Retching on Redbeard
I feel dirty. I can't seem to wash the filth off of my ashamed flesh. After reading some of the picks in your Best of Dallas issue [September 28], I was overcome with the urge to shower and forget what I had just seen. In particular, I am referring to the pick of Redbeard as the area's best D.J.

Following the first wave of nausea, my bowels clenched with a decidedly ominous haste as I continued on to your reasoning. From what I can tell, Redbeard won by default. He is the only D.J. who is willing to play local talent, therefore he must be the best.

While I do appreciate the new attention given to our local scene in general, the spotlight is hoarded by a small band of lethargic thugs with the innovation of an electric powered bathtub (Toadies excluded). If they don't sound like they are transplants from a withered and deteriorating Seattle scene, Redbeard seems not to have the foresight to put them on the radio. Meanwhile, talents like Funland, Rubberbullet, Old 97s, and countless others are left to print media and word-of-mouth to be found.

This play-it-safe attitude doesn't deserve the employee of the month spot in the outhouse, much less an award from a respectable magazine like the Observer. If it were at all possible, I would call for the impeachment of Redbeard as Dallas' best disc jockey. Cast him out into the world of classic rock and one-hit wonders armed with only a soup spoon and his cutting wit, but do not reward him for jumping on the bandwagon at the wrong stop.

John Cullen

Horse's end
I am a 16-year resident of the Dallas area and a long-time horseplayer, and I visit the Texas racetracks whenever I have the time and the stake. Naturally I have kept up with all the developments of the Texas horse racing industry since 1987.

I have just finished reading the article by Jennifer Briggs, "Racetracks' lament" [October 12]. The article seems to be accurate and comprehensive, but the terminology leaves something to be desired. The "handle" is the total amount of money wagered by the betting public on a given day, and the total amount of money returned to the horsemen and jockeys is referred to as the "purses."

I agree that, to make racing in Texas successful, an extensive marketing and educational program must be implemented, but to do so we must at least get the facts and terminology correct when writing about it.

Robert Schlossberg

The edible pasty
In your "Best fix for Anglophiles" item in the Best of Dallas issue [September 28], you incorrectly described pasties as "English." My Cornish mother is turning in her grave. The pasty is not "some kind of meat pie," but an amazingly delicious combination of meat, onions, and potato (vegetarians use carrot and turnip) in pastry.

The pasty is a complete and handy meal originally created for the tin miners to take underground, and guaranteed, as my mother told me, "to survive a fall down a deep shaft." Pasties have been lovingly re-created all over the world wherever the Cornish hardrock miners and stonemasons and Cornishwomen left their mark, from Wisconsin and Michigan, New York and Texas, Montana and Massachusetts, to Mexico to Cuba to Bolivia to South Africa to Australia.

Imagine how the Irish would react if you described Guinness stout as an English beer!

Pamela Ferguson

Whoa! Was that Robert Wilonsky recognizing Funland as "poignant"? ["Rock and rollercoaster," October 5]. Well, then, congrats to Funland! I have been a continual silent supporter of the band, even in the Melt days. Thankfully, the Observer has been a supporter also (much to my disbelief). But--when will the rest of Dallas wake up to a truly talented and intelligent band?