Pack Animals

The straight skinny: Please tell me the article "Got a Light?" [by Keith Plocek, May 12] was tongue-in-cheek. If the author was serious, then I have to ask if big tobacco wrote the article. It was filled with half-truths, conjecture and bias.

Multiple studies show that secondhand smoke causes cancer. For every antismoking zealot. there is a chain-smoking NASCAR fan who thinks it is his God-given right to smoke anywhere. Rights to smoke end where they can put me at risk for cancer. Most restaurants do not have adequate ventilation to keep people safe.

The article said that smokers have more fun than nonsmokers; that is juvenile and a stereotype. The article said that smoking keeps you thin. Well, so does crack cocaine, but I would not recommend it.

Chad Wagner

Another big-tobacco ploy: The notion of hurting sales by enacting ordinances banning environmental tobacco smoke in public places is actually just another ploy of big tobacco (always in the background, quietly funding such lies), using "smokers' rights" as its front. Bar/hospitality sales have actually increased in cities such as New York and Dublin, where bans on smoking in all public places have been in place for several years. Or maybe you simply want to be this industry's mouthpiece, promoting the more attractive side effects of cigarette smoking -- such as the inability to have/maintain an erection, bad skin and looking old before your time, and heroic means of death like suffocating from emphysema and lung cancer.

I'll not call you crazy, as you asked us to do at the end of the article, just stupid, for you've chosen to buy the lie of big tobacco and pass it on as truth. Houston should not stop at restaurants but extend the smoking ban to include all public places, including bars. Less smoke, better sex: a nice trade-off, don't ya think?

Dan Clarke

Peddling Paranoia

Watching you: Finally, someone in Houston has the courage and tenacity to seek the truth about the sham of a bicycle trail program in Houston ["Path to Nowhere?" by Greg Harman, May 12]. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership was supposed to advocate for this almost 15 years ago. It is not, however, in its current contract to do so, so why do they even care now? The only reason, I think, is greed and collaboration with the powers that be in the real estate "scam commission." This whole entity has been rife with benefiting the few at the expense of the many for so long that nobody even notices anymore!

Now comes super-bikeman-hero Alan Atkinson. If you really think that what he is doing is out of a sense of right, you are sadly wrong. Mr. Atkinson seeks to serve himself and anyone else who will pay.

Mr. Atkinson's de facto trail project is there with blessings and curses from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, albeit with looming safety concerns, substandard construction techniques, lack of legal rights-of-way, lack of legal surveys and construction at dark on legal holidays.

We are in Austin. We are in Washington, D.C. We are concerned. We are watching.

Name withheld by request

Raked over the Coals

Poor-taste cook-out: I am an occasional reader of the Press. Every once in a while, amid the ads for the various perversions practiced in the Montrose area, you guys have managed to find something with some real news value. Most of the time, though, you tilt even further left than the Houston Comical.

But the May 26 issue tore it, as far as I am concerned. I got as far as page four and said, "What the fuck?" I then threw the paper in the trash. And I won't ever read your rag again.

Derf's so-called "cartoon," The City, of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld having a cook-out in Arlington Cemetery went beyond the pale. Derf has got to be mentally deranged if he can come up with something that totally vile. And it saddens me that no one at the Press had enough journalistic integrity to say, "Wait a minute, this is way over the line," and to strike the cartoon. Actually, journalistic integrity be damned: No one had the common decency to do it.

Shame on him for drawing it, and shame on you for printing it.

Chuck Sears

Who's on First?

Too kind: Robb Walsh was really too kind in his review of Alfredo's on Montrose ["Wurst-Case Scenario," May 12]. If the owner believes he is the first to serve German sausage sandwiches in Texas, he is crazy. Roland's Swiss Bakery on Del Monte has served such sandwiches with real homemade potato salad, as well as many other wonderful items, especially soups and a wurst salad, for at least 25 years.

What is that guy thinking?

Robert Rosenberg
Wilton Manors, Florida


The June 2 "Ensemble Dining" cafe review misidentified the chef of Julia's Bistro. David Sanchez has been replaced by former sous-chef Jose Garcia, who deserves the credit for most of the current menu items and all of the great cooking.

The Press regrets the error.

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