Nothing brings out the national media types (re: USA Today, NY Times, the big guns at ESPN) like a horrific tragedy. Today’s press conference in Arlington was a somber affair. Even the ever-stoic Nolan Ryan sounded emotional as he talked about his phone conversation with Jenny Stone, the widow of Shannon Stone, the man who fell to his death at last night’s baseball game. And even more so when Ryan talked about how when he was a boy attending baseball games, how badly he had hoped for players to toss him a ball. “It’s part of the culture of baseball,” he said. Ryan also asked the media not to show footage of the fall, and explained that while the team doesn’t have any specific plans to change the stadium (or postpone tonight’s game), they did put up a tarp over where the accident occurred, as he said, “out of respect for the family.”
The team is also establishing a foundation to benefit the family, noting that the organization “is about building memories, family entertainment.” He explained that the players would all have the option of taking some time off, and that he didn’t want to single out Josh Hamilton, who tossed the ball to Stone. He said he hadn’ spoken with Hamilton, but that he expected him to play.
Ryan also talked for a moment about what he was doing at the time of the accident (and he reiterated several times that this was “definitely an accident”): He was sitting with Laura Bush. He said he followed the ball into the outfield, but then turned back to Laura. When he heard the crowd gasp, he asked a Secret Service agent what had happened. “He said a man fell from the stands.”
This here is a nifty map created by MIT’s Senseable City Lab. It takes cell phone call data and reimagines the states based on who talks to whom. While you’ll notice that many of our official states are deeply divided, or joined with a neighboring state, Texas appears to be fairly self-sufficient. Dallas apparently has much more use for Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, than it does for the closer Oklahoma City.
Donald Hodge, who has always been — to me and Eric Celeste, Â at least — a symbol of the Dallas Mavericks’ lean 1990s, was sentenced in an Alexandria, Virginia, court on Friday to 60 months in the joint for “conspiring to distribute marijuana, 500 grams or more of cocaine, and 28 grams or more of crack cocaine.” And also for not being able to box out a single GD guy. Come on, Hodge!
This week our man Bill Holston reveals that Plano is ahead of Dallas when it comes to hikeable nature areas. Mon dieu!
Says here, it’s coming back. And Big Bob over at Unfair Park says it’s shooting here, probably. I guess. I’ll be honest. I skimmed. ANYWAY, because the jerks at YouTube won’t let me embed the actual credits, here’s a not-newÂ Star Wars/Dallas mash-up that will do fine. Because I am playing this on a loop now.
I’ve taken some shade from FBvians for persistently referred to our town’s alt weekly as “the Phoenix-based Dallas Observer.” Mostly, I’ve done this because I like to believe the appellation gooses some of the staff over there and because it’s an homage to the dearly departed Met, in whose pages the phrase originally appeared. But there’s another reason I like to call it the Phoenix-based Observer: because, ultimately, the Observer is run by Village Voice Media people in Phoenix.
Village Voice Media is in a fight with several states’ attorneys general over sex ads on its Backpage.com site. That’s why the Observer‘s cover story last week — which aims to debunk the notion that child sex trafficking is sweeping the nation — was the same story that ran on the cover of every VVM paper. The story was part of VVM’s fight with the attorneys general. It didn’t really have anything to do with Dallas. Nor does the Amber Lyon story in this week’s paper. That’s just VVM trying to discredit a CNN reporter who has done stories on child sex trafficking.
To his credit, Observer editor Joe Tone was very up-front yesterday in explaining why his paper is publishing stories that have nothing to do with Dallas. I don’t envy him. Protecting the business interests of a company based in Phoenix doesn’t look like much fun.
It sure seems like Rick Perry is going to throw his hat into the presidential race. If he does, he’ll point to the relative strength of the Texas economy, especially as the national news remains bad, as proof that he knows what it takes to get our nation back on financial track.
But an editorial by Bloomberg today says that Texas is where it is not just because of low taxes and relatively little regulation, as Perry would argue. Our state is blessed with a growing population, a young population, and low wages – factors that can’t be easily replicated:
In high-skill professions, such as management and petroleum engineering, Texas salaries often exceed national norms. For unskilled labor and service employees, austerity rules. The Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency, says hourly workers have earned 4 percent to 7 percent less than their counterparts nationwide for most of the last decade. For 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau placed Texas third among states inÂ income inequality.
Dishwashers in Texas averaged $7.90 an hour in 2009, 10.3 percent below their peers nationwide. Texas sewing-machine operators made do with $9.35 an hour, 12.6 percent below the 50- state average. Some 9.5 percent of hourly workers subsist at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according to theÂ U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That leaves Texas tied withÂ Mississippi for the largest share of the population earning no more than the minimum wage.
