The hail you say
Buzz is periodically amused by the fumblings of clueless journalists who arrive in town and try to strut their stuff. (Like the New York Times reporter who came to Texas several years back and wrote about being served a mysterious local dish, an "unidentified breaded cutlet" covered in gravy.)

So we watched in pain last week as Kristine Kahanek, Channel 8's newest weather reader, took her first plunge into local reporting.

Trying to break out of the cluttered pack of Channel 8 radar watchers, Kahanek inexplicably decided to undertake a special, two-part series on hailstorms. The station inexplicably decided to air it. Stretching a hail story over two nights took some doing. Channel 8 rummaged through the video vaults, recycling two-year-old footage of bloody kids hurt in the 1995 hailstorm, and high-priced helicopter video of roofs with missing shingles.

The upshot of Kahanek's probing reports? Hail is frozen water. It falls from the sky. It can hurt you.

Next up for Kahanek: Wind, It Blows.

The cable guy
The TCI cable boycott Mayor Ron Kirk proposed last week is not merely a good idea. It is probably the best idea Kirk has had. Which says a lot about the overpriced service TCI provides, and Kirk's lackluster tenure.

If your cable wasn't working last week--if someone sneezed near a TCI box and knocked out service to your entire neighborhood--you missed Kirk on the news reacting to TCI's request for a rate hike. The mayor suggested that subscribers cancel their service and spend the summer reading to their kids. Nothing to disagree with there.

But Kirk rising to engage TCI was like Rip van Winkle stirring. Is the mayor awake now? Will the newly emboldened Kirk next take notice of other matters--like racial strife at DISD or the integrity of the city's pension fund?

Not likely. Buzz wonders, in fact, if a cable boycott doesn't hold a hidden bonus for Kirk--without cable, taxpayers can't watch city council meetings.

Wait your turn
Sooner or later, everyone in town might get to hear the Peavy Tapes. But at this rate, it's going to take a while. The tapes contain the secretly recorded conversations of former school board member Dan Peavy and various DISD board members and administrators.

Rumors abound about what the tapes contain, beyond the racist remarks that forced Peavy to resign his seat. But since the tapes were illegally made, it's also illegal to pass them around. So far, the U.S. Attorney's office, the FBI, and various district insiders are the only ones who've gotten to hear them.

Now, U.S. District Judge Joe Kendall wants his turn. Kendall is presiding over a lawsuit filed against various DISD officials. Last week, Kendall ordered that copies of the tapes be turned over for his review, so he can decide if they are relevant to the lawsuit.

Buzz is offering an unidentified breaded cutlet dinner to anyone who'll give us copies.

--David Pasztor

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David Pasztor