Tuesday, December 07, 2010

"Some stars...were embarrassed that critics said it proves nobody cares about their Twitter presence"

Page Six: Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Ryan Seacrest withdrew from "social media until they raised a $1 million for the charity.... But it took longer than expected, and insiders say the celebs became frustrated....the organization expected to raise the $1 million in a week. But by yesterday, after six days, it had taken in only about $450,000. Stars including Kim Kardashian, who can earn about $10,000 a tweet, started getting itchy fingers. One source blamed servers that crashed for 12 hours on the first night for the slow-paced donations. Others blamed lack of promotion and overestimating the participants' Twitter power."

Finally a donor stepped up with $500,000 to meet the goal and restore celebrity power to Twitter.

I cannot stop laughing.

"This simply doesn't happen"

Yesterday, FX canceled Terriers and network president John Landgraf held a conference call to explain. Hitfix's Alan Sepinwall:

I've been covering TV a pretty long time now, and I honestly cannot remember anything like this happening before. Hell, most of the time it's a chore just to get a network to acknowledge that a show's been canceled at all. It's a testament to just how good "Terriers" was - and to how candid and self-reflective Landgraf is - that this thing happened.

Landgraf spent 30-plus minutes on the phone with reporters....Landgraf - who sounded as sad and defeated as many of the reporters on the call (yours truly included) - wanted to give the press, and by proxy, the show's small but passionate fanbase, a glimpse at how the sausage gets made

The numbers were never there -- never even close -- but Landgraf still agonized over the decision. Canceling good shows is evidently not part of culture there at FX. That's remarkable.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Fair Park Holiday was fun, pretty

Upon reflection, though, there are many drawbacks to hosting both the White Rock Marathon races and the holiday celebration on the same weekend. I know, they're both sponsored by MetroPCS. The marathon brings money and attention. But all those metal barricades blocked walking paths. Plus the skinny health expo volunteers seemed unnerved by the deep-fried treats and sugary good concessions sold at the holiday event.

Still it's always great to see the Hall of State and the Fair Park fountain is a genuine treasure.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hey! I know! Let's make it difficult for discounters to serve their customers!

Cash-starved cities can, evidently, still afford to pursue lawsuits against discount travel sites in an effort to collect more taxes. The cities lost. But there's always legislative means!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I hope tomorrow night's Terriers finale is not the final finale

It seems like me and about 487,996 of my closest friends are hooked on this show and everyone else thinks it's about dogs. Too bad. Donal Logue's performance as Hank -- the recovering alcoholic divorced ex-cop with a schizophrenic sister and an interesting knack for leading people right to their death -- is amazing. He does bad things! He's still likable! He looks strangely sexy in reading glasses! Like I said: amazing!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Coty's buying spree: first Philosophy skincare, now OPI nail products

From Bloomberg: "Coty Inc., the seller of perfumes by Sarah Jessica Parker and Vera Wang, is close to buying nail-care company OPI Products Inc. for about $1 billion in cash." So Coty will own both Sally Hansen and OPI brands, while adding another product line that is not a fragrance.

Quick! What do you think of when someone mentions Coty? If you answered "the iconic Airspun Face Powder box which may or may not have been designed by Rene Lalique obviously," we can be friends!

I guess video of someone calmly looking at a monitor wouldn't make for compelling Black Friday news

Confusing numbers. The "average shopper spent $365.34 -- up more than 6 percent from a year ago," but the increase seems to be overwhelmingly in online purchasing: "Online sales surged 9 percent to $648 million on Black Friday....At the malls, however, another survey by research firm ShopperTrak found that Black Friday sales rose a disappointing 0.3 percent to $10.69 billion." I don't know how that averages out to 6% but it's interesting that TV news cameras still camp out at stores for the fights and stampedes.

All the hype, all the loss-leaders, all those sleep-deprived clerks and no real uptick in business.

UPDATE: Every Black Friday detail you could ever wish for here. Two highlights: "the number of people who began their Black Friday shopping at midnight tripled this year from 3.3 percent last year to 9.5 percent in 2010. In fact, by 4 a.m. nearly one-fourth (24.0%) of Black Friday shoppers were already at the stores" and retailers drove "'traffic early in November and in doing so some might have thinned Black Friday spending a bit.'"

Maybe Budweiser's "Real Men of Genius" spots have finally run out of people to mock

Once, they made lighthearted fun of wrestling costumes and toupees -- things we can all laugh at -- now, with "Mr rolling cooler cooler roller" and "Barbershop," they seem to belittle targets that aren't that deserving of ridicule. Does it all seem meaner to you? Less funny? Or maybe just tired?

LATER: I just heard "Overly loud car stereo player guy" and am now re-thinking this entire post.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Selling luxury vs selling status

Profits at Tiffany's are up and it's not because of that shabby little counter they set aside for silver: "Demand has been strongest among Tiffany's wealthiest customers, who drove 'double-digit' percentage gains in sales of items priced above $500, the company said. Meanwhile, sales of lower-priced silver trinkets have been declining -- a signal of 'diverging' patterns of consumer spending." You say "diverging spending patterns," I say "the rich get richer." Tomato, tomahto.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why won't anyone buy Tom Hicks' hockey team?

It really can't improve prospects for a Dallas Stars sale when everyone's still in court re-hashing the bankruptcy of his baseball team: "As a condition of [Major League Baseball's] loaning the Rangers $15 million in June 2009 to meet payroll...Hicks agreed to finalize the sale of the team in order to ensure repayment. And when Hicks asked for another $25 million in November to address an 'additional cash flow shortage,' MLB insisted that Hicks select a winning bid by December 15 because there seemed to be no sense of urgency on his part....'Tom Hicks appeared to use the bidding process merely as an avenue to solicit members of the various bidding groups to provide funding to him so that he might retain control of the club.'"

Then there's the Liverpool soccer team, the sale of which Tom Hicks wrecked so completely that it left his business partner's NASCAR team facing bankruptcy too. Seriously. And fittingly, while team payments were delayed, haulers were stuck in Texas.

Good news, though! Mark Cuban is interested in the Stars. Wait! Didn't he try to bid on the Rangers? But in such a weird, half-assed way, everyone -- or just me? -- wondered afterwards just what the hell he was up to? Related?

Oh I don't know. It's all pretty messed up. Maybe, when everything's taken into account, we need to be very, very thankful for Jerry Jones.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Being part of the festivities meant everything to Hamilton"

Texas Rangers start their victory celebration with ginger ale instead of champagne so teammates Josh Hamilton and CJ Wilson can join in. Video here.

Wilson's tweet -- "#gingeralecelebration because josh and I are both polarized on avoiding alcohol but wanted to be in on the party. Straightedge/drug free fun" -- was touching. Good for them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

$1 reading glasses are back at Target! OMG!

Not as many styles but still cute and now packaged in zip-lock pouches.

For younger shoppers: Although Mulberry bags fail to impress, Christmas lights are on the shelves and the Mickey Mouse Band-Aids box is even better than expected.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Last night's Project Runway was remarkable

And Laura Bennett provides amazingly clear and intelligent commentary. I especially like this: "the work of these artists, despite the anguish, was never morbid. Pain was not romanticized."

Last night may have also been the first time Project Runway has ever aired footage of a gay man kissing his partner. That, along with Mondo's HIV confession followed by the relentlessly upbeat Austin and Santino show -- interesting that it took the allegedly dowdy Lifetime network to present all this. Is Bravo really so gay-friendly after all?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No one likes the fried beer

They were spitting it out. Literally. Taking a bite and spitting it out and warning total strangers not to try it. I've never seen this happen with any food ever at the Texas State Fair. Maybe the Dallas Observer wasn't exaggerating.

Other fair notes: the Tom Landry exhibit at the Texas Hall of State is awesome. Lots of people filed through -- quiet, interested and respectful. It's been 10 years.

The Century In The Making Football Pavilion is also at the Hall of State. I've decided the Texas Hall of State is the perfect venue for any exhibit of military, ranching and football history and should stick exclusively with those themes. Serious about this.

$15 parking, a 50% increase from last year.

Where is the ShamWow booth?!!

Something someone wrote about TV that I think applies to advertising and other things

From a Masked Scheduler post about the now-fired NBC Uni CEO Jeff Zucker:

You either respect the television audience; they work hard, love their friends and families, struggle to make ends meet and to put food on their table. They look to us to entertain them for a few hours....make them laugh, cry, escape, relate. They are smarter than all of us and know what they want far better than we do.


