We love Laura Miller. Really, we do.

Sure, she’s married to a rich asbestos attorney and lives in a Preston Hollow mansion, but Laura is still one of us. Once a reporter, always a reporter. We ink-stained wretches stick together, even after one of us stops swearing so much in public and gets herself elected mayor.

So, with our hearts overflowing as they are with such affection for her, it pains us to say it: Laura Miller is a big loser. How big a loser? Laura Miller is such a big loser that when she leaves office, she can become a podiatrist. Because she knows so much about defeat.

Thank you, Dallas!

Seriously, though, let’s review. An obscure attorney named Beth Ann Blackwood comes along with a brilliant plan to reform City Hall. Forget the City Council and its 14 different agendas. Let the people decide if the mayor should have some real power and actually run the joint—like every other major city in America. Blackwood gathers 30,000 signatures to put it to a vote. We’re here to tell you it would have passed.

First Laura is against Blackwood. Then she’s for it. Then she’s for it so vigorously that she takes Blackwood away from Blackwood. She even steals Blackwood’s PR firm. And Laura makes the strong-mayor vote about Laura. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Plus, she calls Terrell Bolton an “idiot” and refuses to apologize. Quadruple dumb.

The City Council says to the white businessmen on the Citizens Council, “This strong-mayor plan is too strong. Laura hates business. Help us get it defeated, and we’ll support a new and improved weak-strong-mayor referendum in November.” And the City Council says to the black voters, “Did you hear what Laura Miller called Terrell Bolton? You remember what she did to Al Lipscomb?”

In May, Laura is a big loser.

Then half the City Council gets raided by the FBI. Sweet vindication for gentle Laura! There is no way she can lose the weak-strong-mayor vote! Except the FBI raids the black half of the council. Dallas being Dallas, and Laura being Laura, some folks see the raids as a conspiracy. And then Laura inexplicably puts together a PowerPoint presentation trying to prove that Ray Hunt is Satan. The City Council says to the business community, “You see? We told you so.” And the City Council says to the black voters, “Laura works for the FBI. And don’t forget Al Lipscomb.”

And in November, Laura is a big loser. Again.

Laura is such a big loser that when we in the Best & Worst Department gathered to review the news and events from the previous year, she stood out. The guy who spread his own dried feces on pastries was certainly a loser. Not to mention the cheerleaders who pooped on a pizza. And, of course, we considered the priest who was accused of drunken driving and the cop who shot himself in the foot and the coach who bragged in an e-mail about making his classroom cold enough to keep the girls, um, alert. Oh, and Kenny Rogers! They’re all losers.

But we had to pick one. So this year, from the bottom of our heart, we’re giving Mayor Laura Miller the Biggest Loser Award. Finally, she’s won something.

Shooting Yourself in the Foot
BEST Fort Worth police captain Duane Paul got in trouble for kissing a married woman in his city-issued Crown Victoria. He was caught on videotape by the reality show Cheaters.
WORST Off-duty Dallas police officer James McEnturff was sitting in his own car in a parking garage, working a security job, when his gun accidentally went off. McEnturff shot himself in the foot.

Free-Throw Science
BEST Slate writer Daniel Engber suggested to Mavs owner Mark Cuban that fans could distract opposing players at the free-throw line by waving their arms in unison rather than randomly. Cuban tried the technique for three games in January, then gave it up, saying, “I think our early success was random.”
WORST At a Mavs game in February, a Raptors fan seated near the baseline threw his towel in the air whenever
Dallas shot a free throw. Mark Cuban talked with the fan at halftime and confiscated the towel. When told the Mavs shoot at the opposite basket in the second half, Cuban said, “I didn’t think of that.”

Angie Harmon’s Fertility
BEST On June 22, Angie Harmon and husband Jason Sehorn celebrated the birth to their second daughter, Avery Grace Sehorn.
WORST Angie Harmon co-starred in the short-lived and unwatchable TV show Inconceivable, playing “a maverick fertility doctor with a checkered past.” The show was canceled after only two episodes.

