From Homelessness to Wine Snobbery

Weighing In Across the Board

Steve Dinges

One mind: If only society could come together like some massive Voltron and use a singular subjective conscience to sort through the wasteland that is "art" so we could sit back and throw around our own pointless ­critiques of art with self-satisfaction.

joel

Shop Closed

Online readers comment on "La Bête Noire du Cepage Noir," Eating...Our Words blog, by Katharine Shilcutt, March 26:

Move on: Is Houston not a boutique kind of town? Sad as the closing is of Cepage Noir, let's not forget — business is a risk. Most of them fail eventually, small or big. You find your niche, and you cultivate it. And if that niche cannot support your existence, then it's time to stop. Heck, it happened to Circuit City.

The problem is the definition of success. How is a boutique considered successful? At one point, Starbucks was a boutique operation in Seattle — many would consider its ubiquity now as a failure in its original mission. All told, I understand it's just the mourning in losing one more small elite (used politely) haven for culinary culture in Houston. But we move on, and we celebrate those that we have.

Dr. Ricky

Comfort factor: One of the biggest issues that you hit on was the comfort factor. When I first got into wine and beer, I went to someplace where I wouldn't feel out of place (yes, Spec's) or intimidated by either the customers' or employees' knowledge. As I dipped my feet further into the world of wine and beer, I felt more comfortable putting myself out there and going to the obscure wine shops and beer pubs and discussing and buying the more boutique-style wines and beers. I think maybe that's where Cepage missed the mark — creating an atmosphere where even the novice wine person would feel comfortable.

tedo

SERIOUS STUFF

Houston Press staffer honored for investigative reporting

Chris Vogel, staff writer for the Houston Press, has been named a finalist in the national Investigative Reporters and Editors annual competition.

Vogel received recognition for his investigative story "Prison Cover-up" [March 6, 2008] in the Local Circulation Weeklies category. Vogel revealed that, contrary to first reports, prisoners at the federal prison in Beaumont were not evacuated as Hurricane Rita converged upon the Texas coast. His investigation also discovered that even though subsequent accounts from prison officials confirmed the inmates had not been evacuated, the picture painted of everything being fine there in the hurricane's aftermath was far from the actual medieval conditions experienced by the prisoners.

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