

Don't let the doorknob hit you

Someone has to say it, and since everyone else in local media and politics apparently is too polite, allow Buzz: That Bill Rojas, what a little pisser.

The DISD superintendent avoids getting fired, tenders his resignation anyway, is fired, and then, according to The Dallas Morning News, threatens to sue the school board because his $90,000 severance package isn't big enough. Buzz can't help but think that this is not a man who held the best interests of Dallas schoolchildren foremost in his heart.

Of course, according to the Morning News, taxpayers could have been screwed more. If Rojas had been allowed to resign, the paper reported, he might have been eligible for up to $520,000, or the remainder of his three-year contract. Got it? If he quits, he gets more dough.

Now, given the same contract, Buzz would have quit the first day on the job and spent the next three years in Barbados. Sorry kids. Something just didn't sound right. Surely even the Dallas school board is not so dumb as to agree to such a contract. (Buzz was feeling optimistic this week.) We called someone with DISD who should know. Nothing in Rojas' contract, he said, promised the super anything like the remainder of his salary for resigning. "I don't really know how that got started," said our source, who asked not to be named. "Someone made the assumption that if he resigned he would get...$260,000" per year for the remaining two years of his contract.

OK, so the Dallas school board is not as empty-headed as reports made them sound. As for Bill, our advice is this: Take the money, steal a fast horse, and ride out of town. You got out easy. Or, if you're really hard up for cash, do what those of us who aren't paid $5,000 a week must do: Go stand in line and file for unemployment benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission. If eligible, you could receive as much as $294 a week.

Sounds about right...

Payment due

Finally, Buzz has reason to praise the Dallas City Council: We both hate AT&T Cable, the local provider for Dallas cable. You'll recall that Mayor Ron Kirk and his crew recently led a council gripe session against the cable provider, saying that Dallas customers shouldn't pay the company's 31-cent-a-month pay increase for basic service because AT&T Cable, well, blows. "Your service is lousy," councilwoman Donna Blumer told AT&T flacks.

Buzz had no idea how right Blumer was--until last week, when a fellow Dallas Observer staffer had cable installed. This person, whom we won't name for fear that he'll lose his HBO privileges, is normally a sea of calm in our offices. AT&T caused him to have what is commonly called a conniption fit. He asked whether he could please say nasty things in Buzz about the cable company. We obliged:

"First, the friendly Gestapo freaks at AT&T Cable told me that I'd have to be home between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on a Wednesday. Hey, it's just for one afternoon, right?

"Wrong. At 7 p.m., one of the sweet-voiced masochistic beeyatches called with this message: 'Sorry, but we're running a teensy bit late. Would it be OK if we came out tomorrow?' My reply, 'It would be great, if I hadn't sat on my fat ass all afternoon!' AT&T said don't worry, they'll be there tomorrow.

"The next day, after waiting another four hours, the phone again rang. The caller ID said 'AT&T Cable.' I picked up the phone after two rings. AT&T hung up. Five minutes later, a truck arrived with two cable dudes, one of whom walked up to the door and placed a 'Sorry We Missed You' sign on the knob, then tried to slink away without knocking. A few dozen choice obscenities later, two very stunned cable guys decided they could take an hour to, say, do their damn job."

So our co-worker is still a tad miffed that the FCC has ruled that the cable company can raise its rates. Our advice to him and any other cable subscriber is to call AT&T and tell them they can have their 31 cents. All they have to do is send someone to your home between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on a Saturday to collect it.

Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams