Online readers comment on "Knocked Out," by Steve Jansen, August 17:
Expert exams: Thank you for this brave and detailed exploration of head injuries in our children. No test or any machine "that goes bing" substitutes for expert evaluation and treatment. Any neuropsychological test should be interpreted by a professional with expertise in this area. Please see the consensus statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Joshua Rotenberg MD
Wrong: What kind of society do we live in which allows our children to be maimed for life when they are just "playing a game"? Our children trust us, and it is up to every parent and coach to teach them right from wrong. Permanent injury is terribly wrong.
Floored: I'm no squishy, overprotective parent worried about "violence" here — I played Texas high school football and plenty of ice hockey as an adult. I had to eventually give up the hockey because of...concussions.
I'm still just floored that this coach actually thinks he took something away from that kid, because he stopped what was obviously a train wreck waiting to happen. Honestly, bro, the question should be, did you stop him soon enough?
Take the pain? When adults organize games and sports for children, and structure rules and ways of playing them, they can put children in situations in which they are likely (and sometimes taught) to receive or inflict injuries, some of them permanent and disabling. I am quite certain you could find glaring examples of such things within a few blocks of your home, if you care to look (or listen for the applauding parents).
Many of us recall very well being told as children that if we could not accept pain, we could not play sports. Children are unable (legally and otherwise) to consent to conditions that can lead to serious injury, and for adults to do so on their behalf is the definition of wrong.
Online readers comment on "WHAT?!?! New Braunfels May Ban Beer Cans on the River," Hair Balls blog, by Katie Haynes, August 22:
Good move: While the city council may also have an interest in limiting alcohol consumption on the river, I have seen the aftermath of a major holiday weekend of tubing. The amount of trash in the river is appalling! If the people using the river are unwilling to take care of the habitat by disposing of their trash properly, then I can't say I blame the city's move to ban disposable containers.
That being said, I think the city could take small steps to meet the public part way by placing trash Dumpsters along the river. Unfortunately, there aren't always spots to place Dumpsters that are easily accessible by road. It is a tough situation, but when all is said and done, the public isn't taking care of the river and is polluting the river for those downstream. Seems like a good move to me.
Shortsighted: More than 400 divers volunteer to do underwater clean-up during Trashfest in October for free. In addition to providing this valuable conservation service, the divers pay to stay in the local hotels and inns, eat at the local restaurants and shop at the local stores. More precautions like mesh bags at tube rentals and trash boats should be implemented, not banning disposable containers. The New Braunfels City Council has made a very shortsighted and fatal decision.
A confession: As a courtesy, how about tube rental places do a better job of keeping those mesh garbage bags in stock? Personally, I've gone tubing and not had those handy things, so have had to resort to putting the empties back in the cooler. Even with the best of intentions, right at the end, a rapid toppled the cooler and all the empties went into the river, despite our trying to gather them. I'm guilty, and I'm sorry, river gods. I didn't mean to do it!
Plan B: Guess I'll have to bring more pills and weed.
Bad for business: It's a shame that New Braunfels wants to become a ghost town. We have enjoyed many a weekend tubing there, and I cannot imagine trying to tube down the river in the heat without so much as a bottle of water. Some lucky entrepreneur will make lots of money if they set up shop near town selling moving boxes and lumber for boarding the windows of the shops that will quickly go out of business when all of the tubers bypass New Braunfels next year and head straight for the Frio. New Braunfels is sadly mistaken if they think that people will flock to their town to listen to polka bands and eat German sausage instead of enjoying the rivers.
Plan C: One word...keg!
Calm down: This isn't about alcohol, morons. This is about littering jerks that ruin things for everyone else. From the looks of this new ordinance, they seem to be stressing the word "disposable." It sounds like people could just switch to floating a mini-keg and use normal cups (nondisposable) and be clear of any violations. Stop whining that your precious debauchery is being attacked.
Not So Superstar
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A reader responds to "Friday Night: Ben Vereen in Jesus Christ Superstar," Art Attack blog, by D.L. Groover, August 22:
Painful: I wish I could have enjoined members of the Houston art scene to sit in on a rehearsal of the travesty of what constituted a horrible attempt at Jesus Christ Superstar by the Musical Theatre of Houston this past weekend at the Wortham. I feel then we would have had a bit of warning for what we were in for, instead of paying exorbitant prices for the most poorly produced musical I've seen since my junior high days.
The night began with an introduction to continuous audio issues: microphone feedback, missed cues and poor mixing of the orchestra with the singers, including a drummer who sounded like he was playing for a heavy metal rock band, where lyrics are optional. Before I walked out, I was treated to poor staging choices, trite '70s psychedelic references, out-of-step principal dancers and an unfortunately amusing "Thriller" dance by a chorus of lepers. When the lead began to butcher one of the best-loved songs, "I Don't Know How to Love Him," in Shatner-esque phrasing, I finally packed up and left. Ben Vereen was the best part of this show, by far, and, unfortunately, I only heard him once before I hit my threshold of pain.