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Making Dallas Even Better

Ask John Neely Bryan: Where Should Dallasites Relocate After the Zombie Apocalypse?

Question: If Dallasites were forced to move to another big city out of state (due to the zombie apocalypse, the End of Times, or more reasonably, a job change), what major city would they want to move to? What other major city is most like Dallas? — Ashley M.

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Does Mike Rawlings Know He’s the Mayor of Dallas, Not Dallas-Fort Worth?

As Mike Rawlings told the Dallas Morning News editorial board recently, he’s “a numbers guy.” So anchoring all the puffery in his new mayor’s letter was one solid factoid: “According to a recent Forbes study, Dallas is now the fourth fastest-growing city in the country.” Wait, what? I mean, without even checking, I instinctively knew that wasn’t true, not by a long shot. What was this claim doing here? I had to get to the bottom of this.

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Aftershock Rocks North Dallas

I didn’t feel the earthquake earlier today, but my house a mile north of LBJ and Preston just rocked big time. I’m no rookie to quakes. My house in Sherman Oaks, California, was almost demolished by the Northridge Quake in January 1994. That was one of the main reasons I moved back to Dallas. Amazing how you never forget what it feels like when you watch your house sway. We are but small things on this planet.

Update: Someone just emailed me and asked me the difference between an aftershock and an earthquake. I’m no seismologist, yet I did study geomorphology and climatology in college. It is my understanding that aftershocks usually occur near the original fault line or epicenter of the quake and are not as strong. This knowledge I learned from living in California. After a quake, you rushed to fill up your bathtub with water, grabbed whatever liquor bottles didn’t break, and hunkered down in the bathroom to wait for the aftershock.

But this isn’t the San Andreas fault line, and these shakes we are experiencing are, in my opinion, man-made. So wheels off on these little frackers.

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Best of the Best Lists: 2014 Year in Review

It’s the time of year again when we take a look back at what most tickled the fancies of our readers, and in the case of our content the answer is “best” lists. Magazines are often criticized for being list-centric, but you know why so many magazines lean that way? Because people like to look at lists. Even if it’s just because they want to view our selections and tell us we don’t know what the hell we’re talking about, readers continue to come back for more.

These were the most popular listicles on our website in 2014:

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Let Us Give Thanks For ‘Dallitude’

I am of two minds about the forthcoming holiday. On the one hand, it was that lousy crook Abe Lincoln — father of the federal income tax, a progressive income tax — who instituted the Day of Thanks Giving as a late November national mandate instead of letting each state handle its own business like the Good Lord and the Founders intended. Maybe Texans don’t like being limited to a single Thanksgiving each year. Maybe we’d rather not do it in the fall. Maybe we’d prefer it on some Sunday morning in May when we might celebrate with a light brunch. The federal jackboots force turkey and gravy and stuffing and cranberry sauce down our gullets and call it freedom? No sir. Not on my watch. Not until I’ve at least been given the option of a mimosa with a small plate of cantaloupe on the side.

On the other hand: pumpkin pie. It’s what the Creator himself eats for dessert.

Now to the business at hand.

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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: The Dread Destroyer Has 5 Points of Armor

With the exception of the month and a half I spent in the hole over the summer, my cellmate for most of the last six months has been a white-haired old man with the regal looks and bearing of an Antonine emperor and the grizzled guile and criminal outlook of a Lyndon Johnson crony. Billy Bob Aurelius, as I’ll call him, is a Vietnam combat veteran, a private commercial pilot, and former salesman for International Harvester, among other things. Before arriving at our jail unit here in Seagoville, he’d spent 18 months in a Mexico City lock-up after police found a pistol during a search of his jet. Horrified, I asked him what those urban Mexican jails were really like.

“They’re great if you have money,” he said. “I had money.” Apparently he was given a nice private cell from which he could order out for groceries and brandy and marijuana and prostitutes. He even had a woman who came and cooked and cleaned for him, which is to say that he had a maid.

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An Apology to the French Family I Met in the Park Yesterday

I found myself yesterday in Klyde Warren Park around 6 o’clock with my daughter in tow. It was a lovely evening. Gorgeous weather. Yoga class twisting itself in knots on the lawn. Patio at Savor filled with folks. Dallas Symphony preparing to play on the stage. We were at the playground, where I was pushing my daughter on the merry-go-round. Another girl, looked to be about 10, walked up. I said, “Hop on!” She gave me a blank look. Her dad walked over and said with an accent, “We’re French. She doesn’t speak English.” We struck up a conversation.

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Questions About Jill Jordan’s Bewildering ‘Trinity Lakes’ Briefing

On Friday afternoon, a Facebook post by Robert “Fingers of Fury” Wilonsky captured my attention. Said Wilonsky: “If you read one Dallas City Council briefing all weekend, make it this one: the surreal Trinity Lakes Amenities Design Plan.” How could I resist? To the extent I had any lingering doubts, he helpfully provided two illustrations: one of an alarming number of people crowded under a freeway overpass, evidently engaging in some sort of hyper merry-making; and another of a small tree-lined four-lane boulevard. Hmm … I had the sense this would prove enlightening.

Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan’s cover memo to the briefing document helpfully closed with the statement “Please feel free to contact me if you need additional information.” After reading through the 99-page attachment, I actually had quite a few questions, so I prepared to contact her. Upon closer reading, however, I noticed that: 1) she didn’t provide her contact details; and 2) even if she had done so, the memo was addressed exclusively to “The Honorable Members of the Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee,” and I’m not a member.

Therefore, lacking such access, I am posting my questions here, in the hopes that they might reach Ms. Jordan and Judge Vonciel Jones Hill (the Committee chair) prior to the meeting:

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Josh Malone, Super Genius, Invents Way To Make 100 Water Balloons in a Minute

Josh Malone is a 41-year-old dude who lives in Plano and has eight kids. So he’s clearly insane. Speaking from experience, a vasectomy is a pretty simple procedure. But Malone is also a super genius. Any parent who has ever made a mess of water balloons will appreciate Malone’s invention, which is called Bunch o Balloons. Check out the video. It’s amazing. He launched a Kickstarter on July 22, with a $10,000 goal. The campaign goes till August 21, but he’s already got $635,000 pledged. Probably didn’t hurt that he was on the Today show this morning.

Josh Malone, you are my hero.

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Is Dallas-Fort Worth Really the Third-Best Destination in the Country?

Mayor Mike Rawlings is crowing about how Dallas fared in a report issued by Resonance Consultancy. Resonance’s “Top 50 U.S. Destinations 2014” puts Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 3, behind Los Angeles and New York City. Cleveland, which stole the Republican National Convention from us, came in at No. 27. Resonance broke down the list into some top-10 subcategories, too. In the Top 10 Places for Culture and Performing Arts, we came in at No. 3. In the Top 10 Places to Shop, we came in at No. 2.

I’m not sure what to make of this. Is Dallas-Fort Worth really a better destination than Chicago (No. 4) and San Francisco (No. 5) — not mention everywhere else in the country except LA and NYC? I love where I live, but, um. I did a Nexis database search for Resonance Consultancy to try to figure out what sort of chops these folks have. The name pops up in 33 sources, with seven of those being newspaper articles and seven being newswires and press releases. So yeah.

We’re No. 3!!