Exit Music (For a Blog Editor)



I thought for a moment about making the item just below this one my Unfair Park farewell -- just a few drops of pigs blood, then adios. But, no, not when I've been saving this: Radiohead at the Music Hall at Fair Park on March 29, 1998. For those who are and aren't going tonight -- and those who've been waiting outside the American Airlines Center since midnight.

Now, then. To the thing I've been avoiding writing about for two weeks. Of the 14,592 who've come and gone through these doors since I've been at the Dallas Observer, beginning Christmas Eve 1991, only one other got to say goodbye: Laura Miller, when she decamped to run for city council. That these guys didn't toss me out as soon as they heard the words "Dallas Morning News" says more than I ever could about the company for which I've worked since I was 23. They will even let me loiter two days longer, to buy me a farewell burger and let me clean out my office, which may take till August 21. Hell, I may even pop on tomorrow to write about the fact there's now a fourth candidate for Edwin Flores's seat. (Good Lord, is there a 12-step program for this?) But I can tell: They'd like me to move on, if only so they can. Fair enough.

I tried all day to pretend this was just another council-committee Monday, no big deal. But the small breakdown I had last night -- at 7:23, over the kitchen sink, drying dishes, lasted seven minutes, not that I noticed -- reminded me that, no, not quite. Tomorrow someone else will be charged with finding the first item of the day; the last one too. And all the rest in between. And for the first time in six years, I'll have a weekday breakfast with my son before he goes to school.

I said this earlier somewhere in the comments: If they'd let me, I'd run Unfair Park till Bob Mong hands me my News ID one week from today. It's been my thing, my everything, since March 1, 2006, and breaking up is hard to do. But Joe, Anna, Leslie, Brantley, Greg and my old friends Jim and Patrick will do great things with this blog, and this paper, in my absence. That's exactly what they all told me when they walked out of the first-ever staff meeting to which I wasn't invited this evening. As giddy as I am about what lies ahead for me at my new job overseeing Dallasnews.com, I'm also excited to see what they do with Unfair Park. Fewer items about KZEW and old buildings, I imagine. I know, right? Whew.

So now on the way to work every morning I'll drive by my childhood home, my high school and my home away from home for the last 20 years. What baggage? Anyway. See you soon, right? Just remember: I'll only be a click away. But I gotta go now. Got Radiohead tickets.
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80 comments
TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Thanks for everything you've done at Unfair Park. What you've done here has brought me back everyday and your delivery has always been warm, like I'm hearing from something from a good friend. Good luck and we'll see you around.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Oh , one last thought. Since the powers that be over there behind the wall don't allow colorful language...

Booger!

ignoreLander
ignoreLander

God speed Big Bob. It won't be the same....

Jason
Jason

Robert – I hope you can hear this over all the rest of thetalking in the room.  Everyone here isbeing so nice and wishing you luck. While I really do wish you the best of luck, I’m gonna say, “DON’T GO!”  You do the work of three, no, fourpeople.  I know all of the writers herewill do their best, just as they always have. But what Unfair Park will lack is a writer with vast knowledge ofsubjects about Dallas that is presented in a way that is almost child-like inits inquisitive way.  You’ve neverwritten a story about something with a superiority of knowledge, just presentedit like you found something and wanted to share it.  Like sitting around a coffee shop or a dinerand saying, “hey, did you know this?” or “hey, have you heard about this?” or “OMG,look what I found!” or sometimes as “You know, you really should know this (orsee this) for the betterment of a Dallas population.”

 

I’ve read your stuff since I was in High School and luckedupon you when I moved out to Los Angeles at around the same time as you. 

 

I owe a lot of my knowledge to your knowledge and I’m betterfor it.  People say, “You’re so up onstuff in Dallas” and I tell them it’s because of you and, giving credit wherecredit’s due, to the staff of Unfair Park. But mainly you.

 

Joe – I know you’ll do your best in what some might call a “replacement”for Robert.  I just don’t think you’d beable to hire just one person to replace him.  I think you’ve got a great challenge ahead inhiring and repurposing some of what Robert did as one person. 

 

But, Robert, here’s what I and, I’m sure, a few others willmiss (Joe, take note):  The insight, theknowledge, the brevity by using past story links or outside links, the historylessons, the art lessons, the architecture lessons, your love of photography, howwell you know your audience here and never being heavy-handed about youropinion but letting the readers hash it out. The list seems shorter than I would have thought it would be but I’mfinding myself at a loss for describing everything about what I think I’llmiss.  The Dallas Morning News is luckyto have you.  I know that when the timecomes there will be an emeritus title for you here at the Observer.  Don’t look back.  Look forward and just continue to make Dallasbetter. 

 

Oh, yeah!  Couple morethings.  The music.  You’re just always so spot on with greattaste.  Now’s not the time to bring up thebook but I’ll be sure to bug you later about it.  And, finally, the people who comment aroundthese parts.  You have cultivated areally great group of thinkers and moderated them properly (which I thinkshould be one of your biggest tasks over at the News – I always feel dumberafter reading some of their comments.  I’mthinking a Nick Denton-style commenting system for over there.)  Sure, there are some crazies over here butyou’ve managed to make the commenters over here part of the writing.  You always allowed a two-way conversation andresponded accordingly.  Thanks for that.

 

So, sorry for going on for so long.  You will be missed around here.

 

Sincerely.

Robbie Good
Robbie Good

Robert, thanks for everything. I can't wait to see and read your work over at the DMN. You are a fantastic asset to this city. Thank you for shining a light on the true heart and soul of Dallas. Many people have a very hard time finding it. You make it easy.

Storm_71
Storm_71

I tip my Red Ranger cap to you Bob.

Noah Jeppson
Noah Jeppson

Your writings have showcased local treasures, explained complicated civic issues, raised awareness of injustices, and highlighted the people and places that give our city soul. I've thoroughly enjoyed following and wish you the best of luck in your next endeavor.

Steve
Steve

In my preparations to leave Dallas for a new home some 2,000+ miles away, I am certain that you will remain as one of my absolute Favorite Things about Dallas, Texas.

Stay hard, Robert.   And J.K.Livin'. See you on Forest.

MattL1
MattL1

Good luck and all, Robert. It's a rare thing that somebody gets to be as influential and important to the city as you without resorting to corruption and violence. 

Either you're a notable exception or really good at covering shit up. Give 'em hell at the Morning News.

Warren Harris
Warren Harris

I'm still thinking this is a BELO conspiracy.... First Robert ... then Schutze!!!  Mark my words ... the Belo Apocalypse is coming..

Bran
Bran

I'm actually quite excited. I know the Observer and VV have their reach, but injecting some life over at the DMN is great. I'm pleased to see they're committed to righting the ship and that they'd hire someone like you to do it.

Bill Lumbergh
Bill Lumbergh

Good luck Robert.

And beware any sports coverage. Next thing you know, ESPN will come knocking.

MT
MT

Kind of wished you would have posted the breakup email you sent on behalf of Kendall to her boyfriend as a farewell.  Still your greatest work.  Guess I will have to send my tips to Rogers for the next 6 days.  Proud of my oldest friend.  Elisabeth R. would be proud.

roque guinart
roque guinart

"Mong hands me my News ID on week from today"should probably read"Mong hands me my News ID one week from today" editing error on last post? lameness Mr Wilonsky. Better make this your second-to-last.

dudebro
dudebro

Gonna miss you, Robert.  Thanks for everything you accomplished here and good luck at the DMN!

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

Unfair Park may have taken away from the print edition of the Observer, but you definitely made it an indispensable part of my day. I hope you can do the same with dallasnews.com, which holds a special place in my life but not so much lately. Mazel tov.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

I know what I do about Dallas becuase of you Robert.  sure everyone knows the touristy monuments, but the little treasures you gave us about Dallas and its history were priceless.  Good luck and Ill see ya over at the DMN

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

You're going to have to come back to me; I'm feeling a little too verklempt.  

Warren Harris
Warren Harris

Robert:

What ever you do DONT DRINK THE BELO KOOL-AID!!! it's nasty and leaves a bad taste in your mouth..  Good luck..

Pascale
Pascale

You are awesome Robert, look forward to following the new road! Best of luck with all. 

Daniel
Daniel

End of an Era. We're all poorer, at least for a week. 

Buckeye
Buckeye

Robert's honesty, respect for his readers, sense of fair play and humor will be missed.  Good luck.

Ellum08
Ellum08

Always remember Robert, that you saved the Stanley Marcus House.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Robert, we're sad to see you go...I like what you did with the place..heres hoping you knock down a few walls and make the DMN site a better place to visit, not to mention take Bob Mong and Leslie Brenner to the woodshed ;)

LaceyB
LaceyB

I think my last, long-winded bit last night was missing this...Good luck Robert! It's been epic! Your talent, and legion of fans, will continue wherever you go. I always called you a superstar, and you always told me I was wrong. Now do you believe me??

Gust
Gust

PERFECT exit music. Shake things up at the DMN. We'll be watching. 

therrick
therrick

Good luck, Robert! Your voice will be missed around here.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

There is a lot of work to be done to bring that festering pile of shit of a website into the modern age. Even if they give you a blog and just let you fix the thing, they will have come out ahead. 

On the other hand, if you think the pissing and moaning about the content and presentation was bad here, just wait until you hear what people who PAY for stuff have to say! 

I am not naive enough to think the editorial content at the DMN will ever be something I agree with. But I know there are some talented people at the DMN, who have been undeserved in the way their hard work has been presented on-line. 

I expect, over time, the presentation will improve enough for me to feel that my $10 a month is worth it.

For now, I'm just paying forward in support of you...

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Overwhelmed. Just...overwhelmed.

Now then: I never got 'round to posting this. So I'd like to begin the morning with this eBay offering of a December 4, 1957, photo of thick black smoke emanating from the top of the Mercantile -- an AP photo to which Friend of Unfair Park PeterK directed my attention late last week. I'd never seen it before, certainly never heard of this, and found it as compelling as any old photo we've ever posted to Unfair Park.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1957-D...

Yours now for the low, low price of $9.99.

