Best & Worst 2007

In our annual review of Dallas news makers, Mark Cuban churns the butter, a Ranger is arrested in the clubhouse over a paternity suit, Tom Leppert has bad hair, and a disoriented man is found at DFW covered in salad dressing.

In our annual review of Dallas newsmakers, one man stood out. And he did it in a black sleeveless blouse. Mark Cuban, “the bouncing bionic billionaire” with his new hip recently installed, got out there on Dancing With the Stars and churned the butter, just as he promised to do on his blog. Let this document remind generations to come of his televised terpsichorean tribulations. And his manful armpit hair.

Speaking of blogs, we think they—and the Intertubes on which they propagate—have a bright future. If you insist on reading our “print product” every month, then fine. But you should know we now relegate its operation to interns. Via the cut and paste process, the interns repurpose the real content we generate for our own blog, FrontBurner. That’s what they’ve done here. Let us know what you think by texting the word “awesome” to our special number.

DMN Hires New Lead Dining Critic
The Dallas Morning News has announced that Bill Addison, from the San Francisco Chronicle, will join the paper as its top reviewer.

Mayor McCheese @ January 10, 2007, at 10:02 am
Welcome to the city, Mr. Addison. Now wise up and ditch that lousy star rating system.

Not Ready for Their Close-Up
Garland school teacher David Ware was arrested on charges of “improper visual recording,” after cops caught him videotaping girls’ wrestling matches for prurient purposes. His attorney said Ware was just interested in wrestling. But Grand Prairie Sgt. John Brimmer said, “It appeared to be a purposeful act of zooming in.”

SMU Dog Doesn’t Dig Bush
We all knew about the faction of the SMU faculty that is none too happy with the prospect of having the George W. Bush Library on campus. Thanks to an NYT article today, we now know more about the mysterious, unsigned anti-Bush e-mail that made its rounds awhile back. Associate professor Susanne Johnson said she was working on a draft of the e-mail when her pooch climbed onto the keyboard and hit “send.” Our guess: the cat did it and blamed it on the dog. Cats are sneaky like that.

Jack J. @ January 15, 2007, at 2:45 pm
Fitting, since See Spot Run is probably included in the library collection.

The Big Tuna Swims Off Into the Sunset
The Ticket is announcing that Bill Parcells is out. “I just think it’s time,” Parcells said. “Physically, I could do it again, but mentally, I think that’s the difference.”

Eric Celeste @ January 22, 2007, at 10:45 am

If Jimmy Johnson weren’t having such a good time in retirement, he’d be an interesting choice. Profootballtalk.com has a good roundup of possible replacements. Leading the list is Wade Phillips. (BOR-ring!) If he gets the job and wins more than five games, I know nothing about sports.

photography courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra

New Baton Master at the DSO
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra has announced that its new conductor will be Jaap Van Zweden (pronounced Yahp vahn ZWEH-den).

A. Litton @ February 1, 2007, at 9:45 am
Terrible choice. He runs an aggressive, blitzing defense, and this team was designed with gap-control personnel, and on the offensive side of the ball—oh, wait. Sorry. Got Jaap and Wade confused. Scratch that. Good pick.

Tom Hicks Gets His Kicks
The Stars and Rangers owner is looking to leap across the Pond. He and George Gillett Jr. have gone half-and-half in a $450 million bid to buy the Liverpool Football Club. Now he’ll never walk alone.

Finfrock! Gesundheit!
For the past several months, NBC Channel 5 meteorologist David Finfrock has been coughing and wheezing on the air. Viewers have written in asking if he has emphysema or, worse, some terminal illness. So for several days Jane McGarry and Mike Snyder teased their newscast, promising to reveal “what’s wrong with David.” We were expecting to learn that he had cancer or something. Turns out, it was nothing more than an allergic reaction to mountain cedar.

Match.com Helps Pirates Find Eskimos
As online dating services have gotten more and more racy with their advertising, Dallas-based Match.com has begun a new campaign that features Lego-looking characters finding love. Which isn’t quite as creepy as living on a pink-heart mountain. 

photography courtesy of Tracy Phillips

The Cowboys Have a New Head Coach
Are you kidding us? Wade Phillips? Does anyone remember the Rob Johnson-Doug Flutie debacle? The Music City Miracle? We’re so defeated. Our life force is drained. Mark our words: Worst. Choice. Ever.

