Find a back issue

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.

I Also Have a Wish List of Unfunded Amenities

Gail Thomas, director of the Trinity Trust, presented the City Council with an unfunded list of possible amenities in a briefing yesterday: spray parks, fire rings, a climbing wall, kayaks, a zip line, a disc golf course. Jugglers! It all adds up to $76 million, none of which has actually been raised. And it will have to be raised, because the city doesn’t have the cash to pay for any of it. But whatever!

“So many things in the corridor are possible once we allow our imagination to go there,” Thomas said.

EXACTLY. With that in mind, here is a list of some possible improvements to our city. They are also unfunded. Why worry about that? Just dream with me, people.

Full Story

Parkland Hospital Releases Major Presby Diss Track

Today, Parkland released a video showing how to properly don and doff protective gear when caring for a patient who has (or is suspected to have) the Ebola virus.

“As a public safety net hospital, we believe it is our responsibility to care for anyone who presents at our doors. Part of that mission is to share with others in the health care industry our knowledge of best practices,” said Alex Eastman, Parkland’s Disaster Medical Director.

Definitely feels like a subtweet aimed squarely at Parkland’s well-heeled, previously-well-thought-of competitor Presbyterian Hospital, which apparently could use a brush up on best practices in this regard. Or, if you prefer, their version of Nas’ “Ether,” directed toward the former “Neiman Marcus of hospitals.” Maybe Presby has a “Takeover” in them.

UPDATE FROM TIM ROGERS (9:35 PM) I had a conversation this evening with a senior Parkland official who was really unhappy with the above post. He didn’t know what a diss track is or who Nas is or what “Takeover” sounds like. Honestly, neither did I when I read this post. Still don’t. But I got the gist. I thought it was clever. And I never for a second thought Zac really meant that Parkland was trying to diss Presby. He was just making a joke.

The Parkland official’s point was that this is not a subject to joke about. It’s not funny. One person in Dallas has died. Others are sick. People are working hard to save lives. Hospitals are not competing with each other or dissing each other. I told him that I understood his point and that I thought it could lead to a really interesting, worthwhile conversation.

Here’s the deal: I’ve been making Ebola jokes for a couple weeks. A coworker told me she had diarrhea. My first response: Ebola joke. My out-of-state friends are texting and emailing me Ebola jokes, saying they won’t see me at Thanksgiving unless I put myself in quarantine right now. Stuff like that. I think this sort of joking is a normal, natural, healthy human response. It’s a relief valve on a system that’s under a lot of pressure.

But you know what? I’m not a healthcare worker. I’m a civilian out here in the world, living under different conditions than hospital officials are experiencing right now. Our relief valve might come across like a guy running through a tense business meeting while firing off an air horn.

Or, you know, a better analogy. It’s late. Been a long day. It ended, for me, with two insane meetings on my children’s behalf (behalves?) at two different schools, followed by a lengthy conversation with a Parkland official, during which I’m afraid I raised my voice more than I ought to have.

For that, I apologize to the Parkland official. As for this post, it’ll remain up, and hopefully we’ll all learn from it.

UPDATE (9:56 PM) From the Parkland official: “I am aware of what a diss track is. And I am very familiar with Nas, as Illmatic came out when I was in college and is one of the most important hip hop albums of all time. I am actually probably more familiar with Nas than the guy who wrote this article. So that part is inaccurate.”

Full Story

Leading Off (10/16/14)

Your Daily Ebola Update. Presbyterian has apologized. Nurses are tired of taking the blame. Amber Joy Vinson is now at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital. County commissioners are meeting today to decide whether to declare a local state of emergency. Also, this quote, re: Presby: “It has always been considered the Neiman Marcus of hospitals, because a lot of wealthy people came here. Now we wonder if it’s going to become the J. C. Penney.” What a drive-by burn on Penney’s.

DISD Board Will Meet On Monday In Wake Of Dade Middle School Dustup. “My goal is that we come to a better understanding of our purpose, the line between governance and management, and how we can improve the lives of the nearly 160,000 students we serve,” said board President Miguel Solis. Eric has been writing about all this over at Learning Curve.

Highland Park ISD Still Battling Over Books. Come for the story, stay for the super smarmy comment.

Full Story

Watch Erykah Badu Hustling On the Streets of New York

She posted up at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue to sing and ask for change. She made $3.60.

“In no way is this video a reflection of my feelings about homeless or unfortunate families nor individuals who have no other means of survival in our world,” she says. “Instead, this short film was shot w/ my iPhone and edited in iMovie for entertainment purposes only and serves as a personal ‘hustle’ experiment for me.”


