B-boys forever: Yo! Thanks a lot for writing such a great story on Moy Rivas and B-boying ["Big Steps," by Michael Serazio, October 23]. I'm a B-boy myself. I know Moy personally, and he's a terrific guy who deserves everything he's getting from the dance.
Thanks a lot for writing such a good paper.
David "Mex" Alvarado
Head-shop stocks: What a wonderful story ["Stoner Science," by Margaret Downing, October 30]. I had no idea that there was such a thing! Being a former toker (nonuser, not by choice), this is something that I would consider.
The questions: Would a drug sample test positive? And where can I get this stuff?
Name withheld by request
Warnings for bikers: Your article on the dangers of bicycling in the Houston area ["Collision Course," by Craig Malisow, October 16] was both well written and 100 percent accurate. As a cyclist, I've had a few close calls myself. I believe it has never been riskier than it is now.
A small percentage of motorists simply do not want bikes on "their" roads. While very few of these folks actually try to run us over, actions such as throwing objects (beer cans), cursing and driving very close are common.
The proliferation of large SUVs and jumbo pickups means there is less room for cyclists (passenger-side mirrors from these vehicles protrude into shoulders and bike lanes). Also, these vehicles tend to have blind spots, and their drivers, especially short ones, often are unable to see cyclists until it's too late. And the sheer bulk and weight of SUVs and extended pickups make it nearly impossible for them to stop in time or to swerve around us.
To increase my chances of not being hit or killed, I always ride against traffic as close as possible to the edge of the road. While this riding is technically illegal, I would rather be judged by 12 jurors than carried by six pallbearers. At least I won't be attacked from behind. Also, I never ride two or three abreast -- that's asking for it.
To my fellow cyclists, be careful out there.
Better for It
Wendy fan: Wendy Grossman, you are my favorite reporter, as you are very thorough and a great fact checker. I read anything that I see your name on. I generally do not read the Houston Press (there's not always time to), but if a featured article with your name appears on the front page ["Catching Elevators," October 9], I make time, as I know that I will be all the better for it.
Your work is unparalleled.
Ballot for Bert
Be good to Keller: Anyone who knows City Councilman Bert Keller knows that he is a Republican through and through, but a thinking person nevertheless. And what are his opponents complaining about [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, October 23]? If he votes for the tax cut, he's just another Nazi Republican; when the mayor swears he will retaliate by cutting services and Keller is swayed that this is the wrong time, he's a panderer.
As I am sure Bert would be glad to tell you, sometimes he can't vote the way he wants. He has to think about his constituents. Sometimes he has to put the city above his constituents and the next election (the nondiscrimination ordinance). I know this freaked out Bettencourt and the other scary Republicans. Some people -- obviously, the other candidates for Position 4 -- cannot think outside the labels they have given themselves. I am glad to know that before I vote.
And Tim Fleck has reached a new low. To make what point did he have to bring up one of the most painful and devastating moments in Keller's life? He was just being hurtful and mean, and then mocked Bert for becoming what some people would consider a better person by finding strength in God. Shame on you, Tim. But then I guess some writers stay in their boxes, too.
Worthy of attention: Margaret Downing, I wanted to thank you for your superb article titled "Attention Deficit" [October 16]. I was pleased to see it was well researched and well articulated. I believe it does a great service to bring these case studies to the foreground, whereby people can be made more aware and these kinds of activities can then be addressed properly.
Thank you so much. Your work is well done and you are highly admired.
Light Rail Threat
Driving it home: Any light rail project is doomed to be an abject failure, and it does not matter the location or the proposal ["Trainspotting," by Richard Connelly, September 11]. The size of the failure will be proportional to the amount of its funding, and none of this is a revelation to the federal or state governments.
The Federal Transit Administration is receiving more and more grant requests for light rail projects from all over the country than it has money. Light rail projects have no hope of getting off the ground without federal funding.
No light rail system has ever turned a profit, let alone paid for itself, and light rail projects are being canceled across the United States.
Meanwhile, America's love affair with the automobile has facilitated and fueled expansion of the American free enterprise system by freely allowing more social interaction and economic transaction to take place than otherwise would have been possible.
Besides, Houston had a passenger rail system once before. Many Major League Baseball fans drive their cars to Union Station, which once handled rail passengers. The fact is, free-market forces have driven advancement in Space City, and most Houstonians have found their automobiles to be their best transportation choice.
Do you reckon the Houston Sports Authority has a "light rail failure contingency plan" involving visions of a "corporate name here" Formula 1/Grand Prix racetrack?
Shawn Christopher Phillips
Reviewing the review: "The exhibition's tour of the modern art landscape certainly looks at art history from a specific point of view; the collection is extra-heavy on the white Western males."
Boy, we almost got through the entire review ["Mo' Masterpieces," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, October 16] without sinking into multiculti land.
Almost. (More bad news: Many of the artists were straight, too.)
Graffiti's awful: Re: Best Graffiti Artist designation in your Best of Houston issue [September 25]: I just don't get it. Why sing the praises of someone who willfully defaces public property? Your "award" is a misnomer; it assumes there is something good about graffiti (there is not) and that the person doing the defacing is an artist (he or she is not).
I may be a liberal Democrat (otherwise known as the T. rex of political dinosaurs in this part of the U.S.), but I simply cannot see the value in this behavior. The fact that it's against the law is the least of my concerns; it's the fact that the sight of this stuff is so repugnant. It's not cool, it's not hip, it's not a justifiable means of expressing dissent. It's just plain ugly. This is at least the second time you have given this "distinction" to someone, and I feel it demeans your publication.
Why should I take seriously anything you recommend if you're going to support someone who contributes to visual blight? This town has enough problems trying to be scenic; we don't need graffiti on freeway signs and overpasses to make it worse.
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