Yeah, yeah, we know you're probably wondering why anybody from the Observer would be at SMU long enough during the summer to determine a reason NOT to be there. The answer is simple: One of us still hasn't gotten that piece of paper that determines whether we're going to be just another low-income journalist or a low-income journalist with a college diploma. But what really matters here is the fact that SMU whores itself out to hundreds of cheerleaders every summer for rah-rah camp. Like having to deal with bleached blond sorority princesses balancing cell phones in one hand and a latte and a Louis Vuitton bag in the other, while sticking perfectly pedicured feet into the road without looking to see if cars are coming, isn't enough. Now lucky SMU students have to spend summer school maneuvering through throngs of peppy ponytails and pom-poms attached to pubescent people who really just need a good smackdown. When will the madness end?
Radio jocks have a certain air of mystery about them. Because they are rarely seen, their voices carry the weight of their identity. Sure, they do publicity appearances and host the occasional music festival, but for the most part their applause is directed toward a faceplate of plastic and LCD panels in listeners' cars. Of all local DJs, Josh Venable, host of The Adventure Club on 102.1 The Edge, deserves his applause for consistently plugging up-and-comers and awesome indie acts. Fortunately, fans can give it to him in person Sunday nights at City Tavern as Venable spins a mix of Brit pop, postpunk and lots that fans will remember from Adventure Club days of yore. Anymore, what we hear on the radio is programmed on a computer so it's nice to see a bit of vinyl show its gleaming grooves and even better to toast Venable for more than a decade of rockin' services. Now, go buy him a pint and get your hands off his deck.
Hotel Crescent Court
There's no heart-shaped Jacuzzi, but that's part of what's romantic about the Crescent. You can be cutesy, hand-holding lovers and still be elegant in these surroundings. You can eat a fancy, expensive dinner at the Crescent Club (the elegant part) while knowing that you have a luxurious king-size bed waiting back in the suite (the romantic part). While Hotel ZaZa is the place to go for a crazy lost weekend with an acrobat you just met, Hotel Crescent Court seems to beckon to the newly engaged, the longtime lovers and the 25th anniversary celebrants.
Granada Theater
For a venue, short of staying financially afloat, there's nothing more important than treating the talent hospitably. It's not hard, really. Give a band a nice place to sit, give them a few drink tickets, or even better, put some iced-down beverages in their backstage area. That's really all you gotta do. If you can offer food, that's even better. A shower? They'll all be thanking you in the van later. To be honest, there's more than one spot in Dallas that has these amenities to offer, but it's the vibe at the Granada that separates them from the rest. Owner Mike Schoder and his staff go out of their way to accommodate bands, and it shows. A local band member recently divulged that it was the best backstage he's ever been privy to. "The pizza was awesome, there was a good couch and the guys were really cool helping us out. Oh, and there was a couch!"
Smog, crime, city council--welcome to Dallas. Many Dallasites dream of a little place in the country, a horse, some chickens and fresh air. The mistake many of them make is moving to Collin or Denton County in search of Green Acres. Often overlooked is our neighbor to the east, Kaufman County. Land is less expensive, the major highway (U.S. 175) is less congested, and towns such as Crandall, Talty and Forney offer much more of a small-town feel. What if we said you could live in a three-bedroom home on an acre in a cul-de-sac, just 30 minutes from downtown Dallas, for about $130,000? Your Realtor's waiting by the phone.
Correct us if we're wrong, but we find Sunday to be the official hair-of-the-dog day. Friday and Saturday nights have wreaked havoc on the body, and now a little quality time must be spent recuperating. Lee Harvey's opens at 1 p.m. Excellent. Now we need discounted therapy. Two-dollar Bloody Marys and mimosas. Beautiful. This whole scenario would be perfect, but we're missing our best bud. We've ignored him Friday and Saturday nights, because frankly, he just wasn't welcome where we were going, but Lee Harvey's doesn't mind his shedding or his tail. That's right, dogs are welcome for a little Sunday hang time at the tucked-away bar. The only rule for Dog Day Afternoon is that your BFF must play well with others (canines and humans).

Best Way for College Kids to Waste Time and Brain Cells

Facebook

Go ahead, call it an obsession. But chances are, if you're a college kid with a bunch of friends, a lot of work to do and a computer with Internet access, then you're logged onto thefacebook.com. The website, created by Harvard kids for Harvard kids who wanted to visualize their social network and determine their overall importance in the college circle, now boasts more than 3 million users on hundreds of campuses. Students create personal profiles, post photos (some of them pretty raw, like the SMU swimmer clothed in nothing but a big smile) and hook up via online invites. Facebook is a dream for its creators and a nightmare for curious students who can't stay logged out long enough to finish that history paper.
Not too long ago at the Library Bar at the Melrose Hotel, there was a Real World sighting. Unfortunately it wasn't badass Veronica (we can all pretend to hate her, but you know she rocked the Inferno II). Instead, it was Dan Renzi. Since we like to consider ourselves friendly and easygoing people, we made the first move. It was a wasted move--we probably could have gotten more conversation from the waitress who couldn't remember us after she took the first round of drink orders. Still, it was funny watching Renzi hunt down the bartender and ask for a cherry for his drink. Wasn't he having a beer? And it was even funnier hearing him say that a certain super-hot club "sounds like Dallas: overpriced and overexposed." Yeah, this all coming from a guy who extended his 15 minutes of fame by pulling a Paul Reubens in a Kansas City movie theater.
In some tribal societies, if you save someone's life, that person becomes your servant for the rest of their days. That's kind of how it works at the SPCA. The sad reality is that there are more pets out there than people who want to own them, and those that don't get adopted will eventually be put down, euthanized, put to sleep--pick your euphemism. If you've ever been chased down a Managua alley by a pack of feral dogs, you'll realize why this is necessary. But for an animal lover, it's heartbreaking. One way to help is to support the various organizations that spay and neuter strays, and the SPCA is one of the best. Your adoption fee of around $100 gets you a neutered, fully vaccinated and disease-free pet that will be your faithful and adoring companion, not just because it owes you its life but also because it doesn't know any better.
If we have to hear one more inane radio contest or another DJ promotion for a local LASIK surgeon, we will pull this car over and rip the radio straight from the dash. We swear. While some people would protest that the JACK format is sterile and computerized, we suggest that, more often than not, adding humans to radio only degrades the quality of the music played--when it has devolved to ridiculous DJ banter, endless plugs for this and that or dedications from 14-year-olds, we say let the computers take over. Plus, any computer that plays John Mellencamp immediately following MC Hammer must have a sense of humor.

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