Don't Blame Houston
My daughter is just finishing eighth grade at T.H. Rogers, and in the past two years her allergy problem has become much worse. There have been many trips to the doctor's office and plenty of refilled allergy medications. I was not aware this was being caused through the school's problems; I just thought it was Houston being Houston.
Thanks for the article ["Breaking the Mold," by Margaret Downing, May 25] making me aware of this. I now can rest easier that she will hopefully get over this during the summer break. I hope you can get the school all mold-free. As a parent, these sicknesses are very alarming.
I just read your article about the T.H. Rogers air quality problem. My six-year-old son was diagnosed with allergic asthma a few months ago. He is getting shots and treatment, and he has those headaches and nosebleeds every now and then. He had pneumonia three times during the winter. His pediatrician and I did not understand why he was unable to improve even after we bought a nebulizer (an air purifier) for his bedroom. He had a miserable school year.
The worst part of this story is that my four-year-old daughter is on chemotherapy treatment for leukemia, and pneumonia is very dangerous for her. I had to keep them apart. The teacher knew my son had respiratory problems because he had lots of absences from November through February. But the teacher never told me what was going on, even when she knew both parts of the story. I never knew until now that those problems were coming from school.
Thank you for letting us express our concerns. You can add my son to the list of kids who suffered respiratory problems.
Father Knows Best
After reading George Flynn's one-sided exposé on the custody case of Jared and Krystal Crane ["Transferring Assets," May 25], I felt compelled to offer a different view of this unfortunate situation. As a close friend of Jim and Theresa Crane and now a close personal friend of Jim and Franci Crane, I have known Jim Crane for 12 years, and he was my roommate for about six months. I must admit that if ever two people were meant not to be together, it was Jim and Theresa.
I was amazed at Jim's dedication and commitment to his children. During a period when his business was growing rapidly, he seemed to find the time to fulfill his visitation agreement and obligations of being a father. As the article pointed out, Theresa could be quite difficult and very unpredictable.
While Eagle was very important to Jim, his kids were still the most important part of his life. When Theresa realized she and Jim weren't going to get back together, she used the kids to take out her frustration. Without a doubt, Franci has been very supportive of Jared and Krystal and their relationship with their mother.
Despite all the sensational slants of Flynn's story, it comes down to one thing: a father who is very concerned about the future of his children and is doing everything within his power to ensure a strong foundation for healthy growth. Jared and Krystal are most fortunate to have a father who loves and cares enough for them to fight for their welfare.
John W. Walzel
The Crane story should be a book. Heck, most of the articles I've read in the Houston Press should be books. Fine work.
Richard L. Miller
Down in the Pits
I read with interest your article on HISD's construction plans for near-northside Houston ["The Dispossessed," by John Suval, May 11]. I'm amazed that HISD intends to build a school in a location that includes service station and salvage yard sites, given the usual environmental concerns and problems associated with those types of sites. Do residents have any information on that?
If I were Maggie Mackenzie, I would revert to my maiden name also [Insider, by Tim Fleck, May 25]. Why would I want any reminder of a marriage to a scum-sucking welcher like Phil Sudan?
Aside from his obvious neglect of his duties as a father and his disregard for the honor of courtroom procedure, the issue that concerns me as an individual is that he is a Republican. I don't have to work for Phil Sudan, I don't have to take crap from him, and thankfully, I don't even have to look at him. He does, however, represent my political party, and that really chaps me. I like to entertain the belief that decency and integrity are hallmarks of the Republican Party. While I am not naive or foolish enough to believe that my party holds sole claim to these ideals, I would like to think that someone who obviously only pays lip service to these would not represent my party.
If he were even the lesser of two evils that I have come to expect at the polls, it would be one thing, but I cannot see that he is. I cannot even close this letter. All of my meditation on this topic has made me too ill to continue.
After I read your story about the Youngs ["The Dream Home: A Cautionary Tale," by Brad Tyer, May 18], I thought that could have been me. In 1995 I owned a lot and wanted to build a house. I asked a close friend in the construction business to recommend a good general contractor to build my house. He replied, "There are none."
After I spoke to several general contractors, I concluded he might be correct. The stories I could tell about my interviews with contractors are unbelievable. I decided to contract the house myself. It was not that hard. My advice to those who wish to build a custom home is to do it yourself. No matter how little you know about construction, you probably know more than most of the general contractors in Houston.
Name withheld by request
Unfortunately Robert Wilonsky wrote about only the deficiencies of superhero comics and failed to write anything about comics of any other genre, except to mention that romance comics were popular in the early 1950s [Stuff, May 18].
It makes it seem as if comic books were a genre, instead of the storytelling medium that they truly are. The article ignored many comics where the problems discussed are not present. Many other comics portray sophisticated stories that don't insult the readers' intelligence and aren't misogynistic.
I find the broad generalizations made by Wilonsky rather insulting, as should he. There are probably more non-superhero comics being published now than in any time since the mid-1950s. I've seen plenty of people (men and women) in the Bedrock City store who do not fit Wilonsky's stereotype -- they are doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, businesspeople and others who manage to lead normal, healthy lives.
It's also a shame that the Houston Press doesn't cover more comics (good ones, that is). By the way, the phrase "[t]here's probably no bigger no-shit statement in the world" is just absolutely brilliant journalistic prose. Kudos.
Changing the Tune
I always read and enjoy your column [News Hostage, by Richard Connelly, May 4]. I recognize that when you're walking the fuzzy border between acerbic and vicious, some people may think you've gone too far, but that's the price they must pay for being entertained. Still, I think the item on Everett Evans was wrongheaded.
As you barely mention in passing, Chronicle critic Evans has a right not to like a show, but he also has a right to change his mind.
Matters of fact don't change, but taste and perception do. In fact, they must. Show me a critic whose tastes haven't changed in the last ten years, and I'll show you someone with a closed mind. Something that seemed fresh and well done on first exposure may not hold up well over time. Granted, one who presents himself as a critic should be less susceptible to this, but that doesn't make him immune, especially when he has to meet the demands of writing for a daily paper.
Carnotaurs were probably toothy, but I very much doubt that they were toothsome ["T-Rex in Mouse Ears," by M.V. Moorhead, May 18]. Check your dictionary.
Big on Slim
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Roger Wood's article on Harlem Slim ["Brother from Another Planet," May 18] doesn't do justice to Slim or his music. While briefly acknowledging Slim's unquestionable "rare level of technical proficiency," the article spends an inordinate amount of space in a rather silly discussion questioning his name and background.
This is unfortunate and obscures the power and influence of Slim's extraordinary music. What Wood fails to adequately get across is that Houston is incredibly lucky to have a performer like Harlem Slim, one who is so dedicated to the preservation of this fascinating style of music and so singularly proficient at playing it and passing it along to other musicians.
Anyone who is interested in authentic blues and ragtime should rush to see Slim perform it in a way that not only entertains but also honors the spirit and traditions of the people who originated it. There is something about this music that endures and tugs at your heart. Mississippi Fred McDowell said blues is "the story of life and the spice of life. You get what I'm saying?" Harlem Slim and his many fans get it; unfortunately Roger Wood does not.