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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 (8/28/14)

Six Police Shootings In 17 Days. People are wondering what is going on. Not saying something is, but with that many in such a short period of time, it’s worth asking a question or two.

Deion Sanders Trying to Merge Prime Prep Academy With Another School. Flash forward two years, and this newer, bigger, more embattled school is trying to merge with another another school. Take the L, Deion.

VENOMOUS CATERPILLARS. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Texas Transportation Commission May Block Toll Lanes On Central. Finally, someone is talking some sense.

U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña May Become First Latina Head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She’s being looked at for the gig by the Obama administration. I’m sure she’d do a great job, based on the times I’ve seen her lose her mind at various sporting events, which is not even remotely germane to the matter at hand, so I’m not sure why I brought it up.

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St. Vincent On Merritt Tierce’s Love Me Back

St. Vincent, aka erstwhile Dallas resident Annie Clark, was recently interviewed by Andy Morris for GQ UK. The entire thing is entertaining, but I guess the relevant portion for our purposes is when she recommends Merritt Tierce’s new novel, Love Me Back.

Can you recommend a good book?
I just read a book called Love Me Back by a woman from Dallas, Texas called Merritt Tierce. It’s excellent. It’s fiction but it seems to be cut pretty close to her life: she talks about her life in the food service industry (which sounds like it could be a very boring premise) but it’s an awesome book. It’s especially poignant for me reading it because I knew every restaurant she was talking about in Dallas: they remind me of a time in my life. I remember when you were 14 and you’d used to go to Chillis [sic] to hang out on a Friday night and think it was very wild. All the tchotchke Americana on the walls: amazing!

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American Family Association Doesn’t Like New RadioShack Commercials

The American Family Association is not known for its sense of humor, to say the least (Google tries to autofill a search for the organization with “american family association hate group”). So it is with a complete lack of surprise that we report that the AFA is not altogether thrilled with RadioShack’s latest, somewhat sexually charged ad campaign.

“The RadioShack ads are immature, juvenile, and downright distasteful,” the AFA said in a release. Which, honestly, is the best part and how I assume — or hope, I guess — the agency pitched the campaign.

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Leading Off (8/21/14)

Fort Worth Doctor Who Contracted Ebola Virus Leaving Atlanta Hospital Today. I doubt anyone expected Dr. Kent Brantly’s story to go this way when he came down with the virus while working at a missionary clinic in Liberia. He’s leaving for some R&R with his family at an undisclosed location, which I’m sure will have Alex Jones or someone spinning a doomsday conspiracy.

Jury Deliberations Begin in Hit-and-Run Teacher Case. Whether or not the jury finds former Grand Prairie teacher Tammy Lowe guilty of manslaughter (she’s already pled guilty to failing to stop and render aid) in the death of 6-year-old John Raidy, she’s probably got a pretty unhappy life ahead of her.

Local Protesters March For Michael Brown in Downtown Dallas. A couple hundred people marched down Main Street and gathered at Main Street Garden chanting for justice for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, almost two weeks ago. Also, the quote in that link should read “I feel like what went on in Ferguson with Mike Brown is a travesty [italics mine],” said Jonathan Copeland — not “tragedy,” as it currently says. Slight but important difference.

Dallas Cowboys Now Worth $3.2 Billion. So good luck getting Jerry Jones to do anything anyone wants.

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State Rep. Jason Villalba Calls For Investigation of Craig Watkins

State Rep. Jason Villalba (whom I’ve written about) has called for the Texas State Auditor’s Office to conduct an audit of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office following the allegations that DA Craig Watkins (whom I’ve also written about) used more than $60,000 of county asset forfeiture money after rear-ending a car after a speaking engagement, while staring at his phone.

“It’s our responsibility to earn and maintain the public trust, that’s why this case demands an immediate review and audit,” Villalba said in a press release. “Public funds should never be used to cover up reckless driving or to pay personal settlements on behalf of public officials. If Mr. Watkins has violated the law, he should be held responsible.”

Prediction: it doesn’t get better for Watkins for a bit.

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Leading Off (8/7/14)

Josh Brent Set To Meet With Roger Goodell. Guess who is not rooting for Brent to make an NFL comeback and is currently writing this Leading Off item? I mean, I hope he gets on with his life and stays (or gets, if you’re cynical) clean and sober. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s square job time for him.

