Respect the Lady: I have always considered your newspaper innovative and "hip-hop," but I would think that good journalism would never cross the line of religious worship ["Hip-hop, Tejas," by John Nova Lomax, December 4].
Needless to say, I was so disappointed in the manner that you depicted Our Lady of the Guadalupe on your recent front-page article focusing on Tejano rap music. I can only hope that in future publications you will have the decency to show more restraint and respect.
Arnold B. Arevalo
Rough on Ross
An extraordinary man: Shame on you, Tim Fleck! The Insider's recent article about the late Ross Allyn ["Slipping into Darkness," December 4] was in extremely poor taste. Typical of your column, you were determined to take advantage of Ross's tragedy, only two weeks after his death, to satisfy the appetite of your readers.
Despite the challenges of his life, Ross was an extraordinary human being. Like many others, I consider myself fortunate to have known him.
Your publication would do better if it addressed the issues of how substance abuse affects the lives of people from all levels of society, and the need for seeking treatment.
Allyn was ethical: Tim Fleck was unnecessarily cruel and catty in his story about the death of my friend, Ross Allyn.
Ross operated his business based on the highest standards of ethical behavior. He was repelled by even the hint of dishonesty.
Double standards? After reading the Houston Press story about Ross Allyn's life and death, I find that Houston's government and business community is more corrupt and debauched than I thought. That comes as somewhat of a surprise to me because I held a very low opinion of Houston governance beforehand.
A most disgusting juxtaposition occurs in this same issue when an imprisoned letter writer to the Press [Letters, "An Inmate Responds," December 4] laments that many are in Texas prisons for the simple use and possession of cocaine and marijuana.
But Allyn and at least some city officials, on the other hand, appear to be happily tolerated by friends, family and business/ political associates in their use of cocaine and male homosexuals.
If this is "world class," it's the third world.
The Dean and Dennis
Kucinich snub: I was happy to read Tim Fleck's Insider piece on presidential candidate Howard Dean ["Pied Piper of the Pissed Off," November 27] -- it's nice that at least one media outlet in town gave his appearance more coverage than a buried one-column story or a split second on the nightly news.
I was stunned, however, to read Mr. Fleck's assertion that Dean's trip was the first time one of the Democratic candidates has visited Houston. Fellow Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich spoke to an enthusiastic Houston crowd more than a month ago at a rally at Drexler's. Unfortunately for Kucinich and his many supporters here, Mr. Fleck didn't even see fit to mention Kucinich in his list of presidential candidates.
About half of the media seems to spend its time pumping up one candidate or another, while the other half sits back and tries to analyze the reasons one candidate becomes more popular than another, when the answer's right there. Dean's popularity is fed by the media, even by less-than-glowing reviews like this one. If Mr. Fleck wants anything other than piles of cash to decide the elections (as he seems to suggest will happen), I'd suggest he push for free news coverage for all candidates, not just the so-called popular ones.
To Mr. Fleck's credit, he got Dean's message right: "Bush is bad, so vote for me." That's why I and a lot of other people are backing Kucinich as the real "grassroots" candidate, because the man actually has strategy to back up the rhetoric.
Now don't get me wrong. I'll gladly vote for Dean over Bush, but he's not my first choice. I think that America can do better.
Howard's crossing: Just grateful to see that a Houston newspaper, perhaps the only Houston "news" paper, managed to report about the Howard Dean rally at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
The leading Democratic candidate for president of the United States; first rally for the 2004 election in Houston; and the announcement of endorsement by Houston's own Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee -- apparently the Chron still just covers Fox News for its "fair and balanced" reporting.
Block the bridge: Thank you for the excellent article on the proposed bridge to Bolivar ["Bridging the Gap," by Scott Nowell, November 27]. For many reasons, we who are homeowners on the peninsula oppose this project.
There are so few land masses left not only for our wildlife populations to enjoy but also for humans to escape the madness of urban sprawl. I've watched NASA Road 1 become a thoroughfare with all the problems that come with that kind of growth, and totally oppose any kind of similar disaster that would come with the construction of a bridge to Bolivar.
Art Crawl Ball
Flush with success: Glad you and I lined our crawl once again with Chicken Boy's chosen inside-out version of Houston's annual downtown warehouse art crawl ["Gorilla Art," by Keith Plocek, November 20]. Your paper still sustains an audience of wistfully hopeful art seekers, searching the pages of the Press to find openings.
Hundreds of patrons told me -- a lowly artist -- that they came because they saw it in the Press. An estimated 7,000 curious Houstonians visited more than 150 participating (non-scab) artists in our 24 featured downtown warehouses. Responses to this annual event are positive -- great exposure and feedback for emerging artists.
No one commented on our bathroom.
Respecting the Weed
High on salvia: I don't agree with your article ["Stoner Science," by Margaret Downing, November 6]. As Timothy Leary put it in the '60s, you need a proper set and setting. Also, head-shop Salvia divinorum is not potent, as it is probably old and dried out too much.
You need to do some more research on the topic at sagewisdom.org before you go and put a bad name on this sacramental substance. Don't cheapen and abuse something when you don't even know what it is. Please think twice before doing this kind of "research."
The Phantom Photo?
A great exhibit: To review the Texans show is your job, and we welcome your review ["Incest Is Wrong," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, November 27], but you should get your facts straight.
There was never a smaller image of Bob McNair kneeling in Reliant Stadium, with or without the caption you invented.
There was as much white flesh as black among the photographs of the players, but when one is photographing the starting defensive line, it happens that all four players are black.
Sports photography has been a subject in the history of photography since its invention. You insult Robert Clark to say that he stumbles into making art. He is a smart man, very aware of the history of photography and of his predecessors. You belittle his photographs. I admire them, because I know it wasn't an easy commission to fulfill. Action photographs require the photographer to anticipate the action. Working fast, he must be clear about what he wants us to see and capture exactly that within the frame.
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For instance, by staying behind Jimmy McClain when he entered the stadium for the first time, Clark captured the sheer joy a rookie must have felt to fulfill his dream of being an NFL player. It's a much more revealing perspective than had Clark photographed McClain from the field. Yet Clark could also make the beautiful, contemplative portrait of Gary Walker, with his helmet pushed back like a headdress.
None of us involved in planning and executing this show and catalog were pandering to some supposed lowest common denominator. As an avid sports fan, I don't experience a chasm between people who like art and people who like sports. Many of the people I work with at the museum also love sports. You project on us motives you've imagined.
Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Editor's note: Reviewer Klaasmeyer states that the small image of McNair and the caption were indeed exhibited during the museum's press review, although they were not on view during later visits made after the exhibition's public opening.