Fighting for Benefits

Back from Iraq: This is a great article about the plight of Department of Defense contractors and what happens after they are injured or sick ["Who Cares?" by Margaret Downing, August 11]. I have worked in Iraq since the invasion, and I was injured in Iraq by my company. It took me seven months to receive benefits. All who work as DoD contractors should read this article. Thanks for the great journalism.

Barry H.

Mystery Man

Praying for Garry: My cousin, Nancy Gatlin, sent your article to me ["One Dead Guinea Pig," by Greg Harman, July 28]. The three of us -- Nancy, Garry and I -- grew up together, and Garry was like a brother to me. She and I are probably the only ones now who still feel the impact of Garry's disappearance in 1970 and, subsequently, finding out that he was still alive. I have prayed for the repose of his soul since 2002, however now it seems that not only his life after 1970 but his death as well is shrouded in mystery.

I loved my cousin. I visited with him briefly when he was a nurse in New Orleans, but refrained from asking too many questions for fear of scaring him off. We had a delightful visit, eating beignets and drinking coffee, and walking along the banks of the Mississippi.

Thank you for the article; I'm still trying to achieve closure. No matter what he did or didn't do, he shouldn't have died that way.

Carolyne Jones
Montgomery, Alabama

Rights Stuff

Hell, no, we won't go: Getting fired for exercising one's Second Amendment rights is the same as getting fired for exercising one's First Amendment rights; for example, having a letter to the editor published that opposes the political views of one's CEO ["Strange Bedfellows," Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, August 18]. We, the NRA, are simply not going to allow employers to demand that we give up constitutional rights as a condition of employment.

Jay Bute
El Lago

Squawking Chickenhawks

A vet speaks out: Thank you for having the guts to stand up to the establishment BS about what a great little war Dubya got us into [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, August 18]. Clint Black needs to get out of the bright lights long enough to talk to some real vets about how glorious this war is. As a Vietnam vet, I think we are fast digging into a Vietnam quagmire, only twice as bad. Yes, I support our troops -- I want them home now. Maybe the chickenhawks who keep hollering about how great things are going in Iraq could send their kids over there instead of just the poor white, brown, black and yellow kids.

John Preston

Praising Killer Queen

Constantine's a "finalist": Not surprising to hear you diss the CD Killer Queen: A Tribute to Queen [Rotation, by Michael Roberts, August 18]. It was obvious you had a bias against Constantine when you referred to him as a "failed" American Idol contestant instead of an AI "finalist." I like most of the cuts on the CD, but not Flaming Lips. The lead singer is definitely flat!

Barbara Anderson
Coopersburg, Pennsylvania

Mesmerized: I have to disagree with you on Killer Queen. The only thing I agree with you about is the Flaming Lips' version of "Bohemian Rhapsody," and not because I think it's good but because it's weird. They're definitely out of tune, and I think they should be embarrassed to even have recorded that and put it on a CD. If they'd been the original artists recording that back in 1975, it would never have made the charts. I happen to love everything else, with the exception of "Bicycle Race." Silly song! I was a huge Queen fan in the '70s, and it takes a lot to make me like any remake of any song, especially one of theirs. After listening to Constantine's version of "Bohemian Rhapsody," I found myself mesmerized with it, much as I had been in the '70s as a teenager. I don't know what you found to dislike about his version, but to each his own. Personally, this was my favorite on the entire CD. My other favorites were "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy" (great job on this one) and "Who Wants to Live Forever" (loved it). We definitely have different tastes in music, but I just wanted to clarify that there are many people out there who would disagree with you on this one. It was so great to hear these classics again, and I think the artists did them justice.  

Donna S.
Albany, Georgia

Ervil Dead

He's no Mormon: The use of the phrase "Mormon murdering machine" to describe Ervil LeBaron is grossly misleading ["The Killers vs. the Killers," Wack, by Rich Sharp, August 18]. LeBaron was about as far from a true Mormon as you can find. By the way, do you realize how many Mormons live in Houston?

