Writer in progress
As a former Dallas Morning News employee who had the privilege to get to know Patricia Anthony, I found your article on her to be quite interesting ["Science friction," June 11]. I remember mornings when Pat (as I knew her) would excitedly come over to my desk to tell me about a story she was developing--or maybe about an award she was receiving. Although I have not spoken to Pat in quite a while, I know her to be an extremely passionate and dedicated writer who cares more about good storytelling than the commercial aspects of the business. And I'm glad to see that she continues to write from her wonderful heart rather than giving in to the demands of the market. My only hope is that Jim Cameron will produce Brother Termite and that it doesn't become another victim of Hollywood development hell. If it is indeed produced, it will certainly buy Pat more time and freedom to write the stories that she truly wants to tell.

Larry Postel

Bum steer
Hey, it is great that you guys are giving space to rodeo and a cowboy like Bob Blackwood ["The last roundup," June 11]. But there is a problem with the story. I don't have a clue who the Lane Smith that was a supposed world champion and killed in 1989 might be. Now there was a Lane Frost who was a world-champion bullrider, and he was killed in 1989. He was also the subject of the movie, Eight Seconds. It is a shame to have such a major error in an otherwise good article.

Billy Huckaby
Marketing Director for Cowtown Coliseum
Author, The Complete Encyclopedia of Professional Rodeo
Via e-mail

Captain Zimmerman
Over the weekend, I read Ann Zimmerman's article on D/FW Airport and thought it extremely well done with documented facts ["Is this any way to run an airport?" May 28]. She has become the metroplex's aviation expert after having done the earlier piece on Love Field. I hope she keeps up the good work. It will be interesting to see how much taxpayers would benefit if D/FW received fair rents from the airlines, rather than force concessionaires to pay the airlines' rent plus millions.

Bruce Leadbetter

Reporter Dan Michalski refers to the "comeback of fur in the fashion world," offering as an indication of fur's "comeback" the efforts of The Fur Information Council of America (FICA) to place pro-fur materials in schools. [This] is hardly the sign of a thriving fur industry ["Pelted," June 4]. It might even be viewed as a form of child abuse. Mr. Michalski also refers to an article on the "resurgence" of fur in The New York Times, whose fur-ad-filled pages make "resurgence" articles predictable, if not accurate or acceptable.

The fact is, the fur industry, as Fur World reported in May, is "in a rut" on a number of fronts. "To the surprise of many," Fur World writes, "sales of fur apparel only managed to inch up in the U.S. last year," despite an all-out blitz and a booming economy. "Industry observers assumed the wearing of fur would quickly regain wide acceptability, if not total political correctness...but it hasn't happened at anywhere near the anticipated level...A national survey of retailers done for the Fur Information Council of America showed sales moved up at a glacial pace by only 1.6% in 1997, to $1.27 billion."

It seems that fur's so-called comeback is a put-on. Claims from the fur industry about the state of the industry need to be investigated and reported with as much objectivity as the more sensational aspects of the story of fur and its foes. Readers need to know who's buying or not buying the hype, as well as the fur.

Sandra Lewis
New York Director, Friends of Animals

That [Neiman's] security guard Lewis who beat the crap out of a woman half his size is not a real man. A real man does not hit a woman, no matter what she does to him. He needed to be prosecuted, but of course, this is Dallas, and he wasn't. The grand jury was more interested in protecting the interests of a major business institution than someone exercising her First Amendment rights. Kudos to you for exposing this travesty and Lewis. If I had been an observer on the street and had seen Lewis beating a woman, I'd sure have stepped in and seen what he could do against a man--or if he just wanted to pick on women.

Via e-mail

Minor-league memories
I read with much interest the article about the Dallas Eagles baseball team ["A bush league of their own," May 21] and the time before major-league baseball came here. As a child growing up in the '50s in Oak Cliff, I went to many games at Burnett Field, and I can tell you, they were every bit as exciting as anything in the majors. One thing your article didn't mention was that the Eagles played in what I think was recorded as the longest game in minor-league history (27 innings--they lost, I think). One of my most treasured items from that time is an autographed program from a game in 1955 signed by most of the players mentioned in your article. I sent a copy of the article to my dad, who took me to lots of those games. Thanks for the memories.

