In celebration of D Magazine’s Best of Big D issue on newsstands, we are embarking upon our first ever Best of Big D giveaway series. Starting Monday, we areÂ going to have a total onslaught of daily prizes up for grabs, courtesy of our Best of Big D readers’ pick and editors’ choice winners. The prizes (and details for entering to win them) wil be scattered around our various blogs, but we’ll tell you where to go every morning right here, on FrontBurner.
Each giveaway will begin at 9 am and close at 5 pm the same day.
It’s been a banner week for Dallas. Â First we learned that our city is the greatest in the world, by far. Now those cutting-edge hipsters at Forbes magazine have declared it the fourth-coolest city in the United States. They claim to have factored in entertainment, arts, and dining options. Plus diversity, unemployment rate, and the numbers of young adults and net migration in the last year.
But they also ranked Houston as the coolest city in America. So, yes, I just wasted your time with this post.
Executives from Dallas-based Mary Kay Inc. gathered a few days ago at Tootsies, where they kicked off their foundation’s annual campaign to donate gently-used clothing to domestic-violence victims. Hard to argue with that kind of good work. This week, though, Harper’s Magazine is out with an “expose” saying that Mary Kay itself is a giant ripoff — a straight-up pyramid scheme that doesn’t deliver what it promises to its hundreds of thousands of saleswomen. You’ve got to have a subscription to read the whole Harper’s piece, but here’s an American Public Media synopsis/author interview, including a response from Mary Kay at the end.
An alert FrontBurnervian points us to the picture of Jerry Jones hanging out barefoot with Redskins owner Dan Snyder on Magic Johnson’s yacht. I am told that last Monday, Jerry threw a party for his wife, Gene, in Monte Carlo. Kenny Chesney provided the entertainment. All of which makes me think about “I’m on a Boat.”
First, let us define our term: a landmark is a structure or natural feature that helps foster an unmistakable sense of place. You view the familiar sight and there’s no doubt of where you are and of what this place means to you. (Since Dallas is devoid of distinctive natural features,** here we’re talking about structures.)
Earlier this year, as part of our Best of Big D Readers’ Choice voting, we asked you to determine the best landmark in Dallas. Overwhelmingly, Reunion Tower came out on top. Our D Magazine print-productÂ editorial staff declined to weigh in with its own pick in our August issue, so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.
Presenting the Best Dallas Landmarks:
In spite of crimes against graphic designers everywhere, the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony is finally here. USA! USA! USA! And if nothing else, maybe everyone will give the phrase “London calling” a rest.
For everyone who does not feel like watching the torch lighting at home on NBC, the Angelika hosts a free big screen watch party. The ceremony starts at 6:30 PM, so get there earlier to snag a seat, get a drink (there’s a cash bar), and catch the whole thing. This year’s spectacle is directed by Danny Boyle, who did Slumdog Millionaire, and Paul McCartney will perform. Meanwhile, presidential candidate Mittens Romney continues to excel in the role of Utah ambassador to the world.
Also tonight, The Space in East Dallas hosts an Olympic-style beer pong tournament, the band Paramecium, and a couple of DJs. One or all of these things will make you proud of your country, whether it’s a drinking game (excuse me, drinking discipline), protozoa, or the launch of Green Bandana Group’s latest community-building enterprise, #popUPdallas. If you’re playing in the tournament, which could net you a cash prize of $150, admission is free with your registration fee. If you arrive on bicycle, admission is free. If you’re a musician and you bring your instrument to jam, admission is also free.
Otherwise, it’s five bucks at the door, and there’s free “carnival food” and a cash bar. If carnival food doesn’t include funnel cake, I’m pretty sure your only course of redress is to report the person responsible to the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Uncle Barky tells us about the Gridlock Buster’s last day at NBC Channel 5. Recommended.
Speaking of Brett Shipp, this morning he tweeted: “So the only reportage DMN devotes to the outrageous dental medicaid scam exposed by WFAA is to defend the doctors? Really DMN? Really?” He was talking about this story in the paper (paywall). I have to agree with Shipp. You read that story, and you come away with the impression that the state and federal government is going just a bit too hard on this Medicaid fraud stuff, and a lot of good dentists are getting hurt in the process. The story is a real head scratcher. Meanwhile, the guy who used to own the chain of dental clinics at the center of the DMN story, Richard Malouf, is building a water park at his $13 million Strait Lane mansion.
Over at Channel 8, Brett Shipp brings us news that DISD assistant superintendent Shirley Ison-Newsome has stepped in it again. Despite a new district cost-saving ban on using external facilities for professional development or other meetings, Ison-Newsome approved a $1,500 bowling outing to Arlington for the staff of Wilmer Hutchins Elementary School. The dollar amount isn’t the big deal; the pattern of behavior is.
You’ll remember the credit card scandal back in 2006. Just about everyone in the district, it seemed, had one, and just about everyone was running up questionable charges. Ison-Newsome used her card to buy expensive pillows from the gift shop at Mount Vernon, in Virginia. Then she raised a stink when she ordered a $6,000 private bathroom built onto her office suite (just feet from a nearby bathroom that was in perfect working order). She was demoted at one point and sued the district. More recently, just this year, she approved a $57,000 field trip for 5,000 boys to watch the movie Red Tails, which violated federal guidelines for how Title 1 funds are to be spent. The deal is still under state investigation.
I wrote a story for our August issue about the new superintendent, Mike Miles. I heard the same refrain from multiple people: it was shocking and disheartening that Miles appointed Ison-Newsome as an assistant superintendent. Shipp reports that when DISD investigators looked into the bowling outing, Ison-Newsome told them she was the chief of schools and that “there are bigger problems to worry about than this.”
That attitude isn’t a healthy one. It’s what Mike Miles promised us he would change.
Cornyn Has a Seeeeeeeeecret. John Cornyn is going to vote today in the Dewhurst-Cruz runoff. But he isn’t telling, ever, he says, who he voted for. Even after the winner is announced. Not even if you promise to not tell anyone else. Not even if you beg. It’s a secret.
You Can Drink Too Much Water. Apparently. WFAA reported last night that Terry Schuchany ended up in ICU at Baylor Medical Center Dallas after overhydrating while working out – a condition called hyponatremia. The condition looks a lot like dehydration in its early stages, so I don’t know what to tell you other than stay inside and huddle on your couch until November 15, when it might be cool enough to exercise outdoors again.
Rival Drug Dealer Is 911 Caller. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Thursday that police have determined that the 911 call that set into motion the events that led to James “G-Code” Harper’s death was made by a rival drug dealer, who called in a fake plea for help to ensure a bust of the South Dallas house.
SMU Football Players Stiff Prostitute … who then allegedly burgles them.
White Rock Lake Area Cat Burglar Strikes Again. A stealthy burglar targeting homes around White Rock Lake struck again this week apparently. A Lake Highlands family woke to find their car and several electronics missing from the home, breaking in through an unlocked back door. Police say nearly a dozen homes have been burglarized since March.