College Guy @ February 9, 2007, at 4:40 pm
On the plus side, this means more local sightings of Wade’s daughter, Tracy Phillips.

Dan @ November 19, 2007, at 1:12 pm
Hey, guys, just found your blog. Solid work. Got any more predictions?

WickA @ November 19, 2007, at 4:23 pm
Yes. The real estate market is looking pretty darn solid right now. 

Dallas Gets Punny With Ad Campaign
Today at the 49th annual meeting of the Downtown Dallas organization, they unveiled their new marketing campaign. The tagline: “Where’s Your D Spot?” The gist of it is that everyone has his or her favorite spot downtown. Each one is personal. Go to www.wheresyourdspot.com to find your own. Warning: if you put a “g” instead of a “d,” you get a very different kind of vibe.

Hallelujah, We’ve Got a New Bishop!
Today the Vatican announced our new bishop will be Kevin Joseph Farrell. He replaces Charles Grahmann, on whose watch occurred the sex abuse scandal. He clung to the office until the mandatory retirement age of 75. When asked about his plans for the future, Grahmann said, “I intend to go fishing more.” Here’s hoping the fish are vengeful, Old Testament-type fish.

photography by Tadd Myers

Raymond D. Nasher, R.I.P.
The developer of NorthPark Center and founder of the Nasher Sculpture Center died this morning at the age of 85. Nasher was returning from a two-week business trip to the U.K. and Paris when he became ill. He died the way he would have wanted, on the move and making things happen. He was a remarkable man whose style and energy will continue to shape Dallas for years to come.

Crazy Ray, R.I.P.
Wilford “Crazy Ray” Jones died today at the age of 76. The unofficial Cowboys mascot had been battling health issues for years. Not only was he blinded by glaucoma, but he’d had five heart bypass surgeries, four strokes, and a leg amputation.

Cowboys Fan @ March 17, 2007, at 12:40 pm
Look for Rowdy to show up at the funeral in his big foam cowboy hat and try to start the wave.

Ranger Arrested in Clubhouse
During spring training today in Surprise, Arizona, Catcher Gerald Laird was led out of the clubhouse in handcuffs, escorted by two Surprise cops. He was told that a paternity suit had been filed against him, and he was being taken to the station to give a DNA sample. Teammate Jerry Hairston waited until Laird was in the squad car before telling him it was a practical joke. Laird later told reporters, “Man, I thought I was getting a divorce.”

Pessimistic Bballer @ March 19, 2007, at 2:46 pm
Laird then grounded out to short, leaving runners at second and third.

Plano Man Sends Sexually Explicit Audiotapes to Monkey
Last month, Plano cops found illegal animals in Bobby Crawford Jr.’s home, including six adult piranha, an alligator, a Chilean rose-haired tarantula, and a male rhesus macaque monkey named Darwin. The latter was taken into custody and put in a special facility for exotic animals, where Crawford was allowed to visit his monkey and bring it toys. But the Plano Star Courier reported that in the box of toys, a worker found a recorded message from Crawford that the worker said made reference to Crawford and Darwin engaged in mutual stimulation. “I don’t have sex with my monkey. That’s absolute crap,” Crawford later told the Morning News. “Why would I do that? I gave him an audiotape, but it didn’t have anything like that on it. It said, ‘I’m coming home, I’m coming to get you. Daddy’s coming, he’s coming to get you.’ ”

One Drunk Mows Down Another
Richard H. Cox was 76 years old and lived in McKinney. Over the past 20 years, he’d been arrested 155 times in Collin County, mostly for being intoxicated in public. That’s not a typo. Last Thursday, in fact, he’d gotten out of jail after another public intox arrest. Then, on Friday night, as Cox was standing in a median, 26-year-old Ricky Nguyen, driving drunk, ran him down, carrying him on the windshield for 100 yards or so, and killed him.

Irony @ April 3, 2007, at 10:07 am
Well, I think my work here is done.

UT Arlington Rocks! Oh, Wait. Never mind.
U.S. News & World Report just came out with its rankings of top graduate programs across the nation. UT Arlington snagged the No. 10 spot on the list of top electrical engineering schools. Only problem: the mag experienced what it called a “data glitch.” UT Arlington should have been UT Austin.

