Toot, Toot

Dallas businessman lends a helping hand

From our two or three forced visits to Sunday school, Buzz knows that if you do something good for the poor, you're not supposed to "sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets."

Of course, that doesn't mean we can't brag about others' good deeds, and if a little credit happens to fall the Dallas Observer's way, well, that's just a coincidence.

In December 2000, the Observer printed a story about how many of the poor parents whose babies are born at Parkland hospital lack basic baby goods--blankets, booties and such ("Baby Blues," December 28, 2000). It was a warm, touching story, and Buzz suspects that it only made it into the paper because someone had been drinking way too much eggnog and we couldn't think of anything mean to say about City Hall.

Jim Moran, a Plano resident and Dallas businessman, read the story and decided to lend a hand, with help from his nonprofit group Fit Life Foundation. The foundation, which had concentrated on cycling events before the article appeared, decided that Dallas could do more.

"When I read that article we kind of steered in the direction that, hey, not all of our events have to be cycling-oriented; let's do something for Parkland," Moran says.

He visited Parkland, told some friends about the problem, and they told some friends, and--cue the heartwarming schmaltzy music--things got better. The group held its first "Shower of Love" for Parkland in March of last year. The second shower just concluded, and the hospital is now rolling in donated goodies.

"The foundation is proving that once you let people know in this city that those kinds of things exist, they are willing to step up and do something about it," Moran says.

"We had 35 pallets' worth, if you can picture a pallet. Each of the pallets had 24 boxes apiece on them. There were 848 boxes on them filled with clothing and items...We were blown away after the first year, but to have quintupled basically what we collected last year, it is just amazing."

A hospital foundation spokeswoman says Moran's group gave them about five truckloads of goods last year and about 20 truckloads this year. Moran says his group plans to continue expanding the effort. If you'd like to help, check out the Fit Life Web site, www.fit-life.org.

And many of you thought the Observer was good for nothing, when in fact that's only true about most of our staff.


Bad to the bone: Perhaps by now you've heard ads for The Bone (the Deep Ellum club) on the rock radio station known as 93.3 The Bone (formerly known as Merge 93.3-FM). Perhaps you've visited the Web site for The Bone (www.thebone.com, duh) and seen a link at the bottom to 93.3 The Bone (www.933thebone.com, double duh), or vice versa. That sort of cross-promotion makes sense, right? Why, in the business world, they even have a fancy word for it: synergy. But how the two Dallas entertainment companies got to the point of cross-promotionalism isn't that simple.

Seems that several months ago, when The Merge decided to morph into The Bone, it did so under a veil of secrecy so tight it would suffocate a DJ. (Not a bad idea, that.) At least their secrecy was better than their imagination: The club had been using the name in Dallas for 10 years. Seems reasonable, then, that maybe the radio station should consider, you know, talking to the club about it. In fact, by the time the execs at the radio station got around to inquiring about "cross-promotional opportunities" with the club The Bone, the announcement for the format change was just hours away.

Unfortunately for the station, the club aggressively protects the trademark of its name and its corporate logo (a bulldog chompin' on a bone, triple duh). In the mid-'90s, when Miller Brewing Co. started marketing its Red Dog beer (complete with a big red bulldog on the label and, in the Dallas market only, a bone in the dog's mouth), The Bone sued for trademark infringement and (rumor has it) even coaxed an undisclosed settlement out of the company.

Now, representatives from both the club and the radio station aren't saying exactly what arrangement was made, but Buzz's guess is that the snarling junkyard club's bulldog chewed up the radio station's bone. Or, at least they seem to be chowing down on some pretty pricey advertising lately.

 
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