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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.

Garbage Time’s Katie Nolan on Greg Hardy’s Return

This week, Greg Hardy returns to the field after missing almost all of the 2014 season (when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers) and the first four games of this season. Finally, Cowboys fans will have to confront their feelings about the team signing a man accused of beating his then-girlfriend, dragging her around his apartment by her hair, throwing her onto a futon covered in assault rifles, and threatening to kill her. Nicole Holder testified to that at Hardy’s first trial, which resulted in his conviction by Judge Becky Thorne Tin. By North Carolina law, Hardy was allowed to have a jury trial, but the case was dismissed when Holder wouldn’t participate, likely because she and Hardy came to a settlement.

Even if his conviction had stood, Hardy would already be out of jail, and he probably would already be allowed to play again, and the Cowboys very well may have signed him then, too. This season was an all-in year for the team, and I’m not saying they’re getting punched by karma, but I’m not not saying it either.

Either way, given the nature of what he was charged with, you’d assume that Hardy would 1) keep his mouth shut about everything except playing defensive end for the Cowboys and 2) even then, watch very carefully what he said. Of course, Hardy did neither, wolf-whistling at the wives of various NFL quarterbacks and saying he was going to come back “guns blazing.”

Katie Nolan, host of FS1’s Garbage Time, nails everything that is wrong with this in three minutes right here.

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Arlington Is Mad About the Texas Rangers’ AL West Champions T-Shirts

I mentioned it this morning. The team, sportswriters, Arlingtonians (Arlingtonites? Arlingtony Toni Tone?) are mad because the shirt features a Dallas skyline. I guess there won’t be any more of those available, so maybe there is some sort of eBay reseller scam happening. I don’t know. I was able to track down this video showing what happened when the shirts were unveiled. Watch out. There might be some language. It got pretty heated.

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Leading Off (10/5/15)

Dallas Democrats Call For Susan Hawk To Resign. This came out yesterday after we published Jamie Thompson’s story about the embattled district attorney and her struggles with depression. Responding to the renewed push for her resignation by the Dallas Democrats, Hawk told the Morning News’ Sarah Mervosh that “I’m not going to let this sort of attack get to me or change that. The reason I told my story is because I wanted to help people. It’s that simple.”

Rangers Win AL West. They made it interesting, blowing a big lead in the ninth inning on Saturday, but the team that never quit pulled it off on the final day of the regular season. Cole Hamels, who came over at the trade deadline, threw a three-hit complete game. People did not like the Al West Championship t-shirt. Next up: AL East champ Toronto, and the reappearance of Zac Crain, Rangers Superfan.

Cowboys Lose In Overtime. Brandon Weeden threw a TD to tie it up late, only to see Drew Brees quickly march the Saints up the field, only to see a game-winning field goal bounce off the left post and send it to overtime, only to see C.J. Spiller win it on the second play of OT with an 80-yard catch and run. Everyone on the team is injured now. Fun game.

Another Earthquake In Irving. A 2.1 on early Sunday. Apparently the earthquakes are mad that Ahmed is getting all the attention.

Pamela Yip, RIP. The Morning News‘ personal finance columnist for the last 16 years died yesterday morning of brain cancer. She was 59.

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A Pretty Fantastic, Unofficial, Redesigned Mavs Logo

Addison Foote gave himself a challenge: redesign all 30 NBA team logos in 30 days. The result is here, and his reworked and updated takes on the logos are almost all really good (I’m not crazy about the Atlanta one), most with subtle shapes that represent something iconic about the city without screaming and pointing. I really like his throwback Mavs logo, because I’ve always loved the original and have never fallen in love with what the team uses now. “I used both old and new Mavs logos as inspiration for this,” Foote writes. “I based it mainly off the old logo where the ‘M’ is wearing a cowboy hat. I updated it a bit and used negative space to showcase a horses ears and head.”

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Leading Off (9/28/15)

Cowboys Lose. The #WeedenBoyz version of the team looked dominant at the outset, with Joseph Randle ripping off big gains and Brandon Weeden looking like a professional quarterback. Then Weeden threw a garbage interception, the offense never really recovered, and the Cowboys gave up 22 unanswered points. If there had been another half, they might have given up another 22 or so. If the team doesn’t care about scoring, ya boy is still available.

Ahmed Mohammed, The Middle School Years. Another good piece by Avi Selk, adding depth and shading to the initial sketch of the Irving 14-year-old, who has become more of a symbol than a kid over the last two weeks.

Jordan Spieth Finishes Off Most Lucrative Season Ever. The 22-year-old golfer took home the Tour Championship with a final round 69, which earned him the No. 1 ranking in the world and another $1.485 million. That gives him — not counting the $10 million bonus for winning the FedEx Cup — $12,030,465 for the year, a new PGA Tour record. Here is a bunch of stats about how awesome his year has been. If Spieth needs a new best friend to guide him through these shark-infested waters, ya boy is always available.

Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina is In Dallas Today. She’s here for a pair of fundraisers. Let’s see if she can avoid this happening again, or at least stop talking about a video she can’t produce. I’d only bet on the former.

Billionaire Investor and Philanthropist Richard Rainwater Dies. He got his start managing the Bass family’s oil fortune and later helped George Bush buy the Texas Rangers. He had been battling supranuclear palsy, a rare neurological diseases, since 2009. He was 71.

Let Me, Zac Crain, Play QB For the Cowboys

First, a few caveats. I’m 41. I haven’t played football since I was a sophomore in high school, and I missed most of that season due to a really nasty illness that required surgery, and when I did play it wasn’t quarterback. I played, very sparingly, center and defensive tackle, and honestly I wasn’t great at either. (I preferred — and was actually decent at — basketball.)

Also, I’m left-handed, and so all the formations and plays will have to be adjusted to reflect that.

Furthermore, I don’t have a “prototypical QB body,” either. I’m 6 feet tall and of average build. Actually, that’s not a caveat. I’m taller than Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, so forget that. But, physically, yes, I do have some issues: I’ve got creaky knees, one ankle that is just this side of fictional, and an inherited tire fire of a back that has been going out on me since I was 18.

I also can’t throw too well. Not in terms of accuracy, or distance. I mean, I can throw, OK? But basically you’re going to have to just rip any sideline outs or deep passes right out of the playbook.

Also, I don’t have a passion for the sport. As I mentioned before, I prefer basketball, and after that soccer, and after that The Challenge on MTV. But I do watch football. Some. I mean, I’m not going to freak out if my Sunday takes me away from the games.

OK, and I have a demand for perfection that sometimes rubs my co-workers the wrong way, and that may be a problem if my co-workers are 300 pounds.

Now that all that is out of the way, here is my case: I’m available, I’m cheap, my clavicle bones are in perfect working order, I’ve never lost an NFL game, I definitely won’t be out hunting for my own stats, I already live here, I’m interested in a new career challenge, and I’m friendly with all the sports radio hosts that matter. You probably could use someone who can run a charm offensive right now.

And it’s not like I’m asking to play defense. That would just be dumb.

Leading Off (9/21/15)

Cowboys Win, Lose Tony Romo. It would have been a pretty garbage game even if Romo didn’t break his clavicle. Since he did, the 20-10 win over the Eagles was pretty much forgotten as soon as it happened. How is Jerry Jones feeling about Romo’s injury? “Just about as low as a crippled cricket’s ass.” So, to recap, Dez Bryant is out for at least six or seven weeks, and maybe longer; Romo is out for an unspecified amount of time, but probably something like nine or 10 weeks; the only QB currently on the roster is Brandon Weeden; a lot of my neighbors are Cowboys fans and have guns. Hang in there, Cowboys fans.

DA’s Office Continues to Be A Lava-Hot Mess. You can read about the latest — recently fired Cindy Stoermer says DA Susan Hawk has frequently attempted to misuse public funds — here, and you should. If you want to bookmark it and get to it later, that’s fine. Here’s the gist. Hawk was scheduled to be back on Tuesday; looks like an announcement on that will come later today. Hang in there, justice fans.

TCU Outlasts SMU. The upstart Ponies got within five points in the fourth quarter before the Frogs pulled away. Hang in there, Adam McGill.

Thousands Celebrate “A Good Year” At Dallas Pride Parade. Members of Northaven United Methodist Church drowned out the handful of protestors with a version of “Jesus Loves Me” on kazoos. “How angry can you be when you’re listening to kazoo music?” Brian Knopp said. Good job. Tough break, Kim Davis.

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This NPR Piece About Leon Bridges Makes No Sense

As I was scrolling through my various social media feeds this morning, I happened upon this piece from a few days ago, titled “A Rational Conversation: Do We Need New Old Soul Music?” Which is a bit of a dodge, because a more accurate title would be “A Rational Conversation: These Two People Think Leon Bridges Is Garbage.”

What follows is a conversation between writer Eric Drucker and Emily Lordi, an author and assistant English professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After a bit of setup, the talk turns to Bridges and Lordi says, “I haven’t listened to the whole album, but I have many thoughts.” OK, as someone familiar in the art of faking my way through a musical conversation every now and again, here is my analysis: Lordi has listened to one song from Coming Home, the title track. Which is pretty alarming, since she accuses Bridges’ soul music of having no soul and, essentially, the singer of not being black enough.

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Leading Off (9/14/15)

Cowboys Somehow Win. For the last minute of the first half and almost all of the second, the Cowboys looked like Dan Bailey’s head shot. But then Tony Romo shook off two interceptions — only one was partially his fault — and took the team down the field in about a minute and a half, with no timeouts, for the winning TD. I, personally, am pretty happy, since the guys in the apartments across the street started popping off shots when Romo threw his second INT, and I’m not sure what would have happened if the Cowboys lost. Bad news: Dez Bryant has a broken bone in his foot and needs surgery. He’ll be out three to six weeks.