Body Count
BAD A corpse en route to a Shreveport funeral home spilled out of the back of a pickup at the merge of Hwy. 175 and I-45. Noon-hour drivers swerved to avoid the body, which was strapped to a gurney.
WORSE When a van was repossessed in Hurst, the bodies of three men were found inside. Williams Funeral Home, in Fort Worth, was supposed to have handled their cremations when the men died—in 2000.

Music and Menus
BEST Grapevine is the new Deep Ellum: a historical Texas home to good food, good music, and foot traffic. At the center of the action is Main Street Blues Room, owned by Monica Guzman, wife of former Rangers pitcher Jose, where Tuesday through Saturday, acts like Diunna Greenleaf and Larry Barnett are joined by dishes like pork tenderloin and chile cheese grits.
WORST The filing by Entertainment Collaborative (Green Room, Gypsy Tea Room, Trees) for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection signals the final throes in the long, slow death of Deep Ellum as a viable destination for dining, dancing, and entertainment.

Police Victim
BEST
 While Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle’s new M Streets-area house was still under construction, burglars broke in and made off with $5,000 in appliances, including an oven.
WORST Dallas police officer Jermaine Thompson made a traffic stop on a woman who had a suspended license. When he learned she worked at PT Gentlemen’s Club, he told her, “We may be able to work something out,” and asked to see her breasts, which he groped. Thompson was indicted, but his lawyer said his client was wrongly accused.

Drive-thru
BEST We have friends who waited 45 minutes in their car for a sack full of 2H-inch square burgers on steamed buns from Krystal Hamburgers when it opened in Carrollton. For anyone (of a certain age) who grew up in the South, Krystal’s was the place to finish up a night of partying.
WORST An out-of-control car drove through Brother’s Fried Chicken on Gaston, killing one diner and injuring an employee. The accident closed the restaurant, briefly cutting off the city’s best source for real fried chicken. Fortunately, Brother’s is back in business.

Measure of a Weatherman
BEST New ABC Channel 8 weatherman Pete Delkus used to pitch in the minor leagues. So when Debbie Denmon introduced him to viewers, she said, “Michael Rey wants to take you outside and see if he can hit your balls.”
WORST State Rep. Vicki Truitt (R-Keller) proposed a bill that would have made it illegal for weather forecasters to call themselves “meteorologists” unless they had a degree in atmospheric science. But she withdrew the bill after NBC Channel 5 meteorologist Rebecca Miller, who lives in Truitt’s district, was linked to it.

Affordable Housing
BEST When Katrina struck, Geraldine Robinson, a New Orleans native, took in 80 family members to her 2,000-square-foot Grand Prairie home. “God moved me out of New Orleans so they’d have a place to go,” she said.
WORST A developer wanted to build a low-income apartment complex in South Dallas, and State Rep. Terri Hodge (D-Dallas) supported the project. Then she accepted $32,000 in rent breaks from the developer without ever disclosing the deal.

QUOTE OF NOTE
“OK, so I may not be the greatest lover in the world. … [W]asn’t it Gloria Steinem who said that women have to be responsible for their own orgasms? Well, I take her at her word. I’ll do my best, OK, but at a certain point you’ve got to, like, you know ...” —OWEN WILSON, in Rolling Stone, addressing the rumors that he licked a lover’s buttocks for more than two hours

Computer Jock
BEST According to a survey from the American Society for Engineering Education, UTD gave more computer-science degrees to women than any other university in the country.
WORST Pilot Point football coach Mike Russell and assistant coach Darren Hall resigned after many of their randy e-mails, sent on school computers, became public. For instance, Hall told Russell he had the AC in his classroom “set at 66!!!!!! The girls don’t like it. The guys do!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Excited Boy Scouts
BEST Plano Boy Scout Troop 262 was hiking in Alaska when Alex Benson, 15, was mauled by a brown bear. His fellow Scouts shouted, “Bear! Bear! Bear!” and an adult fired a pistol (in the air) to scare off the beast. The Scouts stopped Benson’s bleeding using shirts as tourniquets. He made a full recovery.
WORST Douglas Smith Jr. worked for the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America for 39 years. He even led a task force protecting youths from sexual abuse. Then he pled guilty to federal child porn charges.

