A Child Shall Lead Them

Plus: Barrio Ballots, The Art of Accounting, Trolley Volley

A Child Shall Lead Them

Cut the Star Kids crap: I just thank God all this New Age/alien bullshit wasn't around when I was a kid ["Alien-ated Kids," by Dylan Otto Krider, December 19]. Back in the Dark Ages (1969), I was not conferred the title "Indigo" or "Star Child" or any other such nonsense; I was simply diagnosed as "gifted" -- learned to read before kindergarten, did exceedingly well in school, received a full-ride college scholarship and generally considered all my peers and most of my teachers through high school to be dumber than dirt.

Maybe my parents were too old-fashioned when they saw fit to use some discipline and take responsibility for their children rather than smoking dope, staring at crystals and believing their highly intelligent son was an alien whose sole purpose was to teach them rather than the other way around. Maybe the school system's attempts to stick me with boring homework (which I completed at a much faster pace than they could give it) were misguided. Maybe society is to blame for expecting me to take responsibility for my actions and following rules from which, thanks to my obvious genius, I should be excepted.

Or maybe the kids should be kids and the parents should grow up!

(P.S. to Ms. Brahm: The Pleiades (plural) are a star cluster in the constellation Taurus, not a planet.)

Gerald Hanks
Houston

Barrio Ballots

Not Dem demographics: I've got news for Marc Campos, Carol Alvarado, et al. [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, December 12]. You are dealing with an increasingly educated and conservative Hispanic demographic. Your support of Lee Brown against Orlando Sanchez in the last mayoral election has been duly noted by many of us in the barrio.

Let's play ball, Marc. It's comeuppance time!

Danny Davila
Houston

The Art of Accounting

Praise the dancers: Michelle Smith lamented that the economic climate is responsible for the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company's financial woes ["Dancing in Debt," by Marene Gustin, December 12]. There is one person responsible for those economic woes, and it is Michelle Smith.

I suggest that she enroll in a business management course to complement her dancing degree. It's as simple as 2 + 2 = 4 -- a fiscally responsible manager does not spend money that he/she does not have.

The truly cruel part of this equation is that Ms. Smith spent limited resources on bringing in expensive choreographers and then didn't have the funds to pay her dancers. Those dancers should have been her first priority -- to see that they were treated fairly and paid on time.

Three of the original members of this dance troupe were not "weaned out," they were fired when they complained about Ms. Smith's questionable financial abilities -- it's as simple as that. Houston's economic climate, my foot!

Yes, Michelle Smith, you did "screw" your dancers out of their paychecks -- a practice that would have continued had not four of the dancers decided that they had enough of your "fuzzy" accounting abilities. They deserve plaudits and praise!

Joyce Owens
Port Arthur

Trolley Volley

Metro's a mess: Why is anyone surprised that Metro is slow to pay for contracted street improvements [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, December 19]?

Metro cooked the fiscal year 2003 books, yet the media refused to call them on it. Metro's budget anticipates a 6 percent growth in sales tax revenue, yet the last 12 months' income was unchanged from last year.

Metro projects an increase in the fare box income, yet it has dropped since the truth-challenged president/CEO came in 1999!

Yet, come hell or high water, they will sacrifice all to build the Main Street tram.

Informed voters have come to realize that Metro is an out-of-control, wasteful spending machine, unaccountable to the taxpayers, yet bent on squandering precious resources on rail, an inefficient transit system that seems the antithesis of mobility because it is an old-technology rail system.

When it breaks, collides with emergency vehicles, kills a pedestrian or is stopped by street flooding, buses will be called in to rescue the stranded riders.

Metro is violating the rights of the poor and minorities who are most dependent on bus service, yet least able to fight Metro. None of this would have happened if Metro had been honest and held a vote on this boondoggle rail.

Tom Bazan
Houston

Trying to Make a Killing

Good pub: Orchids to writer Marene Gustin for such a well-written article about our upcoming release of The Ice Box Murders by Hugh and Martha Gardenier ["Murder, They Wrote," December 19]. We are excited about this new piece of fictionalized true crime as it makes its debut in the Houston market, where the grisly deed took place 37 years ago.