Wise County Courthouse: Now Lice Free!
Remember that story a couple days ago about lice in the courthouse? The Star-Telegram reported: “A building janitor found what officials feared was pubic lice, also known as crabs, in both the male and female basement restrooms Monday morning.” Oh, the laughs we shared. Good times. No wonder it became a national story. Except today the paper reported that a Texas A&M scientist in Dallas has determined they were actually bird mites drawn to pigeons.

NHitzges1310 @ April 12, 2007, at 1:16 pm
You say the pigeons were at the courthouse? In the bathroom? Then they must have been stool pigeons!

photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Minor Misunderstanding at the Dallas Press Club
The Dallas Business Journal is reporting that the Press Club’s former president, Elizabeth Albanese, who recently stepped down, can’t find the list of people who judged last year’s prestigious Katie Awards. Probably nothing. Did we mention that we won a Katie last year for some of our excellent work?

Woodward @ April 20, 2007, at 1:16 pm
Guys, you can toss that Katie. The DMN is reporting that Elizabeth Albanese’s real name is actually Lisa Albanese. She has a record of mental illness and a rap sheet spanning three states. Her four Katies from 2006 look to be just as bogus as yours (not to mention the other six she’s won since overseeing the competition since 2003).

Anna Nicole Smith Not Hot
An unnamed German businessman paid $512,000 for two diaries penned by Anna Nicole and put them up for sale with Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries. Interest in the auction fizzled after Anna Nicole’s lawyer claimed the journals were stolen, and they failed to sell. Whereupon an unnamed—we need names!—recording company executive from Dallas bought the diaries for $59,750.

Don Henley @ April 25, 2007, at 12:40 pm
First!

Not Everyone Loves a Parade
After Carrollton Mayor Becky Miller rode in Dallas’ annual gay pride parade, about 75 Carrollton residents have taken offense and signed a petition calling for city officials to discontinue suchlike participation. A related petition is making its way through Carrollton calling for an end to fabulousness, in general, and neighborhood gentrification, in particular.

LupeVal @ April 27, 2007, at 3:17 pm
Becky, I told you that you were too fierce for Carrollton.

Don Nelson Does Not Heart Mark Cuban
In case you missed it, today brings us a page one story in the Wall Street Journal about how much Nelly and Cubes hate each other. Nelly says Cubes owes him $6.6 million. Watching tonight’s game, we’ll be thinking about this line from the story: “A first-round Warrior triumph over a Mavericks team that won 67 of 82 games during the regular season would be a huge upset.” You think so, doctor?

Bethany @ May 1, 2007, at 1:15 pm
Did you catch the WSJ pointillism illustration of Cubes? Is his face really that lopsided?

Graze the Trinity!
Mayoral candidate Jennifer Gale, the transgendered ex-Marine, says she wants to turn the Trinity River Corridor into a working farm. No word yet what the North Texas Tollway Authority thinks of that plan.

Mavs Lose! Mavs Lose! Mavs Lose!
Last night, Baron Davis and the Warriors pulled off the NBA’s biggest playoff upset ever, becoming the first eighth seed to win a best-of-seven series. And they did it with a 25-point margin, the second-highest to knock out a top seed since 1984. See you next year, folks.

Julie J. @ May 4, 2007, at 7:43 pm
Let’s put the blame where it belongs. The Monday after the game 1 loss, the DMN’s sports section ran a “Mavericks Parade Tracker” across the top of two inside pages, listing a 16-to-1 countdown to a championship. Bad ju-ju, mon.

Mark Cuban @ May 4, 2007, at 8:15 pm
No, my face is not that lopsided.

D. Nowitzki @ May 15, 2007, at 11:52 pm
Celebrate! Dirk is wunderbar! Dirk is most valuable player of NBA! Not just German players, either. Even regular black players and Steve Nash. I miss Stevie so much. Dirk cry now.

Tony Romo Fights Powerful Distractions
I couldn’t have said it better than IDontLikeYouInThatWay.com did this morning. When I saw Romo with Carrie Underwood at the Academy of Country Music Awards show in Vegas, I thought: “Listen, Yoko Underwood, you need to go shake that a– around Peyton Manning and leave Romo alone. Lord knows the poor guy has enough distractions with all the signals coming from those satellite dishes on the sides of his head.”

