Warm & Fuzzy 2007
A lot of bad stuff happened in 2006. But bad news is such a downer. Which is why in this, our review of the past year’s events, we bring you only the good news. Stuff to make you smile.
A lot of bad stuff happened in 2006. The war in Iraq didn’t go well, tainted spinach terrorized the country, and the Republicans lost control of Congress. But no one wants to hear bad news. It’s such a downer. (There’s a reason “bad” rhymes with “sad.”) That’s why people often complain—justifiably so—that the media report only negative stories.
But D Magazine is different. We’re a beacon of hope shining a white light of pure goodness to guide you away from the treacherous rocks of bad news and into the safe harbor of happy fun times. So in putting together our review of the past year’s events, we chose to bring you only the good news. Stuff to make you smile.
Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Horny Masses
When the Government Accountability Office looked into how emergency funds given to Hurricane Katrina victims had been spent, it found debit cards had been used in the Dallas area to buy the following: booze ($200), a tattoo ($450), a harness and other sex toys ($150), and unspecified services at the Swedish Institute ($400). The good news: at least one Katrina victim had a good time.
Two robbers entered an East Dallas Petco store and, at gunpoint, stole an orange tabby named Simon. The good news: Simon hated living at Petco.
ABC Channel 8 reporter Bert Lozano was doing a live shot for the 10 o’clock newscast about wildfires in The Colony when a streaker blew an air horn and then ran in front of the camera. The good news: for once, the ass on Channel 8 wasn’t Dale Hansen.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Belo corporate communications e-mailed a press release to the media announcing that the company, which owns the Dallas Morning News, was giving $6.5 million to fund a downtown park. But the e-mail referred to Belo CEO and chairman Robert Decherd and his wife Maureen as “Robert and Maureen Dowd.” The good news: Robert had a good chuckle, because, as everyone in the newsroom knows, he really has the hots for Ann Coulter.
Thomas Gaylord Crutsinger, 31, who described himself on his MySpace page as a proud parent and a Christian swinger looking for a “good time,” was fired from his job as manager of a CiCi’s Pizza restaurant after Grapevine police arrested him for selling tablets of ecstasy to teenagers out of his store. The good news: it’s reassuring to know that there are other Christian swingers.
Jimmy Fawcett had been the police chief in Farmers Branch for 15 years when he told a hiring panel, “As long as I’m police chief, we won’t have any gooks in this department.” After a 10-day suspension, he returned to work to announce his retirement at a press conference. The good news: ever since, Farmers Branch has done everything possible to make all ethnicities feel welcome.
Denton police officers arrested David Chandler and Reniece Banschbach for using a converted Shop-Vac to suck quarters out of the coin slots of change machines at area car washes. The good news: the floor mats in their ’97 Malibu were clean enough to eat off of.
Sabrina Balentine, a 19-year-old Jehovah’s Witness, was fired from a Mesquite Razzoo’s for refusing to be a part of the restaurant’s birthday celebrations for diners because her religion forbade it. The good news: when God is eating His Shrimp ’N’ Cat Combo, He hates hearing “Happy Birthday” just as much as we do.
Show and Tell
In the playground of an Oak Cliff apartment complex, Brandon Scott Burke, 20, took a pornographic magazine out of his backpack and showed lewd images to several children, all under the age of 10. Residents of the complex assaulted Burke and held him until police arrived. The good news: the world-weary kids weren’t fazed. One of them later posted on her MySpace page, “Pics were so-so. Dude got totally served. ROTFLMAO.”
Let Them Shop for Cake
On Sunday, April 9, as many as 500,000 people marched through downtown Dallas to protest pending anti-immigration legislation. It was the largest political event in the city’s history, and some called it the birth of a new social movement. Mayor Laura Miller, however, did not show up for the rally. She told the Morning News that she was busy shopping at Whole Foods. The good news: her nanny gave her a full update.
