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Making Dallas Even Better

Things To Do In Dallas: The Texas-OU Weekend Edition

As you may know, a certain football game will take place at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. Kickoff is at 11 am, which seems like an absurd and reckless bit of scheduling considering how many Longhorns and Sooners fans are going to treat this as an excuse to start drinking at dawn. In other “sports scheduling I don’t understand” news, Texas and Toronto play some postseason baseball in about five minutes. The Rangers return home to the “strip-mall wormhole” on Sunday, and play at a reasonable time. What I suspect will be a bloodbath at Jerry World — with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick hacking away at a depleted Weeden-era Cowboys squad — is scheduled for 3:30 pm Sunday.

For you nerds who don’t want anything to do with this sports business — if you have time in between your regularly scheduled swirlies — there’s a lot of music, theater, and art to look forward to this weekend.

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Podcast: Sarah Jaffe on Dallas Music, Writing For Eminem, and Farming

The “Willy Wonka of Dallas music,” singer/songwriter/pop-folk-alt-rock-hip-hop-confectioner Sarah Jaffe stopped by the Old Monk (her first visit ever to that establishment) to chat with Zac Crain and “T-Bar” Rogers about how a hook she wrote in her driveway ended up on an Eminem record, what she and her touring band listen to on the bus (Radiolab), and how much she looks up to her farmer sister.

Now, a few helpful notes:

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Leading Off (10/9/15)

Suit to Seek Susan Hawk’s Removal. Fired Dallas County District Attorney’s Office employee Cindy Stormer is pursuing a removal petition against Hawk, alleging mismanagement and misuse of public money.

Rangers Aim to Go Up 2-0 in Playoffs. After defeating Blue Jays’ ace David Price, 5-3, yesterday afternoon, Texas will have its own best available pitcher starting at the Rogers Centre this morning (the game starts at 11:30 Central.) You’ve got to like their chances of putting Toronto on the brink of elimination with Cole Hamels on the mound. Unfortunately, third baseman Adrian Beltre suffered a back strain on Thursday and may not be in the lineup today.

Police Chief’s BFF Accused of Having Sex On-Duty  Senior Corporal Greg Lowe is under investigation after an internal affairs complaint was filed against him and Senior Corporal Vikki Hodge Lawson for allegedly having sex in an office at police headquarters. The complaining officer was reportedly reluctant to come forward because Lowe is one of DPD Chief David Brown’s best friends.

NBC Developing Wendy Davis Dramedy. The network is working on a TV series based on the political career of the filibustering state senator. According to Deadline, “the untitled project centers on a female Democratic senator who, after losing the Texas governor’s race, gets her world turned upside down. In the vein ofThe Good Wife, while she pieces her pride back together, she goes to work in the law firm of her best friend — a black male Republican — and discovers that with no political future to protect, she can unshackle her inner badass.”

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Oct. 8

I worry that Billy Idol, 59, has sneered so much his face is now stuck like that. I wonder if Idol’s mother warned him about this. Does Idol wake up in the morning with his teeth bared, his face registering revulsion at a plate of delicious eggs and bacon? Does Idol sneer that way when he’s rehearsing for a show? When he’s watching television? When he’s sitting at a computer, writing a memoir? Does he look in the mirror at night, brush his snarling chompers, and wish he’d spent more time smiling, or frowning, or puckering?

Life’s too short to sneer at. Among the reasons to smile today: the Dallas Symphony performs, Billy Idol raises a ruckus, and we learn more about an outfit of notorious Austin gangsters.

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Poll: How Far Will the Texas Rangers Go?

The Texas Rangers’ improbable season continues this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Canada. (Do they even play baseball up there in that frozen wasteland?) They’re considered the underdogs in their best-of-five series against the Toronto Blue Jays for the right to advance to the American League Championship Series.

But the Rangers weren’t even supposed to make it this far, so what do you think will happen?

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Garbage Time’s Katie Nolan on Greg Hardy’s Return

This week, Greg Hardy returns to the field after missing almost all of the 2014 season (when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers) and the first four games of this season. Finally, Cowboys fans will have to confront their feelings about the team signing a man accused of beating his then-girlfriend, dragging her around his apartment by her hair, throwing her onto a futon covered in assault rifles, and threatening to kill her. Nicole Holder testified to that at Hardy’s first trial, which resulted in his conviction by Judge Becky Thorne Tin. By North Carolina law, Hardy was allowed to have a jury trial, but the case was dismissed when Holder wouldn’t participate, likely because she and Hardy came to a settlement.

Even if his conviction had stood, Hardy would already be out of jail, and he probably would already be allowed to play again, and the Cowboys very well may have signed him then, too. This season was an all-in year for the team, and I’m not saying they’re getting punched by karma, but I’m not not saying it either.

