It’s Monday evening, and depending on your level of devotion to area sports franchises, you’ve had a pretty horrid weekend. So I give you two things to make Monday evening a little better, and your Tuesday a little brighter.
I Love Maple Syrup. But not as much as Rick Perry.
Yes, But Can He Turn a Phrase Like Him? Two-year-old Nicolas Reyna is Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan for Halloween.
During a private conversation earlier this month, a well-connected Dallas political observer predicted the Herman Cain sex-harrassment bombshell that was reported over the weekend by Politico. So this morning we asked this clued-in insider–who requested anonymity, and said he/she was “a witness [to], not a participant” in the story–what affect the harrassment charges are likely to have on Cain and his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination.
“I don’t know who it helps or hurts. But it can’t help Cain,” the observer said. “How badly it hurts him has yet to be determined. Is there any substance–or were these disgruntled employees? Are there more charges to come? You can’t predict it yet. But it could be pretty painful to him, if the story gets legs.” Is it fair game for the media to bring up these sorts of older, thinly sourced charges? “When you run for president, everything seems to be fair game as long as it’s truthful,” the source said. “If it’s a lie, it’s not fair–and you should be ashamed for putting it out there.”
The Â NYTimes’ David CarrÂ jumps into the fray overÂ backpage.com site, the online website owned by the parent of the Dallas Observer, which is accused of promoting child sex trafficking. On the whole, Carr — who once edited an alternative weekly — is sympathetic to VV’s financial quandary. Their once-thriving advertising vehicles have hit on tough times, and sex ads keep the presses rolling.
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the two principal owners, not only deny there is a problem, they claim to revel in being under attack. In a bid for some higher moral ground, they claim their right to publish those ads is a free-speech issue. They define their policy as “libertarian” and cite their publication of cigarette and gun ads. To my mind, they have a point. True, cigarettes and guns are legal, and prostitution is not in 49 states. But sometimes the law is an ass, as Dickens said.
The problem is, nobody seems much bothered by adults selling sexual services. What people are up in arms about is evidence that traffickers have used backpage.com to sell the services of boys and girls. Larkin and Lacey say they’ve tried to put in safeguards.
Let’s review. Argument #1: There is no problem. Argument #2: If there is a problem, it is protected free speech. Argument #3: We are tying to mitigate the problem.
Craigslist went through those exact same arguments during its three-year fight to keep its $44 million in adult advertising. It no longer publishes sex ads. Larkin and Lacey are made of decidedly sterner stuff. But the more the issue is raised — and their opponents don’t seem like they’re going away — the more other advertisers become wary of the association. Larkin and Lacey are in a box. The sex ads are supposed to support their weeklies. The sex ads are damaging their weeklies. The more damage they do, the more their revenues are needed.
It sounds more like an addiction to easy money than a business strategy. And as with most addictions, I don’t think this is a spiral that goes up.
Photos from this weekend’s Halloween festivities are here. My personal favorites awards go to theÂ OregonÂ Trail couple with dysentary and measles, the twisted Mad Hatters, a couple of Pop Tarts, the gay pack of flamingos (aka: “The Flamingays”), the troll doll duo (rhinestone bellybuttons included), a box of Franzia, a frightening Joker chick, and the Ninja Turtle girl. Enjoy all of our weekend’s Party Pics and stay tuned for more tomorrow.
Oh and we’ve got more happy Rangers fans photos (pre-loss, of course) from Ten Sports Grill. So there’s that.
Traditional-country-music icon Johnny Bush, who penned the Willie Nelson anthem “Whiskey River,” says today’s Nashville producers have “tied the hands” of C&W songwriters. “You can’t say anything bad about the woman. You can’t talk about drinking anymore,” Bush said. And that’s a problem because true country music has traditionally been about such “real-life situations,” he added.
The Houston-born, longtime resident of San Antonio (pictured) was in Dallas Saturday to play a private fundraising party for Dallas’ Museum of Biblical Art. During the party the art museum unveiled a series of 14 planned, life-sized religious sculptures by artist Gib Singleton. Bush said the backyard bash for 275 guests–held at the spectacular, Desco Drive mansion of charity benefactor Faye Briggs–was “probably the biggest private party I ever worked, of this stature. … This is a pretty high-class soiree.” Read more in the Q&A with Bush that follows.
