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Making Dallas Even Better


Leading Off (5/19/16)

Our Burbs Continue to Boom. New Census data show that Dallas proper grew at a slower rate than did the state overall. Meanwhile, Frisco and McKinney continue to pile it on.

Texas’ First Female Army Infantry Recruits Come From North Texas. Shelby Sparkman goes to McKinney North, and Hannah Carpenter goes to Alvord High. Both are 17, and both are signing up for combat roles with the Army. I admire Sparkman’s willingness to serve, but look at her. Am I the only one who doubts she’ll make it through basic training?

Japanese Bullet Train Operator To Open Office in Dallas. Central Japan Railway Company will bring about 20 employees to town to support the effort to build a high-speed rail line to Houston. [insert joke about Houston]

Longform Story Alert! The News has published a new piece about that body found in an Oak Cliff backyard. They gave it the special Snowfall treatment, this time with a black background. Jazzy!

Unsolicited Advice for the Morning News

Yesterday, the DMN launched a metered paywall. As I said, I hope it works. The city is a better place with a thriving, strong newspaper. But while they work things out digitally, I think there’s something the paper should be doing with the paper. Look at the front page of today’s Metro section.

A guy’s Audi Q5 smells of rotting flesh. His girlfriend is missing. There’s a shovel in his garage. And Febreze. It’s a sensational story. Tragic for the missing woman’s family. But a great story for readers. Yet it is relegated to that small space on the right.

The hero on the front page, the story that occupies about 75 percent of the real estate, is a thing about the Katy Trail and a guy who wants a bunch of money to spruce it up. Nothing is happening. Something might happen in the future. To a jogging path.

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Dallas Morning News Launches Metered Paywall

From the announcement: “ and on Tuesday moved to a metered model that will allow local digital consumers to read 10 free articles in a 30-day period. Once that limit is hit, readers can either purchase a digital subscription or wait for the 30-day clock to reset. Or, you know, they can simply clear their cookies.” Last sentence added by me for clarification. In all sincerity, though, I hope it works.

The Real Housewives of Dallas Episode 6 Recap

Before we begin, if I may: at a dinner party last week, a friend of mine was telling me how much she enjoys my Real Housewives of Dallas recaps. Always nice to hear. And painful. “You know,” she said, “those recaps could lead to a writing job.” Yes, I suppose that is possible. Maybe one day I will have a writing job. Perhaps this recap of Episode 6, titled “Locken Loaded,” will impress someone enough to give me a job that entails writing.

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Watch a Documentary About the History of Segregation in South Dallas

The documentary Bonton + Ideal aired first on KERA back in December. But it just went up online. You can watch it here. From The Atlantic’s CityLab site:

The film, Bonton + Ideal, is named after two historically black South Dallas locales. In it, residents of these neighborhoods recount what it was like growing up in rickety housing, without amenities like running water, electricity, playgrounds, good schools, and public services. These residences were built on the Trinity River flood plain, which means that floods were routine. “South Dallas was sand. When the wind blew, it would leave a hole in the road. When it would rain, that hole would fill up with water,” Willard Dotson, who lived in the area, says in the film. “When it rained hard, Bexar Street looked like a river.”

The black families who lived in Bonton and Ideal were physically fenced off from the rest of the city—and economically isolated, as well. If they tried to move out to other, better neighborhoods, they were terrorized. “As blacks started to come home from the [World Wars], they didn’t want to live in the ghetto anymore,” local historian Donald Payton says in the film. “Over in South Dallas, people would buy houses and the next night somebody would throw dynamite into their house and blow up their house—bringing the fear.”

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Here’s What Ben Fountain Thinks of the Trailer for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

We talked yesterday about the trailer for BLLHW. For my money, it doesn’t look like the book I read and loved. As someone pointed out to me, though, Ang Lee didn’t cut that trailer. The studio is probably trying to pull in the Heartland, all the folks who went to see American Sniper. Let’s hope the movie itself hews closer to the book, with its subversive humor. In any case, I asked Ben Fountain what he thought of the trailer. Says Ben:

I think the emotional impact is considerable — it hits you (or at least me) hard in the gut. That rendering of Bowie’s “Heroes” is stunning. The trailer does a good job of snapshotting the whole movie; a lot of info gets conveyed in a short amount of time. Vin Diesel seems to be channeling himself to excellent effect.

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Doom Is Back!

In 1993, the video game Doom, published by the local outfit id Software, pretty much blew people’s minds. No one had ever seen a game that was so immersive and so violent. In short, it was a thing. Today id is relaunching the game. You’ll find reviews online of the single-player experience. They are mostly good. But as Time points out, reviewers won’t get a taste of the multiplayer experience until today, when id’s server is fired up for the public at large. You can watch a livestream of the game being played here. (If the Dallas Observer’s Patrick Williams isn’t taking the day off to properly celebrate the occasion, I will be disappointed.)

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Watch the Trailer for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Is it just me? Does it seem like there’s dissonance between the book and the trailer below? No, it’s not just me. From the A.V. Club: “The trailer — how to put this delicately — makes it look like a higher-budget version of one of those Christian-marketed films, all pomp and circumstance and serious as a heart attack. Which seems faintly ridiculous, given the multiple shots of the hoary over-the-top football halftime show that supposedly constitutes the story’s centerpiece.”

