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Making Dallas Even Better

Zac Crain is a senior editor at D Magazine. He moved to Dallas in 1997, and since then, he's worked as an editor at the Dallas Observer and American Way, written for Esquire and Spin, ran for Dallas mayor, written a book, and served as "glue guy" for a handful of rec-league basketball squads. Scouting report: can't go right, but he's a creative passer, and semi-accurate set shooter.

Leading Off (8/24/15)

Where In The World Is District Attorney Susan Hawk? That is currently the burning question around the Frank Crowley Courts Building. She’s been off the clock and out of pocket since August 3, and no one is really saying what’s up. Maybe it’s just a normal vacation, but there is a lot of uncertainty even within her own office. Apparently, she is supposed to be back to her normal schedule — abruptly firing people, making odd public statements, and instilling a culture of paranoia — this week.

Rangers Win Third Straight, Nine of 11. Cole Hamels won, keeping the team in possession of the second wild card spot and leaving me dangerously close to watching a game. (I didn’t watch this one.) Also, over the weekend, Adrian Beltre did this.

TERRIBLE Doctor Will Not Have Bail Reduced. According to authorities, Christopher Duntsch “intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly” injured four patients and killed another during botched spinal surgeries, for which he was later arrested. At a hearing Friday, Duntsch was trying to have his bond lowered from $600,000. One reason that won’t happen? This 2011 email to an employee:“I am ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience that I mix with everything else that I am and become a cold blooded killer.” I mean, what would even be the context for that? “Here is my upcoming schedule. Here is an update about the new parking situation. Oh, and here is a quick note about my goal to become evil. Dictated but not read, Dr. D.”

Megafest Wraps Up With ‘Raucous’ Service At the AAC. Bishop T.D. Jakes couldn’t make it because of an “eye issue,” but it didn’t seem like the attendees minded much.

The Ongoing Saga of Sam Rader, Christian Vlogger. I hadn’t heard of Sam Rader until a couple of weeks ago, when the YouTube clip of him surprising his wife with a positive pregnancy test went viral. Apparently, Sam and his wife Nia (who live in Terrell) have something of a following. Anyway, a couple of days after that was another viral clip, wherein the couple announced Nia’s miscarriage. Then people started to maybe suspect it was all made up. Then last week, after the Ashley Madison hack, it was revealed that Sam had a paid account with “Uber, but for affairs.” And now, over the weekend, Sam was kicked out of Vlogger Fair in Seattle, allegedly for threatening violence against another attendee. I wish I didn’t know about any of this. But because I have to, you do, too.

The D.O.C. Has His Voice Back. The Dallas rap legend released one of the best hip-hop debut albums ever, 1989’s Dr. Dre-produced No One Can Do It Better. (Maybe use headphones if you click that link.) Not long after, he crushed his larynx in a drunk-driving accident, leaving him with a whispery croak. Since then, he’s written rhymes for Dre and Snoop Dogg, among others, and of late has been mentoring Garland’s own Justin Mohrle, aka Justus. Over the weekend, he tweeted that his once-commanding voice has, at long last, come back. I don’t know what happens now. But it would be great to hear him do his thing for real again, at least one more time.

Rob’s Chop Shop Celebrates 20 Years

The old-school barbershop in Exposition Park run by third-generation barber Rob Villareal — and recent Best of Big D winner — will celebrate two decades in business on Saturday with a shindig from 6 to 9:30 pm. Plus, it’s Rob’s 50th birthday. So after drinks and hors d’oeuvres at the shop, there’s an after party at 10 at the brand-new Eight Bells Tavern (in the old Amsterdam space) with a performance by The Rhythmaires and tunes by DJ Mr. Rid.

Jim Dent Gets Three More Years In the Joint

Dent, the author of Junction Boys and semi-professional mugshot model, was already sentenced to 10 years for felony DWI in Collin County. Now the well-known writer and serial drunk driver will stack three more on top of that, thanks to a plea deal in Williamson County for another DWI. So he’ll have plenty of time to work on his memoirs and not drink too many drinks then try to drive an automobile.

For more on Dent, read this very good story by Michael J. “Mike” Mooney.

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The Di Suvero Sculpture In Front of The Meyerson Is Almost Gone

Good job, Dallas! Now take down the Di Suvero in front of the DMA, because there is probably room to put an office building there, too, if you try hard and don’t really care about design. Not that caring about design or the integrity of neighborhoods or thinking holistically about the city is ever really a concern. And anyway, the museum’s facade is all busted up, so no one will probably care. Great idea, huh? AWESOME.

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Leading Off (8/17/15)

Jordan Spieth Is the No. 1 Golfer In the World. Spieth came up three strokes short in his attempt to become just the third golfer to win three majors in one calendar year. But the Jesuit grad (and David Feherty’s hero) did well enough in the PGA Championship to surpass Rory McIlroy and take over the No. 1 world ranking. So, basically, we’ve had pretty comparable years.

