Contrite as a Kite
It would have been better had I been drunk at the University of Houston's art auction, then I would have an excuse for my gaffe about Jan Becker and for klutzing off of the platform on my duff [The Insider, "Higher than a Kite?," April 10]. While I don't believe Jan huffed that I was "drunk" and an "asshole" -- she is too nice a lady -- she had a right to say it. Only a drunk asshole would fail to notice that she is still gorgeous and trim. Mea culpa. I publicly apologize.

Everyone who knows Maxine Mesinger knows that she is fiercely loyal to her friends. No one with a brain as big as a grape would intentionally offend a friend of Maxine's.

My remarks were an effort to be as cute as Don Rickles. I paid for them by busting my can when I fell off the platform. To any who were offended, my apologies. Please consider that I am not the first lawyer to stick his foot in his mouth in a public place.

Richard Haynes

Patience Counseled
"Cotswold Unspun" [by Bob Burtman, May 1] was a well-written and well-researched article, and I commend the reporter for it.

I have been involved indirectly with this project, since I represent a theater group's expansion plans in the Houston area (not the group referenced by Leo Linbeck in your article). Obviously, many questions remain to be answered before the Cotswold Project should be given approval by the city, or any other group. You have raised many of those questions in your article, as well as alluded to the unconventional manner in which this project has been handled.

I would suggest that the concept and intentions are admirable, but maybe the actual experience and wisdom of the "leadership" is somewhat lacking. However, we shouldn't penalize them for this, but be a little more patient while they acquire some experience on "the firing line."

In any case, congratulations for being the only Houston journalists to raise real questions and point out obvious concerns for such a long-term and sweeping project that will affect all of us in Houston quite significantly. Keep up the good work.

Ron Marshall
via Internet

Spell Checking Cotswold
I read the Press weekly, and I especially enjoy it when you take business to task! This latest plan to fleece us all, the Cotswold project, will hopefully be put out to pasture with the help of your high drama. Water gardens in the oppressive humidity of downtown Houston? What a stroke of genius! I for one cannot imagine that floating to jury duty will be any more pleasant than the cool, comfortable and courteous ride on the Heights 50 bus I have had for several years.

P.S. Cotswold appears as a "questionable word" in the Spellcheck program ... that should tell us something!

Daniel J. Impastato

Lowering the Boom Boom
I cannot believe that any responsible parent would send their child to Boom Boom Jackson's "Classical School for Brilliant Children" ["The Boom Boom Method," by Lisa Gray, April 24]. I cannot imagine what any child could do to deserve the brand of discipline administered at this facility. Death-row inmates aren't treated the way Mr. Jackson sees fit to deal with his students.

Children need love, attention, care and nurturing. They also need to be taught from an early age to respect others and the differences between right and wrong. It is a parent's job to instill good values in their children. When parents don't take this responsibility, they fail their children. Unfortunately, some parents feel they can pass on these duties to other people, and the children are the ones who suffer.

As for the parents who embrace Mr. Jackson's methods, I have just two comments:

First, take a look at Mr. Jackson's credentials. Check out his story. Most of the accomplishments he brags about just don't seem to check out. Who are you entrusting your children to?

Second, don't let any outside source take the responsibility for disciplining your children. Stand up, be an adult and do your job. They are your children. It is your duty, not the school's, nor anyone else's for that matter, to mold and shape your children. Don't expect others to do your job for you. If you do, nine times out of ten you will be disappointed.

Susan Parsons

I just finished reading the excellent article in the Press about Boom Boom Jackson's brutal infliction of corporal punishment on one of his young students. The injuries were sickening, and cry out for a solution. It disturbed me just as much to read the district attorney's lame explanation of the grand jury's "no bill" decision. Denise Oncken was quoted as saying that the jury had to consider such matters as whether the child "deserved" such a punishment, and the size of the child. Does she really think any child, anywhere, deserves to have his buttocks turned into hamburger? As an attorney she should be aware that the U.S. Supreme Court in just the past few years ruled that adult prisoners cannot be subjected to corporal punishment for purposes of discipline. I am sure that Texas law would protect even an animal from such injury.

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