Dallas Lands Super Bowl XLV!
Sorry. I mean Arlington. Still, though, we’re excited.

Hush Your Mouth! Ed Oakley Is Gay?
The whole country—nay, the world—is transfixed by the notion that one of the candidates in our runoff election is gay. Gay! In Dallas, of all places! Even Pravda picked up the AP story, going with the headline “Dallas Can Have Gay Mayor,” as if someone just gave us permission.

Sally Forth @ June 4, 2007, at 8:15 am
My favorite passage from the story: “His sexuality has not figured prominently in the campaign. Oakley said his internal polling showed it had little impact on voters.”

What About Pants?
As part of a $20 million renovation at the hotel, the Mansion’s restaurant—that five-star bastion of formality—says when it reopens in the fall, jackets will no longer be required. No word yet from Phil Collins.

Theater Center Names Its New Director
At a press conference this morning, Kevin Moriarty appeared in the standard centaur outfit: a jacket and tie over jeans and sneakers. As costuming, this has a clear message: he’s presentable but rooted in the people, Shakespeare but also contemporary, etc. He talked with passion about the place of theater as “vital for the survival of the democracy we all cherish.” His vision appears so inclusive that it’s hard to see how he can do everything he envisions in less than 10 seasons.

photography by David Woo

Leppert Wins, Is Not Gay
A few minutes ago, Tom Leppert gave his acceptance speech. Two things: 1) The DMN got rooked by its pollster. Big difference between “too close to call” and “landslide.” But what do we know about internal polling? 2) Leppert needs a decent haircut. The way it hangs just over the top of the ears, straight down, almost as if he cut it himself—it just ain’t Dallas. We’re not saying he needs a $400 John Edwards special. But if the gay guy loses, is it too much to ask for the straight guy to pay attention to his hair?

CReed @ June 17, 2007, at 2:11 pm
At least he didn’t steal Groucho Marx’s eyebrows.

Shocking Cop Story
Let me see if I understand. DPD officer Charles Jeffers was shot with his own Taser at his Mountain Creek home. Here’s the story he tells investigators: he’s on duty but stops by his house around 11:15 pm to use the bathroom—even though he normally works across town, in the southeast division. A woman he knows drops in to say hi. She picks up the Taser, thinking it’s a flashlight. While Jeffers is relieving himself, she accidentally shoots him in the chin with the Taser, causing him to fall backward into the bathtub. Dallas Fire-Rescue is called to the scene to remove the Taser prong. Mmmkay.

Skip Murphy Slides Up the Dial
Acknowledging that he’s too big, smooth, and sexy to spin T-Pain anymore, K104 morning jock Skip Murphy announced he’s moving to sister station KRNB 105.7 to do afternoon drive. If you don’t know how big this is, you either a) don’t know anything about radio, b) don’t have kids, c) are white, or d) are all of the preceding.

Zoo Bird Goes on the Lam
A South American hyacinth macaw named Archie somehow escaped its enclosure today at the Dallas Zoo and spent the afternoon in the treetops on zoo grounds. But he was recaptured with some cooing and a little corn.

Silverback on the Sly @ July 20, 2007, at 9:15 pm
Archie, you idiot! We went over this. You have insulted the memory of your fallen comrade Jabari. Once again, if you get out, attack the humans!

photography by Michael Mulvey/Dallas Morning News

Aargh! Run for Your Lives! Downtown Is Ablaze!
We’re getting reports (and cell phone pictures) from office workers. Huge fireballs are exploding just south of downtown. An accident at Southwest Industrial Gases, on Industrial Boulevard, is to blame. Tanks of oxygen, helium, and acetylene are blowing up, rocketing through the air. Parts of I-30 and I-45 are closed.

TrinTrust @ July 26, 2007, at 10:01 pm
It’s sunny here on the toll road!

Fat Lady Sings at the Dallas Opera
What a shocker. Despite the soon-to-open Winspear Opera House and all that it promises, Karen Stone announced today that she’s stepping down as general director. “I’ve enjoyed my four years in Dallas tremendously,” she said, “but I’ve decided that I want to focus more on the art form and less on the fundraising that’s required to support the level of quality that Dallas audiences have rightly come to expect.”

