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IDialogue Fortnight WHODUNIT “What the Butler Saw,” with student cast; through Dec. 11, 8:15 p.m., University Theatre, Texas Tech University, Lubbock. DECEMBER 8 MERRY MARY Mary Costa, opera’s glamour girl, performs selections from “The Merry Widow” and other Viennese favorites, with Louis Lane conducting Dallas Symphony Orchestra; 8:15 p.m., McFarlin Auditorium, Dallas. ONE-NIGHTER Tony Bennett croons old tunes; Jones Hall, Houston; also Dec. 9, Laurie Auditorium, San Antonio. CONVOCATION Described as a “human gathering” guided by Dom Helder Camara, Archibishop of Recife, Brazil, candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize and opponent of the Brazilian regime, and Dr. Jonas Salk, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; also Dec. 9 Rothko Chapel, Houston. DECEMBER 9 ARMADILLO BALLET Stanley Hall’s Austin Ballet Theatre continues season with monthly evening of repertory ballet, complete with beer and nachos for aficionados; 7:30 p.m., Armadillo World Headquarters, Austin. 24 The Texas Observer BARTOK ON TAP Fine chance to hear Bartok’s Second Violin Concerto, performed by Pinellas Zukerman, plus his wife, flautist Eugenia Zukerman, performing Domenico Cimarosa’s Concertina for Violin and Flute, with Houston Symphony Orchestra; through Dec. 11, Jones Hall, Houston. BACHMAN DUO Consisting of Martha Baker, pianist, and Charles Baker, cellist, in As the water table sinks lower and lower in Northwest Texas, I, formerly of the Panhandle, am gratified at the Observer’s excellent review of Donald E. Green’s Land of the Underground Rain. A motorist mounting the caprock and heading for Amarillo is abruptly struck by the emerald-green oasis suddenly spread to the far horizon the glistening fields arched over by giant pipes shooting white gushes of my underground water onto their crops for private profit. Where just an hour ago a lone farmer gave one a friendly thumb-wave from his old pickup now the road is thick with sleek pickups and ranch wagons, eagerly spinning along at 80 miles an hour, fashionably coiffed wives alongside their agribusiness husbands. Last summer I had occasion to sample the other side of that shiny coin, being in Amarillo for a high school reunion \(I don’t conversion from underground to lake water a few years ago, the consequences were now beginning to show: house plants languish and die, house plumbing systems corrode and have to be replaced with pipes of another metal, etc., etc. My own consequences were quick: after one and a half days of drinking the lake water I became violently nauseated and took to my bed, unable to eat or walk for two days \(fortunately this happened the day after the reunion . . . and it wasn’t Ironically, the phrase “Amarillo water” used to be a term of faint praise. Though it didn’t taste particularly good it was so full of minerals and what-all that many of us grew up with perfect teeth. In nearby Hereford all the children have teeth completely free of cavities. How maddening to think that now all that lovely water goes to Farmer Jones for his them drink lake. Not long ago I asked a farmer-rancher from Dumas how he planned to keep the well from doing dry. His reply was “I’m going to ride that horse until it drops.” By the way that spelling is Llano concert; Founders North Auditorium, University of Texas, Dallas. MAHLERMANIA My idea of the way to spend a December evening, hearing Mahler’s monumental Third Symphony, performed by Dallas Civic Symphony, with mezzo-soprano Catherine Akos and St. Mark’s Boys Choir with SMU Women’s Chorus; McFarlin Auditorium, Dallas. Estacado. Since the plains had no natural landmarks as far as the eye could see, Coronado’s men sank stakes into the earth to mark their trail. Though some would disagree, to me the flat, brown Staked Plain was beautiful just as it was. Betty Burkhalter, 706 W. 31st, Austin, Tex. 78705. Bad review I would like to take exception to Lynn Sutherland’s pop review of Insights for Uptights by Bert Kruger Smith in the Nov. 2 Observer. I do agree that the price of the book is out of line, but I imagine that this was the publisher’s rather than the author’s decision. As for content and style, it is especially well written for the audience for which it is intended parents who are at a loss to understand the differing values of their offspring and members of the “now generation” who don’t understand their parents’ concern. Erudition and literary sophistication would hardly be appropriate here. Ms. Smith is a talented writer with a remarkable range of style \(witness: Aging in America, A Teaspoon of Honey, and Insights for Uptights as examples of her Moreover, she has a keen sense of how best to use her considerable talents. Insights for Uptights is a useful tool in helping to bridge the very real generation today. Write on, Bert! Helen C. Spear, 2615 Pecos St., Austin, Tex. 78703. A friend reports that she took her grandson on a bus tour of the LBJ Ranch last summer and that they enjoyed the spiel given by the driver/tour guide. But at one point, she says, the driver pointed out two mules in a pen and noted that “the mule, like the American bald eagle, is becoming extinct.” Even that didn’t bother her too mtith until she began wondering whether her tax money would be spent trying to breed those two mules. Good review