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It’s A Jungle In There: Dollar Day Sets Off A Zoo Stampede

A Davis

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Celebrating Thanksgiving's eve animal-style, the magic of lip dubs and more.

Think the mall parking lots are going to be a zoo on Friday? Just check out the real thing today.

It’s Dollar Day at the Dallas Zoo.  Admission for everyone is $1. And that means a stampede of kids out of school, relatives in town for Thanksgiving and minivans trying to get off I-35E at the Marsalis exit.

Officials urge zoo-goers to take the DART Red Line. It lets you off at the main gate. This year, there’s a new remote parking lot for DART riders: Reunion Lot E at Memorial Drive and Hotel Street downtown.  That’s next to Union Station where you can catch the train.

NBC 5 charted the crowds at the zoo's last Dollar Day in July. Today, The zoo’s open until 4 p.m. – when, presumably, the turkeys and all the other critters will give thanks for some peace and quiet.

-- BJ Austin

Lip Dub Mania: From Afghanistan To Arlington

In this season of traditions, few are as ubiquitous (make that YouTube-iquitous) as the “lip dub.” The online video source is littered with ’em – a quick search turns up 139,000 matches.

NPR’s “Monkey See” blogger Linda Holmes defined the phenomenon last summer this way:

A lip dub, in theory, isn't much more than people lip sync-ing to recorded music, but it's fair to say YouTube has transformed it into something of a competitive sport.

Classics of the genre include the city of Grand Rapids’ eye-popping take on “American Pie,” American soldiers in Afghanistan spoofing a Miami Dolphins cheerleader take on “Call Me Maybe,” and even “public radio dorks go Gaga,” as in Nina Totenberg doing Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” Really.

The latest entry in this hypercompetitive field comes from James Martin High School in Arlington, which just filmed its third annual, one-take, 4,000-person video that’s loaded with 12 minutes of (among other things) lip syncing, lab experiments, wakeboarding down stairs and, of course, dancing goats. Really.

-- Rick Holter & Justin Martin

Sheriff: Simple Message, Complicated Problem

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez says she isn’t sure which is why she and officials from 12 North Texas law enforcement agencies once again had to hold a pre-holiday press conference this week.

“We keep saying this over and over,” the sheriff says. “What we’re trying to tell you is if you drink don’t drive. Simple message.”

Valdez says Dallas County is going to back up the rhetoric with some muscle this holiday season. 

A federal grant will allow her to deploy more deputies to watch for drunk drivers, and her agency is among those enforcing the “no refusal” rule.

What that means is if you’re stopped for drunk driving and refuse a breathalyzer or alcohol blood test, the arresting officer will get a warrant and have a blood sample taken anyway.

Here’s a sobering statistic for all drivers headed home for the holidays:  The Centers for Disease Control says an average drunken driver has driven drunk 80 times before a first arrest.

-- Shelley Kofler

Frequent Flyer Smiles For American Airlines

First the president of the pilots union invokes the spirit of Braveheart in urging his members to approve a proposed contract with American Airlines.

Now The Onion wades into the American bankruptcy quagmire with this shocking revelation: Struggling American Airlines To Shutter Air Passenger Service To Focus On 'American Way' Magazine.

Proving that, at least occasionally, fiction is stranger than truth. But just barely.

-- Rick Holter

Holy Mole!

The Pilgrims might not’ve had a side of spicy, chocolaty goodness with their turkey, but a lot of Texans do it right. Though, as BJ Austin finds in her tribute to the Thanksgiving power of mole, it can take days to do it right.

And if you’d prefer some more classic Turkey Day cooking advice, consult Morning Edition’s kitchen visit with Cooks Illustrated’s Chris Kimball. He dopes out a meal that Julia Child would be proud of. As the late legend would’ve said, “Bon appetit!”

-- Rick Holter