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Celebrate National Beef Month With Bold, Beefy Schmacon™

There is a thing called Schmacon™. This Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at five North Texas Central Market stores, you can put it in your mouth hole (Fort Worth, Coit, Lovers, Preston, Southlake). What is Schmacon™? Well, have a look at the press release, which reads like it was written by the Onion staff. [My remarks are in brackets.]

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Leading Off (5/12/16)

Stars’ Season Ends. Here’s how Jose de Jesus Ortiz, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, put it: “The Blues didn’t just beat the Stars in the winner-take-all Game 7, they embarrassed the Western Conference’s top seed in front of their own fans at American Airlines Center. Blues 6, Stars 1.” For me, that ride on the bandwagon came to a bumpy end.

But FC Dallas Won! They beat the team from Portland. Zac, permission to come aboard?

Should We Shoot the Stray Dogs? That’s a question now being asked on the local news. Councilman Ricky Callahan told Channel 11 that he meant we should shoot them with darts. But Jim Schutze says we should use bullets. It’s hard to read about how Antoinette Brown was mauled to death and not want to go with the Schutze option.

Former Baylor Frat President Indicted. Jacob Anderson, a 21-year-old junior from Garland, was indicted on four counts of sexual assault.

I, Tim Rogers, Am a Former Football Player

I was reading this story in the DMN about a guy who was charged with murder. Here’s the online headline: “Ex-Euless Trinity Football Player, Now 27, Accused of Fatally Shooting Woman at Hurst Apartment.” So a decade ago, this guy played football in high school. When I finally go insane from writing Real Housewives of Dallas recaps and I come to work and bludgeon Zac to death with a spud wrench (it’s so specific that it almost makes you think I’ve given it a lot of thought, right?), I want the same sort of headline. I played football for the Cistercian Preparatory School For Wayward Boys, in Irving. Even caught a few touchdown passes in 1988. So something like “Ex-Cistercian Football Standout, Now 46, Accused of Honor Killing.” That would work. Thank you for your time.

The Real Housewives of Dallas Episode 5 Recap

Last weekend my sister-in-law got married to a lady in Virginia. Great wedding. Lots of laughs. Lots of dancing. Anyway, I met some of the other bride’s family for the first time. Her sister lives in Baltimore. As she’s shaking my hand, she says, “Oh, you’re the guy who does The Real Housewives of Dallas recaps.” Yes, I am. I am the guy who does The Real Housewives of Dallas recaps. My obituary will begin: “Tim Rogers, who was best-known for writing a series of reality-television recaps, died yesterday after a long battle with his liver. His kitchen floor was found to have two layers of old vinyl sandwiched between the subfloor and a layer of plywood, which is why they had to leave the dehumidifiers and blowers in his house longer than expected, which really pissed off his wife because all that stuff was loud and made sleeping difficult.” This recap is for Baltimore! Episode 5 was titled “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” So clearly it’s about interracial marriage, right? No! There’s not a single black person in this episode!

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Leading Off (5/5/16)

Johnny Football to Appear in Court Today. Manziel turned himself in yesterday at the Highland Park jail and posted a $1,500 bond. He was allowed to turn himself in anyplace that feeds the Dallas County court system. I guess he figured HP was cooler than Addison. After booking, he tweeted, “Just thankful I had a shirt this time.” Anyway, he has a court appearance today whereat a judge will explain the conditions of his bond.

Peeping tom in Frisco Super Target. Have a look at this twit. He was taking pictures of a girl in a changing room at a Super Target on Preston Road. Frisco police are asking for help identifying him, which shouldn’t be difficult.

Vandal Smashes Windows at Historic Church. Mount Olive Lutheran Church is 100 years old and on the National Historic Registry. An idiot was caught on camera breaking 15 windows, including some that were stained glass.

Cowboys Announce Restaurant Complex for the Star. The team’s under-construction practice facility will have a Mi Cocina, a Liberty Burger, a Neighborhood Services, and a Dee Lincoln Prime. Most of them will open next spring, when it will become even more obvious that Jerry Jones is a genius when it comes to the business of football.

Jamba Juice Moving to Frisco. The juice concern is moving its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Hall Office Park. About 100 people will make the move.

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A Frenchman Walks Into Downtown Dallas

Him, in thick French accent: “Excuse me. Can you point me to the main street where I will find the shops?”

Me: “Do you mean Main Street or just a main street?”

Him: [confused look]

Me: “So you want a big street where you can find places to shop?”

Him: “Yes, but without the car. I know in Dallas the car is important. But I am only walking.”

Me: “Neiman Marcus is that way [pointing], but it is really expensive. I, uh –”

Him: “I am looking for a place to buy regional things, something to take home.”

Me: “Regional things? I just don’t — well, the thing is. Yeah, you’re not going to find that in downtown Dallas. I can point you to some places to eat. But there’s really no big street where you can just stroll around and shop for stuff.”

Him: [more confusion]

Me: [embarrassment, shame]

Him: “Thank you. I will walk this way.” [heads down St. Paul Street]