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Leading Off (1/23/15)

High-Speed Rail Line Likened to Berlin Wall. Judging by the responses we’ve seen in the comments of previous articles about the possibility, Dallas residents seem generally excited about the prospect of a high-speed rail line being built that will mean Houston is just 90 minutes away by train. But WFAA spoke with several Ellis County landowners who are none too excited about their property being divided by the project.

Prime Prep to Merge With Another School. The struggling charter academy, co-founded by former NFL star Deion Sanders, will reportedly hook up with another Oak Cliff campus, Triple A Academy. It’s not clear whether Triple A’s recent 117-10 basketball win had anything to do with the decision.

Cowboys Fan Sues NFL For $88 Billion. Terry Hendrix is upset about the officials’ reversal of Dez Bryant’s catch during this year’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, claiming damages for the league’s “negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and also reckless disregard.” The hand-written lawsuit was filed on Wednesday. Also of note, Hendrix is incarcerated in a Colorado correctional institution.

Dogs Mysteriously Disappearing in Wise County. And there’s “not one shred of physical evidence that proves the dogs were taken.” Has the pet rapture begun?

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Roy Tarpley, R.I.P.

The only reason Roy Tarpley is not given his proper due as the archetype of the modern NBA big man is that he was also one of the last prominent players taken down by cocaine. It was the scourge of the NBA in the 1970s and for part of the ’80s, physically damaging to its players and — just as important before Magic and Bird and then Michael Jordan came along — ruinous to the league’s image. A stricter drug policy helped mostly root it out, but not before it (and, yes, alcohol) killed Tarpley’s career.

You know all this. You either lived through it in the late ’80s and early ’90s, before the Mavs had to give up on Tarpley for good, or you heard about it over the weekend, when Tarpley died at age 50. I’m not here to talk about Roy Tarpley, the cautionary tale. It’s a damned tragedy, bu that’s for someone else. I’m here to talk about Roy Tarpley, the basketball player. Because apart from Dirk Nowitzki, Tarpley was the most talented player to ever suit up for the Mavericks, and it’s not particularly close. And people need to remember Roy Tarpley for more than his suspensions.

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Things To Do In Dallas Tonight: Jan. 12

Cowboys fans are mourning the end of another season, but there’s still football to be played in North Texas. Oregon will meet Ohio State at Jerry World tonight for the college football national championship, with the game itself accompanied by an onslaught of concerts, watch parties and ESPN talking heads. Here are a few ways to forget the pain of Dez Bryant’s catch-not-catch.

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A Very Short Recap of a High School Soccer Match That Very Few People Will Care About

Yesterday the men’s varsity side from Bishop Lynch traveled to play Jesuit on the Rangers’ home pitch. Regulation time ended with the match tied 2-2, after the Rangers got the equalizer on a penalty kick. Two scoreless overtime periods ensued, followed by a shootout. A good portion of the Jesuit student body was in the stands, blowing vuvuzelas. The horns fell silent, though, when the Friars of Bishop Lynch prevailed. This was the first time in school history that Bishop Lynch beat Jesuit. (Disclosure: my son plays junior varsity for the Friars, and this post was written pretty much just to gig a friend of mine whose name is all over the Jesuit soccer record books.)

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Dirk Now No. 7 On NBA’s All-Time Scoring List

Last night, in an overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets, Dirk Nowitzki passed Moses Malone to move into seventh place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, after passing Hakeem Olajuwon and Elvin Hayes earlier in the season. He overtook Malone on a shot that actually mattered, a three-point dagger that closed the door on the Nets.

To put Nowitzki’s achievement into perspective, here is Mavs broadcaster Mark Followill:

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Check Out the First Trailer For Carter High

Everyone is at least passingly familiar with the 1988 Odessa Permian Panthers, the team immortalized in Buzz Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights, which was later adapted into a film, which was later adapted into a fictionalized TV series, which was almost adapted into another film. The team and its story has been a pop-culture fixture for 25 years; in 2012, rapper Big K.R.I.T. released a song titled “Boobie Miles,” named after the team’s star-crossed running back.

The team that actually won the state title that year, and beat Odessa Permian in the process, is finally having its story told. The 1988 Carter High Cowboys is arguably one of the most talented high school football teams ever, and absolutely one of the most controversial. Later this year, writer-director Arthur Muhammad — a former Carter football player — will release Carter High, which stars Charles S. Dutton (Roc), Viveca A. Fox (Kill Bill), and rapper David Banner as young attorney Royce West. Former Dallas Cowboy Greg Ellis produced the film.

