Thursday, January 27, 2022 Jan 27, 2022
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Pulse OF THE City

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Polo tically Incorrect

New magazine really chaps Ralph Lauren’s hide. ^

POLO (THE FASHION LABEL) never griped about Polo (the magazine) when it covered mostly polo (the game). But when Dallas-based Westchester Media bought Polo (the magazine) last March, Polo (the fashion label) grew concerned about the trademark rights to Polo (the word).

For 23 years, Polo was a rather unsexy journal about the sport of princes. The official publication of the United States Polo Association, it had a modes! distribution of 5,500 and ran ads for saddle softeners and stirrups. The new Polo, however, would reach out to a much larger target audience of hip and wealthy epicures, who may or may not care about the 2,000-year-old equestrian sport.

Westchester printed 500,000 copies of its October/November premiere, 162 pages (hick and super-slick with supermodel Claudia Schiffer-not a horse-on the cover. The merchants of chic-Gucci, Chanel, Escada, and Cartier-bought ads. A profile of Memo Gracida, the Michael Jordan of polo, was slipped in among stories on international travel, gourmet food, and fashion.

Just prior to the launch. Polo Ralph Lauren began sending letters complaining that people might think the refocused magazine was associated with the fashion company. Westchester responded with a preemptive strike: Polo (the magazine) sued Polo (the fashion label) in federal court in Houston, seeking a declaration protecting its use of Polo (the name). Within days, Polo Ralph Lauren filed acounterclaim, asking a New York court to block Westchester Media from using the name “in a manner likely to cause confusion.”

“The publicity related to this has been a real godsend,” says Reid Slaughter, the founding publisher of the new Polo. Could Polo’s throwing the first legal punch have been a calculated PR tactic by a buzz-hungry upstart magazine? “Eh-hem,” says Slaughter. “I can’t comment on that.”

Polo magazine, which registered the trademark for its name in 1992, is quite i confident it can hold its own in court against the fashion giant. Ralph Lauren had previously advertised his designs in the magazine and even had been the subject of an editorial profile. And in 1994. when the original owner tried to sell the magazine-and its trademarks-to Polo Ralph Lauren, Lauren declined.

Polo Ralph Lauren’s position is that it had no problem with the old Polo, with its limited readership and narrow focus on the sport itself. But the new Polo “is not about the sport of polo, but is instead a fashion and lifestyle magazine targeted at Polo Ralph Lauren’s customers.”

If Polo magazine wasn’t just trying to bait Polo Ralph Lauren into a legal battle-cum-promotional campaign, it certainly was willing to invade Lauren’s turf to attract readers. Westchester Media marketed the magazine to people who were certainly more familiar with the fashion label than the sport by paying $ 100,000 for a two-page ad in Neiman Marcus’October catalogue. Also as part of the deal, most of the copies of Polo’s first issue were mailed to Neiman Marcus’ half-a-million cardholders with an invitation to subscribe to “Polo magazine, the guide to discovering how good life can be.”

Fronting the money to support these expensive marketing endeavors is John Goodman, Houston heir to a family appliance and air-conditioning fortune and an avid polo player. His club, Isla Carroll, is one of the top squads in the world. An original investor in Cowboys & Indians (another one of Slaughter’s publications), Goodman is now the sole owner of Westchester Media, according to Slaughter, who recently turned publishing duties over to design director Steve Connatser.

Ultimately the courts will decide if both the Polo on your clothes or the Polo on your coffee table will define polo (the lifestyle). With a trial date set for February, it could be a long, expensive legal battle for both sides. Of course, Polo magazine has learned, or perhaps has known all along, keeping this case in court could keep it in the headlines. “Come on. What are we going to call it?” asks Russell Starbird, attorney for Westchester Media. “Guys Riding around on Horses Swinging Mallets at a Little Ball?”-Dan Michalski

Borders’ Best-Stealer List

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a thief by his reading list. The following are the most frequently stolen books at Borders Books on Greenville Avenue.


The shoplifters obviously hadn’t read Exodus.

2. THE BUCK BOOK, by Anne Johnson

Tricks you can do with a dollar-and one’s included.


Pictures of his family-sometimes in the nude.

4. BEANIE BABIES HANDBOOK, by L. Fox Go figure.

5. MEN WITHOUT TIES, by Gianni Versace Anything by or about Versace is hot


Chasing away the dog that bit you.

