Toe the whine
I guess your sports columnist, Robert Wilonsky, got a late Christmas present when the Cardinals derailed the local NFL team. I've enjoyed his ravings against the more hypocritical players (and owner Jones), particularly Deion "The Toe" Sanders.

Why would Dallas' only daily choose His Holiness as Cowboys MVP this year? What a joke! Sanders was a big reason the Cowboys went down the tubes this year. Partly because of his high salary, the Irving Cowboys can't afford good players at a lot of other key positions. Then he goes down on a questionable toe injury and can't seem to get it fixed until six weeks later for the playoffs after the team has lost momentum. Then he has the gall to blast his teammates for not putting out maximum effort. Where was he those six weeks when the Cowboys were going downhill? Would Staubach or Aikman or Smith be out so long for a toe injury? Hell no!

Sanders is a wimp, and it's an insult to all thinking Cowboys fans that Dallas' lone daily chose him as MVP.

Via e-mail

Elvis fans unite
Mr. Zac Crain: I'd like to think you are a professional journalist, but after reading your piece on Elvis I think you're not ["Long dead, The King," January 7]. The only reference about Elvis you used to produce this "writing" must have been Albert Goldman's book Elvis.

Roger van Luyken
The Netherlands

I just wanted to reply to your tacky article on Elvis Presley. I am a fan, and I take offense at your loose attempt at comic relief. It was not humorous, and I think it really showed the immaturity of the writer.

If this is the only way you can get a laugh, best of luck to you. You are obviously a Marilyn Manson fan or something close. By the way, Elvis never ate a jelly doughnut! Another bad joke that got spread! Elvis is still loved, and recently "sold out" the Radio City Music Hall in New York with the show Elvis--The Concert. If you are interested in more info on this show, then go to his Web site at EPE Enterprises. Best of luck at your comedy career--you'll need it! I'll leave you with an Elvis quote: "Don't knock him son, you never stood or walked in that man's shoes, or saw things through his eyes."

Via e-mail

The article by Zac Crain is obviously written in poor taste, by a poor writer. Elvis Presley is the greatest recording artist who ever lived. He has earned 112 gold records, and has sold over a billion records worldwide. The Beatles are in second place with a mere 60 gold records.

Elvis worked and toured harder than any performer, giving over 1,100 concert appearances the last seven years of his life.

Yes, Elvis is dead, but he is still missed by millions of people and deserves more respect than what Zac Crain wrote in his article. Long Live the King!

Kevin Pate
Via e-mail

Tantrum-free zone
Thank you for the feature on Will Clay ["Requiem for a sax player," January 7]. The wedding and reception in 1980 was a truly memorable experience. Being held in an old Dallas warehouse, it was the best performance art of its time.

Folks who write in to complain about music and art reviews should remember that ideas, opinions, and influences are wide-ranging. Some people can quote the birth and death years of Elvis Presley while others can speak of Frank Sinatra in reverential cadences. There are others who cannot. I am one of them. I've been more influenced by Beck's grandfather Al (1927-1995) than by Beck himself. I've often been apprehensive about writing in to comment on a feature article (even after glaringly incorrect information about John Cage, for instance) precisely because of the faith that most people with sufficient interest will be able to do the research and find out for themselves. So, please consider that reviews are just opinions and one can gauge the tenor of the review based on what has gone before. If a reviewer is just plain wrong about something, then constructively enlighten him or her--don't throw a tantrum. It will make life (and reading) much more enjoyable for the rest of us who take life sincerely, but not seriously.

Rod Stasick
Via e-mail

Thanks for the well-written and honest retrospective on Will [Clay]. As his brother, I was only able to stand back and watch the course of his life as his grasp fell just short of the dreams he wanted. He was a gifted artist who never saw his own gifts clearly, and I feel his loss deeply. He really did give it his best, but sometimes even that is not enough.

