Q Who is Max Pageant?
A Ah, the Phantom Graffitist. We don’t know. He’s not in the phone book, though his name can be seen on the Greenville overpass from Northwest Highway and several other places around town. The Dallas Police Department doesn’t know who he is, but they’d like to. Seems if they catch him he’s probably guilty of a class A misdemeanor, defacing public property. Max, if you’re reading this, you’re in trouble. Better cut it out.
Q Some restaurants have such an outrageous mark-up on wines that I’ve been tempted to take my own with me. Can I do so?
A Aside from the fact that the restaura-teur wouldn’t like it and the waiter would probably spill soup in your lap, it’s illegal. According to James Gilmore of the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission, customers can’t bring their own to any so-called “open saloon” or to any private club serving mixed drinks. If a place is licensed to serve beer and wine only, however, you can still brown-bag it.
Q On a Sunday during our recent snowfall I stopped by a Safeway store to buy a pair of warm gloves, but was told they couldn’t be sold on Sunday. When I moved here from Connecticut I thought I had left blue laws (and snow) behind. What’s the story?
A The Safeway could have sold the gloves on Saturday or Sunday, but not both, according to Article 9001 of the Texas Civil Statutes. The law prohibits the Sabbath sale of clothing, musical instruments, mattresses, mirrors, lawn mowers, and much more. (“Items used for funeral or burial purposes” may be sold any time, so you might have bought black gloves.) A motion to repeal the statute is introduced in almost every session of the legislature, but it always dies in committee. Gibson’s Discount Stores appealed a conviction to the Texas Supreme Court two years ago. but the court held the law was constitutional, opining that the legislature had the right to maintain “the prevailing custom of people doing their serious shopping for clothing, furniture, automobiles, household and office appliances, and hardware on weekdays.” The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
Q I just got called for jury duty for the second time in a year. What’s going on?
A The computers don’t like you. Juries are selected completely at random. For all but municipal cases, the voter registration list current for August is fed to a computer that selects 1400 people each month for jury duty. For municipal cases a computer makes a list of 20,000 names from the property tax rolls. This list is kept till all the names have been used, so your chances of being called twice for municipal court duty are very slight. A system to update the voter registration list monthly is now in the works. Meantime consider yourself a statistical phenomenon.
Q There’s been a lot of talk lately about “Who’s #1” in professional tennis. Will the “Big Three” (Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, and Guillermo Vilas) all be playing in the WCT Finals in Dallas in May to help settle the question of #1?
A WCT finalists are determined on a cumulative point basis, points earned in prior sanctioned WCT tournaments. At this stage, according to WCT officials, it appears that Borg will almost certainly be one of the eight finalists, and that Vilas (because of a few WCT tournament commitments) almost certainly will not be playing in Dallas. Connors is a big maybe – he rarely makes tournament commitments until the last minute: and though it seems likely that he would return to Dallas to defend his crown, with Jimmy you just never know.