Future in Journalism
BEST Four DeSoto High School students and their advisor, Carol Richtsmeier, defied threats of censorship from the school board to expose the shady business practices of Project JAMS and its founder. The board had paid $65,000—but eventually canceled the contract—for the gang-activity assessment program.
WORST Until Waxahachie High School yearbook editors could identify a certain student in the National Honor Society group photo, they used a placeholder in the caption. The placeholder made it to print, and as a result, Shadoyia Jones, the only African-American in the photo, was identified as “Black Girl.”

Dancing Fool
BEST Cowboys owner Jerry Jones really got into the groove at a promotional event at Six Flags Over Texas.
WORST Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, during a game against the Suns, got excited and did a break-dancing move after running out onto the court, slipping, and falling down.

Rebirth of a Burger Joint
BEST Artist Barley Vogel renovated an old A-frame Whataburger into the Studio Arts building in Lake Highlands.
WORST The beloved Prince of Hamburgers on Lemmon Avenue, open since 1929, finally closed. The torn-down drive-thru will be replaced by retail development.

Football Player on the Run
BEST High school senior Will Murchison, grandson of the legendary Cowboys founder, rushed for 2,006 yards at Irving’s Cistercian Prep, setting the school’s season and single-game rushing records, and leading the Hawks to their first undefeated campaign in school history.
WORST Receiver Brandon Jackson made national news when he took the practice field at Lancaster High School wearing an ankle monitor. The senior had been arrested and was facing six counts of aggravated robbery. (In fact, he had admitted to shooting one of the
victims.)

Waitress Wear
BEST
 We’re glad Lawry’s the Prime Rib has finally thrown away its trademark over-starched waitress outfits. Now waitresses wear full-sleeved peasant shirts topped with gold vests, black slacks instead of flared skirts, and leather blacksmith aprons. 
WORST Twin Peaks, a new restaurant from the folks who own Rockfish, is taking the low road to crowd appeal. “Our Twin Peaks girls are outfitted for success,” says the promo for the restaurant. Waitress uniforms were designed by Terra Watson (a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader) and consist of hiking boots, khaki short shorts, and plaid shirts tied above waist.

T-shirt Marketing
BEST
 In the early ’80s, Grapevine’s Randall Sowa and his friend Phil Goettl made and sold obscure t-shirts. After the lead character in Napoleon Dynamite was seen sporting the helicopter-over-a-snowy-mountain design, the shirt—available at noridershirts.com—became pretty much the best selling shirt, like, ever.
WORST A representative of Charro King told news reporters their Oak Cliff-themed t-shirt design was supposed to be funny and controversial. Residents of the area didn’t see the humor. The shirts depicted a stick figure with a gun in one hand and a body in the other, about to place said body in the opened trunk of a car. The caption? “Welcome to Oak Cliff.”

Way to Get Collared
BEST Matthew Porter was playing Frisbee golf with two friends in a Grapevine park when a cop, investigating an odd smell, asked them for ID. Porter’s black Lab, J.D., waded into a nearby creek and retrieved Porter’s bag of marijuana for the cop.
WORST In Cedar Hill, the Rev. T. Mike Dugan ran his Kia into a pickup, causing a chain reaction with two other cars. Dugan asked if everyone was okay, then sped off, hitting a Mercedes. When police arrested him, he said he’d had three glasses of wine with dinner.

Amateur Musician
BEST During U2’s first encore, lead singer Bono pulled Arlington native Sunjay Devarajan, 19, onstage at American Airlines Center. Devarajan, an amateur guitarist who had brandished a poster with chord progressions, played “Angel of Harlem” with the band.
WORST Mesquite high school student Brock Anthony Coleman was arrested and indicted on felony stalking charges after writing rap lyrics about a classmate. Sample lyrics: “We used to ride, smoke, and get high/ Now watch this mother-f----er die.”

Props for Local Cuisine
BEST In 1971, Mariano Martinez poured tequila, ice, and margarita mix into a soft-serve ice cream machine and thereby invented the frozen margarita at Mariano’s restaurant on Greenville Avenue in Old Town. As of this year, the machine rests at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
WORST A local Dallas foodie contacted Zagat Survey to find out why they didn’t publish a Dallas edition. The reply? “At this time we do not offer an up-to-date guide for Dallas because for the most part your cuisine is limited to country cooking and barbecue and that doesn’t live up to our standards.”

