Science war
Thanks for the excellent article on Dr. Robert Haley's work on Gulf War Syndrome ["The war over Gulf War Syndrome," March 5]. As a graduate of the UT Texas School of Public Health, I applaud the thoroughness and rigor of his approach. I thought it was interesting that Japanese commuters exposed to low levels of sarin in the Aum Shinrikyo subway attack are showing similar symptoms now. Organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN) is very likely the cause of many Gulf War veterans' suffering. Please keep up with this very important topic.

Barbara A. Carr
Via e-mail

Her courter's in court
As a regular Dallas Observer reader, I try to make it a point to pick up a copy whenever possible. But, talk about irony! I picked up this week's copy at a bookstore, and the Observer published an article on the subject of Judge John Creuzot's "night court" DIVERT program [Liars' court, February 26]. The irony is that my fiance was arrested in mid-February and began the DIVERT program a week later!

I cannot say enough about this program. It has made a major change in my fiance's life already. Although I realize it's only been a short time since he has entered the program, he has made a lot of progress.

After 17 years of abusing every type of drug known, he eventually quit everything, except smoking his "harmless marijuana." He justified his habit by saying that it wasn't addictive. Maybe so, maybe not. But he sure did need it! He now is attending the mandatory Narcotics Anonymous meetings and is actually finding a common denominator with people that share the same problem: addiction.

The "reasons" and "causes" of these people's drug addictions are as different and varied as the individuals themselves. But NA stresses that for whatever reason, each person must face a hard fact: that they are addicts--no shame or condemnation, just the realization.

Someday, I hope to personally thank Judge Creuzot for the unpaid hours he has dedicated to helping these people. I applaud his dedication and new approach to an old problem. Also, I'd like to thank all of the caring, selfless individuals who give of themselves and their time to becoming NA sponsors.

I now have a totally different man in my life. Yes, he is an addict, but the hope of recovery is there, and I feel very positive about this whole program and believe he will totally recover.

Thank you, Observer, for running this story.
Name withheld

Smile? Heck, we were laughing
This letter is a response to your February 26-March 4 story titled "Garbage In" [Buzz]. To begin with, the concrete tablets were not the jewels of my find. And by the way, you could never rain on my parade. As far as my beaming face, well, sir, that is my everyday face. I guess some people just have nothing to smile about. The part about trash and trash heap--well, my good amigo, pardon my thunderstorm, but I found artifacts and not a trash heap. I do not deal with trash; use your phone book to figure that one out. And yes, I found chicken bones, cow bones, also pig and some other bones of, I believe...some extinct dinosaur that once roamed the Trinity River bottoms. I named the creature Observersaurs Rex, a subspecies of the Buzzasaurs Baboonus.

Jesse Rincon

Hacks, whores, and rock critics
"Hack and Whore" more aptly describe Robert Wilonsky's (heh...heh...) journalism (ha...ha...) techniques than they do Eric Clapton's latter-day music ["Out there," March 5].

Clapton is almost 53 years old and has been a legend for 30 of those years. Mr. Wilonsky is probably 30, and isn't even a legend in his own hometown.

Musicians (unlike journalists) attempt to grow over the years. Clapton at 20 sang about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Now he sings about life, love, and loss.

Mr. Wilonsky can't write a decent article, much less a song (glad I didn't pay for it). By attacking a legend, "Bad Bob" is trying to be another Howard Stern. Difference is...Stern is talented. I'm sure that if Eric Clapton walked into the Observer office, Wilonsky would be the first on his knees to kiss Mr. Clapton's butt.

Stick to Sports, Robert. (He probably thinks Michael Jordan is a hack and a whore, as well.)

Like those Britons he spoke of, I hope Lightnin' Hopkins strikes him down, and I sincerely hope this is a "sad coda" to his (snicker...) journalism career.

Terry Yakes

No accounting for taste
After reading a nice review in DMN's weekend Guide, my wife and I decided to give Paesano's a try. We dine out two or three times a week and usually end up in one of the many upscale restaurants Big D has to offer. I won't bore you with their names, just trust me, our favorites look like everybody else's Top 10. Needless to say, when we finally found Paesano's (we had to call from the car a couple of times for directions), we were a little taken aback by the outward appearance just as you were. In fact, I felt just as you did according to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th paragraphs of your review ["Almost home cooking," February 5].

However, after the first sentence of paragraph 6, our opinions go abruptly in different directions.

We ordered appetizers, soup, the house salad, the Caesar, three different entrees, and three different desserts. We had many of the same things you did, with a totally different point of view. We thought all the dishes were very good.

My wife and I thought so much of the place, we returned about 10 days later and brought a bottle of '59 Chateau Palmer Margaux. We wanted a quiet dinner alone with some very good food to share with that spectacular bottle of wine without having to clean up the kitchen afterward. We enjoyed each other, the wine, and the food once again.

The bonus was getting to meet Artur and Angie. What a great story! From Albania and Italy to the Melrose, under the tutelage of Kent Rathburn and George Brown, to his experience with Eatzi's, and finally investing his and Angie's life savings to try it on their own.

Then I was told of your review. I was shocked. I have to give you credit for what you thought; after all, you are a "professional." I doubted my own opinion, so I decided to do a test. I have two friends who work for big companies who regularly entertain high-powered clients at the best restaurants. I truly respect their learned palates. Another friend is the guy that likes the hole-in-the-wall type places, especially Italian. The test was to take them to Paesano's.

I made sure we ordered all the improperly seasoned or unseasoned things and the watery and slimy things you so inaccurately described. In fact, since we were all old friends, we had it brought out in platters, and we ate the stuff family-style. We had bruschetta, shrimp, crab claws, veal, chicken, pasta, vegetables, mussels, salads, soup, and four different desserts. It was a feast, to say the least. My three friends raved about the food. One of them even suggested that we meet at Paesano's at least monthly...We agreed.

I decided to get online and read more of your reviews, and I found more of the same acerbic venom spewing from your writings. I know my opinion won't make or break Artur and Angie, but yours likely might, and that's a real shame.

I hope no one writes bad things about you so that you wind up losing your job, let alone your life's savings!

Are you trying to make a name for yourself by being a villain, such as "Jack the Ripper," or perhaps some writer like Skip Bayless, who can't keep a job now, but got his name before the public by ridiculing people unfairly?

You need to rethink your approach before jeopardizing someone else's future.
Mark, you missed the mark. You might want to consider writing fiction.
Sam Savage
Via e-mail

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