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Leading Off(ish) (10/22/14)

Was the ball dropped? Yes. Were mistakes made? Certainly. We can assess blame blame later. Now is not the time. Now is the time, while seated in the waiting room of my son’s dentist, to hurriedly put up today’s Leading Off.

Nina Pham Is Kicking Ebola’s Butt. The nurse’s condition has improved. She has been upgraded from “fair” to “good.”

Shooting by a Police Officer. Few details at this point, but a cop shot someone this morning in Northeast Dallas.

Highland Park ISD Looks To Expand. The district is in talks with Northway Christian Church to buy 4.6 acres off Northwest Highway, where the district would build its fifth elementary school.

Nelson Bunker Hunt, R.I.P. The man lived one hell of a life.

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Two Dallas Dudes Paired Up at Texas Book Festival

Though Rod Davis doesn’t currently live in Dallas, we can still call him a Dallas dude. He did two stints with D Magazine. He’s got a lifetime membership. Harry Hunsicker is definitely a Dallas dude. Harry has written for the magazine, and his most recent novel is The Contractors. Rod’s newest is South, America. Both books are set in the South, and this Saturday at 1:45, the gents will together discuss how geography plays role in their gritty fiction. If you are headed down to the festival, I definitely recommend that you catch these two guys let Rod know in the Q&A portion of their talk that you think Harry has better hair than he does. The full schedule is here.

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Leading Off (10/21/14)

51 People Released From Monitoring for Ebola. This is excellent news. Now we’ve got the two sick nurses being treated elsewhere and 116 people here in town who are still being monitored. The magic date is now November 7. If no one else develops symptoms by then, we can declare Dallas free of Ebola. Note to the mayor: don’t start planning the parade yet. Let’s all remember that lesson we learned in 2006.

Stricter Lawn Watering Rules in the Offing. The board of the North Texas Municipal Water District will today consider a return to once-every-two-week sprinkler use. Area lakes are still low, and we’re still in a serious drought. Heed the board. Heed it. (A Scott from Scott’s joke? A little love? No?)

Thousands of Diapers Stolen From North Texas Charity. Captain Hope’s Kids helps out homeless children. Its mission was made more difficult when thieves recently stole 160,000 diapers from the group. Stealing from homeless children? I guess if you wanted to ruin your karma faster, you could torture kittens, but that’s pretty low.

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Harvard Club of Dallas Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

Yes, yes. The Harvard Club of Dallas’ own website says it was founded in 1913. But operations didn’t begin until the next year, 1914, so they are counting this year as their centenary. You know what else happened in Dallas in 1914? The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas got up and running. Lo, the current president and CEO of the Dallas Fed, Richard Fisher, is himself a Harvard grad. And, even further lo, tomorrow Fisher will give the keynote at the Harvard Club’s birthday shindig at the Anatole. Details are here. Even Yalies are welcome.

UPDATE (10/20/14) As has been pointed out in the comments, I got the date wrong. This Harvard thing happens this coming weekend. It starts Friday, and Fisher speaks Saturday. My apologies.

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Jerry Jones Lawsuit Settled This Morning After Late-Night Lawyering

So that dancer dropped her sexual assault suit against Jerry Jones. Oddest detail from this story: the settlement was reached at 3 a.m. today. Surely they didn’t start early this morning and work for a couple hours. What time did they start yesterday? Did they take a dinner break? At, like, 11 o’clock, why didn’t they say, “Guys, let’s all go home, get some rest, and then get back at this at, oh, say 9:30 tomorrow”? More questions: does this mean that Jerry is guilty and didn’t want this thing to go to trial? Does this mean that every exotic dancer he encounters in the future — and surely there will be future exotic dancers — will file a lawsuit against him? The dancer initially wanted $1 million. Did she settle for $50,000? Does she have to pay taxes on that?

UPDATE (11:54) Jerry’s attorney sends along the following statement: “”We are pleased with the Court’s Judgment against Ms. Weckerly. Ms. Weckerly’s allegations were false. This case is over.” He also sends along a copy of the judgment, which dismisses the legal action by the plaintiff with prejudice, giving her no money.

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Fox 4 and Clarice Tinsley Show Us the Future of TV News. And Its End.

Last night, I watched the news. On my television. It feels odd to type those words. Maybe this post should end there. But I can’t help myself.

So the Ebola. It’s all Ebola all the time in Dallas, for good reasons and also for less than good reasons. On Fox 4 last night, they did some serious Ebola coverage (that I’d already digested on my phone hours earlier). And then they did their “Your Word” segment, during which the esteemed, long-serving, much-respected Clarice Tinsley was forced by producers to climb from behind the anchor desk and perambulate the studio, all casual like, while talking about the most serious of topics. Actually, she didn’t talk about Ebola. She said, “Social media is blowing up about that nurse getting on a commercial flight to Cleveland.” And then she started reading Facebook comments.

I assume these TV producers have kidnapped Clarice’s loved ones and threatened to kill them unless she follows their instructions. Only reasonable assumption. Last night, she was holding a fancy tablet that operated a large monitor behind her, but at one point, she stood there reading Facebook comments from her iPhone (as pictured above). One of the comments that she didn’t read but which was displayed for viewers was a photo of Homer Simpson. One can only pray for the safe return of Clarice’s husband. Well, one can pray, and one can also put up a blog post.

Imagine if, when television began to supplant radio as the dominant medium, the radio programs had begun to broadcast a live account of what television stations were broadcasting. THAT’S what Clarice was doing last night, best I can figure. It’s goofy. It’s self-defeating. It’s bad business. It’s acknowledging that the entire world is upside down and that you haven’t figured out how to survive in that world.

A quick postscript: I think we sometimes do the same thing in the pages of D Magazine.

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Leading Off (10/15/14)

Third Case of Ebola Confirmed. Another Presby healthcare worker who treated Eric Duncan has tested positive for Ebola. No identity yet, but decontamination units are doing their thing on an apartment at The Village, near Skillman and Village Bend. How could Presby healthcare workers have gotten infected? The AP reports that the nation’s largest nurses’ union is claiming that the hospital was unprepared for what happened: “Nurses were forced to use medical tape to secure openings in their flimsy garments, worried that their necks and heads were exposed as they cared for a patient with explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting, said Deborah Burger of National Nurses United.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization reported new figures today about Ebola in West Africa. The WHO says the number of new cases could reach 10,000 per week by December.

There’s some other stuff going on this morning, but, honestly, given the Ebola news, none of it seems that important.

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New Movie Called The Triple D Is About To Get Real at the Magnolia

Come Thursday, the Magnolia will host the world premiere of a film shot in Dallas called The Triple Threat. It’s a gangster movie starring real-life Dallas rappers including, among others, Mr. Lucci, Pooca Leeroy, Hollywood Bay Bay, and T Cash, the guy in the above photo who is about to kill a cameraman, from the looks of it. I learned about all this from Central Track. I’m a little out of my element here. The closest Pandora station I have to this stuff is A Tribe Called Quest. But so here’s my question about this movie:

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Leading Off (10/14/14)

Nina Pham Gets Blood Transfusion. The Presby nurse who contracted Ebola got help from Dr. Kent Brantly, a health worker who survived the disease. Brantly traveled to Dallas Sunday to donate plasma to Pham, an experimental treatment. Dude isn’t afraid to bleed. This is the third time Brantly has donated plasma since recovering from Ebola. We’ll see how this plays out, but Brantly deserves way more than a high-five. (Also, if County Judge Clay Jenkins has anything to do with it, Pham’s adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bentley, will not be destroyed.)

Tommy Lewis, R.I.P. If you don’t know the name, then you need to read this story about the Alabama player who jumped off the bench at the Cotton Bowl — “I was just so full of Alabama,” he later explained — to tackle a Rice player who would have scored a touchdown (and was awarded one anyway). I’m going to use that excuse sometime in the future. “I was just so full of East Dallas.”

Rogue Bull Injures Three at State Fair. “Farm Day at the Fair” didn’t go well yesterday. Two were treated on the scene, and a child was transported to a hospital. Question: how do you write that story without mentioning that this is the second time a murderous animal has wreaked havoc on the Midway this year? Wick was right without even realizing how right he was.

Michael Morris Needs Another Excuse for Trinity Toll Road. His most recent excuse for the toll road — after all the traffic numbers didn’t add up — was that it’ll spur economic development along the Interstate 35E corridor south of downtown Dallas. Except there’s no planned connection between the two roads and TxDOT would have to cough up $165 million to create one. The DMN’s Brandon Formby has been turning in some solid work lately.

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It’s Only a Matter of Time Before Mark Lamster’s Head Is Too Big for Him To Navigate the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

First we named him the best critic in the city. Then the Observer named him the best architecture critic in the city. Now comes this fawning story from The Atlantic’s CityLab. You know who I feel sorry for? Lamster’s wife. He must be impossible around the house. (All kidding aside, you should read the CityLab story. It puts into perspective the great work he has done in his short time here, and it should make you realize how fortunate Dallas is to have him.)

