How to Contribute to the Dallas Observer

We have a nice little staff here at the Observer, but sometimes we need some side action. Here's how you might be able to help.

We accept freelance pitches for stories of all shapes and sizes. Specifically, we're looking for:

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Local Blogger Deeply Regrets Riding Bicycle Straight Into Patch of Wet Cement

I'm not going to say whether my bike ride this morning, straight into a patch of freshly laid concrete, was an intentional but poorly executed attempt to leave leave an indelible mark on University Park (think a child's sidewalk hand print, except with no hands and one ass), or whether it was purely an act of buffoonery, just another in a string of humiliating cycling fails. I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to decide.

It's not important. What is important is that I now realize that it was wrong. Because even though the gaggle of construction workers huddled around the nearby cement truck put on a brave face, going so far as to laugh and give an appreciative (or mocking?) whistle, it couldn't have been easy to see their morning's work ruined by some douche on a bike. To them, I say sorry.

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Stephen Colbert Approves of the Dallas Safari Club's Plan to Hunt the Endangered Black Rhino

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On Tuesday, we brought you news that the Dallas Safari Club is going to help save the endangered black rhino by auctioning off the chance to shoot one.. Stephen Colbert for one thinks that's a fantastic idea. He said so on TV last night. Pay special attention to the Dallas Observer screengrabs.

A Note from Our Managing Editor Regarding the Use of "Metroplex" and Other Terms of Regional Endearment

Occasionally our long-time managing editor, Patrick Williams, sends emails to the staff lauding their prose, gently encouraging them, and otherwise helping them along in their journeys as reporters, writers and, well, people. Today was one of those days.

I share this with you because you, as readers and commenters, deserve to join us in bathing in his love and support.

The email, in its entirety:

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Poll: Which Dallas Observer Writer is a "Snarky, Superior, Angry Bitch?"

Hang on to your hats, everybody, because I'm about to give you a super-duper exciting glimpse into the inner workings of the Dallas Observer. We get a lot of email from our readers. Some of it comes directly to our various email addresses, but a lot of it goes to a general account. (I have no idea why. When I said "inner workings," I meant "vague overview").

Our lovely editorial assistant, Catherine Downes, has the joyous task of reading all that mail and figuring out who it's meant to go to. Sometimes it's pretty clear: "Dear, Eric," "To the editor," "all you jackasses better listen here and listen good," etc.

But occasionally we get an email whose intended recipient we just can't figure out. Since it worked so well for Reddit, we're going to crowd source our investigation: Which writer was the following irate email intended for?

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The Dallas Observer Has a New App

Today marks the arrival of our new and improved Dallas Observer app, your pocket guide to the city and direct line to our always fair-and-balanced take on things. It features:

- Event listings and concert calendars searchable by date, artist, neighborhood, venue or genre
- Restaurant listings searchable by cuisine type and neighborhood
- Access to daily blogs for updates on local news, politics, music, food and arts
- Editors' picks of the best things to do and reviews from our writers
- Slideshows of local nightlife, concerts and events
- Access to Voice Daily Deals spotlighting terrific deals from local events and merchants

I've spent some time with it, and it's a pretty seamless way to access our many, many buckets of diverse content. If you're so inclined, download it from iTunes or Google Play. And if you have any problems with it, email me directly and I'll pass your concerns on to someone smarter than me.

Thanks, as always, for your patronage.

Things Are Going to be Slow Around Here For a Few Days

Party wisely, folks.
And by "slow" we mean dead. And by "few" we mean four. We'll rouse ourselves from our Christmas stupor again on Wednesday.

Until then, you'll have to find another way to infotain yourself. Better yet, go spend time with family. Don't like your family? Okay, then go hang out with your cat. You don't like cats either? Has it occurred to you that your heart just might be two sizes too small?

See you next week.

We Just Made Our Commenting System Even More Awesome Than it Totally Was

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It's safe to say that Livefyre, that fancy new commenting system we rolled out four months ago, has been an unqualified success. Sure, there were some technical hiccups at the beginning and some ongoing cries of anguish from the comment section, but what you haven't seen are the mountains of fan mail -- thoughtful, hand-written missives in real stamped envelopes -- that litter our desks. I really love how my typos are etched in stone and can't be edited! they say. How much did you pay for this thing? Not enough, I'll tell you that!

Still, even perfect can get perfecter. So starting today, you can embed things from Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube and Spotify. You can also add links and -- we're pretty sure this one will revolutionize the Internet -- bold, italicize and/or underline text.

Otherwise, all the features you have come to know and love -- the anonymity, the seamless interface, etc. -- are there. Except for the typos. In a shameless pander to our online correspondents, you can now edit your posts. In other words, you'd better get busy. You've got four months of typos to correct.

The Dallas Observer Has New Owners; Village Voice Media, Backpage Split

The new company's new logo.
The longtime owners of the Dallas Observer have sold the paper and its 12 Village Voice Media sister publications to a group of VVM executives, creating a new holding company and cutting ties with, the controversial classified advertising company.

So: We have new owners, but the same old bosses. Which I think means we're not all getting fired tomorrow. We'll let you decide whether that's good news or bad.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but I would not be surprised if there were several barrels of scotch involved.

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Meet the Dallasites Who Made Forbes' List of Wealthiest Americans

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Ah, the good ol' days.
Every year, the wealth fetishists over at Forbes compile an exhaustive list of the 400 richest Americans. It's a rarefied club, whose admittance requires an aggregate worth in the billions. Not surprisingly, a number of Dallasites made the cut -- 16 in fact.

They range from oldies-but-goodies like Ross Perot, T. Boone Pickens and Harold Simmons, along with a few you've probably never heard of. May I introduce you, ladies and gentlemen, to a few members of the 0.0001 percent living among us. Remember their names because, by and large, these are the people flooding Republican Super PACs with cash in this post-Citizens United age.

Andrew Beal is apparently the richest guy in Dallas. He's number 41 on the least, and is worth some $8.4 billion. He's an investment banker who made a lot of smart moves as the economy slid into recession. Last year, he lost a federal appeals court decision, which ruled he had constructed a sham partnership to evade taxes.

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