Watch out for the kids: As much as I try, I can't see any difference in what you wrote about here ["The Odd Couple," by Tim Fleck, January 9] and the child molestation reportedly taking place in some religions.
People in authority who molest children are criminals. It should not matter if they are in authority in a church or in a government bureaucracy.
This probation officer allegedly molested a minor. She should face criminal charges. If she's a sex offender, her name should be added to the state database and people should be warned if she moves into their neighborhood.
Who the hell is looking after kids in the system?
Cover-up: I just finished reading your article regarding the above, and I am so angry I cannot see straight. Being an African-American female, to me the entire situation reeks of a cover-up, a biased criminal justice system, double standards and the continuous devaluation placed on an African-American life in general, and on an African-American male's life in particular.
If Deen had been an African-American female and Williams a 16-year-old Caucasian boy, she would have been arrested and brought to trial for statutory rape, molestation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, etc.
In addition, if Deen had been a male of any race and the child a girl, the end result again would have been completely different.
This child has been further victimized by the very system that was put in place to protect him. He was already in a precarious situation. How do we know what further damage has been done to him?
In the meantime, Deen has cast him aside and has not had to take any responsibility for her actions.
Name withheld by request
Out on a limb: "Quadriplegic ["Roller Derby," by Wendy Grossman, January 18]: one affected with paralysis of both arms and both legs" -- Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.
A little editing might be nice.
Robert W. McFarlane
Editor's note: As the feature pointed out, Quad Rugby Association players are not totally paralyzed in all limbs. They do have some upper body movement, but not enough to classify them as paraplegic.
Egg on the Face
Monetary motives? This is just more bogus bull the lawyers instigate to get more money ["Mac Attack," by Wendy Grossman, January 16]. Another crybaby situation where we sue someone for our own stupidity and laziness.
If she had gotten off her ass and fixed him some eggs at the house instead of going to McDonald's every day to feed him, he might not have been in this situation.
While I don't care much for fast food, I think this is just a ploy for money.
Name withheld by request
Passing the pepper: I was shocked to read that a man with metastatic colon, lung, spine and brain cancer was eating a fat-laden, chemical-filled McDonald's burrito in the first place. I can't imagine what that would do to one's colon, pepper or not.
People eat all that junk and wonder why they get cancer in the first place. My suggestion: Hire a nutritionist and leave Mickey D alone.
Fast food follies: Elaine Long should be arrested for attempted manslaughter. Imagine feeding anyone three McDonald's breakfast burritos every day for a year. Prison food is better.
Has she tried Taco Cabana? Or -- heaven forbid -- cooking breakfast in her own home for her poor starving husband?
Shit, he must be loony for eating such tripe.
Get Off Death Row!
Texas prisons are history: I saw an interview with a spokesperson from the Texas Prison Museum ["A Guarded Past," by Scott Nowell, January 9] on NBC's Weekend Today show. I was expecting an interesting interview and discussion on the museum and its displays.
NBC co-anchor Soledad O'Brien asked the usual questions regarding "Old Sparky" and lethal injection, and even the controversial execution of the first female since the Civil War, Karla Faye Tucker. Instead of discussing the museum's features, Ms. O'Brien discussed how "morbid" this type of museum was, and she continued asking what kind of person would want to visit the museum.
I'm a native Texan and not a supporter of capital punishment, although I would enjoy visiting the museum. I was upset with the tone that was taken by Ms. O'Brien.
NBC showed a lack of diversity. Not everyone going to visit the museum will be a capital punishment supporter or a promoter of the Texas prison system -- they will be supporters of Texas history!
In case you were not aware, Alcatraz is one of the most popular attractions in California.
Staff, not board: In your article about the prison museum, the part about me is wrong. I am a staff member and not a volunteer. And I am not on the museum's board and never have been.
Have a nice day.
Beggars and Thieves
Shut down the state: I understand that the state has a serious budget problem ["Getting THMPed," by Jennifer Mathieu, January 23]. Why not just do away with the state government, and perhaps some of the local governments too, save for the police and fire departments?
I have sent e-mails to elected state and county officials, and I learned one thing: None of them has any interest in protecting the constitutional rights of the Texas citizenry. Might as well turn us all free to protect ourselves from the thieves of the streets, and from the greatest thief of property and rights there is.
Ronald L. Weston
Narc-olepsy? I just fucking loved Gregory Weinkauf's fucking review of that fucking movie Narc ["Straining Day," January 9]. I really fucking enjoyed reading all his fucking smart-ass fucking comments!