QUOTE OF NOTE
“It’s not a buyout vote. It’s a friend’s car—a car I earned the right to drive.” —Dallas City Councilman DON HILL, explaining why he was driving a BMW that didn’t belong to him

Vigilantes
BEST In an effort to quell the high crime rate in Dallas, the New York-based Guardian Angels patrolled the streets of Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville.
WORST Matt Mihsen of Sansom Park told customs agents in Detroit he was headed to the Middle East to investigate an illegal uranium sale by extremists and to collect the $25 million bounty for info leading to Osama Bin Laden’s capture. Mihsen had $13,756 in cash, a stun gun, 40 rounds of ammo, a bulletproof vest, and three Geiger counters in his luggage.

Portrayal of an Attorney
BEST Luke Wilson asked Dallas attorney Steve Stodghill to play an attorney in The Wendell Baker Story, a movie Wilson starred in, wrote, and co-directed with his brother Andrew.
WORST For months, paralegal John Dejean acted as an attorney at the Dallas County courthouse and may have caused a “client” to be charged with capital murder.

Reading a Map
BEST Dr. Brian J.L. Berry, the dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, won the 2005 Vautrin Lud prize, the world’s top honor for geographers.
WORST T-shirts promoting the O’Reilly 300 Busch Series race mistakenly placed the Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas, not Fort Worth. Urged by Fort Worth City Councilman Jim Lane, race fans complained to O’Reilly, and the auto-parts company recalled the t-shirts at a loss of about $10,000.

Bat Man
BEST Michael Young became the second Ranger and only the fifth shortstop to win the AL batting title, finishing the season at .331, with 221 hits.
WORST When the Boy Scouts erected three bat houses in a North Dallas park (to eat mosquitoes), Councilman Mitchell Rasansky (left) freaked out and blamed Count Dracula. He refused to visit the park, saying, “Am I supposed to take a wooden stake and a cross over there?”

Cookware
BEST For the first time in six years, the SMU Mustangs football team beat cross-town rival TCU Horned Frogs to capture the Iron Skillet.
WORST As an apparent favor to the Lone Star Dutch Oven Society lobbying group, Rep. Jesse Jones (D-Dallas) sponsored the House version of a bill to make the Dutch oven the Official State Cooking Implement. The bill passed.

Chicken-fried Glory
BEST Ciudad executive chef Joanne Bondy keeps tweaking her menu. Now, besides a new taco bar, she’s introduced a Mexican-esque version of chicken-fried steak smothered in outrageous tomatillo country gravy spiked with jalapeños and poblanos. It’s thin and crispy and worth every dang calorie.
WORST One of Dallas’ original chicken-fried steak destination restaurants, Gennie’s Bishop Grill was an institution in the now-burgeoning Bishop Arts district in Oak Cliff. Sadly, the venerated home-cooking haven shut its doors after 34 years of serving vegetables cooked in bacon grease (or smothered in cheese), oversize dinner rolls, Texas tea, and its famous home-style peanut butter pie.

QUOTE OF NOTE
“Jessica never tries to be sexy. She just is sexy. If you put her in a t-shirt or you put her in a bustier, she’s sexy in both. She’s got double Ds! You can’t cover those suckers up.”  —JOE SIMPSON, about his eldest daughter, in GQ

Literary Effort
BEST Hockaday’s literary magazine, The Vibrato, beat out more than 60 entries to win the Pacemaker Award, often referred to as the Pulitzer Prize of student journalism.
WORST Beth Ann Blackwood’s proposal for a strong-mayor form of government in May confused many voters: it was 1,071 words long. City Attorney Madeleine Johnson insisted every word was needed.

Chef Move
BEST We never really “got” why talented chef David Holben left the city limits for a fledgling steakhouse in Rockwall. But he did transform Culpepper into a destination restaurant, so it didn’t take long for Dallas Restaurateur of the Year Dee Lincoln to lasso Holben into her kitchen at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Far North Dallas.
WORST We love Oceanaire. Fresh fish is flown in daily, and the oyster selection is the best in town. Who would leave this classy place to chef at yet another steak and chop house in North Dallas? Brian Dietz, that’s who. Dietz left for Boots and Brix and now heads the kitchen at the Richardson Hotel. Sounds like an offer he should have refused.

