Don't feed on Christ's flock: Thanks for Lisa Singh's article " Fool's Gold " (November 16). It is a devastating portrait of a second-rate flimflam man who, obsessed with building monuments to his own magnificence (if I may crib a line from W.B. Yeats), reveals that he has no magnificence to commemorate.
Gary Reeder comes across like a small-time parasite, which I am sure is what he is. However, being the helpful kind of guy I am, I am willing to give Mr. Reeder a little advice: Don't feed on Christ's flock. They already have a lot of claims on their limited incomes. Instead, take a page from Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, a truly world-class shyster, and start your own religion. Then target Hollywood. The place is a roost for much fatter chickens than the neighborhood church can boast. Go pluck them. Besides, they will believe damn near anything. Most of them are Democrats.
In all the wrong places: There has been lots of negative press in the last couple of years about women in prison posting ads on the Internet (" Bad Girls ," November 16). As one of the men who has tried my hand at writing to a few of them, I have some insights to share. Most (95 percent) of the women pictured on the Web are "scam queens" who are trying to raise their standards of living a little bit while they are waiting to get out. However, a small handful of women truly do want a sincere, loving relationship with a caring partner when they are released. Clues: Ask for specifics. If they will not tell you exactly what they did, when, where, etc., don't write back. The "honest" ones won't mind telling you up front what they did. (The lady I am currently writing even provided me with copies of her court records and prison documents that verify the info she gave me in her letters.) But if you hear sob stories asking for money to help "pay for the lawyer" (or other things), run for your life.
The Web site featured in your article (Meet-an-inmate.com) is one of the better sites out there, because the Webmaster (Arlen) will pull ads from women if he receives tips that they have not been honest about their information, or if someone sends him something showing that the lady in question is probably running a scam. And Arlen sends alerts to all his subscribers letting them know that "this lady lied," etc.
I wrote to about 20 different women before I found a lady that would be honest with me. She will be up for parole soon, and we are looking forward to trying to build a life together. So it is possible, but those that are inclined to go this route need to be very cautious and ask direct, pointed questions. If the lady is worth the time and effort, she will be honest in return.
Chili story: Excellent story by John MacCormack on Terlingua and chili (" High Spoons ," November 23). And it was historically correct. There was quite a collection of talent among our small group in the early years and some great idea men, principal among them Tom Tierney. I'm proud to have been among that first group of Dallas newsmen who created the event. I visited last year for the first time in 30 years and attended both cookoffs. I liked the Tolbert version a lot better. It was more like the original and the real thing.
It's that simple: Wilonsky is smoking crack if he thinks " Unbreakable is, in some ways, a far better film than The Sixth Sense ..." (" Call Him 'Security,' " November 23). Maybe film critics are supposed to take risks or "zig" when the general public "zags," but he couldn't be more wrong about this movie. And maybe to a depressed, angst-ridden fanboy this movie displayed "emotional resonance," but I don't recall being moved to do anything but check my watch. Where was Willis' "remarkable, wrenching performance"? He looked exactly how I felt--thoroughly bored throughout. Look, everyone I know has given it a "thumbs down." That would be opposed to everyone I know giving The Sixth Sense a "thumbs up." I'll never trust another Wilonsky movie review. It's that simple.
No one like her: Thank you for marking the great loss of the Dallas Visual Art Center's Katherine Wagner (" Ciao, Bella ," November 23), an irreplaceable advocate for Dallas artists and the person who's done more than any other individual to kick-start my career.
James Michael Starr
Prince, the genius: I really enjoyed your article on Prince ( Music listings , November 30). I, too, was introduced to this genius way back in 1979. I knew then that this guy was something we have not seen before musically. As for the '90s, let's just say times have changed. They say everything goes in circles. If so, I wish we'd hurry up and make a 360-degree revolution. I'm still waiting for Prince to release that one statement record that sets the bar so high that mainstream audiences have to take notice.
Take me with you: Thank you for a wonderful report. If more journalists felt the same as you, Prince would still be as popular as in 1984. I have seen three of the shows on this tour and 30 overall, and you should be there when this one comes. You won't be disappointed. It will be all old stuff, but Prince has so much energy these days, he seems only 25, not 42.
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