By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Now you don't see it...
And we were so getting used to its junior-high design and elementary-school writing. But it turns out we won't have DFW Icon to kick around anymore -- at least not every week. Seems the city's latest weakly isn't anymore: Shortly before the third issue was to go to press last week, founder Jack Ramsey pulled the plug on his tabloid yet again. (As reported here just three weeks ago, Ramsey killed the first issue as it was going to press.) We like to think of it as a mercy killing.
One source close to the publication says Ramsey is threatening to re-launch DFW Icon as a monthly. "It was too stressful having to put out a paper every week," Buzz was told.
According to one former employee -- who was laid off last week, along with most of the staff -- Ramsey still owes some of his employees money and won't return their phone calls. (Maybe because the place doesn't have a phone: There's no listing for DFW Icon, nor is there a number included in either issue.)
Buzz loves rumors -- especially juicy, unfounded rumors. We just can't print most of them, libel law being what it is. In that light, we're entering particularly treacherous waters in debunking this one: Former city council member Bob Stimson is considering running for the Dallas Independent School District board.
Spreading gossip that any experienced politico in this town might choose to freely associate with the DISD board is something akin to saying he enjoys congress with sheep. (If Buzz had a nickel for every time we heard that one!) We figured we had better check with Stimson.
He chuckled. Actually, he let out more of a loud, extended cackle when we told him about a fax to our office that claimed he is thinking of running for DISD trustee Jose Plata's seat (unfounded rumor No. 1) when Plata becomes principal of Rosemont Elementary School (unfounded rumor No. 2). "Oh, bullfeathers, that's funny," he said, then cackled again. "Both rumors are living in a comic book."
Unfortunately, at DISD that comic book is Spawn -- unless you're one of the new high-dollar administrators that Superintendent Waldemar "Tin Cup" Rojas brought in. Then it's Richie Rich.
Stimson resigned his city council seat to run unsuccessfully for county commissioner against Ken Mayfield. Asked what realistic political position he plans to run for next, he says: "None. Not a thing. I'm enjoying this. I like sitting here and opening up an Observer and reading Laura berate the press for not covering her political appointees the way she wants."
The irony was not lost on us either, Bob. Stimson was talking about a letter city councilwoman and former Dallas Observer columnist Laura Miller wrote slamming Buzz for a bit of harmless fun we had recently.
Stimson did offer a suggestion about how the school board trustee rumor may have started. Last summer, he led a task force for Rosemont, where his two children attend school, to assess what becoming a charter campus would accomplish for the school. The process spawned a slew of rumors -- that he and another parent were investigating charter schools so they could make money on a land deal, and that he planned to fire all the teachers and take over the school.
Making money off schools? Firing teachers and taking over schools? Why, that's just crazy talk.
Figures. Chris Arnold always used to complain that whenever we wrote about KTCK-AM (1310), The Ticket, we'd leave his name out. It wasn't anything personal. We're just too busy to listen to the radio during the 10 a.m.-noon shift. (OK, that's nap time. So sue us.) So when we finally do get around to writing about Arnold, it would be about his departure from The Ticket. Arnold handed in his resignation November 12, telling station execs he was simply burned out. (Meaning, he was not fired, a la Rocco Pendola.) After all, Arnold not only hosted his show on The Ticket, but he also works the morning shift at KKDA-FM (104.5) and is still the sideline reporter during Dallas Mavericks television broadcasts. Turns out the man had too many jobs and not enough time. Arnold apparently wanted his life back.
But our main concern is what becomes of Arnold's producer, Corby Davidson -- who might just be the station's most underrated talent. Right now, Davidson will be what he describes as "the third wheel" on BaD Radio, the noon-3 p.m. show hosted by Dan McDowell and Bob Sturm that likely will expand to fill the slot vacated by Arnold's departure. Davidson will tag along and provide the occasional bit. At least, those are his duties "for the time being," he says.
To which we would add: Finally, a reason to listen to that show.
Parents who hauled their tikes to the AMC Grand's matinee showing of Pokémon, The First Movie -- what an ugly threat is implicit in that title -- got an unexpected jolt last Saturday. A screw-up in theater assignments had the little angels sitting in a theater showing Sleepy Hollow.
One parent who was there said the opening scenes of the Tim Burton flick, featuring heads being lopped off, caused near pandemonium as parents grabbed their upset wee ones and scurried for the door. (Our source had to grab a toddler who was nearly smooshed underfoot.) After everyone was reseated, the theater nearly started the wrong film again, before sending the audience off to the right theater. (Hey kids, why not write a report for school about what you saw? You could win a free week away from home at the Denton County juvenile detention facility! See this week's letters.)
Just call us Uncle Fester, but Buzz can't help but laugh at the thought of terrified soccer moms and dads dragging their screaming kids to the exits while the Headless Horseman whittles away. Our smile turns to horror, however, when we think of the poor adults who sat down to Sleepy Hollow and were nearly subjected to Pokémon, The Marketing Scheme. Hey, that could have been us, dammit.
Howard Opinsky, press spokesman for Republican presidential contender Sen. John McCain, tells Buzz that the Arizona Republican will spend less than three hours prepping for his December 2 debate with Texas Gov. George W. Bush and other GOP candidates.
Well, as an imported Texan, what can Buzz say except this: big deal, Mr. John "Smartypants" McCain. We bet our governor didn't study that much all the time he was at Yale.
"He can answer questions about everything," Opinsky says about his candidate. "He is not carefully controlled, as the thousands who have met him have seen."
That, in press spokesman talk, is a thinly veiled, one might even say butt-naked, slam at Bush, who reportedly has been cramming since muffing a pop quiz about foreign leaders from a Boston reporter. What cram-session music does Bush have blaring from the eight-track? Our guess is Edgar Winter Group's "Free Ride."
In fact -- we suppose it's fact -- a Bush spokesman says the guv is not doing any formal preparation for the debate. "We might informally talk through the issues," the spokesman says. But Bush is not pulling any all-nighters, he claims, though Buzz thought his eyes looked a bit puffy on Meet the Press last Sunday.
Wyoming, we think
Luckily, the debate won't be a telephone call-in format. As we were trying to reach sources in New Hampshire camps, we needed a telephone number. We decided to try out Southwestern Bell's nifty new nationwide directory assistance service.
ó Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams
E-mail Buzz at firstname.lastname@example.org.