Full Story

A Way To Help Support Nina Pham, The Nurse Battling Ebola

Nina Pham’s condition has been upgraded from stable to good, and — while she’s not out of the woods yet — it seems like she has an excellent chance of beating the Ebola virus. But, she has lost most of her belongings in the process. A couple of Pham’s friends have set up a Go Fund Me account to help replace her things, as well as help with the expenses that have accompanied all of this. It is here if you are interested.

Full Story

Is It Time To Bring Back the Wright Amendment?

Short answer: obviously.

Long answer: a smart man — much smarter than me, if you can believe that — once said, and I quote, “Dallasites — and when I say ‘Dallasites,’ I’m actually referring rather broadly to North Texas and North Texans as a whole, and my use of ‘Dallasites’ in that instance is kind of a shorthand for that, if you will — were not meant to fly non-stop to Los Angeles from Love Field. Probably not San Francisco either, now that I think about it.” I think these last 36 hours or so have proven that quote to be hauntingly prescient.

I mean, just because you have the ability to do something does not mean you should have the freedom to do so. Could I wake up from a coma and adroitly perform any rap song released between 1991 and 1994? Yes. Should I be allowed to? Actually, maybe. Probably. Bad example. How about this: can I whistle in public? Yes. Should I? Never, under any circumstances.

For decades, we wondered what would happen if the Wright Amendment went away. And now we can see, very clearly, the ill effects of that disastrous decision: Richard Branson is hanging around town like Wooderson in Dazed and Confused, the comment section on our blogs is mildly confusing, and the Cowboys are good again.

Bring back the Wright Amendment, and make it stronger this time. For example: a flight from Love Field to Waco should be forced to stop in either Wilmer or Hutchins and also Corsicana. You know it’s the Wright thing to do.


Full Story

Blind Item: People Are Attracted To This D Staffer

Yesterday afternoon, the majority of the D Magazine editorial staff — Tim Rogers, Brad Pearson, Liz Johnstone, Michael “2 Chainz” Mooney, and myself — took a trip to the State Fair of Texas. During a stop to exchange coupons for beers, a young woman, judged by the group to be in the neighborhood of 14 years of age, came up to one member of our party, poked said staffer in the shoulder area, and said, “You’re cute,” before walking out of our lives again, forever. After much gentle ribbing, the staffer in question said, “You would literally be surprised at how often that happens.”

So — who was the author of that incredibly cocky statement?

Full Story

Leading Off (10/9/14)

Ebola Update. Here is everything you need to know, courtesy of our own Matt Goodman.

North Central Texas Council of Governments Transportation Council Keeps Pushing Ahead With Northeast Gateway Even Though No One Wants It. The council is supposed to hear an explanation about traffic forecasts for roads around the project today — forecasts that have far outpaced everyone else’s growth projections for the area. It shouldn’t matter, since Wylie, Rockwall, Sachse, and Fate all formally oppose the road, and Rowlett will meet about it soon. But they are still trying to hammer it through. There is a good chance that this whole thing is being run by Werner Herzog’s character from Jack Reacher.

Deaths Of Frisco Couple Ruled a Murder and a Suicide. They aren’t saying that Pallavi Dhawan (found with a lethal amount of sleeping pills in her system) killed her husband Sumeet (who also had ingested sleeping pills, but was killed by blunt-force trauma). But they aren’t investigating any other suspects either. A note was found but still hasn’t been released.

Fort Worth Man Sentenced to Eight Years In Prison For Forklift Chase. “During the August 2011 chase that reached speeds of 16 mph, [Timothy] Raines drank beer and made obscene gestures at officers. He almost hit several vehicles, including patrol cars.”

Full Story

Thomas Eric Duncan, Dallas Ebola Patient, Died This Morning

Here is the statement from Presbyterian Hospital:

It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 am. Mr. Duncan succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola. He fought courageously in this battle. Our professionals, the doctors and nurses in the unit, as well as the entire Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas community, are also grieving his passing. We have offered the family our support and condolences at this difficult time.

Full Story

Dwaine Caraway Sliding Through a NSFW Dallas Observer Slideshow

A not-super-happy-but-for-unrelated-reasons FrontBurnervian pointed me to four shots of Dwaine Caraway — here, here, here, here — from a slideshow described as follows: “AP Rhino, one of the longest running nightlife promotion companies/venue owners in Dallas celebrated their 12 Year Anniversary party Friday night at Synn. DJ Jessy Jam provided the sounds, and special guests included Dallas Cowboys Receiver Dwayne Harris. Roderick Pullum was our man.” NSFW because most of the shots include women wearing body paint and, from the looks of it, not much else. I already knew Caraway was a man of the people.