Byron Howes
Carrboro, North Carolina

Hick Chicks kick
The Dixie Chicks deserved all the nominations that they received [Buzz, January 7]! They've worked long and hard to get Wide Open Spaces triple platinum. There are a lot of groups out there now that have been out there for ages, and they're just getting noticed now. Where were the Spice Girls before they got big? They might have been a made-up group, but they still had to practice before they made it big...I'm not comparing the Spice Girls to the Dixie Chicks, because well, the Dixie Chicks have talent. They know how to sing, and they know how to play instruments like champions.

The Dixie Chicks may have been out for a while, but they're just making it big now. There are a lot of musicians out there who would die for what they have now. I'm just sorry that they weren't noticed before. They deserved it.

Via e-mail

Cutting commentary
Thank you for your fascinating history of the knife and other implements, both military and culinary ["Rough edges," December 24]. Without such an erudite prologue, I doubt any of us morons would have been able to appreciate the writer's irritation and annoyance over the fact that (if I may be allowed to paraphrase) the restaurant served him a tough steak, and they didn't have enough sharp steak knives to go around.

Did the Dallas Observer not have enough advertisements to fill out the pages of this edition, and was poor Mr. Stuertz imposed upon to add this superfluous fluff to his article because he couldn't think of any more bad things to say about the food, service, menu covers, or decor that would amount to the necessary number of words?

By the way, any food writer living in a state that borders Louisiana should not have to invest the same amount of time it took to research the history of the knife to recognize that "chicken, shrimp, clams, mussels, and fennel-infused turkey andouille sausage resting in a richly flavored tomato-saffron rice bed" is called jambalaya.

Bill Sadin

Art for art's sake
The Volares wish to thank the Observer for including us in the year-end best-of list ["Homeward sounds," December 31]. It's truly a thrill to see our band name in the same feature as Ronnie Dawson, Legendary Crystal Chandelier, Fury III, and others we have admired for quite some time.

Robert Wilonsky's essay on the seemingly hopeless challenge facing new acts today (big giant nightmare vs. tiny obscurity) begs the question of whether an artist might prefer suffocation to drowning.

Nonetheless, muses continue knocking and musicians continue rocking, while the music industry becomes more of a trillion-dollar paper shredder than a happy trampoline. Isn't there a label somewhere that can promote new music without killing it in the process? Shouldn't there be a law against the music business? I don't want to play electric musical chairs with my album while on my soapbox. I wish to express my thanks to the local writers who have shown so much enthusiasm for our recording debut. While making it in England, my concern was not about how it would be received, but the amazing support and recognition of late has reminded me that while Dallas may be an odd place to be creative in, it is a city with some of the best people you could hope to know.

Barring some kind of financial miracle, I'll keep financing my own records if I must, for myself and the 100 or so friends who bought the first one. It's expensive but worth it. Get out of our way, we're The Next Small Thing.

Bucks Burnett
The Volares

Don't get MADD
A big thanks to Ann Zimmerman and the Observer for the feature story on the trucking industry ["Highway Roulette," December 31]. It got me thinking about some of the things related to traffic fatalities.

I called the NTSA (National Transportation Safety Association) and found out that in 1997 there were 41,967 fatalities caused by traffic accidents in the United States, and as Ms. Zimmerman reported, 5,355 of these involved the trucking industry. The NTSA also reported that 38.6 percent of the 42,000 figure were alcohol-related.

Even though the alcohol-related fatalities overshadow the trucking fatalities, it occurred to me that most, if not all, traffic fatalities are caused by either greed or stupidity, or both. I've gotten the impression that MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) and the rest of the moral majority in this country somehow find all the non-alcohol-related fatalities "acceptable," but drunk-driving fatalities are the "crime of the century." If a person is killed in a traffic accident, what difference does it really make if alcohol was involved?

I'll tell you the difference. The anti-drunk-driving bandwagon is a very convenient bandwagon to jump on for the self-righteous do-gooders of our society. I guess it's a lot easier to gauge a person's blood-alcohol level than it is to gauge their stupidity or greed level or their fitness to be behind the wheel of a vehicle.

W.R. Luster


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