Professor Willie
BEST
 UT Southwestern’s Dr. Eric Olson is the first to hold the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research. The Nelsons helped raise $250,000 for the stem-cell program.
WORST Dr. Ryan Burns, a TCU professor and famed cyber-sex researcher, lost his job after it was revealed he kept sexually explicit photos of his ex-girlfriend on his office computer, and, according to the ex, threatened to post the compromising shots on the web.

BILL OF FIGHTS: Nobody puts Tuna in the corner.
Unsanctioned Sports Fight
BEST Mavericks swingman Jerry Stackhouse took his argument with Utah Jazz guard Kirk Snyder off the court and into the tunnel. The two really got after it, eventually rolling on the pavement. Snyder emerged bloodied. 
WORST In the fourth quarter of the Seattle loss, a questionable call got Cowboys receiver coach Todd Haley riled up. To settle Haley down, Bill Parcells hit him with a sorry, backhanded sissy punch.

Discriminating Tastes
BEST According to a sex discrimination lawsuit against Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe, the Irving-based chain fired and refused to hire male bartenders to ensure a ratio of 80 percent females to 20 percent males on the drink-pouring staff.
WORST A Dallas jury awarded Garlan Cunningham, a 63-year-old and 29-year employee of Richeson Management, nearly $1 million, ruling that owner Doris Richeson, 72, discriminated against Cunningham for being “in the saddle too long,” as a Richeson e-mail stated.

911 Response
BEST On his way to a patrol briefing, Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle himself responded to a 911 call when a sanitation worker was being held at gunpoint.
WORST When the Watauga mother of an out-of-control 12-year-old girl called 911, dispatcher Mike Forbess joked, “Okay. Do you want us to come over and shoot her?”

Home-style Pastries
BEST Central Market’s pastry chefs flew to New York to take an intensive pastry course and came back with recipes for old-fashioned, home-style desserts like red velvet cake and Boston cream pie. Mother would be proud.
WORST A disgruntled cabdriver, Behrouz Nahidmobarekeh, was arrested after he microwaved his own feces at home, grated them with a cheese grater, and scattered them over a display of pastries in a Fiesta grocery store.

QUOTE OF NOTE
“I have never used steroids, period.” —RAFAEL PALMEIRO in March testimony at a house hearing on performance-enhancing drugs. Six weeks later, Palmeiro tested positive for steroids.

eBay Windfall
BEST  When John White of McKinney looked at his bowl of Frosted Flakes, he thought, That is one big flake. Indeed, one of the flakes measured 2 by 3 inches. So White listed it on eBay. The thing fetched him $156.
WORST Marcia Hookie, president of Collin County’s largest foster parent group, received clothes, bedding, and toys for needy children. She took the donations, sold them on eBay, and made $200 before the DMN asked her about it. She denied then copped to the charges.

Blackened Catfish Revival
BEST Catfish Plantation in Waxahachie, the supposedly haunted 1895 Victorian home-turned-restaurant that burned in 2003, was rebuilt this year and is fully operational again, in every respect, from fried dill pickles to harmless ghosts.
WORST After nearly 20 years of serving authentic bowls of red beans and rice, po-boys, and a mean crawfish étouffée, the Crescent City Cafe in Deep Ellum closed its doors. Now where do we go for a plate of hot beignets?

White House Culinary Decisions
BEST President Bush appointed Dallas caterer and barbecue king Eddie Deen to man the pits at hoedowns in Crawford. As a result, Deen concocted and bottled his own “Western White House Bar-B-Q Sauce.” If you’re not on the A-list that receives the sauce as a Bush party favor, you can order it online at www.eddiedean.com.
WORST First Lady Laura Bush loves the Mercury Grill. When the White House chef position was vacant, her reps called executive chef Chris Ward, who made three trips to Washington to try out for the job. She eventually promoted the White House sous chef.

