The Wheel World

Readers share their bike messenger stories.

The Wheel World

Online readers comment on "Don't Kill the Messengers," by John Nova Lomax, January 6:

Nostalgic: I miss my short days of being a bike messenger. You live on your bike, and it's you versus the world. Well, mostly you versus pedestrians and pesky taxicabs. If I could make a great salary at it, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Jason McElweenie

The messenger scene: I'm not sure how much more these folks will have to say, and I'm not really sure how important the good old days are, but it is true: There are messengers in Houston who love the job and add to the scene, whether it is throwing races or throwing parties and having their bands rock the living room. Many of the new guys also travel and represent Houston in national and international messenger races. In any case, everybody and nobody is an authority.


Respect: I have worked in downtown many years and remember the heady Enron days when it seemed messengers were everywhere. I remember watching a messenger get hit by (or hit) a Metro bus. He eventually got up and pedaled away (doing S-turns). Earned my respect that day.


Covering Consciousness

Online readers comment on "­Eating to Live in the Third Ward," by ­Katharine Shilcutt, December 30:

A hate group: I generally enjoy Katharine Shilcutt's reviews, but I have to question why she chose to review a restaurant associated with The Nation of Islam. Certainly that association has no bearing on the quality of the food being served, but reviews do serve as a form of promotion and advertisement for the restaurants covered.

The NOI is considered a hate group by many watchdog groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, and with good reason, in my opinion. Farrakhan is a racist who has verbally attacked whites, Jews and homosexuals many times over many years, and I question the wisdom of promoting a restaurant allied with him or the NOI.

The owners may be the nicest people in the world, and not racist or homophobic at all, but I would expect some criticism if I opened a restaurant associated with the KKK or another hate group, regardless of my own beliefs.

I'd say that if a critic chooses to review a restaurant associated with things such as hate groups or religious cults (for example), she should also mention a fuller description of what that group may support before sending new customers in their direction.


Dialogue: Unfortunately, Skintaster forgot the wise saying, "You know a tree by the fruit it bears." If the NOI truly was a hate group, then that would reflect in the service of customers who are part of the targeted groups. Can anyone provide evidence that anyone who was Jewish, white or homosexual was treated with anything but courtesy and humanity? At a certain point in time, everyone is going to have to come to grips with the fact that the NOI didn't start the fight but has been defending black people and itself for years against false charges.

Get up to date with where the NOI is today and stop listening to people like the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center, who use the NOI as fundraising material. Pay close attention to the Homeland Security Assessment of the NOI after 9-11; the report not only said that the NOI was not violent or a threat to America, but it shouldn't have been investigated in the first place. Come to the Consciousness Cafe for good food and maybe some dialogue and peacemaking. Bean pie, anyone?


Beliefs important: While the food sounds good, sadly it's lost in the agenda of its owners. If the shoe were on the other foot, then the place wouldn't get off the ground. Perhaps what should have been a focus of the review as well is what the owners, on the record, believe. While food and beliefs are two separate issues, when a place puts it out on the table like they do, it plays a pivotal role in its identity.


State of the Arts Orgs

Online readers comment on "­Suggested New Year's Resolutions for Three Houston Arts Orgs," Art Attack blog, by Troy Schulze, January 5:

Finally! Great to read someone at last calling the Alley out on their own ridiculous casting practices and seasonal programming. Years ago, the Alley actually had a local rep company where the majority of the actors were not shipped in from New York and L.A. The only locals in Alley productions have been doing those same shows for more than 15 years. Are those actors the only ones in Houston at all with talent? I'd venture to say that's not true.

The sad thing is that the Alley is not the only Houston theater that ships in actors/productions from New York, L.A and elsewhere and then has the nerve to complain about cost overhead. If only Stages and TUTS would cast their local productions entirely with Houston-based talent. If only.

Titian Terror

Hire locally: I agree 100 percent on the Alley resolution. I would go so far as to recommend it be applied to all facets of many of the arts organizations in Houston. Seriously, take a look. How many are staffed (on stage, back stage, front of house, administration) primarily with people who were already here? Houston has such a wealth of talent, but so many of these orgs just don't seem to see it.

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As an African-American resident of the City of Houston, I have watched for a number of years as a couple of these organizations, namely The Heritage Society and it's talking head Ovide Duncantell and Mr. Stamps of the MLK Grande Parade have proceeded to make a mockery of most of the tenants and precepts that MLK stood for. Most assuredly, both men have allowed their seemingly monstrous egos to usurp their ability to think clearly. What unity is there in the constant bickering about who came first, the never ending fusillade of negative comments spewed from both camps, the utterly embarrassing conduct of two men, who would hold themselves up as models for our children. The time has past when the two of you should have mitigated this petty feud. One writer said the city is a national laughingstock, because of your behavior. I would say...nay not the city, but you Mr. Duncantell and you Mr. Stamps have made laughingstocks of yourselves by your continuing to place your personal disagreements at the forefront, thereby drawing into the fray those of us who only want to see the memory of MLK symbolized by a day of peace, service, and jubilation. What message are you sending to the very generations you espouse to educate with your parades? The only thing I can see that would cause such an uproar, about something seemingly so simple as a parade...there must be some money involved somewhere. To wit.....don't you think you could make twice as much money if you combined the two parades and split the proceeds, as opposed to wallowing in your greed? Wanting the whole pie. I haven’t taken my kids to one of these parades since you idiots started acting like two little boys in the sand box at kindergarten. Did not your mother's teach you anything about getting along with your neighbors...obviously not, otherwise we wouldn't be here year after year. I know both of you...from afar...and that's exactly where I want to keep it. I personally don't like to be in the company of men who are pimping the community for their personal benefit. Even pimps have a code of ethics, and neither of you gentlemen would make the roster. END THIS CHARADE NOW...if you really want to honor the memory of this great man...PUT THIS TO REST and act like men not LITTLE BOYS. Mr. Duncantell, and Mr. Stamps and the other 12 applicants, if you don't like what I've said...I'm easy to find. Nothing I said will change in person. Unlike yourselves, I'm talking out of only one side of my neck.

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