One weekend last spring, we were riding our bicycle around White Rock Lake with our faithful wife and our sometimes faithful toddler son when we chanced to see a well-made sign standing in the grass, along the lake's shore. The sign read, "Free Advice." Near it sat two men in comfortable lawn chairs. Between them, on the ground, was spread a blanket. We stopped, thinking it was some sort of performance art. Turns out, Roderick MacElwain and Neal Caldwell have been doing this most Sunday mornings, weather permitting, since 1996. And it is not performance art. MacElwain and Caldwell are gainfully employed, somewhat eccentric, very thoughtful fellows who enjoy giving advice on subjects from plumbing to marriage to large-animal veterinary medicine (all fields, by the way, in which they do have experience). We and our wife that weekend wound up posing a question that can be summarized as, "What should we do with our lives?" We were not disappointed with the advice we received.
We aren't picky about where we get our hay or our burlap sacks. We'll buy our pot-bellied pig chow from any Tom, Dick or Harry who stocks the stuff. But fox urine is an entirely different matter. We won't buy it from just anyone--mainly because just anyone doesn't carry it. Fox urine is one of those commodities that can only be found on the shelves of stores run by women with names like Dodie, which happens to be the name of the woman who runs the Mesquite Feed & General Store. Dodie is not a city girl. If you ask her, she will be pleased as pie to explain why you might need fox urine. Bless your heart.
Jim DeNoyer isn't the original live-action Fan Man. Think of him as playing Dean Cain to the George Reeves who started the business back in the late '70s. DeNoyer didn't don the tights and cape until 1994, when he bought the business. Now The Fan Man carries more than 400 antique, restored and reproduction fans in his modest Lakewood shop. A reproduced 1912 Gyro fan goes for $2,500. A restored 1930s-era metal-blade desk fan might run $300. And The Fan Man is one of the few people in the entire country to whom you want to bring your old-fashioned fan for restoration. He is truly a man of steel.

Premiere Video
Still the best video rental joint in Dallas, no one compares to Premiere Video--which is what makes it, duh, premier. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, the store is easy to browse, and there's a good chance they have the hard-to-find video for which you've been jonesing ever since that artsy dude at the office embarrassed you by saying, "Oh, my, you've never seen blankety blank?" While chain rental stores mostly trade in current releases and let their back catalog languish, Premiere is fully stocked in a plethora of genres including film noir, Hitchcock thrillers and BBC drama series. Interested in Brigitte Bardot's lesser-known films? Busy exploring Willem Dafoe's oeuvre? It's all there. The store is rapidly building its DVD collection as well.

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