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D Magazine Nominated For 8 City and Regional Magazine Awards

Pardon us a minute while we congratulate ourselves for scoring eight just-announced nominations for this year’s City and Regional Magazine Awards, which will be handed out in May at the CRMA conference in beautiful Dallas, Texas. These are the categories our staff is up for:

Arts & Culture Writing
Peter Simek

Writer of the Year
Michael J. Mooney

“The Dallas 40” (Elizabeth Lavin)

Civic Journalism
“The Next Dallas Boom” (Wick Allison)

Ancillary: Home/Shelter
D Home

Excellence Online

Blog Column
FrontBurner (Peter Simek)

Multiplatform Storytelling
“The Dallas 40”

If you’re wondering why Peter gets to claim authorship of FrontBurner, it’s because the CRMA rules require the three submissions for that category to all come under the same byline. I decided Peter had the most award-worthy material on this blog during the eligibility year and so he earned the nod.

John Neely Bryan was in high dudgeon after learning this. It was difficult to settle him down, even after I explained that his lack of physical embodiment rendered him ineligible.

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Steve Martin Cast in Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Deadline is reporting that one of my personal heroes — seriously, if you’ve not read his memoir, Born Standing Up, you’re missing out — actor/comedian/banjo player/novelist Steve Martin has been cast in director Ang Lee’s film adaptation of Dallas author Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (one of the greatest novels of the 21st century.)

Unknown Joe Alwyn has already been cast as Iraq War soldier Billy Lynn. Thinking over the potential suitable parts for him in the book, Martin has got to be playing the owner of the Dallas Cowboys — the fictionalized Jerry Jones — right?  I suppose he could be the agent who’s trying to sell Lynn’s Army squad’s story to Hollywood, but I like that first possibility way more.

Deadline also says Garrett Hedlund is also in line for a role. Shooting is to begin in April. In Atlanta, Since Texas Stadium, where 90 percent or more of the story takes place, doesn’t exist here anymore, I guess that’s understandable. Even if Billy Lynn is maybe the best Dallas novel ever.

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Programming Note: Nancy Nichols To Talk Pretty on KERA’s Think Today

Today at 1 o’clock, you can find Nancy at 90.1 on your FM dial or streaming on She’ll be on the Think program with host Krys Boyd to talk about why, after 18 years at D Magazine’s dining critic, she is stepping down from that role (though not, rest assured, leaving the magazine). Krys, as always, is awesome. And Nancy has been in a good mood lately. Yesterday in the office, for reasons that remain unclear to me, she was reciting from memory “The Song of Hiawatha.” Should be a good show. Listen up.

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Leading Off (3/4/15)

Eddie Ray Routh Asking for a New Trial. Attorneys for the man convicted of killing Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield have also filed a motion to overturn the recent verdict. This is surprising to nobody who has been paying attention.

Protesters Swarm Grapevine City Hall. This is in response to a Grapevine officer killing a 31-year-old unarmed Mexican citizen last month. This Star-Telegram story says that Domingo Garcia, who is representing the family of the dead man, “asked that a videotape of the shooting be released and that the officer be terminated.”

Teacher Recorded Saying Not Great Things in Class. A DISD student secretly recorded her middle school teacher cussing a lot, and at one point, talking about the size of his junk. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this story though, is where the principal’s first response was apparently to ask the parent to destroy the evidence. Not a good look.

Winter Is Coming, Again. It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. But regardless of when the weather rolls in, the highways might be backed up anyway.

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The Last Thing You’ll Need To Read About DISD and How the DMN Is Working To Tear it Apart

We’ve written quite a bit lately on this blog about how the paper covers DISD. We’ve pointed you to stories that Jim Schutze has written about the matter. But there’s one more you should read. I warn you: it’s long. But after you read this LearningCurve post by Eric Celeste, you will understand once and for all how the paper is doing real, demonstrable harm to the district and, by extension, the city as a whole. The newspaper has a new editor, Mike Wilson, who started last month. His top priority should be figuring out why his paper is failing on this front and fixing it. The status quo-ers on the school board want Miles fired before the May elections. There’s no time to waste. (Oh, also, I lied. Eric’s post isn’t the last thing you’ll need to read about the district and how the paper covers it. Sorry.)

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Bill O’Reilly Needs to Either Prove His Dallas-era Suicide Tale or ‘Fess Up—Or Step Aside

Wrapping up a guest appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor” program last night, Fox News host/political commentator Megyn Kelly joked that he had become a real “sweetheart” during the last week, and she wryly wondered why. Kelly was right: the usually combative, right-leaning cable news host has appeared more subdued than usual lately, chastened even. The reason, I believe, is the still-unresolved, ticking time bomb over a story O’Reilly seems to have made up involving his work as a reporter in the 1970s at Dallas’ WFAA Channel 8, about the suicide of a figure in the JFK assassination probe. It’s a tale he needs to come clean about publicly—or else relinquish his top-rated news commentary show.

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Leading Off Batting Second (3/3/15)

Tom Spicer, R.I.P. Nancy broke the sad news yesterday. Robert Wilonsky has a lengthier obit today, including a few words from Spicer’s sister, who is a chef in New Orleans.

