Sizing It Up

Objective on obesity: I am writing to commend the Houston Press and writer Sarah Fenske for that rare creature: an objectively researched article on this nation's so-called obesity crisis -- who suffers, who profits and how ["Ground Zero," November 18]!

What we often see are poorly researched articles that might as well be transcripts from press releases by businesses that profit from the misery of larger-sized Americans. Even worse are articles that appear to have been written out of hatred or fear of fat -- as if even being objective about this subject would cause the writer to "catch" it.

As a fat woman over 50 (and an author of size-positive fiction), I receive many e-mails from distraught people, struggling simply to live in a sea of negativity. Your article was impeccably researched and a breath of fresh air. As long as the link is live, I will send people to view it.

Lynne Murray
San Francisco

Shedding bias: I am so pleased with the portion of your article about me. Thank you.

I also think you did an outstanding job of reporting on the many aspects of weight-loss methods and the outcome of those methods (some good, some bad). Thank you for your efforts to be fair and nonjudgmental; it is appreciated!

Darlene Cates
Forney, Texas


"Playtrons" not welcome: This article was horrible ["Escape Artists," by Craig Malisow, November 11]. The people you spoke with are not Rennies; they are what a real Rennie refers to as a professional patron. I was a real Rennie before I took the job of site manager at a Renfest. A real Rennie is someone who travels to Renfests and makes a living doing it -- a performer, crafter, gamer or shop help, doing it year-round for a living.

Being a Rennie is a full-time way of life, and the drunk losers that you interviewed make Rennies look bad. A Rennie would never refer to the patrons as mundane. They are the people who keep festivals alive. Your weekender "playtrons" insult not only the patrons but also true Rennies.

Rick Norton

The Last Laugh

HISD distortions: I agree with Myron Greenfield that teenagers' minds are different and a good breakfast is important to learning [Letters, "Breakfast of Champions," November 18]. Unfortunately, the Breakfast in the Classroom story ["Eating It Up," by Sarah Fenske, November 4] was about the students not eating breakfast, yet HISD was paid by the federal government for serving the food. I simply propose children wishing to eat be served and HISD receive payments for such meals. I would welcome a visit to Myron's classroom to see how many children are eating and what the report back to the kitchen states.

Mr. Abbott is confused; the story in the Press was about a high school, not an elementary school. It wasn't about children eating only parts of their breakfast, but "breakfast no one even looks at, much less eats." When Sam Houston High School goes from serving 2,800 breakfasts to 200 after BIC was discontinued, it doesn't take a Washington bureaucrat to know that the books have been cooked.

The only laughing going on is somewhere inside Mr. Abbott's head while he's talking to himself. Let's see if he continues to laugh after the U.S. Department of Agriculture does an audit.HISD needs to get past denial and to fix the program before the USDA finds it has been mismanaged by Aramark and holds them responsible. We are talking about millions of taxpayers' dollars that should go toward feeding children, not making profits for the HISD Food Service Department. If the school board members are confused, all they need to do is visit Davis at breakfast time and watch. This is not calculus -- it's simple math.

Orell Fitzsimmons
SEIU Local 100 field director

Skip the tee-hees: Who is Terry Abbott, and why are my tax dollars paying his or her salary? Did this HISD press secretary really write the response mocking the Houston Press article? The Press made some serious accusations about the HISD BIC program. It would be nice to see a response from HISD with an explanation, maybe a correction. But to respond with laughter is snobbish, irresponsible and simply inexcusable.

Daniel Chaikin

Finding a Jewel

A right-on review: Your review of Finding Neverland was nothing short of brilliant ["Peter Panache," by Gregory Weinkauf, November 18].

I am writing to express my gratitude, appreciation and respect for your excellent critique of this whimsical and touching film. What's more important, I wanted to write to you from my heart how much I enjoy your style of writing. Starting with your sense of humor in your opening, then your ability to nail it so cleverly and with such ease. Since I am a tremendous admirer of Mr. Depp's works, I was especially gratified to have you write, "we've got a whole new reason to appreciate cinema's most creative chameleon since Peter Sellers." Oh, you are so right on!  