Jay
Jay

They don't make ink slingers like you anymore, Wilonsky. Now scoot your tush over to that scandal sheet and make us proud!

Ed D.
Ed D.

A week from yesterday? Good, I can keep ignoring the DMN for another six days.

I do hope somebody here in Unfair Park will still be writing about Dallas history, old buildings, lost venues, and the bright future promised by all those conceptual renderings. If not, my day will free up a bit as I will no longer have to check in here quite so often.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

The best way to tell you how much this here blog has actually meant in real life, I'll just point out one thing. I met Harvey Lacey here. He a genius designer, builder, dreamer and atheist. Me a cyncial lawyer, interested in good conversation and G-d. We had a respectful exchange about religion and the guy calls me and said, people need to see this, that people can disagree, strongly, and still be cordial generous and friendly. We're now friends, and I'm reading all about him in Haiti, as he builds houses for the poor. http://harveylacey.com/wordpre...

See right there, that's what you did. You're a mensch sir. brother Bill

brett
brett

thanks for many great reads.  good luck with your bottom.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Wouldn't have been very kosher of you to sign off with the pigs blood thing - but damn funny if you ask me. Best of luck and enjoy those breakfasts with the kiddo. And let this serve as notice to the Belo brass that if they don't take good care of you there will be a huge mob carrying torches and pitchforks waiting for them.

...and get a Disqus account since you'll have some down time.

...and don't forget that you've got a Twitter account too. 

Pete
Pete

You will be missed. Great journalists don't come down the pike every day. Mazel tov.

MikeyLikesIt
MikeyLikesIt

I love me some Robert Wilonsky.  Years ago you kept me coming back to this site time after time to get information your new employer was unwilling or unable to tell me.  Besides that, you were so damn clever, charming and caustic doing it all day long, post after post.  I finally parted ways with your new employer when they wouldn't stop trying to sell me the virtues of a toll road in the river bottoms and every repug running for president dating back to Roosevelt.    

Good luck and don't lose yourself.  You're one of the good guys. 

JimS
JimS

                                    Alternativeending.

(Robert is fished out of the Trinity River by a member of theTrinity Trust in gratitude for his coverage of the opening of the Calatravabridge. He races home.)

 

 

                                      UNCLEBILLY

                      

 

                                   Isn't itwonderful?

 

               The rest ofthe crowd all greet Robert with greetings and

              smiles.  Each one comes forwardwith money. In their pockets,

               in shoeboxes, in coffee pots. Money pours onto the table –

               pennies,dimes, quarters, dollar bills – small money, but

               lots of it.Mrs. Bailey and Mrs. Hatch push toward Robert.

               More peoplecome in. The place becomes a bedlam. Shouts of

              "Gangway – gangway" as a new bunch comes in and pours out

               its money.Mary stands next to Robert, watching him. Robert

               standsthere overcome and speechless as he holds Harry. As he

               sees thefamiliar faces, he gives them sick grins. Tears

               course downhis face. His lips frame their names as he greets

               them.

 

                                     UNCLEBILLY

                             (emotionally at the

                             breaking point)

                        Mary did it, Robert! Mary did it!

                        She told a few people you were in

                        trouble and they scattered all over

                         town collecting money.  They didn't

                        ask any questions – just said: "If

                         Robertis in trouble – count on me."

                        You never saw anything like it.

 

 

               Closing shot: zooming in high above Main Street where Decherd, clenching both fists at his waist, is visible in partial silhouette in his stony tower behind a windowpane raked by frost.                                    DECHERD                                 (emotionally, for him)                                     Curses! Curses!

 

Gabe
Gabe

Saw you at the concert, I think. It was across the room. Wanted to say hi, too many people. 

The Doctor said, "Everything's got to end sometime. Otherwise nothing would ever get started."

May He make his face shine upon you (and your keyboard).   

HEY YOU, IN THE BACK
HEY YOU, IN THE BACK

Good luck and thanks. I hope you don't become a stranger to The Ticket. Stay hard, keep jammin and we'll see ya! 

Ray
Ray

As Tina Turner says... You're simply the best.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

 Awful kind, Jason -- and all who've posted here. All I can say is: Wait'n see. For me, at least, six more days feels like a lifetime. My wife is furious that I've spent the morning on the computer, posting stuff to FB and Twitter like a junkie in need of a fix. The DTs set in this morning, at 7 ...  OK, 7:30, as I slept a little later than usual. Can't wait to begin the new adventure. Now I know why I never took a day off: I just didn't want to.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Belo needs Shutze like a fish needs a bicycle

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

...not to mention makes you pee a very weird shade of blue...;)

Tim Rogers
Tim Rogers

Your formatting is a bit avant-garde for my taste, Jim, but that was pretty amazing.

Good luck to you, Robert. Mean it.

Guest
Guest

F'in awesome. Jim, will you write my closing scene someday??

Samcoats
Samcoats

The Observer does a great service in this city. You have been a large part of that. I know your independent, irreverent, and don't take yourself too seriously approach will continue in your new gig. It will greatly improve those guys. I am still impressed that you came by to see me campaigning when I was getting my head handed to me in the 2007 Mayoral campaign.Go and have fun.Sam Coats

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