Judge Denies Second Trial for Kaufman DA Killer. Eric Williams’ lawyers had asked for a second trial because, they claimed, Williams’ brain was “broken.” There’s an interesting conversation we could have about free will here, but instead I’ll just say: nice try.

Frisco Folks Fight Affordable Housing Complex. First the Cowboys move to Frisco now this. One sentence in the DMN story caught my eye: “The site is in Frisco’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and surrounded by single-family homes.” I was all like, “Frisco has property on another planet?” But then I was like, “Oh.”

Mavs Over Pelicans 102-93. After the contest, Rick Carlisle said this of how his team played the third quarter: “We came out of the locker room with a lot of fire, a lot of attitude and some real disposition.” I encourage everyone to approach their Tuesday in the same fashion, with some real disposition.

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Cedar Hill Police Spoof Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln Ad

The Cedar Hill Police Department found special inspiration from Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln ads. The group parodied the work in a video that’s getting tons of play time on the internet. Sergeant Larry Wise, who’s shown driving around in a police car, posing existential questions in a thick Texan drawl, told CBSDFW that the video was originally just intended […]

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Warren Buffett Recommends D Magazine to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders

Over the weekend, legendary investor Warren Buffett, the “Sage of Omaha,” released his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway. Each year the financial world pores over Buffett’s words as if they are tea leaves predicting the future of the world economy. And considering that Buffett is the world’s third-richest man, it’s not hard to understand why.

Well, among his advice this year: Read D Magazine.

Before I depart the subject of spin-offs, let’s look at a lesson to be learned from a conglomerate mentioned earlier: LTV. I’ll summarize here, but those who enjoy a good financial story should read the piece about Jimmy Ling that ran in the October 1982 issue of D Magazine. Look it up on the Internet.

Through a lot of corporate razzle-dazzle, Ling had taken LTV from sales of only $36 million in 1965 to number 14 on the Fortune 500 list just two years later. Ling, it should be noted, had never displayed any managerial skills. But Charlie told me long ago to never underestimate the man who overestimates himself. And Ling had no peer in that respect.

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Leading Off (3/2/2015)

Nina Pham Is Suing Texas Health Resources. As if you could forget, Pham is the Presby nurse who was among those who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, and then contracted Ebola herself. She announced her intent to file a suit today against Presby’s parent company, Texas Health Resources, on Saturday in a Dallas Morning News story complete with lots of photos of Pham and her adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Bentley. The suit alleges negligence on the part of the hospital—a failure to develop policies, train staff, and provide proper protective equipment—as well as invasions of privacy.

This Weather Is Unpleasant. On Saturday, two people were killed and a third injured when their SUV slid off an icy I-30 overpass in Fort Worth and into a creek. Despite one nearly 70-degree day, there will be more danger-making sleet and storms this week, so do be careful.

Lucky Dog Books Will Vacate Davis Street Storefront. Another one bites the dust, ish. Owner John Tilton, who was unable to keep up with his rent and had been partially paying for months, mentions that he is looking at other possibilities in Oak Cliff. He and his wife have another Lucky Dog in East Dallas. A new Common Desk, the co-working space, will move into the space.

Toyota Is Polling Its Employees To See How They Feel About Moving To North Texas. The process will last a year, and “the surveys won’t specifically ask employees in California, Kentucky and New York to commit to the move.” The first one to respond with this should get a raise, probably.

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A Less Than Objective Recap of the Festival of Ideas

On Saturday, I, along with 700 or so other people, slipped and skidded my way to the Arts District for the Dallas Institute and DMN’s Dallas Festival of Ideas. Because of ice, snow, and everything else Mother Nature threw at us last week, the conference went from a $90, two-day extravaganza to a free-to-all afternoon of talks (what it should have been in the beginning).

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Schutze Was at a Very Different DISD Meeting Than Was the Morning News

Do you know why it’s unfortunate that print media revenue is falling and online media revenue is a pie split so many different ways as to make it difficult to fund any sizable news-gathering operation? Do you know why it’s a shame that we live in an age where most cities, including Dallas, have one only one daily newspaper?

If you don’t, then I point you to Jim Schutze’s take on the same Dallas ISD board meeting that I mentioned (linking to a Dallas Morning News story) in this morning’s “Leading Off.” The Unfair Park account of what occurred is so different from the perspective offered by DMN reporters Tawnell Hobbs and Matthew Haag that I might believe you if you told me they had been filed from parallel universes:

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Trammell Crow Visits D Magazine’s EarBurner Podcast, Episode 2

Not that Trammell Crow, the other one. Trammell S. Crow, the real estate scion and the force behind Earth Day Texas. He was good enough to bring his posse to the Old Monk to chat with Tim Rogers and Zac Crain about the event that’s planned for the last weekend of April in Fair Park.

But don’t hit the snooze button just yet. Crow is an odd duck who doesn’t fit into all the usual stereotypes of a Dallas rich guy. It’s a fun conversation, even if Tim neglects to introduce himself and Zac at the outset.

Before I leave you to it, a couple of corrections:

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