You hold the audience in contempt, treat them like sheep, think you are smarter than they are, pander to them and believe that they will never hold you responsible for your actions.

Zucker seems to have had a low regard for both the audience and the creative community and the result speaks for itself. Maybe you can't do any effective entertaining, persuading, advising or story-telling if you don't respect the people you're talking to. And if you can't respect people who are very different than you -- who live, eat, think, vote, or work differently -- then your ratings or sphere of influence or sales will be Zuckeresque.

10 random things about Twitter

1. Actually, I don't have 10. But I've realized that tweets that mention numbered lists and link to articles with numbered lists evidently garner a lot of attention.

2. And those articles usually suck. It's always "10 things your masseuse won't tell you," "8 secrets your waiter doesn't want you to know," or "5 people your sex partner thinks of while you're asleep" -- so it's provocative. But rarely informative or helpful.

3. I don't like Twitter the way you like Twitter. I prefer the self-contained tweet to the linky tweet. For one, I happen to care that your cat just rolled over. And two, see 2. Still Guy Kawasaki's techchat was one of the best, most helpful, most interesting things I've ever read about Twitter.

4. The Kaus Theory still intrigues me: "Twitter needs celebrities to promote its service. Celebrities need the publicity, but also they need protection. Deal!" Although it's interesting that Twitter cannot protect celebrities from themselves. Embarrassing, David Price.

5. Really? Can we all stop tweeting about the poor Segway guy? It seems like he was a good and smart man and after about the 58th mention, it seemed cruel.

6. There are a lot of positive, hard-working people to follow. It's genuinely inspiring.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

If there's a Kennedy involved, there must be conspiracy theories

From Vulture: Project Runway's Tim Gunn "has been posting episode postmortems to his Facebook page, sharing his unfiltered, uncensored thoughts in ten-minute videos.... His frustration came to a head while recapping last week's challenge, where the designers were challenged to make modern-day sportswear inspired by Jackie Kennedy. Could that be why shortly after the new video was posted to his Facebook page, it suddenly disappeared without a trace?"

Vulture wonders if Lifetime executives, upset at Gunn's criticism of the producers, pulled the video, which of course is still easy to find.

I can't help thinking that the real problem for Lifetime is Gunn's off-hand criticism of the Kennedy estate -- at the 6:00 mark, he complains about being "forbidden" from saying "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis," and the crazy "revisionist history" that would have us forget the weird second marriage.

So the estate probably gave the show permission to use the former first lady's image and, evidently, the estate has its demands. They probably have good reasons. Maybe there's a noble cause at stake. Surely, the Kennedy estate is not clinging to the Camelot fantasy and dragging out heart-breaking photographs just to sell us QVC jewelry?

Please, though: don't tell Lifetime executives about Laura Bennett's blog. It's on their own site and it's always excellent but it's doubtful they've read it, especially the part about "Jackie O" being a "bulimic chain-smoker with a cheating husband who married a shipping tycoon for money and then lived with another married man until the end of her life."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

House rates "much higher on the forgiveness scale than Lone Star hero’s cheating on 2 wives and swindling hard-working people"

No one knows why Lone Star failed but I do think there's something to Nellie Andreeva's theory. Dr House spends a great deal of time in obvious physical pain, engendering some measure of sympathy. Lone Star's central character seems tormented by a goofy dad and a conscience -- things an adult can partially control. Important difference.

Maybe? Now that I've watched the latest episode Terriers, I can't be sure. "One of the central pieces of the FX formula that Shawn Ryan helped create with 'The Shield' was the idea of shows with anti-heroes at the center - good guys who are capable of being very, very bad guys." Why are Terriers' anti-heroes so much more appealing than Lone Star's? I think it has something to do with how much suffering an actor can convey without saying anything. A cane helps. A grizzled, weary expression does too.

I don't really want to hate Lone Star. It's just upsetting that, for a show hyped as "outside-the-box programming" and "more nuanced than a soap opera," those first 15 minutes -- look! a cute girl wearing nothin' but a towel! -- were as soapy and cliched as it gets.

Today Nate Berkus might want to make time to read his first design blog

The national scandal that is NateGate: design bloggers "waited and waited and waited and waited, and finally, last week many of us got word that the day had finally come. The blogger show was scheduled for 9/21! We were only given one week's notice (which was kind of annoying), but many bloggers still managed to take time off, make travel arrangements and take time out of their very busy lives to be there....People spent a lot of friggin money to get their asses there, but it was all for Nate! So it was worth it! Only it wasn't! Like not even a little bit!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

About 6 weeks later and we still don't know what the hell was going on at the Rangers auction

Even an explanation from the court-pappointed restructuring officer can't clear up Mark Cuban's role in the Texas Rangers bankruptcy auction: "Snyder said sports commentators got it wrong by asserting that Cuban connived with the banks to pump up the value of Rangers debt, which he had admitted buying some in late 2009."

Well then, what was it? Because Cuban -- rebuffed when he sought to buy the Chicago Cubs -- and his partner Jim Crane -- who had already alienated baseball owners when he backed out of a previous deal to buy the Astros -- were an odd and unlikely ownership duo. Was Cuban doing the banks a solid, not for his own immediate profit, but some future considerations? Is the man going through a rough patch? Also? What is Crane's deal?

By far, though, the most interesting aspect of the August 4th auction was guessing which media members were being played by Cuban. At various times throughout the day, bold claims were made that Cuban was going to blow up baseball's anti-trust standing, that Cuban was buying the team in order to build a new media empire and, about 3 hours before he folded in court, that people close to Cuban insisted he was very, very serious about buying. I now assume this is what Cuban was telling everyone off the record. It must have made them all feel very smart and cool. Until about 12:45am August 5. So it was funny when, after it was all over, Cuban called the media "the dumbest people in the room;" funnier still when he got beaten down while trying to defend himself in a venue less friendly than his own blog.

But does this make you feel a little less bitter about Tom Hicks: "The restructuring officer figured that Hicks took home $60 million of the $525 million when he refinanced in 2006, but had put all of that back into the Rangers plus plowed in another $40 million more by the time he defaulted on the debt in March 2009." No? I understand.

ADDED 9/22: The SEC -- who now enjoys exemption from FOIA requests and is therefore always suspicious -- successfully resuscitates their case against Cuban.

"Caesars Palace gets so many requests for a suite that doesn’t exist from people willing to pay $4,000 a night for the place"

What one movie can do for Las Vegas tourism: "'The Hangover' suite, an amalgamation of three Caesars suites and a little Hollywood magic, existed only on a soundstage in Southern California. But that hasn’t stopped tourists from asking about it and wanting to get a look at some of the places they saw in the movie....Debbie Munch, Harrah’s Entertainment’s vice president of public relations in Las Vegas, said guests from Israel to Australia have made trips just to see the infamous 'Hangover' suite in Caesars Palace."

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Turns out migration assistant cannot migrate or assist

I am taking my old computer in to have everything transferred to my new computer so I'll be without any computer for a few days. I'm not nervous or sad or filled with dread or convinced something really unusual and bad will happen. Not at all. No. Why do you ask?

Friday, September 03, 2010


On Monday, Texas State Fair judges will choose this year's Big Tex Award winners. How can you not be excited? Of course the talk is all about the Fried Beer but I think an adults-only treat is somehow less fun. It would certainly be less revenue-generating, wouldn't it? It does succeed, though, in being simultaneously intriguing and scandalous so both gluttons and scolds will have something to talk about. Which is the whole point of fair food.

I for one would like to salute the person who is serving up Texas Fried Frito Pie. Fried Fritos -- I laugh every time I hear it.

Is this Project Runway's "meanest season ever"?

Or is the new 90-minute format just showing us what's always been there -- the ridiculously petty interaction between ambitious, self-absorbed people? Either way, it's extremely satisfying to watch.

I wish I were smart so I could provide some sort of keen insight about people who can't take a fair critique or whose own outsized self-esteem and sense of entitlement can cloud their eyes and minds. There are life lessons in there somewhere. Maybe this: ideas can come from anywhere. And don't hate.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

TV reporters seem visibly upset that Earl may not make landfall

Serves me right for watching morning news, which is always TV's dumbest timeslot.

"But the fact that Wal-Mart now sells organic food makes me proud. Organic has become mainstream."

