Cohen's great: I have no issue with Richard Connelly's reporting [News Hostage, May 9]. I have serious issue with the criticism leveled against Jeff Cohen, the Houston Chronicle's new editor.
I worked for Cohen at the San Antonio Light (1989-93) and the Albany Times Union (1995-97).
What's the first thing some of his soon-to-be-former staffers feel compelled to barf out? His ability to lead? His will to change when change is needed? His attention to detail, from page one real estate to daily sports coverage?
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It's his bow ties.
What a pile of unadulterated crap. It's the same tired shit some of the TU staff has been whining about ever since Cohen got there.
I remember asking people, "Who cares what he wears?" and never really getting much of an answer. Virtually anyone Cohen liked was automatically disliked by the entrenched staff.
Does Cohen's interest in packaging and graphics come at the expense of news? No. Daily reporters' stories get held, often because of space, and many take it personally and look for someone to blame. This happens at virtually every daily paper.
Whether Cohen likes someone has nothing to do with his or her pedigree; it's about whether the person works hard. And the criticism that he's "corporate" is a cliché. If it means he's loyal to Hearst, so be it. Many on the staff have no idea what real corporate pressure can be.
I always found Cohen to be fair, an editor who kept an open-door policy, someone who looked out for his staff and did not keep a dictatorial style.
When the rubber hits the road, Cohen rolls up his sleeves, cuff links and all, and gets the job done.
Foolin' around: Richard Connelly did a commendable job on informing us of the Chronicle's new editor, Jeff Cohen. The first thing Cohen should do is hire literate copy editors, particularly in the sports section. What kind of fools does the Chronicle have, when a sports columnist refers to the Chicago Tribune as the "Tribute"?
Cohen also must change the Sunday Lifestyle section. Every Sunday, all we get are white brides. The Chronicle needs changing, and maybe Hearst brought in an outsider from Albany to attempt a world-class newspaper.
Keep UH athletics: While I am quite aware we have problems at UH, I cringed at reading another line in print critical of athletics [Letters, "Sterile at UH," May 2]. Athletics is more than a "peripheral issue," as it was referred to by the letter writer, professor Karl Ittmann. It is an essential part of a major university, with influence in recruitment, retention, alumni involvement and school spirit -- and Lord knows we've been trying to boost the latter for some time now.
There are some, though very few, who would like to do away with athletics altogether. On that day we become HCC Main Campus.
Jeff Hill, speaker, UH Student Government Association Senate
Fault and Pepper
Bad boss: I can't agree with you more on Don Chang's bad manners ["Midtown's New Attitude," by Robb Walsh, May 16]. Years ago, when I was still a college student, Don was the manager at a Japanese restaurant where I worked as a part-time waitress.
His outrageous screaming style was well known to all of us who worked with him. Going to work became torture, even though the money was good. The saddest part was that I really needed the money for tuition.
I don't believe I have ever come across anyone whose management style and manner are as bad as Don's. Most of all, I am so grateful that I don't have to work with that kind of rude and arrogant person anymore.
Food for thought: Sounds like the author has a personal problem with the sushi chef. In fact, I really couldn't give a damn what transpired or who said what in a conversation.
Nara on Westheimer at Wilcrest is owned and managed by members of the Chang family and received a rave review from the Houston Press ["Bang-up Bento Boxes," by Margaret L. Briggs, March 4, 1999"] while under Don Chang's ownership. So please just keep the reviews to the food and service. I don't go to a restaurant to get involved in personnel matters, nor do I want to hear gossip of what goes on in the kitchen.
Don't stick to the food: Way to let them have it if they deserve it. Chefs all over have seemed to take Anthony Bourdin's attitude behind the counter (whatever kind it might be) of holier than thou. Please do not misunderstand me -- chefs are artists, and what some can create boggles the mind and taste buds. Personally, I will go back to a restaurant mainly for the experience; the great meal is an added bonus.
A smile and a good meal beats a frown (or nasty remark) and a great meal any day. Take a moment to appreciate the fact that you guys and gals get to earn a living doing what most of us dream about.
On Blue Berryhill
Yellow? Aw, shucks! As a longtime customer of Berryhill's Hot Tamales, I was interested to read another chapter in its saga ["Berry Busy," by Marene Gustin, May 9]. I started frequenting the original restaurant when it opened in 1993 and have witnessed many changes in the menu, particularly after the departure of Chuck Bulnes.
No offense to chef Brooks, as he does an admirable job, but I am not sure he ever personally tasted the original recipes as they were implemented in the halcyon days. The original tamales were smaller and softer, made with white corn meal and served up with a long-gone but divine brown sauce. I have never had anything like them before or since. Back then they were billed as being -- you guessed it -- almost exactly like Walter Berryhill's 1928 recipe. So imagine my surprise at seeing the large and unfortunately typical yellow corn tamales served these days described as being nearly identical to the 1928 recipe as well.
Which is it? Gustatory minds want to know! Can I at least have the recipe for the fantastic tamales the restaurant started with? I recently had the pleasure of sampling the fare at the new San Antonio location, and am happy to report that franchising has not damaged the product -- it's at least as good as the current Houston offerings.
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