A little bit of Texas died: So I heard the news today about the Toadies ("Hell Freezes Over," at www.dallasobserver.com). I feel like a little bit of Texas died in that 45-second "acknowledgement" the radio DJ was so gracious to give us. A little bit of Texas, and a huge chunk of music. Who to blame, who to blame? Lisa, the rest of the band, the record company for not giving the Toadies all that it could...I'm not sure. But here is what I do know. I had my very first beer in a club where the Toadies instantly became my own personal audible angels. Excuse me, Toadies...do you happen to remember when you were nothing more than a damn garage band that prayed to any god that would listen to just have people listen to an art that you truly believed in? Do you remember that first gig where you watched an audience sing word for word the songs that you wrote? Do you remember that first autograph and when you walked away from that kid the joy you must have felt? Guess what...that was us saying thank you. Did you forget about that? You prayed for us, and now we are here. And our reward, besides all those great songs you gave us, is a great big middle finger and your backs.

Lisa, you want a regular life, a regular job. Come follow me around for a day and see how great it is. I bust my ass at a dead-end job that earns me the whopping sum of $19,000 a year, and I have a beautiful son who deserves more than what he's got, and yet I still found a way to save an extra $20 to buy your new album or see you guys play live. And one of the few things that made this "normal" life sane was to watch you play, just for me.

So the tour didn't go so well...boo-hoo. You pack every single club you play in Dallas. It's not an 18-room house in Highland Park, but it's a lot better than what most of us have. Don't feel guilty about that, because again, that is us saying thanks. I really pray that you as a group can come together and realize that we're still here. One last request...every time you get in your car, walk in your house, see that record hanging on the wall, hear your song on the radio, sign an autograph, take a second out of your day and say, "You're welcome." That would be a lot better than what you gave me today.

Rob Ryan

Alone in the world: I found out the news on Friday, and I was so upset. I have been a true fan of music for many years now, and Hell Below/Stars Above is my favorite album of all time by far. It just makes me sad that an album this good isn't selling well. It makes me feel that me and my friends are kind of alone in the world.

There is so much crap music out there now that it makes me sick. I know if more people heard this record they would love it. I liked the first record a lot, but this one is twice as good. I am so glad the Toadies released it, and I will treasure both albums for the rest of my life. I hope Todd continues on because I truly think he is one of the most talented men in music. I am so glad I got to see them live in Cleveland this tour and got to meet everyone. I will never forget it, and this band has made my life a more enjoyable one to live.

Matt Mulinix
Akron, Ohio

Parrott the Pariah

Rambling diatribe: I had the misfortune of reading your recent cover story on DISD trustee Dr. Lois Parrott ("Divided She Stands," August 16). What your author may have lacked in objectivity or ethics, he more than made up for in length. Nine pages of innuendo, guilt by association, hearsay and gossip. While typical of sleazy tabloids, it was disappointing to see the Dallas Observer's reporting reduced to a rambling diatribe.

I found it ironic that you would cry "foul" at the mere allegation that Dr. Parrott characterized ousted DISD superintendent Rojas as a "thug" (which she didn't) when Jim Schutze published a blatant Rojas hit piece bearing that very title ("Da Thug").

Even closer to home, wasn't it Jonathan Fox who not long ago exposed the mismanagement and abuses of public schools at the hands of Edison Schools leadership? Yet when Dr. Parrott challenged this controversial corporation, Fox made her into a pariah.

And why was Rojas' attorney, someone who stands to directly profit from eroding Dr. Parrott's credibility, given free rein and seemingly unlimited column space to conduct his own vendetta? What happened to ethical and equitable reporting?

Clearly your reporter was unable to simply present the facts and allow the reader to make an intelligent, informed judgment. As a matter of fact, I hadn't seen such openly biased attacks on Dr. Parrott outside of the editorial board of The Dallas Morning News. If your Belo buddies get you an invitation to the next mayor's charity ball, why not send Jonathan Fox to masquerade as a journalist?

Landra Bench

Unfit for Freedom

Free speech has its limits: It's very difficult for a person to make the case that their cause is so pure that they are above the law. It's like claiming that they have transcended the accumulated wisdom of mankind and can behave as they wish.

Megan Lewis ("Gag Order," August 23) has been to jail twice because she tried to force her beliefs on other people. The reason she is finding herself in jail is that she is demonstrating an inability to handle free speech in a responsible manner.

Free speech may be extensive, but it's not without limit. Yelling fire in a crowded theater is usually given as an example of prohibited free speech. It's appropriate that when a person can't responsibly handle a right that it be denied to them. As an example, prohibiting a person who has used a gun in a crime from being a gun owner. Hopefully her time in jail will have given her a new appreciation for the rights of others.

Zachary Hilbun