Honestly, I can't remember if we're supposed to love John Mackey because his Whole Food Stores are so awesome, or hate John Mackey because of his politics. Conflicts, huh? But hey! Look at this:

"A new animal welfare rating program will be in all stores by Jan. 1. Signs will tell customers exactly how meat animals were raised."

In a way: yay! In another way: yuck. Do I want to read the bio of something I'm going to eat?

This, though, is a nice bit of perspective: "Whole Foods has always been a synthesis of healthy foods and foods for pleasure. ... Over our history, it seems, in 10-year cycles, one of those waxes and the other wanes. When we began, we were healthy foods. Around 1991, we began to evolve to food as pleasure. Now, food as health is beginning to wax again. It's not that we'll stop selling pleasurable foods. But we'll put greater emphasis on food as a health product."

And another thing: comment moderation is a pain in the ass

I turned it on for all the usual and uninteresting reasons. Sorry.

Look! I opted for a template even uglier than the one I had!

It really is offensive, isn't it? I was hoping for a burnt orange look but something went horribly wrong. Well. I dunno. Maybe it's not final.

"What blue collar workers faced in the last thirty years is coming to the white collar workforce now"

Walter Russell Mead's advice to students could benefit all of us. It's depressing but clear and empowering.

It occurred to me the other day that one thing you don't see anymore is the congratulatory retirement party. I've only gone to one in the last 10 years. I know of three others but those were for government employees. I think their world will change too.

So Mead seems to be right: "Your competition is in China and India – and your competition isn’t hanging out at frat parties or sitting around watching sitcoms with dorm-mates....Your competition isn’t taking courses on gender studies; it isn’t majoring in ethnic studies, or the history of film."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Mary Ellen Smith's digestive tract

Why does Activia always make people talk about the potty? No one wants to talk about the potty! Stop it!

My iPhone update is into its 8th hour.

That's not right, is it?

Also, the driver's side door on my truck won't open. I'm sleepy. And I can't think of headlines.

LATER: Even though I cancelled the syncing/backing up, the dang thing is all updated, with my photos and music and everything. Sweet miracle! Yet: the door on my truck seems to be truly broken. Feels so awkward to take it to the dealer, what with the 196,000 miles on it and all.

New template designs? What's wrong with the one I have?

Really. I'm OK with it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Paula Abdul is a great and ageless beauty

Because she's so dang loopy, she never really gets credit for how gorgeous she is. So I just wanted to say it. For 45ish, that's beyond amazing.

Also at the Idol finale: Janet Jackson who's gorgeous too but, honestly, reminded me just a tiny bit of Ruby Rhod.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm worried about A-Rod. (Not really, but in principle.)

Everyone had a little giggle yesterday at the news that, with the Rangers filing for bankruptcy, Alex Rodriguez is their top unsecured creditor.

It's always fun to laugh at A-Rod. He's a true jerk. But I don't think this is funny because no one should lose out on their earnings. Lots of people work freelance. It's never funny when an invoice goes unpaid. So it's $24 million. So A-Rod's already made millions. We all make thousands but if someone stiffed us out of $2400, we'd be upset.

"Kilpatrick’s continued employment was contingent upon Kilpatrick staying out of further trouble"

Former Detroit mayor and current Dallas-area resident Kwame Kilpatrick sentenced to 18 months, maybe more. "The judge’s order also raises questions about whether Kilpatrick will continue to have a job with a Compuware subsidiary in Texas. Compuware chief Peter Karmanos had given Kilpatrick a six-figure sales job with Covisint in an office just outside Dallas after the ex-mayor’s release from jail in February of last year."

According to Judge David Groner, Kilpatrick "lied under oath about his affair with his chief of staff, about the firing of a deputy chief, authorized a secret settlement with $8.4 million in taxpayer money and then violated his probation....Kilpatrick at every turn tried to thwart attempts to figure out how much money he had to pay restitution to the City of Detroit."

This is Kilpatrick's Southlake house. Here's another note from today's court proceedings: "Kilpatrick is shaking his head now as Groner talks about Kilpatrick's million-dollar home and his lavish lifestyle in Texas."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

$613 million worth of paintings, just gone?

Hmm: "A single masked intruder was caught on a video surveillance camera entering the museum by a window" and walking away with five paintings: a Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Modigliani and a Leger. How does one guy carry all that? Why aren't there guards at the Paris Museum of Modern Art?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why can't everything be run as smoothly as Mack Brown's program?

It's hard to square this story about University of Texas budget shortfalls -- there's talk of selling the Brackenridge Tract/Muny golf course and closing the Cactus Cafe -- with this Wall Street Journal profile of UT football mega-boosters.

The Good Guys: I am now a devoted viewer

Just because they kept their word about Stark living "in a trailer in the shadow of the Texas Star." Really. He lives in FairPark, beside the Merry-Go-Round, right where the midway ends.

It's funny how the show's creator Matt Nix talks about Dallas: "'This is a throwback to the classic cop shows, and Dallas has the look of those shows. I kept saying to people, "If we shoot this in the suburbs, it'll look wrong. We need power cables."'"

Funny, because so many Dallas city leaders feel just the opposite. They probably would prefer the Good Guys to be shot exclusively in front of shiny new places. Not brick storefronts. Not the 70-year-old State Fair site that's home to the Cotton Bowl but not the Cotton Bowl game. Maybe Nix can give us a new appreciation for the older, less sparkly parts of town.

Also funny: The Good Guys' Stark is a cop whose greatest career achievement happened in the 80s -- about the time the TV show Dallas was at its height. About the time Robocop made Dallas City Hall look so bold and futuristic.

Anyway, I liked the show well enough. I certainly hope it's not a failure.

"Aliases on Twitter are very common and anonymity makes it fun"

Oh honey. I couldn't agree more. Actually, there's a whole lot to like about this interview with DKNY PR Girl, who is considered to be anonymous on Twitter but whose identity really isn't much of a secret. I think. Is it?

Anyway: "Every day is an adventure and I love sharing it with people who care to hear." People who care to hear -- that's well said.

ADDED: What's interesting about DKNY PR Girl's anonymity is how everyone in the fashion media helps preserve it. Her comments make it clear that 1) the Donna Karan brands use Twitter as a marketing tool, 2) that anonymity was a strategic decision, and 3) "I know a lot of my followers. Many of course are editors or bloggers that we work with." It's fashion, which is its own world, but it's remarkable that everyone so eagerly helps a brand execute part of its marketing plan. Imagine so many bloggers and editors assisting, say, McDonalds or WalMart in such a way.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway "just does not understand or get the concept of the rule of law"

A compelling takedown of both a politician and the Dallas Morning News from Jim Schutze. Of course.

It starts with "Dwaine Caraway pressuring the Dallas Police department to lay off a gambling house where Caraway and his father play poker" -- remember Caraway is the man who gave us the Pull Em Up billboards -- and ends the way all Dallas stories end, with funny legal maneuvers and odd public posturing "against a backdrop of land speculation in the area by the likes of Dallas Very Very Rich Person Mark Cuban." It's always a land deal.

Once upon a time, there was another guy with a big parcel of land. His name was H Ross Perot Jr and he called his pile of dirt Victory Park. Even though old Reunion Arena was a great venue for fans, it had to die so that Perot could get a new arena with a huge developer's deal and sell his newly more-valuable majority stake to Mark Cuban. That turned out so well for the city, huh? And for the men too!

O, our selfless, visionary civic leaders!

I don't believe anyone's actually going to pay to buy Newsweek

Because: "The legacy costs (pensions, health care, etc) are likely under-funded and much larger than one would imagine." Funny how no one talks about that.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Budweiser replaces Coors as NFL's official beer

Which is good news if you're tired of those damn Coors-retired coaches-press conference spots. I mean, that campaign will have to stop now, won't it? Please say yes.

Of course, Coors remains the beer at Cowboys stadium. Jerry Jones seems solidly anti-Bud.

A Picasso sells for $106.5 million and I continue to believe we're all screwed

Another art auction record. I'm very afraid. But eager to find out who bought it.

Exciting ad/Texas connection: The painting belonged to the late Frances Brody, daughter of Albert Lasker, the man who grew up in Galveston and moved to Chicago where he headed the agency that would later become Foote, Cone & Belding.