What Would Jesus 2.0 Do?
A Dallas company today launched something called GodTube.com. Says here in the press release: “In this powerful new online migration of Christians, dubbed ‘Jesus 2.0’ by GodTube.com CEO Christopher Wyatt, GodTube.com has become a leading online community—bringing together Christians from around the world—to upload, share, watch, and comment on Christian content.”

Sig Ep Dude @ August 9, 2007, at 8:02 am
Check it out. I just posted a video from last weekend when The Freeze passed out and we used a Sharpie to draw stigmata on him.

Farmers Branch Skool Is Smart
Vivian Fields Middle School is proud of its status as a recognized campus under the state’s ratings system. But on the school’s marquee, someone mistakenly proclaimed the school “reconized.” Respek, booyakasha!

Rangers Pull Out Squeaker With 4 TDs and 1 Safety
Your Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles last night by a score of 30-3, the most runs in a game since 1897. I don’t want to overreact, but best team ever?

Mike Modano Ties the Knot With Willa Ford
Alas, ladies, No. 9 got hitched Saturday to the previously named Mandy Williford. The very private ceremony went down at his buddy Benny Bray’s 3,000-acre East Texas ranch. Darryl Sydor and Brett Hull served as co-best men. No word on whether Mo was able to go five hole on his big night.

Message to American Airlines: Colt Knost Is Not a Terrorist
Yesterday SMU alum Knost won the U.S. Amateur Championship, making him only the second player to win that title and the U.S. Public Links in the same year. But he ran into trouble on the red-eye flight from San Francisco back to Dallas. AA wouldn’t let the champ carry his trophy onboard the plane. He had to check it as luggage.

Southlake Goes Bonkers Over D Magazine Cover
We’ve gotten a lot of reaction to our “Why You Should Hate Southlake” cover. We particularly like this quote in the Star-Telegram from former Southlake mayor Rick Stacy, who says we owe Southlake an apology: “What they did is sell a bunch of magazines with that title, and that’s mighty low.” You’ll recognize Stacy’s name from his furniture commercials, the ones where he burns money to show you how crazy you’d be not to shop with him. IJS.

“Skinny Gene” Discovered
The gene is called adipose, and it tells the body whether to accumulate or burn fat. In a paper published today, researchers at UT Southwestern disclosed how they were able to turn the gene on and off. Here’s the money quote, from Dr. Jonathan Graff, associate professor of developmental biology and internal medicine: “People who want to fit in their jeans might someday be able to overcome their genes.” Well played, Dr. Graff. Well played.

Dallas Cracks Down on Prostitution
I’m just going to give you the headline of this story from the Morning News today, because it says it all: “Illegal Massages at Spas Rub Dallas Cops the Wrong Way.” [standing, clapping, grabbing towel that just slipped off our waist and onto the floor]

Southwest Airlines Shows No Luv for Short Skirts
Remember Kyla Ebbert? She’s the Hooters waitress who was nearly kicked off a Southwest flight for wearing an outfit the airline deemed inappropriately revealing. So this morning, she went on the Today show with Matt Lauer to defend herself, wearing the very same outfit. Lauer built up to the big reveal of her outfit, and as the camera panned out and she stood up, he said, “Yeah, it’s sexy but it’s no big deal.” Then, as Ebbert sat down, America got a clear shot of her undercarriage. Point proven?

The Hef @ September 7, 2007, at 8:22 am
Message to Kyla: any chance we can get you to pose for Playboy? You’re not quite right for the magazine, but we could probably work something out online.

Mensch Gets Three Birds With One Bullet in Synagogue
Last night during Rosh Hashanah services at Temple Emanu-El, Marvin Marks, 81, accidentally shot three people. When he stood up, a gun he was carrying dropped and fired. The bullet
struck his 42-year-old daughter in the foot and two others, who suffered minor injuries.

