News & Notes: Atlanta vs. Dallas, Tilton's Comeback, Recalling Taylors Books and More

For those who found this morning's paper particularly dissatisfying, here are some other Sunday stories with that taste particularly local:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
begins its "Atlanta Forward" series this morning by comparing and contrasting that city with ours, a not-uncommon occurrence, and concluding: We win. Since it's available solely to subscribers, a few of the highlights:

Dallas has added 73,000 jobs in the two years since the recession officially ended, according to federal data. Atlanta lost 42,200 jobs during the same period. ... Dallas gets the Super Bowl. Charlotte gets the Democratic National Convention. Tampa gets the Republicans. Meanwhile, Atlanta is losing a hockey team. ... Atlanta has struggled for years to assert its legal rights to Lake Lanier. Meanwhile, North Georgia hasn't built any reservoirs in the past five decades. Compare that with Dallas, where land is being bought for reservoirs that will take care of the metro area for decades. Speaking of lessons from Dallas: In a 2003 referendum, suburban Denton County voted to shift some tax money to pay for commuter buses and light-rail transit. That 21-mile line opened last month.
Also from The AJC: Former University of Georgia's football coach Jim Donnan, a hall-of-famer, is embroiled in allegations he and the missus were "responsible for the initiation and operation of a far-reaching Ponzi scheme," one that cost more than 100 investors $27 million. Among those who lost money: former Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer. ...

Speaking of names from the past, how 'bout this one: Robert Tilton. The Calgary Herald examines the new breed of "intervangelists" (I dunno ... he did the Chariots of Fire score?) who've taken the virtual airwaves and comes across that most familiar of faces, who's been dispatched all the way to Tulsa. That's where Tilton runs Success N Life (or "SNL"), his latest attempt at a career resurrection. But Ole Anthony's bestest friend can't run from his sordid past:

Robert Tilton was a Dallas-based televangelist who led a massive airwave flock in the 1980s and early '90s, until his empire collapsed under financial scandal. In his heyday, Tilton had a habit of pausing in his sermons, squeezing his eyes shut and then rearranging his face into a look of wideeyed cartoon joy when divine inspiration arrived.

Online pranksters strategically dubbed extravagant flatulence sound effects into his video sermons, turning Tilton -- who's now trying to make a comeback -- into a punchline.

"Most people know him best as The Farting Preacher," says Bekkering, adding that it appears Tilton may be trying to stuff the online genie back in its bottle by claiming copyright infringement. "Now he has to compete with somebody who's hijacked his image."

Man, those were good times. Weren't they? I wish there were a second part. Oh, you say there is? But there couldn't be a third, fourth and fifth installment. That'd be way too much to ask. It's not? Bless you, child. ...

Let's clear the air by rolling down the windows during this trip down Amnesia Lane. Our destination: Taylors Books, whose heyday is recalled by a former employee in this flashback prompted by the shuttering of Borders. Writes ToddT:
One of the best jobs I ever had was working in customer service at an old-style bookstore which was based in Dallas, Taylors Books. Taylors had about ten locations in the Dallas area, and they had an admirable, though ultimately deadly, philosophy about bookselling.

Mike Taylor, the son who ran the company during the brief period I worked there in the early 90's, said it best, "We believe in the full-price value of the books we sell. We are not like other companies who focus on bestsellers and are not able to find the books on the shelf when they need them. We want the books to be there, and we want our employees to be experts in our customers need."

Coincidentally, during a trip to the Half-Price mothership two weeks ago, I bought something originally purchased at a Taylors for $4.95: a copy of Best Seat in the House: A Seating Guide to Theaters, Auditoriums, and Arenas in Dallas/Fort Worth, which still has the Taylors pricing sticker. I felt the need to pay $3 for something my folks used to own that's wildly out of date, seeing as how the Bronco Bowl, Arcadia, Arlington Stadium, Reunion Arena and the Plaza Theatre, among others, no longer stand. Which, of course, is why I bought it. And speaking of local concert venues: Following Friday night's drunktastrophe at whatever they call Starplex these days, TMZ's reporting that Kings of Leon will make up that aborted show on September 21. If you must. ...

Or you could just save up $25,000 and buy the said-to-be-signed-and-handmade guitar Eddie Van Halen played at the AAC on January 26, 2008, his 53rd birthday. That sounds like a better way to spend your time. Or money. Or anything.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky