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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 (11/23/15)

Armed Protesters Set Up Outside Irving Mosque. Probably the least surprising, but still depressing, story over the weekend. Good job, Beth Van Duyne. [hour-long fart sound]

Cowboys Win. Since they are in a division that is the football equivalent of a garbage scow, the Cowboys are somehow alive still in the playoff race after beating the Dolphins. Also: Jerry Jones met with Greg Hardy, regarding Hardy being the worst. “He is aware that everything he does — his personality, his style, his enthusiasm — it’s all going to be interpreted negatively,” Jones said. He added, “He understands it, and he has agreed to really work on it.” I like a team owner who comes off like a cross between an incompetent substitute teacher and a mom who lets her kids’ friends have beers.

Woman Sues For Return of Original Film That Captured JFK Assassination. Gayle Nix Jackson — granddaughter of Orville Nix, who recorded the footage —filed a federal lawsuit over the weekend asking for its return or $10 million. There are copies of the 60 feet of 8mm film, but the original may no longer exist. In a related story: I would also like the footage my grandfather shot or, failing that, $10 million.

Joker Attacks Gotham. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

FC Dallas Loses First Leg of Western Conference Finals. After falling 3-1 in Portland, in order to move on to the MLS Cup Finals, FC Dallas has to win on Sunday 2-0, by three or more goals, or 3-1 and hope for the best in penalties. I think. I watched at a bar and saw the Mavs lose somewhat controversially and FCD give up a crushing third goal in stoppage time in the space of about two minutes. FUN.

Joe Pappalardo Named Observer Editor

It’s been something like six months since Joe Tone left the Dallas Observer to go work on a book about competitive archery. Finally, the paper named his replacement, and it’s a familiar name, at least to me. I worked with Joe Pappalardo — aka Joey Pops, aka Pop-a-Shot, aka Joe Bananas, aka Billy Ocean — when he was a staff writer there, I want to say in 2000. Here’s what I remember: he was a newspaper dork, he was a fair amount taller than I am, he had a beard, he occasionally wore a fedora (or maybe it was a trilby — a dumb hat, is what I’m getting at), he was a good reporter, and after he left, I think he wrote a book about sunflowers. Congratulations to Patrick Williams.

Would This Have Been A Worse Season For the Cowboys?

In May, I predicted that the Cowboys would go 1-13-2. If you’re not used to reading sports standings, that is one win against 13 losses and two ties. Given what a cannonball into a pool filled with broken glass the 2015 campaign has been thus far, as I asked in the headline, would 1-13-2 have been a worse season for the Cowboys?

Pros: According to this, no team has ever tied twice in a season since overtime was instituted in 1974, which was also the year I and this magazine were born — a pretty good year, all told. Since I don’t think anyone is ever beating that, the Cowboys would have a permanent place in the NFL record book, alongside the mark it set in 1996 — most players to wear a full-length mink to a grand jury hearing. Plus, all those forfeits! So, still terrible but you’re getting something memorable in the exchange.

Cons: No one wants to forfeit that many games in a season, no matter what. I don’t even know why we’re discussing it. This is dumb. Who brought this up, anyway? Jeez.

Leading Off (11/16/15)

Moment of Silence For Paris In Downtown Dallas. A group of 200 gathered outside the Omni Hotel to stand in solidarity two days after 132 were killed in terrorist attacks in Paris, as the Omni, Reunion Tower, and Bank of America building were lit with the French Tricolour. Speaking of Paris …

Armed Group Marches On Katy Trail. Or at. Whatever. They said they were wearing “silly workout gear” so they wouldn’t intimidate people just going for a run. You know what else might help to not intimidate people? Not carrying guns. “Dallas is not going to be Paris,” said one of the demonstrators, Matthew Short, who probably spends a lot of his spare time coming up with anti-Obama memes. “We are not going to have an environment where people can murder 150-plus people because the public is not armed.” I think we all want everyone on the Katy Trail to look like this. Speaking of guns …

Off-Duty Dallas Police Officer Fires at Car Containing Fleeing Shoplifters at NorthPark. A mall security officer tried to stop the three women by standing in front of their Ford Taurus, ultimately having to jump on the hood since they didn’t. I don’t know if that escalates the situation to point where the DPD officer needed to start licking shots in a public parking garage in the middle of the day. Speaking of questionable things that happened early Sunday afternoon …

Cowboys Lose Again. The best part about this tire fire of a game is that it eventually ended. That’s seven in a row now for the Cowboys. Since the rest of the division is mostly a hilarious trash heap, the team is theoretically still somehow theoretically alive in the playoff race, but come on. They are in last place — in the entire league. They are not a good team. Give up. It’s OK.

