We know, we know, we know, we know. How trite. How predictable. Der. We know it's the obvious choice. But this isn't the "Newest of Dallas." It's "Best of." And Hansen is still the best at what he does for two reasons: He's entertaining and smart. Sure he has a huge ego. OK, a monstrously huge ego. So? He understands that you can get your sports news anywhere, so to draw you to the increasingly irrelevant concept known as the local nightly newscast, Hansen has to make himself part of the show. We have no problem with that, so long as the performer is funny and clever and still knows more about sports than Macie Jepson, which he is and does. The only thing Hansen lacks is a catchy name, something the kids can relate to. Something like, oh, "Newy."
If you're planning to wander into the outdoors, REI will have just about anything you could possibly need. REI sells top-notch clothing and equipment for everything from camping, backpacking and canoeing to biking, skiing and rock climbing. (You can even try rock climbing in the store or sign up for one of many other outdoor group activities posted in the lobby.) These goods aren't cheap, but REI's retail prices are reasonable, particularly if you become a member. But what puts this store over the top is its sales: When they say sale, they mean it. We're talking 50 percent or more off on goods throughout the store. You don't have to become a member to shop here, but if you do, the $15 fee you spend to join will quickly turn into big savings.
This year's newcomer, the long-awaited 2-mile hike-bike trail between Reverchon Park and Knox Street, is the hit its backers said it would be. The elevated trail, set on the abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas railbed, runs through some of the most densely populated precincts in the city, and it's dog-eat-cyclist-eat-jogger all the way. Plans are in the works to extend the trail north to Mockingbird Lane and south to the new American Airlines Center. Eventually, it could link to Dallas' other great running path, the trail around White Rock Lake.
It's not the fanciest gym in the city, but it's a huge facility that's got up-to-date workout equipment of every variety, a full-size swimming pool, indoor and outdoor tracks and much more. But the best thing about the YMCA gym is that there are not a bunch of dudes lifting a dumbbell every five minutes and spending the rest of their time hanging onto exercise equipment talking to each other and trying to hit on the women. It may not attract an exclusive crowd, but YMCA members cut across all walks of Dallas life, and they go there to work out--including Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and members of the Dallas City Council.
American Airlines Center
What can we say? This place is grand on nearly every level--and aesthetically pleasing as well. The luxury boxes, if you're ever fortunate enough to sit in one, are equipped with flat-screen televisions and Internet connections, while the regular-Joe seats will all have similar high-tech niceties before too long. Large concourses and windows make the experience feel more open--in contrast to Reunion Arena, which was similar to being crammed into a matchbox for three hours. Best part? According to the PR people at AAC, the new arena has an exorbitant amount of toilets, enough to ensure the lines won't be much of a hassle. So drink like fools and pee in peace.
In August, it's about 110 degrees inside; in January, it's about 40, give or take an icicle hanging off your nose. That's because Doug Eidd, the 70-year-old owner-trainer who looks about 50, doesn't believe in air conditioning or a heater or, for that matter, anything that gets in the way of a good workout. This gym, across the street from Dallas police headquarters, looks like something out of a Damon Runyon novel (from the bare bulb in the stairwell to the hole in the brick wall to the boxing ring in back) and feels like something out of an old prison movie; working out here is like lifting in the joint (or it did until a few women from nearby offices started working out at Doug's, thank God). And we wouldn't have it any other way. The equipment may be a tad rusty or stained by sweat, but who needs a froufrou health-food bar or Olympic-sized swimming pool or sauna or Jacuzzi or air conditioning, for that matter, when you're trying to drop a few pounds and firm up the flab? We go to lift, sweat, box, sweat, stretch, sweat, jump rope, sweat, throw the medicine ball, sweat and sweat. We took a guest once, and after a two-hour workout, he wanted to know, "Is this a gym or a torture chamber?" Why, yes, it is. And we know someone with the pecs to prove it: Doug Eidd, the only man in town who would have made Steve Reeves look like a little girl.

Entering the season, we thought this would go to whichever player stayed awake longest on the sideline. But the past year served as a basketball renaissance in Big D. No one was a more integral part of the turnaround than Steve Nash. Sure, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley played well (and Mark Cuban is crazy, so he got points for that), but Nash made the team go. The diminutive point guard pushed them into the playoffs, where the Mavericks somehow came back from a two-game deficit to vanquish the hated Utah Jazz for the club's first playoff series win since...um...hold on...since a long time (solid research is the key to these annual awards). Aside from working his way around the court in that frantic, side-to-side style, aside from dishing out assists and raising his scoring average, Nash also became a fan favorite. His biggest contribution, though, is the hope he gives to unkempt men everywhere. Despite his messed hair and goofy smile, Nash pulls in tail. (See next item.)
Do you actually think that standing there at the 7-Eleven counter causing a backlog while you pick out six numbers is going to make one iota of difference in your chances of early retirement? Give it up, pal. Just take your scratch cards and get away from the counter so we can buy our Marlboros, OK? If you really feel the need to throw away your hard-earned money, here's a better option: Go out to Lone Star Park, where for just $3 admission you can spend all day flushing your money at a place custom built for people like you. Instead of standing next to the smoothie machine, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of live racing. And you can still cling to your silly little superstitions about lucky numbers, combinations and color schemes, but at least you can make an educated guess while you dream of bringing home a winner. Live racing resumes September 20.

He's better known for his passing skills and outside jumper, but Steve Nash has more than proven he knows how to rebound. After splitting with his "friend" Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice, Nash hooked up with Elizabeth Hurley while she was in town filming Servicing Sarah. How's that for trading up? Maybe Mark Cuban should keep an eye on Nash as a future general manager. Or maybe he should just try to get Nash to help him out with the ladies.

Richardson Bike Mart
What is that feeling that overcomes us each time we wander into this two-wheeler superstore in the hinterlands to the north? Our palms sweat; our breathing becomes shallow; a goofy grin spreads across our mug; and we lose the ability to blink. Ah, yes...gear lust. Do we really need that nifty carbon-fiber, rear-suspension frame? Do we need a $3,000 poor-man's Porsche? We do. We do. We do. If you don't believe us, you've never experienced gear lust--or you're our wife. Although there are a few decent small bike shops in the Dallas area--including a smaller version of Richardson Bike Mart near White Rock Lake--this is Mecca for cyclists, offering everything from a full line of clothing, to bike-related coffee-table gewgaws, to a wide variety of recumbent, road, touring and mountain bikes.

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