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The library system definitely deserves its due from the citizenry, especially the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. While good ol' J. Erik doesn't have all that he needs (and deserves), the catalog is deep enough that you are sure to find most of what you are looking for, and the staff is helpful in aiding your search through the stacks. If a book is available at another branch, they'll transport it to a branch nearest you, and if the book you want is checked out, they'll send you a friendly postcard when it returns. The library is also a great place to check out children's books, and many libraries offer story-time hours for families. The genealogy section is always crammed with silver foxes, and there are excellent Texas history collections. You can find socialist newspapers in the lobby of the parking garage. And many homeless people quietly use the Internet, reading sports sites and sending e-mail to fellow homeless. With all these unheralded pluses, why not direct some resources to fill the minuses?
No, it's not out yet, and God only knows when Interscope Records plans on releasing it, but Toadies Album No. 2, Stars Above/Hell Below, is finished, a mere six years after Rubberneck hit the shelves. Sure, it's not like the band spent all of that time in the studio--Rubberneck didn't even become a hit until almost two years later--but still. Maybe one day, they'll look back on this and laugh. Nah, probably not.
When local singer-songwriter Colin Boyd sings Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" during one of his various regular engagements around town, you'd swear he'd gotten the song mixed up with James Taylor's "Fire and Rain." In fact, no matter what song Boyd happens to be singing, you'd swear he'd gotten it mixed up with a James Taylor song. The fact is, Boyd makes Jackson Browne sound like speed metal. We've seen stains that are tougher. Maybe it's not that big a deal when Boyd is running through a cover of, say, Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle," but when he's tackling The Man in Black's body of work (during a recent appearance at St. Pete's Blue Marlin, Boyd offered versions of "Ring of Fire" and "I Walk the Line," and we were only there for a half hour), we must take exception. It's like watching Hugh Grant star in a remake of The Searchers. No thanks.
Conduit's Annex Gallery would be considered roomy if there were, say, pants and shirts hanging in it instead of art. Never let it be said, however, that the Annex Gallery didn't make the most of its limited space. Like its counterpart, Conduit Gallery, Annex has opened itself to some of the brightest up-and-coming artists, including the first show by members of Denton's Good/Bad Art Collective in Dallas. As time goes by and a new layer of paint is added every six weeks, Annex only grows smaller, but it'll always have big ideas.
Before besting a miserable field in District 8, James Fantroy told constituents at a debate this spring at Singing Hills Recreation Center that people in his district are worried about being poisoned by water siphoned specifically to South Oak Cliff from the spill-infested Lake Tawakoni. Paranoia is always one of our favorite traits in an elected official. It's even more fun when it's spiked with racial overtones. No wonder nobody votes in this town. It's kind of a logical choice to simply bag it and go to a movie.