James said a lot of things today in his press conference. You can get the highlights here. He admitted to taking money from boosters while at SMU, noting, “It was an insignificant amount… It was wrong. And I was 18, 19 years old.” He said some other stuff too. But no, he didn’t say anything about that.
Believe it or not, I have some ideas.
Hotel Manager, Omni Hotel Dallas. He basically willed the joint into existence, so I’m fairly sure he could land this gig. Unless he blows the interview by talking too much with his hands. This also has reality show potential, so I’d bet Bravo or TruTV or whomever could convince Omni to give him the job without actually giving him the job, you know? (Possible titles: Land of TOMorrow, Leppert on the Prowl, Fawlty Premise Towers, Mayor of Handtown.)
FOX News Talking Head. Easy job for him. Just take the current set of generic right-right talking points and regurgitate on command. In other words: his Twitter feed, with fewer exclamation points, less desperate pleas to retweet him, and more emphasis on saying “Washington,” “Obama,” and “politicians” like he just walked into a gas station bathroom.
Mayor of Dallas. Basically no one cares who has this job anymore, so he could get it back pretty easily. He puts on the pinstripe gangster suit and shows up, and he’s halfway there. Then it’s just him, a council member who doesn’t feel like working anymore, and Edward Okpa. It dismays me that this might happen.
Private Eye. Based on his campaign so far, I feel like not a ton of people know he exists, so he could blend seamlessly into the background and break some cases. Needs to maybe loosen up a bit, but I think he could pull it off. This is my dark horse choice.
NBC Channel 5 brings us this headline: “3 Miniature Horses Fatally Stabbed in Dallas.” It’s the saddest, most disturbing headline of the day, possibly the week, maybe even the year (but we’re just 12 days into the new year, so it’s probably too early to call that). Anyway, the poor things were found in their owners’ yard. The family only had the horses for a couple of months. And that story makes me sad.
There is much to dislike about UNT product Dr. Phil (McGraw). You’ll recall two former DMN writers published an entire book of stuff to dislike about him. Now comes an open letter from the president of the nation’s largest skeptic group. I’m not sure whereÂ endorsing “psychics” ranks next to inappropriately touching patients, selling dangerous weight-loss products, shady hiring practices, or the damage done to society by his “common sense solutions” to serious problems like addiction and domestic violence, but it’s up there.
This story is awesome for a couple of reasons. Three guys got busted for stealing beer from Fuel City. Awesome thing No. 1: they stole Michelob Ultra and Bud Light with Lime. Awesome thing No. 2: they did it right down the street from the county jail. Awesome thing No. 3: they tried to effect their getaway in a big ol’ RV. But the most awesome thing? One of the men was not taken to jail and was instead allowed to drive off in the RV — because a dog named Lola was onboard.
Zac, this gives me an idea for our next Rica Y Chato script. Chato reads the above story about the RV Bandits, and he decides that going forward, he will commit all his crimes with his beloved Chihuahua, Pepe. That way, when he gets nabbed, the coppers will have to let him go because they’re concerned about the dog’s welfare. Pepe then becomes like Dumbo’s magic feather. Chato thinks he can only do his work with the dog riding shotgun. So when a big assignment comes down from headquarters (retrieving a kilo of cocaine from a rival gang that stole it from La Familia) and Chato can’t find Pepe, Rica has to convince his friend that the dog doesn’t matter. Chato can fly all by himself.
I first heard of the magician David Blaine when he pulled that “dive of death” stunt/media circus at Wollman Rink in Central Park a few years ago. There wasn’t much “dive” or “death” about it– he just hung upside down like a recalcitrant bat (and took 15 minute breaks) while a doctor monitored his vital signs and someone held an umbrella so he didn’t get a sunburn. I’m pretty sure my thought process was somewhere along the lines of, “who is this jerk and will the hoards of lunatics this sort of thing attracts somehow make life more difficult for me?” Very specific. And selfish, clearly, but not nearly as narcissistic as that particular attention grab.
Fast forward, and Blaine is here. Tonight. At the Winspear Opera House. To talk about his feats of derring-do. I don’t feel strongly about his tricks one way or the other, but I am fascinated by ginormous egos (plenty of writers have them, too, didn’t you know?) He’ll perform some of his street magic, plus chat with Rob McCollum, former host of WFAA’s “Good Morning Texas.” There will be an opportunity to ask questions, too, should you have any. Obviously, skip the terrible Wolfgang Puck catering and get dinner before or after. I’ve said before that I like Mai‘s as a pre-Arts District event spot, since it’s fairly close and so quick. Also, it’s finally cold enough for a tofu clay pot.
Otherwise, you can make like me and go see a real show tonight. I’m seeing Upstart’s production of Melancholy Play at Project X, but since I’m reviewing it for FrontRow, for now I’ll limit my recommendation to the simple fact that Sarah Ruhl wrote it. So basically, it’s worth a shot based on playwright alone. However, the reviews are already in for the WaterTower Theatre’s The Diary of Anne Frank. FrontRow’s Lance Lusk enjoyed it immensely. If you don’t mind the bittersweet story (since we all know how terribly it ends), check out his review right here.