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Leading Off (1/5/15)

Cowboys Win First Playoff Game Since 2009. Glorious day! Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys came from behind to beat the Detroit Lions yesterday, 24-20, notching the team’s first playoff win in five years. There was drama, and controversy, and in the end, a lot of screen shots of New Jersey governor Chris Christie awkwardly hugging Jerry and Stephen Jones.

Haters Complain About Picked-Up Penalty Flag. Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens was flagged for pass interference while Dallas was down 20-17, but a few seconds later the flag was picked up and waved off, driving non-Dallas fans crazy. Even Cowboys players called it “a break.”

Redemption Thy Name Is Lawrence. Rookie Demarcus Lawrence could have essentially ended the game by falling on a fumble late in the fourth quarter. But he tried to return it, eventually fumbling the ball himself and giving Detroit another chance. A few plays later though, Lawrence redeemed himself with the forced fumble and recovery that sealed the victory.

Other Stuff Happened. A few other things happened, too. Some of them seem pretty important.

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What It Means Now That Rajon Rondo Is In Dallas

First off, read this fantastic Sports Illustrated profile of Rajon Rondo by the great Lee Jenkins. This is the guy you’re getting, Dallas, a player so competitive he said this after a 12-year-old kid at a Boys & Girls Club in Dorcester, Massachusetts, beat him at Connect Four:

“But did you notice I played the guy five more times and won them all? I had to show him, ‘You beat me, but I’ll beat the s— out of you.'”

I, for one, am excited. So is my friend and fellow Mavs fan Rondo Estrello. Now, onto what this all means.

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Leading Off (12/19/14)

Mavs Acquire Rajon Rondo. In a move that signals the 19-8 Dallas Mavericks are planning a serious run at the NBA title this season, the team traded three players and draft picks to the Boston Celtics to get the point guard. Rondo is set become a free agent after this season.

Pilot Dead After Small Plane Crash. He was attempting to land his aircraft at Mesquite Airport just after 6 p.m. last night when he struck two homes in Seagoville about 9 miles south of the airport and landed in an open field. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Cow Thefts on the Rise. Just two or three cows are now worth $4,000 to $5,000 thanks to our insatiable appetite for beef, so the number of incidents of cattle rustling at North Texas ranches is up. As this great recent Planet Money podcast episode explains, the crime is fairly easy to get away with.

UT-Dallas Graduates Its Youngest Ph.D. Ever. Austin Howard started college at age 13 and earned his bachelor’s degree before he was 16. Now, at 22, he’s got a doctorate in physics. Yeah, so what have you done with your life, slacker?

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USMNT Coming to Toyota Stadium For 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

FC Dallas’ home pitch will host the US Men’s National Team on July 7 to kick off the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. You can read more about that here. Tell ‘em what’s up Jurgen Klinsmann:

“We are thrilled to play our opening game of the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Frisco,” he says. “Winning the tournament is the number one priority for the senior National Team in 2015, so it’s important that we get started on the right foot. It’s a great stadium and there’s a tremendous tradition for soccer in the area, so we’re hoping to get huge support from all our fans.”

Who’s excited? This guy, for one.

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Key to Cowboys Victory: Ignoring Andrew Luck’s Compliments

With that wonderful win Sunday night, the Cowboys have put themselves in position to win the division, and possibly even earn a bye in the first week of the playoffs — or to completely rip the hearts out of fans who could resist hope until only recently.

This week’s game against the Colts will be the biggest challenge. And the Cowboys have a lot to deal with. In addition to DeMarco “Spray Tan” Murray’s surgically repaired hand, and Orlando Scandrick’s seems-like-a-real-life-Chappelle Show-sketch desire to run up the score on hospitalized children who dare play him in Madden, this week the team has to face the unrelenting kindness of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

The Wall Street Journal has a great story about just how jarring Luck’s niceties can be. Apparently, any time he’s knocked down he retaliates with love. From the WSJ:

Luck has become famous for congratulating—sincerely and enthusiastically—any player to hit him hard. Any sack is met with a hearty congratulations, such as ”great job” or “what a hit!” He yells it after hard hits that don’t result in sacks, too. It is, players say, just about the weirdest thing any quarterback does in the NFL.

When New England pass rusher Rob Ninkovich pulverized Luck last month in a Patriots’ 42-20 win, he got the customary congratulations. As Ninkovich tells it, he found himself paralyzed with confusion by the well-wishes, so he blurted out “Thanks for…uh…accepting that hit?” before running back to the huddle.

Also, Dallas is 3-4 at home this year. So there’s that.

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