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Your piece on the 68 awesome things to do with your kids was terrific but incomplete when it came to family-friendly train rides [“Child’s Play,” April 2008]. You missed the Austin Steam Train, which runs vintage trains every weekend on a 33-mile route into the Hill Country, and the Texas State Railroad, which offers year-round excursions on a 25-mile route through the Piney Woods, between Palestine and Rusk.
Ben Sargent, Austin
You left out something that’s making a comeback of sorts: the drive-in theater. There are two just a short drive from the DFW area: the Brazos, in Granbury, and the Galaxy, in Ennis. You need to get Joe Bob Briggs to take a little road trip up there!
John T. Patterson, Mansfield
In the Line of Fire
I would like to thank you for what appears to be a fair and balanced article on the Branch Davidian standoff [“The Fire That Time,” April 2008]. My primary reason for writing is to clarify a statement by ATF special agent Chuck Hustmyre. I will forever be grateful to Chuck, but he seems to remember events a little differently than I do. That day, there were three Branch Davidians who were set up on the side of the compound. I was to check for men working in the pit and to handcuff them. Before I could check the pit, I was shot four times. I did not even have a firearm in my hand, just a baton and flex cuffs. My friend from Houston, another former fireman like me, Dave Opperman, led the way to get me out of the ditch I was in. Davidian Livingston Fagen had run out with an AR-15 and had it about six feet from Dave’s face. Chuck wisely held up at a fence to see how things played out. Dave held his hands up and never once stopped walking toward me. Dave kept saying, “It’s a cease-fire, man. Ask your bosses. I’m just getting my guy.” After Dave and Chuck dragged me out of the ditch, our backs were to Fagen. I thought for sure we were all going to be shot in the back. However, God continued to smile on me and my rescuers, as he had from the start of the event.
Eric Evers, via e-mail
Cane and Able
Jan Reid should be the poster boy for all those who have an obstacle to overcome [“Citizen Cane,” April 2008]. What an inspiration to those of us who toil with the minor hurdles of everyday life.
Kenny Allen, Devine
Masters of the Universe
A hundred years ago, ether was proposed as the way light passed through space. It could be neither seen nor felt but had to be the densest material in the universe. Now we witness whimsical thinking sweeping the physics world once more [“The Final Frontier,” April 2008]. Dark matter and string theory are mathematical theories that will fall to the side of the road for lack of evidence or interest. Neither makes sense nor can be proven. They are merely full-employment projects for physicists, until the next Einsteinian visionary can provide a logical yet novel construct of the universe.
Jeff Hall, Belton
I have no more idea of Roger Clemens’s guilt or innocence than anyone else does, but I do know that Gary Cartwright needs to do a little more research [“Truth and Consequences,” April 2008]. To compare his cortisone nasal spray to anabolic steroids is like comparing Pol Pot to FDR. And his claim that “the only thing certifiably bad about steroids is that they may improve athletic performance” is ludicrous, and it was reckless of you to print it. Ever hear of liver failure, liver cancer, heart disease, stroke, or thromboembolic disease?
Dr. Steve Brotherton, Fort Worth
I am so sad to see our government working so adamantly to ruin the life of Roger Clemens and to drag the honorable game of baseball through the mud. What a waste of time for the taxpayers of America, who want those in Washington to do something about issues that mean something.
Joyce Eastin, Dallas
Stick It, Scalper
I was somewhat taken aback by confessed former ticket scalper Jason Cohen in his story “Ticket to Ride” [Reporter, The Cheap Seats, April 2008]. Mr. Cohen states that he doesn’t understand the animosity toward scalpers, comparing them to antiques dealers and importers. The difference is obvious: When an antiques dealer or importer marks up his goods, he is making us pay for his expenses, his expertise, and his ability to locate quality. When a scalper marks up his goods, it is because he has created an artificial scarcity of goods. If antiques dealers and importers did not exist, I could not buy those goods. If scalpers did not exist, I would buy tickets at the real price.
Rusty Bender, Neshkoro, Wisconsin
Your article “Fed Up,” concerning the FBI investigation in El Paso, contains an inaccurate reference and quotation [Behind the Lines, April 2008]. In the article you quote the retiring county commissioner as having described to the incoming commissioner the extent of the alleged corruption in the city. I was the retiring commissioner. I never had such a conversation with the incoming commissioner. Nor did anyone from Texas Monthly bother to contact me to confirm the quotation. Your quote does more than insinuate that I was aware of the alleged graft of which you write, which is untrue. In fact, I had no knowledge then and have no knowledge now of any corruption in El Paso County government.
Stuart R. Schwartz, El Paso
Paul Burka responds: The story accurately reflects what commissioner Dan Haggerty told me in our interview. Mr. Haggerty was referring to his elected predecessor, Jimmy Goldman, who resigned his seat. Mr. Schwartz served the remainder of Mr. Goldman’s term and his name did not come up in my interview with Mr. Haggerty.
Paul Burka’s contention that El Paso often does not consider itself to be part of Texas is generally accurate. Anyone who spends any time around the Legislature would quickly conclude that El Paso is indeed neglected, a negligence that is reflected by your own magazine. After 25 years of reading Texas Monthly, it is clear that for you, El Paso must be a very small and insignificant town. Spare us your platitudes. Public corruption is not the sole monopoly of El Paso.
Richard Gutierrez, El Paso