Mark Cuban Keeps Us in Stitches
Actually, he made our tummy feel queasy when he met his Dancing With the Stars partner Kym Johnson and lifted his shorts to show off his scar from hip replacement surgery seven weeks ago. While practicing, Cuban grabbed his hip in pain, and Johnson said, “I don’t like when you hold your rod like that.” Seeing a fastball up the middle, Cuban responded, “I’ll be okay. I hold my rod all the time.” Anyway, he survived the first elimination round, scoring 21 out of 30 points with a fox-trot.

Bennett Salvatore @ September 27, 2007, at 8:57 am
Consider yourself lucky they don’t let NBA refs judge these things, Mark.

City Hall Bribery Indictments: Worth the Wait?
After two years of investigations, the U.S. Attorney General finally handed down the indictments. Those charged include a state representative, a rich developer, a former Plan Commission member, two former City Council members, and 11 others. Former councilman James Fantroy said in response to his indictment: “This is going to be the biggest mess since O.J.” Two years ago, when the FBI inquiry first surfaced, Fantroy cried foul because all seven city officials named in the subpoena were black. Back then, he said black residents would take to the streets and “make the Los Angeles riots look like a picnic.”

JWP @ October 3, 2007, at 9:02 am
Ever since I got old, there isn’t anyone left who can organize a decent racial protest and scare the hell outta white Dallas anymore.

Casey Thompson Can’t Stand the Heat in Top Chef
The Shinsei cutie lost in the final episode last night to Hung Huynh of Las Vegas. Viewers gave her 58 percent of the vote, but the judges determined her crisped pork belly was overly dry.

Tony Romo @ October 4, 2007, at 12:21 pm
Anyone have Casey’s digits, or maybe an e-mail where I can reach her?

photography by G.J. McCarthy/Dallas Morning News

Esquire Names Fearing’s Best New Restaurant of the Year
You read that right. We hear that Dean Fearing got an advance copy today of the magazine’s November issue, in which food critic John Mariani heaps a steaming helping of praise on Dean’s new Ritzy digs. Really? The best in the country? Let’s start right here in town. We mean, has Mariani eaten at Abacus?

Big Bad Dean @ October 8, 2007, at 9:22 pm
Lobster tacos, y’all!

Best Cowboys Game in the History of Ever
Last night, the Boys turned it over to the Bills six times, including a franchise tying five interceptions thrown by Tony Romo—two of which the Bills returned for touchdowns. Oh, and the Bills ran back a kickoff for a 103-yard touchdown. And. Yet. The Cowboys still won, 25-24, on a last-second 53-yard field goal by Nick Folk. Or, rather, the Bills lost. Because the Bills are from Buffalo.

Dave Levinthal @ October 9, 2007, at 8:22 am
Hi, Dave Levinthal here. DMN City Hall reporter and noted Bills fan. I hate you.

Lorie @ October 9, 2007, at 9:02 am
Third-favorite headline from this morning, DMN: “Folk Hero.” Second-favorite, Star-Telegram: “That’s All, Folk!” Favorite, from your live blog last night: “Folking-A!”

Anti-Saggin’ Campaign Gets National Pub
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway’s battle against droopy drawers has made it to the national stage. National Public Radio aired a story about it today, quoting Caraway: “You have some folks that don’t even have on underwear, period. And who’s to say what the generation that’s looking at this generation will do after these guys?” The NPR site has a pic of Caraway’s billboard, featuring local rapper Dooney Da’ Priest, who has also cut a song instructively titled “Pull Your Pants Up.”

Trinity Referendum Fails Hard
In the 1998 bond vote, the Trinity proposition passed by a margin of only 3.2 percent (38,016 to 35,659), with 73,675 people voting. Yesterday, the tollway cancellation failed by a margin of 5.8 percent (37,639 to 42,279), with 79,918 people voting. So, when you run the numbers, you will fall asleep from tired head.

SchutzeDO @ November 7, 2007, at 3:55 pm
I hate you.

Confused Man With One Shoe Found Covered in Salad Dressing at DFW
That’s the exact headline from this Star-Telegram story. The lead: “A 27-year-old Corpus Christi passenger recently found himself in a sticky situation.” Police arrested him in Terminal B, after they found him on an American Eagle jet bridge covered in salad dressing. He was unaware that he was missing a shoe and was described as speaking in a “thick-tongued manner.” Upon further questioning, police learned the man had been drinking vodka in an airport restaurant.

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