Phil Collins' Alamo collection

Who knew: "The Genesis singer-drummer is a ginormous Alamo fetishist -- so much so that 'he is now believed to own the largest collection of Alamo artifacts in the world,' according to the Dallas Historical Society. He's coming to Texas to finish work on his book about the Alamo due in stores next year -- and so, on May 10 at 6:30 p.m., he'll be at Hall of State to talk about, well, the Alamo."

The Hall of State, y'all!

"Perhaps the four-hour Pilates sessions are not the secret to eternal youth"

This. Wow.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is Tom Hicks the worst owner in the history of professional sports?

Harsh. But right now, it's hard to think of anyone worse. Am I right Liverpool?

"MLB is in charge [of the Texas Rangers sale] after finally tiring of Hicks' tactics and his failure to satisfy the 40 lenders who hold $525 million in Hicks Sports Group debt." Those tactics include, but are not limited to, announcing that "as it stands right now, the deal would not be approved" -- a peculiar thing for Tom Hicks to say until you realize that, while negotiating a sale to Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, he has actually been at work on another deal with another ownership group.

Sounds like Tom Hicks never wanted to sell to the Nolan Ryan group in the first place. Is there animosity between Hicks and Ryan? Yes? Can it be resolved in the usual manner?

"Supermodel Paulina Porizkova calls Heidi Montag a 'cheap plastic pool float'"

Genius. And her assessment of Madonna -- "what started as a sexy, well-shaped, and somewhat hairy Italian girl has ended as a cool Nordic blonde" -- is equally impressive.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Viewers ages 18 to 49...have been watching 5.1 percent less TV in primetime since the start of March"


I'm watching Al Roker talk about toilets

The day is starting out wonderfully, isn't it? But as Roker's guest explains the water-saving benefits of Simple Flush, I'm thankful I live in an old house with, uh, outdated fixtures. Some things are worth wasting water on.

"'We're very careful about signing on role models for kids. It's harder to do'"

Tween fashions: "Still influenced by mom, 8- to 14-year-olds can't drive to the mall but wield $43 billion in annual spending power." JCPenney has signed gold-medalist Nastia Liukin for their Supergirl line. Macy's? They went with Madonna.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wait. Not all QVC shoppers love Isaac Mizrahi? Do tell!

In the middle of a rather juicy and sad QVC story, there's this shopper comment: "I would think that QVC would want to attract as broad of an audience as possible and offer a broad variety of products to attract a spectrum of viewers/buyers. And, I don't understand this total fascination with Isaac Mizrahi. I'm sure that he has appeal to some customers, but it seems that QVC is staking their entire future on him. It does not seem wise to put all the QVC eggs in one basket."

Color me amused.

Jackie Robinson day

I wish it didn't coincide with tax day but it is the actual anniversary of his debut.

On a sorta related note, here's uplifting news that Mobile's Double-A team helped turn Hank Aaron's childhood home into a museum.

It's 36 years this month that Hank Aaron broke the home run record. The Braves opened in Cincinnati that year and this is how Pete Rose, in his book Charlie Hustle, describes the day that Aaron tied Ruth: "Aaron had spoken by telephone to the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was in Memphis to eulogize the late Dr. Martin Luther King. Aaron figured it would be fitting, on the sixth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, to have a moment of silence before the game. His request came too late, though, and the Reds had to turn it down....Aaron didn't like that....It was too bad that had to come up and ruin Aaron's moment."

And look, here's Hank Aaron on Home Run Derby. Now that you know he grew up in a house his father built out of scrap wood, it's easy to understand his expression when the announcer explains that consecutive home runs can earn one thousand dollars. A final note: it's remarkable how handsome everyone was in 1959.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"'Elin was violently angry over this commercial and thought it was a cheesy thing to do'"

It'd be pretty funny if -- after all the Ambien sex with waitresses, hostesses, porn stars and neighbors -- it's the Nike spot that finally destroys Tiger's marriage.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"'people hide behind anonymity to make vile or controversial comments....As the Internet is growing up, the trend is away from anonymity'"

Dang it.

What are the insomniacs watching?

Nothing's really on at 3am so my preferences have always been Bloomberg News and GemsTV. I don't understand either one and it's hard to say who has the quirkier lineup of on-air talent but now GemsTV is shutting down and the way they're going dark is remarkable. It's a long, drawn-out clearance, with loads of air-time being devoted to viewer email and to the personal lives of hosts. It's fascinating. I don't think I can turn away.

ADDED: In court filings, GemsTV has cited the soaring price of gold as a factor in their bankruptcy. Which makes this interesting: "To hear some investors tell it, 'manipulation in the gold market' is a scandal on the scale of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, perhaps even greater....The hedge fund [manager] famous for making billions by betting against sub-prime mortgages, John Paulson, has reportedly put $250 million of his own money into a fund dedicated to investing in gold. Another prominent hedge fund manager, George Soros, reportedly recently increased his fund’s holdings of an exchange-traded fund that owns gold, to $663 million worth, while, somewhat confusingly, Mr. Soros was also saying publicly that 'the ultimate asset bubble is gold.'"

What are the old people watching?

Are you surprised at how old late-night TV viewers are? "While Mr. Leno now has a median age of 56, with Mr. Letterman at 54, 'Nightline' at 55, Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Kimmel both at 52, and even NBC’s younger act, Jimmy Fallon, at 50." Cable audiences are younger but really not by much.

Of course, Conan O'Brien was supposed to bring younger viewers to The Tonight Show but that never happened. The surprise: "Mr. Leno has drawn the biggest audiences in most age groups almost every night since returning March 1." If I were a Fox affiliate, I'd stick to re-runs too.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

NASCAR's most awkward sponsor "honors" a heroic woman

Let's read through this one together: "Phoenix Woman named 'ExtenZe Local Hero' and Honorary Crew Chief: The first woman to be named an 'ExtenZe Local Hero,' Abby Barker called upon her CPR training to save a person who had suffered a massive heart attack. For her decisive and life-saving effort, 27-year-old Barker will be the ExtenZe Racing Honorary Crew Chief at Phoenix International Raceway for the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup event that takes place the same weekend as her wedding -- thus creating perhaps the most unique bachelorette send-off of all time."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"a drawn-out malaise that will soon become something like a lost decade"

The False Recovery: "households are using their savings to pay off the massive amounts of debt they accumulated even before their net worth declined a staggering $11 trillion over 2008 and 2009. The money is not going under mattresses or into bank accounts, from where it will emerge one day to jump-start the economy."

Also, "the real unemployment rate....is at 17.5%" and gas will probably hit $4 this summer.

Monday, April 05, 2010

It's Opening Day

Let's go to White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen for his thoughts: "Goo luck to my guys for a great summer and all the venezuelan player even the ones I hate to death"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ginger Rogers night on TCM

Kitty Foyle just ended. Overall, it's depressing but about half-way through, she gets to wear a really lovely gown. Renie.

Now: Tom, Dick and Harry. This doesn't look all that interesting except for a very young and attractive, though small, Burgess Meredith. He was married to Paulette Goddard? Wow.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"urbanists and planners need to get beyond their nostalgic quest to recreate the highly centralized 19th-century city"

"Instead they should hop a plane down to Dallas or Houston, where the outlines of the 21st-century American city are already being created." More Joel Kotkin!

And then there's this: "the most dynamic future for America urbanism--and I believe there is one--lies in Texas' growing urban centers. To reshape a city in a sustainable way, you need to have a growing population, a solid and expanding job base and a relatively efficient city administration." That last part could really sink us.

Is Opening Day the best day of the year?

Of all the non-religious holidays, the first day of baseball feels more hopeful than even January 1, I think. It's less than a week away. And -- yay! look! -- non-flashy, hard-working guy Scott Feldman will be the starter.

Monday, March 29, 2010

And then she took the pastry tube and piped the whipped cream right into his mouth

I can't be the only person obsessed with the Weather Channel's Abrams & Bettes, can I? I can't be the only one who thinks Stephanie Abrams is truly -- I'm being serious -- one of the most amazing women on TV.

"Day...appears to be angling for an outright sale of RadioShack so he can 'take the money and run'"

RadioShack's CEO Julian Day gets the NYPost treatment. I don't believe you'd ever read this in the papers here: "The smooth-talking Brit known for his vise-like grip on RadioShack's operations and finances cuts an elegant figure at the retailer's headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, with a penchant for $5,000 suits. Nevertheless, he hasn't taken up permanent residence in Texas, with his family holed up in Montana since he took the helm at RadioShack in 2006. 'They've tried to get [Day] involved in the local community, but it isn't happening,' according to one source."

