Bucked Up

Killing's the key: Thank you for thoroughly researching your topic and writing this extremely informative article ["Shooting Bambi's Mom," by Robb Walsh, November 6]. These great animals are part of our heritage as North Americans, and their capacity to prosper alongside humans and our destructive ways shows how inextricably our two species are intertwined.

There are problems with our hunting laws that will be remedied as long as you and others like you are elevating public awareness of the facts involved. As has been pointed out, the uninformed among us will "protect them to death" unless we can check the whitetail's exponential population growth through popularizing deer hunting. It is truly the right thing to do!

Wallace Nichols

Car-ramming deer: My compliments to Robb Walsh for an insightful article on deer overpopulation. We have lived in the Hill Country for three years and have been hit by deer twice. That's right, they hit us. They ran into the side of our car twice.

It is not uncommon to see 12 to 15 deer in my yard each morning. No, I don't feed them, but one of my neighbors does. I am going to share the statistical part of the article with our local paper. I will withhold the recipes because the deer huggers would probably torch our house. It's getting ugly out here.

Sandy King
Lago Vista

Eco-saving: Great job on Robb Walsh's "Shooting Bambi's Mom." I was very surprised to find an article in your publication to be pro-hunting. The article correctly articulated why hunting is so important to the ecosystem.

In the last two years I, as a deer hunter, have been greeted and welcomed with glee by the residents in the areas I hunted in. The native white-tailed deer, as pointed out in Walsh's article, have become the "pest of the West." Keep up the good work!

R.W. Rees
South Houston

Wary of disease: This vegetarian finds hunters' diets to be far more humane than those of most Americans, who support the industrial, systematic enslavement and torture of animals. However, if deer overpopulation is contributing to CWD (mad deer), it is hardly reasonable to advocate eating more of them to reduce the numbers. This disease is very difficult to test for accurately because it has a 30-year incubation period, and the U.S. deer population has already proved to be infected (see maddeer.org, and organicconsumers.org/madcow/TEXAS31402.CFM).

Along with the many other diseases that our food industry is creating with unwise practices such as cannibalization and preventive use of antibiotics, CWD poses a serious threat of epidemic that requires a more informed response than your article advocates.

Nick Cooper

Hunting is humane: The article "Shooting Bambi's Mom" by Robb Walsh was superb. It is refreshing to see articles backed up by facts.

Contrary to the beliefs of many, hunters and other sportsmen are the great conservationists of the world. This is evidenced by the robust return of the once-diminishing population of redfish. This 20th-century success story is due solely to the efforts of the Coastal Conservation Association sportsmen's group.

Deer hunting is a rite of passage in Texas. It is a journey that includes many valuable lessons for both adult and child. The hunting of deer is the only humane process of managing this particular animal population. To not hunt is to allow these creatures to starve to death.

Culling of the overpopulated herds allows for many thousands of pounds of healthy venison to be donated annually to Texans who otherwise would not be able to afford the meat.

Chris Criner

High Art

Tokes and tubas: Your article on salvia was pretty good ["Stoner Science," by Margaret Downing, November 6], though you could have clarified more that they were smoking the wrong kind -- they needed Salvia divinorum, a water pipe and a torch lighter (at least you had the lighter!). You can get all of that at your local head shop. Think eight-hour acid trip condensed into 15 minutes.

Also, I'm disappointed you didn't mention That 1 Guy playing with Drums and Tuba last month ["Tuba Pooh-Bahs," by Rob Patterson, October 30]. T1G is much more deserving of press! The man's a genius, playing galvanized steel pipe and making the most wonderful music. We'll let you know if he comes back to Houston, so you can do a proper review of a wonderful musician.

Lerin Legeaux

Salvia research: While I agree somewhat with the person in Alvin regarding Margaret Downing's story on salvia, I'm not sure that I would want to "run out and try it" [Letters, "Trying Salvia," November 6]. I think that you do your readers a disservice when you don't provide the information that may answer more of their questions.

More information concerning Salvia divinorum is available by contacting the National Drug Intelligence Center at 814-532-4601 or www.usdoj.gov/ndic. The public may also contact my office for a "Fast Fact" or informational bulletin, which is distributed by the NDIC.

