Still Hopeful

It's called life: Someone recently brought me the October 14 issue of the Dallas Observer for a specific reason. That reason is my son Ray Johnston. The sports section on page 94 was of particular interest to me since there was a small item about him. When I saw the bold print ("WHO DOESN'T HAVE A PRAYER"), my immediate thought: "HOW IRONIC." Please allow me to share why. Ray has been in Presbyterian Hospital/Dallas ICU for 53 days fighting for his life, 46 of those days on a ventilator. His room reflects an elementary classroom with colorful materials reminding us of all the many prayers that are continually being lifted for him and his recovery. I cannot begin to tell you how many prayer chains have been formed for him, and because of answered prayer, Ray is still with us today.

He may be the summer-leaguer who "doesn't have a prayer" to be an "NBA hopeful," but he does have a prayer and hope for something of much more significance--it's called LIFE. Thank you for acknowledging him.

Martha Johnston
Via e-mail

Deep and Dumb

Homeless Express: Kudos to Ed Lamonica and the Deep Ellum Bar & Restaurant Association for what is probably the most asinine public relations campaign in recent memory.

In the October 7 article titled "Deep Thinking" (by Zac Crain), Lamonica proudly declares that their favorite method for getting rid of the homeless in Deep Ellum is by purchasing them bus tickets to wherever they want to go. I'm unclear on how offering free travel to anywhere in the continental United States to the homeless will accomplish anything more than bringing more homeless to the neighborhood. The message seems to be: "Come on down and cause enough of a nuisance to get noticed, then promise not to leave until you get your bus ticket."

I'm not sure whose brilliant idea this was initially, but keep those neurons firing, because this plan sucks.

Name withheld

Lost and Found

Sudan survivors: It has been my great privilege to meet some of the "lost boys" who have been relocated in Kansas City ("From Horror to Heroes," by Zac Crain, October 7). They are a wonderful group of individuals! They squash the age-old American excuse, "I had a bad childhood, so I can misbehave as an adult." Thanks for spreading their story to those who will listen.

Karol Meoli
Clinton, Missouri

Heartfelt: The story of these young men was very heart-wrenching and also very heartfelt. I just wanted to say that I was very moved by their story.

Via e-mail

Gonz's So-Called Life

You cheapskate: Is it possible to hire a sports writer who actually likes sports? I've suffered longer than I can recall, waiting for the Dallas Observer to ditch John Gonzalez, deciding it would like to report, comment or, God forbid, actually analyze something related to the local sports scene.

I'm sure Mr. Gonzalez is relatively young and in love with himself, as I get to read more about him and his so-called life weekly than whatever the subject of his columns is supposed to be. I'd settle for Robert Wilonsky (again) at this point; at least he's acerbically amusing after a few Bud Lights.

I find myself unable to read his latest column, "Rocketboy" (September 30), or his other sports "columns," such as when he may or may not have eaten a copious amount of hot dogs, etc. I can't make myself care enough to verify what actually happened.

I considered myself fortunate after he disappeared a few years ago, after writing a "column" about not being able to find the Cotton Bowl during Texas-OU weekend. Brilliant. My apologies for not sending congratulations at the time.

Can't you promote him to "intern," or whatever? Let him run for office, or whatever he does with most of his time, and hire someone who likes sports in Dallas, not Philly? I think I speak for most of your regular readers and say we'd spend a quarter to read the Observer sans Gonzalez. I don't feel like I'm getting my money's worth right now, even for free...

Les Bush

Creature Lovers/Haters

Operation Kindness: On behalf of the many animals that will soon find their "forever homes," thank you so much for selecting Operation Kindness as your pick for Best Place to Get a Pet (Best of Dallas, October 14). We're truly honored to receive this designation and know that this recognition will result in more animals being adopted. We do have wonderful animals of all shapes, sizes and descriptions--as you pointed out, purebred dogs and cats as well as unwanted, down-on-their-luck mixed breeds. All are deserving of loving and responsible homes, and we strive constantly to make sure that's what they will get. So once again, from all of our four-footed friends, volunteers and staff, thanks for this great honor.

Jonnie England

Operation Meanness: How could you possibly name Steve Blow as Best Columnist--a man who is the epitome of hatred and indifference toward animals as evidenced by the scathing and blowhard piece he wrote about Operation Kindness this past year?

Terri Rimmer
Fort Worth

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