Donald Trump Comes to Town. Trump, a sweet potato brought to life by a bolt of lightning and adopted by a real estate developer, brings his presidential campaign to the American Airlines Center tonight. If you didn’t get a free ticket to the event, they’re long gone. But I’m sure there will be no shortage of coverage of his remarks. The North Texas chapter of LULAC has organized a march to “dump the Trump,” so maybe do that instead.

Suspect Arrested In Bomb Scare at Plano’s Clark High School. It’s a juvenile who has not been identified, and I hope the kid didn’t just think that would be an easy way to get out of going to school on Friday.

Irving and Developer Battling Over Stalled Entertainment Center Project. The city and the Ark Group partnered in 2013 to bring the $170 million Music Factory complex — with an Alamo Drafthouse, restaurants, music venues, and more — to Las Colinas. But nothing has happened, compromises have come and gone, the mayor is making unreasonable demands, and now the City Council is about to deliver a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Prediction: some law firm is about to fall into a mountain of billable hours.

Rangers Kick Off Series Against AL West-Leading Astros Tonight. Gerry Fraley says the division is there for the taking. BANDWAGON: ENGAGED.

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Scientist Behind Amazing New Fossil Discovery to Speak In Dallas

The first thing I read this morning was a story about Lee Berger, a scientific explorer who studies human evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. About 30 miles northwest of there, Berger found the bones of a new species: Homo naledi, a short (less than 5-feet tall) and thin, tiny-brained creature that is entirely new to science. In the cave, Berger and his team found bones from 15 individuals, with all age ranges — from newborn to the elderly. How they found these ancient relatives of humans is a good story, too:

Berger was excited, but he knew he personally could never reach this fossil site. To get into the cave chamber, you have to climb a steep, jagged rockfall called Dragon’s Back, then wiggle through a small opening that leads to a long, narrow crack.

The crack is only about 7 1/2 inches wide, and goes down more than 30 feet. Squeezing through it is the only way to reach the chamber of bones at the bottom.

Since he couldn’t go, Berger sent in his tall, skinny 16-year-old son. “When he came out after 45 minutes, he stuck his head out. And to tell you how bad I am, I didn’t say: ‘Are you OK?’ I said: ‘And?’ And he says, ‘Daddy, it’s wonderful.’ “

Read all about it here and here, and there’s tons more to come. And Berger will make his first public talk since the announcement at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science on September 29. Why Dallas? The Lyda Hill Foundation helps fund Berger’s research and the conservation of the Homo naledi site, as well as supporting the Perot. SCIENCE.

New DMN Managing Editor Has a Dog Named ‘Boo Radley,’ Which Is a Better Name Than Story

Someone who knows a thing or two about a thing or two has informed me that new Morning News managing editor Robyn Tomlin has a dog named Boo Radley. Is that a great name for a dog? Not really. Kind of shouts “hey, I read books and stuff!” a little defensively (and unimaginatively — oh, really, you like To Kill a Mockingbird? What are your thoughts on breathing?). But, that said, it’s a way better name for a dog than Story, which is what Morning News editor Mike Wilson named his dog. I guess maybe he thought it was too pretentious to name his dog Manual Typewriter or H.L. Mencken or Strunk and/or White.

Whatever. Here’s a ton more names that are better for a dog than Story.

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Leading Off (8/31/15)

Christina Morris is Still Missing. It’s been a year since the 23-year-old disappeared from a Plano parking garage, but her parents aren’t giving up on finding her, or at least finding an answer to what happened.

Derek Holland Throws Three-Hit Shutout, Rangers Sweep Orioles. With the win, the Rangers are now seven games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2013 season, and have a game and a half lead over the Twins for the second wild-card spot. They’re also just three back from the division-leading Astros, leaving me dangerously close to having no choice but to start watching games.

Fried Carrot Cake Roll Wins Best Taste at the State Fair. Christi Erpillo came up with the dish — (whispers) Fernie’s Holy Moly Carrot Cake Roly — that took top honors at the Big Tex Choice Awards. Isaac Rousso’s Smoky Bacon Maragarita was named most creative. For the tenth straight year, my frisee salad with a very light dijon vinaigrette failed to place.

Proposal For Gun Range Next to School Surprisingly Controversial. Texas Legends wants to turn an old post office in Farmers Branch into a gun range, and the city’s planning and zoning commission has already given it the OK. But the nearby Westwood School has a started a petition asking for the company to find a better location, maybe somewhere not 350 feet away from a school. The City Council will discuss the issue Tuesday night. I’m sure Trey Garrison will be watching closely.

Blue Bell is Back. First deliveries started this morning in Brenham, Houston, and Austin. It’s not in North Texas yet. I guess I’m not too excited, because it will eventually mean the return of that treacly, pandering, garbage radio commercial. That song is like audio listeria.

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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