For more to do this evening, go this way.
Way back in 2004, an engineer-turned-filmmaker from Richardson named Shane Carruth won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival with his head-scratcher of a $7,000 science fiction film, Primer. D Magazine explained how the project came to be.
Since then, not much has been heard of Carruth, though he apparently is still working on his next project. IMDB says he’s in preproduction on something called Upstream Color. This week, The Colony Courier-Leader reports, Carruth was visiting family in The Colony and Frisco, and decided to get a little work done on his film at the The Colony Aquatic Park. The crew consisted of just Carruth, his producer, and a “well-known actress” from the Dallas area whose name the newspaper was asked to withhold from the article:
Attired in a one-piece, modest, black swimsuit, she worked tirelessly diving to the bottom of the pool, performing an action that may have been pretending to pick up things. She and the director did this over and over.
All of this went on for several hours after the pool closed. The Colony Aquatic Park Manager Elise Knox stood by to make sure the trio had everything they needed. Lifeguard Josh Naph also was on hand, just in case.
Knox said she thought at first Carruth was doing a film project for school, but was delighted to discover she had seen his first film, “Primer.”
She charged them the same rate a small group renting the pool for a party would be charged. She also showed the director other locations he could use. She said he would consider The Colony for other projects.
“It took two hours and we got about 10 seconds of film we’ll use,” Carruth said as he dried off.
2011 was the driest year on record in Texas. According to Reuters:
The historic drought has killed as many as half a billion trees, not including those that died in wildfires that scorched some 4 million acres in 2011, the Texas Forest Service has reported.
Half a billion is a lot, yeah? Now the Morning News is reporting that donkeys are being abandoned across the state (paywalled piece), leaving taxpayers to pay for the care of the animals. The drought is largely to blame:
Most farmers and ranchers are importing their hay from other states with transportation costs totaling more than the cost of hay itself.
The average price for hay before 2011 was about $90 a ton. Mark Meyers, executive director of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, said he most recently paid $310 per ton.
For similar reasons, we learned last year, farmers had to slaughter half a million more beef cows than normal last year, because they couldn’t afford to feed them. Sure, according to this University of Nebraska drought monitor, most of our little pocket of North Texas appears to be merely “abnormally dry,” rather than in a severe drought. It’s hard not to get scared that all of Texas is headed towards becoming a desert though, looking at that.
Still, all of this unfortunate news I kind of knew already. Know what really got my attention?
Brantley Hargrove brings us the sordid story of Seth Winder, the man accused of brutally murdering and dismembering his lover, Richard Hernandez, in 2008. The case received plenty of national attention. First, detectives working the case appeared on the A&E show The First 48. Then Winder’s stepmother wrote a book about him “slipping into madness.” But Winder’s attorney, knowing how rarely an insanity defense works, decided to go to trial. Hargrove was there, and points out that the justice system is now faced with a Catch 22 of sorts.
“Winder is a paranoid schizophrenic, and without antipsychotic medication he is too insane to be prosecuted. But with medication he becomes someone else entirely, capable even of calm rationality. He would have to be induced into a state of synthetic sanity before he could stand trial for a crime that he allegedly committed while unmedicated.”
If you haven’t seen the cover of this week’s Observer, it’s pretty bizarre. But the story is an interesting read.
No More Dublin Dr Pepper. To settle a lawsuit with Plano-based Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the 120-year-old bottling facility in Dublin will stop producing and distributing Dr Pepper using the original cane sugar formula, but I guess you’ll still be able to get it or something? I don’t know. Clear it up for me, Channel 8: “You will still be able to buy the cane sugar drink in Dublin, but ‘Dublin Dr Pepper’ will henceforth be simply ‘Dr Pepper.’ ” Oh, OK. I’m being sort of flip; 14 people lost their jobs, and that’s nothing to joke about.
“Is Khloe Really a Kardashian?” That is the question posed on the CBS DFW site, because that’s where we’re at now, and traffic is traffic. Answer? Probably not, but who knows? I don’t look anything like my brother or sister — they have red hair, and mine, before it turned all silver, was brown; they are pale and freckled, and I get tan in the winter; and so on — and, besides for the fact that they, along with my parents, convinced me I was adopted until I was about 12, no one ever really brought it up. I’m just going to blink back tears for a few minutes. Don’t mind me.
Police Ask Delta Sigma Theta Rapist To Turn Himself In. “Read your conscience, follow your conscience, turn yourself in so you can put this behind you,” said Plano PD’s Andrae Smith. I respect what they’re doing, and I hope they catch him before anything else happens. But a guy who has attacked four women, and sexually assaulted three of them, has no conscience. This isn’t some misunderstood supervillain from a Marvel comic, who has turned to a life of crime to feed his family or something. He’s a bad man, and that’s about as plainly as I can put it while keeping within our language guidelines.