One born every minute
Buzz isn't quite sure what possessed us to stop by last week's book signing for self-professed medium James Van Praagh, whose book of happy talk about the afterlife--Talking to Heaven--is a bestseller.

Maybe it's his claim that he can chat with the departed spirits of animals as well as humans. (We accidentally smooshed our cat under our car last year and would like to tell Alfie that we're really, really sorry.) But after listening to Van Praagh talk about the afterlife to scores of fans in Richardson, it became clear: Our cat was way too cool to have anything to say to this clown.

"The amount of love that you make is what you take with you" into heaven, he told the group. Apparently, God is a Beatles fan.

The bad news--for Buzz anyway--is that when we die, we do a "life review" in which we experience all the bad things we said and did from our victims' point of view. Great. Just like our third-grade teacher Mrs. Doris warned us, this is going to go down on our permanent record.

Let's see, he also suggests that we use our minds to fill rooms with pink light to cleanse them of negative energy, and says he uses a little psychic vacuum when he showers to suck away all the bad energy his body collects from others, like us.

That must be the same psychic vacuum he uses to suck the money out of the pigeons' wallets with his line of books and meditation tapes, all for sale on his official Web site, whose address we refuse to give you. You'll thank us in the next life.

Although the Trinity River bonds have passed, we hope that no one is running out to get a loan for a new sailboat just yet.

It was subtle, but over a period of weeks leading up to the vote, the proponents of the Trinity River project were forced to make a series of pretty dramatic concessions about that lake they kept showing on TV and in their brochures--the one with sailboats on it.

First they admitted the real lake would be so small--about the size of your average downtown parking lot--that it would barely handle toy sailboats, let alone real ones. In the second place, they would have to pipe the water to it in 10-inch pipes because the regular Trinity River water will be to dangerous to touch, let alone sail on and risk falling into. In the third place, whenever the river floods, the "off-channel" lake will be filled with as much as a 2-foot-thick blanket of poison-bearing silt.

Let's see, what does that leave out? Oh yes: the trees. You can't have any trees in the floodway. So that gives us a small, shallow bathtub surrounded by four lanes of traffic with no trees in sight. Sound inviting? Well, grab that beach blanket and some brewskis and head on down to Lake Fib.

Carrying water
Of course, you won't find any nasty details about the Trinity project's potential pitfalls in D magazine, which continually finds new and ever more blatant ways to boost Mayor Ron Kirk and the Dallas business establishment.

Take, for instance, the D Business "special report" on "Building the New Dallas," mailed out last week before the bond election. In endorsing the entire $543.5 million bond package for the Trinity, the arts district, streets, and drainage, D not only crossed the line that traditionally separates a publication's reporting from its opinions, it stopped to urinate on it.

Some staffers here at the Dallas Observer say they know people who aren't D subscribers who received copies of the issue. That makes sense, we suppose. If you want to influence an election, you need to reach more than 12 readers.

Buzz hasn't seen the most recent campaign finance report for the pro-bond campaign. If its organizers are honest, this not-so-special report will appear under the heading in-kind contribution.

Guy stuff
What does the Dallas man really want in a magazine? Sports, hangover cures, more sports, tips for winning women, and some politics and business thrown in for good measure. You know--guy stuff.

That's the take we got from an issue of the new Dallas Men magazine that crossed our desk recently. Editor and publisher Steve Cle'ere started up the bimonthly, free mag last September as a sort of answer to Dallas Women, figuring, as he put it to Buzz: "If a women's magazine can thrive, a men's magazine can throw down." We're not exactly sure what that means, but Cle'ere obviously hopes to make a living from such prose.

So maybe Cle'ere isn't the person to go for advice on gender sensitivity, and so far his magazine hasn't yet reached the "thrown-down" stage. "I do at this time barely survive, paying for me and the press," he says.

Steve, we think we see the problem. The April/May issue, while loaded with a good dose of sports, seemed, well, a touch upscale, with little to offer Bubba. (Features on trying out for opera and eating sushi? C'mon.)

Forget the sushi set; they have GQ. Let's see some stories for real Texas men--on power tools, gun racks, and places to get good gimme caps. But keep them short. We do most of our reading in the john.

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

E-mail Buzz at [email protected]. But keep it short know.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams