Those scary readers' picks
Reading the Observer's staff picks for the 1998 Best of Dallas issue [September 24] makes me not want to move away from here so much.
Reading the readers' picks does.
I saw the mention of Burger's Lake in your "Best of Dallas" issue [see "Best Place to Beat the Heat"], and I was wanting to ask you guys a question: Do you realize that the locals call that place Pee Lake? That has got to be the most vile place to take a swim. There is only one set of bathrooms on one end of the lake, and you never see anyone from the opposite side of the lake ever make the trek to them. No lie. Spent a great deal of my childhood there--just thought I'd let you know.
Hell, I'd swim in White Rock Lake before I took a dip in that "golden" pond.
Benjamin D. Davila
Thank you for the kind mention in your "Best Place To Be Gored By A Longhorn" award. The Dallas County Sheriff's Posse is made up of approximately 50 certified peace officers who volunteer their time as a mounted "reserve" unit of the Dallas County Sheriff's Department. As part of our duties, we often assist with Western-themed functions staged in the Dallas area. This provides an excellent opportunity for us to meet and speak with children, local citizens, and tourists from around the world. Had your writer taken the time to speak with us, he or she would have learned that we donate our horses, time, and expertise to the sheriff and citizens of Dallas County. I agree that had the regular mounted unit been assisting with the Longhorn "drive," perhaps their time could have been put to better use. As to "getting gored" by a paranoid longhorn...you are eating way too much red meat.
Capt. K.C. Henry
Dallas County Sheriff's Posse
Palomino might have the "Best Wait Staff," but I would like to point out that you missed the point. It's the management that created that, not the wait staff. In the final analysis, it's the management that sets the tone, designs the "steps of service" (including the infamous "by the glass" pour), and in general does a job that everyone sees and no one recognizes.
So please, for the sake of the underpaid, early to arrive, and late to stay, give credit where credit is due. Besides, if you were wanting to get better work out of the waiters, don't give an award to the best wait staff, give it to the best waiter. The only way to fan the flames is to feed the ego.
The fact that Dallas recognizes an urban environment in which a cultural foundation and true urban characters are goals to which it should aspire is heartening to a recently transplanted Houstonian [see "Best Day Trip"]. That Dallas doesn't seem to know how to get there is telling of why that city always seems to be more about chest beating and less about substance. Houston is just a few hours away down Interstate 45, not Interstate 35, as mentioned in your article.
Now that you know the right directions to a city that has undertaken a successful downtown revitalization, does Dallas have the grounding in cultural heritage and love for the urban experience to find its own way?
Beat on the brat
I read Robert Wilonsky's article on John McEnroe ["Bringing up baby," October 1] in complete disbelief. To write an article about a sport one clearly knows nothing about takes serious gall. It is grossly apparent that Mr. Wilonsky has not watched a professional tennis match for years, because if he was a fan of the sport, he would quickly realize that John McEnroe's career is actually on a major upswing. Ask any serious tennis fan who the finest commentator in the sport is, and they would undoubtedly respond, "John McEnroe."
I was never a fan of McEnroe when he was a player. In fact, I found his complaints and stunts too distracting and sometimes offensive. But when he is calling matches, McEnroe shows himself to be a true student of the game. He understands the players and their strategies far more than anyone else in the press booth. In this role, he has demonstrated himself to be a mature gentleman with a deep respect for the sport and the players.
Further, Mr. Wilonsky overlooks the major flaw in his argument. John McEnroe does not need the senior tour to keep him comfortable. Mac's endorsements and commentating salary should provide all he needs and more. But he plays because lots of fans out there want to see him play.
Unfortunately, the tour encourages him to play up the brash part of his on-court persona, and all the commercials for this event hyped his wild behavior. Sadly, people don't pay to see great players play tennis. They want to see the personalities, and in his professional playing career, this was Mac's personality. He is a showman, and the crowds turn out for that. I, too, found his behavior unpleasant, but the tour is at fault, not Mac.
For future articles, Mr. Wilonsky should know something about the game before he writes about it. If he were a tennis fan, he would have to acknowledge that in his place in the press box, John McEnroe is the best thing that ever happened to tennis.