A.C. Gonzalez Finally Makes A Few Changes. Not everyone on the City Council is super-happy about what he’s doing so far, but they did sign off on his new hires, which he made without firing anyone. That seems hard to do, but what do I know? I don’t make $400,000 or have a perm.

Arlington Flasher Has Really Corny Sense of Humor. “Caroline Oldham was walking her dogs along Shady Oak Trail in Mansfield the morning of July 4 when a red Dodge Neon pulled alongside her. The driver asked her where Johnson Street was. That’s when she noticed the man was completely naked, except for a baseball cap.”

I SEE YOU IN A DOCUMENTARY, BIG GERMAN. It’s called, uh, let’s see, Nowitzki: Der Perfekte Wurf. Oh, and it’s German. You may have guessed that already.

TollTags Turn 25. Congratulations on making it easier to get bilked out of money for the past 25 years, TollTags!

And Finally: Meet An American Hero. I know this story about a man buying 23 Burger King pies to spite a cruddy kid and his mom isn’t local, but attention needs to be paid. I hope it’s true. It’s so good I almost don’t care. Just knowing it could happen is almost enough.

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For No Reason: The Best Of J.R. Ewing’s Fights

To take you behind the curtain a bit, we just put the finishing touches on the September installment of the magazine, which — to give you the smallest glimmer of a preview — is a special 40th anniversary issue. So we’ve taken our foot off the pedal a little bit, and for that I apologize. Anyway, as an olive branch shaped like someone who didn’t know how to keep the black bars of a YouTube compilation, here is a 15-minute collection of the best fights on Dallas involving J.R. Ewing. I love you.

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Shawn Marion, Other NBA Players To Be On Terrible Rap Album

I missed this on Friday, and now I kind of wish I had remained in the dark. Erstwhile Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion is collaborating on a rap album with Big Baby Davis, Stephen Jackson, Carlos Boozer, and Juwan Howard, because those are the exact five people I would name if someone asked me which five current/former NBA players were working on a rap album. Judging from the snippets in the teaser video, it, well, it does appear to be a rap album.

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Denton Company Working on Kolache, TX Documentary

Mr. Chris Mosley sent me this atmospheric teaser trailer for a documentary being filmed in my beloved hometown of West, Texas. You probably recognize the location in the teaser: Czech Stop. I mean, I hope you do. It shows the sign right away. Not paying a ton of attention if you miss that. The company behind it is Denton’s Native Process Films. It looks like they should have a Kickstarter up and running right about … soon, I guess. Interested to see what becomes of this.

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Leading Off (7/31/14)

Rick Perry Speaks at Israel Solidarity Rally. You can catch some of his comments here. Will I repurpose parts of that video at some point in the not-too-distant future? I mean, I guess I probably will.

ALLIGATOR WARNING. “Texas Game Warden Logan Griffin admits that often what people may initially think is something unusual in the water turns out to be nothing more a log or a tire. But officials want there to be no mistake — there are alligators in Lewisville Lake.” Gators!

Parkland Building New $19 Million Clinic South of Fair Park. That’s what this story is nominally about. To me, it’s more of an introduction to a woman I definitely want to hear more from, Mrs. Willie Mae Coleman.

Here is Everything You Ever Would Want To Know About Pedestrian Walk Buttons. If you don’t have time to read it all, I’ll give you the main takeaway: none of them work. So when you roll your eyes at someone who walks up to a crosswalk where, like, 10 people are already waiting and pushes the button a few times, it is 100-percent justified. Also: it was justified before. Semi-related: meet a cat named Traffic Light.

President Bush, Michael Young, and Pitbull Honor Derek Jeter On His Last Game at Whatever They Call The Place the Rangers Play At Now. Pretty good photos here.

Well, Human Civilization Had a Good Run. Oh, well. Catch you guys on the flippity-flop.

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Jesse Ventura Wins Case Against Chris Kyle, Awarded $1.8 Million

A jury awarded the former professional wrestler/Predator actor/Minnesota governor $1.8 million in his defamation case against the estate of the late Chris Kyle, finding that Kyle had defamed Ventura in his book, American Sniper. I’d ask Michael Mooney for his take, but he’s probably off breaking his other foot or something.

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