Vying to Rub Shoulders With Elizabeth Hurley—and Her ‘American Daddy’—at the NorthPark Neiman Marcus

There was a mob scene yesterday afternoon at the Neiman Marcus store at NorthPark, where Estee Lauder scion Leonard Lauder, 81, and actress/model Elizabeth Hurley, the cosmetics company’s 49-year-old “brand ambassador,” turned up to launch a new Estee Lauder in-store shop. The throng packed excitedly into the first-floor cosmetics area included not just customers, but about every fashionista-blogger/writer sort in town. Everyone was jousting to get close to the coolly regal Hurley—she’d be perfectly cast as a British princess type—and to Leonard. It was his mother, Estee Lauder, who founded the eponymous, $10.4 billion (2013 sales) “prestige cosmetics” empire in 1946.

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Best Reader Comment Ever

Every month, our audience development folks survey readers to bring us editorial types some feedback on our work. I thought I’d share a comment we got from a reader on our March issue, which featured a package on spas, another about some of the finest nurses in North Texas, a story about a woman who created a toilet spray, and a story about Mark Cuban’s work on Shark Tank. Here’s what the reader had to say:

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Behind the Scenes at Billy Bob’s Texas

Amy Cunningham was a young editor on the staff of D Magazine when her boss, then-editor Rowland Stiteler, came to her with a “dream assignment.” She was to go undercover at Billy Bob’s Texas, the “world’s largest honky tonk” in Fort Worth, which had opened earlier that year.

It was thrilling to tackle a story modeled after Gloria Steinem’s famous stint at the Playboy Club and almost as pleasurable to know that she wouldn’t have to show up at the D Magazine offices to do any other writing or editing for seven whole weeks. All she needed to do was land a job as a waitress and take notes on cocktail napkins.

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DMN Headline Says Former Police Chiefs Against New Plan, Except Kunkle Isn’t

I admit I missed this when I read the story today, because I got through about half of it and thought, “Okay, all the former Dallas police chiefs think the civilian-hiring plan by current Chief David Brown is politically problematic.”

As councilman Philip Kingston realized: Nuh-uh. You have to wade through about half the article, but our most recent former chief, David Kunkle, says that even though the civilian-hiring plan has real-world problems, it’s worth moving forward and trying to implement it again.

Kunkle said he remains a firm believer that putting civilians in as many jobs as possible is a good plan. Officers should be out on the street, he said, and keeping civilians around should be part of any long-term plan.

Just so we’re clear.

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Brett Shipp Still Looks Good in His Oakleys

We first took note of Brett Shipp’s penchant for reporting from behind his sunglasses in 2011, when we saw the delightful video of John Wiley Price shoving the Channel 8 newsman. We’ve brought up his eyewear a few times since. Last night he was at it again, this time wearing his Oakleys while knocking on someone’s door who didn’t want to talk to him. I am posting this screen grab because the Oakleys situation is important, and you need to be aware of it.

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There’s a Funeral This Weekend for the Trinity Toll Road

ICYMI, the ghost of the Trinity toll road brought us some more entertainment yesterday. It started with an op-ed by the architect Larry Good, who, after a decade, has withdrawn his support of the dead project. Rudy Bush was pretty impressed with Good’s piece and piled on: “A few days ago, Wick Allison and I traded some tweets. I warned against declaring the toll road dead. Powerful people want this road. He agreed and said we need to drive a stake through its heart. Okay, here’s the stake.” That drove Rodger Jones nuts, so he apologized for Bush’s blog post. Maybe Jones and Bush really like each other. Maybe they eat lunch together in the cafeteria at the Morning News. But I prefer to think their relationship is hostile, that when they happen to ride the elevator together, they do it in silence.

If the two guys are friend, though, here’s something they can do together this weekend. On Sunday, an old-school New Orleans jazz funeral procession will leave Oddfellows at 5 p.m. From the Facebook invite:

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Rudy Bush Is the Best Morning News Columnist, And It’s Not Close

The Dallas Morning News made Rudy Bush a columnist a few months back, and while I always enjoyed his work as the paper’s city hall reporter, I wasn’t sure how he would do when freed from the “gotta see both sides” nature of his previous gig. I was dead wrong.

Whether or not you agree with his column about the NRA and Open Carry Texas, I think you’d agree he does exactly what (I think, anyway) a great columnist should do: demonstrate a clear-eyed grasp on the issue at hand, pick a side, and argue that side eloquently. Plus — and this is especially helpful, given the continued presence of Steve Blow — he consistently writes about actual issues, and not just quota-killing give-up topics. GOOD JOB, RUDY.

