Longform

Monkey Business

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Hard sell: The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau unveils a new city slogan it will use to market the city to visitors--"Dallas: Live Large. Think Big." Phillip Jones, president of the bureau, says too many people think only of "big hair, J.R. Ewing and Tex-Mex" when they consider Dallas. "That's just not accurate anymore," Jones says. "Dallas hasn't been on the air for years." The new slogan narrowly beats out two other leading contenders: "Dallas: You've Got a Three-Hour Layover. See the City." and "Dallas: Pretty Darn Close to Arlington."

July-September

Cabbage patch kids: The state Board of Education is criticized by Planned Parenthood and other groups for considering approval of three health textbooks that omit information on condoms and other forms of birth control and focus instead on abstinence as the only way to prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Conservatives counter that the texts--Mr. Stork Pays a Visit, Our Friend the Hymen and Stop That!--offer all the information Texas students need to know about sex.

Another one bites the dust: A "tired" Mike Moses resigns from his job as Dallas Independent School District superintendent. Moses, praised for his efforts to bring calm and stability to the troubled district, walks away from a salary roughly equal to--you guessed it--the gross national product of Guatemala. Moses departs saying his work with the school board often left him "overcome with a sense of depression" and that at times he felt the district consisted of him and "a whole freakin' bunch of kids."

School's out: Classes for Wilmer-Hutchins High School students are delayed when school officials learn that the dilapidated school building is unfit for occupancy because of roaches, mold and countless repair problems. The delay is the first of a long series of scandals to hit the district, including the indictment of Superintendent Charles Matthews on charges he tampered with evidence in one of 40 or so criminal investigations into the district's finances and management. (Matthews is later fired.) The Texas Education Agency eventually appoints two overseers to clean up the district, who soon report that things are looking up. "Early test scores for high school students are up this year," state-appointed manager Albert Black Jr. reports. "Apparently, having kids miss a few days of classes made them a lot smarter. We figure if we cancel school altogether, we might even produce a few honors students."

Toy story: Prosecutors in Johnson County drop obscenity charges against a Burleson woman arrested last fall for selling sex toys to two undercover officers. State law bans the sale of vibrators and other devices intended to stimulate the genitals, but the county attorney decided to drop the case, citing fear of a lawsuit and "some really tense months at home with a cranky missus, if you get my drift."

Passed on: The Cowboys cut starting quarterback Quincy Carter, reportedly for failing a drug test. "We knew Quincy might have trouble with the test when he kept missing the cup he was supposed to pee in," coach Parcells tells the media. "But he always missed his receivers, too, so we thought it was normal." Jerry Jones says he regrets having to cut the young quarterback. "The Cowboys organization has often worked well with the chemically challenged in the past, but those guys were all good," Jones says. "We can't overlook a failed drug test for someone with a QB rating in the 60s."

Least wanted: Security workers shut down several gates at DFW International after discovering a device they think to be a bomb in the luggage of Polyphonic Spree percussionist Brian Teasley. After learning the "bomb" was a custom-made microphone, FBI agents mistakenly free Teasley, apparently unaware that a microphone in the hands of Spree vocalist Tim DeLaughter is, in fact, a weapon of mass destruction.

Try postcards next time: Authorities with the Joint Terrorism Task Force begin investigating a Pakistani tourist arrested on immigration violations after learning he had videotaped several buildings and landmarks in Dallas. "It was suspicious enough that he was vacationing in Dallas, but actually making videos of downtown? He's either a terrorist or a nut," an FBI investigator says.

Wild pitch: Texas Rangers relief pitcher Frank Francisco is suspended for the remainder of the season after he throws a chair into the stands during a brawl with fans in Oakland, breaking a woman's nose. Two other players and a coach are also punished for taking part in the brawl. In addition to the 16-game suspension, Francisco is also scored for a wild pitch when the chair he tosses misses its intended target.

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

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