From the fiercest headaches to a slightly queasy stomach, festive New Year’s celebrations can result in a “what have I done?” the morning after. D rounded up some local bartenders to get their expert opinions on what it will take to kick the hangover blues after a night of overindulgence.

SIPÀNGO: “Lots of water before bed and aspirin before going to sleep, then if you still feel bad in the morning, a Bloody Mary is the remedy of choice. The alcohol numbs you and the tomato juice’s high carbohydrates get the blood sugar going.”

-Bryan Blakeman

LOUIE’S: “There are two cures: One, don’t drink, or two, have another one and get back up on the horse.”-Louie Canelakes, owner and bartender for 20 years

BEAU NASH: “There is no sure thing,..actually bitters and soda calms the stomach, but the best thing is the hair of the dog.” -David Liberto

JOEY’S: “A Bloody Mary

with Absolut Peppar, nice and spicy.”

-Rodney Shaffer


LANDMARK: “A pre-hangover cure: Before bed eat a greasy hamburger (it settles the stomach), drink a quart of water (it rehydrates), and take a couple of ibuprofen (they cut the pain temporarily). It’s sound medical advice.”

– Dave Urcinoli

ARTHUR’S: “Take B-complex the night before you drink and the next morning. I’ve also heard from a doctor to try three aspirin with pickle juice. I tried it, but I don’t remember if it worked.”

– Melissa Hale

Candy’s Justice

Victims-rights supporter faces re-election battle.

ON ANY GIVEN THURSDAY, THE USUAL suspects file through Judge Marshall Gandy’s Dallas County Domestic Violence Court. The names change, but the turns and swings of their dangerous dance are too often the same. The terrified victim demands protection and justice-or, nearly as often, the victim wants the charges dropped, choosing to recant or dodge a subpoena rather than testify against her man.

It’s Gaudy’s job to separate the facts from the emotion, the victims from the perpetrators. His court was the first in Texas to devote its full docket to family violence. To untangle the Gordian knots of love, Gandy aggressively uses restraining orders, stiff bonds, and, some lawyers complain, marginal evidence to keep the parties apart. His tactics have drawn enough criticism from defense lawyers that David Finn, a former assistant U.S. attorney, thinks he has found an opening to defeat Gandy in March’s Republican primary.

Gandy sees his role in Domestic Violence Court as an intervenor, the person who can break the cycle of domestic abuse. “The justice system is ill-equipped to handle social problems,” Gandy says, “But in this court, if a victim feels threatened, she can come and get an order to break off all contact with the abuser.”

Finn hasn’t attacked Gandy’s philosophy, choosing instead to assail his opponent’s backlog of cases. Gandy, he says, simply doesn’t work enough. “I want to be in trial,” Finn says. “I don’t want to be twiddling my thumbs.”

But any challenge to Gandy worries domestic abuse victims’ advocates, who have cheered the judge *s activist approach. They fear any successor, even a law-and-order conservative, won’t maintain Gan-dy’s tough stand and may either close the court or spread domestic violence cases to other courts.

“He takes the position of the victims very seriously and understands the danger that many of them could be in,” says Paige Flink of The Family Place, a shelter for victims.

A large part of Finn’s support comes from defense lawyers who don’t like to appear before Gandy. “The court has kind of warped him a little bit,” says defense lawyer Kevin Clancy, one of the few willing to be quoted. Clancy says a constant diet of “swearing match” abuse cases may have soured Gandy’s in-court disposition.

Defense attorneys complain that if a defendant has a history of violence with the same victim, Gandy sets the bond higher than the standard $500 to keep the accused abuser behind bars. But what irks defense attorneys the most is the quality of evidence Gandy allows to be used against their clients. Traditionally, if a witness no longer wished to complain, she could drop the charges. But Gandy will proceed to trial anyway-allowing the police officer who was called to the scene to repeat the statements made by the victim. Knowing Gandy’s reputation, some defendants will simply plead no contest.

If his critics have their way, Gandy’s brand of justice won’t be available after March.-Darrell Preston

Whatever Happened to…Margaret and Ernest Medders?

