Disorderly retreat: A generally accepted practice in journalism is to write about things that happen, not those that don't. A general rule for humor is that you put the punch line at the end of the joke. But this being Buzz, which is neither journalism nor, some would argue, funny, we're going to bend the rules and lead with the punch line: The Dallas City Council this week canceled a retreat it had scheduled to work on "team building" in part because some members couldn't even agree that the retreat should be focused on team building.

There's pretty much only two things you can say about that. Namely, "HA HA HA HA HA!" and "Maybe they should call the team the Cowboys."

Evidence to the contrary, "we are anxious to fellowship," insisted one laughing council member. She was only half joking, but she also noted that in her many years on the council, she has attended only one retreat.

Apparently, council members would prefer their fellowshipping to be with a more amiable group of fellows.

According to another source, Mayor Pro Tem Mary Poss took the lead in planning the retreat, which sailed into rocky waters early on when consultants employed to help set it up suggested that council members fill out a Kolbe A Index/Instinct Test. The test is one of those personality-type-indicator, know-your-inner-child, give-consultant-lots-of-money exams, one that purports to measure your instincts or "what you will or won't do," according to the Kolbe Corp.'s Web site. The test places its takers--and presumably all of humanity--into one of four categories, which are too vague and silly to be repeated here.

Kathy Kolbe, creator of the index, told The Washington Post in 1999 that someone taking the test today could take it a week later and arrive at a completely different result. To Buzz's highly untrained mind, that makes it seem less than useful when it comes to measuring anything, but what do we know? You can take the test yourself online for $49.95. (Or you can flush a $50 bill down the toilet with the rest of the crapola.)

Plans for testing the council members were quickly scuttled, presumably after some of the brighter council members realized that the things might wind up in some reporter's hands. Which is a shame, because we may never know how some of our fine council folk might have answered such probative gems as "If I was in trouble, it would be because I: was bored; couldn't keep my hands off things; resisted change; wanted to know too much" or "If I were trying to get off the hook for something, my arguments would be: consistent; unique; detailed; technical; fabricated."

OK, we made up that last response. But everything else in here is pretty much true, so you'll understand why Buzz is going home to have several stiff drinks and cry ourself to sleep, dreaming of golden opportunities missed.

At least they'll be missed until sometime after the May elections, when the council may try again to have a retreat. One council member's suggestion for a team-building motivational exercise? Something Survivor-like, but please, everyone keep your pants on.

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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

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