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Handicapping the Race to Play Billy Lynn

Deadline got the scoop yesterday on the gents up the lead role in Ang Lee’s adaptation of Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.

Here are the candidates:

Billy Howle (the British series Glue)

Taron Egerton (the upcoming Kingsman: The Secret Service)

Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders)

Jack Reynor (Transformers: Age Of Extinction)

And here’s how we would handicap the competitors:

Egerton: 50:1 odds
Cole: 2,256:3 odds
Reynor: 1,000,000:1 odds
Howle: 1:4 odds

Call it a hunch.

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Leading Off (2/4/15)

DISD Meeting Cut Short After Agenda Snafu. The agenda wasn’t specific enough to host a closed session, a possible Texas Open Meetings Act violation. So a meeting about a human resources scandal could’ve been brought down by a clerical error. But who would you bring that complaint to, then?

Contractor Accidentally Cuts Down Dallas Tree Older Than Dallas. Tim covered this late yesterday, but the level of incompetence here is just staggering. RIP Tree That Was As Old as Arthur MacArthur Jr., Father of World War II Pacific Theater Commander Douglas MacArthur. (There aren’t any famous people born in 1845.)

Armed Men Attacking Fort Worth Drivers. Add this to the “Maybe I should start taking the bus” ledger. In two separate incidents, men have forced their way into cars stopped at traffic lights, then robbed the female drivers. In one instance, a woman was shot in the foot.

Two Women Accused of Stealing Six Houses. That’s the exact headline on this NBC story. I used it because it had a certain Seven Brides For Seven Brothers pacing to it. I actually have no idea what that movie’s all about. Let’s Google it together. Pretty young cook…ill-mannered brothers…but after the brothers kidnap six local girls during a town barn-raising, a group of indignant villagers tries to track them down. That got dark rather quickly. ANYWAY, I guess these women were ganking these houses using by filing fraudulent title transfers. Boring. Back to the movie. How was a movie about kidnapping rated G?

Woman Stealing Debit Cards From Funerals. Heads on swivels, folks.

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Leading Off (1/28/15)

Belo Foundation Buys Land For Farmers Market Park The non-profit purchased 1.57 acres straddling Wood Street in hopes that it helps fulfill the city’s plan for the 3.8-acre park outlined in the 2013 Downtown Parks Master Plan. There is a catch: the city has no money available to snatch up the rest of the two-plus acres.

NTTA Customers Receiving Phantom Bills Maybe this is all a backdoor way to pay for the Trinity Tollroad.

Mavericks Lose Third in a Row It’s the first three-game skid of the season for the Mavs, at a time when the team can ill afford it. Both the Clippers and Rockets have passed the Mavs in the Western Conference, and the suddenly surging Spurs sit only one game back. Dallas heads to Houston tonight, then gets a relatively easy Miami-Orlando-Minnesota stretch before heading to Golden State. Pretty much need to take three of four before that game to keep from falling into seventh in the West.

Feral Hogs Tear Up Cedar Hill There are so many wonderful turns of phrase in this story, but I do have one minor quibble with this one: “He was walking his two dogs when a cage filled with a whole lot of hog came into view.” If you ever get the opportunity to use the expression “whole lotta” you have to take it. Now, for something completely different.

Leading Off (1/21/15)

Four More Earthquakes Strike Unsuspecting Region I didn’t feel any of them. Go about your life until you’re told this is all just a viral marketing campaign for the Left Behind reboot. Yes, they remade the Left Behind adaptation! No, it’s probably not any better than the original starring Kirk Cameron! But it has Nicolas Cage, you say! I can’t keep these exclamatory sentences going so I’ll just rebut by saying have you even seen Joe?! It was pretty good and reminds you that Nic Cage probably doesn’t have to do Left Behind movies!

Toyota Breaks Ground on New Plano Headquarters Plano, not Dallas. I know that’s hard to differentiate for some mayors.

DISD Officer Involved in Shooting So many questions, but I’ll just leave it at “Why did a DISD officer try and intervene in a traffic infraction off-campus and why did this suspect try to run and what was that altercation about and why did a DISD officer shoot at (but not hit) this suspect?” Very straight-forward.

Fort Worth Undertakers Slapped With Additional Charges… The mortuary owners were tagged with felony theft charges yesterday, in addition to the multiple “abuse of corpse” counts from last year.

...and the Undertaker May Slap Some Fools in Arlington Because Wrestlemania is coming to Jerry World. (That link is for, which I intend to use in every Leading Off henceforth.)