25 Million Reasons
Motive for Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens to remain on this earthly plane, according to his publicist, Kim Etheredge. After Owens overdosed on a combination of pain pills and vitamin supplements and had to be rushed to the hospital, Etheredge said her client had not tried to commit suicide. “Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive,” she said. Cha-ching!
3 Cubic Feet
Estimated volume of Afro sported by the customarily cornrowed Commissioner John Wiley Price when his barber couldn’t see him in time for an April County Commissioners Court meeting. Flava!
Increase in fuel efficiency that Irving-based BioPerformance claimed its fake gas pills produced before the Texas Attorney General sued the company for running a pyramid scheme. Egyptian!
A Politician on the Take
|photography by Elizabeth Lavin
Tom Malin was running in the Democratic primary for Texas House District 108, to represent much of central Dallas and the Park Cities. But then the news broke that Malin had once worked as a gay prostitute named “Todd Sharpe,” and he lost the election. The good news: he got some national exposure and has his eye on winning a seat in ’08.
For almost a year, Delena Taylor’s co-workers at Newton Rayzor Elementary in Denton helped the teacher’s aide battle cancer. They gave her money for her treatments. They gave her their sick time. And when Taylor came to work straight from chemotherapy, with a shaved head, the children gave her hugs and read her stories while she rested. But Taylor was faking the whole time, and she’d been using the donated money to buy drugs. The good news: the harsh lesson prepared the children for later that semester, when they learned that there is no Santa Claus, babies don’t come from storks, and everyone dies alone.
Shot in the Dark
Cowboys safety Keith Davis was driving on 635, at 5 am, when an unknown assailant shot up his customized Chevrolet Impala. One bullet grazed Davis’ head and another lodged in his leg. (Davis had also been shot in 2003, in the parking lot of a topless bar.) The good news: his publicist announced he had 2.3 million reasons why he should want to live.
Spray It, Don’t Say It
Weatherford’s Jelly Jo McKee was arrested for drunken driving in a fatality accident. She testified that her .20 blood alcohol could be attributed to the hair dye she was spraying on kids at a festival. Prosecutors challenged McKee to re-create the effect in court, but after spraying a mannequin for an hour and 40 minutes, her blood alcohol level was 0.0. So she changed her plea to guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The good news: the mannequin looked fabulous.
Phyllis Riedle, 48, and her half brother, Kevin Riedle, 41, were living in an incestuous relationship when they were arrested in Wise County. The couple had been using baby-sitting jobs for friends to make child porn. The good news: the ordeal brought the Riedles closer together.
Adam Medrano won his bid for a seat on the Dallas School Board, even though the Morning News reported an embarrassing incident that allegedly happened several years ago in a restroom at NorthPark Center. According to the police report, cops were investigating “homosexual activity in a public place in which Medrano was involved.” Medrano ran from the cops and was later charged for evading arrest. The good news: the new food court at NorthPark is awesome.
Frisco art teacher Sydney McGee took her fifth-grade class on a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art, where one of her students saw nude art. After a parent complained, McGee was suspended, and Frisco made national headlines for the brouhaha that resulted. The good news: every horny kid in North Texas wants to move to Frisco. Even better news: 14 boys went to the DMA; 14 men came back. Best news of all: the school’s next field trip, to New Fine Arts, went off without a hitch.
Hoser on the Lam, Eh?
In 1982, a Canadian named Jerry Ambrozuk crashed a small plane he was flying. His girlfriend’s body was found in the plane at the bottom of a lake, but Ambrozuk and his girlfriend’s savings, $20,000 in cash, had disappeared. He’d been wanted on charges of negligent homicide ever since. It turned out he’d been living in Plano under an assumed name. Ambrozuk was caught when he met someone through Yahoo’s dating service and made the mistake of giving the woman his real name. After a Google search brought up the plane crash, his date turned him in. The good news: ladies, he’s still single.
4 Thongs, 3 Bras
Assortment of lingerie that school board candidate Walter Price was arrested for stealing from Neiman Marcus at NorthPark Center in 1997. When the incident arose during his campaign, Price said, “I think at that time I had a lot of challenges. Money was short.” No panty lines!
