Bush and Kerry on tap
The first televised debate between John Kerry and George W. Bush wasn't over but scant seconds before TV talking heads rushed to their desks to proclaim a winner. Kerry, looking and sounding more presidential than the scowling, fidgety actual president to his left, came out on top, they all acknowledged. Even Fox News Channel's dowdy Brit Hume, who leans so far to the right he tilts when he walks, acknowledged as much, as did the polls taken immediately after the event wrapped with Laura Bush and Teresa Heinz Kerry comparing pink gowns worn for the Quarrel in Coral Gables. All we're missing during these debates--or "joint appearances," in the parlance of newly vilified journo Dan Rather--is a scoreboard in the top left-hand corner of the screen. CNNfn came close: During the September 30 debate in Miami, it laid over the entire screen a streaming real-time gender-meter monitoring how undecided women and men were reacting to the candidates. It was a surreal spectacle, these blue and yellow lines bouncing up and down on the TV set like a patient's EKG as the two men argued over the war in Iraq, nuclear proliferation in the former Soviet Union, how best to deal with North Korea and whether ginger is the new mauve. Since we've turned these debates into the political equivalent of sporting events--pitting a former jock (Kerry) against a former cheerleader (Bush), a windsurfer against the guy who helped run the Texas Rangers into the ground--it only makes sense that on October 13 you can go to the Sixth Floor Museum and watch the third and final debate, dealing with foreign policy, on a big-screen television. The museum promises a brief intro about debates as being an integral part of the campaign. It starts at 7:30 p.m.; admission is free, but reservations are required. Call 214-747-6660.--Robert Wilonsky
Case of Whip Flash
We don't presume to be able to explain the outlaw writer Kinky Friedman; we prefer to let him explain himself. On religion: "God and I have a covenant. We leave each other alone." On being in the Peace Corps: "In two and a half years the Peace Corps failed to send me any seeds, so I was eventually reduced to distributing my own seed downriver, which led to some rather unpleasant repercussions." On being a musician: "I was particularly excited about urinating backstage next to Jimmy Page." Those witty morsels come from 'Scuse Me While I Whip This Out: Reflections on Country Singers, Presidents, and Other Troublemakers, which Friedman will read from at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Park, 7700 W. Northwest Highway, on October 13 at 7:30 p.m. Call 214-739-1124. --Claiborne Smith
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Eye for an Eye
Flirtatiously held gazes are for wimps. Stink-eye stare-downs are where it's at. In the right place at the right time, of course. Practice the art of purposeful eye contact at the North Texas Stare-Off, which hopes to become an annual event. Don't blink or you will miss out, literally. Proceeds from this staring contest will benefit the Lions Club's Sports Extravaganza. The first North Texas Stare-Off begins at 4 p.m. October 10 at Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St. Admission is free. Entry registration is from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and costs $5. Visit www.stareoff.com or call 469-227-3262. --Stephanie Durham
My boyfriend doesn't like sports (and I love him for that). For him, all the drama and tension of ESPN can be found down the dial on the Food Network. He's not the only one. The culinary arts have become an obsession in this country, a kind of extreme leisure sport with its own million-dollar celebrities and television shows. Those with this affliction may be interested in ClubCorp's Celebrity Chef tour, which comes to Stonebriar Country Club on Friday. New Orleans chef Jacques Leonardi Bio of Jacques-Imo's Café collaborates with ClubCorp chef Brad Evers for a meal that's sure to beat the hell out of the Tombstone Deep Dish we heat up in my house. Call 817-598-1556. --Sarah Hepola