Letters

Life-Saving Sex

Affairs are the answer:This story made me wonder. I wondered what society would be like if having an affair wasn't taboo ["Lindsey's Loss," by Steven Long, April 8]. People have affairs all the time! In most cases, no one can remain faithful for an extended period of time.

Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. Now, more marriages are ending in murder! Why? Most people leave because they are tired of having sex with the same person over and over. Romance is lost and trivial things take first place. So, instead of fixing the problem, you suck it up or go find someone else. If you don't want to leave or can't leave, have an affair!

If you look in other cultures or even in the wild, having more than one partner is natural. There are even couples that swing. Not a bad idea if you both play by the rules. Yet here in civilized America we don't do that sort of thing, and if we do and get caught, we get killed over it! I can't help but wonder that if we accepted affairs, how many relationships would be saved? Hell, a father and his teenage daughter's life might have been saved. I think we should all look at this tragic story and examine mankind and our own scheme -- it could save a life!

Monica Mosier
Houston

Chasing Excellence

Trustees according to Twain:Gee, how neat that the Chronicletook only two weeks to catch up to your column on school discipline ["Watching You," by Margaret Downing, March 18].

As Mark Twain once wrote: "First, God made idiots; that was for practice; then, He made school boards." Katy ISD, please note.

Philip Snyder
Houston

Festering Fest

Reliant wrongs: Let me get this straight: According to Houston International Festival organizers, the festival is cheaper to produce at Reliant Park, even though it costs more to attend and to park ["Thai One On," by Steven Devadanam, April 15]. And that's better? And it's being staged not in a parking lot but in a field next to a parking lot -- except for the stages that are in the parking lot. And that's better, too?

Hmmm, sounds like bullshit to me. I think it's better that I keep my money and not attend.

R.T. Castleberry
Houston

Greed wins out:I have attended the Houston International Festival for many years. I have always looked forward to the great lineup of music, in its downtown setting. The wind whipping through the buildings, the shade under the trees, the many friends I would see year after year. No more.

As with the demise of the Westheimer Festival, the promoters of one of the greatest festivals in Texas -- or anywhere -- have killed the soul of the HIF by moving it. Houston has gone to a lot of trouble, never mind the money, to beautify our downtown. Now that much of that work is finished, they move the festival to a frigging parking lot! Total insanity.

As much as I will miss the music, the people and mainly the atmosphere, I will not attend the festival ever again at its current location. I'm urging others to boycott the festival until the promoters work out their differences in the permitting fees. Like everything in the world these days, greed has become the driving force behind this change of venue for the festival.

It's sad; I and a whole lot of others will really miss this festival. It was always an integral part of springtime in Houston.

Chris Hedrick
Houston

Crossing Over

Legal advice is best: Thank you for your up-close and personal journey through the immigration quagmire ["Flight of Angels," by Josh Harkinson, April 15]. As you are most likely aware, the Schymas' story is representative of many people's experiences with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. As an immigration attorney in Houston since 1997, I have witnessed firsthand many heartbreaking episodes. In fact, it is not uncommon for loved ones to be separated for years because of the restrictive laws that prevent the reunification of families.

However, the Schymas' situation could have been avoided if they had sought competent legal advice. Given Mr. Schyma's prior experience immigrating to the United States, I was surprised by his naïveté and lack of foresight. Did he honestly think it would be as simple as driving his new bride across the border? Moreover, every day we read stories in the press about the horrendous service, delays and screwups at CIS.

Also, I was somewhat confused by your terminology. There is no such thing as a marriage visa or a travel visa. By the way, to add insult to injury, effective April 30, 2004, CIS will significantly increase application fees for immigration benefits.

Joanne M. Houck
Houston

Cecil's Complaints

Bow-tie tradition: First, I don't think writer Keith Plocek had never been at Cecil's till after the restoration ["We Want the Funk," April 22].

Second, if he indeed ever visited, he would have known that Teresa always wears a tuxedo shirt and bow tie. Third, that chemical smell, it's called Pine-O-Pine. Also, I note that you so glibly use the word "suburban," or that statement about Bennigan's. Dude, get out more, or at least check your references, or better yet, go to Sherlock's.

Tracy Pierce
Houston

On with the Show

A different perspective on Gray: Because I was one of the people that Spalding Gray asked to the stage and interviewed on that night at Cullen Theater, I was naturally interested in reading John Penner's description of the event ["Stage Death," April 15]. I realize that -- Rashomon-like -- no two descriptions of an event will ever be the same, but Mr. Penner's description is so far off the mark that I feel it necessary to set the record straight.

