A visit to a famous downtown department store offers an interesting revelation about Dallas: this city has a more virulent cult of personality for beloved retailer Stanley Marcus, now celebrating his 90th birthday, than North Korea has for its dictators.

Which makes us wonder: if Stanley's such an arbiter of taste, why did he allow the so-chic temple of merchandising that is Neiman Marcus to be plastered with hundreds of pictures of him, a la Lenin, including baby pictures and inane displays with headings like "Around the World With Stanley"?

Beyond the bad taste of such hubris, Stanley himself would have to admit that young Stanley's looks came up short in the aesthetics department. According to a third-floor shrine to Stanley's childhood, his high school class voted him "ugliest" child.

Oh, the humanity!
We've come to expect our broadcasters to be pillars of strength, guiding us through the worst of times. Like Edward R. Murrow during the bombing of London, calmly describing the scene as explosives thumped in the background. Or Walter Cronkite reporting JFK's assassination: Overwhelmed, he nonetheless gave us the news with barely a hitch in his voice.

That's why Channel 5's JaM was such a disappointment during the storm that walloped the area on Friday, May 5. JaM, the anchor team otherwise known as Jane McGarry and Mike Snyder--how do we put this--wigged out as hail and wind battered the KXAS building in Fort Worth.

Wild-eyed Jane came across like a crew member of Das Boot enduring a depth-charge attack as she directed viewers' attention to the thumping on the studio roof. And seriously rattled Mike, who was caught in the hail while driving in, shared with us that the storm so frightened him that he put up an umbrella inside his car--and prayed as the windows were smashed.

In short, we could do with more guts and professionalism in our broadcasters--and a little less JaM.

Treadmill Warrior
He may have played Mad Max in the movies, but earlier this month, during a visit to Dallas, actor Mel Gibson played Mad Mel at The Mansion.

What aroused the star's ire?
On Saturday morning, May 6, Mel was working out in the Mansion's new fitness center. After lifting weights, he decided to take a little jog on the spiffy new treadmills, each provided with its own overhead television set complete with earplugs and remote control. After furiously channel-surfing for 15 minutes, occasionally stopping to watch MTV, Gibson accidentally hit the button that shuts down the treadmill--a safety device that, in the event of injury or sudden illness, keeps the machine from becoming a lethal weapon.

Gibson called the gym director over to find out why he couldn't get the machine to return immediately to the place where he had left off. When Gibson learned that the treadmill is designed that way--for safety reasons--he muttered under his breath and stalked out of the gym in a huff.


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