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Making Dallas Even Better

Mailer Colleagues Recall His Journalism, JFK, and Oswald At a Sixth Floor Event

Chatting during a reception before an event at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza last week, a couple of heavyweight literati had some friendly advice for Nicola Longford, the museum’s executive director. It would help to add exhibits here—a la The Newseum in Washington, D.C.—aimed at putting the John F. Kennedy assassination more into the context of its times, Lawrence Schiller and J. Michael Lennon suggested.

For example, Schiller said, one good addition might be a description of the foreign travels of Lee Harvey Oswald, the president’s accused assassin: Finland, the Soviet Union, Mexico. When Longford lightly protested, citing the museum’s space constraints, Schiller and Lennon waved off the objection, insisting that “one panel” would do it.

The two men are sort of experts on these things. Schiller (who introduced himself to me saying, “Hello, I’m the big bad wolf”) is a photographer, author, and filmmaker who photographed the Kennedys for major publications and worked for nearly 35 years with the late writer Norman Mailer on such books as “Oswald’s Tale.” Lennon is Mailer’s archivist and authorized biographer (“Norman Mailer: A Double Life”).

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Texas Monthly on the Dallas Housing Boom

The cover story of the November Texas Monthly is all about the Texas housing boom. You should read it, if only because it will likely be the only story ever written that quotes Eric Celeste, Jim Schutze, and Candy Evans. I’m trying to imagine another possible story for which it would make sense to quote those three. The Venn diagram doesn’t provide much overlap. Let’s see. Eric and Candy are both huge Tottenham Hotspur fans, but Jim doesn’t follow soccer at all. And while Jim and Candy are both avid scrapbookers, Eric couldn’t give a damn. So I think this story is it.

Anyway, give it a read. The three make Dallas sound like the best place on earth to live. Which, of course, it is.

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Leading Off (10/28/15)

Reporter Mentioned in Patti Stevens’ Suicide Note Writes About It. Among the things Patti Stevens left when the grieving widow killed herself was a note to the DMN‘s Naomi Martin. In the handwritten note, Stevens listed out her own education. Martin tries to make sense of it.

Bodies Found Inside Burning Vehicle. Firefighters found two bodies in a burning SUV on the east side of Fort Worth. Sgt. Jeffrey Dunn of the Fort Worth Police said this on the TV last night: “All we can tell about the bodies is that do appear to be human.” Three weeks ago, another body was found in a burning car less than two miles from there.

Officer Accused of Calling in Sick, Going to Strip Club. Dallas Police are not identifying the rookie officer who allegedly called in sick before having what sounds like an epic ’80s-movie adventure of a night. First the officer and some friends went to the Club V Live strip club. (Where rapper T.I. reportedly spent $30,000 recently.) Then the rookie officer got in a fight. Then the fight continued at the gas station across the street. Then he and a friend got shot. Then, instead of going to one of the many hospitals in Dallas, he drove to Irving and apparently gave the hospital there a fake name. The fact that we are now hearing about this story (and I’m calling dibs on the longform version) means it’s safe to say the officer did not make it back into bed in time to get away with the whole thing.

Channel 8 Reporter Goes Into Labor in Live Truck

An alert FrontBurnervian points us to this story about ABC Channel 8 reporter Jenny Doren. Here’s how Carolyn Mungo, the station’s news director, explained the situation a staff email: “After getting up at 1am, doing countless morning live shots in the pouring rain, (including the noon show) Jenny Doren got stuck in traffic on the way back to the station. Oh..and she went into labor. In the live truck.” They should have broadcasted that.

Podcast: Former 60 Minutes Producer Mary Mapes on Truth, the Movie About Her CBS Firing

This Friday, Truth, a movie about the controversy at CBS News over a 2004 report on President George W. Bush’s National Guard service during the Vietnam War, opens. Dan Rather touched on the subject, which led to his departure from the network, back on D Magazine‘s EarBurner podcast back in August.

Last week, Rather’s Dallas-based producer on the story, Mary Mapes, stopped by the Old Monk to share her own thoughts about the film. Give it a listen. But first, a few notes:

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DMN Takes Credit Where Credit Is Really Due — To Dwaine Caraway

I’ll forgive you if you don’t know what “10 Drops in the Bucket” is. It’s a monthly series of editorials in the Dallas Morning News wherein they call attention to blighted areas in southern Dallas and take to task the owners of those properties. The paper has been doing this for eight years. Wednesday online (and in print the next day) the paper congratulated itself for doing good work. And some of the work, to be sure, has been excellent. But there is one problem with the editorial that I am compelled to point out.