Two Men Steal Car With a Baby In It. They abandoned the baby in a park a few blocks away. The kid is fine. In the thieves’ defense, they probably did not expect to find a 1-year-old in the Toyota Corolla parked in front of a 7-Eleven with the keys in the ignition and the engine running. Not a lot of great decisions, here.

Sam Tasby, RIP. Tasby, the lead plaintiff in the DISD desegregation case, died Sunday morning, after cancer that started in his prostate spread throughout his body. He was 93. The World War II veteran led a class action suit filed in 1970, “tired of being pushed around for no reason because of the color I am.” The desegregation order that resulted guided many DISD decisions for the next three decades. He was later honored when a school in northeast Dallas was named Sam Tasby Middle School.

Huge Crowd Turns Out For Christian Taylor’s Funeral. The more I hear about Taylor, the less I understand what happened.

Rangers Win Seventh Straight Home Game. I have not watched any of those wins. But I have been doing a bunch of deep knee bends in preparation to leap on the bandwagon when someone gives me the signal.

Mid-1800s Log Cabin Found Inside the Walls of a Flower Mound Home. A developer discovered it as he was preparing to tear down the house to make room for a new 12-home development. Instead, he’s scaling back his plans and will preserve it. Finally, hopefully, we will all get the in-depth look at Flower Mound’s rich history that we’ve long craved.

Leading Off (8/10/15)

FBI Will Assist In Investigation of Christian Taylor’s Shooting. There is video of the 19-year-old Angelo State football player wandering around the Classic Buick GMC lot in Arlington, trying to open a few doors and ultimately stomping through the windshield of another. But video of what happened when Brad Miller, a rookie cop, and his training officer showed up has not surfaced. Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said Taylor “was not compliant and he fled to the southwest portion of the building, where officers observed him trying to force his way through a locked glass door.” The FBI will help get to the bottom of why this resulted in Taylor, who was unarmed, being shot and killed instead of arrested. Johnson said that “any time the police use deadly force, there must be a vigorously thorough, transparent, and procedurally fair investigation that answers all relevant questions.” Taylor’s family is being patient. I hope they don’t have to wait too long.

North Central Texas Council of Governments Will Help Fund Trinity Design Charette — But Only the Part That Would Lead to Alternative 3C. That is, they’ll help try to figure out the Trinity Parkway, but only if it leads to the big fat Trinity tollroad. (If that link doesn’t work, hit up Wylie H. Dallas’ Facebook page). Who has a dashing salt-and-pepper beard, is typing right now, and is totally not even a little surprised? —> this guy <—-

Charles Haley and Tim Brown Inducted Into Pro Football Hall of Fame. Haley, the former Dallas Cowboys defensive end, and Brown, the Woodrow Wilson star, both gave emotional speeches on Saturday night in Canton. Regarding Haley, I truly think it’s fantastic that he is happy and healthy now. That said, I urge everyone to read the relevant portions of Jeff Pearlman’s Boys Will Be Boys sometime, because wow. Haley’s off-field antics stand above everyone, and that is a book that starts with Michael Irvin shanking another player with a pair of scissors over a haircut.

Mayor Saves Mayer From Choking. Helen Mayer was having lunch with her family at the downtown El Fenix when she began choking on her fajitas. Local dad Mike Rawlings, who has been mayor of Dallas since 2011, sprung into action and successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver on her. “I patted him on the tummy and said I would vote for him!” Mayer said, and I did not make that quote up.

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Leading Off (8/6/15)

Today’s Weather Forecast. You just finished a pretty good first date with the sun. You’re a little gun shy because you just came out of a long relationship and there are a lot of creeps out there. But you did have a good time and you do like the sun, so you give it a long, lingering hug.

Rangers Sweep AL West-Leading Astros. I haven’t really watched a Rangers game all season, but it looks like I might have to start? Maybe? Or can I wait until September, as is my tradition? Just let me know. I am absolutely ready to fake-talk about the Rangers. “How about Hamels, huh?” That sort of thing.

DISD Trustees Will Discuss Bond Election Today. The deadline to put the $1.6 billion bond package (for nine new schools, almost 300 new classrooms, and more) up for vote in November is August 24, and the board is divided on whether to do it then or sometime next year. They’ll talk about it today at a workshop, which I assume differs from a regular meeting in that there will be box lunches from Jason’s Deli there and one or two trustees will be wearing dungarees.

Suspicious Package Left At DPD Headquarters. Given that they were under attack about two months ago, officers at police HQ took zero chances with the bag a woman dropped off at the front door without a word to anyone at 2:30 a.m. They used a disruptive device to blow it up. It turned out to be nothing, but it did give a few reporters on the night shift something to do, and I’m sure they appreciated that.

Man Chases Pair Who Abducted His Daughter Maybe. Having a tough time figuring this one out, but it seems like last night was full of a lot of maybe-news. A man was following a black Impala this morning. He said the two people in it abducted his daughter. Who was also in it? It’s unclear. Anyway, DPS and Dallas Sheriff’s deputies stopped the car, and a man and woman were taken into custody. And police say the daughter may have known them. And I still don’t know where the daughter is. Did anything happen here?