The audience's open hostility and catcalls were not a result of anything that Spalding said, during either his opening monologue or his first two interviews. They were a result of what I said in response to his question "What do you think of the war?" I replied that it was a criminal, illegal and immoral act that had sickened me, and as I began to explain what I meant, the audience erupted in boos and hisses, which got worse when I asked the audience to think about how they would feel if 40 cruise missiles hit downtown Houston. Large numbers of the audience began to walk out. I was the one to mention Donald Rumsfeld. Spalding kept plaintively asking why the people were leaving, while I kept saying, "This is dissent in Ashcroft's America." The interview ended with my shaking hands with Spalding and saying, "Sorry about that, Spalding." He barely nodded.

The rest of the evening happened approximately as Mr. Penner describes it. I agree with Mr. Penner that the evening was a disaster (though, to be honest, I also think it was the most fascinating and disturbing night of theater I've ever attended); however I would have preferred that he report the evening accurately.

Patrick Bishop
Houston

Editor's note: Penner acknowledges that he wrote about the events based on his memory, but he says the article is an accurate account of what occurred.

Sheltering Sentiments

Mr. K's defense:I was one of the individuals who contacted Margaret Downing to discuss Mr. K's no-kill animal shelter ["A Dog's Life," April 8]. As one of the founders of Mr. K's 100, I wanted to make sure that I had the opportunity to describe their efforts and to respond to any specific concerns before Ms. Downing printed her story. There are significant inaccuracies:

Mr. K's was not "cut off" by its original dog food supplier. And the dogs and cats at Mr. K's have never gone without food. The e-mail referred to in the article came at a time when Hills Science Diet suspended shipments for approximately a week because of a paperwork mix-up. Ms. McNew was informing supporters that they were down to three bags of Hills food and needed additional food while the issue with Hills was being addressed. Mr. K's secured more than enough food to take care of the animals adequately.

Mr. K's has a good adoption rate. Indeed, it is my understanding that last year Mr. K's adopted out approximately 200 dogs.

The article's implications that Mr. K's funds, including funds of Mr. K's 100, are being misused is libelous.

Ms. Downing's view appears to be that death is preferable to an environment -- albeit sometimes muddy and not perfectly run -- in which the animals are well fed, receive proper medical care and do not have a three-day expiration date. Why deal with the hassle of caring for the dogs and cats that nobody wants, Ms. Downing suggests, when you could just kill them?

We do not live in a perfect world, but Mr. K's and its supporters have decided to make it a better one. We invite anyone who agrees to visit www.mrkspetshelter.org or www.mrks100.com (forthcoming) to learn more about how he or she can help.

Laura Hanley Carlock
Houston

Cause of Action

Lighten up on films: You know, I get tired of some movie critics because they cannot find anything good about any movie unless it is from some foreign country or explains the meaning of life ["Punish This," by Robert Wilonsky, April 15]. Movies are meant to be an escape from the realities of an eight-to-five life that we all share during the week. Sometimes I wanna see bodies pile up and loud explosions, because it helps me find a release.

The Punisher is not Oscar-worthy; however, it does its job nicely of being what it is: stress relief. I will put it to you this way: Even if you are a rabid Shakespeare junkie, could you read that every day? No. All the heavy thought would drive you mad!

Would Mr. Wilonsky rather Thomas Jane came out and railed against some socioeconomic complex? Of course not, because that is not the purpose of the movie or movies like it. People want to see people in movies get fucked up in a way they cannot do to their boss during the week. If he knew that the movie was not high-minded, he should not have gone to see it, or he should have treated it like everyone in the real world does, as mindless fun.

Shaun Belcher
Houston

Station Break

Hip-hop heaven: I totally agree with Eric K. Arnold on the subject of old-school hip-hop ["I Want My Old-School Hip-hop," April 15]. However, there is a solution.

I have XM Radio, and on it there is a station, XM 65, called The Rhyme. It throws it back harder than Alan Ashby. Classic hip-hop uncensored. Every time I get in my car I have the privilege and honor of hearing Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee, Run D.M.C., Ice Cube, N.W.A, even 2 Live Crew, as I relive the glory days of sixth- to eighth-grade to the beat.

They also throw in some good '90s hip-hop, Tribe Called Quest and Biggie. If you've got an old-school itch, they'll probably scratch it.

Ben Stark
Houston

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