Will it call collect?
In another sign of the collapse of American civilization, Buzz received an information packet on a new communications service being offered locally by The Computer Services Group in Dallas.

What's offered is a high-tech solution to that time-consuming, tedious, not to mention incredibly annoying, task of calling Mom. Can anything be worse? You need to eat better and quit smoking. When are you coming out to see me? Who are you dating? Remember, Ms. Wisenheimer, no matter how old you get, you're still my baby.

To quote a comic strip: Arrrgh!
But if you don't call, it's guilt city, right? She did, after all, give you life. And fed and clothed you for decades. Put you through several years of higher education. It's just that she's so irritating and so, well, out of it.

Here's where Computerized Monitor Service (the name alone conveys warmth and caring) comes in. Delightful bundles of wires and silicon chips will call your folks regularly for you! While you're out power-lunching or home abusing Prozac, a computer "will telephone anyone who is living alone or in questionable health to confirm his or her well-being."

As the brochure points out, "Caring relatives and friends, who perhaps should inquire every day, frequently find it difficult or impossible to do so. Now Computerized Monitor Service does it for them, providing peace of mind and help if needed." (Buzz wonders if the computer runs the risk of being set up on a blind date with one of Mom's friends' computers.)

You're thinking: Sounds great, Buzz, but can I afford this kind of electronic insulation from my Madonna? We refer you to the brochure: "Everyone can afford to contact their loved ones every day."

If the color photos of happy retirees don't convince you, listen to this anonymous endorsement: "My mother is 89 years old. She has a bad leg, bad hip, high blood pressure, and cataracts in her eyes, but she thinks she's still 19 years old. (Buzz gets misty-eyed at this point.) She comes and goes all the time, but I still wanted to check up on her. I didn't always take the time to call her every day, so I asked Computerized Monitor Service to do it for me."

Why wait till Mother's Day?

Sportswriters can read?
Buzz continues to marvel at just how petty the 10,000-pound gorilla, a.k.a. The Dallas Morning News, can be toward its anemic, quasi-competition to the west, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (although we've gotten used to it.)

In a June 24 scoop, S-T sportswriter Richie Witt revealed what has become a much-ballyhooed ultimatum issued by Dallas Maverick guard Jason Kidd to team management: Trade teammate Jim Jackson, or risk losing Kidd. As is its way, the DMN failed to credit Witt or the S-T in its day-after attempt to catch up. "Kidd magnified the issue," wrote DMN sportswriter Brad Townsend in the June 25 edition, "by saying in a Monday newspaper report that either he or Jackson has to be traded." A Monday newspaper report? Which newspaper might that be? Thrifty Nickel? Park Cities People? The Idaho Statesman, perhaps? Just wondering.

Can they count the Caddies?
Speaking of this crazy town--referred to as "the city that shouldn't have been" by at least one travel guide--Buzz was fascinated by the "Seen at..." section of a recent Park Cities edition of the DMN. Among the usual blue-nose society crap that Park Cities folks seem to delight in wallowing in, a series of photos were included of an event at the Dallas Country Club called "La Fiesta de la Seis Banderas." (That's the "Six Flags Party" to the rest of us.)

It presumably celebrates, as Texans never tire of recollecting, the wonderful mix of cultures that makes this glorious state so, well, glorious.

But not necessarily the Dallas Country Club, which--and correct Buzz if we're behind the curve--still has yet to become a veritable melting pot of Dallas' many cultures.

Another cat fight
Things got a little hot at a recent Fort Worth City Hall forum: A couple hundred citizens gathered to discuss the police department, which many complained has harassed African-Americans with its "zero tolerance" program targeting high-crime neighborhoods for extra scrutiny by police patrols.

Some angry participants, according to the Star-Telegram story about the forum, shouted about allegations of police racism and went so far as to threaten to call in Dallas' own New Black Panthers to help with Fort Worth's police-community relations.

Buzz bets Dallas Independent School District board president Bill Keever would be willing to provide a bus--it would just take a station wagon, really--to aid Fort Worth in its quest for better neighborhoods.

Buzz knows third person
Buzz has to take a stand against this irritating trend where one speaks of one's self in the third person. First it was Queen Elizabeth II, then Bob Dole--now, every Tom, Dick, and Samaki is doing it.

Sportswriters, not exactly noted for knowing their way around a dangling modifier, are even starting to notice. In a recent story on the Mavericks drafting forward Samaki Walker, DMN sportswriter Brad Townsend quipped, "Walker displayed a cockiness Dallas often lacked on the court last season. The 20-year-old Walker also likes to refer to himself in the first person."

Forget, for a moment, that most people refer to themselves in the first person. The News quoted Walker as saying: "I think they definitely will be happy with Samaki Walker. I know Samaki Walker."

It's been a long time since eighth-grade English class, but Buzz thinks the News meant to needle Walker for using third person--an almost out-of-body experience in third person at that.

In any case, Buzz thinks it's got to stop.

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