Is the coast clear?

The James Bond Award to a Japanese businessman who recently left Houston to take a new job in his native country. To friends and acquaintances, he supplied his new direct phone number, but warned, The phone will only be activated when the caller says, You have a paint job (9 to 5) or You have a golf game (24 hours). I await your call.

The Plain English Award to Faroudja Inc. The Silicon Valley company announced two new processors in a news release that told us: A new YPrPb output allows the DVP3000 and DVP3000U to connect to the growing number of entry-level HDTV-ready sets in which an RGB output may not be compatible. New direct access infrared control software optimizes the models for use in theater or A/V installations employing IR-based control systems. RS232 serial computer control is also included.

Our Stupid Lawyer Trick Award to the attorneys for the Galleria. In a letter castigating me for my use of the term the Galleria area they warned they had sued or settled with numerous companies that used the Galleria in their name, adding ominously that many had gone out of business. In the future, they suggested, that I – or you – eschew that term and instead refer to the area around the Galleria, the neighborhood surrounding the Galleria, near the Galleria or perhaps something like two blocks north of the Galleria.

The What About Those Who Dip and Chew Award to SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, which announces it is sponsoring the NicoDerm CQ-Nicorette Ford Reynard race car at the annual Malboro Grand Prix of Miami.

From reader Mary Lamb. How do you know youve joined a cheap HMO? The only 100 percent covered expense is embalming.

Copied from Houston Chronicle Columnist, Jim Barlow

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