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City Attorney Warren Ernst Announces Retirement

Does this have anything to do with the recent revelation of his leadership role in a felony investigation of Councilman Scott Griggs?

“Ernst said he did the right thing handing concerns about Griggs mistreating staff over to police. He denied that case affected his decision to retire, or that his thoughts of retirement affected how he handled the case.

“‘Please quote that I laughed,’ he said of the question. ‘My life choices are much bigger than that.’”

Ernst added that his immediate retirement plans mostly include staring a hole through everyone he encounters, his black shark eyes boring deep into their souls until they are mere puppets beholden to his slightest whim. He probably will also bike more.

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Leading Off (11/9/15)

FC Dallas Advances To Western Conference Finals. There were three goals in the last 10 minutes of regulation, forcing 30 minutes of scoreless extra time and then a penalty shootout, which FCD won 4-2. First leg of the conference finals happens November 22. The bandwagon is surprisingly spacious and well appointed. Please join me on it.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Regional Office Opens Downtown Today. Now that it’s official, I’m going to file so many patents, oh man. You guys don’t even know. Going forward, I’ll only be working specifically so I can file more patents. Do I have a lot of dumb ideas for products and so on? More than my fair share. Am I going to patent all of them? You better believe it. Am I serious? As serious as a myocardial infarction. Is “infarction” a funny word? You know it. Why? I think you know why. Could I keep going with these questions for another 2,000 words? Come on, of course. In my sleep.

Car Stolen With Kids Inside. The car and the the kids — ages 6 and 5 — were both found unharmed in Terrell, after being stolen from a Chili’s in Forney. Parents: stop leaving your kids in running cars, pretty please.

Pastor Receives WWII Medals 70 Years Later. Nice story as we near Veteran’s Day.

Cowboys Lose. Another close one. Another loss. Whatever.

How FC Dallas Can Advance On Sunday

FC Dallas lost Sunday night to the Sounders in Seattle 2-1. They meet again Sunday night at Toyota Stadium. One team will advance. You may not understand exactly how the MLS playoffs work, and that’s OK. If you’re used to how the postseason works in almost any other sport — at least in the U.S. of A. — a two-game, home-and-home series might seem weird.

This should help explain things. If you don’t have two minutes (which, come on), basically FCD needs to win by at least one goal while not allowing the Sounders to score two or more. So, 1-0 or 2-1 or something along those lines. #DTID

Dallas Wings Is A Dumb Name, and the Logo Is Also Not Good

Jason mentioned yesterday that the Tulsa Shock have officially moved to Arlington and are now known as the Dallas Wings. The team also unveiled its new logo. Before I go on: it’s awesome that the area finally has a WNBA franchise and I sincerely hope it does well and that people support them.

THAT SAID, I don’t dig anything about the new name or logo, so the franchise is off to a bad start. Dallas Wings is crazy generic, and put together with a clip-art logo, the whole thing looks and sounds like a gentleman’s club out by the airport that’s always really empty. It’s like a bad sports bar in Mesquite that oddly doesn’t even serve wings. It’s the name of the cycling group that is always mad-dogging cars in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven by the spillway and sweatily (and honestly kind of chubbily) crowding the entrance. It’s a fake Chili’s fast casual joint at 635 and Greenville with a Bud Light poster from the 2012 NFL season by the doorway.

Counterpoint: It definitely reminds me of being in Arlington.