Rifts on the Riviera
Coarse critic: Some friends of mine from Chicago were in town and happened upon the review of the Riviera Grill by Robb Walsh ["New Digs, Old Tricks," January 9]. They found it extremely amusing that a restaurant reviewer wouldn't know common etiquette such as having napkins dropped in your lap or pouring small amounts of wine at a time in your glass.
For a person to blatantly broadcast such ignorance while having the audacity to write a line like "Please let the cheese be cheese" reassures me as to why so many people call Houston a cowtown. Why berate the popularity of calamari yet still order it? Why spend paragraphs quoting the praise of other reviewers only to say you disagree?
Is a bar full of people in black leather jackets something edgy and different that Houston really needs? I could have sworn we all saw our share of that circa 1992. It's also quite laughable that Mr. Walsh compares seedy areas of downtown to Times Square -- for the past ten years it's looked like Disneyland.
What do you expect from a restaurant critic who usually eats at places where they ask, "Would you like fries with that?"
Kudos from an insider: How I enjoyed your article on the Riviera Grill. You have hit the nail directly on the head regarding John Sheely's food. I likened it to "Mockingbird East," for many of the items that John has on his Riviera menu appear quite frequently on the Mockingbird menu. John did have an interesting "original" menu that he benchmarked off the Internet, but he did not have the courage to move forward with it. In the end, he went with what he does best: late-'80s/early-'90s food.
I am the former general manager of the Riviera Grill and wanted to let you know that after your review, John came in and eliminated the Dry-Aged Certified Black Angus program that executive chef Gerry Updergraffe and I had developed. (Chef Updergraffe and I recently resigned.)
John is not skilled or creative enough to run two successful operations, nor is he confident enough in his own abilities to let able and creative minds flow and perform. The staff still hasn't been educated on things as basic as what types of beer the Riviera carries (they do have Sierra Nevada, by the way), so I doubt your next experience will be any better. For their sake, though, I do hope things change.
Getting His Goat
Hailing globalization: Robb Walsh ruined what was otherwise a superb review of the taste treat and popularity of Pollo Campero ["Globalization's McBacklash," January 16] by trying to put it into a larger context of globalization or, more specifically, anti-globalization.
The trashing of a McDonald's restaurant in France can hardly be considered the effort of "farmworkers" or a French protest against "insipid American food." It was carried out by Jose Bove, who at best could be considered a "gentleman farmer," specializing in raising goats for Roquefort cheese.
The agenda of Bove and the anti-globalization activists is largely protectionist. It would appear that Bove no more speaks for the tastes of the French than I or anyone else speaks for the tastes of Americans. McDonald's has had difficulties as of late. But there is not a global revolt against American-style fast foods. There is increasing competition by many, including imitators.
You share a sin with all too many journalists of accepting as valid those who are promoted by activist groups as somehow speaking for their country and for those without voice throughout the world.
Pollo Campero coming to the United States is what globalization is all about. One can name many areas of commerce in which firms in other countries have moved to the forefront and dominate even the American market. There are many inequities and legitimate criticisms of the way in which globalization has been carried out. But giving consumers around the world greater freedom of choice is not one of them.
Thomas R. DeGregori, University of Houston economics professor
Music and the Media
Delightful diatribe: This is a long-overdue, desperately necessary commentary on the sorry state of affairs in the field of American music journalism ["Mag Hags," by Rob Harvilla, January 2]. I stopped reading Rolling Stone in 1994, and I never looked back. Harvilla has shined some light on a dark and embarrassing corner of music coverage, and his piece reads like a Henry Rollins diatribe (that's a compliment). Good job on an article very, very well written!
Truth serum: I really do admire the honesty in your article. It's nice to know that there are still a few free-thinking people out there who can see through all the mainstream bullshit in our media today.
Business void: Terrific article. There is plenty of great American music but no decent American music business and no major music magazine of any consequence at all.
Stripped fare: I don't know whether we listened to the same album, but the album that I purchased by Christina Aguilera was one of the best albums released recently [Rotation, by Craig D. Lindsey, December 19].
This is what a good album is made of: a mixture of pop, rap and ballads. Her voice alone makes the album shine; move over, Mariah and Whitney! Christina has released an album that will stand on its own and be well appreciated. There are people waiting for Jennifer Lopez's new release. Just look at her sales, and that will prove it!
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Good Guy: Glad you enjoyed the title song for Calvin Owens's new LP, The House Is Burnin' [Rotation, by John Nova Lomax, January 9]. It was penned by Houston songwriter Guy Schwartz (of Guy Schwartz and the New Jack Hippies).
See you where the music is.