Over on SideDish, Uncle Nancy has a report of Scott Murray going a little bonkers while emceeing Caesar salad competition over the weekend. Seems Murray let fly with more than a few F-bombs and then walked out of the event. Crazy stuff.
Reminds me of another time Murray had trouble with a mic. I wrote the following open letter to him in the magazine after a curious incident at the Cattle Baron’s Ball in 2004:
Happy Halloween, friends. Most places had their big parties and costume contests on Saturday, but never fear. There are still plenty of ways to cash in on the holiday. Go here, and scroll all the way down for the Monday night options.
Otherwise, Herbie Hancock is your guy. The jazz/just about everything else legend is at the Meyerson this evening for one single, guaranteed amazing performance. For one thing, he has more musical talent in his pinky finger than I have in my entire body. Hancock’s tunes, though occasionally peculiar, are also very accessible for non-experts like me, since he oscillates between pop and jazz in a very appealing way. I know we all hate John Mayer for being kind of a sleazy creep, but come on. “Stitched Up” is great. Luckily for all us, there are still tickets left in the orchestra and all the upper levels.
And finally, the Texas Theatre squeezes in one last holiday-themed horror flick. They’re showing Pumpkinhead on 35 mm, which appeals to me for nostalgic reasons. Years ago, inspired by both a Foxtrot comic and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, I dressed up as a “headless horseman punkin head.” I wore a headless robe and carried around a fake pumpkin that I painted with a glow-in-the-dark face. Terrifying, I know. The party starts at 6 p.m., so come dressed in your equally brilliant costume. The movie starts at 8 p.m.
For more to do on this scary, scary night, go here.
Halloween casts a distinct desire to seek out all things scary. This year, instead of paying to enter a haunted house where the ghosts are actors in costume, go somewhere that has had reports of hauntings since the early 1900s. Here are three spots in Dallas reputed for their spookiness.
An alert FrontBurnervian points us to a Fortune story that makes the case that Occupy Dallas is different from its sister protest groups spread across the country, noting:
Occupy Dallas is not only tolerated by the city, it’s hosted by City Hall. While there were arrests during a protest last week, Dallas police have also helped campers on the city property retrieve stolen sleeping bags, and the protesters have marched in solidarity with the police. Dallas, one of the last major cities in the nation to desegregate its schools, seems determined to show its tolerant side.
The story goes on to compare how Dallas has handled the Occupy protestors with how Fort Worth has handled its protestors. Killing them with kindness appears to be working.
(And with that introduction, I invite RAB to fly into an all-caps tirade about these protesters in the comments.)
Depending on your own beliefs, this (behind-the-paywall) Q&A with Mason Crumpacker, the incredibly intelligent McKinney 9-year-old who drew headlines earlier this month when she publicly asked Christopher Hitchens for reading suggestions, will either make you smile and give you hope for the future or confirm your worst fears that End times are nigh.
Can Water Recycling Make Fracking Less Wasteful? Texas in the midst of one of the worst droughts in state history, which is having a lasting effect on Texas trees. But natural gas fracking pushes on, a process which uses up to 2 or 3 million gallons of water per new well. Now companies are trying to figure out how to recycle that water, and they are having some success.
Life Just Got Scarier for Mexican Burros: If you’re traveling out west be sure to shoot a burro. That’s because state officials don’t like all the donkeys that are crossing the border from Mexico illegally, prompting park rangers in Big Bend to shoot and kill 130 of an estimated 300 burros to date. Defenders of the beasts of burden blame the plentiful shrubs and other forage-able foods on the United States side of the boarder which offer incentive for the opportunity-starved Mexican donkeys to take their lives into their hands and make the dangerous trek to America.
Jerry Jones Is Insane: I wasn’t going to post about sports. The last five days have been too traumatic for local sports fans. It’s time to turn our attention to other things for a little while. But then, there is this brief piece by David Moore in which Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says that “There is absolutely no alarm in me” after last night’s rout in Philadelphia. “This is not about re-inventing everything we do,” Jones continues. “This is about being disappointed about not winning this football game.” Okay, Jerry. Whatever you say.