Attack of the Squid

Responsible riders: I would like to commend your authors for doing a piece that is not the typical inflammatory stereotyping of motorcycle riders ("Where the Rubber Leaves the Road," by Mark Donald and Merritt Martin, July 10). The stunt riders and squids are a small but unfortunately highly visible minority in the overall motorcycling community. There are many of us who do everything we can to discourage irresponsible behavior on motorcycles.

The sport/touring segment of the industry is one of the fastest-growing in recent years and is continuing to grow. It is primarily made up of riders from professional backgrounds. They seek to maintain a high level of rider skill and road safety. We seek to engage the squids and to try to educate them and get them to see the effects of their negative behavior on the motorcycling community at large.

It is very unlikely that there will ever be any articles about sport/tourers, as they are not flashy and exciting like the stunters. Our stories are not hair-raising exploits and daring encounters with the law. We are about traveling the country in search of great roads, interesting destinations and meeting people from all walks of life. We prefer to keep the high-speed antics on a closed track with professional safety crews.

I truly believe that the repetitive highlighting of one negative aspect of motorcycling creates a general negative impression on the public at large regarding ALL motorcyclists. As we all know, it takes an awful lot of good impressions to counter one bad impression. The rest of us have to live with the aggressive car drivers who think we are all like the stunters because of these articles.

Scott Friday
Via e-mail

Mere mortal: I was enraged by Matt Fox's statement about Kelly Howard's accident. I doubt Mr. Fox knew her well enough to make that statement. Kelly was anything but stupid, i.e. "10 feet tall and bulletproof." I don't doubt that she was in a situation that exceeded her ability, but what led up to that point, and where were the people she was supposed to be riding with? Neither they nor Mr. Fox were on the scene when the accident occurred, and what he said was only speculation. Mr. Fox's statement is a disgrace to Kelly's memory.

Debbie Plymell


Jealous: I saw Hamlet and loved it ("Bard to Tears," by Elaine Liner, July 10). I don't know where you learned how to judge acting, but everyone I know, even critics, loved it. Maybe you just don't know Shakespeare as well as you think you do. I have never seen as bad a review as yours. Personally, if I were to review your review, I would say it is the worst review that I have ever read. I sat way back and heard Rhett Henckel very clearly; his performance was awesome. If I had to say so, I would say you are a stupid critic who wants to find a way to degrade someone you are jealous of.

Matt Autrey

Funny girl: I have to take issue with the validity of Elaine Liner's comments about the Shakefest performance of Hamlet she observed. It is common knowledge that Ms. Liner's reviews are designed to be raves at their best and personally, pointedly and provocatively insulting at their most interesting. A bad review is far more entertaining to the theater community and has the added bonus of being humorous to the liberal, opinionated, quasi-intellectual readership of the Dallas Observer with its pop-culture references and derisive wit. Therefore it is clear that Ms. Liner's objective is not necessarily a balanced review of theater for the uninformed audience desiring artistic stimulation but instead to find the aspects of a production that make the most entertaining reading for the uninformed.

However, I have never been able to factually support this series of personal conclusions about Ms. Liner's professional M.O. --until now. In the Hamlet review she writes a paragraph about the costumes that exemplifies all I have said. She manages to refer to Seinfeld, Star Trek and The Brothers Karamazov in her shredding of Giva R. Taylor's costume design. Witty? Yes. Provocative? Undoubtedly. Entertaining to a reader with no interest in theater? Most definitely. True? (Silent chirping of crickets.) I observed a performance of Hamlet the weekend Ms. Liner did, and before the production there was an announcement made regarding the loss of costumes prior to the weekend's performance. Upon further inquiry I discovered a whole series of costumes were being held at a dry-cleaners that had been broken into and were not yet available for pickup, so many of the actors were wearing their own clothes for the performance. Of course, because Ms. Liner omitted this information, the readers do not know. What else does she omit, skew or misinterpret in her reviews of works I did not attend? My ultimate point is that a reviewer should appreciate the difficulty of theater, and Ms. Liner seems not to care with her unnecessary willingness to go for the jugular at every opportunity.

Gregory Harrison

Report to City Hall

Solving the homeless problem: I have an idea about how to keep the homeless out of the downtown library: Post a sign out front that reads, "Library closed to homeless. Report to City Hall across the street." ("Make Yourself at Home," by Charles Siderius, June 26).

City Hall is big, roomy, has plenty of bathrooms and water fountains and has a wonderful view. Since Mayor Laura Wolens wants to solve the homeless problem, meeting and talking with the homeless on a face-to-face daily basis is a step in the right direction.

Tony Garrett

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