Exploitation of a Notorious Personality
BEST Lee Harvey’s clientele isn’t limited to in-the-know hipsters who know better than to don pink pillbox hats. This South Dallas bar serves great burgers, panini, and a variety happy hour snacks, including vegetarian options.
WORST Che, a nightclub and restaurant, is named after Che Guevara. The décor is Buenos Aires bistro, the cuisine is Nuevo Latino, and the idea is just plain weird to anyone who actually knows Che was a Marxist Guerilla who helped lead the Cuban Revolution and later got himself killed in Bolivia. Hardly the kind of party we were looking for.

Joke That Bombed
BEST Angie Barrett’s reality show, Grin and Barrett, filmed a June segment at a local Pollo Campero. The manager made a passing reference to a single-breast chicken order, and Barrett interrupted him and said, “Oh, is that a Betty Ford special?”
WORST Sam Johnson, former fighter pilot and current U.S. Representative (R-Plano), told an audience at a pancake breakfast in Allen that the best way to fix U.S-Syrian relations was to nuke Syria. “I was kind of joking,” he said later.

Table in Town
BEST The sexiest spot in Dallas dining is the 10-top table in the wine room tucked in the back of Avner Samuel’s Aurora. The golden glow of candlelight bounces off warm redwood wine bins holding more than 3,000 bottles. Music is separately controlled, and the china is Versace.
WORST The upstairs patio at Tex-Asian restaurant Fuse is great. But the downstairs in the refurbished Dallas Power & Light Building is limited to two-tops and four-tops. That meant our party of five was shoehorned into a table wedged between the elevators and the open curtain to the kitchen. At least we weren’t at one of the three tables jammed into an abandoned elevator shaft.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment
BEST
 After Highland Park’s Rocky Anderson, 24, pleaded guilty to intoxication manslaughter, the jury gave him probation but District Judge Vickers Cunningham thought it too easy. So he sentenced Anderson to 180 days in jail, to be served over a 10-year period during which Anderson would sit behind bars Christmas through New Year’s, and on the nine days around the birthday of the 10-year-old he killed while drunk.
WORST State District Judge Lauri Blake, upset with a 17-year-old drug offender, forbade the girl from having sex as a condition of her probation. In the past, Blake has prohibited tattoos, body piercings, earrings, and clothing “associated with the drug culture” as conditions of probation.
 
Reputation Resuscitation
BEST Stephan Pyles surfaces yet again. After the dizzying successes and closings of famous restaurants like Routh Street Cafe, Baby Routh, Star Canyon, AquaKnox, and a couple of Las Vegas disasters, Pyles is back with an eponymous restaurant that’s all about him.
WORST Sipango changes its concept more often than Paris Hilton changes her clothes. Owner Ron Corcoran recently closed and announced another concept change in the works. Here’s a concept: give up and do something else.

Political Metaphor
BEST
Former City Council member Al Lipscomb blessed Councilman James Fantroy as his successor four years ago, only to run against him this year. In March, Fantroy said of his opponent and former friend: “I’m going to beat him like an old country mule.” And he did.
WORST Al Lipscomb appeared before the council in January, disgusted with the strong-mayor proposal and Mayor Laura Miller. Then he took it too far. “Even the Holocaust started somewhere,” Lipscomb said. “Hitler—he was one man obsessed with the need of more power. A power-crazed brute.”

Name Change
BEST We can only guess that owner Khanh Dao got tired of answering the phone for people looking for tickets to Drálion, a much-advertised Cirque du Soleil production. So this year she added an “e” to Draelion, the name of her Asian restaurant on Oak Lawn.
WORST Fonda San Miguel has a 30-year history of serving some of the best Mexican food in Austin. But the snooty owners tried to force Dallas’ newly opened Cafe San Miguel, an inspired Latin cuisine restaurant on Henderson Avenue, to get a name change, lest anyone think they would open a restaurant in Dallas.

