Allow prisoner interviews: Thank you for the information ["Writer's Block," by Scott Nowell, December 18]. I cannot fathom anyone preventing an interview of an inmate by an author. It is such a crock to use some lame-brained excuse such as "might be a relative" ad infinitum. Perhaps someone needs to get his or her house in order if the screening is inadequate.
As Gilbert Keith Chesterton was quoted as saying, "The theory of free speech, that truth is so much larger and stranger and more many-sided than we know of, that it is very much better at all costs to hear everyone's account of it, is a theory which has been justified on the whole by experiment, but which remains a very daring and even a very surprising theory. It is really one of the great discoveries of the modern time."
Thrust and Perry: This is another prime example of Texas going to shit under Bush/Perry. I am so tired of their "fuck you if you don't like it" attitude.
Yet Perry got elected. Did his votes get counted in Florida? It's high time Texans took Texas back from these Gestapo assholes!
Clear Channel Conflict
Jocks are more offensive: I just finished your article about PETA's billboard being rejected by Clear Channel [Hair Balls, "Finger-Lickin' Foul?" December 18].
I am not one of PETA's biggest fans, but I don't find their billboard anywhere near as offensive as the ones I had to look at for months that advertised KLOL's shock jocks Walters and Johnson. But, oh, that's right -- KLOL is owned by Clear Channel, so I guess if it helps pad their pockets, good taste becomes less of a factor.
Avenues for free expression in Houston are becoming more of an endangered species each year. I think I will now take up a cause that I have, until now, been apathetic about.
I think I will start campaigning to reduce the number of billboards allowed in Houston that make our city less attractive.
I wonder if Clear Channel will allow me to do a billboard for that.
The yule spirit: The article [Hair Balls, "You Better Watch Out," December 18] seems to paint Brian Taylor as an uncaring character bent on creating trouble through his "Santa-rista" escapes. Anyone who knows Brian knows he is one of the most generous folks around.
Back in the late '80s and early '90s, I made a few trips with him. Brian worked for the Orange Show Foundation, and in addition to being a force in the local art car movement, he prided himself on cross-pollinating the local cliques of musicians, artists and actors. He would organize scavenger hunts of local points of historical interest and art galleries and folk art locales, with the only restriction being that all participants had to be transported by Metro buses (The Magical Mystery Metro Tour).
Brian would often solicit donations of cash or toys to deliver to kids stranded in shelters for homeless families. Several of my friends and I helped him on these Christmas Eve shelter trips in 1989 and 1990. You cannot imagine the unexpected joy on the faces of the kids and even the shelter staff at the unannounced visit of Brian, of course, dressed as Santa. These memories still burn brightly in my mind and will forever warm my heart.
It is true: Brian has yet to actually grow up. And I'm glad that I know someone like Brian, whose heart is actually bigger than his brain. Despite the focus of the article, I feel quite certain there is still charity involved in the merrymaking.
Of course, these charitable forays always culminated at the now-defunct Blythe Spirits bar in Montrose, where hearts were further warmed with renditions of R-rated Christmas carols and Chambord kamikazes.
Purge the Politics
Sticking to reviewing: Please explain to me what place extremist political views -- or any political commentary, for that matter -- have in a movie review ["Bow Down," by Gregory Weinkauf, December 18]:
"...Denethor (John Noble), who is a total nutcase fraud very similar to our current American president (Bush, please follow his example to its conclusion)."
Allowing stupidity like that to make it to press is as irresponsible as it is ignorant. Your rag should issue an apology.
Parrotheads: You forgot to mention the best part about the Sundance Grill in Seabrook [Hot Plate, by Marene Gustin, December 18]. There are hundreds of green parrots nesting in the palms nearby -- they're always flying around the deck.
Sack the Texan art: I enjoyed your article on the Texans exhibit at the MFAH ["Incest Is Wrong," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, November 27]. I think "corporate porn" is a perfect description.
I believe that McNair -- like Astros owner Drayton McLane -- craves the attention and admiration that fans give to musicians, artists and athletes, and uses ownership of a local team to provide himself with a sort of celebrity status.
I hope you're not getting too much grief for your critique. The extent to which you are lends credibility to your well-expressed viewpoint.
Keep it up. I found your article humorous and well reasoned. I didn't know you were a writer. You have many talents.
Mark S. Dunn
Arrogant elitists: I highly applaud the investigative journalism of Kelly Klaasmeyer in her recent piece. It's unfortunate that such a promising cultural institution has become a private, elitist country club that caters to the needs of the wealthy.
Consider the bonuses of $1.7 million to Peter Marzio and $500,000 to Gwen Goffe; naming galleries after Enron officials and allowing the director's wife to curate exhibits. All this, while the staff is constantly berated, overworked, underpaid and living in persistent fear of layoffs.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Name withheld by request
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