Your review is the best one I've read, and I've read quite a few so far!

Stacey Moore
Edmonds, Washington

On the Squids

Vindicating a dish: I read with interest the glowing comments by reviewer Brian McManus ["Sweet 17," November 11] on my version of calamari, which he enjoyed at 17/Sam Houston Hotel. I introduced that preparation of calamari at Riviera Grill, my former restaurant at the Sam Houston Hotel.

Funny, previously in the Press ["New Digs, Old Tricks," January 9, 2003], Robb Walsh derided this dish, saying that I was using it "like a security blanket." Well, it's apparently comforting to many, since 17's executive chef Jeff Armstrong has chosen to keep the dish on the menu long after I left. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Kudos to Armstrong -- and McManus -- for recognizing a winning dish.

John Sheely, executive chef-owner
Mockingbird Bistro Wine Bar


Listen to the past: When I first saw that KLOL had changed formats, it was like taking a punch to the chest that knocked the wind out of me [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, November 18]. KLOL had been around since I was in the seventh grade.

But you know what, in the last 11 years I may have listened to the station maybe a couple dozen times, for a total of approximately 24 hours.

In fact, since 1978 KLOL was never really my station of first choice; I just could not pick up a good signal for the stations of choice. Since 1975, except when they played U2, R.E.M., Nirvana and local music, KLOL was pretty much a boring station.

Believe it or not, KLOL was a cool station the first five years it was on the air, and at that time it had an early-'70s version of your dream format. You could hear rock, folk, psychedelia and jazz; I think they called it a free format. Ah, I remember the few times I heard the song "Mongoose" by Sopwith Camel. Those were the days.

Michael Jozwiak

Get Off the Boat

Houston deserves better: Aye yi yi -- tell us how you really feel [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, September 30]!

I totally agree with you, and I don't understand it either. Why is it assumed that Houstonians are musically challenged? We don't all hang out at Sam's Boat!

Not only is this town culturally diverse, it is artistically rich. It truly is appalling that we don't have a station that represents that vast population. I'm tired of stations that play the good stuff at a certain time, on a certain day, but only for three hours when the moon is full. I want it nonstop, 24/7. It should be expected of a town like this.

Give a little love to some cool Texas artists, a little Schneider, some Endochine, and your model station would be da bomb-diggity! Just one more reason why I really need to win the lottery!

Jessica Benavides

DeYoung and the Restless

Debonair, with hair: Okay, fool! There are a lot of women who are huge fans of Dennis DeYoung -- an exceptional vocalist and keyboard player. Not everyone subscribes to your brand of dopey review [Rotation, by John Nova Lomax, November 11].

I have seen Mr. DeYoung in concert and met him and he: a) has his own hair on his head; b) is funny and fun in concert with songs that are both slow and sweet (a lot of people like that stuff, ya know) and he can rock out as well; and c) he is a genuinely nice, self-deprecating, decidedly nonegotistical person. Everyone at the two concerts I attended had a terrific time.

When you come at a CD/music review from the standpoint of disdain and outright hatred of the artist, maybe the review could be passed off to someone with a bit less of that prejudice so that the music and performance could be evaluated a bit more fairly.

Please do us a favor and give us no more reviews from you for Dennis DeYoung.  

Kathy Maer
Weimar, Texas

Gifted and talented: After reading your "review" of Dennis DeYoung's CD, The Music of Styx Live with Symphony Orchestra, I felt compelled to write you.

Be negative about a musician's work if you do not like it, but at least review the material you inform your readers you have critiqued. Taking personal swings at a guy does not a review make. Did you listen to the CD? Reading your article I have no idea, since you do not mention any of the tracks and the interpretation the artist has given them.

Perhaps this is one review you should have completed before you went to press. Your readership deserves more, and Mr. DeYoung, an extraordinarily gifted composer and performer, deserves better.

Shawn Spiegelhalter
Oswego, Illinois

Don't Slide Away

Respect's the key: History will judge harshly those with respect and those without. We let Rob Harvilla's rant slide at our own peril ["Die, Jeff Buckley, Die!" November 18].

Matt Hammon

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