Either way, given the nature of what he was charged with, you’d assume that Hardy would 1) keep his mouth shut about everything except playing defensive end for the Cowboys and 2) even then, watch very carefully what he said. Of course, Hardy did neither, wolf-whistling at the wives of various NFL quarterbacks and saying he was going to come back “guns blazing.”

Katie Nolan, host of FS1’s Garbage Time, nails everything that is wrong with this in three minutes right here.

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Barrett Brown on Jonathan Franzen’s Purity

The Intercept brings us another dispatch from Barrett Brown, who is still in the hole. This time, he reviews Jonathan Franzen’s book Purity. I say this without hyperbole: it is a brilliant piece of writing. It’s 2,500 words, so don’t click over now unless you’ve got 15 minutes or so of uninterrupted reading time. It deserves to be read carefully, savored.

Leading Off (10/8/15)

Last day of filming in Dealey Plaza for 11/22/63. Downtown traffic will return to its “normal” rate after today, when filming wraps on the JFK miniseries. It may be your last chance to see James Franco in action. It will not be your last chance to get stuck in Dallas traffic.

Dallas will file lawsuit against Volkswagen for car emissions violation. Speaking of cars, the city of Dallas plans to sue German automaker Volkswagen for installing software in its diesel cars sold in the U.S. that manipulated emissions tests and therefore failed to meet air quality standards. The car company has already taken a lot of heat for this bump in the road after admitting that 11 million of its diesel cars have this software, created to cheat on U.S. emissions tests.

Woman in Fort Worth arrested in death of son. 23-year-old Shakira Bickerstaff was arrested this week on a capital murder warrant after confessing that she had shaken her 10-month-old son and covered his mouth to make him stop crying in August of last year. She had previously told police that her son died after falling off a bed.

Inequality and Texas Independent School Districts

Today Rudolph Bush responds to criticism he’s heard from some Park Cities residents since last week he argued the unfairness of the way schools are organized in Texas — via independent school districts. It’s this governmental structure, more than any other factor, that has turned Highland Park and University Park into island communities increasingly out of reach of any residents other than the uber-wealthy. The ISD creates a cycle in which the great public schools result in higher property values, which can then pour even more money into those great schools:

I can understand the sentiment of people in HPISD who have sent me notes over the past week. Their home is often their life’s major investment. And they made that investment in Highland Park precisely so they could send their children to school there. And any suggestion that the ISD system we have is not a good system feels like reaching into their pockets, or worse, chipping at an important foundation of their family life.

But they are benefiting from government no less than the welfare recipient. A structure was put in place that benefits them according to their means. And they are taking advantage of that structure in the same way the welfare recipient is.

Neither should be blamed for that. We accept what is given to our best advantage and to the advantage of those we love. That’s human nature.

But without casting stones at one another, we can step back and consider whether the system we have is the best system we could have.

Bush proposes a system wherein ISDs would have to accept a certain number of students from outside their geographic borders, chosen by lottery. I think we’d be better off blowing up ISDs entirely and administering schools at the county level, which is how it is done in many other states. That way tax revenue generated by homes on Beverly and Armstrong could find its way equally to South Dallas.

His idea is likelier to get off the ground. But, yes, we need a change.

The Cubs Pitcher From Plano Who’s About to Win the Cy Young Award

Tonight Jake Arrieta, a Plano East High School graduate and former TCU student, will take the mound for the mighty Chicago Cubs against some team from godforsaken western Pennsylvania in the National League Wild Card Game. This season Arrieta posted the best second-half earned-run average in the history of Major League Baseball (0.75) and is the favorite to win the Cy Young Award as the top pitcher in the National League.

In a column today, Rick Gosselin looks back at Arrieta’s high school days:

So how does a guy go from compiling two wins pitching against the likes of Lake Highlands, McKinney, Richardson Berkner, Rockwall and the Plano schools to a major-league-leading 22 victories with a microscopic 1.77 earned run average in 2015?

“That’s a good question,” said Plano East baseball coach Travis Collins.

But Gosselin actually undersells just how much of a late bloomer Arrieta was. Even after he’d established himself as a starter with the Orioles, he was not particularly good at getting batters out. His last full season in Baltimore (2012), he posted a 6.20 ERA. Which is why they were willing to trade him to the Cubs.

The Cubs’ pitching gurus don’t have Baltimore’s irrational hatred of pitching “cutters,” which has a lot to do with why Arrieta became an ace in Chicago. Watch him work his magic for the good guys tonight.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Oct. 7

Alice Cooper, Keanu Reeves, and James Franco all popped up around the city yesterday, three semi-unexpected celebrity appearances that, taken together, probably don’t say anything about Dallas, or about things to do in Dallas tonight. If Cooper, Reeves, or Franco want to hit the town tonight, though, they’re in luck: the State Fair continues to rage, and the National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China pay the Meyerson a visit.

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