Length that Mark Cuban allegedly said was added to his manhood by every billion dollars he has. The New York Post reported the following about Cuban’s visit to Pink Elephant, a New York nightclub: “As he asked one hanger-on to round up some girls, he was overheard saying, ‘Just say I’m a billionaire. They’ll come over.’ He also cracked, ‘For every billion dollars I have, my [bleep] gets 10 inches longer.’” Magic!
David Williams is a Dallas poker player who first made a name for himself when he took second place in the 2004 World Series of Poker, winning $3.5 million. But in 2006 an embarrassing X-rated movie surfaced with a title we can’t print in a family magazine. Williams had made the film before he hit the big time, back when he was still a student at SMU. The good news: his professor had given him a B+ on the assignment.
Girls Gone Wild
|photography by Michael Ainsworth/Dallas Morning News
At Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, the school board had to get involved in a nasty cheerleader dispute that made headlines and dragged on for three months. Tryouts initially produced a 14-girl squad. But an administrator allowed four more senior girls onto the squad, which sparked a protest from parents of the 15 other girls who had not been chosen. So administrators said all 33 girls could be cheerleaders. At which point, the parents of the original 14 filed a formal grievance, claiming that their daughters had gotten the shaft. And that led the school board to reverse the decision, cutting the squad back to 14, and it mandated a new round of tryouts for everybody else. Of course, parents of the other 19 then filed a grievance of their own, whereupon the school board un-reversed its reversal and reinstated the entire gaggle of 33 girls. The good news: the incident gave us an excuse to run this photo.
Jeremy Roberson kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and her 4-year-old near Dallas and, wielding a shotgun, forced them on a 200-mile drive that ended in Houston. Roberson broke out both the windshield and the rear window of the car to fire at other vehicles, including police, who eventually shot and killed him. The good news: Roberson made great time to Houston.
Fight for Your Right to Party
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission sparked outrage with a new program to stop drunken driving. TABC started going into bars and arresting people for public intoxication before they even got into their cars. In fact, in one case, the TABC actually arrested a man in a hotel bar near DFW Airport—and he was staying in the hotel. The good news: following the TABC’s lead, Dallas Fire-Rescue has had great success with its pilot program of hosing down houses before they catch fire.
You’ve Got Questions. He’s Got Made-Up Answers.
RadioShack CEO David Edmondson was forced to resign after it was discovered that he’d lied on his résumé. The good news: the ZIP Code he’d provided was, in fact, correct.
Blowing the Joke
When the Mavericks played the Miami Heat in the NBA finals, Miami-based Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry wrote a hysterical column poking fun at Dallas. Morning News columnist Steve Blow asked readers of the paper’s blog to help him prepare a response. Blow wrote, “Here’s my working premise: ‘It’s not the heat that bothers you, it’s the stupidity.’” As unfunny as that was, the column he produced was even less funny. The good news: Blow’s streak continues.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Buy a Baby
Ana Rivera and Alex Hernandez attempted to sell a 4-month-old baby over the Internet to a Dallas individual for $50,000, but U.S. and Mexican police worked together to arrest the Mexican couple before the sale could be completed. The good news: the baby was overpriced.
Cuts Like a Knife—Kinda
A man wielding a butter knife held police at bay at an East Dallas apartment until SWAT officers arrived and were able to take the man into custody. The good news: the cops vowed never to be outmatched again, having learned a valuable lesson—never bring a soup spoon to a butter-knife fight.
Amount in accounting errors city bean-counters made when they incorrectly figured the depreciation on the American Airlines Center over a three-year period. Windfall!
Amount of cocaine seized by Dallas police on July 18. It was a record haul, worth $13.3 million. Party!
Number of critters captured by animal control officers at a Grapevine house before it was razed. Police said a married couple in their 60s provided food for the animals, which created a stench so strong it could be smelled down the street. Meow!
