Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Prostitution is unusual in University Park, Sgt. Bill Mathes said."

A Park Cities woman is arrested for prostitution -- and may "face additional charges relating to city code violations for running a business out of her house." What made everyone so suspicious? "Unlike the manicured lawns of other homes in the neighborhood, Martinez's partially covered by overgrown shrubs and trees." Well! Obviously a whore!

Baz Luhrmann seldom answers a question

Still, I'm kinda obsessed with this interview, particularly his description of Dancing With The Stars: "the thing about all these shows is that they are fantastic arenas of popular culture. Dance is a joyous thing. Seeing a kung fu wrestler dancing, there’s something incredibly human and wonderful about that, and everyone has an opinion about what constitutes good and bad dancing."

What would you name the newly discovered 500-carat diamond?

Because a name is key for any legendary gemstone -- the Black Prince's Ruby (which is a spinel but never mind!), the Star of India and my all-time personal favorite, the Taylor-Burton diamond. Romance, intrigue, power, maybe a hint of tragedy -- it all has to be in there, doesn't it? Ideally? Although, in a way, maybe the bar isn't too high here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank you, Disney, for coordinating your multiplatform promotional tools to perfectly meet the viewing needs of your Dallas audience

Michael Irvin's Dancing With The Stars routine ended just as Hank Williams' Monday Night Football intro started up. Genuis.

And speaking of Dancing: Baz Luhrmann! The Muppet Show theme! Donnie Osmond and fleeting camera shots of his clone/son! Almost too much genius!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I always cry at sham weddings

Congratulations Khloe and Lamar! Hope you're raking in more money and more freebies than Star Jones and whats-his-name!

How long did you wait in line for the fried butter?

I recommend going early. Because by about 1:30 or so, Nimitz Drive is backed up. All the scary health stories have only succeeded in creating more demand and making Abel Gonzales a folk hero.

Other State Fair notes: this year's car show is kinda depressing. The Centennial Building with the foreign manufacturers has fewer cars and fewer lookers than I ever remember. The Auto Building, with Chrysler, GM and Ford, is crowded but lacks any big attraction. Clearly, what's needed here is more spinning stages. Maybe a few women in evening gowns. I know big-time glamour and showmanship might be impossible post-bailout but if I ran Ford I would go for serious glitz. After all, slightly more women than men attend the State Fair car show. Why not go red-carpet with it? Thank goodness for the outdoor Truck Zone.

Whatever you do, though, you must visit the livestock barns. Personal fave: Santa Gertrudis. They're big ol' things.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The advertising deal in the healthcare bill

I guess Senator Carper just made it official yesterday but yes, the pharma lobby is funding pro-healthcare legislation advertising.

The LA Times mentioned the deal last month: "If a package passes Congress, the pharmaceutical industry has pledged $80 billion in cost savings over 10 years to help pay for it. For his part, [chief pharma lobbyist Billy] Tauzin said he had not only received the White House pledge to forswear Medicare drug price bargaining, but also a separate promise not to pursue...importing cheaper drugs....[D]rug companies -- Washington's leading source of lobbyist money -- now have 'a seat at the table' at the White House and on Capitol Hill as healthcare legislation works its way through Congress. If nothing else, a popular president who six months ago criticized drug companies for greed now praises their work on behalf of the public good... Tauzin's trade association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, is helping to underwrite a multimillion-dollar TV advertising campaign touting comprehensive healthcare legislation."

Here's what I wonder: every so often, you hear someone say that drug companies should not be allowed to advertise directly to consumers. This is an attractive argument mostly because no one likes to watch a Flomax commercial. But the reasoning seems to be that pharma ads encourage patients to ask for drugs they don't need. I've never agreed. Never. But I understand the point. Now, do you hear anyone opposing pharma's right to fund political ads? For or against any piece of legislation or any candidate? If drug companies shouldn't talk directly to consumers, should their lobbying organization be allowed to talk directly to voters? Also, how comfortable is everyone with an ad budget being part of a politician-industry deal? Especially right when new FDA ad regulations are being considered?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Why did Chef Blythe Beck go to the spa at the Stoneleigh?

I have to admit that I ended up liking The Naughty Chef and the scene that won me over was Blythe Beck's visit to a spa. Very endearing of her -- a 29-year-old woman living in Dallas -- to admit it was her first spa experience. But why the cross-town Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa? Why not Hotel Palomar's Exhale? Do Beck's own neighbors not like her? Or is there some kind of paid promotional thing going on? In which case: Yay Dallas food & hospitality industry! I think.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What to watch

Should I tune into Dancing With The Stars to see if Debi Mazar learns Michael Irvin's real last name? Or should I watch Dallas chef Blythe Beck's new show? If I do watch Chef Blythe Beck, will I feel empowered by a confident, accomplished woman who just happens to be plus-sized, or will the mere sight of a fat person serving up fried food cause me to eat my way to "OBESITY and DIABETES!"