Texas’s wage gap “matters a lot” in fueling job growth, says Mark Dotzour, chief economist at Texas A&M’s Real Estate Center, an academic research group financed with real-estate license fees. As he explains it, companies are leaving higher- cost states and moving to places where they think their expenses will be lower. Texas is working that trend to its advantage, but this is hardly a formula that the other 49 states could, or should, copy.
Some scientific fossil genius over in England has figured out the Earth’s most fearsome predator. It’s called the pliosaur, which has just forced me to imagine a velociraptor named Mila Kunis doing a pas de deux with Natalie Portman. Anyway, this creature is very, very dead. And even though it lived in the ocean and didn’t breathe fire, I think prehistoric North America needs to step things up.
Speaking of dancing (without dinos), The Wiz starts tonight with a pay-what-you-can performance at the Wyly Theatre. Not only is this Dallas Theatre Center show a collaboration with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, but if you remember from web intern Courtney Egelston’s preview, they’re using the theater’s funky design to do something a little different with the audience. Here’s how it works: of the 450 seat house, there are 12 moveable “pods” with 15 seats each. If you’re lucky enough to sit in one of these pods (spaceship style), you’ll find yourself rearranged at various points during the production. There’s no track, so there’ll be at least two crew members manning each section. Never, in all the shows I’ve seen, have I been physically transported to a different location. So this will be new for me, too.
And just before the performance, the DTC is hosting a free block party along Flora St. to celebrate. You should go, if only to grab your penny tickets at the box office since you can’t buy them online. But there will be food trucks, disco music in case you feel like breaking a full on waterfall instead of just a sweat, and free parking in the Lexus lots.
I wasn’t watching the Rangers game last night. I was watching my Chicago Cubs fall behind 8-0 in the sixth inning against the Washington Nationals. The Cubs had never, in their 135-year history, rallied from such a large deficit so late in a game on the road to win. That’s a record of 0-576, ESPN says. Â The team is having a lousy season, and I very nearly flipped over to something else rather than once again face disappointment. But some inner voice compelled me to stay with them, and my faith was rewarded. Six runs in the sixth, another two in the seventh, and a final victorious score of 10-9. I was so pumped by the win that I took to Twitter to honor the rookie second baseman who’d delivered the winning RBI.
After informing the Twitterverse that I would now name my firstborn either Darwin Barney, or Barney Darwin, I glanced over at my feed. That’s how I learned about the tragic accident in Arlington last night. My joy evaporated and suddenly seemed very small. As ridiculous as it is, I even felt a measure of guilt for my own celebrating.
We can go back to cheering our team soon enough (I’m actually headed to Rangers Ballpark tonight), but it seems appropriate to spend time with the grief we all should be feeling for Shannon Stone’s family this morning, especially for his 4-year-old 6-year-old son who was with him at the game. Lone Star Ball put it nicely:
The New York Post says that the richest man in Dallas, Andy Beal, has lost $50 million in recent months playing high-stakes poker. Apparently Tobey Maguire was in on the action, too. A spokesman for Beal told the Post that the figure wasn’t accurate but didn’t get more specific than that. Loyal readers will remember when our Dan Michalski played cards with Beal at the Lodge for slightly lower stakes.
Brownwood Firefighter Falls to Death at Rangers Game. I cannot even wrap my head how the family of the Brownwood firefighter who fell to his death trying to catch a ball during last night’s Ranger’s game must feel Â - especially since the whole tragic accident happened in front of his son. It was a year and a day after another fan fell from the stands during a game. Team president Nolan Ryan says the team is “distraught,” especially Josh Hamilton, who tossed the ball to the fan.
At Last Our Long National Nightmare is Over. Roy Williams got Â his ring back. But to review, kiddies: If you don’t have time to propose in person, you should just wait. Some things are not for the mail.
John Wiley Price Search Warrant Wants Everything. WFAA mentions the search warrants executed last week were looking for dealings with Walmart, AT&T and Hillwood Inc. Â Fox 4 adds the FBI was also interested in an online retail business called Male Man, registered to Price’s assistant, Daphne Fain. Â This explains why it was unavailable for um, a project I was working on.
Golly Gee. Yeah. I maneuvered my way around a paywall for this.
The Stars At Night, Are Big and Bright … Apparently the new rumor is that erstwhile former Rangers co-owner Chuck Greenberg is interested in buying the Dallas Stars. Of course, everyone is quick to say it’s pure conjecture, too. So you know, let the spitballing continue.