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Garth Brooks, Just Being Himself, Stars at ACM Fundraising Gala

The Academy of Country Music’s first Lifting Lives Gala, held Friday night at the Omni Dallas Hotel, was all about Garth Brooks, the monster-selling country singer/songwriter who once “retired” from the business to be a stay-at-home dad. The Oklahoma native returned to recording and touring worldwide in 2014, many years after scoring big hits with hard-country classics like “Friends in Low Places,” “Beaches of Cheyenne,” and “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old).” In recognition of his return he’s a nominee for Entertainer of the Year at Sunday’s 50th anniversary ACM Awards at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium.

The Omni bash, which benefited Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation and so-called Child Life Zones at two local hospitals, at times seemed more like a tribute to Brooks, who’s rejoined the music game at a time when the generic “bro-country” sound dominates mainstream country radio. In contrast to those mindless, pop/electronic paeans to beer, tailgates, and girls in cut-off jeans, Brooks’ songs sound downright epic, dealing with time-honored country themes like rodeo and don’t-give-a-s*** mavericks with the cojones to confront an ex at a pretentious black-tie soiree.

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What Can We Learn About the Trinity River Project From Yesterday’s Dallas City Council Meeting?

Purely as a piece of political theater, yesterday’s Dallas City Council meeting had something for everyone. There were surprising plot twists, contentious debates, great dialogue, and even moments of hilarious buffoonery. What started as a presentation of the plan the mayor’s urban design “Dream Team” created for the Trinity River morphed into a workshopping of byzantine parliamentary procedure.

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The Dallas Zoo’s Harrison Edell Talks Giraffe Birth and Kilts on D Magazine Podcast

We were all a little disappointed that Harrison Edell, the senior director of living collections at the Dallas Zoo, didn’t show up at the Old Monk yesterday with a lemur on his back, or a falcon on his arm, or a tarantula atop his head, or toting some manor of fauna. Instead he was merely a mightily entertaining interview subject on the latest EarBurner podcast.

A couple of corrections/clarifications for this week’s show, which also features impressions of Dallas City Council members Vonciel Hill Jones, Sheffie Kadane, and Tennell Atkins:

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Things To Do In Dallas This Weekend: 04/17-04/19

Let’s not waste a lot of time here today. I’m sure we’ve all got a lot of work to finish before we get to these awesome things things to do this weekend. You’re on a mission from God, should you choose to accept it, and it is to do these dozen things the second the clock hits 5 today. Good luck.

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Is Dallas Too Prude To Handle the Phrase ‘Balls in a Vise’?

Yesterday’s City Council meeting provided the citizens of Dallas with some entertaining moments. It would have been nice if we’d also gotten sound policy-making and good governance. But whatever. We’ll take the lulz. Mayor Rawlings got things going early, when he cautioned the Council about posing difficult questions to City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, who’d only been able to study the Beasley plan for a day. The mayor said he didn’t want council members trying to “stump the dummy.” That got some laughs.

But the best line of the day came from Councilman Lee Kleinman, who didn’t much care for a tricky move made by Councilman Philip Kingston.

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Quick Recap of Yesterday’s Council Meeting

You’re probably a very busy person doing very busy person things. You probably weren’t able to devote the time and attention to yesterday’s meeting regarding the Trinity parkway/toll road/albatross/never-ending story. Short version: the council is forming a committee to see if the city can maybe someday possibly at least a little bit incorporate at least some of what Scott Griggs has now named The Beasley Plan. That committee is stacked with toll road supporters and led by a toll road supporter.

