Tiny bubbles
Buzz is stumped. Peter Applebome, a perfectly affable fellow, is riding the promotional circuit peddling his book, Dixie Rising. From what we hear, the book is a "thoughtful and provocative" examination of how the South "has today become America itself, defining all the key qualities of the country." (Buzz doesn't buy hardbacks. We copped these quotes from The New York Times Book Review. Applebome is a reporter for The New York Times. Go figure.)

Applebome has covered the South for some 20 years, including a stint in the NYT's Houston bureau, and now works out of Atlanta. In a section of his book devoted to exploring the civic persona of Charlotte, North Carolina, Applebome makes a fleeting reference to Dallas. In passing, Applebome notes that Dallas is Charlotte's "evil twin to the west."

Pete, what are you trying to tell us here?
Searching the text for clues, we found this quote: "Charlotte is ninety percent foam and ten percent beer." So this is about froth? Hell, Dallas can out-froth a gaggle of Tarheels any day of the week. Buzz offers as proof D magazine, SMU, Bill Keever, the Mavericks, and the entire Channel 5 news team. As lighter-than-air cities go, Dallas is at least 180 percent foam.

All the schmooze that's fit to print
It was obvious from the outset that journalism would play only a minor role in the Great Newspaper Fracas of Arlington. The skirmish between The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for dominance of the mid-cities wasteland is all about marketing, with the two papers matching each other bow for scrape in efforts to suck up advertising dollars from all the real estate agents, chain restaurants, and car dealerships. Since probing news stories just rankle advertisers, both papers have resorted to carpet-bombing Arlingtonians with stories on every Eagle Scout award and school-lunch menu in town.

But even Buzz was amazed by the latest escalation in the efforts to schmooze the business community. Last week, the Arlington Star-Telegram joined in the gushing coverage as Richard Greene stepped down after 10 years as mayor. Then, the paper promptly hired Greene as vice president of community relations. That's about as subtle as, say, a major law firm with interests in the downtown arena putting the mayor of Dallas on its payroll.

God knows what the AS-T is paying Greene, but apparently the influential ex-mayor's contacts and political heft are considered worth the price in potential ad revenue.

Buzz senses a trend in the offing as other newspapers rush to hire hometown hucksters. We figure The Dallas Morning News will soon hire ex-councilman and admitted felon Paul Fielding, since he comes cheap and the News can always use help on zoning issues.

As a purely defensive measure, the Dallas Observer is considering going after councilman Al Lipscomb as soon as he steps down or gets indicted. We always wanted to be a minority business, and we hear Al can get us a smokin' deal on janitorial service.

--David Pasztor

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David Pasztor