Mail Call

A Different Breed

Fair on ferrets: I just had to tell you how much I enjoyed your story ["Ferret Love," by Richard Connelly, August 23]. Thank you for being fair and entertaining.

Bonnie Tormohlen
Exec. Director, CA Domestic Ferret
Educational Alliance, Inc.
Visalia, CA

Wow: Thank you for writing a most excellent ferret story. That is the best ferret article I've read so far. And ferret people are very picky about ferret articles. Most of the time writers get things wrong.

I know you're probably saying, "Oh no, oh God nooo, ferret people are coming out of the woodwork now." Ha! That's what you get.

My husband and I live near Atlanta, Georgia, and belong to an active ferret group here. I'm also connected to a ferret group in North Carolina. My husband and I have ten ferrets, all rescues. And we have five cats, rescues as well. People do throw animals away, and other people, like us, gather them up and take care of them.

Our ferret group here also has a sewing side branch called The Crafty Weasels — www.craftyweasels.com/index.php. We get together once a month to sew ferret bedding, hammocks and sleep sacks. Then we donate the bedding to various ferret shelters around the U.S. It makes us feel good, and we have fun on sew days. We have boys and girls sewing, not just catty women.

I guess you could say true ferret owners (the ones who don't throw our ferrets away) just feel a lot of love for animals and want to help. We can't solve the world's problems — war, hunger, poverty, abuse — but we can make the lives of a few animals happy for a short while. It's the very least we can do, and we enjoy it.

Donna Baker
Marietta, GA

Real Balls

Watch this: It was great that the Houston Press wrote some truth about Michael Brown, the founder of The Hand Center ["Hair Balls," by Richard Connelly, August 9]. If even half of the sworn testimony from his two ex-wives is true, then this guy is a real creep. Doing drugs and beating up on your wives was a real surprise, especially when his TV commercials portray him as a gentle, compassionate and caring doctor. I think it takes real balls to use your "little daughter Sophie" on television as a prop to try and fool people about who you really are. If the Texas Medical Board revoked his license, you can imagine how bad this guy had to be! I've noticed that the commercials now call him the "Founder" and there is no M.D. after his name. Houston Chronicle columnist Shelby Hodge likes to party with the rich and famous. This explains her lame focus on the "platinum and diamond Rolex" Brown added to his fine watch collection. Thanks for reminding us what this jerk is all about.

Luke Rifkin
Houston

Talking Talib

Where's the wrong? I can't believe that anyone would say that "conscious rap" doesn't belong in hip-hop ["Rotation: Talib Kweli," by Ben Westhoff, August 16]. Anyone who feels that way cannot really be a fan of the music. I think that this album is a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of the nonsense that gets aired on radio and television. The youth need more positivity these days. Hip-hop has a big influence on children and teenagers who don't have many positive role models. Would you rather have them listen to music that tells them to be promiscuous, gun-toting, shiftless, good-for-nothin' drug addicts? Would you rather they be influenced by those who are only concerned with the money that their demographic generates?

This album was made with the intent to inform, educate and uplift people. Where's the wrong in that? Also, how could you criticize one of the most talented MCs we've seen in a long time? Your favorite rapper probably listens to Talib Kweli (or at least knows about his lyrical prowess). He can probably rhyme circles around the most well-known rappers in the game. I honestly think that the person who wrote this article hasn't listened to hip-hop for a long time. Maybe his knowledge of the music doesn't go back further than 1998. Maybe he doesn't know the definition of the term "hip-hop." If so, this album should not have been reviewed by this person.

Chuck Simmons
Georgetown, SC

Generational Difference

It ain't worth much: Let me call BS on Craig Hlavaty's "For What It's Worth: Calling BS on the Summer of Love" [August 16]. For someone who wasn't there, he's mighty opinionated. First of all, it does not follow that because the Greatest Generation fought a terrible war, the '60s wasn't an equally awesome generation, if for other reasons. Hlavaty paints the hippies as dippies, then later creates a logical inconsistency by wondering why commentators seem to ignore Vietnam, campus unrest and urban riots.

I don't know which history cartoons Hlavaty's been watching, but those of us who lived through those times remember the bad stuff as well as the good. When was the last time Hlavaty or any of his friends got the crap beat out of them because they looked different? How many of his friends have come home from overseas in body bags? When was the last time Hlavaty took the time to stand up in public to protest an illicit war or racial and gender discrimination only to be beaten down by the cops or, worse, shot down by the National Guard? Remember, back then it was that august paramilitary organization that was shooting down students on university campuses, not the spoiled, whiny, psycho urban brats doing the shooting today. Have you been to jail for standing up and saying what you believe, Mr. Hlavaty, or do you just go around looking like you want and saying what you want, all the while snarling down on those who took the heat for you?

Hlavaty grants facile kudos to the music, not realizing that the music was an outpouring of the unrest as well as the ethos of the day. And this is the crux of the matter, because there was a real excitement in the air that America hasn't seen since, except, maybe, during the punk and new wave movements, both of which influenced a narrower range of American culture. The '60s was a time of change and hope and people working together to make something genuine happen and open up the strictures of a narrow society. And, despite our failings, we accomplished amazing things. But, of course, all that was too dangerous, and America ended up with Ronald Reagan taking over the White House and beginning the systematic destruction of our economy and social and political freedoms — the very freedoms the youth of the '60s idealized and, yes, suffered for, and saw eroded because the generations since have been too self-centered and complacent to comprehend what's going on around them, much less protest.

Finally, if Hlavaty objects to folks who grew up in the '60s engaging in a little nostalgia for their youth, so be it, but don't blame us for the commercialism surrounding it. I haven't bought a tie-dyed shirt or a pair of bell-bottoms since 1974, when that same commercialism began marketing the stuff to high school students as "style." But I suggest Hlavaty start tossing his CD collection now, as well as his memories, and never look back. Otherwise, he might wake up one day to find a few nostalgic feelings of his own creeping in as he stumbles to the bathroom to see an aging hypocrite full of BS looking back out of the mirror.

Christopher Dow
Houston

Correction

Last week's review of Resurrecting the Champ [by Robert Wilonsky, August 23] implied that writer J.R. Moehringer got the Los Angeles Times story upon which this movie is based wrong. That is not the case.

The Press regrets the error.

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