A Bourbon of Our Own
No Texas bourbon: All bourbon is made in Kentucky, hence the name ["Made in Texas," by Hanna Raskin, March 17]. It's named after the county. If it's not made in Bourbon County, it's whiskey. So all bourbon does come from Kentucky. That is all.
Online readers weigh in:
Well, well, well: Texas, good for you to get a bourbon. I have high hopes for it.
Need proof: The more bourbon the better, I always say. The proof — no pun intended — will be in the texture and lack of jagged edges found in inferior bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. I really look forward to tasting it without Coke, though. I never mix Bourbon with anything but ice.
No Coke: We should have asked the Texas Legislature to pass a law this session making bourbon drinking with anything other than ice...illegal. And mixing Bourbon with Coke gets you deported to Mississippi.
Roller Coaster Death
Online readers comment on "Man Dies from Roller Coaster Fall at Rodeo Houston," Hair Balls blog, by Jeff Balke, March 21:
Not accountable: Unfortunately, the Texas Amusement Ride Safety and Insurance Act, which covers the safe operation of amusement rides in this state, is largely self-regulated. There is no state-level enforcement of the present rules and regulations, which lack any sort of regulatory guidance or sustenance at this point. Aside from a few minor requirements, TARSIA basically only requires a few things: a) a daily safety check be performed; b) an annual $40 filing fee be paid to the state; and c) valid liability insurance for the ride (which includes a required annual inspection by the insurance company).
The present system is broken. It allows for too much self-regulation and not enough state regulation or routine inspection in the overall operation and safety of any given ride operating publicly. Frankly, the little operation permits they hand out really aren't worth the paper they are written on.
The state largely fails to enforce even for the rules that are currently in place, because there are certain attractions at the local arcade which meet the definition of a class A or class B amusement ride, but fail to hold any sort of operating permit or liability insurance.
For the major rides, so long as it's insured and the fee is paid, nobody from the state is going to check on it till somebody gets injured or killed. While most of the major operators work hard to maintain the safest rides possible, there are also a number of operators who abuse the system.
King of the E-stop
Bad experience: I felt sad when I found out about this, and a lot of feelings came back. It doesn't matter what they say. It's the rides! This exact ride is responsible for me not getting on any more rides. I was always looking for the extreme ones two years ago at the Houston Rodeo. My nine-year-old daughter and I rode this ride in the front car and toward the end of the ride, the security lock came undone. My daughter and I were loose. I used my arms and pushed down my legs as hard as I could to keep us from flying off. I yelled at them to stop the ride, but that got mixed with the other screams. Thank God it was a bit before the last turn, which wasn't as sharp as the start. I went to their office to make a report, and they denied it, saying their rides were the most secure. If they had done something then, this wouldn't have happened.
Friend of H Gallery
They helped me: Regarding The H Gallery and its so-called corrupt owners ["Great Heights Art Heist," by John Nova Lomax, March 3, 2011], I am an artist who is grateful to them beyond what I can comprehend. I am a musician — and, like most of us out there — a starving but determined one. Heidi Powell-Prera has been helpful to me and the jazz band that I sing with. I know that I speak for all of our members when I say that she has been a hospitable, warm person. We quite desperately needed a good rehearsal space, and she let us use any part of the gallery (back included), no questions asked. She and her mother have even offered us homemade meals on multiple occasions, wanting nothing but good conversation and company in return. They are very supportive of our art. I am not entirely ruling out that there was some truth in that article, because I'm sure these various artists have had different experiences with her. I am merely stating a sensationalized article can be at the expense of a kind person's reputation. And truly, that is all she has been toward us. Thanks, Heidi/H Gallery!
Name withheld by request
"Breakfast with Botero," by Katharine Shilcutt, March 16:
Not Botero: I think it is a little irresponsible to write an article in such a good media site without even recognizing the painter you are mentioning. The paintings hung at Macondo are not from Fernando Botero, they are from a Cuban painter that has a similar style but nothing to do with the famous painter and sculptor. In fact, those paintings are for sale. Isn't it kind of awkward to think that Botero is selling his art pieces at a restaurant? If the author of this article would've checked the paintings closely, she would've noticed that there is a label under each one of them with the name of the artist and the selling price.
Improve the service: I have to agree with the mixed sentiment in the article. It is a lovely place, the attendants are very nice, the food is okay — not the best Colombian food in town, but decent — yet the serving system needs to improve greatly. That was the down note of my experience more than a month ago when I visited Macondo for the first time. It was busy, but not busy enough to justify such serving problems. I am sad to hear they have not improved.
A Shot of TQLA
Online readers respond to "Southwest on Washington," by Katharine Shilcutt, March 24:
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Wow! I am really surprised this place got a semi-good review. I have been about three times and have always been disappointed. I always ended up eating a few bites off my plate, then taking dinner to go from Les Givrals. The tequila selection is excellent, but they have no idea what they are doing with some of their food on the menu. The calamari was not great, along with the blue corn fried oysters, and I was very put off by the over-chile-powdered empanadas. They should focus more on their tequila and turn it into a bar/lounge, since the bar is always crowded, or get a new menu.
A TQLA fan: I had the same trepidation you did, but we have truly fallen in love; TQLA is a go-to place for us. We are mad for the chips and salsa, guac and queso (with or without the chorizo), love the chicken enchiladas (and don't mind the chunks of moist chicken) and appreciate the not-crazy portion sizes. We've tried most of the menu (sans dessert) and have yet to be disappointed. Drinks are great, as has been service, and I think the prices aren't bad at all. Don't fear The Washington...go!