From Homelessness to Wine Snobbery

Houston's Homeless

Make a donation: Thank you for your ­excellent article on the new breed of homelessness in Houston ["People Like Us," by Mike Giglio, March 19]. Individual Houstonians can step up to the challenge and do something that will make an enormous difference. I urge all of your readers to find a local homeless organization whose work you think is meaningful and makes a difference to our less fortunate neighbors and, ultimately, the community at large. Then send them the contribution you can afford to give. Individual gifts are the bread and butter of most nonprofits; any amount helps. It can even be a family affair. One of the most memorable gifts we received at COMPASS was from an eight-year-old boy who invited his pals to a birthday party, but asked them to skip the gifts and make a donation to us instead. Inspired Houstonians can do much to help others in small but profound ways. The nonprofits that serve the homeless "in the trenches," day in and day out, need you.

Cynthia Brannon
Executive Director of
Houston COMPASS, Inc.


homelessness in Houston

Online readers weigh in:

Spread the wealth: I'd like to imagine there's a solution, but I can't think of anything aside from more wealth redistribution, which goes against the grain of things here. There's a security in sharing what we have with others, because there will be times in life when one does not come out on top of things, no matter how much planning is done.

Comment by d from houston

Oops! You mistakenly blamed Lorenzo Timmons's inability to work on the crashing economy, not the car crash that left him with a herniated disc and unable to work for six-plus weeks. A tragic story, no doubt, but let's keep those facts straight and avoid implying false causation.

Comment by tinyhands from Houston

Baby Berry

Waaaah! Michael Berry is a crybaby ["Berry v. White," Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, March 26]. He was when he was on the City Council. He whines and cries and bullies, and then obviously can't take his own medicine. He has resentments toward the mayor from his City Council days, and he can't let it go. I agree with Berry sometimes, but he should be the last to gripe about someone's "tone." He is the latest talk-show host with a big mouth and no broadcast experience — another example of the dumbing down of talk radio, which I have listened to literally since I was a kid. I'm49 now.

Berry never returns my e-mails that have questioned his formats on 950 AM as well as 740. He can dish it out but he can't take it.

Randy Saxon

Colbert Nation

Online readers respond to "Colbert ­Finally Goes On The Offensive Against NASA," Hair Balls blog, by Richard Connelly, March 31:

Abomination: That a crass clown can carry his ego to the point where he continues to demean NASA and the fine astronaut crews who put their lives on line each time is just an abomination. He is making a mockery of all that our space program stands for. Is this what he wants for America? Does it boost his ego to make us a laughingstock of the world?

What all of those laughing at him and his thoughtless joke are really doing is thumbing their noses at our space program. Go figure.

Waddell Robey

Let it happen: I really think people should have a sense of humor. I don't think this is an ego trip or anything like that. It was more of a joke if anything else, and if it went as far as to actually happen, then hey, let it happen. It's really kind of amusing.


Get the joke: Waddell Robey, are you for real? No wonder, with readers like you, news­papers are closing down. Have you ever seen his shows? He is a comedian. Do you get it now?

Faisal Kidwai

Ripping Rothko

Online readers respond to "Rothko ­Chapel: ­Yahoo! Says To See It Before You Die. (That Way You'll Be Depressed Enough, At Least)," Hair Balls blog, by John Nova Lomax, March 27:

Nonsense: I'll never forget my husband's story of visiting the Rothko Chapel some years ago and complaining to the docent that the art had been removed from the walls. "No, that is the art," was the reply. He was incredulous and somewhat embarrassed at the same time. I had a similar reaction to some of Rothko's "work" at London's Tate Modern during a recent visit across the pond. This is just nonsense.


Chapel spill: Lighten up on Rothko and his fans, or I'll accuse you all of being Thomas Kinkade fans. Now that's an idea...A Thomas Kinkade chapel. Gotta go. I just threw up on my laptop.


Superior option: I've always found Rothko to be hugely depressing, and for good reason. I'd prefer: "And then you get an artist / Says he doesn't want to paint at all / So he takes an empty canvas / An' sticks it on the wall..." That's Mark Knopfler, "In the Gallery," on Dire Straits' first album, I think. That'd be superior to Rothko any day!

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.


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.



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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