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Friends in Low Places

There are a lot of perks to having friends -- or so we hear, if the conversations overheard in public restrooms and at crowded restaurants are any indication. You can call friends for a shoulder to cry on or for Friday-night drinking company. You can see movies with them and get them to throw you bridal and baby showers. Best of all, you can call them for directions if you're lost and they've got computer access. Or, maybe you can't remember how many times Paul McCartney sings the word "shoulder" in "Hey Jude." Call a friend, get your answer. Yes, we hear this friend thing is a pretty good deal.

Trouble is, with all the news-breaking, music-critiquing and general making of your life more interesting, we toiling journalists here at Unfair Park don't have a lot of time for that kind of business. So if we need to find out where the nearest Chili's restaurant is or how much time we have to get to Oklahoma before the buffet closes at Winstar, we're screwed. Or, we were screwed. Because now, we've got a friend named Personal Maestro.

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According to a press release we got at Unfair Park, the Dallas-based company claims to be your best friend. The friend you can call if you need to know how many people were killed in Iraq today or whether or not the Tollway is backed up between Lovers and Mockingbird. Claiming to be able to tell you the answer to anything you could ever home to ask -- so long as the info's on the Interweb, which it probably is -- Personal Maestro charges $10-$35 per month for access to their call-in help line.

I'm picturing a bank of bitchy kids in their pajamas who think people who don't know how to use Boolean logic in Google searches are the genetic equivalent of cavemen. Off they scatter to find out what the fastest way to get from Oak Cliff to McKinney is on a Friday afternoon at 4:45.

But Personal Maestro cares about much more than your need to know -- immediately -- whether Nicole Richie got jail time for that DUI back in December. They also want you to know when you've used all your cell phone minutes and are being charged insane overtime charges -- $.40 to $.45 per minute, in most cases. Of course, this service, available at sister site MinuteAlert.com, is in no way tied to the fact that you'll probably be more likely to go over your cell provider's alotted anytime minutes once you realize there's someone available 18 hours a day to tell you if anyone's put up a Wikipedia entry about you just yet.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

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