Julian Day's contract ends this summer and he'd make around $93 million in a sale. That leaves -- what? -- a month to make it happen.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

No Pink Martini for Dallas

Three dates in Fort Worth. Zero in Dallas. Problem! I will only go so far to be entertained.

Jamie Oliver's black like me

I'm pretty fascinated by this look at Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (Produced by Ryan Seacrest! Have you heard?!) because someone takes the time to examine Oliver's track record, which is not impressive.

And because of this: "Oliver recently claimed—while discussing his newfound understanding of racism and the plight of immigrants—that he is 'sixth generation Sudanese,'....The Daily Mail, reporting the story, hinted politely 'some might see [this] as an attempt to improve his street credibility.'" Which is impressive. I wonder if Oliver was moved to action by the rude, racialist treatment of Ali G.

Friday, March 26, 2010

RadioShack is "a name that always intrigues people, but no one is very hot for it"

Looking to sell. "Another possibility is a merger with big-box rival Best Buy, which lately has experimented with a smaller retail format to meet fast-growing demand for smartphones and other wireless gadgets. 'This is all about handheld devices,' said one banking source close to the situation. 'A whole new wave of these products are coming out and they're going to break the monopoly of the carriers,' whose market power has bruised RadioShack's profits in the past."

I just have this feeling that Julian Day really, really wants to get out of Fort Worth. Why is that?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Harlowe lying on a bearskin rug

The phrase alone inspires such a vivid mental image that the actual photo turns out to be a little underwhelming. Or is it because of the bear's face?

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Hmm. Maybe underwhelming is the wrong word. Maybe it's just shocking that Jean Harlowe turns out to be the least remarkable aspect of the photo.

Of course I'll follow you on Twitter

Here's a pattern I've noticed: Max Papis, Julius Caesar and Franca Sozzani often seem to tweet at the same time. This amuses me to no end. And they are all awesome.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Turns out people like having a lot of choices

Walmart re-thinks their decision to reduce product selection. It hurt same-store sales because some "brands Walmart eliminated, like Arm & Hammer liquid laundry detergent, amped up promotions at other retailers, particularly supermarket chains [and] forced shoppers into the arms of Walmart's competition."

I hope Target follows suit. They usually do, don't they? And right now, Target is awash in their own Up & Up products.

Anyway, it's all a good excuse to go back and read this Virginia Postrel article. My favorite sentence? "Too much choice may cause regret, but no choice is worse."

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not that it matters

But Tiger Woods is still as full of shit as he was back in November.

Horrible, divisive, a total waste of time and resources

Dancing With The Stars returns tonight.

News about famous people who are actually likable

Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin gets her own clothing line. It's for little girls. Who pretty much love her. And here's an interesting thing: JCPenney "ranks fourth in U.S. market share for girl's apparel, behind Wal-Mart, Target and Kohl's, but it has the largest market share in the malls." Does it surprise you that Target and Kohl's rank that high?

I didn't realize this either: Liukin "has secured several partnerships including Covergirl, Visa, AT&T, Herbal Essences, Pure Sport, Secret, Sega and Wheaties."

All that as well as being the most amazing Max Azria model ever.

"Respect is a sexy quality, and the ability to give respect is even sexier."

Naomi Campbell: "I actually connect with those that ooze inner beauty, you know when you can just see the light radiating as soon as the person walks into a room."

"Connect" is a hilarious choice of words there. Although maybe her driver, the police officers at Heathrow, her New York maid and that assistant in Toronto won't see the humor.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Maybe my favorite intro to a Dallas Morning News story, ever

Here: "Bill McNutt, the Southern Methodist University alumnus arrested last month on campus, has hosted small dinner parties for casual acquaintances where liquor is served and guests are offered private massages."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The shocking news contained within the shocking news about Ron Washington

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last season and if that's not weird enough (it's pretty weird, right? the guy's 57. This is baseball not the music industry), there's this:

The Rangers, as an organization, were being blackmailed because of it. Blackmailed! Seedy!

And there's this:

"According to MLB rules, disciplinary measures are only mandatory in cases of performance-enhancing drugs....Managers and coaches are not represented by the players' union, and are thus subject to testing for recreational drugs, such as cocaine. Major league players are not tested for cocaine and other recreational drugs."

Oh OK. Yeah: no tests, no unpleasantness, no blackmail. What could go wrong?

ADDED: The weirdest thing by far, though, is how the local sports media has to handle this news. First, because the story broke at SI.com, the coverage here has mostly been limited to opinion-oriented reaction pieces. The only additional news -- the blackmailing -- is exclusive to Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Although the Dallas and Fort Worth papers share baseball reporters, Galloway is a columnist and is not carried in the Dallas Morning News. So: sorry Dallas sports fans. Galloway also hosts an afternoon show on the local ESPN radio affiliate, and as I listen to the other sports stations now, they're only gingerly taking up the blackmail part of the story, never crediting Galloway by name because God forbid you should mention a competitor in any way except jest. Everyone's happy to talk and talk and talk about the reasons Ron Washington should be fired. So far, to my knowledge, no one here is addressing how yet another major story -- like Parcell's retirement, like ARod's positive test, hell, like the whole Canseco steroid era -- slipped right by the DFW sports media.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bijou news

A newly mined 6225-carat Zambian emerald. Oh go ahead and buy it! The elephants will thank you.

Meaningless news of the day

Pepsi is removing their sodas from schools. I don't think this matters. They're still selling sugary Tropicana drinks, sweet Quaker-brand treats and all those Frito-Lay snacks, right?

"the most dynamic growth in America from 2010 to 2050 is going to happen here in Dallas"

Candy Evans has got me all curious about Joel Kotkin. And about that William Faulkner quote.

Maybe The Next Hundred Million would be good companion reading to those two Voegeli articles and to this Michael Barone piece.

That was fun: Toyota's Sponsafy Your Ride contest

The most interesting part of the promotion is already over. Still, I like the idea, I like the name, I like the spots. Yay!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Please advise

If you blog under a fake name, are you required to count that name as an additional household member on your census form?

"I'm sort of watching it not work now"

Nigel Lythgoe knows exactly what's wrong with American Idol: "The judges are part of the show. They are not the show."

Star power at the Pacquiao fight

The final tally is in and here are the celebrities who turned out for last Saturday's big fight at Cowboys Stadium: Robert Duvall! Troy Aikman! Deion Sanders! And, uh, Miles Austin, Ken Hamlin, Drew Pearson and Marion Barber.

In fairness, stars weren't expected. I think the focus instead was on Jerry Jones. Didn't the storyline seem to be that, in taking what's usually a Las Vegas high-roller event and bringing it to Texas, Jones was single-handedly returning boxing to the masses? Here, look: "'Jerry Jones put on a show,' said Big Sugar Ray Phillips, a former pro fighter from Mineral Wells, Texas, who is now a trainer and actor. 'The good thing is that he didn't price out the fans. He made the prices reasonable for the working man to come to fights like this.'"

I mean, even Tim Smith expressed hope that if "Pacquiao and Clottey put on a good show and Jones is really committed to holding more boxing events at his stadium, it could jump-start a movement to push boxing back into the mainstream. But it is an uphill push."

By the way, here's my scorecard: Winners -- Jerry Jones, the city of Arlington, the Diamond Club, Grapevine's Gaylord Texan Resort. Losers -- Dallas city coffers.

"Fossil is about a culture devoted to design and the Fossil brand"

The Star-Telegram's Mitchell Schnurman calls it "an expensive, labor-intensive proposition." Specifically: "a big in-house media operation, churning out hand-drawn graphics, posters, packaging and sexy images from a photo staff as large as this newspaper. Fossil even has its own architects to design its stores. The company has 150 designers, most based in the sprawling Richardson headquarters. Each product or service category has a distinct area -- watches on the ground floor, apparel on one side, a large photo studio in the center and graphics spread out in its own work zone. 'Creatives are seen as an asset; they make Fossil work,' says Tim Hale, senior vice president for marketing and design."

I wonder if you could say that, in putting so much art and meaning into their stores and packaging, they're successfully creating an emotional benefit -- one that can't be duplicated. But maybe I go too far.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blockbuster's resigning board member is Senator Dodd's wife?