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Leading Off (11/2/15)

Cowboys Lose. When the Cowboys couldn’t get more than a field goal after an interception set them up deep in Seahawks’ territory, everything was perfectly set up for the eventual back-breaking 13-12 loss. Dez Bryant played for the first time since breaking his foot in the opening game of the season, but wasn’t a factor. The team has now lost five straight since Tony Romo broke his collarbone. Pretty good season so far.

Mother Forces 4-Year-Old Son to Ingest Ant Poison. The boy is in stable condition, and it could have been far worse. According to police, Paw Eh planned to kill her two other children, a 7-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, as well as herself. Eh has been charged with attempted capital murder and bail is set at $500,000.

Blue Bell Is Back In North Texas. The first deliveries of the mildly overrated ice cream hit stores this morning. So enjoy it, I guess. Can we at least be rid of this forever?

Shooting For Rob Reiner’s LBJ TODAY in DEALEY PLAZA. Maybe don’t drive in downtown if you can avoid it. Also be on the lookout for a tall bald man, most likely in a flannel shirt, possibly in a vest. He’ll be stomping around but he’s generally harmless.

Officials Alarmed At Low Turnout For Flu Shots. Also alarming is the amount of times this guy who just got a flu shot used “so” in this quote: “So as me and my wife got new baby, so I had to take it. She’s in hospital now, so even to visit her I have to put a mask on, so I thought it was a better idea to get it now.” (I know. I’m a jerk. Peak flu season hits mid-December so you still have time to get your shot.)

FC Dallas Loses On Clint Dempsey Free Kick. It was a screamer. The return leg is Sunday at Toyota Stadium.

Sharon Grigsby Misses Mark With Patti Stevens Op-Ed

Look, I understand the point of Sharon Grigsby’s column about Patti Stevens’ suicide, following the gruesome, random murder of her husband, Dave. Suicide is not the answer. Facing up to your grief is hard work. There are people out there to help. I get that.

I just think scolding Patti for being an angry, selfish coward may have been a tiny bit tone deaf.

Plus, it seems like who Grigsby is really angry at is her own paper. As in:

But social media is awash with Patti Stevens’ story as a narrative of the cherished romance of her life with Dave. By extension, her suicide is viewed in that “Romeo and Juliet filter” of a romantic ending to a beautiful love story. One DMN “promo” alerting readers to the story described it like this: “Her neighbor said authorities believed she died of carbon monoxide poisoning… but close friends might contend the real killer was a broken heart.“

Maybe that’s sensationalizing the story, but I can’t really blame the DMN. Other than that, I haven’t really seen people viewing Patti’s suicide “in that ‘Romeo and Juliet filter.'” The people I’ve heard talk about it, and the people I’ve talked to about it, just find it all heavy as hell, an unimaginable tragedy that won’t stop. There is room in there for a column that talks about some of the things Grigsby brings up. But not in the way she did it.

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Jerry Jones Will Never Stop Covering For Greg Hardy

Before Greg Hardy finally made his return to the playing field — after missing more than a season’s worth of games for beating up his girlfriend and threatening to kill her and throwing her onto futon covered in automatic weapons — he said he hoped he would come back “guns blazing” and then also cat-called Tom Brady’s wife and Blake Bortles’ girlfriend via the circle of reporters around him.

Jerry Jones, when told of the comments, first said, “Oh, dear” and then covered for Hardy, saying that “guns blazing” is just an expression (which, no kidding, but a dumb expression to use at that time and that’s the point) and then pretty much cat-called Tom Brady’s wife, too, like the horny grandfather he is.

Yesterday, Greg Hardy throws a temper tantrum after Dwayne Harris ran back a kickoff for a score, clearly either ticking off or scaring the bejeezus out of everyone he encountered. And Jerry says?

“He’s, of course, one of the real leaders on this team and he earns it and he earns it with respect from all of his teammates and that’s the kind of thing that inspires a football team.”

It’s only been three weeks, so you can imagine how insanely hard this thing is going off the rails before everything is said and done. And Jones and the team are going to circle the wagons for him every single time. Hardy is a human wildfire, and the Cowboys ridiculously think they can control it. Nothing good has happened to the Cowboys since Jerry decided to go all-in on this season and take a chance on Hardy, and that’s probably deserved.

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