I guess these food debates are important. They never seem to come up, though, when a fat male chef is involved. Is Gwyneth the only one who notices?

(OH! I have to thank Bill Green for the programming heads-up. Otherwise you know what I'd be doing? Yeah.)

Roger Friedman wishes you would behave in front of his friends

The Hollywood Reporter's Roger Friedman -- who might or might not have attended, it's unclear -- is a little surprised that Metropolitan Opera fans actually have opinions: "they booed last night at the end of Luc Bondy’s premiere production of Puccini’s 'Tosca.' The stuffed shirts didn’t boo the actors, but the production team — Bondy, et al. So rude! The old guard opera types didn’t like the new, modern production ordered."

Here is why Friedman is incensed: "This was not the night to show off bad behavior to guests in the house — namely a raft of stars and boldfaced names who came to celebrate the opening of the opera season. This group ranged from...Edward Norton to Mischa Barton, Zac Posen." Yes, Mischa, as the very model of decorum, might have been shocked by such raucous conduct. Watch yourselves, opera fans! Crap like that from stuffed shirts like you can really put a damper on an after-party! Also, don't forget to keep buying season tickets, participating in the fundraisers and donating during the broadcasts on your local PBS channel.

Even if the staging is awful.

GIGGLY NEXT DAY UPDATE: Page Six reports that "things were topsy-turvy at the screening of Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story'....Our spy said, 'Mischa Barton showed up and was asking for tickets. She started walking the red carpet....took one look around and realized she was in the wrong place.' Barton finally ran across the street to attend the Met Opera's opening of 'Tosca.'"

But if designers are starting collaborations with eBay, is there any reason left to go to Target?

From the Wall Street Journal: Narciso Rodriguez has "signed a deal with eBay Inc. to create a line that will be sold exclusively through the online marketplace. Ebay, more known for bargains than luxury, will start selling the line in the spring. The line, 'Narciso Rodriguez for eBay,' is a first for eBay.... The clothes will sell for less than $350."

There's something about Rodriguez that I really admire. He's resisted the normal Michael Kors/Ralph Lauren/Tommy Hilfiger route of name-licensing and brand-building: "'There's such a glut of mass [merchandise] and there is so much fast fashion....smaller companies, true designers...that's who the true designer customer wants to buy.' Mr. Rodriguez says that he is not opposed to adding more products, such as accessories and expanding further into fragrance or other beauty items. But, he says, he is looking for the right partner and wants to personally supervise design and production rather than having those functions outsourced. And though he's looking for a partner, he isn't interested in collaborating with a low-priced fast-fashion chain, as so many other designers have, because he believes the clothes that result from the partnerships end up being the retailer's vision rather than the designer's."

Yes. If you are OK with being a little less famous, a little less wealthy and a little less likely to host a failing basic cable show, you really can wield more control.

What was worse for Michael Irvin?

That he's tied for the lowest men's score on Dancing With The Stars or that fellow contestant Debi Mazar called him Michael Irvine? Oh well. Mazar also said he was "hot" so it's not a total loss.

I thought both Irvin and Tom DeLay were surprisingly entertaining. Much more fun to watch than George Hamilton's son (who actually does not have a name, or career, other than "George Hamilton's son"), that little snowboarder or the very awake Chuck Liddell. Early judges' darling: Iron Chef guy. Obviously.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is Oprah the biggest thing to happen to the State Fair since Elvis?

Hmm. Let's think for a minute. No. But close. And exciting. Oprah!

She'll have to do her show in the Cotton Bowl, won't she? The band shell is home to the bird show, the Chevy Main Stage isn't grand enough and the Hall of State -- which would be beautiful -- will be filled with something 5 people care about. Has to be the Cotton Bowl.

Oprah at the State Fair! Yay!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Even in the middle of a recession, even with reduced tax revenue, it's important to have standards

That big bulldozed plot at Walnut Hill and Central will not change anytime soon because its developers are facing foreclosure. I don't think anyone's surprised by that. It's not exactly a good time for commercial real estate right now.

Still, this is North Dallas. "'I’m shocked,' said David Westbrook, president of the Meadows Neighborhood Association....Westbrook said homeowners in the area fought hard to keep the property from being used for large discount retailers and high-rise buildings that would overlook nearby residential areas. 'It’s going to be even more important now that we got that zoning in place,' he said. “We want to get some high quality retail in there – nothing big box.'" Of course not, Mr Westbrook! Nothing big box! Or revenue-producing. And good luck with the high quality retail!

Why is the criticism of Jay Leno always so bitter?

Read the Washington Post review and tell me who gets slammed harder, Leno or his audience: "Leno's funny, but in the safest way. He's adheres [sic] to the center of the exact middle road, so it's wrong to expect a revolution here. He has all the draw of buy-one-get-one-free smoothies. His comedy is bubble-wrap; its appeal needs no explaining. He goes with Dan Brown novels and Marriott Rewards points and repeat viewings of the cinchy CBS crime procedurals he now finds himself programmed against: Who doesn't like all of those things? And who won't watch Jay when nothing else is on, or when the nurse won't come change the channel?"

