You may have noticed that other than our own Jim Schutze, there is a distinct lack of angry, ax-wielding columnists here in the metroplex. In fact, the weapon of choice would be more like a Nerf tomahawk. Jacquielynn Floyd isn't going to dismember anybody with her sensible, sanitary opinions either, but what she does have is an uncanny knack for addressing the exact story that caught your eye the day before. In her self-effacing, semi-folksy style, she lays out well-reasoned, moderate essays on just about every issue of import to Dallasites. The Wilmer-Hutchins mess. The Wright Amendment. The strong mayor initiative. Like any columnist, she strays on occasion, like her recent eulogy for the guy who invented TV dinners (turns out he really didn't, but that's another story). Even her digressions are always intelligent. And Nerfy though they may be, Floyd's tomahawk swings are generally right on the mark.

Readers' Pick
Steve Blow The Dallas Morning News
Way back when people considering themselves ahead of the hipness curve crowded into Samba Room, Matthew Giese worked behind the bar. Already he had developed a keen understanding of popular habits and the Dallas scene. That's when we first labeled him the "poet laureate of Dallas nightlife," a title he has yet to relinquish. He worked several top clubs following the demise of Samba (yes, we know it's still there, but...) then turned his unique understanding into a personal franchise. The poet laureate brings crowds to a location. Bars bring him in to resurrect a dead night or kick-start a new spot. Martini Ranch on Mondays, Obar on Thursdays, Lush, Medici, Spike--you name it. His MO? Know the party people, gain their trust, steer them in the right direction, repeat.
The guy has presence, and presence is what you need as a TV anchor. Sure, Tracy Rowlett has more than that. For one, he has responsibility: He's the managing editor, the big man of the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. He's ringmaster of the newsroom circus at KTVT. But behind the desk, with the camera on him, you see a guy who's forthright yet relaxed, even-handed yet authoritative. He's able to distance himself from the news. You'll never catch Rowlett putting on the grave face to report--oh, no!--another middle-class white woman missing. He treats every story with a detachment that respects not only the story's subjects but the people watching it. Finally, Rowlett just exudes Dallas. The way his suits hang, the way he parts his hair, that stentorian voice--it's as if it's Tracy Rowlett's destiny to anchor a newscast in Dallas. By comparison, his competitors look like shaky transplants from Yankeeland.

Readers' Pick
Gloria Campos WFAA-Channel 8
It's on a rooftop. It has palm trees. The pretty people gather on weekends. The Sunday afternoon parties featuring the 12-Inch Pimps are already legendary. Some of the city's best bartenders sling drinks at the small outdoor bar, including Adam Salazar. Oh, did we mention they have a pool? It's difficult not to like a place where women strip down to string bikinis and splash around after boozing it up a bit. Yep, check your moral standards at the door.
KXAS-Channel 5 will be unwatchable till they kick off Mike Snyder and Jane McGarry, who together make half an interesting person; KDFW-Channel 4's got Shaun Rabb's hat collection; and WFAA-Channel 8's gone off the air (whatnooonot really?hunh, coulda sworn). Which leaves KTVT-Channel 11 as the last, best hope for anyone interested in getting their news from TV. Fact is, there are some folks at the CBS affiliate doing good work--Sarah Dodd, for one--but best of all are former Channel 8 investigative ace Robert Riggs and ex-Morning Newser-turned-TV-producer Todd Bensman, together known as "The Investigators," like they're a superhero crime-fighting duo or something. Their work on the FBI investigation at City Hall has been superb. If they're not providing much context, something the Morning News didn't do till late August, at least they're giving us riveting television as they gnaw on some delicious hunks of this chewed-over tale. We'll never be able to look at state Representative Terri Hodge ever again without recalling the look on her face when asked August 25 who pays the rent at her Southwest Housing apartment.

Readers' Pick
Good Day KDFW-Channel 4
Ozona Grill & Bar
Finally, a drink special we can get on board with: On Wednesdays at Ozona Grill & Bar, domestic drafts are $1 all day. That's one dollar. All day. Are you listening? Beer snobs, obviously, need not apply. But if domestic brews don't rankle your nose hairs (how else to explain your snout's permanent uplift?), then bring a few bucks and park your butt on a plastic chair on Ozona's patio. And if you are a beer snob, maybe it's time to go slummin', because we love Ozona and we think you should, too. Ozona has personality and a homey feel that some might call...domestic.
Finally, the answer to Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity and the other yakky neo-cons who've held sway way to the right on the airwaves for so long. Air America Radio colors its talk blue--state, that is--carrying the national broadcasts of The Jerry Springer Radio Show (8 a.m.-11 a.m.), The Al Franken Show (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), Randi Rhodes (2 p.m.-6 p.m.) and other hours hosted by lippy liberals such as Janeane Garofalo and Bobby Kennedy Jr. Late-nighter Mike Malloy makes it a practice regularly to blast "the Bush crime family," probably guaranteeing him a lifetime of IRS audits. Early a.m. Morning Sedition features a segment called "Rapture Watch." Franken's is the show for the edgiest interviews, like his recent set-to with author Ed Klein over an unauthorized Hillary Clinton bio. You could practically hear Klein slithering away from the mike as Franken called him on error after error.
At 2:30 in the morning, this is not a restaurant. This is a freak show. All of the drunks, from all over town, come here, to this Café Brazil on the border of SMU's campus for two things: They are hungry, and they are horny. Last time we were there, a guy next to us sat with a group of women he did not know--just sat down with them, ordered food, got them laughing and went home with, yes, two of them. Stuff like that happens every weekend. It's got to. Eating at Café Brazil between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. is like coming late to a party where only the offspring of Colin Farrell are left. Sure, the drunks here get annoying--they scream, they laugh, food flies out of their mouths. But this is the best place to people-watch in Dallas, hands down.

Readers' Pick
Café Brazil Multiple locations
On Friday night, drivers looking for a hot radio station don't normally flip to the AM dial--certainly nowhere near oldies station 770 KAAM. But you'd be smart to delay the trunk-rattling tracks on Fridays to make some time for Europe Today, the strangest radio program heard on any of Dallas' crowded airwaves. Sure, the all-European song selection is hit-or-miss, unless you're a raging fan of overtures, waltzes and '80s Italian pop songs, but it's Hermann Bockelmann's outlandish presence that makes the show worth a listen. His thick German accent is unmistakable, and whether he's softly pleading with listeners ("I lahhf you, oh, goot-ness, you are a fantahhstic ahh-dee-enz"), making fun of his own show's advertisers or throwing loud, manic tirades about news stories, he proves himself to be a most bizarre and captivating on-air personality. Our favorite moment came when he talked about a man who robbed graves and cut corpses open for experiments. After yelling for a few minutes, the host shifted gears and quietly asked, "What in this crazy world can save us now?" He paused for effect. "Polka!"

Readers' Pick
Kidd Kraddick KISS 106.1 FM
You've got to hand it to the Irish: They spend so much time thinking about Guinness that they have rules. It should take exactly 119.5 seconds to draw a pint. The head must protrude above the rim but never spill over. The pint should be served at precisely 42.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Each sip must leave a tidal ring on the inside of the glass. And the shamrock drawn in the foam with a fine stream from the tap should reach the bottom of the glass intact. Now, we didn't time our man Darren at the Tipperary Inn. Nor did we take the temperature of the beer. But darned if those rings and that shamrock didn't show up every time--well, the first five or so. After that it's a little bit hazy.

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