Gastric bypass option: I think you did a great job on this piece ["A Figure to Die For," by Craig Malisow, January 2]. There is another surgery you can have done. I am 20 years old and I weighed in at 315 pounds, and I had what they call a gastric bypass.
They put a rubber band around your stomach to limit the amount you eat; in the beginning you can get sick, but if you learn to eat right you won't get sick. This surgery is less invasive. You have a small cut in your abdominal area and you are in surgery only about 30 minutes. Most insurance companies will now cover the surgery.
I thank God every day for physicians like mine, Dr. Molina. I am about to turn 21 and weigh 175. I am almost completely to my goal, and I have him to thank for saving my life.
Morbid obesity is different: Your cover article did a service by warning potential patients of the disastrous record of Dr. Srungaram. However, you did a great disservice by trivializing surgery for morbid obesity. The purpose for the surgery (and the reason it is covered by many health insurance policies) is not to have a figure to die for or to avoid being fat and 40.
The purpose is to prolong the life and improve the quality of life of those with morbid obesity who have tried diet after diet after diet, only to regain the weight. Most people who have this surgery already suffer from one or more serious obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, gastric reflux, arthritis and infertility.
It is endorsed as a treatment for morbid obesity by the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference, the American Obesity Association, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, the World Health Organization and the NIH, and the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Your article showed a failure to understand morbid obesity and those who suffer from it that is typical of society in general.
Catcher in the Wry
Make Richard richer: Much appreciation for the Richard Connelly piece exposing the mysterious cabal exercising Machiavellian machinations in order to persuade the People's Republic to send us Yao Ming ["Year of the Yao Woo," December 26]!
I was reduced to tears of laughter while reading this wonderfully acidic and witty look at that bizarre year known as 2002. As a regular reader of National Review, Mother Jones, Foreign Affairs and the Houston Press, I have come to expect and enjoy lucid and incisive journalism, flavored with wry and clever editorials. Once again, thanks. Whatever Connelly's being paid, it's not enough.
Stripper fairness: George Flynn's piece on the Annette McManus lawsuit against her former supervisor, Thomas Kleinworth, was subtitled "Complaints of lewd conduct come from an ex-stripper" ["Skin Game," January 2]. This tagline and the rest of the article implies that strippers or ex-strippers may not set personal boundaries, are not entitled to protection against harassment in a non-sexually-oriented business, and that they should not expect that protection.
The fact that Ms. McManus was a stripper does not mean that she, or any other current or former stripper, is not entitled to the protection that other women enjoy. Nor does it mean that her testimony in this matter is somehow untrustworthy. Her attorney was correct: Her work as a stripper was irrelevant to her treatment at Baylor College of Medicine.
The Brown Brown Vote
Don't go conservative: Regarding Danny Davila's remarks [Letters, "Barrio Ballots," January 2], I take issue with the insinuation that the Hispanic Democratic vote is one based solely on ignorance or tradition. If the 2003 mayoral election is going to be about who supported Lee Brown and not Orlando Sanchez in this community, I say bring it on.
The ignorant voter is the one who voted for Sanchez because of his Spanish surname with disregard for his right-wing politics. I ask Mr. Davila that he not speak for me or for anyone else in the "barrio." In 2003, we don't need "conservatives" stalling infrastructure projects that would vastly improve mobility problems in our neighborhoods.
Mr. Davila, if you are indeed a resident of the barrio, I suggest that you walk outside your house, look around and ask yourself how much more "conservative" we need to be.
Crimson bun order: "Alien-ated Youth" [by Dylan Otto Krider, December 19] was an interesting read, but a rather depressing one. This article provides the perfect illustration of how people believe what they want to believe. This thoroughly human trait is the centerpiece of the New Age movement, which figures prominently throughout this story.
As I began reading, I found my eyes skipping ahead in an attempt to identify anything superhuman about these children. Were they prophesying? Raising the dead? Levitating the family car? No. They were drawing pictures of rainbows, stick figures and birds while talking back to their grandmothers.
When little Jan says, "Satan tries to come in my head," we know that there's something dark going on here, but it has more to do with the fact that most of the adults in this article are up to their necks in the occult.
The other characteristic that shows up repeatedly in these adults is a willingness (even an enthusiasm) to abandon all authority over the children. Puh-leeze!
We used to have a name for kids like these: spoiled brats!
The adults in their lives must come to realize that involvement in the occult makes them and their charges prime targets for demonic manipulation. And these same adults must grow a spine and take charge. Finally, as warranted, "Indigo Children" must be provided with what they need most of all: crimson buns!
