The real world, Houston: I just wanted to thank you for your story ["Chefs Rule," by Brian McManus, July 7]. Until recently, I taught culinary arts at HCC, and your article aptly describes everything I tried to make my students understand about the real world. Especially when they got their feelings hurt by another student. Or came in thinking they knew everything. Or yelled "Bam!" in my presence
Scott W. Smith
The bald truth: I enjoyed your stories of life in the kitchen, especially the one about the name Filthy McNasty. In it, you ponder the name Shoemaker for someone who is lazy. Most kitchens in Houston are manned by Latinos. "Shoemaker" is a direct translation of zapatero, which is Spanish slang for "lazy." Believe me, it's one of the kinder ones, too.
I once had a bald waiter, and on his first day, the kitchen began to call his orders by his nickname, Pellon. He asked me how they knew to call him that, because at his last job that was what he was called. You should have seen his face when I told this guy it meant "hairy," snidely implying that he was bald. He did not have a hair on his head!
The kitchen is a magical place to be. And for those who think that magic comes magically easy, there will be many disappointments. It's hard work, and I tip my hat to all who do such work.
Eat it, pretty boys: Holy shit, I have to thank you a million times over for writing this article. I was beginning to think Houstonians were left out of the evil-restaurant business. (We're always hearing stories out of the mouths of people from New York, the West Coast, New Orleans, whatever, but hardly ever from Houston. Odd.) Anyway, I was highly amused that you mentioned Tony Bourdain, because I totally dig the guy, and then you even went so far as to dog Bobby Flay and Emeril -- right on! Jesus, have you seen the shit the Food Network's been putting out lately? Something about being the "next Food Network star" or some such. Like they need another damn pretty boy, honestly. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this article. I don't know how many times I've listened to my peers speak of what hard-core rollers (insert Food Network stars here) are, when the real cooks are busting their asses in the kitchen, through pain and injury, and going completely unnoticed by the general public. Talk about the justice system being fucked up.
Sex selling: About ten years ago a friend of mine told me about a bar where there were attractive Hispanic women who would show you a good time ["Addicted to Love," by Keith Plocek, June 30]. (Both of us are white.) I went, and although I speak not a word of Spanish, this beautiful Hispanic girl was all over me asking me to buy her drinks and to dance and doing tequila shots while sucking salt off my neck and eating limes out of my mouth, making out with me, etc. I was having a great time, and then the bartender tells me, "She wants to know will you sleep with her for money." I declined, and she turned to ice and walked away.
I almost fell out of my chair when I read in the article that "Cantineras are there to sell liquor, not sex." In my one experience, that was not the case. I can understand how you could get addicted to those places, because I had a great time. The funny thing about the place was the messier and sweatier you were, the more attention you got from the girls. Apparently the big spenders were blue-collar construction-worker types. If you came in all dressed up wearing cologne, forget about it. No love!
Name withheld by request
Bring It On
Subjective glop: Thank you for reviewing my exhibition "Virtual Urge" at the Deborah Colton Gallery ["Art Lite," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, June 30]. As the old adage goes, "Any press is good press," except for an obit. One question: Did you go to college, or did you spend your intellectual formative years watching Star Trek repeats, visually consuming cartoons and eating presweetened cereal? Kelly, come on, I feel sorry for your lack of maturity and embarrassed (for you) that you would expose such a keen sense of ignorance and denigrate work that is both spiritual and philosophical.
Rather than spend my time commenting on your subjective glop, I will keep it bite-size You are over your head in a sea of pop culture. Rather than drowning, take some time and "bring it on" at a higher level, so you can see the light.
Rize up: I have to take issue with your article about the movie Rize ["Dance, Dance Revolution," by Luke Y. Thompson, June 23]. You criticize the movie, saying it "barely acknowledges the more obvious heritage of both rock concert mosh pits and professional wrestling." Was this meant to address the film not giving credit for the idea of the BattleZone? I can concede that it takes different aspects of big-arena entertainment from the sources you mentioned, but I fail to see where the credit is due. Following your logic, if they used the phrase "Let's get ready to rumble," then you would want them to give credit to boxing.
While aspects of showmanship may have been borrowed from other places, I believe that whole phenomenon of clowning and krumping was born out of the ghettos of Los Angeles, originated by black people, and you should not try to suggest otherwise. Give Tommy and the kids in the film 100 percent for what they have created.
New York, New York
Above the Law?
