Balls: Mr. Schutze, not only did you hit the nail on the head ("Balls for Brains," July 14), but sir, your article on the punk shows that you have something that is severely lacking in journalism today. Fucking Balls. Thank you.

Carter L. Kolodny, D.D.S.


Talkin' trash: I have never really read or even heard of your column or paper, but obviously you have something big going on to talk crap like that. You take the easy side and knock Kenny Rogers down, and use the side of the poor defenseless cameraman, but then again, the easy side. Did you ever think that the cameraman could have honored another man's request not to be taped? On top of all that, he was put on a stretcher? Sounds like another lawsuit in the making. Take advantage of a high-profile situation and make the quick buck? I think it's pathetic.

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This spineless cameraman was never touched, just his camera. And he needed a stretcher? All he saw was $$$. Kenny could have handled himself better, but he never touched the man (Ron Artest hit several people), so in hindsight, please put yourself in someone's shoes before you call them out. Kenny pushed the guy's camera, the guy thinks lawsuit, and you boring media people eat it up. What a retarded circle all around. I cheered for Kenny vs. Toronto and I will cheer for Kenny vs. all of you little media guys who think he's the big mean jock that gave you wedgies in high school!

John Hardesty


Blinded by the Light

L. Ron's minions: A couple of weeks ago out of curiosity and sheer boredom (I do live in Rowlett), my friend and I decided to explore the world of Scientology together for the first time. We went to the Center with few biases or any idea of what we were getting ourselves into. I put forth the proposition that we both use an alias to protect ourselves from future pesky recruitment letters and friendly house calls. Our story was a Scientologist's wet dream--two recovering cocaine addicts who have never really "believed" in anything, in love and looking for a faith to raise their yet-to-be-born children in.

Surprisingly, they wanted to know little or nothing about the turbulent past that led us to seek the help of L. Ron's minions. A tall, attractive foreign woman greeted us and motioned toward a piece of expensive furniture. She told us about the short tour, the following informational video, and then she dropped the name of a certain overexposed celebrity lunatic whom I can't bear to identify.

Our tour guide looked like a token college dropout with a lazy eye and a tendency to look up when speaking to others. He stood my friend and me in front of a huge interactive screen, which can only be described as the most high-tech-looking shit I have ever seen in my entire 18 years of life. A heartfelt story of Hubbard's war days boomed through the earphones with a slide show of black and white photos. After about 20 minutes of this, my friend touched the screen then feigned ignorance at what had happened. "It just went off--I guess it's done," was our alibi. Lazy then proceeded to give us the grand tour.

Wide-eyed and curious, I tried to stay in character by nodding and asking questions when the time seemed appropriate. First stop was a room with desks, chairs, mostly middle-aged persons, some seniors, one kid and one sexy hipster. There were colored blocks and our guide never fully explained what was going on before shutting the door. I took it as the tank for the newbies to swim in. After peeping in on the insanely elaborate library and seeing an "auditing" session in progress, it was finally time for the video. If you guys would have stuck around long enough, I trust that the experience wouldn't have been such a laughing matter. In that small room with its two rows of chairs and solitary screen I witnessed the creepiest, most bizarre little introduction film. For a center that rounds up celebrities, the acting was worse than those elementary-school "We are the Future" productions. The main character treated us viewers kindly at first, calling us "good people," as in 'Tell these good people about books one through six," which I was told to purchase immediately following the video.

As time progressed, our hero became more threatening. He visited with a man who dismissed the entire world of psychology but not without first suggesting that all practicing doctors could use a little psychoanalysis (wink, wink) themselves. Then testimonial after fake testimonial was chucked our way in a speedy three-minute montage. Finally, our well-informed amateur actor set our minds at ease with a closing statement, which goes something as follows: "Sure, you could leave this room right now and not turn to Scientology. That choice is yours. But you might as well blow your brains out." I may have jumbled that a little, but if you don't believe me, go sit through the 44 minutes of vague explanations, insulting comments and extreme metaphors. Like this one, which I'll leave you with. "You could live the next trillion years in darkness or you could live it in the light."

And I still haven't a clue in hell as to what Scientology is.

Megan Bell


You Got Served

Shortchanged: After reading Burning Question (by Dave Faries, July 14), I feel compelled to speak out on the declining quality of service at mid-level establishments in Dallas. All too often, I hear waitstaff complaining among themselves about how "bad" the tips are on any given day. News Flash: Most of the time, the tip is a direct reflection of the quality of service the customer got.

It's sad that the average quality of service I got five years ago is now "exceptional." Whether the manager will act on complaints is a hit-or-miss option, but tipping to make a point is sure-fire.

Mark Methenitis

Via e-mail

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