THEY WERE THE ROYALTY OF A $500 million empire that was a figment of their imagination. No one knows if they really believed it themselves, but within a few years of Margaret and Ernest Medders arriving in Muenster,Texas, in 1961. they convinced almost everybody thai they were the heirs to the Spin-dletop oil field The gullible included an order of Catholic nuns, the sales staff at Neiman Marcus, a world-renowned psychic, and President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The Medderses convinced the Poor Sisters of St. Francis Seraph from Indiana (who were actually very wealthy) to loan them $2 million in return for a promise to give the order an even larger chunk of their inheritance-as soon as they got it. Dallas banks were equally willing to loan the would-be heirs money, and soon Margaret ran up a $330,000 tab at Neiman Marcus and managed to dine with LBJ at the White House. The couple threw lavish parties at their ranch for the city’s social elite: Guy Lombardo performed, psychic-to-the-stars Jeane Dixon-who obviously wasn’t a mind reader-entertained.

Then in 1967, a relative sued the Med-derses, demanding to know where they were getting their dough, and the fraudulent fantasy ended. The couple declared bankruptcy. (They’d spent $3 million and didn’t have a cent.) Ernest died in 1975. and a year later, a Dallas judge sentenced Margaret to five years in prison for theft.

Today, Margaret, close to 80, is married to Nathan Orr, whom she met while in prison in Huntsville. They live in Lynch, Ky., where Orr is a Methodist minister.

Margaret told D a movie is being made about her wild rags-to-riches-to-rags life story, but she won’t talk about it until the deal’s done. But, she says, “It’s gonna be big.”

D isn’t counting on it. We’ve browsed her autobiography. The Headers Story: How to Borrow $3 Million Wish No Collateral, and let’s just say Margaret’s true story isn’t half as fascinating as the ones she made up.-Sara Peterson


Chances are getting better in Dallas that you’ll run afoul of a big rig.

TEXAS LEADS THE NATION IN THE NUM-ber of 18-wheeler truck-related fatalities, a reputation that’s reflected in Dallas. Of 143 traffic fatalities in the city last year. 14 involved 18-wheelers.

Sgt. Curtis Braziel, head of Dallas* Commercial Motor Vehicles Enforcement Squad, knows big rigs and the damage they can wreak. The squad, which tries to keep unsafe trucks off the road, was formed after police officer Carl Norris was killed when a truck overturned on his car. A legally loaded 18-wheeler weighs more than 80,000 pounds. Your car weighs one-twentieth of that.

When the 13-member squad randomly stops 18-wheelersfor a Level 1 inspection-a dirty job that requires an officer to crawl underneath to check the braking system-seven out of 10 trucks are found to have faulty breaks and have to be towed off the road, Braziel says. In the Level 2 walk-around checks, nearly four out of 10 rigs are found unsafe.

That’s a scary statistic if you spend any time on the city’s highways. “It’s just no contest when you take a 4,000-pound car and an 80,000-pound truck,” Braziel says. “There’s almost no chance for the occupants of the car to survive. It’s almost always a tragic situation. There’s going to be injury involved somehow-and it’s not going to be the driver of the truck.”

-Carol Craver

Fact Check


Unluckiest date to be a pea: Jan. 1

Number of eyes on a black-eyed pea: 1

Average number of peas in a pod: 5 to 7

Year Athens, Texas, first celebrated the Black-Eyed Pea Jamboree: 1971

Year the Black-eyed Pea restaurants were founded by Gene Street and Phil Cobb: 1975

Year the Black-eyed Pea chain sold: 1987

Amount of money paid for the Black-eyed Pea chain: $47 million

Black-eyed Pea serves peas: 365 days

Number of black-eyed peas sold on December 31 at Tom Thumb on Greenville Avenue and Lovers Lane: 1,440 cans and 6001 lb. bags of peas

Number of black-eyed peas sold at Tom Thumb year-round: 9,400 cans and 3,0501 lb. bags of peas

Grams of protein in one-half cup of cooked peas: 7

Number of calories: 100

Number of grams of fiber: 10

Pounds of peas served New Year’s Day at the Dallas Country Club: 150

Number of ingredients in the black-eyed peas at Dallas Country Club: 6

Number of days the Dallas Country Club serves peas: 365

‧ Pounds of peas served New Year’s Day at The Bishop Grill: 0 (they’re closed)

How to Bring Good Karma to DISD

Feng shui offers a prescription for the schoolhouse blues.

