And how fitting for a Dallas publication to imply that there's something wrong with a preference for lunching at home. For those who have worked hard at making home a place worthy of enjoying, what, exactly, is wrong with dining in peace away from the obtrusive eyes of small-minded people who feel you must be "seen" at Star Canyon or Joey's for every meal to be worthy of the envy that every "true" Dallasite craves? I think it's a shame when a publication looks down its nose at its readers, because without us, who are you?

John Arnsdorff

Your recent "Best of Dallas" issue was an entertaining and amusing read about the many offerings of the city's great eateries, entertainment, services, and more. It was with great surprise that I read your comments on The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The writer made two errors of fact, and several assumptions that are not correct.

Assuming the writer was referring to a "family of four" as being two adults and two children, he states the cost for enjoying the gardens as $25. In fact, the most a family would pay is $20, with two adults paying $6 each, two children ages 6-12 paying $3 each, and a parking fee of $2, with any children younger than 6 being admitted free. These fees are comparable to an average moviegoing experience. And as 10,000 people are already aware, the best value is an annual membership of $50 allowing free admission and parking year-round.

These fees enable this organization to operate a safe, family-oriented attraction and respite without burdening the taxpayers of Dallas. Less than 15 percent of our annual operating costs come from the City of Dallas, while the majority is derived from corporate and private contributions and admission fees.

I'm also afraid we should be disqualified from your category of "Best public park," as we are a public botanic garden and arboretum, not a public park. An institution of our founding and mission charges us with the responsibilities of education, research, and display, as well as a recreation site of art and beauty.

As a 66-acre garden created to educate visitors from North Texas and around the world, it is our responsibility to exemplify all types of gardening capabilities. The writer quips that we display a garden as a "how not to" when, in fact, we are teaching Texans "how to." The Palmer Fern Dell, which is located on less than one acre of our 66-acre property, is equipped with the most economical mist system available in commercial use. It utilizes spray at a minute size of .005 microns at quarter-hour intervals in order to display and show one of the largest fern collections in Texas, as well as one of the largest azalea collections in the United States.

Oh, and by the way, on xeriscape, The Dallas Arboretum currently displays and promotes every shade tree, ornamental tree, shrub, perennial, and ground cover recommended for a xeriscape garden by the City of Dallas Water Operations Control Center.

Jill Magnuson, Director of Public Relations
The Dallas Arboretum

This letter is in regard to the "Best of Dallas." Saying Tripping Daisy is one of the reasons Dallas had a bad music scene is unbelievably ridiculous. The first time I heard them, I thought they kicked ass. I've seen them many times and met them all, and they are the most down-to-earth guys. Considering they swept the 1993 Dallas Observer Music Awards just goes to show this magazine is purely hypocritical. One year they rock. The next they don't. Whatever!

One past article in the Observer was about the UFOFU and Tripping Daisy show in Commerce. It said the crowd barely noticed the change from UFOFU to Daisy. My friends and I were the only ones standing for UFOFU, and we sure noticed the change, seeing as how we were pushed five feet front and back, left and right, every five minutes. Obviously, if you can sell out a show or two, something is working. The next time you want to exclude Tripping Daisy from the best-band-in-the-world list, do your research. They rock and I will love them forever.

Mindi Stewart

Miss you, too
I moved here in July, carrying with me all my material possessions, three issues of the Observer, and no regrets. Montgomery, Alabama, has its symphony, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and museums, as well as landscape, rivers with real fish, and lots of quality bluegrass music, which requires far more skill than any band with a name like Slobberbone will ever muster, should they live to be 100.

What it doesn't have is John Wiley Price, the Dallas City Council, or the Observer. The first two you can have. The latter will never be matched in these parts during my lifetime. You produce a level of journalism that is too easy to become accustomed to. I miss it.

Rick Willis

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