By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Ode to Fall
The November 13 "True Artist Tales" [Comics, "Fall," by Scott A. Gilbert] is just not "with it." Gilbert's version of fall must be the result of a New York Yankee suburbanite funk. To use one's wildlife only for suicidal pollution and littering cannot possibly be wise use.
Fall is when the bluestems bloom, going from a shock of sherwood and silver to a scintillating wave of amber light. When liatris and blue aster put on their bright apparel. When gulf muhly covers the fields like a pink-lemonade mist. When dragonflies make their final zoom of the year, and butterflies and hummingbirds salute the cardinal flowers before taking the red-eye express southward.
Winter is too gray, and spring often too wet, and summer too hot -- but fall proves the year was worth something after all. Oh hail, to fall, when leaves bathe the earth in warmth before the time of grayness.
Ode to Overlay
Regarding "Easy Street" [by Bob Burtman, October 30]: Certainly wish Mr. Burtman had investigated all of the Neighborhoods to Standard projects. We in Gulfway Terrace are delighted with our overlays, and we can even view them at night, now that we have streetlights! We can't say enough good things about our experiences with the program.
We also greatly appreciate the efforts of Councilmember Helen Huey regarding the CURB and SOB ordinances. These ordinances protect neighborhoods. Councilmembers don't dream up these ideas; citizens request, beg and plead that their neighborhoods be improved and protected.
We look forward to the new administration, but sing praises to Bob Lanier and the present City Council. They have given this 42-year-old neighborhood hope and courage to keep on keeping on.
Ode to Willie D
I have admired Willie D's music since his beginnings with the Geto Boys, and place him with some of the greatest rappers of this generation. However, it's Willie D's Reality Check show ["Big Talker," by Shaila Dewan, November 13] that I admire the most, because of Willie's honesty and the show's intensity.
This past summer I dealt with a serious bout of depression, and I was on the verge of committing suicide. It just so happened that I tuned in to an episode of Reality Check where Willie was discussing suicide. After talking to him and a psychologist on the telephone, live on the air, my life changed forever. Since then, I have not had any thoughts of suicide, and for the first time in a long time, I'm feeling good about myself and the future looks promising. I will be forever grateful to Willie D because I feel that he saved my life. It is because of Reality Check that I'm still here. Thank you, Willie D, and thank you, Houston Press, for highlighting such a remarkable individual.
Christopher Sean Whaley
Odious Willie D (and Mickey D's!)
Dear Willie D: Perhaps you should spend less time impressing the "bitches" with your Moët and more time at the library researching the potential damage your (purely business, man) twisted misogynist lyrics contribute to a society that already leaves many women living in fear of rape and violence every day. How sad -- you're just one more myopic, materialistic, self-absorbed male who just doesn't get it. Sold out or grown up? Neither applies to Willie D. Sorry, Willie, just because McDonald's doesn't change the Big Mac doesn't negate the fact that it's still a crappy, sloppy sandwich that leaves you fat and undernourished.
Name withheld by request
I miss Alison Cook. Since her departure from the Press, I pay little if any attention to the restaurant reviews. I dine out frequently, and used her reviews as a guideline and occasionally as a reason to try new and different places. I cannot say the same for the motley group of writers that have taken her place.
On occasion I've found a review to be well-done enough to make me miss Alison a little less, such as Kyle Wagner's article on Mo Mong ["To Eat, Perchance to Dream," November 6]. But cuisine-bashers like Margaret Briggs remind me just how awful things have gotten. Her review of Canyon Cafe ["The Not-So-Grand-Canyon," October 30] seemed not only mean-spirited but self-serving in a "look at the words I know" fashion. I realize that talented and qualified people can be hard to come by, but I wish you would make an effort to recruit a permanent writer to handle restaurant reviews.
via Internet, Houston
Some Like It Slow
I suspected the Tooth Fairy was a dental slut, but I didn't want to believe it! After years of using the Press to uncover the hidden sides of Houston, my suspicions that you are lying to me have reached a new level of paranoia.
Last night I saw Maborosi at the MFA. Thank the movie god that I didn't read Andy Klein's review [Film, "Slow Death," November 13] till this a.m. What I saw was beautiful, lingering, quiet, reserved, suggestive and understated.
What Andy saw was ... well, he goes on for 14 column inches of invective, which any interested reader can reread. A sample: "It provides its minimal edification by punishing the audience with the rhythms of real life ... as experienced on a muggy day ... somewhere in the middle of nowhere ... under the influence of Thorazine."
Geez, Andy, your comments are so concise (no editors at HP?), analytical and measured. Next time, why not try, "This movie moves at a slower pace than I enjoy..."? Andy, you need to see Mars Attacks. It might be fast enough to keep you alert; it's available at Blockbuster!
On a wider plane: The "expose" articles that I've always enjoyed and learned from seem to be getting thinner and more verbose. What about a synopsis at the beginning of each article? "Caution: Consultants Ahead" [by Bob Burtman, November 13] for example: "This article examines how inadequate supervision of consultants by the public works department has resulted in wasted funds. It seems that spending available funds has a higher priority than spending funds wisely. Substandard completions have been accepted and paid for. The article names specific names and projects. Another issue examined is reduced morale in public works."
That would have set the tone for Burtman's 104-column-inch (!) opus. Obviously, I'm still reading you all, so there's still hope.
Who, Us? Insiders?
News articles in your publication ["Home Cooking," The Insider, by Tim Fleck, October 16, and "Undiscovered Country," by Jim Simmon, October 23] suggest that my law partner Peggy Foreman and I are wealthy political insiders and are not appropriate participants in the city of Houston's affirmative action program. I respectfully suggest that a review of the truthful facts demonstrates that those assumptions are clearly wrong.
I was born to parents who had no more than third-grade educations, yet they worked hard, as a maid and a chauffeur, to make sure that their children stayed in school and got good educations. Of their four children, all attended college, and three earned college degrees.
In 1957, at the age of 16, I dropped out of school prior to entering my senior year in high school. I was a teenage mother and a single parent who went back to school in my early twenties to obtain my Graduate Equivalency Diploma. After getting my GED, I went to undergraduate school and law school under extremely challenging circumstances. While in school, I had no choice but to work full-time at night to provide for my daughter and myself -- without public assistance of any kind. I was licensed by the State Bar of Texas in 1974, at a time when there were few women lawyers and even fewer African-American lawyers.
Peggy Foreman comes from a similar background. She is the youngest of 12 children born to parents with little formal education, who worked as janitors in the North Forest Independent School District, where she attended school. Of the 12, four went to college, and Peggy was the only one to get a professional degree. Peggy worked her way through undergraduate and graduate school holding two jobs, one as a food-service manager and the other as a resident counselor for migrant farm workers.
We have also been afforded the opportunity to perform legal services for the city of Houston in the area of public-finance law. This is a highly specialized area for both minority- and non-minority-owned law firms. Through hard work and a commitment to excellence, we gained expertise and experience in public-finance law and met the qualifications and requirements to be listed in the Bond Buyer's Municipal Marketplace -- at the time, the only law firm owned by African-American women that had earned this distinction. Since we have experience in these nontraditional areas of practice, it is not unusual that we would be considered for hire by the city of Houston.
The accomplishments of Burney & Foreman, collectively, and of Peggy Foreman and Zinetta A. Burney, individually, did not come about because of political patronage or insider politics. Rather, we were given an opportunity through the city's affirmative action program to engage in nontraditional areas of legal practice and, through hard work and determination, we performed our jobs well.
Zinetta A. Burney