Just remember to duck: I'd like to say that Ashley Harrell has written a very excellent article about the "life and environment" of dart players ("Thunk! You Lose," May 3). I own MJ's Sports Bar & Grill and have quite a few dart teams (18 of them). What has been described about darts is pretty much dead-on. There are avid players and a handful of crazies (they exist everywhere). But for the most part, players just want to play darts and have fun. I have teams with doctors, engineering managers, airport controllers, corporate executives, etc., and they don't act "stoopid" and throw darts at each other (although I think they'd want to sometimes when they meet the crazies).
You've maligned a wholesome, apple-pie pastime, you cad: I have been the owner of All Pro Bowling & Dart Supply in Fort Lauderdale for the past 21 years. I have played in dart leagues both steel-tip and electronic darts as well as supplying more than 100 bars throughout South Florida with dartboards, darts, and dart accessories. I am not a great player, but I do enjoy the competition it's a fun night out. While I, at times, have witnessed uncouth and boorish behavior, some isolated instances of poor sportsmanship, as well as the occasional mean-spirited drunk, far more often, dart leagues are filled with friendly competitors, good sportsmanship, and camaraderie. Many friendships and relationships have been forged while playing darts. Focusing on one outrageous, though extremely isolated, incident to disparage darters, dart leagues, and dart bars is totally unfair and akin to denigrating the whole NBA for the Ron Artest Pistons-Pacers incident in Detroit a few years ago. There are a few bad apples everywhere, but not every darter is a boorish, drunken, hypercompetitive jerk, as you seem to intimate.
You also have gone out of your way to disparage the "dive bars'' and players who play in these dart leagues at those "dive bars." Although some bars who sponsor teams in these leagues may be short on ambiance, to denigrate all as "gritty'' or to say "all ten bars are Irish pubs or dive bars'' is grossly unfair.
Darts gets little enough publicity. The sport of darts deserves a much fairer presentation than the front-page, one-sided negative drivel regarding an isolated and outrageous incident that you chose to sensationalize.
It's not over till the fat lady laughs: I believe it's hock up a larynx rather than hawk... At least, it used to be spelled that way. Your review ("Comfy With the Hoity-Toity," Brandon K. Thorp, May 3) is so hilarious and well-written you are a wonderful writer that I had to respond. Please do try to come to Anna Karenina again and give act one another try.
Believe me, there are no diminished chords. None. I don't know what you're hearing, but it's not in this particular opera. Do listen for a 13-minute love duet between Anna and Vronsky; also the duet between Dolly and Kitty at the outset. (This is tonal music at its most romantic so much so I was almost worried to include it!) I'll bet you anything that now that you have a sense of my musical language, you will have a totally different perspective on the first act. No matter what, thanks for the biggest laugh I've had from a review in my life. Excellent.
North Haven, Connecticut
Editor's note: Carlson is the composer of Anna Karenina, which recently premiered at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
Purple Prose, Purple Prose
About the artist formerly known as formerly known: Whoever Jason is, God bless him! As a 25-year Prince fan, I'm overjoyed to read an article about Prince from someone who actually seems to "get" Prince ("Careful With That Ax," Jason Ferguson, May 3). I was especially happy to see the "The Wa" (my favorite) getting some love. I had the pleasure to be part of the halftime show. The experience, including rehearsals, was unforgettable, because the man is still phenomenal. To your list, I have to add "Joy in Repetition," "The Question of U," and "Beautiful Strange," the latter of which I enjoyed while having him play five feet in front of me when he had the show at Mansion in Miami last March. Can you tell I'm a huge fan?
Calling on Casanova: Although I read most of Bob Norman's hard-hitting articles, I must admit I missed the stuff about the women's group the Steel Magnolias ("River of Greed, Part 2," Bob Norman, May 3). While they seem like a group of barracuda type-A personalities who need a bit more sexual excitement in their lives (that might ameliorate their penchant for screwing over Broward's taxpayers and school-aged kids), it would be interesting to know who they are. How about naming them next week?
Stephanie Kraft, unfortunately for all of Broward's citizens, sounds like the type of liar Mayor Mara of Hollywood has become chronic and habitual. Who would believe her bullcrap, for example, about being "less involved" with her crony gal pal and her beaux, Ali Waldman and Ron Bergeron? Only a moron would, that's who!
Editor's note: The group includes most prominently State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, activist Mary Fertig, and lobbyist Ali Waldman. Others are considered honorary members.