Thrill of the Hunt
BEST Federal authorities slapped a $120,000 fine on an East Texas ranch owned by the family trust of Edwin L. Cox Sr., after whom SMU’s business school is named. The fine was imposed because Edwin L. Cox Jr., a former chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, had used bait to lure ducks to the ranch.
WORST Rep. Todd Smith (R-Euless) filed a bill in January to outlaw the hunting of real-life exotic game over the Internet. Despite overwhelming support for the bill, the San Antonio operator of live-shot.com, whose ranch held the game, had the last laugh. The bill failed to pass.

Swordplay
BEST In May, Waxahachie’s Glenn Whittington, 52, drove his Rolls-Royce onto the Kennedy Memorial, refused to drop his two 3.5-foot, Civil War-era replica swords, and urged police to shoot him. They did—with a taser gun. Whittington was later released from a psychiatric ward.
WORST Teddy Parman, 54, stabbed his roommate Terry Dopp, 50, in the chest with a steak knife. Dopp later died and Parman told police, “I hate that I had to do that to my roommate. I love him.”

Pizza Pizzazz
BEST
 The wood oven-baked crust of the Triple ’Roni pizza at Fireside Pies is topped with homegrown basil, Dallas-made cheese, and fat-laden pepperoni drizzled in truffle oil. No gimmicks. Just pizza worth waiting for.
WORST Dallas-based Pizza Hut used 600 pounds of dough, 100 pounds of sauce, and 900 pounds of cheese to make a pizza 25 feet in diameter to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their deep-dish pizza. The stunt pie was too big to eat, but employees tried pizza moshing when they found they couldn’t nosh.

Restaurant Real Estate
BEST Baby Doe’s Matchless Mine closed to reopen in the summer of 2006 as a completely redesigned restaurant with a 3,000-square-foot cocktail deck overlooking downtown Dallas. Planned to open in conjunction with Victory, the restaurant is finally using its golden real estate to its advantage.
WORST We’d grown to love EZ’s, the kid-friendly burger joint that served wine. In March, EZ’s was 86’ed, replaced by a 7-Eleven, right next-door to a preexisting 7-Eleven. (Southland Corporation owns the property EZ’s was on but not the site of the convenience store.)

QUOTE OF NOTE
“Now is the time for some good white man to come in defense of this good white woman!” —Commissioner JOHN WILEY PRICE, in support of embattled Judge MARGARET KELIHER, in a letter to the editor in the Dallas Morning News

Suspicious Stench
BEST DMN society columnist Alan Peppard found the source of the stench at a house-warming party thrown by HP’s Lyn and John Muse: cooling misters sprayed Dallas water instead of the city’s usual supply, after a nontoxic foaming agent got into the Park Cities treatment plant.
WORST Keller High School cheerleaders told school officials that a pizza sent to them by rival Fossil Ridge High had human feces on it. Turns out, the Keller cheerleaders had put the feces on it themselves then blamed Fossil Ridge. A district board member said it was “a single incident of children who used very poor judgment.”

Watching the Bottom Line
BEST
 Collin County commissioners revised the “furniture standardization policy” for the county, preventing workers from ordering $900 ergonomic chairs without a doctor’s note. They decided the standard $250 desk chairs would otherwise suffice.
WORST After ABC Channel 8 reviewed travel and cell phone expenses by trustees at the Dallas Independent School District, the district set about to revise travel guidelines and its cell phone plan. Ron Price, the most egregious example, had racked up more than $50,000 in bills in three years.

Honoring Triplets
BEST Dallas Cowboy greats Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith were inducted into the Ring of Honor on the same day, the first time three Cowboys have been thusly honored at one time.
WORST Dr. Phil scion Jay McGraw, proposed to Playboy playmate Erica Dahm, one of the Dahm triplets, in Dallas in August. McGraw designed the 5-carat ring himself.

Relic Return
BEST One flag survived the 1836 Battle of the Alamo. Mexican officials said they’d lost it a decade ago. But they hadn’t. A DMN reporter found it on display in March at Mexico’s National History Museum.
WORST An unidentified man stole an Elvis Presley shirt the singer wore in the ’70s on display at the Texas State Fair. Then, two days later, the man felt guilty and called the Dallas Historical Society to return the shirt. The shirt’s owner, Bud Glass, an Elvis collector, said he wouldn’t press charges.

