Help the feral: Thank you for telling this story ["Catfight," by Wendy Grossman, June 19]. The Houston Chronicle would never print this kind of story, and I feel it is an important animal rights/people rights issue that is ignored. It seems government and corporate entities would rather see animals destroyed and their heroes manhandled and discredited.
I applaud Dorothy and her son for their efforts to help these animals. It was humans, after all, who domesticated cats and made them dependent in the first place -- and it is an admirable thing to see people taking responsibility for cats that have gone feral. Anyone who has ever tried to catch a feral cat (as I have) knows it is not easy, and for this older woman to catch one every Sunday and have it fixed is quite an accomplishment. Please do a follow-up on this story; I would love to be in the courtroom supporting Dorothy if it comes to that.
Denied proper hearings: Interesting article ["Bench Blues," by George Flynn, June 19], but I would like to see a similar article that does not focus on only the criminal courts.
In the civil courts, there are judges who prefer not to work much and who do so not by using visiting judges but by refusing to grant oral hearings when requested.
Civil litigants often have emotional conflicts that require judicial intervention despite their lawyers' best efforts. Some judges refuse to grant oral hearings and will rule on written motions without any significant input from the litigants, apparently to save their own time, leaving the litigants wondering what the heck happened.
Written motions, as erudite as they may be, do not have the impact that the thoughtful arguments of counsel in open court may have, with clients present (or not).
To those judges, I say please, leave the job and let someone who wants to do the job do the job.
Please do not publish my name; I am a member of the Texas State Bar and practice in Harris County civil district courts.
Name withheld by request
In for the swim: Talking about the Florida Panhandle, namely Destin, where the drownings were, I have to say you're giving it short shrift [Hair Balls, "Making a Splash," by George Flynn, June 19]. It is not any more dangerous (as I see it) than any other, and far better than muddy old Galveston. The beaches in the Panhandle are amazing, but the resorts are pricey. Does anyone remember that Jaws II was filmed at Fort Walton Beach because it looks so much like Cape Cod? It's gorgeous and mild, but it's still the ocean.
I left Destin the day before the people drowned, and the obvious reason was the tropical storms that were pounding the beaches. The beaches were red-flagged (for dangerous currents) from the previous Friday on. Only the bravest or most foolish would have gone in for long.
I swam the previous Friday, and that was the nastiest surf and riptides I've ever been in. I was arrogant enough to think I could hack it, but there was one scary moment that sent me to the kiddie pool for the rest of the day.
Still, in the prior days, the beaches were as tranquil, green and clear as any I've seen outside the Caribbean. You can even see your feet in five feet of water! Take that, Galveston!
I feel shocked and sad about those who drowned and those who had to be rescued. It must have been awful. But folks, when it's raging out there, don't go swimming.
Don't be so negative: Sylvester Turner, Shirley DeLibero, Joye Carter, Sheila Jackson Lee, Lee Brown. When I'm in the mood for a good high-tech lynching, no one serves it up hot and fresh like the Houston Press. You guys never disappoint, and I like where you're going with this one. Let's not only bash his performance where it matters to most of the Houston public but bash him in every other facet of his life [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, June 12]. You see, a typical Houstonian like me just can't get through the day unless I can read about how sorry the local prominent African-Americans are in every facet of their lives.
Here's a couple of ideas: Let's find Lee Brown's dog and mention his master's name to see if we can get a really negative-sounding bark out of him. And let's also ask his wife how he is in the sack. Maybe we'll get to use that good old standby description, "wooden and uncommunicative."
Well, on second thought, maybe that's a little ambiguous. Sorry. I have a pet peeve, though. El Franco Lee. What about him? I don't recall seeing his name being dragged through the mud. I'm sure he must have some illegitimate child by a nun, or at least he must have been surly to somebody. What's the deal, fellas?
Name withheld by request
Taking a Swing
Dancers will endure: I'm writing in regard to the tone and description conveyed by this article about the Houston swing dance scene [Night & Day, by Cathy Matusow, June 12]. I have been swing dancing for three years and learned it not as a "fad" but as a respected form of dance that I do not expect to die out.
Allusions to old age, bad fashion and aerials show a complete lack of knowledge of the current swing scene. Dancers are of all ages and average 26 years old. Dancers do not "toss each other in the air" in social dancing, as it is dangerous.
I have depended on the Houston Press in the past to bring me news of events in the Houston area, but now I question the reporting habits of your staff. This article seems to be a collection of old ideas and stereotypes taken from a writer's imagination. I do not read the Houston Press as a work of literary fiction, and I would highly suggest you send a reporter out to one of these scenes.
I hope you will research this area further and maintain this reader's confidence in your publication.
Gauled by the Ire
Senseless French boycotts: I enjoyed the reviews of Chez Nous and Guerin's Bistro ["The War with Chirac" and "Le Fracas Français," by Robb Walsh, May 29 and June 5]. I also enjoyed the political commentary. Hopefully it will help as Houstonians experience their diversity via the plethora of ethnic restaurants in our city.
I tend to be slightly right of center in politics but agree with what was written about the boycott being incredibly shortsighted. As a French car fanatic and a daily driver of one, I constantly worry about finding my car keyed in a parking lot. The absurd notion that Americans are to boycott Peugeot, Renault and other French carmakers shows how ignorant some people are.
Just what exactly are we supposed to boycott? Neither manufacturer has sold a model here since 1991 and 1987, respectively! Are the Peugeot diehards supposed to avoid parts that are fabriqué en France? Maybe we should start a rumor that "Chevrolet" is French for "goat's milk."
I was sorry to hear about Papillon, and I hope that other restaurants can stick it out. For now, I'm enjoying the wide selection of French wine and cheese available at Spec's in Midtown!
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F.Co's fan: In the June 5 Letters section, one writer fails to notice something in his response to the review of F.Co's current album: King of Texas is not a major-label release -- it's self-released by F.Co. Not Sony. Not EMI. Not AOL Time Warner. Not Universal. F.Co's just like your beloved Rotting Scabs and Festering Boils.
With the exception of a Clear Channel station in Austin, almost all of the stations in Texas that are playing F.Co are old-fashioned, hometown radio stations where the DJs are all local and believe that serving the community is the important thing. Yeah, they're commercial, but they're not corporate.
But I forget -- for left-wing wacko elitist snobs, success isn't something to be admired; failure's better because you sponge off the government instead of working for a living. Continue to have fun getting squashed in the mosh pit with the Festering Boils. The rest of us would rather be having fun with F.Co.