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Phyllis McKnight Named Group Publisher, Returns to D Magazine — Again

I’ve known Phyllis McKnight a long time. We met in 2001, if memory serves, when I began working for D Magazine. She had a different last name (Cole-Spence), and I had hair (brown). Phyllis was on her second tour of duty at the magazine. Let’s see if I can get this right. Her résumé goes: D Magazine, Wall Street Journal, back to D Magazine, off to Children’s as a VP of development, then to PaperCity as publisher, some place called Blue Calypso as VP of national sales, CultureMap because she apparently has an affinity for places that camel-case their names, an ad agency called Commerce House, and then back to D Magazine. I’m probably forgetting something.

Phyllis is now our group publisher. I’m not sure if that means she can fire me. She has an office, and I don’t. If I had to guess, I’d say she could fire me. But I’ve got something she doesn’t, and that’s a username and password to FrontBurner. (Seriously, if your company doesn’t camel-case at least part of its operation, you need to think about getting another job.) Phyllis rejoined us a few weeks back. I’m a little tardy in conducting her orientation Q&A. Here’s how that went down via Gchat earlier this morning:

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Leading Off (10/21/15)

Forney Student Arrested After Threat. Authorities there say they thwarted a plot to shoot up the school yesterday. A 15-year-old student was charged with exhibition of a firearm. The district put up a note on Facebook saying the situation is resolved and classes will continue today as scheduled. Some parents are keeping their kids home anyway as a precaution.

Police Looking for Suspect in Zoe Hastings Death. Someone was seen talking to a woman matching her description at a drug store. The man was seen getting into the minivan where her body was later discovered, and police believe the minivan later hit a speed limit sign on Peavy Road.

Wife of Slain Engineer Tells Nightmare Story. Dave Stevens was the runner killed by a former Texas A&M football player at White Rock Lake last week. His wife, Patti, told her story to the DMN’s Naomi Martin. It’s heartbreaking.

Ahmed Will Move to Qatar. Less than a day after meeting the President, Ahmed and his family announced they are leaving the country to enroll the boy in the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. Surely this is the last we will hear about Ahmed.

Dez Bryant Might Play This Week. The star wide receiver hurt his foot six weeks ago. Now Jerry Jones says he might be ready to play again. He probably won’t be though.

Toronto Columnist Bad-Mouths Arlington Ahead of Rangers-Blue Jays Series

As the baseball playoff series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers approaches, a writer for the Toronto Globe and Mail explains why it’ll be difficult to jumpstart a rivalry between the respective homes of each team: the fourth-largest city in North America and “the strip-mall wormhole you pass through on the way to Fort Worth.”

Three hours before a game in Arlington, there’s no one around. An hour after a game, it returns to that state. You find yourself drifting toward the light – which is always a highway. It’s as if the city itself knows you don’t belong here and would like to point toward somewhere a little more happening.

But when a game’s on, people just appear. Where are they from? How did they get here? No one knows. Or, at least, I didn’t bother asking. The press box is air conditioned, and only a maniac with reptile blood would go out into the stands for more than a minute.

It’s generally a good crowd, buoyed by a few years of good teams. They play Deep in the Heart of Texas mid-game, which is fun. I’ll take their word for it that that’s where we are. If so, it’s a weird place. Friendly locals, but an odd locale. It’s like Robert Moses doing the set-dressing for David Lynch.

Arlingtonians – our temporary enemies. Since the whole point of the postseason is picking a (gentle) fight with the fans of the other city, this could be a tough one.

There’s no history between us. Beyond the most tiresome clichés, they have no idiosyncrasies to poke fun at. Also, I’m still not sure if they actually exist.

You really should read the whole thing. (H/T Bud Kennedy)

Podcast: Need’s Matt Alexander Returns With His Hot Sports Opinions

We recorded the podcast earlier this afternoon, so I haven’t the time for full-on show notes this week. What follows is an abbreviated version.

This is the hat that Dallas entrepreneur Matt Alexander, who previously appeared on Episode 10 of the show, wore to the recording session. It’s called the Deep Ellum:

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Bachelor Host Chris Harrison Hates ‘Bitter’ D Magazine Article

The Advocate has a Q&A with Lake Highlands native Chris Harrison, host of TV’s The Bachelor. He’s not too happy about an article in the July issue of our print product:

It’s sad that some of the worst stuff comes from my own hometown. D Magazine did an article about a book signing I did, and it was the most bitter, poorly written article I’ve seen in a long time. There’s been horrible things said about me over the years and I have a thick skin, but this one hit a cord with me. And I actually gave my time to this reporter during this event — and I typically like D Magazine and its writers — but not that one.

Mr. Harrison, we’ve taken your criticism under advisement. The writer, Laura Kostelny, no longer works at D Magazine.

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Podcast: Meat Queen Alice Laussade on ‘Funlanthropy’ and Mommy Makeovers

The Dallas Observer‘s own Cheap Bastard, Alice Laussade, stopped by the Old Monk to talk about her upcoming Meat Fight fundraiser on the newest episode of EarBurner, and she brought plenty of salty language with her. Consider this your mature-content warning. Maybe skip this one if you’re listening with the kids.

Otherwise, on to the notes:

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