Verl Doman
Cedar Hills, Utah

Upset by the Upset

Forgotten ballot box: I was surprised to see the results of the Music Awards in the recent Houston Press. Elvia's has won the award for the Best Latin Venue for the last 12 years consecutively. Why did they not win this year? The issue should have noted that a box was left at Elvia's through the voting period and was not picked up at the end of the voting period. The net result is that the votes contained in that box were not counted. Therefore, Elvia's votes were shorted by those contained in the ballot box not picked up by Houston Press management to be counted. And Elvia's in fact may have won the Best Latin Venue award once again.

Edmund M. Parsons

Editor's note: The Press regrets the oversight. However, the winner for Best Latin Venue won by many more votes than were contained in the ballot box left at the club.

Messing with Texas

Taste of controversy: The first section of the Houston Press I turn to each week is Cafe. After your recent filleting of Taste of Texas and owner Edd Hendee ["Past Its Prime," by Robb Walsh, August 11], it looks like the Letters section will be my first choice for the next several weeks.

John Strapach

Leave politics out of it: Um, if Robb Walsh doesn't dig Tilman Fertitta's politics, then why doesn't he mention them at the end of every review of his restaurants, like he does Edd Hendee's Taste of Texas? Hey, Taste of Texas has been slipping for a while, that's no secret, but why rip the dude for something that has nothing to do with the freaking restaurant? I, for one, happen to think Walsh is an ignorant ass-hat, but you don't see me mentioning it in this letter, do you?

Don Mynack

Kudos, Robb: This week's letters regarding Robb Walsh's review of the Taste of Texas led me online to see what the hoopla was all about. I normally skim reviews, but I read this one. I felt compelled to write in support of Robb Walsh's review.

I found his review as follows: 1) informative on several levels (food, politics); and 2) educational on several levels (food, politics). I'm glad I took the time out to read it. Robb explained his reasons for injecting politics into a restaurant review quite successfully. I want to know if the owner of a restaurant I patronize supports child molesters.

Needless to say, it will take a positive review from Robb to make me visit the Taste of Texas again. I encourage Robb to keep up the good work.

Adam Delgado

Don't mess with Texas: Let me see if I have this right and can understand the intellect of your food critic. According to the review, the mid-week crowd at the popular Taste of Texas restaurant was there for "political reasons" and the resulting 40-minute wait had nothing to do with excellent food, service or ambience. How could so many be so wrong? Their preference for the world-acclaimed product pales in comparison to the opinion and rantings of one liberal food critic who appears to have a hard-on for conservative talk radio, Edd Hendee, bible-study class, Second Baptist Church, Rush Limbaugh and Tom DeLay. What on earth do his bitter rantings have to do with the food quality? The reviewer claims that Edd Hendee "vents his hatred" for Muslim terrorists, liberals, immigrants and bomb-making. Come to think of it, I'm not real pleased with them either. Thank God they don't eat at Taste of Texas. If national publications call the Taste of Texas one of the top ten steak houses in America, that's good enough for me. The place is so popular that I haven't been able to get in for several years of trying. I had to smile when the critic stated that he was so full that he barely touched his cheesy potatoes. If the food was so substandard, why did he eat so much of it? But the main point is this: The place is called Taste of Texas. The food is what is served by Texas to Texans in a Texas atmosphere. It is not an EYE-talian steak house, a Fertitta clone or a Yankee import. It's about Texas, and he shouldn't mess with Texas!  

Kenneth R. Bryan


In "Who Cares?" (August 11) Bema Johnson-Hall's first name was misspelled.

And Robb Walsh's August 11 review of Taste of Texas, "Past Its Prime," mentioned that the salad bar featured iceberg lettuce but didn't add that spinach and mixed greens are also available. In addition, Walsh stated that he suspected Taste of Texas's rib-eye steak wasn't aged at all. In fact, the menu states that it was aged 30 days.

The Press regrets the errors.

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