Full Story

Dirk Nowitzki Is (No Surprise) the Best Shooter In the NBA

So says Grantland’s numbers guy Kirk Goldsberry:

Nowitzki integrates volume, efficiency, and ubiquity better than anyone right now. Moreover, he is hardly ever wide open when he shoots, with many of his attempts including a massive defender draped all over him. His quintessential move involves creating just a hair of separation from a defending forward like Ibaka and launching that fadeaway that never seems to miss. It’s unfair.

You know I — the man who popularized I SEE YOU, BIG GERMAN — am not going to disagree. That said, it’s pretty crazy, and strangely beautiful, seeing it all put together in a shot chart.

Full Story

Leading Off (10/2/14)

Ebola Roundup. What is known about Thomas Eric Duncan so far. As many as 18 people were in contact with Duncan after he was sent home from the hospital the first time. Kids at schools possibly exposed to Ebola are mildly panicked. State and local officials say things. Big Tex is now warning visitors to wash their hands before eating.

Cowboys Player Named In Sexual Assault Complaint. The alleged incident, involving C.J. Spillman, happened at the Gaylord Texan. The complaint says it happened September 20, but no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed yet.

Dallas Police Officer Fired For Dereliction of Duty. Officer Les Richardson was nearby when a Stephen Douglas rammed the car belonging to the mother of his children and then took the kids, ages 9 and 1, at gunpoint. But Richardson ignored the woman’s pleas for help.

Craig Watkins Used Forfeiture Funds For Bug Sweep. “Less than two months before agents from the FBI’s public corruption squad visited Watkins’ office in 2011, he paid a security company to sweep for listening devices, according to records obtained by The Dallas Morning News.”

Full Story

Leading Off (9/25/14)

Prosecutor Resigns Because, She Says, Craig Watkins Stopped Investigation Over Re-Election Concerns. Becky Dodds, a supervising prosecutor, resigned from the DA’s office after being told, according to her, that “we’re not going to pick fights with judges during an election season.” Watkins’ first assistant, Heath Harris, strongly disputes that notion. The whole thing stems from a relatively minor assault case and involves a rejected plea, missing paperwork, courtroom theatrics, and is explained by Jen Emily here. (You can catch the live act here.) I saw part of it play out in court last Monday, and I doubt we’ve heard the last of it. Especially since it is — dun dun dun — an election season.

State Auditor’s Office Says UNT Should Repay the State Almost $76 Million Over Next 10 Years. Auditors say the excess funds came from a “coordinated effort at the university” to manipulate its payroll. My analysis: THAT IS A LOT OF SCRATCH.

Vote On Proposal to Rename Lancaster For Nelson Mandela Pushed Back To November. Councilman Dwaine Caraway thought he had the votes to push the proposal through, but a contentious public hearing made that seem less likely. He got the vote pushed back, but there are a lot of people to convince in the meantime. He did succeed in getting in a few solid burns on Vonciel Jones Hill, though.

Highland Park Kids Protest Location of New Swim Center. They have already collected more than 500 signatures on their petition. Dibs on writing the screenplay. Gonna call it Playing in the Deep End. No, too wordy. Workshopping it!

Witnesses Take Down Carjacking Suspect. Good job, crimefighters.

Prosper High Football Team Parodies Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Good job, teens.

Full Story

Mavericks Unveil Alternate Jerseys For 2015-16 Season

The team introduced all (or most, or at least the ones that will actually make the squad) of its offseason acquisitions today. They also unveiled a prototype of the alternate jersey they will wear next season. Why not this season? I think it probably has something to do with NBA uniform rules. I would actually investigate the matter if I was excited about the team wearing these jerseys, but I am not. I am sure the designer, Geoff Case, is a nice enough fella. And this was an interesting idea, crowd-sourcing a new look. But this jersey is so generic. And the colors make think of the Cowboys, not the Mavericks. I don’t like thinking about the Cowboys, ever.

My ex-wife used to do corporate design work, and this reminds me of the end product of a lot of those projects, where a million different people had a billion different suggestions and tweaks, and once they are all incorporated, because they all have to be incorporated, it ends up looking like nothing. It is safe and fake local. It’s a skyline. Whatever.

Full Story