Where the sidewalk ends: Thanks for the article about our overzealous jaywalking enforcement officers ["Can't Get Arrested," Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, June 23]. In the past two weeks, I have witnessed three bicycle cops run red lights downtown. They all stopped, looked both ways and then ran the light. Then there are the numerous bicycle cops who ride on the sidewalks (they sure know how to set an example). I guess our police officers are above the law. Is that due to some special edict from our illustrious mayor? I've also never seen a cop write a ticket to one of the illegal unlicensed motorized vehicles that the downtown district uses to get its street-cleaning employees around, either. Perhaps that is because they are worried about those pesky flag-wavers.
Ditch the Bridge
A bad idea: If you want to see truly ostentatious Christmas lights, you have to come east of Ella to Shepherd Park Plaza and Candlelight Plaza, where I live -- but watch out for the tour buses. I have been following the development on Rosslyn ["Wrasslin' on Rosslyn," Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, June 30] for years. What I can't understand is why the developer just doesn't use the access to his property that exists off Pinemont and leave the ditch alone.
I'm sure what most people reading your article would not understand is that Rosslyn going south ends in T.C. Jester East, which runs under 610, and if you follow it long enough, it will take you to I-10. Opening up Rosslyn via a bridge will make a wonderful shortcut for commuters. That is what scares me, and I don't live near the ditch.
Nonfat nonsmoker: What an arrogant and non-scientific article ["Got a Light?" by Keith Plocek, May 12]. "Smokers have more fun." That's like saying blonds have more fun. I was a smoker for ten years, and after many inhalers and nights of not being able to sleep, I finally mustered up the guts to quit. Cold turkey. I am 26 now, and that was three and a half years ago. I never have to use my inhaler and no longer have breathing problems. Yeah, I gained weight when I first quit, but here I am now, years later, and I'm five foot nine and 135 pounds. Nonsmokers are thin, too! I can understand if smokers don't agree with the ban, but don't be so ignorant, bringing in stereotypic comments that have no scientific basis. Significant studies have shown that secondhand smoke can cause cancer and emphysema. Think more clearly before you write an article hoping to attract the side of what you thought was your main audience. Get the facts first -- that way you won't look so uneducated.
This takes the cake: Being a loyal customer of Juanita Jean's World Most Dangerous Beauty Salon (www.brazosriver.com), I knew we needed to celebrate Juanita's birthday in a special way. With all the hoopla about Nooky's Erotic Bakery and the county commissioners demanding its closure ["Let Them Ogle Cake," Hair Balls, by Richard Connelly, June 23], I approached them about making Juanita a special birthday cake. I want to thank Nooky's from the bottom of my stockings; this mother-and-daughter team couldn't have been nicer or done a more beautiful job. I would encourage all your readers to take a stand and keep them open; if you get excited about flour, sugar and some eggs, then you've got your own problems.
Bonding experience: Your article on the Warped Tour ["Warped Minds," by Michael Alan Goldberg, June 23] was great. When I started laughing, my 16-year-old son had to check out what I was reading on "his" computer, and after taking a look, he was amused too. I'm referring this article to another parent contemplating going to WT this year, and I'm printing a copy off so I can read it when I need a lift. Thanks for putting your experience out there for us to enjoy.
The War Continues
Get a clue: To Mary L. Bell: You weren't at the Halliburton demonstration, so you have no clue what actually went on down there [Letters, July 7]. Your opinion is based on what you saw through the news coverage. What a great source to base your opinion on.
You also can't "assure" me of anything in regards to the FBI and how they use the information collected as a result of the Patriot Act. How do you know? You must think very highly of yourself if you know how the top intelligence agencies spend their time. The masks and hoods were for protection, period.
And by the way, it's the same Kool-Aid you Republicans are drinking. Gimme a break.
Name withheld by request
In "Chefs Rule" (by Brian McManus, July 7), there was a sentence that apparently confused some readers. For the record: As we said, Jason Kerr was a sous-chef for T'afia's Monica Pope. But he did not work for her at T'afia; he worked for her at Boulevard Bistrot.
And when our story relayed the incident wherein Kerr had a jar of truffles thrown at him, the proximity of that vignette to a mention of his former employer (Pope) in no way meant that it was she who'd done the throwing. In fact, it was a different person entirely. Unnamed.
The Press regrets all the reading between the lines that led to some totally erroneous conclusions -- and some interesting dinner conversation at T'afia following publication.
During the editing process of "Chefs Rule" (by Brian McManus, July 7), a statement was mistakenly attributed to the wrong person. It was chef Jared Hunter who said, "That guy was crazy. He used to stop cuts from bleeding by searing himself on white-hot pans."
The Press regrets the error.
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