An alert FrontBurnervian points us to the news that Oklahoma State is sad that it followed T. Boone Pickens’ investment advice. Pickens is a famously generous OSU booster. In addition to money, in 2007 he suggested a plan for OSU: 1) Buy life insurance policies on old OSU alums. 2) Wait for them to die. 3) Ca-ching! Problem is, no one died, which kind of ruined the math. OSU wound up wasting $33 million on premiums. A federal judge just ruled that the university is not owed a refund.
Here’s what I find most troubling about this development: I go panda hunting with T. Boone in odd-numbered years. He told me about this whole death bet insurance scheme, and I took out a rather large policy on Zac, figuring if T. Boone’s plan was good enough for OSU, it was good enough for this country boy.
Um, yeah. Zac’s still alive, too.
Yesterday I pointed you to a story our friend Sarah Hepola wrote for the Times Style section. Today I bring you an essay she wrote for Salon about an online dating experience that did not exactly work out for her. It’s a good read, recommended.
But after I read the story, Sarah and I had an email exchange that I asked her if I could share. It’s about topless bars.
TIM: When you write for New York, you aren’t afraid to play up the Dallas stereotypes, are you? Steakhouses and silicone … Ubiquitous strip clubs … Etc. You watch yourself, missy.
SARAH: Wait a minute. Strip clubs ARE ubiquitous. That’s not a stereotype — that’s reader information. The steakhouses and silicone line might be considered a stereotype, though I could point you to a handful of D Magazine pieces that characterize the city in the same way. I’m only allowed to poke fun at Dallas if I’m writing for a Dallas magazine?
About a week ago, I saw what I thought was a shot from Jim Schutze (see first comment) aimed squarely at Robert Wilonsky. This came on Wilonsky’s very first day at the Morning News. The CPU in Wilonsky’s computer at the Observer hadn’t even had time to cool off completely, and — pow — Schutze was making pointed remarks about the way Wilonsky did his job (and is doing his new job). A commenter whistled me for being offsides (which I enjoyed).
Well, now I’ve clearly seen a shot. Have a look at this post from Wilonsky on Unfair Park. He couldn’t leave the paper without trying to track down some morsels about the planned redevelopment of Crozier Tech, the decrepit downtown building that enjoys special preservation protection. This was classic Wilonsky (whom I know too well to keep referring to by his last name), doggedly pursuing stories about imperiled old buildings. He did it for years on Unfair Park.
Now comes Schutze. Here’s what he writes today about Crozier Tech: “How this particular sucker got chosen for landmarkification, I have no idea. All the news stories say it’s ‘architecturally significant.’ Yeah, well, you know, at my age I look in the mirror, I try to tell myself the same thing. It’s a reach. Sometimes shit is just old.” He says we should just tear the thing down.
Forget the architectural argument and the city planning stuff. Forget about Dallas destroying its history. That’s not what I’m interested in right now. What interests me is the tension between Schutze and Wilonsky — Robert, Bob. Unfair Park would have been a far livelier blog if the two men had had this discussion when they worked together.
“Oh, I just love that old building.”
“What the hell are you talking about? It’s ugly and it’s hampering needed development.”
That sort of exchange, I’m guessing, could have happened on a number of topics. I wonder why it didn’t.
If you haven’t seen this video making the Internet rounds yet, you should probably interrupt your procrastinating with more procrastinating and watch it right now. It’s a true triumph of excess free time and extremely precise editing. If the video alone isn’t entertaining enough, I submit this poll as a companion piece, which months later is still wildly hilarious.
Tonight’s attractions include the Big Movie at the Magnolia, which just so happens to be Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi masterpiece. Chimps! Sentient supercomputers! And above all, a chance for me to reference that Veronica Mars episode where Veronica’s hacker friend Mac wonders what the intrepid girl detective did before she met her. Veronica replies that it was a lot like the first ten minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’ll screen twice this evening at the Magnolia, so you have options. And if storms seem once again imminent, I suggest Union Bear as a (seemingly) safe place to hunker down. It’s mostly underground and the food isn’t bad, either. Order Southern Star’s Le Mort Vivant, the Conroe brewery’s seasonal from last November, and you won’t be sorry.
Otherwise, the author/humorist Sarah Vowell is speaking at First Presbyterian Church of Dallas as part of the Dallas Museum of Art’s Arts and Letters Live series. Here’s where I make a confession. I am guilty of theft. I stole my friend Amy’s copy of Assassination Vacation (I have a weakness for both the road trip story conceit and old timey murders, it turns out) approximately three or four years ago. I never gave it back. It’s in my apartment. Vowell mixes history with a hodgepodge of facts and funny, which I like, but apparently some people find smart-alecky and irritating. Can’t please everyone. If you’re a fan, Vowell will talk about her latest book, Unfamiliar Fishes, in which she tackles the history of Hawaii from humble missionary beginnings to U.S. annexation, with KERA’s Krys Boyd.
For more to do tonight, go here.
That Thunder Last Night Was Insane. Like Eddie Rabbitt, I love a rainy night. I even like some thunder. But last night, I think we can all agree, was a bit too much. If you have business with me today, make it quick. I did not get much sleep, and I’m calling for 100 percent chance of ornery today. Meanwhile, Dallas County is under a flood warning until 10:45 a.m., and a homeless man had to be rescued from a tree near White Rock Creek.
Water-Sharing Woes Continue. That’s the headline on NBC Channel 5′s site on a story about the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejecting the city of Hugo’s appeal for the right to sell water in southeastern Oklahoma to the city of Irving. Funny headline, given the whole flood watch thing. But a serious issue. You heard it here first.
Dirk Rained So Many Jumpers on the Nuggets That They, Too, Had To Be Rescued From a Tree. Here’s the lead from the Denver Post: “Man. Dirk just went all Dirk on Denver.” Playing just 31 minutes, he went 12 of 19 from the field, grabbed 11 boards, and dished six assists. And, yes, Mavs won.