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Brett Shipp Makes Hay With Athens Fertilizer Fire

Anyone else see Channel 8’s coverage of the fire in Athens yesterday? Here’s the impressive team effort that aired on the 10 o’clock newscast. I mean that. But Brett Shipp’s contribution — and I’m summarizing here — went like this: “I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. I so told you so.” Don’t blame him. A year ago, he was reporting on that storage facility in a populated area, telling people that if it caught fire, all that ammonium nitrate could cause another West-level explosion.

Which is why Shipp was in full outrage mode earlier in the day, when the fire was still burning, people had been evacuated, and an explosion looked to be in the offing. Is it just me? Did you see this? Because it seemed to me that Shipp was hoping the thing would blow up. And when it became clear that the fire would fizzle without a catastrophe, he seemed disappointed. A friend of mine said it was like watching Geraldo open Al Capone’s vault.

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Hail and Farewell, Ctd.

The big question, obviously, is why are we having an unhurried lunch in Texarkana, at a Mexican joint called Ta Molly’s, talking about The Muppet Movie, drawing suspicious looks from Texarkansans, waiting for a guy named Dan to come take away our 2015 Escalade, one of the finest automobiles ever made? The smaller, though no less relevant, question is: have you ever barreled down an interstate at 80 mph, cradled by a leather chair that blows cool air across your buttocks, letting adaptive cruise control essentially drive your car for you? I highly recommend the 2015 Cadillac Escalade — as soon as they fix the passenger-side airbag, the recall for which occasioned our stop in Texarkana, where the aforementioned Dan is rushing to meet us in a replacement automobile, a Yukon XL, year of manufacture unknown. I’m sure the Yukon will suit our needs. But will it chill our bottoms? Questions. Right now, at Ta Molly’s, that’s all we have.

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The Broadcast Host Walks Off Set Over Discussion of Michael Sam Kiss

Gawker has mentioned a discussion that took place during yesterday’s edition of the The Broadcast, the morning show with which you may or may not remember D Magazine is no longer affiliated.

Lisa Pineiro and Courtney Kerr (yes, that Courtney Kerr) are in the what’s-the-big-deal-about-Michael-Sam-kissing-his-boyfriend-on-ESPN camp. Kerr says those who are speaking out against the appropriateness of the celebratory moment, which took place after Sam had been drafted by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, are “racist against homosexuals.”

Co-hosts Suzie Humphries and Amy Kushnir come down on the other side, complaining about how the kiss was “pushed in faces” and wondering why can’t they just speak their minds without other people attacking them as bigots. Near the end of the 9-minute discussion, Kushnir walks off the set.

It’s not so nice to see coastal elites take notice of moments like this.

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New York Times Credits Katy Trail For Uptown’s Success

All the news that’s fit to print includes an article on Dallas’ own Katy Trail, which the Times paints as a significant driver in the boom in Uptown’s real estate:

Along with a 21-year-old public improvement district and zoning that encouraged residential development, the trail’s construction and improvements over nearly two decades have helped transform Uptown from a blighted empty expanse into what many consider to be the only true “live, work, play” urban neighborhood in a city known for suburban sprawl.

I know, I know. You knew all of that already, but it’s nice to see those coastal elites take notice.

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Romancing The Killer, Or Why You May Not Want to Accept a Free Drink from Bernie Tiede on Sixth Street in Austin

Like Tim I’ve done my share of bitching in the past about writer Tod Robberson of the Dallas Morning News. Today, though, Robberson put up a great post about the early release on bond this week of convicted killer Bernie Tiede. Tiede’s story, you’ll recall, was the subject of the acclaimed 2011 movie Bernie, inspired by Skip Hollandsworth’s 1998 article in Texas Monthly. As Tod rightly asks, why in hell should Tiede draw a get-out-of-jail card just because it’s recently come out that he may have been sexually abused as a child?

However enchantingly Jack Black portrayed Tiede in the flick, the former mortician was given a life sentence because he shot an old lady four times in the back with a .22 rifle and then stuffed her body into a freezer. He’s a murderer, flat out. Now he gets to go live in Austin in the basement of the movie’s director, Richard Linklater? Let’s hope Linklater fares better than Norman Mailer did back in the day after Mailer helped spring Jack Henry Abbott—another convicted killer who was romanticized and lionized by the artistic intelligentsia.

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