Buzz

Mother of all Websites (really!)
As anyone this side of a rosary knows, getting in touch with Yahweh can be iffy at best. But the never-vengeful Virgin Mary is always there to listen--no matter how little juice you've got on this plane of existence.

Our favorite incarnation of the Madonna (no, it's not Evita), is, of course, the Virgin of Guadalupe, who appeared centuries ago to a Mexican peasant with a message of peace. The Virgin may be getting up there--this is her 465th anniversary--but don't let anyone tell you Lupe ain't hep. She's now got her own World Wide Web site, Interlupe (http://spin.com.mx/~msalazar).

Although the English-language section is under construction, you don't need a translation to be moved by the incarnations of her unmistakable image that metamorphose before your very eyes, votive candles that eerily flicker, and a fetus (Lupe's the protector of the unborn) that moves--all thanks to a creative Java programmer (We think).

While Interlupe offers an abundance of suggested prayers, Buzz thinks it would be helpful if the Webmaster included Lupe's direct e-mail address.

The rich will always be with us
Wick "Limbo Man" Allison has already proven he'll stoop to just about anything to keep D afloat--and we mean that in a good way. But even Buzz was astonished this month by his uncanny ability to rationalize pandering. D, it seems, is serving up a blue-nose society publication "filled with nothing but pictures," Wick proudly explains in his monthly column.

In other words, another DMN "High Profile"esque, Park Cities People-type noblesse oblige scorecard chronicling the rich who are willing to give until their Ferragamos pinch. (Who was the Bolshevik who said the best charity is given anonymously without knowing the recipient?)

As Wick orates unconvincingly: "If in another publication there is the deepest, most beguiling, most intrepid piece of journalism on one page, and across from it on the opposite page there is a collection of party pictures, my eye and my attention go directly to the party pictures. In a flash." (Buzz must point out that the same rationale holds for running the topless buxom blonde "Page 2 girls" in Australian tabloids.)

At this point in the column, you're supposed to chime in, sheepishly, "Gosh, Wick, don't be ashamed, I feel the same way, and I'm not even a pandering publisher."

The last time D tried this society-page stunt, wasn't it a desperate move that came shortly before the magazine went belly-up under American Express ownership?

But we'll be kind. As Wick's last line begs, "If you aren't [beguiled by rich people's snapshots], please don't make a point of it. We party devotees are fairly sensitive."

The sad part of this kind of crap is that D's been looking good of late--with interesting story ideas and some solid writing.

We're spreading the word...
When Arlington tried to steal the February national NAACP convention from New York City, the scheme looked mighty good to Buzz.

After all, what is Broadway next to Six Flags? Sure, New York has great restaurants like Le Cirque, but how does that stack up against Trail Dust Steakhouse? And who needs the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building when you've got some stone monoliths around which one can cavort with witches? Culture you ask? May we point out that the Sewing Machine Museum just happens to be in Arlington. MOMA schMOMA!

Yet, for some wildly incomprehensible reason, the NAACP convention officials decided to stay in New York where it has held its convention since it was founded 87 years ago. Talk about being in a rut.

It's that time of year
Remember the good old days when The Dallas Morning News--high as a kite on skyrocketing profits after stomping out the Dallas Times Herald--used to use newsprint costs as an excuse to jack up advertising rates? It was so simple then for Dallas' Only Daily to gouge advertisers. Unfortunately, there's a glut of newsprint and it's cheap enough to line bird cages without printing on it first.

Now, the News' "Dear Valued Advertiser" letters are getting baroque. The one this month from Charles Gerardi, director of general advertising, explains "The Dallas Morning News is a growing company within a rapidly expanding corporation. Our cost of maintaining the quality you and your readers have grown accustomed to has risen, and although we find it necessary to increase rates for 1997 (Buzz chutzpah alert!), this increase will be our most conservative increase of this decade."

That reference to the cost of maintaining quality has Buzz puzzled--could it mean offering English as a second language classes to the Arlington Morning News staff?

But Gerardi indirectly offers hope to frustrated Internet entrepreneurs, explaining that the News is offering an online version, "providing our advertisers with an entirely new media option." If anyone can figure out a way to squeeze a buck out of the Web, it'll be Belo Inc.

--Glen Warchol

 
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