Cracking Up

Prevention first: Your article was one of the best I've ever read ["Ship Wrecked," by Josh Harkinson, February 12]. Is there anything an ordinary citizen like me can do to prevent accidents like this from happening again, or is there a PAC to contribute to, or volunteer with, that's against ABS?

Cyndee Blank
New York City, New York

Oil change: This article was fascinating. The fact that the ship had been certified as seaworthy by a Houston firm made it locally relevant.

I had read in the January 2004 Scientific American another chapter in the tragic saga: the successful attempt last October to retrieve oil from the sunken ship 12,467 feet below the ocean's surface. Using high-tech deep-sea equipment and remotely operated vehicles, in 18 hours workers transferred 100 tons of oil to a surface ship via a giant polymer bag eight stories tall.

There are hopes that additional oil can be recovered this spring.

Frances Jones

Super Ball

Media excesses: I wanted to thank you for the outstanding article about Super Bowl week ["Turkeys Fly," by Richard Connelly, February 5]. I was enjoying the Houston Press at one of my favorite restaurants, and I just about choked on my tacos as I laughed myself silly. I'm sure the neighboring diners were wondering what I was finding to be so hilarious.

Mr. Connelly nailed every splendid detail, from the irony of a church being used as the check-in location for the Maxim party to the hoopla surrounding two football players faced off on a PlayStation 2 and hordes of cameramen watching with baited breath. The photographs were superb, capturing such earth-shattering moments as the "thrilling cook-off win" by Dan Marino, again while hordes of cameramen watched with more baited breath.

I found only one thing to be missing. Our news stations are already prone to overhyping and sensationalizing nearly every story, but the three main stations really outdid themselves that week (who knew that would even be possible!). The nightly broadcasts were stretched to a full hour, but nowhere was there any mention of our president or the world or anything occurring outside our city limits. They generously donated approximately two minutes per night to a local story unrelated to the Super Bowl, and the only thing considered to be "breaking news" was that Madonna may or may not have been buying a latte at the Post Oak Starbucks.

Every night, I thought that our city had lost its collective mind. But visitors and residents alike had a blast. And Mr. Connelly was right -- Houston will never be the same.

Kristie Long

Guide to the Weird

Houston's haunts: Even though I laughed at this article and I am glad it ran ["Houston Uncovered," by Richard Connelly, January 29], I would have liked to see a piece where readers could write in and suggest offbeat things to do in Houston if you were a tourist for a day.

There are a lot of weird museums, interesting neighborhoods and lots of parks and gardens. I will admit it wasn't enough to keep me in Houston, but there is more to do than just eat and shop.

Celia A. Nettles
Georgetown, Texas

On Probation

Problems with Donnelly: I was concerned about the fate of Mr. Perez of the county's probation department after reading your story ["Firing Line," by Josh Harkinson, February 12]. Anyone who can work for the probation department for 23 years has my admiration, given the type of job it surely must be.

Nobody works that long and does something to get fired six months before "tenure." I'm sure he was an object for demonstration from our newly found director, Mr. Paul Donnelly. Mr. Donnelly may be an effective administrator, but he is clearly not a leader, based on what I read in the Houston Press.

As a north Houston resident and homeowner, I feel obligated to pass along my views. Hopefully I can communicate my views to the judges, who recruited him via the voting booth.

Douglas Diehl

Heavenly Hooters

Lay off DeLay: I found your commentary on Tom DeLay's Hooters dining experience [Hair Balls, "Appreciating God-Given Beauty," February 5] interesting for several reasons:

Referring to Hooters as a "soft-porn restaurant chain" implies that appropriate dress for waitresses would be a colorful burqa. (Are you a member of the Taliban?)

I didn't realize DeLay was trying to "transform our government into a Southern Baptist Church," nor that the fact that an individual or group from his PAC apparently ate at Hooters means that he embraces a philosophy that the dining experience requires ogling of Men's Club wannabes.

Perhaps you have a bitterness that causes you to project hypocrisy into the actions of DeLay or evangelicals where none really exists. Or perhaps the entire article was an attempt at humor that just fell flat.

At any rate, I liked your quote from the Hooters marketing VP -- that they don't discriminate against anyone because of their political views. That sounds like a good policy. Any chance it might catch on at houstonpress.com?

Tim Mercer
Keller, Texas

A Real Turnoff

Radio woes: I read your article about the Buzz and KLOL [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, February 12], and I can't agree with you more. I moved here six months ago. Since Houston is a large city, I figured there would be a wide selection of radio stations that play music that isn't so damn repetitive.

I am so disappointed with what there is to choose from in radio stations here. It is definitely a wasteland. I am one of those people who have resorted to listening to CDs all the time. And my husband (who has a goatee, by the way) now listens to talk radio. And what's sad is that I really have to dig deep to find something new and creative to listen to.

I like the Darkness, and I like the softer stuff like Travis, Radiohead and R.E.M. I know I can always buy one of their CDs when they come out with a new album. They are the old reliables to me. But as far as anything new, it is hard for me to find it out there because we have a shithole radio station that plays stuff like "How You Remind Me" by Nickleback every damn time I'm in the car. I have a fit of frustration whenever that comes on. The lead singer of that band is a tool with a goatee.

The article was great. It summed up all of my feelings on the matter.

Sarah Philyaw-Arnett

Net proceeds: I really enjoyed your article regarding the rock station formats. I run a show tunes station (Maximum Broadway Radio) on Live365, and I just posted a link to your article in the Live365 broadcaster forum.

Hopefully someone who is programming a format like you proposed will contact you. At least we can get quality radio on the Net.

Zack Bigner

In tune: I have followed your articles for some time. Your column about a new radio genre caught me by surprise! I have an Internet radio station (www.rocklandusa.com) that plays as close to what you propose as any other station out there.

I do have everything from Jet to Zep to Def Leppard to Iggy to Alice in Chains…you get the idea. I like your title, though, and wish I had come up with that. I called my genre Pop Rock Radio because, like you, I see that people do like the broad spectrum of rock from the '70s through the alternative of today.

Bless you for being the first person I have seen come out in support of a genre that I closely resemble!

Funny how a little old firefighter/ paramedic can figure this stuff out (as you did) and Clear Channel, Infinity and others just go along with the same old playlists.

FYI: According to Live365.com (my radio station host), my biggest listener base is in Texas even though I am based in Maryland just outside of Washington/Baltimore.

Thanks again. Keep up the good work!

Craig "Backdraft" Luecke
New Market, Maryland


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