Double Standards?

Plus: Defining Moment, Egg on the Face, Get Off Death Row!

I have sent e-mails to elected state and county officials, and I learned one thing: None of them has any interest in protecting the constitutional rights of the Texas citizenry. Might as well turn us all free to protect ourselves from the thieves of the streets, and from the greatest thief of property and rights there is.

Ronald L. Weston

Cinematic Intercourse

Narc-olepsy? I just fucking loved Gregory Weinkauf's fucking review of that fucking movie Narc ["Straining Day," January 9]. I really fucking enjoyed reading all his fucking smart-ass fucking comments!

Bill Rustin

Rifts on the Riviera

Coarse critic: Some friends of mine from Chicago were in town and happened upon the review of the Riviera Grill by Robb Walsh ["New Digs, Old Tricks," January 9]. They found it extremely amusing that a restaurant reviewer wouldn't know common etiquette such as having napkins dropped in your lap or pouring small amounts of wine at a time in your glass.

For a person to blatantly broadcast such ignorance while having the audacity to write a line like "Please let the cheese be cheese" reassures me as to why so many people call Houston a cowtown. Why berate the popularity of calamari yet still order it? Why spend paragraphs quoting the praise of other reviewers only to say you disagree?

Is a bar full of people in black leather jackets something edgy and different that Houston really needs? I could have sworn we all saw our share of that circa 1992. It's also quite laughable that Mr. Walsh compares seedy areas of downtown to Times Square -- for the past ten years it's looked like Disneyland.

What do you expect from a restaurant critic who usually eats at places where they ask, "Would you like fries with that?"

Joanna Thomas

Kudos from an insider: How I enjoyed your article on the Riviera Grill. You have hit the nail directly on the head regarding John Sheely's food. I likened it to "Mockingbird East," for many of the items that John has on his Riviera menu appear quite frequently on the Mockingbird menu. John did have an interesting "original" menu that he benchmarked off the Internet, but he did not have the courage to move forward with it. In the end, he went with what he does best: late-'80s/early-'90s food.

I am the former general manager of the Riviera Grill and wanted to let you know that after your review, John came in and eliminated the Dry-Aged Certified Black Angus program that executive chef Gerry Updergraffe and I had developed. (Chef Updergraffe and I recently resigned.)

John is not skilled or creative enough to run two successful operations, nor is he confident enough in his own abilities to let able and creative minds flow and perform. The staff still hasn't been educated on things as basic as what types of beer the Riviera carries (they do have Sierra Nevada, by the way), so I doubt your next experience will be any better. For their sake, though, I do hope things change.

Robert Barras

Getting His Goat

Hailing globalization: Robb Walsh ruined what was otherwise a superb review of the taste treat and popularity of Pollo Campero ["Globalization's McBacklash," January 16] by trying to put it into a larger context of globalization or, more specifically, anti-globalization.

The trashing of a McDonald's restaurant in France can hardly be considered the effort of "farmworkers" or a French protest against "insipid American food." It was carried out by Jose Bove, who at best could be considered a "gentleman farmer," specializing in raising goats for Roquefort cheese.

The agenda of Bove and the anti-globalization activists is largely protectionist. It would appear that Bove no more speaks for the tastes of the French than I or anyone else speaks for the tastes of Americans. McDonald's has had difficulties as of late. But there is not a global revolt against American-style fast foods. There is increasing competition by many, including imitators.

You share a sin with all too many journalists of accepting as valid those who are promoted by activist groups as somehow speaking for their country and for those without voice throughout the world.

Pollo Campero coming to the United States is what globalization is all about. One can name many areas of commerce in which firms in other countries have moved to the forefront and dominate even the American market. There are many inequities and legitimate criticisms of the way in which globalization has been carried out. But giving consumers around the world greater freedom of choice is not one of them.

Thomas R. DeGregori, University of Houston economics professor

Music and the Media

Delightful diatribe: This is a long-overdue, desperately necessary commentary on the sorry state of affairs in the field of American music journalism ["Mag Hags," by Rob Harvilla, January 2]. I stopped reading Rolling Stone in 1994, and I never looked back. Harvilla has shined some light on a dark and embarrassing corner of music coverage, and his piece reads like a Henry Rollins diatribe (that's a compliment). Good job on an article very, very well written!

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