Almost a Schnook

What weasels: I have first-hand experience with Bernard Haldane, since I got laid off thanks to tech outsourcing. I very nearly became a "schnook," as mentioned in the article ["Fool's Gold," by Craig Malisow, August 25]. The price mentioned in my initial visit to their office was way steep, so I promptly left.

Legitimate placement firms will collect a finder's fee from the employer an applicant is placed with, and they won't charge the applicant a fee for their services. Feel free to add that to the list of red flags.

Thanks for the article -- it confirmed my impression that those guys were weasels.

Name withheld by request

The Picture in Crawford

Don't mess with Cindy: Thank you for an insightful and humorous article ["Camp Death," by Craig Malisow, August 25]. I am a Texan who's been living in Washington State for a few years. I couldn't get a picture of what's going on in Crawford until I read the article. I happen to be for Cindy Sheehan and her cause. I also have compassion and understanding for some Texans/Americans who are unable to wrap some of the antiwar concepts around their belief systems. Like I told my New Yorker husband, "You don't mess around with people's religion, or parents that lose their child in a war." Viva la peace!

Jennifer Burgett
Blaine, Washington

Hail Constantine!

Free him from chains: I am not disagreeing that "Bohemian Rhapsody" is pretty much a carbon copy of the original [Rotation, by Michael Roberts, August 18]. I would hope that you at least will acknowledge that Constantine was most likely instructed to sing it as such, and did an outstanding job in the three-day allotment. I look forward to a time when he is free from all the chains and when (not if) it arrives, brace yourself!

Jojo Carter
Greensboro, North Carolina

An insult to Freddie: You're completely insane or tone-deaf, because the Flaming Lips' version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the worst song on the Killer Queen CD. It's not even in tune with the original song. It's completely awful and, in my opinion, an insult to Freddie.

Since you mentioned American Idol, it is obvious that you're not a fan of the show, which of course, in my opinion, makes you very biased in your review. Constantine's rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the best song on that whole CD. Believe me when I say this: You are in the minority with your idiotic assessment. Constantine sang that song with great emotion and passion, and if Freddie is turning in his grave, it is not because of Constantine's version but rather that of the Flaming Lips. Constantine's version was a copy of the original because that is what he was asked to do. They already had a version that differs from the original. It makes sense for there to be a similar version also added in remembrance of Freddie, and Constantine did a tremendous job. Hmm. Maybe if you had done a little more research, you could have discovered this for yourself.

Jenna Gravelle
Elyria, Ohio

Constantine's magical aura: I just read your article on Killer Queen. I would like to know why you and a few others like you insist on putting down people who have worked so hard to get where they are. I am speaking of Constantine Maroulis.

He has worked so hard to get to the point where he is now. He has fought for and earned every single step he has taken in the last year.

Constantine may not have won American Idol according to the show, but he did win millions of hearts! He is very talented and charismatic. He has a magical aura, and it touches everything he does.

He is in no way a failure. He is the idol to many fan bases. His fans range in age from 12 to 80. They are not any specific type of person -- just people who appreciate true talent and the desire and strength and ambition to make their dreams happen!

His version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is awesome! When I heard him sing the full version on the album, I got chills, and it brought tears to my eyes. His voice is so pure and strong and he puts 110 percent into everything that he does.

He captivated millions across America through their television screens. Constantine makes the people feel what he feels when he sings. He touches their souls. He manages to make people smile with their hearts and souls as well as their faces.

People can say what they want about Constantine Maroulis, but I for one stand firm in my belief that his star is going to keep rising and nothing will stand in his way.

Rhonda Evans
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Flippin' on Burgers

Hamburger heaven: I went to Sam Houston State (graduated in 2001) and to my shame never went to Mr. Hamburger ["Texas Burger Binge," by Robb Walsh, August 25]. I managed to make it to Huntsville this weekend and tried the "killer burger." Although I'm considering taking legal action against Walsh for the grease stains on my clothes, as he is clearly responsible/liable for my eating at Mr. Hamburger, I was in hamburger heaven. Thanks for the story. I enjoyed it.

Nathan Liles

Meat central: As a fan of the Houston Press, I am disappointed to see how unprogressive and meat-centric (to coin a term) this paper can be regarding food. On par with the mainstream media's noncoverage of the disease -- bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a.k.a. mad cow disease, known in its human form as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease -- and the USDA's woefully inadequate testing methods, the Press featured another celebration of the glories of ground-up cow flesh. It sounds like something from a U.S. cattle-industry promotion.

Sure, there was a sidebar lamenting how USDA guidelines recommend cooking the crap out of your burger (literally) to kill E. coli, but no mention that BSE cannot be cooked out, even if the burger is torched to a cinder. Also, the symptoms of this 100 percent fatal, brain-wasting disease are remarkably similar to those of Alzheimer's, casting doubt on the accuracy of diagnoses and death statistics, as both diseases are on the rise and claiming increasingly younger victims. Eventually, CJD will be impossible to ignore, as more and more people become afflicted. Then maybe the Press's hamburger list will warrant the inclusion of at least one veggie burger.

If most hamburger enthusiasts are unfazed by the fact that meat consumption is a major factor in the two leading causes of death in the United States (heart disease and cancer), then the looming specter of CJD is probably even less concerning. As Walsh's article intimates, it's macho to eat big greasy burgers. But how macho is impotence, a heart attack or colorectal cancer?

Predictably, the animal-cruelty aspect remains ignored. And the term "foie gras" is so casually and repeatedly used (six times in nine paragraphs), it's as if this poetic-sounding name belonged to some benign condiment, not the grotesquely engorged and diseased liver of inhumanely force-fed geese.

From the Houston Press, I've come to expect a political perspective alternative to that of the mainstream media. I hope that future articles will include the politics of food as well.


Taste of Politics

Fair game: Although I don't always agree with Robb Walsh on all things, he is dead on in his review of Taste of Texas ["Past Its Prime," August 11]. The issue of Edd Hendee's political views should be addressed. That is because he has incorporated them into his place of business. The waiting area used to be called the "Rush" room, where the lunch crowd could sit and listen to Rush Limbaugh while they ate. Hendee has had numerous Republican fund-raisers at the restaurant, and his support of a sex-crime convict is important. If Hendee chooses to use his place to showcase his personal beliefs, then that is something that is fair game when reviewing Taste of Texas. If I wanted to know pointless info, I would read the Dining Guide. I like Walsh because he does let you know more than just the daily special.

Chris Moreno

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