What goes around...
Texas Monthly was chock full of laughs this month--mostly at the expense of the media. It all started when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram printed an obit containing a list of spectacular--and questionable--lifetime achievements for the deceased. It would seem that James M. Woodson, who passed on at 76, not only wrote the screenplays to some of Hollywood's greatest films--The Bridge Over the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, for instance--but may have even ghostwritten A Catcher in the Rye. Did we mention that Woodson also created the lyrics to "Everybody's Talkin'" from the film Midnight Cowboy? Don't even get us going on his heroic war record. All of this, of course, was according to the S-T obit.

Monthly writer Gary Cartwright couldn't resist having a little fun, and had an intern fact-check the obit. The intern's investigation was inclusive:Most of the people named were dead or impossible to reach. Nevertheless, it gave Cartwright an opportunity to rib the S-T's credulousness, then jaw on about the great Texas newspaper hoaxes of he and Blackie Sherrod's heyday--which from the sound of it was shortly after Gutenberg printed his first Bible.

Cartwright probably would still be chuckling over the S-T article but for the other piece Cartwright authored for his magazine this month. "Cowboy Family Values" deified Cowboy superstar Deion Sanders, and Cartwright went so far as to write: "Deion is Jekyll, the straightest, squarest guy on the Dallas Cowboys roster. He doesn't drink, smoke, cheat on his wife, or use profanity...Neon is glitter and gloss, but Deion is as dull as salt."

As we all know, of course, the same day the saintly Sanders story hit the stands, Deion's wife, Carolyn, filed for divorce--accusing him of adultery. The S-T wasted no time in printing, at top of its Texas page, "Blooper on Sanders embarrasses magazine," a story that laid out the whole Monthly mess.

S-T writer Barry Schlacter says that he's "99-percent sure" his article wasn't a tit-for-tat deal. And we believe that Schlacter, at least, wasn't practicing gotcha journalism--he didn't know that the obit article was even in the Monthly until Buzz told him. An editor, he says, handed him the magazine, opened to the Deion article, and that's all the further he read.

"If I had seen that [the obit article], I would have added it to my story," Schlacter says. "That sounds a lot worse than what Gary Cartwright did on Michael Irvin."

Looks like the gotcha is back in the Monthly's court. Deion and his wife have found it in their hearts to reconcile, but can the S-T and the Monthly?

Pass the hat
It's so hard to be Al Lipscomb. The city councilman and janitorial-supply magnate has finally worked out a deal to belatedly pay back two of the suppliers who sold chemicals on credit to his troubled company. Lipscomb, of course, has been losing partners and dodging creditors ever since the personal business he built on his City Hall connections failed to take off during the past two years. (One of Lipscomb's primary associates has been sentenced to probation in connection with a kickback scheme unrelated to Lipscomb Industries. Another, Lipscomb's son-in-law, has been indicted for fraud--again, unrelated to Lipscomb Industries.)

Several other creditors still are trying to get money--in the tens of thousands of dollars--that Lipscomb owes them.

But, of course, the victim in all this has been--no, not the creditors, and no, not the companies that never got the products they ordered; the victim is Al Lipscomb, and all Buzz has to say is, can't you give a guy a break?

"It really knocked me down to my knees," Lipscomb told The Dallas Morning News. "But you have to keep bouncing back up."

We're there for you, Al.

Scary prognosis
Are we the only ones who did a double take at the new Kaiser-Permanente health insurance billboards that proudly proclaim: "One reason I'm a member: Correct Diagnosis"?

Is the American healthcare system in such sorry shape that the sizzle in an HMO sales pitch is that the docs are actually able to figure out what's wrong with you?

What's next? A warm, fuzzy photo of a family under the caption, "I chose my healthcare provider because they amputate the correct limbs!"

Or, "It's the HMO for me, 'cause the docs are mostly sober and they wash their hands!"

Asking the hard questions
In a recent News current-events quiz, we puzzled over this 15-point head scratcher: "A rap star, I was recently shot and killed in Las Vegas. Who am I?"

It wasn't the name, Tupac Skakur, or even the spelling (is it 2Pac?) that stumped us, but the question's phrasing. Shouldn't it have been "Who was I?"

Formerly bad as he wants to be
In the outbursts about the rights to commercial inanity--Soul Man vs. Dole man, Dole (again) vs. Nike for "Just don't do it," Rangers vs. Tom Clancy for Hunt for Red October, and so forth, the latest is the name of Dennis Rodman's ultrahip Dallas club. Originally it was named Starck MCMXCVI. Unfortunately that wasn't original enough--the previous owner of the Starck Club slapped Rodman and the other owners with a temporary restraining order.

Rodman, apparently a heat-seeking missile for cliches, renamed his club with a symbol, and now calls it "The Night Club Space Formerly Known As [***FRANK: CAN WE REPRODUCE IT HERE?***]. Buzz can only say Rodman's a Prince of a guy.

No one has officially explained the significance of the club's symbol, but it looks like Stonehenge with a Bart Simpson coif--or is it a visual pun on hair pi? Unfortunately, the press release wasn't in full color, but we imagine that the symbol is probably in ever-changing Technicolor hues.

--Glen Warchol

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Glen Warchol