And the workers' charitable efforts over last Halloween enabled them to make a $500 donation to the Burned and Crippled Children's Fund.

As patrons leave La Bare, they feel better about themselves than when they entered. What other establishment of any type can say that?

Are all the staff writers and editors at the Houston Press overweight, repressed or slovenly? One must assume that jealousy of the young dancers is the only reason for the continued biased reporting toward La Bare.

If you are going to hold yourselves out to the public as unbiased reporters, then write like unbiased reporters, instead of controversy sycophants.

John Finlay

Silencing the Bams

No ulterior motive: I realize that Hair Balls likes to have fun with rhetorical questions, but it's sad to see your publication come up so woefully short of a common-sense answer to the easy question posed in the March 31 issue ["A Quiet Neighborhood"], to wit: "...is there ever a reason for a private citizen to own a silencer for anything but suspicious purposes?" Leaving aside the sloppiness displayed by calling them silencers (almost nothing can silence a firearm; these devices are more properly called "suppressors"), Hair Balls commits the unforgivable sin of failing to ridicule the two law enforcement wonks quoted spouting their transparent ignorance of the subject.

Just FYI, shooting guns is fun, but the noise can cause hearing damage and piss off the neighbors. Beyond the collections of history buffs, most new suppressors are merely basic safety equipment and a way to be polite to those around you. In countries where suppressors are common, hunters and target shooters routinely use them to save their hearing; shooting ranges encourage their use so neighbors won't complain about the noise. Unfortunately, in the United States, earplugs and muffs (which can be less effective and wholly impractical while hunting) are the only alternatives most shooters are allowed by a government that has decided suppressors exist only to generate tax revenue and provide employment for wannabe cowboys who get off on the power trip of flashing badges and enforcing silly regulations.

Those of us who understand the usefulness of suppressors pay big bucks for them. And sloppy journalists, having no experience with them, can actually be hornswoggled by lying or ignorant law enforcement mouthpieces into wrongly concluding that suppressor owners are a suspicious lot.

Tsk, tsk. I expect that kind of naïveté from the Chron, not the Press.

Name withheld by request

Thift-Store Ragging

The price of being hip: I really devoured the article about Urban Outfitters in this week's Nightfly column ["Monsters of Hip," by Brian McManus, April 7]. Speaking as someone who worked at the Rice Village location for close to three years, it really struck a chord with me. Despite the camaraderie of a few really great friends I made there, and the two or three good CDs that I got handed down by the store, I had a hard time dealing with the banality of this company.

It seems that all I see on television these days is Urban clothes. Hell, MTV is practically a commercial for the place! I just wish people could see through the ridiculous trends this store tries to claim it originates, and the outrageous prices it places on this stuff. When are people going to realize that they are paying upward of 30 bucks for a company-bought thrift-store rag? I guess it all boils down to having your stuff seen on the "right" people at the "right" times.

And who among us doesn't want to look like the cast of The Real World?

I didn't want this letter to sound like the ramblings of a disgruntled employee, but I still have friends doing time at Urban and I know they feel the same way. Oddly enough, they happen to be artists and musicians. Imagine that.

Man, whoever started that "I hate Starbucks" Web site might be on to something.

Name withheld by request


In the feature story "Mixing It Up" (March 10), Robb Walsh's interview with Ferran Adria should have been attributed to a Q&A with Adria on egullet.org rather than "an electronic interview." The Web site also supplied the translations. The Houston Press regrets the oversight.

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