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Making Dallas Even Better

A Dispatch From the D Magazine Sweat Lodge

When we got to work this morning at D Magazine world headquarters, in beautiful downtown Dallas, we learned the AC is out in our building, St. Paul Place. The editorial crew all sits on the east side of the office. That would be the side of the building that is currently under assault from the sun. I’m guessing, but it’s probably 87 degrees at my desk, which sits right by a window.

To survive, many of us have moved our computers into our lobby, which is on the west side of the building. We are sitting at the table you see here, elbow to elbow. We aren’t exactly sweating. But we are all sticky. At least I am sticky. I haven’t taken a survey. Zac (far left in the pic) is on edge. I made an innocuous comment earlier about the movie London Has Fallen, and he threw a coffee mug at me. Then the Spirit Father came to see me, and I sprouted wings, and I flew with him high above our hunting grounds, admiring the herds of buffalo that have sustained our people for generations. Do you hear that noise, my brother?

I am now naked save for my loincloth. I am lashing myself with the sage branch. An intern is pouring water on the stones that still glow red from the fire, and the steam is cleansing my MacBook Air. We are working on the August issue. It will be an inspired document, if not error free.

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The Real Reason Tom Davis Threw His Phone Into Turtle Creek

As was reported yesterday on FrontBurner, the FBI is searching Turtle Creek for Tom Davis’ phone. More details have emerged that I can now share with you. Davis, the former chairman of Dean Foods, a Fortune 500 company, had been in Aspen, where he enjoyed some down time at his second home and ate a wonderful meal at Matsuhisa Aspen (toro tartar with caviar). Upon his return to Dallas, he and a friend went to the Highland Park Village Starbucks, where he ordered a venti drip. Despite specifically requesting room for cream, Davis was not given room for cream. Then, in the parking lot, a group of women from Tyler, in town for a shopping trip, made it difficult for him to negotiate the sidewalk. Davis was so outraged over the whole experience that hurled his phone into Turtle Creek. Several weeks later, Davis rejected what he called his “serf name” and changed it to Mohammed al-Ghazali al-Saqqa.

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I Walked Every Block of Downtown Dallas

A couple of months ago, I started walking every day at lunch. Like any number of things I’ve done — like most things I’ve done, actually — it started on a whim and kept going on its own momentum. There was no real plan. One day, I went for a walk at lunch. A week later, I realized I’d gone for a walk every day. A month later, I realized I craved it.

At first, I just sort of wandered. I don’t remember those early walks very well, because they weren’t the point yet. I needed a break from the office, and I decided to walk instead of sitting on a bench somewhere, but I wasn’t going anywhere. I was retracing steps I’ve taken probably 200 times since we moved downtown. Was I looking at my phone? Probably. There wasn’t much to see.

But I got bored and curious, so I started leaving my phone in my back pocket and began doing something close to exploring, going a different direction every day, maybe a little bit further. Pretty soon, I’d walked every block in downtown, and then some. I’ve walked to Deep Ellum and through various parts of Uptown. I walked through the triple underpass by Dealey Plaza and back again. Last week I went to the Cedars a couple of times, and I went again today. I’ve realized everything is a lot closer than you might imagine. Is it all walkable? Not the way an urbanist means it. But you can certainly walk it if you want to.

Beyond just going different places, I started paying better attention to my surroundings, seeing the details that pass by too quickly when you’re in a car. Some stray thoughts:

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How Many Times Has the Word ‘Callipygian’ Appeared in the DMN?

Sunday’s paper brought us another story about the deadly booty injections. This one was co-authored by Seema Yasmin. She bragged on Twitter about using the word “callipygian” in the story. As she should have. It is a fine word. It means “having shapely buttocks.” Here’s how Yasmin dropped it:

“Patients will ask for Kim Kardashian’s buttocks,” said Dr. Jennifer Walden, an aesthetic plastic surgeon and spokeswoman for the society.