After six and a half years, Jackie Clegg is leaving Blockbuster's Board of Directors. She's going to "'look at some public service opportunities' tied to international aid" and, frankly, I'm enjoying a little giggle about that. If someone needs aid, isn't it Blockbuster? Ah, but maybe she's done enough.

Also, if she's quitting and her husband isn't running for a sixth term, I wonder how they'll ever manage to get by.

Success has a thousand fathers; failure gets orphaned right there on the pages of AdAge

Won't anyone step forward and take responsibility for Budweiser's Drinkability campaign?

The consultant Mr Kash couldn't be more wrong-headed, though, when he says, "If all you have is an emotional benefit, it can be duplicated."

"you have to be careful not to write a show just for the superfans"

I've plucked that sentence fragment out of an interview with Matt Nix -- of Burn Notice and the new Code 58/The Good Guys/that show being filmed in FairPark -- because I think it sums up a lot of what went wrong on Battlestar Galactica. [Pause. Heavy sigh.] Here's his complete thought: "I think it’s satisfying for people to feel that that relationship [with their favorite show] is reciprocal in some way. The truth is, you do have a relationship with your fans, and there is a feedback loop there. And while you have to be careful not to write a show just for the superfans, that kind of feedback is really valuable." So: cool.

But I do have to call BS on this exchange:

DH: Right. So let’s talk about your 2 shows. It seems as though, in both cases, these are about somebody who gets kicked out of an institution but wants desperately to get back in to prove they can still do it. Is that true?

MN: Wow, I never thought of that.

C'mon. Never? C'mon!

Friday, March 12, 2010

"You met me at a party six to eight weeks ago and you said I was a really good sport"

What is the re-play value of comedy albums?

For adults in the 70s, by which I mean my parents, I think it was the equivalent of owning a Seinfeld DVD box set. They had favorite moments from each album and it was something to share and laugh at when friends came over. It was after all one of the few in-home on-demand entertainment options at the time. For me, though, the George Carlin routines were like nursery rhymes. They had fun words that I didn't completely understand but wanted to hear over and over. I can recite them to this day.

But maybe my experience is not typical.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sotheby's is profitable again. This is terrible news.

UnBeige wonders if it's a "sign that the high-end auction world is coming back up for some air after being stuck with every other company well below the surface due to the global financial meltdown." I think it would be more accurate to say it's a sign that rich people need some place safe to put their cash.

And, just as accurately, it's a sign that Lily Safra really did want that Giacometti.

I refuse to feel old

Even though the week started off with a Brat Pack reunion. Even though one of the Coreys passed. Even though the new Pantene model is Simon LeBon's daughter.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

American Idol has become national open mic night

That's the feeling I get every time I switch over to it. I must be missing the high-energy performances.

"the near-obsolescence of realistically aged actresses"

How Botox is ushering in a new school of overacting: "On two cable dramas starring actresses of a certain age, the heroines are brassy and expansive, with a tendency to shout and act out, yet somehow their placid foreheads are never called into play. Usually, when a person reenacts a stabbing or smashes a car with a baseball bat, some part of the face is going to crease or bunch up. Not so with these women. As though to compensate for their facial inertia, both perform with stagy vigor, attempting broad looks of surprise or disappointment, gesticulating and bellowing."

Which, in turn, is ushering in new ideas about women. Or is it: "The actresses with their hard, frozen faces and their sinewy bodies encased in lavishly ruffled dresses showed that movies are no longer a source of fresh inspiration about beauty, femininity and womanhood."

I guess that Dove campaign can only do so much.

Your new boss says his favorite book is The Prince. Should you be scared?

Let's meet Estee Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda, OK?

Right away, he seems sensible: "Mr. Freda wants to woo customers who are still hesitant to splurge on upscale cosmetics. To make shopping less intimidating, some beauty counters now display prices....'It allowed the consumer to make up her mind without having to ask the price. This takes embarrassment away.'" For the salesperson too. It shouldn't have taken this long for someone to realize that.

He's from Procter & Gamble so he likes his research: "We don't want to just do the products that consumers want. We want to be inspired by consumer desires and surprise them with products and services that they don't expect."

And his leadership style is most influenced by The Prince: "'What we learn reading this book is the difficulty of change. Machiavelli explains [that] when you need to change something, you have as enemies all the people who were happy in the previous status. You look for supporters in the people who want to change but don't know how their life would be after change.'"

You could say that, as a rare non-Lauder in the family business and someone in the process of laying off 2000 people, he's being a little Machiavellian by merely mentioning the book. Or is his honesty refreshing?

Monday, March 08, 2010

I would like to thank the Academy

Of course Nikke Finke called it the "WORST OSCARS EVER!" That's what she does.

But I liked this observation instead: "Another thing worth noting: all the top winners--actors, writers, director, producers--won for what seemed to be a labor of love." I wouldn't have thought of that, but it's true. Doesn't that kind of make you feel good? A little?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Fun with Getty Images

It's understandable that the caption writer for this shot would be distracted, but "Taylor has a bouffant hairstyle and wears a low-cut dress with a diamond necklace" is lacking crucial, even legendary, details. Namely: Elizabeth Taylor's hair was often styled by Alexandre; the dress is an Edith Head design and that's the 69.42-carat Taylor-Burton diamond her husband had just purchased for $1,100,000. I feel these things are important to note because that ain't just any rack we're staring at.

I am fascinated by these 1970 Oscar photos. Quite a culture clash, isn't there?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

And to think there were no red carpet shows

Elizabeth Taylor at the 1970 Academy Awards. I really can't stop looking at this.

If that's not your speed: Oscar night, eight years later. It helps to see the full effect.

ADDED: I changed the link to the Elizabeth Taylor photo. Let's hope this one works. I don't want you to miss it!

Was Disney's Princess & The Frog too girly?

Roger Friedman: "'The Princess and the Frog' was a disappointment, insiders say. Even though it was nominated for an Oscar and got pretty good reviews, 'P & F' is considered a bust in Toon Town. According to sources, several things hurt the movie. Not the least of which was the word 'Princess' in the title. 'It scared off the little boys. Only girls wanted to see it,' says an observer."

Wait. What? If a title can scare away boys, how did "Cinderella, "Snow White," "Little Mermaid," and "Pocahontes" ever succeed? The Disney princesses are a huge business. Who doesn't want to celebrate their birthday at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique?

No, I really don't think the movie failed because it was too girl-centric.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

You know there are spring training games on the MLB channel, right?

I suggest staying home, tuning in, maybe even drinking a few beers.

The Vanity Fair article about the David Letterman extortion case

Not one likable, sympathetic or endearing figure in the entire story. Everyone's spoiled and mean. But the women are assessed in the cruelest terms: "Letterman is, by his own admission, one of the most unhappy, insecure, guilt-ridden, self-loathing, self-pitying people on the planet. All of this informs his choices, especially when it comes to women. 'He favors unadorned women and at the same time women who are at the reach of his demonically low self-esteem,' says one veteran Letterman observer."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Here's another thing about the Hall of State: the Angel of Goliad

Because she saved lives and because she "deserves to be recorded in the annals of this country and treasured in the heart of every Texan," the Mexican-born Angel of Goliad is part of the mural in the Great Hall. That's her at the lower left, near the carriage. No one knows her real name. She was probably the mistress of a Mexican officer. It was a Palm Sunday and over 340 men were put to death. She must have been quite brave.

The flags in front of the Hunt Oil Building always tell a story

Today, they are flying the flags of the Texas Revolution, including old Come and Take It.

I always wonder exactly who's in charge of the flags at Hunt Oil. A lot of times, they fly the US flag, the state flag and I assume, the flag of a visiting executive's native land. On January 27 -- Holocaust Remembrance Day -- they flew Israel's flag.

It's wonderful, I think, their effort to honor history.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

You say killer whale, I say cash cow

Doesn't it seem that this might be the most important fact about Tilikum: "SeaWorld is said to have Tilikum insured for as much as $5 million, and [former SeaWorld trainer Jeff] Ventre said, 'He's worth millions, and he represents the future of the breeding program for SeaWorld. He has impregnated - he's produced 13 calves, I believe.'"

That's 13 little brand mascots. 13 little future star attractions. And what are three human lives compared to that? At least, I think that's what SeaWorld is saying, especially since just three days after the tragedy, the show's back on.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"there are wealthy people out there desperate to buy rare pieces"

A Giacometti sculpture sells for $103.4 million. We're doomed.

