Every egg matters; The little ingrates; Groucho does Iowa; Conan's feminine side; Salt in the wounds

These people will find that for most things in life, you have to be willing to make an effort to help yourself. Complaining about how the state won't overlook your crimes, no one will give you money, and you might have to move somewhere that you aren't familiar with shows their big problem is one of attitude.

Zachary Hilbun
Via e-mail

Groucho does Iowa

Robert Wilonsky mentions in his article about Groucho Marx ("A puff of smoke," June 8): "He played Carnegie Hall when he was an old man, repeating lines from his old films much as an aging rock star performs his ancient hits."

As a "test run" for his 1972 Carnegie Hall appearance, Groucho first performed this act at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, where I worked as an usher and sometimes as a school photographer while in high school and during college at Iowa State University in Ames.

A "Tom Wilhite," I believe, who was sort of the head usher and about my age, was responsible for bringing Groucho to Ames. I don't know what has become of Tom, but I heard at one point that he continued in the entertainment business, and a "Tom Wilhite" appears in connection with films in an Internet search.

Groucho said in an article about his appearance that he expected to find this young kid with corn behind his ears when he met Tom, but was surprised and pleased at his professionalism.

I wish I had bought the LP of An Evening With Groucho, which was compiled from his Carnegie Hall and Iowa State performances. But at least I saw Groucho in person (accompanied at the time by Erin Fleming) and still have these memories.

Eric Weiss

Conan's feminine side

I've been a fan of Robert E. Howard ("Howard's end," May 25) for about 30 years now. I'm sure most assume the Conan and Kull stories to be full of mindless hacking, slashing, boozing, and wenching. I'm sure several people would be surprised to find that a Conan story like "The Tower of the Elephant" is a compassionate story in which Conan feels compelled to help a sentient elephant-like being from his miserable imprisonment. The Kull story "The Mirrors of Tuzun Thule" has enough existential philosophy in it to blow many a mind. REH wrote an article called "The Beast of the Abyss" that should be mandatory reading for cat rescuers.

Thanks for printing this article. REH is definitely an author who should be appreciated by a wider audience.

Via e-mail


You wrote, "Robb Walsh, by the way, is no longer editor of the Fort Worth-based Chile Pepper magazine (Fluff, June 8). He's now at the Houston Chronicle."

Uh, no. He's at your sister weekly, the Houston Press.

David Butler
Arlington, Virginia

Salt in the wounds

I recently read your article on Veruca Salt (Preview, June 1). To get right to the point, it really pissed me off. I realize it's a free country and you can say whatever you want, but do you realize how much some of those artists mean to a lot of us? I think a lot of your comments are way off base.

Has it ever occurred to you that music is more than crappy Top 40 pop hits? Artists like the Breeders, Liz Phair, and particularly Veruca Salt have been and continue to be staples in my music selection. I'm not alone! Some of this music means a lot to me and a lot of others.

So if you don't like it, go out and buy some nice pre-packaged popular garbage like Kid Rock or the Backstreet Boys or whatever shit you listen to, but leave our music alone.

And since it's obvious you haven't a damn clue, Nina Gordon and Veruca Salt have a totally different sound now, so get it together. I would have thought someone writing for a newspaper would at least listen to something before they review it. Guess I was wrong...

P.S. The Dallas Stars suck.

Via e-mail

Who the hell does Robert Wilonsky think he is?

Sure, Veruca Salt's new album sucks. Nina Gordon is no longer in the band. Has he even heard her new album? Probably not.

His idiot rantings are a joke. And to mention Jane's Addiction in that article, those guys are icons of American music. Being a successful artist has nothing to do with Top 40 one-hit wonders. Obviously, the Dallas Observer works closely with the McJobs program...

Derek Rogers

Who are these 1,000-plus fans who cram into small venues to see Veruca Salt? I'm sure these people aren't there to hear "Seether" and go home. Granted, they aren't selling out arenas across the globe, but if "selling out" is your definition of a quality musician, you'd better get your head examined. The difference between Veruca Salt and, say, Limp Bizkit is the passion. Do you think Limp Bizkit cares about their fans? You think they write music from their heart and soul? Um, I don't think so.

I think you should go listen to American Thighs before you throw out Veruca Salt. It is one of the finest-crafted pop masterpieces of the decade. Veruca Salt can easily be considered the best female rock artists of all time.

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