Roger Simpson
Celina, Texas

Buzz asked "what is more traditional in Dallas than two rich white businessmen signing over our tax dollars to the most sycophantic, unimaginative architect among the competitors" [May 28]. First, this is a question, so it should end in a question mark. Second, was your implied criticism based on the fact that they are rich, white, or business guys? Would it have been OK if they had been poor black activists to give away tax dollars? Three, how does their color have anything to do with their actions? I strongly suspect that rich black businessmen like sycophantic, unimaginative architects too. Four, what's news here? The link between rich and sycophants is well documented.

We are never going to get beyond race as long as the media persists in linking color and behavior when the real link should be status and behavior. Unprofessional. Incorrect. Bad boy. Very bad boy.

John Hines
Via e-mail

Bicker and Brew
Your article in the Buzz column of the May 21, 1998, edition of the Observer seemed to imply that Bickel & Brewer Storefront only helps people when it is politically advantageous for them to do so. I feel that your inference [sic] is unfair and unjustified. Perhaps your readers would be interested in knowing that the storefront offered me assistance, and I am not politically connected.

Two years ago, I was involved in a multi-car collision. My insurance company denied my claim because, although I had mailed the check before the accident, it arrived late. The insurance company wanted to take advantage of that fact, although it had cashed my check. The insurance company would not release my car, which had been repaired at the time, and I asked the storefront for help. After several letters and phone calls by the Bickel & Brewer attorneys, who handled my case without charge, the insurance company paid my claim. If it had not been for the assistance from the storefront, I would have lost thousands of dollars.

I hope that the criticism of Ms. Daisy Joe and her group does not deter others who are in need of legal assistance from contacting the storefront. I should hope that other law firms are willing to offer assistance to those who cannot afford legal help.

Sharon Moon

That makes two of us
I could not quite understand Jean Oppenheimer's review of A Perfect Murder ["Far from perfect," June 4]. While Oppenheimer complains about the film's lack of sympathetic characters, I applaud the filmmakers' decision to eschew the obligatory marriage-crumbling-apart scenes in favor of opening the picture with a marriage already beyond the point of reconciliation. We are not meant to sympathize with Gwyneth Paltrow's character as much as we are to hiss the deplorable amorality of the Michael Douglas character. Oppenheimer says the film doesn't explain Douglas' murderous motives. Is she kidding? The film makes it clear that Douglas' initial motive is money; as his homicidal plans continually go fantastically awry, his motives veer more toward a pure hatred of his intended victim.

Oppenheimer also states the film is sluggishly paced. Huh? This is fluff-free plotting (no fatty subplots here to contend with), and [director Andrew] Davis propels this narrative with the same ease with which he paced his seminal chase picture The Fugitive.

The film is never about anything other than how three flawed characters (some more flawed than others, obviously) fumble their way through an ill-hatched murder scheme. We don't need to fully understand their backgrounds, nor is it even necessary for us to completely comprehend what drives them to their actions and reactions; the film entertains through its keen sense of plotting.

It's not a classic, but it delivers on its promises much more effectively than Oppenheimer gives it credit for. Quite a refreshing night at the movies after sitting through that mutated-lizard picture.

Shane Dodson
Via e-mail

Rhett Miller's mediocrity
I understand that [Robert] Wilonsky has the medium to have the final word here, but I don't care anymore. His bitterness for the failure of the Old 97's to capture every Observer award ["Vote the rock," May 7] turns my stomach.

I am disgusted that every review must include a reference to the Old 97's. Rhett Miller is a decent guy and a decent songwriter, but he is not the second coming of Christ. He is at best a third-generation Wilco, fifth-generation Killbilly...

Am I the only person in Dallas who remembers Rhett Miller singing downtown with a fake British accent? I guess that now that country is cool, and Rhett has convinced Robert Wilonsky that he is legitimate, we should all be ashamed of ourselves for not voting for Rhett as Musician of the Year, even though he can play no instrument well and he is only a mediocre songwriter. Looking back at the other bands Wilonsky has deemed brilliant and their eventual success, or lack of it, it seems that the best thing that Wilonsky could do for the Old 97's is never to mention them again.

Via e-mail

The illustration in last week's issue News section was provided by Michael Hogue.


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