Friendship over and out: I live in Austin, and a very similar thing has happened to me here ["The Specialist," by Craig Malisow, September 2]. My nightmare realtor was a friend of 37 years. I bought one of her rent houses, and she lent me $10,000 at closing because I had no money. Then I signed a deed of trust to pay her back the $10,000 plus 7 percent interest. I was late one week, and I got a letter from a lawyer saying I had to pay her plus late fees plus the lawyer $300 to write the letter. I began to look for the deed of trust papers. They give her 80 percent of the rights to my house. I have a lawyer now, and he has taken this on contingency because he knows he will win and get his paycheck.
J.R. Richard Returns
Questions answered: I often wondered what really happened to J.R. Richard ["J.R. Richard: The Human Condition," by Dave Hollander, September 2]. Now I have my answer. Thanks for publishing Dave's interview, and I hope you will publish more. Please add my name to your e-mail listing.
Walter A. Shay
Paper not plastic: I really enjoyed this interview. Very real, not like some plastic interview where we already know everything and it's packaged to feel nice and that's it.
Newton, New Jersey
Hurling praise: Dave Hollander was able to touch upon the great hurler's raw and apparently unresolved bitterness toward his baseball career and especially the Astros in a pointed yet compassionate manner not often found among today's sports journalists.
Independent review overdue: Desmond Haye's plight illustrates the fundamental racial and socioeconomic inequality in Houston's judicial system ["Truth and Consequences," by George Flynn, September 2]. On one hand Enron's Fastow and Skilling have yet to spend the night in jail, in spite of one pleading guilty and the other set for trial on numerous charges that adversely impacted the future of thousands of former Enron employees. Haye was guilty of being African-American and unable to afford to mount a defense to a totally uninvestigated and unwarranted charge.
Proposition 12 limited physicians' liability regardless of the facts in the cases, and similarly, the city of Houston will now hide behind the Tort Claims Act and employ other strategies to deny it did anything wrong in the Haye case, and even if it did, they should not have to pay for it.
Now is the time for Harold Hurtt to take his police test, start wearing a police uniform and get to the bottom of racism and socioeconomic profiling in Houston ["Undercover Cop," Hair Balls, September 2]. Houston needs an independent civilian review board and accountability for injustices through self-policing of police actions, rather than waiting for Channel 11 and the Houston Press to point out the serious problems with injustices in Houston's justice system.
Again, George Flynn hit the mark for writing a story that would otherwise have been swept under the rug.
Donald Winston, MD
Claybonics: I just wanted to say that I read Brian McManus's article about Clay Aiken [Playbill, September 2] and I've been laughing about it all day. I posted it on three of Clay's message boards with the link. While some people took offense at being called nuts, others thought that "Claynut" was a nice addition to the Claybonic dictionary. I wish there were some way I could send this to Clay -- I'm sure he'd be rolling on the floor laughing. Thanks for my humor for the day.
Funny, I think: Ha! I realize this commentary of yours may be tongue-in-cheek and appreciate your humor, I think, but at least it gives our man Clay (OMC) some media exposure. I am a member of a couple of these groups, and we love Clay and just want to have some fun. I am sure other celebs have their supporters too who have sites and are enthusiastic, but I must admit we Clay fans are a breed of our own. Do we get a little enthusiastic at times? Most definitely. Clay is someone to get excited over, at least we think so.
Flemington, New Jersey
On the other hand: You narrow-minded dickless motherfucker can bite me. That is all.
One of those days, I'd love to read a show review by someone who can keep an open mind about the subject. But then I wouldn't be reading your paper, now would I?
Low rent: I was under the impression that Houston had more restaurants, per capita, than any other city. As an ex-chef of this town, I know we've got plenty. So why are you reduced to your recent string of articles that have covered third-world KFCs, taquerias and now "hot dog/fruit cups and drink"?
Oh, how I miss Margaret Briggs. Try finding out what Italian place has the best cannoli. Or which high-priced dive has the most affordable lunch menu. Until then I'll eagerly await your riveting foray into local Whataburgers. Unbelievable.
Tex-Mexed: My husband and I enjoy the Cafe section, even if we don't always agree with the review. I have to address Robb Walsh's diatribe about Tex-Mex ["Transcendent Tacos," August 26]. I am a native Houstonian and spent my high school years in the Hill Country. I think I know and love my Tex-Mex. However, I am no fool. My mother was an Italian-American. Growing up, we went to visit her very large family in New York. I learned a lot about how the food was translated when her father (my grandfather) came to this country. There was no fresh mozzarella cheese, no ricotta, and in New York fresh tomatoes were unheard of most of the time. Are you starting to get my point? That's right: When the northern Mexicans migrated further into the United States, they brought with them their family recipes. These recipes were then converted to what was available to make them. I do not remember seeing white cheese anywhere as a child in the grocery store, except in that green can. Cheese was yellow! That's right: Yellow cheese on your enchiladas instead of white crumbly cheese made by a Mennonite. I always thought flour tortillas were Tex-Mex until I started traveling all over Mexico. I soon realized that the culture ends where the flour tortillas begin. I guess the big point is that I wish Robb Walsh would get off his high horse and stop being so defensive about what he thinks is Tex-Mex! What's the big deal? It's just a person's rendition of their family recipe made with what's available.
Elvis Sighting in Athens?
King of Olympus: Your article ["Classics Rock," by John Nova Lomax, September 2] had this description for Zeus: "Lord of the gods, king of kings, master of the universe. Had his pick of the women, and liked to hurl lightning bolts from above at the foolish mortals below.
"Pop manifestations: All big boss men: Muddy Waters, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson -- you get the picture."
Of all those mentioned above, the only one who fits the definition of Zeus is Elvis Presley. The other, had he lived 20 years more and improved his grooming habits, would be Kurt Cobain. The rest do not even warrant an honorable mention.
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Seeing double: Just wondering if we could have some actual music coverage next time, among the collection of low-res sex ads. Two joke articles? Good call.
Chunklet called. It wants everything back.