USAToday called it "a cut-rate, snooze-inducing, rehashed bore.....If you found Leno's routine amusing before, you probably found it amusing Monday night. And given his propensity for repeating jokes, you'll probably find it amusing Tuesday night as well."

You'd think that Leno had pushed the Philco Television Playhouse off the air. Or maybe everyone's just really eager to take all those jokes about Matlock viewers and recycle them as criticisms of Leno's audience. I don't know. I'm not even a Leno fan but there's a genuine personal nastiness about the commentary I don't get.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"People are going to see he's amazing and smart"

The rehabilitation of Vince the ShamWow Guy has begun. It will include swimwear but not alcohol.

Keeping up with job descriptions

There might be a helpful bit of job counseling buried in this NYPost story: "ACORN workers were not the slightest bit judgmental or put off by the request for help in getting financing for a brothel. Counselor Volda Albert freely offered financial advice to the young couple....For tax and banking purposes, and to establish a legitimate income and credit history, Giles was told she needed to start saying she was a 'freelancer.' 'Don't say that you're a prostitute thing or whatever.'"

This is an alarming development. For actual freelancers. Is there a new, more accurate term to use? You certainly don't want to confuse anyone or set any, you know, unrealistic expectations. To be absolutely clear, maybe you should say that you're an advertising thing. Or whatever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I win again!

Although I'm not exactly proud to be so familiar with Rachel Zoe and her feet.

By the way, I don't think she's truly pigeon-toed. I think it's an affectation, a carefully practiced pose that she must think makes her look even more fashionably waifish. Hmm. What does it remind me of?

Does Vince Young have a friend left in this world?

Seeing him alone on the bench during tonight's game is kinda breaking my heart. I know. I know. Still. Longhorns have a national championship because of Vince Young. And he is in large part responsible for Governor Rick Perry's most craven moment yet. Which is definitely saying something.

"He knows what happened here today."

The City Hall/Don Hill corruption trial is obviously compelling -- maybe now, no one will take the stand in his own defense ever again -- but equally remarkable to me is how Jim Schutze can write so well on the fly. He's posting his updates in an instant, court-transcriber way, and still the excellent pacing and sense of story-telling are there:

[Prosecutor Marcus] Busch is walking it in.

Busch is talking about the fact that there was community opposition to more multi-family housing in Southern Dallas. Busch says, “On October 27, 2004, five people spoke out against Laureland, one of them Carol Brandon [a plan commissioner].”

But on that same day, Darren Reagan’s opposition to the project evaporated (he had called for a six-month moratorium on multi-family) after Bill Fisher signed a contract with Reagan. Hill agrees he voted in favor of the project

“The very next day, Darren Reagan gives you $10,000s and tells you it had to do wIth Bill Fisher.”


Busch lets it sit there. The courtroom is silent.


For a good 45 seconds, an eon, you could hear a pin drop.

Of course, the Dallas Morning News has coverage too. It lacks a little something though.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Stop pretending that you don't want to try the fried butter

It's going to be great.

The Indiana Jones of gemologists? The John Wayne of jewels? Is this a screenplay waiting to be ruined?

They're never going to arrest all the people responsible for Campbell Bridges' murder, are they? What a mess.

Reading about Bridges now, he seems almost like a serious real-life version of Dos XX's most interesting man in the world. Exploring Africa. Fighting off cape buffalo. Discovering gems. He was certainly too good for 70s ad men to pass up: "Soon after bringing tsavorite to the attention of gemologists in the U.S. in the early 1970s, Mr. Bridges became the stone's foremost pitchman. He appeared in the 1970s in ads from Tiffany & Co. touting 'the brilliant green gemstone that is far more durable and far less expensive than emeralds.' Before Mr. Bridges discovered the mineral, which was named for the Tsavo national parks near where his mine was located, 'only giraffes and other African animals knew about tsavorite,' the ads claimed." Story-telling has always been important.

And people can't stop romanticizing Bridges. "In the U.S., Mr. Bridges was retained as a consultant by Henry B. Platt, president of Tiffany, which bought quantities of...another gemstone Mr. Bridges specialized in, blue-purple tanzanite." If you've ever watched a home shopping show for even a minute, you know about tanzanite. It's rare! Buy it now! Too pricey? Go for the tanzanique. The simulant of our lifetime!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

It's about 92 degrees outside. Doesn't that always put you in the mood for a pumpkin spice latte?

I actually like Starbucks but their fall drinks promotions -- which they always roll out September 1st -- always depress me. There's no autumnal chill in Dallas in September. Or in October. So I'm not going to want any hot cider or pumpkin pie drinks until about December. This isn't New Hampshire.