The rumor is that it was purchased by the widow Safra who outbid the Hong Kong collector and who, apparently, just had to have it.

"Abercrombie's pursuit of a homogeneous army of 'perfect' employees appears to have snared it again!"

Jezebel presents a pretty thorough history of just how mean Abercrombie & Fitch has always been, from hiring practices to their in-store experience. Featured is a Salon piece from 2006 and I was once again reminded that Abercrombie's CEO Mike Jeffries really is icky. More important, it's obvious now that, even as he was sporting flip-flops and calling everyone "dude," he was completely out of touch with popular culture:

"'In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,' he says. 'Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny.'"

See? Mike Jeffries never picked up on the emergence of the nerd and never sensed there would ever be a backlash against mean people. (Interestingly, Kanye West made this same mistake.) Even in 2006 Jeffries could have at least looked at top movies like 2005's Harry Potter or 2004's Mean Girls and perceived a certain smart-nerd-vs-cruel-kid theme at work. Instead he kept tanning. And he and his company were totally unprepared for a world that celebrates the not-so-cool, fat and skinny kids of Ugly Betty, Big Bang Theory and Glee. Why didn't he pick up on this? Why have his failing stores still not picked up on this? Because until they do, their merchandise, their atmosphere and their employees will seem out of step.

Or they can just keep trying "to figure out what the next hot trend is and push that."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If there's going to be a catfight between Isaac Mizrahi and Tim Gunn, you know whose side I'm on

Trouble at Liz Claiborne! "Mizrahi proved to be an even bigger headache for [CEO Bill] McComb, sources said. In addition to delivering a giant flop with an overly trendy relaunch of Liz Claiborne last spring, Mizrahi complained that Gunn was getting too much attention touring shopping malls and shilling for the label. Gunn was pulled from his circuit, despite having great success with it. But afterward, 'it was like pulling teeth' getting Mizrahi to attend such gigs, one source said."

Probably he knew any public appearance by Tim Gunn would only remind people that Mizrahi's own reality show is such a dud compared to Project Runway. But that's typical Mizrahi: always talking, always wasting everyone's time.

Whereas Tim Gunn is actually worth listening to. He is endearing, provocative, insightful and funny -- everything Mizrahi has been billed as but never really lives up to.

American Idol is unwatchable

I can't fight through enough of it to decide if it's lackluster contestants, tiresome judges or me.

ADDED: Isn't it funny -- after the wild, stupid accusations about Paula Abdul -- that it's Kara and Ellen who end up demeaning a male contestant with creepy sexual comments?

Bob Costas up-close and personal


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I did not make that last thing up

Not even the part about "nubby darned cuffs."

I'm confused by racked.com or ny.racked.com or whatever it is

The sponsored posts are labeled but, honestly, all the posts sound sponsored. See: "Tilda Swinton talks about making 'The Twinset of My Dreams' for Pringle—it's perfect, by the way, her twinset is. With its nubby darned cuffs, special jeweled buttons and crystal sword brooch designed specially by Waris Ahluwalia, it's pretty much the twinset of our dreams too." Is that the deal now? There used to be some fun writing and commentary, didn't there? I don't know if I can keep on reading. Well I will but, you know, I'm not going to like it.

Sunday's headlines explained today

Now this is interesting: "Pam Romano, president of the Zale division from 1997 to early 2005, said Monday that she also has discussed a return to Zale with [former CEO Robert] DiNicola. She said several former Zale employees are ready to rejoin the jeweler under an Apollo-led turnaround proposal."

No wonder I was so confused. When Sunday's paper stated, "Leadership, return to diamond basics could save Zale," what they really meant was "Past leadership, return to ex CEOs could save Zale." Got it.

Let's hope that this cash infusion leads to good things, like actual holiday ad campaigns.

He gave his life for tourism

Cleft palate, clubfoot, weak bones, and parents who were probably brother and sister. In the end, though, it was mosquitoes that got King Tut.

Who is more awesome than Shaq? No one.

Nymag: "Cleveland Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal has published two memoirs, cut six records, acted in seven movies, starred in a reality show, served as a reserve police officer, and studied for a doctorate in 'human resource development.' Now he’s curating 'Size DOES Matter,' an exhibition opening February 19 at the Flag Art Foundation in Chelsea."

But he's not an art collector just yet because "I have six kids, and if they ripped something, I’d be devastated."

Just for fun, let's look back to 1993: "six or seven college basketball players are invited to formally tour the [Nike] World Campus each year and witness a Nike presentation, and only Shaquille O'Neal, who was a star at LSU when he look his tour last year, ever showed up in Reebok gear and yawned during the sports marketing team's elaborate spiel. O'Neal had told various agents and marketing types long before leaving college that he had his own ideas about his image and endorsement future. He had no intention of competing with Jordan, Barkley and the others already at Nike for money and air-time. So he signed a $15 million, five-year deal with the R company and went on to sell the Shaq umbrella marketing concept to other corporations for millions more. Everyone at Nike seems to hope O'Neal fails miserably."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yay Hal McCoy is covering spring training

"it’s baseball and it’s tradition."

Yay hockey is fun again

Team USA's uniforms are throwbacks.

And joblessness begat joblessness

- In New York City, there are 20 unemployed people competing for every job opening. "Mike Elmendorf, the New York State director for NFIB, told The Post...'A lack of credit is not the main reason why small business is not creating jobs and expanding -- it is a lack of sales, and a bad economy.' Hit by increased unemployment, many states are also hiking unemployment-insurance rates charged to businesses.

- Since no one goes to work anymore, no one stops for breakfast anymore. "The decline is also part of the broader trend of Americans eating more meals at home because of tough economic times. Food consulting firm Technomic last month lowered its annual forecast for restaurant sales to a drop of 1.6 percent, driven in part by weaker fast-food sales."

- And no one can have any fun: "For only the second time, Nevada casinos posted a loss – but this time it was the biggest...Clubs along the Las Vegas Strip, which makes up 53 percent of the gambling revenue in Nevada, registered a $4.1 billion loss...many of the casinos had three and four waves of layoffs to cut cost during this national recession."

- And it's not getting better. Wal-Mart "reported a 22% increase in profit for the fourth quarter but said an important measure of sales fell and cautioned that it expected a challenging start to the year for its U.S. business....Wal-Mart's results showed the continued strain on consumers as they contend with tough economic conditions....Wal-Mart Chief Executive Mike Duke said the retailer's results benefited from cost-cutting measures and more-efficient operations." Even Wal-Mart had to lay people off. Wal-Mart.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The luxury car as a Rorschach test

Jalopnik sees a 2007 pink "$200,000 Lamborghini Gallardo with a custom-made rhinestone-bedazzled logo" as an "example of what got the US into the current economic mess." Interestingly, they make no such leap of logic when P Diddy gave his 16-year-old son a $342,000 Maybach.

Maybe they just don't like pink?

Zale's problem: they're out-advertised

Right now at dallasnews.com, the story is headlined, "Leadership, return to diamond basics could save Zale, experts say."

Clunky! But a good indicator of how weirdly vague this article is. Best to go straight to its one useful fact: "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. controls the largest market share in a fragmented business. No jewelry chain holds a stake much bigger than 10 percent. Signet is close and supplanted Zale as the top revenue-producing jeweler in the U.S. in 2006, with its Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry chains. It consistently outspends Zale in building stores and advertising its diamond engagement rings, pendants and earrings."

And there you go.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Quick! Develop more products that WalMart can reject!

WSJ, Feb 18: Procter & Gamble is rolling out new Pantene "formulations...Oral-care introductions include new Crest whitening products and a new Crest Pro-Health Sensitive line of toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste....This week, other major consumer-product makers boasted of upcoming new and improved products."

CNNMoney, Feb 15: "Large retailers -- including Wal-Mart the world's biggest -- are wrestling with having too many types of brand-name products. At the same time, shoppers are buying less and looking for bargains. So unless a particular brand is a top seller in its category, it's getting knocked off the shelf -- and sometimes getting replaced by a cheaper store brand." So is Wal-Mart driving the new formulations and package designs?

One thing's clear though: "'2010 is going to be uglier than hell,' Church & Dwight Co. CEO Jim Craigie said on Wednesday. 'I don't see the economy coming back at all.'"

How involved do you think Nike was in orchestrating Tiger's speech?