Pretty good story on Jurline Hollins ["The mouth of the south," September 24], but I just have to say that when she mentions she has no appetite for whites, then that comment alone makes her a racist. What she does not realize is that it's also the white people that are screwing her and the entire black population in Dallas. Jurline Hollins is only supporting the black population and their interests, but there are white folks out there that are suffering the very same indignities of racial discrimination that the black population is, so why is it that she or you can't fight City Hall and win? Because it's an evil organization that does not care about the people.
I didn't vote for Ron Kirk, I don't know who Ross Perot Jr. really is, and I don't support his agenda. You just put in your paper that the best thing ever to happen to the Dallas Mavericks was the NBA lockout, because they're one of the worst basketball teams in the last 10 years and are an embarrassment to the city of Dallas. So why are they building them a $235 million new playtoy on Stemmons Freeway at taxpayer expense when they can't even play ball? I've never been to a Mavericks or Stars game, but I'm getting charged a higher rate to stay in a hotel or motel room to fund their plaything. Do you think that's fair?
Jurline Hollins is right on one account: Just where does all the money go?
One would hope to find a more positive article on the Log Cabin Republicans' mission ["GOP to gays: Butt out," September 3] from a supposedly "alternative" paper. Do you know any group more committed to what is inherently just rather than what is easy? Perhaps even your much-loathed Dallas Morning News can give more honest reporting in this respect.
The problem lies not only in Mr. [Stuart] Eskenazi's bias, but in that of the editors. Why can't the author fess up? He's emblazoned the fact all over the bathroom walls that he's a screaming liberal, and anything that threatens his apparently recent college-dazed haze of Marxist-cannabis-utopianism must be toppled for hegemony's sake. Sure, let him act like a coward and hide behind your aprons; is he gay, is he really a leftist, or is he a member of the Christian Coalition? From his reporting, one can only suspect that he was a planted caller from Jerry Falwell's trenches.
As for reporting, I respect The Economist, an organization for which Mr. Eskenazi will never work. They have the foresight and honesty to tell you what their bias is. They have gained respect worldwide for transparent reporting. They and I believe in free trade, lower taxes, efficient and responsive governments, personal responsibility, civil (including gay) rights, and total disclosure when reporting. That's a measure that I don't think you'll achieve while I'm alive, and perhaps that's why I don't pay for your paper--except on my sewage bill.
Editor's note: Mr. Clark seems confused. He dismisses staff writer Stuart Eskenazi as a "screaming liberal," then claims he's a Jerry Falwell plant. So which is it?
Also, as a longtime Economist subscriber, I take issue with Mr. Clark's claim that the magazine offers "total disclosure." How would anyone know? The paper doesn't even disclose its writers' names.
Asbestos is bad
I read your lengthy expose on Fred Baron, "Toxic justice" [August 13]. Your story was not a fair portrayal of Mr. Baron.
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Everyone knows that asbestos is a dangerous product that can cause serious illness and death. The makers of asbestos-containing products continued to manufacture products containing asbestos and to expose their workers to asbestos dust for decades after their internal research revealed these dangers. Fred Baron built a law firm to take on this billionaire industry for the ordinary people whose lives were cut short or scarred by the greed and callous disregard of these corporate giants.
We should thank Fred Baron for vigorously representing those injured by asbestos exposure, and by doing so, giving corporate polluters an incentive not to market toxic products. Mr. Baron's work has made the world a safer place for all of us.
Clay Lewis Jenkins
An item titled "Best Place to Rat Out an Attorney" in the September 24 "Best of Dallas" issue contained several errors. The business described in the item, 1-877-MISLEAD, is not run by attorneys--nor did the operator of the business, Tom Herron, represent to the Dallas Observer that he was a licensed attorney. Furthermore, the for-profit business is inaccurately described as a "watchdog" organization. Herron describes his business as follows: "I finance litigation in civil and malpractice cases. In exchange for financing, I get a percentage of the plaintiff's recovery, if any." The Observer apologizes for the errors.