Here is Ken Paxton’s Mugshot

Not sure why he didn’t have to wear the towel over his clothes. Thought that was standard. But I’m not gonna complain.

As for that lopsided smile, very strong move. Says “OK OK I’ll go along with this, but I just want y’all to know you’re full of it.” Although with his eye situation, it kind of looks like one side of his head is made of metal and either someone turned on a giant electromagnet right before this was snapped, or else Magneto is nearby and is tying up loose ends perhaps. Would he need to work with a state attorney general? I don’t know. The X-Men continuity is honestly pretty confusing, and I’m not even sure the movies add up.


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Leading Off (7/30/15)

Rangers Trade For Cole Hamels. The deal for the Phillies ace might be too late to get them in the playoffs this season, but it sets up the team well for 2016. In exchange, they gave up Matt Harrison and a package of prospects, most notably catcher Jorge Alfaro. There is a lot of cash involved, too, so the commissioner’s office hasn’t approved the deal yet. So I guess there is a chance to Rangers could still get DeAndre Jordaned. Yes, we’re saying that now.

Dallas Man Sentenced to 15 Years For Sex Trafficking. LaDestro Douglas was pimping out underage runaways, and got what he deserved. This has been a signed editorial comment by Zac Crain.

Zoo Employees Mourn Kipenzi. Yeah, this still punches me in the gut.

Duncanville Teen Arrested After Video Shows Him Beating Up Other Teens. A few lessons here: 1) Don’t assault other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 2) Don’t have someone film you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 3) If you don’t have someone filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, assume someone is filming you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person. 4) Definitely do not — and I really can’t stress this enough — post or let anyone post that video of you assaulting other teens, or other older people if you’re an older person, to any social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever. Actually, you can post it to LinkedIn.

Leading Off (7/23/15)

Trauma Cases Down At Parkland. Which is a bad thing I guess? I guess I naively expected this to be a story about people being safer or something, which I now see as stupid as I’ve typed it out. The problem is, fewer traumas hurts the hospital’s ability to train trauma specialists, and also lost revenue, which is not insignificant as it opens a new hospital and trauma center.

Former Plano Neurosurgeon Faces Six Felony Counts. “It is so rare for a district attorney to prosecute a physician,” said James Girards, the attorney for one of the patients that sued Christopher Duntsch after a botched surgery. “What makes this different is the overwhelming evidence.” Duntsch already had his license suspended in 2013 because of “imminent peril to public health” that was “due to impairment by drugs or alcohol.” I’m sure you can expect Brett Shipp to be skulking around the courthouse in his Oakleys once this trial gets going.

DISD Fires Scandal-Plagued HR Exec. If you’ve been following this case for what seems like the last 10 years, this is not a huge surprise. But will Tonya Sadler Grayson sue? “At no time have I violated any of Dallas ISD’s rules or any laws, and I have done nothing to warrant termination,” she said in a statement. Which is followed by a quote from her attorney. So … yeah.

Did You Watch Mark Cuban Shoot Sharks With a Shotgun? He did, playing the president in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No, which debuted last night. WHO’S SORRY NOW, DEANDRE?

Cowboys’ Stephen Jones: This Is One of Our “Better” Teams. “It’s all coming together,” the team’s executive vice president said. You expect to succeed your father with fairly reasonable statements like that, sir? Come on. Tell people you’ve already got dinner reservations at the Super Bowl site. Start trash-talking potential opponents. Call it a dynasty. The season hasn’t even started yet, fella. I need you to get Cowboys fans good and irrational. Say something about “secret sauce” or whatever.

Leading Off (7/16/15)

Dez Bryant Finally Signs. It went right down to the wire, but the wide receiver — full name: Dez Bryant Caught the Ball! — agreed to a five-year deal worth $70 million, with $32 million of that guaranteed. Probably the only loser in this is ESPN’s Ed Werder, who would have gotten a lot more screen time during a potential Bryant holdout. But it’s the Cowboys, so I’m sure something will come up.

Jordan Spieth Atop Leaderboard At British Open. At least he was when I wrote this, at six under par through 12 holes. I hope this didn’t jinx him. (UPDATE: I might have? He’s now five under after 13.)

Mansfield Firefighter Foils Armed Robbery. After a masked man with a hunting knife pushed past Daniel Gaskey to hold up a Midlothian convenience store, the off-duty firefighter took about seven seconds to completely control the situation. He jumped the robber, disarmed him, and held him down until police arrived. “He was all worried about [running late for work], and then we found out he had intervened in an armed robbery while he was getting some coffee,” said Fire Chief Barry Bondurant.

BOBCAT ALERT. Panther Creek Estates in Frisco has a roving band of bobcats on the prowl. Word of warning: don’t name your housing development after big cats, because that is just rolling out the welcome mat. That’s the saying, right?

Deion Sanders to Appear on Lip Sync Battle Tonight. He’s taking on Justin Bieber and performing Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” (in blond wig) and Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music.” Hopefully it won’t be like his school and start out with promise and then fold like a pair of pants.