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Leading Off (1/14/15)

Jason Garrett to Sign Contract Extension Vegas had him as the most likely coach to be fired during the 2014 season, and now look at him. Top of the world. Or at least top of a world, one that will most likely crumble before five years is up because how many vertebrae does Tony Romo have left exactly? Just one big one fused together? And I’m sure Jerry Jones won’t second-guess the coaching staff’s decision to run DeMarco Murray into the stiffer mantle below Arlington this year, and Jason Witten is getting younger by the day. On the other hand, I’m sure Dez Bryant will be fine. But maybe don’t let this domain lapse.

State to Name Board of Managers to Oversee Prime Prep Who could’ve possibly seen this coming? Whoa. Totally blindsided.

Mother and Daughter Found Dead in Fort Worth This is awful, yes, but this sentence gave me pause: “It does look like there was an accident,” said Natosha Tucker with Fort Worth Police. “Our investigators think that that car may have crashed through the barbed wire fence that you see behind us, but, again, it is unknown if that car is related to the two bodies that were found in the field.”

More Hotel Rooms Coming to Downtown Dallas Westin will climb into some floors of One Main Place during its upcoming renovation; a renovation of the building’s ill-conceived Rube Goldberg experiment of a courtyard will also take place. That leads me to one final point, for building owner KFK Group: if you lay one hand on Chef Wang’s delicious, reasonably-priced head, I will hunt you down, find you, and give you the sternest talking to about Americanized Chinese food you’ve ever heard. Demands will be made! Threats will be levied. And fried rice will be consumed.

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If You’re in Town For the College National Championship, Boy Does Dallas Have a Deal For You!

In January 2009, I lived in a two bedroom apartment right outside Washington DC. If you remember January 2009, and particularly Washington DC in January 2009, you will remember it as basically a modern-day gold rush. It was the first time—if memory serves—that Craigslist was used for anything other than “M4BBW; will bring wine coolers.”

It all went something like this:

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Leading Off (1/7/15)

Totally Bizarre, But Nothing of Remote Consequence Happened Last Night. Weird, right?

North Texas Rents Hit All-Time Highs. But will there even be apartments in North Texas by the time you read this? Will they all have been sucked into the ground?

Big Rig Wedged Under I-30 Removed.The cause behind the crash has not been released.” Yeah, probably because the guy hasn’t thought of the “There was a GD EARTHQUAKE” excuse yet.

Federal Court to Take on Texas Abortion Law Today. (No joke here.)

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Jerry Jones Paid For This Meaty Chris Christie Hug

By now you’re well-acquainted with the fact that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a Dallas Cowboys fan, and that Christie spent yesterday’s Cowboys victory in the box with Jones. Now we know that Christie’s visit was free. From

Christie has now attended three games at the invitation of Jones, who invited the governor and picked up the tab, said Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts.

“Governor Christie attended the game last night as a guest of Jerry Jones, who provided both the ticket and transportation at no expense to New Jersey taxpayers,” Roberts said.

Jones paid for Christie and his family to attend the games, including footing the bill for the private jet that shuttled the Christies to Sunday night’s game, he said.

Pretty good work if you can get it.

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D Magazine Staff Writer Michael J. Mooney Is a Very Popular Writer, Part 2,136

Ahhh December. Time for egg nog, racist uncles, and Best Of lists. You may remember my colleague Michael J.Mooney’s “How Not to Get Away With Murder,” from our December issue. Well, it turns out that was the third most-popular story on Longform this year, trailing only stories about Radio Shack and serial killers.

The story WAS NOT however, selected as one of the 10 best stories of the year by Longform’s editors. (Have to keep him humble.) Better luck next year, Michael.

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Leading Off (12/17/14)

Former Dallas U.S. Attorney Named ICE Head: Senate Republicans—including our own illustrious John Cornyn—tried a bunch of shenanigans to keep Sarah Saldaña from the post, but in the end it was Ted Cruz (and his bizarre, maybe-I-didn’t-think-this-through shenanigans) that actually allowed the Senate to vote on Saldaña’s appointment.

Oak Cliff Native Stevie Ray Vaughan Voted Into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Green Day was also voted in, which means that previous sentence holds absolutely no worth.

After Kaufman Killings, Eric Williams Went to a Barbecue: And that’s not even the most bizarre stuff to come out of his sentencing, which has been extended to today. “…Williams planned to use a crossbow to kill him. Kim Williams said he also planned to cut a hole in the judge’s stomach and pour in the homemade napalm he made as an extra coup de grace.” The death penalty is on the table, so the delay is understandable.

Barrett Brown Not Sentenced: Meanwhile, someone who should be out of prison is not. It’s been delayed until late January.