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Making Dallas Even Better

Ask John Neely Bryan: When Did Parts of Oak Lawn Become Uptown?

Question: Why are large parts of Oak Lawn now called “Uptown”? Just wanted some clarification. — Ronnie W.

I shall forgive your ignorance about the Great Secession of Uptown, since that partition of what was once a united neighborhood (Oak Lawn) was not precipitated by a singular event — like say, the election of Abraham Lincoln — but was instead accomplished by a slowly advancing army of associated developer and city initiatives. Beginning, it could be argued, with the re-introduction of the McKinney Avenue Trolley in 1989.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: Mike Wilson’s Exclusive Q&A With the Founder of Dallas

Robert Wilonsky launched his “This is Dallas” column on Thursday. Dallas Morning News editor Mike Wilson failed to consider the most qualified candidate for this post before handing it off to a Lithuanian former cheerleader. I have taken the liberty of compensating, however slightly, for Wilson’s egregious oversight by arranging for him the following Q&A with that aforementioned superior columnist, so as to elucidate what may well prove an error in judgment that could, had it gone otherwise, have reversed the rapidly collapsing fortunes of George Dealey’s rag.

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Leading Off (3/3/16)

American airlines/Southwest vie for Cuba routes. In light of newly liberalized air travel regulations, American submitted an application yesterday to the Department of Transportation to launch a flight from D/FW Airport to Havana, Cuba, as well as flights from Charlotte, Miami, Los Angeles, and Chicago to Cuba. Southwest has followed suit, asking for flights Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Orlando to Havana. The DOT plans to dish out routes by summer, with service beginning in the fall.

Obama will be here March 11 and 12. The president will travel to Dallas in about a week (after stopping in Austin) to head up Democratic National Committee fundraising events and raise money for Dallas’ Senate Democrats.

Officer Hofer’s death encourages acts of kindness. Euless police officer David Hofer was killed Tuesday in the line of duty. Using the hashtag #ForHofer, people on social media started posting acts of good will toward law enforcement officials to honor Hofer’s death. These included donating money, picking up the tab for cops at a restaurant, and delivering baked goods to police stations.

Ask John Neely Bryan: Why Are There ‘Barrel Monsters’ Along Interstate 35E?

Question: I was driving up Interstate 35 over the weekend, and I spotted some strange statue. It looked like it was made of traffic barrels. This was when was I was headed north and just south of the lake in Lewisville. Any idea what that was? — Melissa H.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: What’s the High Five?

Question: What exactly is the “High-five” or “Hi-5” or whatever? — Pedro A.

I must assume from this inquiry that you are either newly transplanted to Dallas or you have been asleep for the past 15 years. It’s difficult to fathom any reasonable alternative explanation for how one could remain unfamiliar with the nickname for the monstrosity that lurks at the meeting of two massive concrete thoroughfares: Interstate 635 and U.S. Hellway 75.

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How Mike Morath Can Redeem Himself, Keep DISD Trustee Seat

Yesterday I called for DISD trustee Mike Morath to step down because he failed to pay $2 million for the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Morath has so far not responded publicly to my challenge. Today I offer a way for Morath to demonstrate real leadership and show that he is for the children.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: How Do I Get a New Street Light in Dallas?

Question: One portion of my street gets disconcertingly dark at night. How can I get a new street light installed? — Roberta H.

Let us first consider the double-edged sword that was Edison’s electric bulb. You know what we used to do when it got dark? We went to sleep, and we didn’t feel much inclined to arise until the sun peeked out again across the eastern horizon. Even a gentleman of my much-accomplished verbal dexterity is hard-pressed to communicate the fantastic mode of living this engendered.

Don’t misunderstand. Fire had been invented by the 19th century. We had access to torches and candles and lanterns, et cetera, and you would be amazed at how brightly the moon and the vast array of stars themselves can illuminate the landscape when their luminosity hasn’t been subsumed within the visual pollution cast skyward by your modern cities.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: There’s No App Superior to a Night Out in Dallas

Question: Camden decided a few months ago to stop accepting all resident parcels. Is it not our god-given right to compulsively shop on Amazon? What if other Dallas business/residential properties follow suit? Where would all of the city’s packages go? Local FedEx and UPS locations certainly don’t have the bandwidth for all incoming items to just stop at their local drops. Right? — Chelsey P.

I am continually astonished, confounded, damn near bewildered to encounter once again a prime example of just how lazy you 21st-century folks have become. You have the high privilege of living, working, and playing in the greatest city God ever gave man, and you’d rather just stay inside ordering footwear from Zappos? Instead of taking advantage of the loveliest of evenings while nestled within the bosom of the fraternity of your fellow man, you prefer the life of an agoraphobic?

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Ask John Neely Bryan: What’s the History of Munger Place?

Question: I’m trying to do some research on my new neighborhood, Munger Place. What’s the history of it, and why are there so many damn apartment buildings? — Ricky F.

Congratulations and felicitations on settling into the Swiss Avenue Historic District’s disreputable older brother, Munger Place. You’ve arrived in time to surf a wave of urban renewal and nouveau gentrification. These days your new next-door neighbor is as likely to be an associate at some dandy-pants downtown law firm as a hooker — not that there’s much difference.

Time was, a ways back in the 20-aughts, that more “respectable” citizenry frowned upon the goings-on in this corner of Old East Dallas. But, from my vantage point, you missed out on much of what made life in the neighborhood an invigorating experience.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: What Place Do Highways Have in a Great City?

Question: What makes a great city? — TxDOT

It could be argued — and it should be, for what follows is the undoubted truth of the matter — that Dallas’ greatness reached its zenith shortly after a visionary entrepreneur from Tennessee first established a settlement near the banks of the mighty Trinity some 170-odd years ago.

Understand that this is not to imply that our city has lost any of its power to inspire the virtuous and strike fear into the hearts of the wicked in the intervening decades. It has, in point of fact, been rocking along pretty well since.

My point, such as it is, is that Dallas became the most remarkable urban center ever known to God or man (in the history of forever) before asphalt roads had so much as had been first dreamt up — as I recollect, by some mid-19th century science fiction writer. Roads, Mr. TxDOT, do not make cities great.

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