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A New Dallas Book You Maybe Might Perhaps Should Read (Possibly)

If the headline of this post isn’t clear (and my boss thinks I’m often not), let me tell you that I am ambivalent about the just-released ebook The Green, the Black, and the Deep Blue Sea. Oddly, my ambivalence has nothing to do with the prolix title. No, no. It’s more about the tandem of authors whose names appear on the book’s cover, my relationship to them, and the genesis of this 3,785-kilobyte story. To wit:

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Leading Off (10/7/14)

Southwest To Cut Some Flights to 18 Cities out of Love. The DMN has examined Southwest’s schedule to see how lifting the Wright Amendment will affect flights out of Love Field. The carrier will drop some flights to 18 cities as it fires up nonstop linkages to new cities. Sorry, El Paso. Wouldn’t wanna be ya, Houston.

Ebola Patient Receiving Experimental Medicine. Presby has revealed that over the weekend, as Thomas Duncan’s condition worsened, he was given the drug brincidofovir. Let’s hope it works better than it rolls off the tongue. Meanwhile, residents of the Ivy Apartments are having a rough go of it. Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates said: “Unfortunately, they are feeling discriminated against. We still have some that have been turned away from jobs, some that have been turned away at retail locations … so we’re getting them in touch with legal aid and any resources necessary.”

Prostitute Testifies That She Traded Sexual Favors for Police Protection. Jose Luis Bedoy hasn’t been convicted of anything. But this is pretty low.

Wylie Woman Goes Missing. Police are asking for help in locating 42-year-old Almaz Gebremedhin, whom her husband describes as “a near perfect person.” Gebremedhin hasn’t been seen since last Thursday.

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CURE Magazine Sold to New Jersey Firm

If you’ve never heard of CURE magazine, then you’ve probably never had cancer. Its editorial staff is (or was) based here in Dallas. As “the largest consumer magazine in the United States focused entirely on cancer,” it claims 1 million readers. Its parent organization, CURE Media Group, started in 2002. It’s a fine publication. I can tell you that back when the Katie Awards were a thing, we lost a couple of statuettes, that I can recall, to CURE.

Well, last week it was announced that Michael J. Hennessy Associates, “a full-service healthcare education, market research, and communications company” based in New Jersey, bought CURE Media Group. Come October 15, all but two staff members will be out of work (sorry, I don’t know how many folks that represents; I’ll update this post when I find out). Here’s hoping they all find their next adventure.

UPDATE (4:32) From a source: “All in all, nine people lost their jobs. We also had four open positions at the time of the sale. Of the nine who were let go, two were offered positions with the new company, and one was offered a different position with the old company. So, that leaves six who are looking for work.

“Beyond that, we had a number of regular contributors who are now uncertain if the work they had depended upon will be given to someone else. Writers, proofreaders, fact-checkers, photographers, illustrators, designers — all of whom had deep relationships with us — are now left to wonder if they will continue with the new owner.”

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Yes, We Are Still in the Midst of a Drought, and It Is Still Exceptional

Gosh, we had all that rain last night. The storms last week. So we should be doing a lot better with the wet stuff, right? Not so fast. The Texas Water Development Board releases a drought report every week. The new one is just out. It says:

For the first time since late 2010, less than half the state is under drought conditions. We saw improvements in south Texas and the southern High Plains over the past week, but drought worsened in North Texas. One patch of exceptional drought includes Dallas, Fort Worth, Weatherford, and Mineral Wells, and another patch includes the Wichita Falls area.

So let’s continue to conserve, people. Which is totally different than if I’d written “let’s continue to conserve people,” which is what I almost did. The comma makes a big difference. Because if we wasted some people, we’d actually do better with conserving water. Anyway, I got distracted a bit there. So: water. Let’s watch it.

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SideDish Dustup Gets Nod From Romenesko

If you haven’t been over to SideDish recently and if you’ve got a few minutes to kill, check out this post that Nancy put up Friday. Short version: DMN food critic Leslie Brenner and her crew went to Proof + Pantry to do a review. She was recognized, and the owners — who are not fans of the DMN‘s star rating system — refused to let Brenner pay for her meal in an attempt to create a conflict of interest that would prevent her from writing a review. In the comments to the post, Jim Schutze dives in, calling the restaurant’s owners “unsophisticated hicks.” Brenner’s husband chimes in. As does Brenner herself. And, somewhat oddly, the DMN‘s classical music critic, Scott Cantrell. It’s a lively discussion. And Romenesko included it in his morning report today, which was nice. So, by all means, dig in.

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