As a senior prank, Ian Walker delivered two boxes of marijuana bran muffins to the teachers’ lounge at Lake Highlands High School, saying they were part of an Eagle Scout project. Eighteen school employees ate the muffins, including 86-year-old receptionist Rita Greenfield, who ate two. The good news: the marijuana took the edge off the crank she’d smoked earlier.
Time remaining in overtime in game seven between the Mavericks and the Spurs when, during a timeout, coach Avery Johnson reached blindly behind him for a sub, waving his hand violently, and accidentally smacked a sensitive region belonging to Josh Howard, who could be seen doubling over in pain. Team bonding!
After the Mavericks lost game three of the NBA finals to the Heat in Miami, two groupies snuck past locker-room security and got into the shower with Mavs guard Marquis Daniels. Then they were thrown out. The good news: the girls had time to lather, rinse, and repeat.
He Can Top That
When police went to Dr. Paul Halebian’s northeast Dallas home to investigate complaints that he was running a makeshift pharmacy out of his house, they found marijuana plants growing in his backyard tall enough to be seen from the alleyway. Inside, police found evidence that Halebian had been inhaling nitrous oxide from whipped cream canisters. In fact, as police were talking to the doctor, he removed two such canisters from his pockets—but said he wasn’t sure how they’d gotten there. The good news: those were whipped cream canisters in his pocket, and he was happy to see them.
ABC Channel 8’s Brad Watson used four dolls dressed to look like the Texas gubernatorial candidates, without irony, to explain their poll numbers and campaign strategies, thus marking a new low point in Channel 8’s fall from local TV news supremacy. The good news: when Mary Ann Razzuk teased him about it at recess, Watson tattled to Kathy Clements and got her fired.
Robert Malley crashed his car on CF Hawn Freeway, knocking himself out. While he was unconscious, a crowd of 15 to 20 people robbed him. They stole his keys, iPod, and a pair of shoes. When paramedics arrived, Malley’s wallet was gone, and his pockets had been turned inside out. The good news: the idiots left a pound of saffron in the back seat.
The Hamburglar Strikes Again
Cowboys assistant coach Todd Haley filed a lawsuit seeking $1.7 million in damages after his wife and au pair found a dead rat in a salad they bought from a Southlake McDonald’s. The women ate part of the salad and said they became violently ill. The good news: the rat’s parents finally have closure.
Wiping Out Crime
Stacey Wychopen, a 12-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department, was fired after investigators found that she stole toilet paper on at least three occasions from her northeast patrol station. The good news: her co-workers were finally able to wipe.
Oak Cliff resident Eva Alejandro Peña alerted the media that a miraculous vision of the Virgin Mary had appeared in the bark of a tree in her yard. Eventually, she tired of all the attention and sold it on eBay for $5,000—even after Peña admitted her daughters had created the image by picking at the tree. The good news: a real apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared the following week in an area sopaipilla.
All Kitties Go to Heaven
In pleading guilty at his trial for animal cruelty, Ryan Coleman, 21, calmly testified that he tortured a cat for “a big laugh,” cutting off its ear while the animal was still alive and then setting it on fire. He ate the severed ear while a friend videotaped the incident. The good news: the cat’s paintings have tripled in value.
Pants on Fire, Hanging From a Telephone Wire
|D’Angelo Lee carries a croc wallet.
photography by Tom Fox/Dallas Morning News
Dallas school board trustee Ron Price
was caught lying in a commencement address to kids at Woodrow Wilson High School. He told them he’d served as president of the State Board of Education. Not only does the State Board of Education not have a president (“chairman” is the correct term), but Price had never served on it. The good news: nobody was awake to hear him.Naked Justice
is a former member of the Dallas City Plan Commission and a current target of the FBI’s City Hall investigation. At 3 am on a Sunday, he flagged down police officers on Harry Hines, outside Club Knubian Fantaciez, which features male strippers. Lee claimed that some men at the club—one naked, one wearing a towel—had tossed him out of the establishment and stolen his crocodile-skin wallet. At which point the cops arrested Lee on public intoxication charges. The good news: the scene at the Lew Sterrett drunk tank was off the hook.