From Deadspin: "This wasn't a press conference. This was an advertisement."

But going back before all this, how involved do you think Nike was in covering for Tiger? Sometimes I've even wondered if Tiger is a sort of fictional character that had to be created -- the story of taping that list of Nicklaus' major victories to his bedroom wall is especially precious -- all in order to maximize the marketability of an awesome but skeevy Eldrick.

Anyway. Oh hey. You got to click on this for me. Huge. Quickly.

Golf writers are boycotting Tiger's media appearance. Isn't that cute?

They're upset that it's not a true press conference with questions and answers. Are they joking? These guys had years to tell us about the real Tiger but instead chose to contribute to the fiction. They knew. And did nothing. Now they want to ask tough questions? It really is funny.

Another thing I thought about when my power was out

The Snuggie? Not so ridiculous! If I had had one, I'd have worn it. Continuously. Now I kinda have my eye on the new leopard print Snuggie.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My electricity has been out since Thursday

It just came back on this Monday morning. That was a long time to sit in the cold and reflect on monopolies, the wild story-telling abilities of their spokespeople and a fairly docile and unquestioning local press.

Only Councilwoman Angela Hunt was paying attention, which is completely understandable. Mayor Leppert had other stuff.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Here's another thing about the Hall of State

That entrance? Officially known as the Portico Tejas? It's a recessed semi-circle with five double doorways, each made of bronze frames and glass panes that are slightly curved to create a perfectly continuous arc.

Curved. They're curved. Go ahead and try to pull both doors towards you at once. You can't do it. Because they're curved.

Matt Nix is right: "'Fair Park makes it possible to put so much more awesomeness on the screen it's not even funny.'"

"'People don't have confidence in banks, so they want gold and artworks that aren't going anywhere'"

Art auctions as a bad economic omen. Bad for most of us, I mean. Certain Russians and Chinese will apparently be OK.

I thought the big winner was the Megan Fox Motorola spot

A complete joy. My favorite two seconds from the entire Super Bowl telecast starts at :17. Kinda shows up the ManCrunch controversy for the stunt that it was. And my God, the kitchen!

Friday, February 05, 2010

"No cocaine, just life!"

I'd like to thank Kanye for my new personal rallying cry. And also for living fashion "so hard."

At first, I thought my new personal rallying cry should be "Can we get the right music for Mary J Blige?" There are so many moments throughout the day -- when they mess up your order at McDonalds or when your monitor dies at work -- when it would feel so right to shout that out. But no. Kanye has given me something much more positive and non-threatening. C'mon! Say it with me: No cocaine, just life! The exclamation point makes all the difference.

"Zale wanted the vendors to write a check for what Zale had spent on the jewelry—an almost unheard of practice in the industry"

From the WSJ: "The Irving, Texas-based company is asking diamond merchants and other vendors to buy back old jewelry—including products they didn't manufacture—in exchange for a pledge of future orders, according to a company document and interviews with people familiar with the matter. Several vendors said they are reluctant to agree to the proposal."

How reluctant? "As for buying back old merchandise, a diamond vendor familiar with the situation said, 'Historically vendors don't write checks, especially to take back something you don't want and you know you'll lose money on.'"


It can't get worse, can it? "To preserve funds, Zale also has canceled much of the advertising it had planned for Valentine's Day as well as Mother's Day, said people close to the company. These are the two biggest jewelry sales holidays after Christmas."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

There used to be two big reasons to listen to KRLD-AM

But they fired weather guy Brad Barton last year and now they're getting rid of gardening expert Neil Sperry.

I imagine that, to someone in the executive suites, weathermen seem interchangeable and gardening sounds so quaint. But those two guys made KRLD unique. Barton made 1080 the go-to station in bad weather, which here means every day, all day long -- "God knows how many times we've listened to the man warn of impending doom when the power's gone out or during a suddenly darkened drive home." And since my drive home is often 50 miles, that's at least one solid hour of listening that the station has lost. Another station has snapped Barton up and I tune in over there in the mornings just to hear him.

But getting rid of Neil Sperry appears even more clueless, if that's possible. Right when more and more people try to grow their own vegetables or care for their own lawns in order to save money, KRLD is firing the one guy who knows how to keep plants alive in North Texas. In a drought. In soil which is not soil but clay. And KRLD will probably replace Sperry with paid programming featuring financial advisors and fake callers. Such a stupid, out-of-touch, unimaginative move.

ADDED: According to this, Sperry "bought his time block from KRLD, then sold ads to support the show." He never seemed to lack for sponsors so maybe the station wants to sell the time to a higher bidder or maybe they're pursuing a younger audience. In either case, I think someone's missing something. Sperry may not be a champion of huggy-feely, organic gardening but as someone who can help you choose the right plants and avoid expensive mistakes, he is spectacularly on-trend.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

How can you write an article about RFD-TV and not mention the Marty Stuart Show?

Once again, the NYTimes disappoints.

"'We have been told from other cities that there is going to be an increase in prostitutes'"

Well, our city leaders did say that hosting the NBA All-Star game would be good for business.

Here's some interesting word choice: "To prepare, the vice unit is adjusting officers' schedules and hours so that all hands are on deck." Or on something.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

No one in Dallas has seen the NBA All-Star banners

All three are up and nearly complete. The one on the Bank of America building can actually be seen from as far away as Grand Prairie. But because all the banners face west -- to welcome you, I guess, into town as you drive from the actual event 20 miles away in Arlington back to the city for the post-game Diddy & Friends party -- no Dallas resident will ever see them. We'd have to veer way too far out of our M Streets-to-downtown commute. Inconvenient!

And here's a warning: every single inch of I-30 is now an honest-to-God speed trap. From 35 to Cockrell Hill Road to Arlington to Fort Worth. It's been that way for some time now. There's a recession on and those town coffers don't fill themselves now do they?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hey look!

Of the 6 most full of shit professions, advertising isn't even listed!

Oprah and Jay: shoulda taken about 5 minutes

Seemed like Oprah had 3 questions -- why didn't you just retire? why does everyone hate you? what about Conan's feelings? -- and spent the entire hour ever so slightly re-wording then re-asking them. Leno is a guarded kind of guy and probably difficult to interview and still I think Oprah was a little ridiculous. When she presented the results of her website's Jay vs Conan poll as serious proof of overwhelming hostility toward Leno, I sort of shut down.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why haven't they caught the guy who burned down the Texas governor's mansion?

The rebuilding has begun in Austin -- sorta -- but why is the arsonist still so elusive? Remember, the mansion "went up in flames before sunrise on June 8 [2008], lit by a young man captured on grainy surveillance footage hurling a Molotov cocktail at the 152-year-old building's front door."

This happened only a few months before two Austin men were arrested for planning to use Molotov cocktails on Republican National Convention attendees in Minneapolis. Which is probably just coincidental but, honestly, what the hell has happened to Austin?

And what's happening now in East Texas where six churches have been set on fire just this month?

"I am not trying to convince you to buy an Apple iPad, I am trying to explain to you why you probably will anyway"

Seems like Gizmodo has it exactly right: "We can sit here in our geeky little dorkosphere arguing about it all day, but as much as Apple clearly enjoys our participation, the people Jobs wants to sell this to don't read our rants. They can't even understand them. My step-mother refuses to touch computers, but nowadays checks email, reads newspapers and plays Solitaire on an iPod Touch, after basically picking it up by accident one day. That's a future iPad user if I ever saw one."

Here's a thing about the Hall of State

I could read about Fair Park history all day long, I really could, and as you know, my favorite building on the whole fairgrounds is the Hall of State which I once incorrectly attributed to George Dahl but was in fact created by Donald Barthelme, a former student of Paul Cret, the architect who designed, among other things, the backdrop for my youth. Anyway. I was in the Hall of State a few Saturdays ago, just about the only person there, and spent almost two hours noticing things I had overlooked before.

Here's one thing:

Downstairs? In the lobby area right before you go into the auditorium? There are these huge Deco light fixtures on the ceiling. They're frosted glass circles outlined in chrome -- sun symbols, a version of the emblem that's on New Mexico's state flag. At least I think that's right. This photo -- the only one I could find of the lobby -- shows an odd overhead light panel that makes me think there's been a restoration since the photo was taken. Maybe the Deco fixtures are reproductions or the restored originals. They're pretty interesting though. That building is filled with so many symbols from so many cultures, someone really should write a book. Or at least re-print one.