Making amends
Buzz has just been all torn up inside since colleagues here at the Dallas Observer wrongly accused FOX 4 anchor Ashleigh Banfield of performing a Linda Ronstadt song and, of course, made fun of her singing with the band Tommy Hyatt & the Haywires.

So when we read that Banfield was performing on Valentine's Day, we made plans to attend the show and see for ourselves whether her performance truly was as wretched as had been reported.

When Buzz got to Deep Drinks the bar was empty, save a dozen lonely souls, and, worse, Ashleigh was not to be found. We waited. Soon, Tommy Hyatt & the Haywires took the stage minus the Perky One. For the record, Buzz did not hear any Linda Ronstadt songs. Our ears were, however, split by the band's incontinence-inducing covers of Doors, Allman Brothers, Cream, and ZZ Top songs.

It was enough to make Buzz yearn for the sight of Ashleigh bouncing like a cheerleader and the sound of her dainty "oooo, ooooo" during "Sympathy for the Devil."

This made us wonder. Could it be that the rumors are true--that Banfield sold her interest in the bar Q because Channel 4 is getting ready to give her the old heave ho? Maybe she stood up her fans because she was job hunting.

"Those are good rumors," says Banfield, who laughs and explains that she was in Canada on Saturday. "I was at my best friend's wedding." The only reason that she sold off her part of Q, she continues, was because it was a "good business decision at the time."

Buzz can't deny that we hate the cover band, but we're glad to know that all is well in Ashleighland. You fans out there, and Buzz knows there are many of you from the nasty letters we received last time we smacked Banfield, rest assured--she's not going anywhere. Although a newspaper advertisement promises that Ashleigh will sing this Saturday night too, don't be alarmed if she's not there. "I have tickets to Rent this Saturday, so if I play, it'll be late."

Bait and Switch
Buzz doesn't know what Sam Seabury was thinking.
A devoted Dallas Cowboys fan since the 1960s, Seabury somehow deluded himself into believing that his years of loyalty--plus his pricey Row 1 season tickets--somehow guaranteed him a front-row view of the Pokes.

Mr. Seabury, meet Mr. Jones.
Seabury, whose loyalty was once so deep that he bought bonds to support the team's move to Texas Stadium, hasn't been to a game in four years. And given a recent ruling of the 5th Court of Appeals, he's not likely ever to return.

"I'm so disgusted," he says. "I don't care to ever see them again."
Seabury was driven off at the beginning of the 1993 season, when he went to sit in his front-row seat and discovered Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had placed club seats in front of his. Row 1 was no longer the front row; Row A, complete with a new guardrail blocking Row 1's view, now came first.

Seabury and three other season-ticket holders--John Chaussee and Carolyn and Wright Cowden--sued the Dallas Cowboys Football Club Ltd. in 1993, alleging breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. But the case never reached a jury: In 1995, District Judge Frank Andrews dismissed it in summary judgment, and on December 2, 1997, the Court of Appeals upheld Andrews' ruling.

The appellate court wrote that the four season-ticket holders still have their Row 1 seats. "The seat options do not guarantee the season ticket holders options for the 'first' or 'front' row," the court ruled. "The Cowboys promised Row 1 seats and delivered Row 1 seats."

But of course.
Last week, Seabury and Chaussee, both of whom are represented by attorney Stephen Gardner, decided they would not pursue the case further. The Cowdens have not yet decided whether to appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

"It's like pouring money down a damned drain," Seabury says. "But at the time I selected the seat, I wanted to sit in the front row, and now we can't even get the thing to a jury to let them hear it...My attorney wants to appeal this because he says it's the most disgusting thing he's ever seen."

Indeed, Gardner says, "Jerry Jones represents everything bad about sports and capitalism."

Seabury has kept his season tickets all these years, lest he lose his option. Only now, he sells the tickets to a friend.

"It's a trashy way to treat people," says Seabury, who now, during the season, spends his Sundays playing golf.

Chicken-fried chic
"Garland, Texas, has snuck up and become a hub of popular culture for the entire nation."

That scary little piece of information comes courtesy of The Dallas Morning News, which devoted nearly two pages to exploring the mystery of Garland chic last Sunday.

Country star LeAnn Rimes is from Garland, and King of the Hill may be loosely based on the suburb, facts the Morning News found significant. The report trotted out all the hackneyed descriptions of white, small-town life. The good folks of Garland are just busy bowlin', raisin' their young folk, goin' to church.

Dressing up in white sheets.
Yep, though the Morning News had reported it elsewhere previously, the Sunday story on Garland failed to mention that the city is on the receiving end of a civil rights suit filed by the U.S. Justice Department this month. The suit alleges Garland discriminated against minorities applying for jobs with the police and fire departments.

"The Justice Department's investigation also uncovered incidents that both departments had tolerated work environments where racial slurs routinely were used. There was also an incident in the fire department involving white firefighters who displayed a Confederate flag and dressed in white sheets to taunt a black co-worker," according to a department news release.

Or, as Mayor Jamie Ratliff told the DMN: "Garland's not for everybody. Some people and some lifestyles would not be comfortable in Garland."

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

Angry Banfield defenders: e-mail buzz at [email protected].

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