In her Austin clinic, Walden used to enhance the buttocks of one or two women a year as recently as 2012. Now she operates on two women a week.

“Procedures go in and out of fashion. … We’re a celebrity-obsessed culture,” she said, citing actress Sofia Vergara and hip hop artist Nicki Minaj as callipygian influences.

This got me thinking. How many times has the word “callipygian” ever been printed in the DMN? Go ahead. Guess.

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Question for the Group: What Should We Call Our Podcast?

Looks like Zac and I will attempt a podcast. Without getting too heavy into the details, it’ll be kinda like FrontBurner (actual Dallas-related content mixed with time-wasting foolishness). About six years ago, a fellow named Adam McGill and I attempted something like this. We called it FrontBurner For Your Ears. A woman named Charity Beaver was once a guest. But I digress. We did the thing without buying any equipment, using instead a free service called Blog Talk Radio, which relies on telephones to record sound. The audio quality was not top notch (to say nothing of the content). This time we’ve invested some money. We’ve got microphones. And even a microphone stand.

So I throw it to you, dear content consumer. What should we call this thing? Keep the name FrontBurner For Your Ears? Something snappier? Anything in particular you’re interested in hearing?

Today’s Etymology Question: The Origin of ‘T-Jones’

Words are on my mind today. On the phone with Mike Mooney, I asked him how his T-Jones was doing. To which Mike replied: “?” I told him, “I guess you didn’t grow up on the mean streets of East Dallas. ‘T-Jones’ is slang for one’s mother.” If memory serves, I first heard the expression circa 1976, at Davy Crockett Elementary, where I was, if not the only, one of the very few white kids. Crockett introduced me to another word, too. After my first day there, I came home and said, “Mom, what’s a honky?” In any case, as I was talking to Mike, I googled “T-Jones” and was surprised to learn from the Urban Dictionary (if such a source can be trusted) that the term is mostly used in the Dallas area. Can that be true?

Linguistically knowledgeable FrontBurnervians, I need your help.

Ron Washington Holds Another Press Conference

In the lobby of the Super 8 off South Hampton Road, a corporate securities lawyer that no one recognizes steps up to a lectern. He surveys the crowd, which includes an elderly couple from Shreveport checking in for the night.


I’d like to thank everyone for coming. Yesterday Ron Washington held a press conference to explain his decision to step down as manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team. This press conference is to answer all the questions left unanswered at the previous press conference, plus some new questions that the aforementioned press conference raised.

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About the Use of the Word ‘Portmanteau’ in Our July Issue

In the July issue of D Magazine, the word “portmanteau” appeared in two stories. You may well wonder how rare an occurrence this was, and I will tell you how rare it was. From what I can gather, in the 40 years that the magazine has been in business, the word “portmanteau” has appeared in our pages just four times — including the two examples from July.

Zac used the word in his profile of Councilman Dwaine Caraway, explaining that when a constituent called him “trill,” he was combining the words “true” and “real.” And I used the word in my profile of Matt Rutledge, whose former company Woot combined the words “wow” and “loot.” At least two readers noticed our “portmanteau”s:

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(Sort of) Breaking: Dallas Fugitive Josh Lankford Found in Costa Rica

Some Frontburnervians have probably been around here enough to remember discussions about Dallas businessman/stock broker Josh Lankford – a pretty decent rundown of links is here. And, full disclosure, I did work for him for a time. Lankford has been on the lam for several years after being accused of helping run a few pump-and-dump […]

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Texas Monthly Editor Jake Silverstein Defends “Metroplex”

I’ve gotten into what a friend of mine calls a “dork fight” on Twitter with Jake Silverstein, the editor of Indianapolis-based Texas Monthly. (By employing the latter appellation, I have satisfied a reader’s request (scroll down).) I noticed that Silverstein used the word “Metroplex” in his most recent editor’s note. After the jump, you can […]

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