We are proud that the Houston Press broke the news to Texas in such an entertaining and informative format. We are already getting e-mail inquiries about the book. Now that's good reporting! Kudos to the Houston Press.

Sylvia Tomlinson, Redbud Publishing
Victoria

Beating the Drums

Movie review angst:To say that Drumline was an eye-opener is probably the best statement you made in your review ["Beat It," by Luke Y. Thompson, December 12]. However, you didn't open your eyes or your mind wide enough to see the point of the movie: In every organization you have your wiseass who thinks he knows everything, failing to realize that it takes more than one person to make it run efficiently. You always have your people who jeopardize the whole organization. But you must learn to follow before you can begin to lead. You know the phrase, "too many chiefs, and not enough Indians."

Drumline is like any football, military or cheerleading movie except that it portrays historically black university marching band programs and uses this to tell the story. The movie was accurate and it allowed people who haven't experienced it to appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into making it all happen.

Your referring to no-name teenage actors beating drums was rude. Well-known actors were once those no-name actors you referred to.

Despite your playing down the movie, people of all races and ages still supported it and clapped at the end. This movie provided plenty of messages. It was wrong for you to act like making a movie about marching band is worthless. You are doing a great injustice to the public as well as to the universities that offer this experience.

Name withheld by request
Missouri City

Crossing the Borders

Transart start: We appreciate Cathy Matusow's listing of our current multimedia exhibition, "finally a place…," at the new Trans-Site Studio space on West Alabama [Art Listings, December 12]. It helped draw people's attention to the transart studio and its mission, which is to create a forum for new art that would not ordinarily be shown at commercial galleries or conventional exhibition venues.

We also hope to involve audiences in the conceptual and contextual processes of intermedia art and art that crosses cultural borders.

Johannes Birringer
Houston

Raves for the Wealthy

Money and the merits: Please adjust the Houston Press mantra, and let your writers know that it's okay to write good things about an artist even if he or she makes millions. Chihuly is difficult ["Shattering the Glass," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, November 21]? Name a great artist who wasn't. Chihuly churns out hundreds of works? There are at least three Picasso museums. Can we ever count the number of Warhols in existence?

Chihuly made $23 million last year? Does an artist have to be starving to be legitimate? Get over it! Success is not a bad thing! Artists don't have to die before people start making money off their works, including the artists themselves.

I'll keep saying it until Houston Press critics get it: Your automatic, systematic and totally predictable trashing of any and almost every actor, singer and now artist who is popular, successful and -- heaven forbid, rich -- is B-O-R-I-N-G!

John Middleton
Houston

Sub Species

Hoagie hunting: I can ask only this about your "submarine sandwich" review ["Sub Text," by Robb Walsh, November 14]: Are you kidding? Ponzo's and Jersey Mike's do serve sandwiches with bread, meat, cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato. But to say they even come close to a true sub or hoagie is absurd. Guys, we're missing just a few ingredients!

I thought that with Jersey Mike's, there would finally be a sub shop in Houston. But I'm afraid neither establishment is up to the task. Your review made some valid points. Ponzo's is owned by third-generation Californians, and Jersey Mike's is really more of an Italian-flavored Subway.

Hoagies come from the East Coast, specifically South Jersey.

For an authentic hoagie, the bread had better have a hard crust, to the point where it could be mistaken for a weapon, with the majority of the breading removed, soaked to the point of saturation with oil and vinegar, covered with provolone, ham and at least two salamis -- let's say hard and Genoa -- covered, not sprinkled, with shredded lettuce, finely sliced onion and multitudes of fresh Jersey tomatoes, soaked once again with oil and vinegar and dashed with oregano. And the key ingredient, peppers! Diced pepperoncini, hot and sweet peppers; without the peppers, it's just a ham and salami on Italian bread!

Lee Walton
Houston

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