Handling a Wild Pitcher
BEST
 Former Rangers pitcher Ken Hill now manages a little league team, and at a game in Southlake, he flew into an “uncontrollable rage.” But a brave unidentified man was able to restrain Hill by riding his leg.
WORST When Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers went berserk before a game, Fox Channel 4 cameraman Larry Rodriguez didn’t even try to put up a fight.

Katrina Dogcatcher
BEST
 Dallas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens paid $50,000 to fly 80 dogs and 20 cats on a chartered jet from hurricane-ravaged New Orleans to safety in California.
WORST The Morning News ran a picture of “Oily,” a shaggy stray in Chalmette, LA, and so many worried readers called in that editors sent the photographer to find the dog again. The paper ran a follow-up story on Oily’s rescue—only readers noticed it wasn’t the same dog.


Photos: Kunkle: Brad Loper/Dallas Morning News; Parcells: Andrew P. Scott/Dallas Morning News

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Harriet Miers’ Coming Out Party
When President George W. Bush nominated his White House Counsel, former Dallas City Council member Harriet Miers, to the Supreme Court, he surprised political leaders on both sides of the aisle. Herewith, the rise and (mostly) fall of Harriet Miers, from the people who loved and (mostly) hated her:

“I’m proud to announce that I’m nominating Harriet Ellen Miers to serve as associate justice of the Supreme Court. ... Harriet Miers will strictly interpret our Constitution and laws. She will not legislate from the bench.” —PRESIDENT BUSH (October 3)

“There’s no way this woman is qualified for the United States Supreme Court.” —conservative commentator PAT BUCHANAN (October 4)

“This is not a good enough choice.” —former Bush speechwriter DAVID FRUM (October 5)

“The president nominates people based on their qualifications.” 
—White House spokeswoman ERIN HEALY (October 9)

Nearly half of Republican senators have expressed doubts about the nomination of Miss Miers, reflecting concerns held by some conservatives about her murky record.” —THE WASHINGTON TIMES (October 11)

“They want to know Harriet Miers’ background. ... And part of Harriet Miers’ life is her religion.” —PRESIDENT BUSH (October 12)

“Groups and leaders cannot say religion is off-limits during the Roberts confirmation and then promote religion during the Miers confirmation for the sole purpose of political gain.” —REV. PATRICK J. MAHONEY, director, Christian Defense Coalition (October 12)

We need an exit strategy from this debacle. I have it. ... There is no way that any president would release ... ‘policy documents’ and ‘legal analysis.’ ... The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege. ... Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive’s prerogatives.” —Washington Post columnist CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER (October 21)

I write to withdraw as a nominee. ... As you know, members of the Senate have indicated their intention to seek documents about my service in the White House in order to judge whether to support me. ... I have steadfastly maintained that the independence of the Executive Branch be preserved.”
—HARRIET MIERS, in a letter to Bush (October 27)

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How Not to Commit a Crime

Don’t die: Police believe Monty Jackson suffered a fatal heart attack as the 44-year-old man stole engine blocks from a remanufactured engine company in Arlington.

Don’t be careless with your cargo: Nicolas Gonzalez Jr. and Domingo Rios Garcia were arrested in Greenville after 50 pounds of cocaine fell out of their trailer as the duo drove on Hwy. 69. Police later found 270 pounds of drugs in a hidden compartment on the trailer.

Don’t advertise stolen goods on eBay: According to federal authorities, Cory Paris and Cassandra Clements took pictures of high-end bicycles from Wheels in Motion just days before the bikes were stolen. The couple then used those photos to fence the stolen goods, until an employee recognized them and alerted the police. Authorities believe the couple is responsible for more than $230,000 in stolen property from Dallas, Denton, Flower Mound, and a few Kansas cities.

Don’t leave your wallet: Police in Euless had a good lead after a man pepper sprayed a QuikServe clerk and stole about $200: Joseph Fahnbulleh, the robbery suspect, fled but had left his wallet on the counter.

Don’t have a crappy getaway car: A 44-year-old man tried to steal about $600 in home electronics. He then hopped into a stolen $130,000 Mack cement mixer. Witnesses followed him for a few blocks before police were able to arrest him.