Gary C. Jones
Punk junk: Your article is scaring me. I'm afraid one of Janet's Planet "Indigos" might try to murder me. They all sound like a bunch of punks to me. The rest sound like a bunch of spoiled rotten brats who learned how to work their parents. If this is the future, then it's looking pretty grim.
Teacher's lament: What an amazing article. I am a second-grade teacher, and until I read your article, I thought the children in my class were normal. They all like art, they all pepper me with questions all day long -- some of which are very astute -- they all mispronounce words, they all occasionally confuse fantasy and reality, and none of them likes to do homework! And, lo and behold, quite a few of them don't even like to follow rules! Silly me, education expert. I thought they were normal American white kids! Now I know that they are all Indigo children, perhaps even visiting us from another planet!
Well, there will be some changes in Room 147, now that I have this knowledge.
Starting next Monday, I will do away with all discipline, since it is stifling the poor things. I will allow them to question my authority. If fractions "bore" them, they can play. They will run the show.
Discipline, schmiscipline. Structure, schmucture. Chaos will rule. Do you think they're too young to drop acid, since according to the article, it helps expand their minds?
Seriously, I along with other teachers have another term for these children (hey, why weren't any teachers interviewed for this article?). We call them Bright Kids Who Rule the Roost. They usually end up troubled, because I have yet to see a child who flourished when his parents provided no discipline.
Combine that with teaching said child that "the world revolves around you," and "you're not rude, darling, you're exceptional" and you get a messed-up kid with a lot of wasted potential. 'Tis much, much easier get a New Age diagnosis than to be the grown-up in the home. I've seen the result repeatedly, and my heart breaks for these kids. They come out ill-equipped to handle reality, and that's not love. I call it child abuse, white upper-middle-class neglect, and it is indeed rampant in our society.
Melissa Hooks Dollahon
Chicago dancing: In his review of the film Chicago ["Tango and Cash," January 2], Bill Gallo states, "If anything, the frankly sexual choreography of the late, great Bob Fosse improves on-screen "
Fosse's choreography was not used in the film.
Claims on a country: Your critique of food and dishes served in the Empire Turkish Grill ["Not That Turkey," by Robb Walsh, December 19] ventured into pontificating about the history and cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean, Anatolia and the Black Sea that can be politely described by the sentence "I eat potatoes, therefore I am Irish." Your knowledge of the regional history and current politics is half-digested at best. For example:
Rather than a democracy, Turkey has an army that is such a powerful financial force, having set up companies or using pension monies to finance others, that perhaps it should serve as model for would-be dictators around the world. And let's not forget its age-old policy of homogenization that could be described as ethnic cleansing of minorities.
Many of the Greek immigrants that you refer to were Minor Asia and Black Sea Greeks who left their homes to avoid political and religious restrictions prior to 1922 and possibly death afterward.
The Byzantine Greeks considered themselves part of the Roman Empire and often called themselves Romans. The Seltzuk and Ottoman Turks also referred to them as such.
Crimea was part of the Ottoman Empire but Ukraine was not, and cabbage is the food of the poor, Muslim or Christian, German or Persian.
My comments are about not cultural superiority, nationalism and the like, but knowledge of regional history and perspective, which in this case you seem to lack or have forgotten.
Fattest City Factor?
Robb's a riot -- not a diet: Robb Walsh kept me laughing all year long with his cafe reviews -- very insightful and humorous. (Oh, yeah -- I blame him for these extra 20 pounds I'm carrying around.)
I look forward to 50 or so more of his reviews in 2003.
Gil Trevino, III
Grieg was a founder: I know Lanier Grieg played keys with ZZ Top front man Billy Gibbons in a band named the Moving Sidewalks, but ZZ Top was always a trio. Always. Did Lanier tell you he helped found ZZ Top ["Pander Bare," by Bob Ruggiero, January 2]? I think not, huh? It nearly made good copy though, huh?
Edward L. Hoffpauir Jr.
Editor's note: No, Edward, actually it was good copy. As a bio linked to Top's Web site confirms, Grieg was a founding member.
Hearing heavy music: Learn about the music and its scene before you decide to write about it and make a total dumbass of yourself ["Crimson Tide," by John LaBriola, January 2].
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And don't use the bands Korn and Limp Bizkit in the same sentence -- fuck, the same paragraph -- with bands like At the Drive-In and Blood Brothers, Angel Hair and Behead the Prophet.
ATDI and B-Bros are not nü-metal or anything close to it. And "moshing" -- who (of those who really matter) fucking moshes anymore, besides people with really bad taste in music or jocks who just want to hurt people?
True hardcore isn't about hurting people, it's about expressing their love, anger or emotions to heavy emotional music, from people who are true to the scene and have real musical talent.