TALK ABOUT BAD KARMA. EVEN THE most hypothalamic-challenged, left-brained bean counter can see that DISD needs to be saved, pulled from the chaotic swirl of negative energy that has ted school officials to unprecedented depths this year. Who will save their souls? That remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, we think it’s time to clean house. Not in a cut-the-budget, reassign-the-bureaucrats Machiavellian-like plan. but in a kinder, gentler, feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”) way. Feng shui- the ancient Chinese art of alignment and balance that has become as trendy as the anomaly known as mass-produced Mission-style furniture-promises health and a sense of peace for those who practice it as an element of interior design. The premise: Man’s state of mind affects his environment, and the condition of the environment affects man’s internal slate.

To cure what ails DISD, we asked Donna Collins, chairman of the Texas chapter of the Feng Shui Institute of America, to meet us at DISD headquarters (3700 Ross Ave.) and offer a prescription for relief. Like most experts, Collins began her work with a dis-claimer-to do this right, I she “would have to talk to each employee” about his or her space and gel the history of the building. Time and money being of the essence and all flowcharts of personnel being chronically out-of-date, we asked her to get to the point: What relatively simple fens shui changes can get the cosmic breath, the Chi, flowing at D1SD?

Her recommendations:

Let 100 flowers bloom. Feng shui divides all space into nine quadrants. The southeast comer of DISD headquarters represents Wealth and Prosperity. This space is currently energetically empty, a neglected expanse of grass next to the parking lot. Collins suggests creating a sense of boundary by planting a garden, perhaps with purple (lowers, the color of prosperity.

Make an entrance. The building faces Ross Avenue to the north, but most employees park in the back and enter through an unremarkable door that leads to a gray-green hall lined with portraits of school buildings. Collins recommends creating a more grand entrance here in the so-called Reputation quadrant and suggests incorporating the color red. plants, and photos of “children excelling.”

Clear the air. A purification ceremony would “allow the space to accept good energy,” says Collins, who advises filling a smudge pot with cedar or white sage to douse the building in good scents.

Mind your elders. The Family-Community-Elders quadrant, adjacent to the Prosperity corner, is about as welcoming J as an in-law. Collins suggests creating a park-like selling with a sculpture, or maybe a bench where folks could gather and experiment with communication.

Get down to Earth. The reception area, Collins says, lacks the element of Earth, one of the five essential elements. Take out I the glass and brass (Water and Metal ) coffee table and put in a square wooden one.

Throw away the keys. The building has too many doors leading outside, which may allow the Chi to run out. “Good energy.” Collins says, “meanders.”

The doors, of course, also allow for i quick exits.-Catherine Newton


When former DISD trustee Lynda McDow needed help, the Dallas business community was nowhere to be found.

When Dallas Independent School District trustee Lynda McDow resigned her post in August, she wasn’t fleeing the scene of the Yvonne Gonzalez scandal, ducking out to avoid dealing with the superintendent’s messy downfall. McDow, a twotime victor in Southeast Dallas’District 4, actually wanted to stay and untangle the issue at hand.

But McDow’s husband, Harry, lost his job as a radiology equipment serviceman; the only position he could find right away was in Connecticut. And when McDow asked local business leaders- the people who had supported her from the beginning-to help her husband find a job in Dallas, these executives of some of the biggest corporations in the area suddenly and uncharacteristically ran out of connections and clout. Despite the Dallas Citizens Council’s claim that education is its No. 1 priority, the troubles of one lowly school trustee apparently weren’t worth the bother.

“Of all these companies in Dallas-all these CEOs-I just couldn’t believe not one of them could find him a job,” says McDow. “I’m not bitter; I’m sad… People won’t realize how much work I did and what an anchor I was until I’m not there anymore.”

McDow says she wanted to stay in Dallas, hold out for her husband to land a job here, and continue on her set course-even though that meant dealing with the incessant DISD scandals and political wrangling. McDow was only a few months into her second term. She had plans that included building more classrooms for overcrowded Pleasant Grove and further cultivating the relationship she had arranged between DISD and Buckner Children and Family Services.

“You can walk around this community and see many things that she’s helped get done,” says Larry Mercer, the administrator at Buckner. “It’s what a public servant does-gets out there and creates links with people.”

