Bean Yanker

"Run to Ground" [by Wendy Grossman, March 9] is the first material of yours that I have read. I was spellbound. I couldn't put the damn thing down. By the time I was done, I could smell the stale cigarettes, taste the cheap beer and hear the cold Texas wind whipping around the rusting camper. You did an outstanding job of conveying not only the facts but the whole picture, the lifestyle and the culture that these people are part of.

This one really grabbed me by the beans -- thanks.

Adrian Brown


Just read your article. It is the bomb! Very well done.

Preston Washington

Kansas City, Missouri

Private Treasures

Bravo to you, for telling it like it is ["Out at the Zoo," by Brad Tyer, March 16]! I was on the board of the zoo for many years and gave a whole lot of money to make the place safer and healthier for small mammals. There is no point pouring good money after bad when the city allows someone like Olson to run it. The best zoos in the country are private, and Houston should make it private if at all possible. Look at Fort Worth and San Diego. What great treasures. This city deserves the best, and so do those that live in the zoo!

Name withheld by request


I have been employed 28 years in the zoo business, have done zoo consulting and have worked more than three years at the Houston zoo. Because of this, I have dealt with many zoo directors, and I have had many meetings with Mr. Olson.

I have always found him to be very reasonable and professional. Don is a businessman and is straightforward. He is one of the best directors, or maybe the best, I have ever had the pleasure of working for. Most of the people that you had in your articles have had very limited experience in this field and have no real grasp of what it is like to work in business. My point: Had they dealt with other directors, they would appreciate Mr. Olson. I have the utmost respect for him.

Roy Davis


I think your article is well founded. You might also look back at the previous article about Karl Peterson ["Sick and Fired," by Brad Tyer, May 19, 1999]. I also filed a grievance with the city about my supervisors that was totally ignored. I was a lucky one; I was able to find employment elsewhere. Keep up the good work.

Name withheld by request


More Than a Smile

I, too, learned to love Jose Serna ["Last Call," by Steven Long, March 9]. I was a waitress, and the waitstaff regularly went to Warren's. I saw the obituary in the paper telling of Jose's death, but I had no idea that he had killed himself. His wife's death was very hard on him.

I felt so sorry for Jose and would come close to tears when I'd see his Winnebago parked out front. I haven't been to Warren's in a few years. I feel terrible about this. I wish I could have seen Jose's smiling face one more time. Thank you for the article.



Winning Pick

Your article a few weeks back about Billie Bob, the lottery winner, was marvelous and compelling ["Billie Bob's (Mis)Fortune," by Steve McVicker, February 10]. What's happened since? It's worth a follow-up. Thanks for a read I'll never forget -- a real American tragedy.

Marsha Berryman


Middle Age Crazy

It was a nice article ["Swordplay? No Way!" by Lisa Gray, March 2]. I wish, though, that you had done more homework about the Society for Creative Anachronism before you wrote your disparaging remarks about it. They have been doing this a lot longer than Mr. Clements has, and the SCA is not all about wizards and warriors; it is about learning about the Middle Ages in general.

Too often members of the SCA, who put just as much time and effort into training and research as Mr. Clements, are ridiculed about their hobby. In fact, most of the members pay for this out of their own pockets and do not try to "make a buck" from it.

Tom McLeod

Taylorville, Illinois

I read your interesting article. I would like to note that I was a founder of the Society for Creative Anachronism. I've never heard of Hank Reinhardt, and he was certainly not one of the founders. And he certainly had no great reputation SCA-wide as a great fighter.

The SCA has always attracted people from the gaming community, as it has from fantasy and science-fiction fandom. It does not encourage role-playing at events, except as in re-creating essentially medieval personae to both learn and enjoy the events more. Sorcerers and sorcery are pretty much no-no's.

In my personal experience it is not possible to get a real feel for medieval combat without wearing the armor as well as wielding the sword. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself, and I hope you were interested enough in the concept of medieval combat to perhaps attend an SCA event.

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