This is not a slight to Mitchell, who conducts sometimes-thoughtful, sometimes-whimsical on-air chats with a wide array of guests every weekday from noon to 1 p.m., but can we get a little competition here, please? This is such a no-brainer even we couldn't screw it up. Dallas-Fort Worth is such a barren wasteland for talk radio, we've actually had to start listening to music stations again. With the glaring exception of Mitchell, if it ain't sports talk, it's bad talk. (For proof, see KLIF-AM 570 or, if you must, KYNG-FM 105.3 "The Talk...that Rocks"...shudder.) Mitchell is a natural interviewer, curious but focused, a serious talent who doesn't take himself too seriously. It's the one hour in our day we feel there's hope for talk radio outside of the sports realm.
Public art in Dallas often falls prey to being overlooked or hard to find, which is why the city's newest addition is also the best. Sitting at the intersection of Young and Akard near City Hall, the Dallas Police Memorial is a breathtaking edifice that effortlessly blends Dallas' best assets--our reluctant postmodernist slant and ample sky. Forged of stainless steel, this deceptively simple yet elegant design features the badge numbers of fallen officers etched into its canopy, such that their shadows are cast on the ground during North Texas' many sun-filled days. We're hopeful that it represents the first step to beautify our city with works that intelligently and seamlessly complement Dallas, though the threat to litter the streets with Pegasus statues may stop that effort before it even begins.
We hope that KLIF's perpetually dismal ratings are a good sign people have grown tired of the elitist, moralistic, free-market-at-all-costs bullshit masquerading as anti-government populism that talk radio regularly spews out. And the brief reign of puny führer Tom Kamb, a self-described "homo" who pushed himself to ever-lower levels of provocation to presumably outdo his straight-boy colleagues, makes us positively giddy--mostly because Kamb's relentless race- and gay-baiting never succeeded in provoking anyone. He'd taken talk-show conservatism into the caricature it often threatens to become. He returned to San Francisco, reportedly because of a personal tragedy, although his low-even-by-KLIF-standards numbers gave him little impetus to grieve here. We say auf Wiedersehen to Kamb because, to paraphrase Molly Ivins, his rhetoric always sounded better in the original German.

Burns is everything we want in a biz-columnist: concise, easy to understand, helpful to the average Joe and Jane living paycheck to paycheck as well as the CEO. Burns doesnt care about trying to make you comprehend how the GNP affects the Whatzis Dow and Whozis Index of Parameters; he just wants to tell you the best way to save your money. As journalists, we need all the help we can get, and we suspect you do, too.
A little folksy, occasionally philosophical and always entertaining, Caussey is one of Dallas journalism's best-kept secrets. Schoolteacher by day, his column appears weekly and earned him an invitation to the annual Dallas Press Club Katie Awards banquet a couple of years back. Now he's even syndicated in several other small Texas papers. His column alone is worth a subscription.

Best Reason to Keep Reading The Dallas Morning News

Beatriz Terrazas

There is a formula to writing for publications, and each one is unique. If you want to write for D Magazine, sound breezy and scolding at the same time. ("North Dallas' courage is apparent in the winning smiles of Highland Village shoppers whose Saturday-afternoon purchases prove wrong the liberal naysayers on the City Council.") If you want to write for the Dallas Observer, learn the art of the dramatic one-sentence ender. ("James thought the good times would go on forever, his power and wealth and fame accruing year after year, until the heavens opened and he ascended to his rightful place as king of all he surveyed. [New paragraph.] He could not have been more wrong.") And if you want to write for The Dallas Morning News, learn how to combine a random lead anecdote with a forced transition in fewer than 25 words. This is most apparent in sports stories ("For luck, Dirk Nowitzki always wears three pairs of socks during games. Against the Chicago Bulls, three was indeed his lucky number."), but you can find it in any section ("Mayor Ron Kirk says he likes to swim. But yesterday, he recoiled after sticking his toe in political hot water."). Finding good writers, then, means finding the ones who buck the trend, who avoid clichés like the plague, who sound not like their publication but like themselves. Beatriz Terrazas, the photographer-turned-feature writer at the News, is perhaps the best writer the paper has ever employed. She writes in pictures, creating stark images that linger and affect. For proof, you need look no further than her story "The Voice of Memory," from June 11, 2000. It's still one of the most moving essays we've ever read in that newspaper. For a more recent example, last month's story on Esther and Leoncio Puentes and how they helped redefine their northwest Dallas neighborhood was wonderful, the sort of simple, touching tale the paper too often fails to bring to life. No such problem for Terrazas, though.

She just does good stuff, and she does it quietly and effectively. Lill was the reason the stupid Dallas City Council ultimately restored funding to the Dallas/Fort Worth Regional Film Commission. She fought to protect the city's historic preservation law when some dude tried to gut the law so he could add a 400-square-foot closet to the front of his Swiss Avenue mansion. All over District 14, from East Dallas to the northwest corner of the city, her constituents regularly see Lill patrolling the streets to make sure the city is picking up the garbage. And because of that, the city picks up the garbage in her district! Amazing.
Remember when D Magazine pissed off mightily former Dallas Morning News columnist John Anders by reporting that he'd been fired instead of opting to take early retirement? Well, guess who wrote a lengthy piece on the wonders of a world beyond journalism in D's June 2001 issue? The magazine even let Anders take a roundhouse swing at the folks publishing the piece ("It would have been nice if someone had bothered to call..."). And then, at the end of the article, D offers an apology for getting John's Austin-based retirement off on the wrong foot ("D Magazine was obviously wrong..."). Nothing like a freelance paycheck to make folks act like they're best friends.

Meadows Museum
King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain came to town last March for the opening. So what's your excuse? For decades, one of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain languished in little-known, unprepossessing quarters on the Southern Methodist University campus. The new museum is a tad boring on the outside--generic SMU brick-and-columns pompous--but it's grand, the interiors provide a stunning setting for a world-class collection...and lots of beautiful young guys and gals are strolling the campus. What's keeping you?

Award-winning journalist Bill Sloan, former Dallas Times Herald reporter and author of a shelf full of nonfiction books (and a couple of novels), seems to have hit the Big Time with his colorful and applauded reflection on the supermarket tabloid newspaper industry. The title, natch, comes straight off the cover of one of the publications he edited back in the late '60s. The book's gotten Sloan attention from everybody from Entertainment Tonight to C-SPAN's Book TV.

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