Eddie deRoulet, program manager
Region 6 Prevention Resource Center
The Council on Alcohol and Drugs

Up in smoke: I'm sure you've heard this a million times before, but here are a few key facts to use Salvia divinorum as it is intended.

Smoke 5X salvia out of a water pipe. Take one toke, hold it for up to 60 seconds. When you don't realize that you are a being anymore, you know that you've succeeded.

Its hallucinogenic high is unrivaled.

Name withheld by request

End the fear: Margaret Downing's recent investigation of Salvia divinorum represents another level of editorial irresponsibility on the part of the Houston Press. I had to chuckle, especially at the fact that Ms. Downing and crew went to 420 Houston and trusted anything that came out of their mouths, and that they were dumb enough to expect a "marijuana-like" alternative from a hallucinogen. The pipe you should have been sold was a water pipe or a vaporizer, not a traditional bowl-type pipe. Salvia divinorum when smoked requires high temperatures to be efficacious, and a water pipe allows the smoke to be adequately cool before entering the lungs.

Salvia divinorum use is currently legal predominately because little research has been done on Salvinorin-A compared with other naturally occurring hallucinogens. It is completely unique and it is incompletely understood how it affects the brain. Thus the DEA/FDA are not informed enough to have a scientifically defensible position for opposing its use. Also, as Downing's experience can attest, it's not much "fun" and is not particularly easy to "get high" for most people.

A fundamental hypocrisy exists in the attitudes of many toward psychedelics: Use by indigenous people of hallucinogens is understandable because they believe (misguidedly, it is opined) in "magic," but use of psychedelics by anyone else is "drug abuse." This seems to be the attitude of the DEA.

Because hallucinogenic substances alter perceptions of reality, they can produce lasting psychological effects in those ill prepared for the experience, or those predisposed to psychosis or schizophrenia. For this reason, the government, and many people in general, have an innate fear and distrust of hallucinogens.

The solution to public concern is education -- but not education rooted in fear, not education that emphasizes risk and danger, but education that shines the light of reason on all aspects of our social conventions and encourages citizens to embrace the principles of freedom from government scrutiny and from dictatorial moral conformity on which our country was founded. Perhaps one day there will be established centers of meditation where the proper setting for psychedelic use can be created, and people will no longer fear what they don't know.

Jedidiah K. Shepler

Sprocket Power

Bike center hours: Thanks for your coverage of the Third Ward Community Bike Center on the Kid Stuff page ["You Fix It, You Keep It," by Travis P. Ritter, November 6]. We are very excited to be open and helping people with their bikes.

I wanted to clear up a few things in the article. Our hours are 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Look for additional hours soon on our Web site, www.thirdwardbikes.org.

The Earn-a-Bike program is only one aspect of our programming. We also have shop hours where people can, for a small fee, fix their own bikes with our tools and with help from our mechanics. Additionally, we run after-school programs with youth groups.

The bike center is seeking donations of used bicycles in any condition, particularly children's bicycles. For more information or to get involved, please call 713-807-7911.

Benjy Mason, coordinator

Bad Show

No respect: This show was a tragedy in modern culture ["Mo' Masterpieces," by Kelly Klaasmeyer, October 16]. By themselves, the works are fine. I went to see art. Ironically, it was more like walking into a Wal-Mart. Yes, I like what's inside, but I felt a little embarrassed by the presentation -- and the ever-dumbed-down didactics. Even the turtleneck-clad guy behind me kept striking poses. To the MFAH: Stop trying to sell me! "First Down Houston"? Come on! I wanted to cry when I saw my personal heroes, especially Balthus, on display like this. To the credit of the MFAH, though, the MoMA QNS was just as awfully presented.

As I went to check my bag at the counter and say hello, the coat check attendant was clearly busy on his calculator. I figured I would get my ticket first. I got a cold look from the girl. My mood went from "Let's go to the MFAH!" to "Is this the Twilight Zone?" As I went back to the coat check, another worn-out-looking woman yelled from across the way, "Sir! We're closing in a few minutes," even though the museum was clearly open for another hour at least. My two points:

To employees: If you do not like your job, please quit. Given the job climate, I am sure a hundred people would like to have it.

To the museum: Don't ever wonder why attendance lacks.

Now excuse me while I go to the Menil.

Peter Immanuel


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