So why didn’t the Dallas business community step in to keep her in Dallas? One businessman says he and some of his contacts belonging to the Breakfast Group of Dallas- a political arm of the Dallas business fund-raising community-did all they could to help the McDows. “We tried hard to help htm find a suitable position,” he says. “But you can’t just manufacture a job.”-S.P.


Defilement of the Redneck Temple

TRY TO PICTURE NATE NEWTON NIB-bling a cucumber sandwich at the S&S Tea Room. Or perhaps Ross Perot, with long hair, rolling in the grass at Woodstock. The appearance of the Sex Pistols at the Longhorn Ballroom was just as unlikely, but it happened, 20 years ago this month.

The Texas-size dance hall/beer joint at Corinth Street and Industrial Boulevard near the Trinity levee was born in the late 1940s as Bob Wills Ranch House, It was the place where people slipped around, two-timed, got drunk, and cried. When Wills got into tax trouble in the mid-’50s. local picker/grinner Dewey Groom took over and changed the name to the Longhorn Ballroom. Lefty Frizzell. Kitty Wells, Hank Snow, and Webb Pierce played there, before country was pretty.

Unleashed in the ’70s. the Sex Pistols were outrageous and disruptive-like a pack of wild dogs turned loose at a polo match. With punk sacrilege renditions of “God Save the Queen” and “Anarchy in the U.K.,” Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, and company introduced the fine art of expectoration, regurgitation, and drool to the world of rock. The group’s threat to tour the United States in 1978 was looked upon as a foreboding of the last days.

The Longhorn was closed on Tuesdays, so when Groom got a chance to rent the ballroom, he went for the cash, never having heard of something called the Sex Pistols. Before the show, he found out what he had done, but the promoter swore that the bad reputation was just hype.

Acrowd of 1,800 appeared for the event, and the promoter’s assurances were borne out. Apart from the customary display of filthy and disgusting habits, the pelting of the band with rotten tomatoes, and a split lip suffered by Sid Vicious, the occasion was uneventful.

Now, as a ritual of passage, any local resident who turns 40 claims to have been there. You can polish your recollections in the privacy of your own home. Punk Net Videos offers the cult classic, Sex Pistols at the Longhorn Ballroom. “Sid is carved up and bloody,” according to the promo. “Johnny is blowing snot all over the place.” Just the way I remember it.

-Tom Peeler

Next they’ll Be Making the Sign of the Cross

Something gold caught our eyes one Jay while driving down Northwest Highway. There crowning the pediment over the entrance to Park Cities Baptist Church, was a funny little thing that looks for i II the world like a monstrance, the receptacle used by Catholics to display the consecrated H)st of the Eucharist for public adoration.

We called architect and Park Cities Baptist charter member Tie Davis, who readily provided detailed information about the history of the building: completed in 1956, designed by Ralph Merrill, styled in Georgian Colonial-everything but the monstrance. Davis thought it might be an urn, but what we see is a Communion chalice.

So what is this pinnacle feature? Was it a practical joke on the idol-bashing Baptists? Maybe it was an early attempt at ecumenicalism? Readers, we need your help on this one.



“It’s bad he’s shot, but it’s good for us because if it breaks, then the shooting of Nodeland will make, you know, main headlines.’”

DISD Secretary Freda Jinks, quoting former DISD school superintendent Yvonne Gonzalez, about the shooting of Henderson Elementary principal Jim Nodeland.


“I had personal problems and it shows on my taxes. I’m one of those statistics. There’s country songs written all over the place about that.”

School board candidate Jesse Diaz. trying to explain why he has been sued a half-dozen limes in the last 10 years for failure to pay property taxes. His ex-wife was responsible for that debt, but Diaz still owed almost $20,000 in federal income taxes.


“But not beer-I’ve got to keep the Aggie vote.”

Texas Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, announcing his candidacy for governor-pledging if he is elected, he will double the slate tax on cigarettes and liquor.


“People would buy his bodily fluids if they could.”

Roy True. Mickey Mantle’s attorney and co-executor of the late baseball legend’s estate, commenting on the upcoming auction of personal items given to his agent/girlfriend Greer Johnson.


“We didn’t hear anything from them when they were trying to steal our teams either.”

Dallas city manager John Ware, when asked why Dallas canceled three meetings with Grand Prairie and Arlington on plans to develop the soon-to-be-vacated Naval Air Station.