The Denton Record Chronicle has suffered a rash of editorial departures recently. Some of it started, I’ve been told, when a longtime editorial writer was pushed out after not changing some opinions. Mayborn regular Lowell Brown, who just won a Philbin Award earlier this week for his work at the DRC, now works for the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Last Sunday, reporter Donna Fielder announced she is leaving too, after 33 years with the paper. (Fielder, one of the best writers in the paper’s history, will apparently focus on writing books.) You can read her farewell column here. When it ran in print, the column was accompanied by this editorial note:
“Donna Fielder has written about crimes and court trials, lifestyles and natural disasters, investigative reports and lowbrow comedy during her career at the Denton Record Chronicle.”
I’m assuming, since that note has been removed from the online version of the column (though the reader comments remain), that someone realized “lowbrow” was not the best word choice.
Congrats to sometime D contributor Harry Hunsicker, who tells us on Twitter: “Very happy to report that Thomas & Mercer has acquired my new novel THE CONTRACTORS as part of a three-book deal. Pub date: Fall 2013.” Couldn’t happen to a nicer fella.
Tod Robberson of the Morning News saysÂ that you shouldn’t be fooled by any Ace Cash Express commercials featuring Ron WashingtonÂ you see Â during this afternoon’s Rangers game:
When you drive down the street and see an Ace Cash Express or CashAmerica or PL$ payday loan shop open in an otherwise downtrodden strip mall, all the colorful awnings and open-for-business signs make the neighborhood look vibrant again.
Don’t be fooled. When those businesses come to your neighborhood, there’s trouble right around the corner. Payday lenders, pawn shops and title-loan companies are all signs that your neighborhood is in deep financial distress. It means there’s a high concentration of people living on the financial edge or rapidly descending into insolvency and poverty.
Robberson places some responsibility for the prevalence of payday lenders in Dallas County on Pete Sessions. Using a strange map, he notes that “nearly half of all of the pawn, payday and title loan shops in Dallas County are inside or within a mile of GOP Rep. Pete Sessions’ 32nd Congressional District.” Â I’m not sure about the validity of the implication of that map, since Sessions’ gerrymandered district makes it so that a huge swath of the county can be said to be within a mile of his district’s boundaries.
But still, Robberson has a point both about the predatory nature of lenders who often charge a usurious rate of 200-300% and about the fact that one of these companies, CashAmerica, is the top contributor to Sessions’ campaign. So Robberson asked Sessions to defend these businesses:
Last night at the Dallas Center for Architecture, I moderated a panel that discussed the relationship between Fair Park and South Dallas, and how Fair Park’s design and use impact the surrounding neighborhoods. The panel members included Rev. Gerald Britt, Robert Foster, Patrick Kennedy, Hank Lawson, and Vicki Meek, and the conversation brought a number of issues to light regarding the history and use of the park and the ongoing difficulties that face redevelopment there. I wanted to pull out a few takeaways, as well as put forth a few ideas to keep the conversation going. If you’re interested in your city, jump:
Today happens to be one of my favorite days of the year, because it combines both my favorite month and my lucky number. My cube also smells like croissants. Everything is awesome.
Speaking of awesome, this afternoon’s scheduled guest at SMU is the actor Stephen Tobolowsky, a Dallas native (and SMU alum) with an extensive IMDB rap sheet. You might not know his name, but you’d probably recognize him, since he’s been in more than 100 movies (Groundhog Day is probably one of the biggest) and some 200 TV shows (including Glee, where he plays the effeminate former director of the Glee Club). And since Tobolowsky has added “author” to his list of credentials with a new memoir, The Dangerous Animals Club, he’ll discuss his life and work during a free lunchtime lecture. Check out this interview D did with him a few years back.
Country music fans might be interested in Ryan Bingham’s concert at Palladium Ballroom tonight. This gravelly-voiced singer caught my attention (and the attention of people way more important than I) when he collaborated with T Bone Burnett for “The Weary Kind,” a song he performed for the film Crazy Heart in 2009. It won an Oscar and a Grammy. “I really feel like his work has slipped since then,” a Lubbock-dwelling friend informed me recently. Maybe it has. Bingham’s newest single, “Heart of Rhythm,” is from Tomorrowland, the album he dropped last month. And while it’s certainly more rock than country, I doubt he’s losing his West Texas roots. La Santa Cecilia supports. The Cedars Social is your spot for drinks before, after, or both.
If you have a really good memory, you might recall Adam McGill’s profile of actor Stephen Tobolosky from 2005. Tobolowsky has a book coming out, and he’s been doing some writing. An essay of his showed up on the back page of the New York Times Magazine a couple weeks ago. Now an alert FrontBurnervian points us to this essay about his childhood on Slate. It’s good stuff, and I recommend it. But I’ll bring up one quibble. Tobolowsky writes: “There were only three Jewish families in Oak Cliff — the suburb we lived in about 25 miles from Dallas.” Gosh, it feels closer than that.
Kathleen Thompson has an interesting photo on her blog. The yard you see here sits across the street from Colleyville Elementary School. No matter your political affiliation, you have to applaud the effort. But the tableau does make me wonder. Even if spiderwebs and clowns are involved, is it ever a good idea to hang an effigy of a black man in a tree? And if you support Romney, should you depict him as a spider? Charlotte was a good spider. There’s Anansi. But in general spiders don’t connote “leader” or “trustworthy” or “doesn’t use Swiss bank accounts to avoid paying taxes.”
Today is the last day of Major League Baseball’s regular season. The Texas Rangers, your defending back-to-back American League champions, have not managed to win their division yet. Despite having eight All-Stars on their roster, the Rangers enter Game 162 in a tie with the Oakland A’s, a team comprised of journeymen, rookies, and castoffs.
The Rangers could have secured the division title with a win on Monday night, but they lost to the A’s, 4-3. The same was true last night, but Texas’ suddenly impotent lineup managed to produce one measly run in a 3-1 loss.
Both of those games ended around midnight Dallas time. Today’s game in Oakland starts at 2:35. So, local bosses, forgive your baseball-loving employees if they seem both sleep-deprived and distracted today.
Poor Roads and Traffic Cost Drivers $1,500 a Year. A report released yesterday said that Texas drivers are paying about $1,500 extra because of our poor roads and congestion. This is why we should all move downtown (assuming your job is downtown) and have one giant scooter gang.
Sex Offender Faces Eviction. When Joshua Gravens was 12, he inappropriately touched his sister. For the past 14 years, he’s been on the sex offenders list. His name being on the list has caused multiple problems, including his most recent worry–homelessness. Gravens is married with four kids. Their apartment complex is threatening to evict him because he didn’t notify the office of his status, though he says he did. Unfortunately, his leasing officer has left. Based on advice from a lawyer, Gravens is staying in the apartment until a judge orders him out. Gravens will be eligible to be removed from the Â list in 2017.
SNOW! THERE MAY BE SNOW THIS WINTER! I have a hate/hate relationship with the sun. I also have a hate/hate relationship with the heat. That’s why I’m so excited to see this report about what may happen this winter in Dallas.