Short version of that:

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Leading Off (4/17/15)

Trinity Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Is Quickly Sedated. Despite Tuesday’s declarations by consultants whom toll road proponents themselves commissioned  — namely that there’s no good reason for putting a highway through a potentially great park — support on the Dallas City Council for the federally-approved design known as Alternative 3C seems not to have softened. At a long work session on Thursday afternoon, toll road opponents moved to drop the massive project entirely and to seek federal approval instead for a low-speed, meandering road whose primary purpose would be to provide access to the adjacent park (just what Mayor Mike Rawlings’ dream team recommended.) But that proposal was roundly rejected, 10-4, and instead the same majority voted to proceed with planning for 3C. There was also an attempt by Councilman Philip Kingston to call a vote that would have forced each member to declare his or her support for (or opposition to) 3C. This irritated toll road proponents, who maneuvered around it with their own amendment to Kingston’s proposed amendment. Rawlings made another of his public pronouncements (about the Dream Team proposal) designed to sound like he’s keeping an open mind: “We have just met this beautiful, in my case, lady, and I’m not ready to get married today.” But he then seemed to show his cards when he put Vonciel Jones Hill — whose dedication to plopping a mega-highway next to the river is unwavering — in charge of seeking public input on the proposals under consideration. “It’s like putting the fox in charge of the hen house,” said former councilwoman Angela Hunt. Reminder: May 9 is Election Day.

 A Lot of Words About Dez Bryant. He recently fired one advisor, who had close ties to the Dallas Cowboys, and engaged the services of another management company. What does this mean for Bryant’s relationship with the team, which is still waiting for him to sign his contract for next season? Yeah, that’s the question.

Man Detained For Watauga Abduction Attempt. Police have found a person of interest in the failed kidnapping Mike mentioned in Wednesday’s “Leading Off.”

Sex Offender Escapes Fort Worth Halfway House. Charles Sprague is suspected in a kidnapping and robbery in North Richland Hills on Wednesday. He’s been added to the Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list.

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SAGA Pod: Jim Schutze on Trinity Toll Roads New and Old; Also, DISD

It’s SAGA Pod After Dark! We stop by Schutze Manor to discuss the Trinity Toll Road, the Mayor, the people who really run this city, the group trying to get the Toll Road done at any cost, the Dream Team plan and more traffic noise. Then we go over the latest non-scandal scandals in DISD and wonder if the Bad Guys have finally won. Also, you can find it on iTunes here. As always, please listen with your ears.

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Dear Dallas City Council: Please Learn from the Trinity Mistakes of the Past

Today at 1 p.m. the Dallas City Council will convene a special meeting to discuss the latest plans for the Trinity River Project. The plans were developed by the mayor’s so-called “Dream Team” task force, a group of some of the best urban thinkers in North America who revealed a vision Tuesday of a “gracious and harmonious parkway” for the Trinity.

On the agenda is a resolution that will create “a team, including regional and State agencies and professionals, from appropriate disciplines, to determine any actions that would be necessary to implement the findings of the Trinity Design Charrette.”

There is every reason to believe that that group will not be able to realize the Dream Team’s vision because of the reality of the funding, flood control, and environmental requirements already written into the DNA of the Trinity River Project as it is conceived today.

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Grapevine High Students Apologize For Racist Rap

It’s a pretty awful string a words out of the mouth of a dumb Grapevine High School student, recorded two years ago, as the Daily Kos reports:

Two white female students at Grapevine High School in Grapevine, Texas recorded and released a song with dangerous and offensive lyrics about black, Latino, and Asian-American students. As the anger boils out of control in the school, the staff was forced to send the email below to parents.

Here’s the NSFW audio:

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Brett Shipp E-Mail Suggests He Reports DISD Stories With a ‘Miles Is Evil’ Mindset

On Learning Curve, I have a post that mentions Schutze once again criticizing Brett Shipp for his willingness to believe anything bad about the DISD administration and Mike Miles. I’ve written about this many times. But I just thought it would be helpful to let Shipp respond, in his own words, about why he does these things: Because in his mind, Mike Miles is evil.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. But look at the potboiler language he uses and tell me he doesn’t at least see Miles as a cartoon villain.

Below is an email response Shipp sent to a 20-plus-year WFAA viewer. This person […]

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A D Magazine Guess-tigation: Is Mayor Rawlings Actually a 12-Year-Old Trapped In An Older Man’s Body, Just Like In Big or Vice Versa or Like Father Like Son?

I posed the question in the headline this morning in Leading Off, but after doing so, I started to worry if I’d given enough supporting evidence for my hypothesis. Could I base my entire conclusion on one “holy smokes” quote? Well, sure. I could. But …

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