Need a walker at the charity stripe, Roy?
OK, so Roy Tarpley shot a miserable four-for-12 from the floor in the Mavericks' disappointing loss Dec. 8 to the Washington Bullets. Does that make him eligible for handicapped parking?

The morning after the game, a spry Tarpley was spotted parking his $133,000 white Mercedes S600 in a clearly marked handicapped parking space near a Merit Drive office high-rise.

On second thought, in light of Tarpley's cursing match last week with Mavs head coach Dick Motta, maybe that handicapped space was for the temper-impaired.

Bear market
Terry Flowers, the principal and executive director of the South Dallas private school St. Philips--often referred to as the "Miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue" for its work with inner-city students--recently lamented the lack of financial support for education.

"Because most of the people who seem to have the greatest difficulty supporting the education of young children cite business, finance, or economic issues, I have decided to change professions!" he writes in St. Philips' newsletter.

"I will no longer remain an educator; I will become a Futures Investor. This term encompasses what I do, what St. Philip's does, and what our supporters contribute to...Perhaps if we all start referring to educational issues with terms such as compound interest, yields, and cumulative gain, it will hit home."

Hearts three times too small
Businesses are finding innovative ways to per-vert the holiday spirit.
You're all, of course, familiar with American Express's donations to the hungry every time you use an AmEx card--but only up to a designated amount, what Buzz likes to call the compassion ceiling.

Now, Venture Stores is offering a Peanuts gift hotline to help you help the needy--and, more importantly, contribute to Venture's annual $1.9 billion in sales.

Quoting from Venture's public service announcement (Why shouldn't they get free air time and ink? This is for charity): "...the best part is that all the items benefit charities. So call now, and give gifts that give!"

Don't get us wrong, the charities on the list, including Make-a-Wish Foundation, AMC Cancer Research Center, and the Center for the Repro-duction of Endangered Species, are surely worthy. But in its publicity information, Venture doesn't disclose, or is vague about, exactly how much it will donate in conjunction with most purchases.

But for one item, it's up front. For every $10 Snoopy doll purchased at Venture, an identical Snoopy is given to a Make-a-Wish kid--up to 1,000 dolls. So if you buy that 1001st Snoopy, you won't be helping a charity--just padding Venture's bottom line. Of course, nobody's going to tell you that you've bought a 1,000-plus Snoopy.

What would they say in Whoville?

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