Location, location, location: So what if your body is buried under the wrong headstone? ["Dead Wrong" by Wendy Grossman, April 10]. So what if someone else is buried on top of you or below you? News flash: You are dead. The rotting corpse that will be placed in the cold earth is not you or your loved one anymore, it's just a vessel. Let it go.
However, if someone is taking advantage of grief-stricken family members, perhaps that person should be buried alive, beneath, on top of and surrounded by the dead people screwed out of their rightful burial place.
At war with peace: As an NRA member, naturally I don't condone or encourage unsafe discharge of firearms and certainly not in populated areas where you cannot be sure of where your projectiles might impact or land ["Billboard Blues," by Richard Connelly, April 10].
But has anyone ever noticed that, except for the Libertarian Party -- a right-wing entity if there ever was one -- almost everyone else protesting the war on Saddam is a left-wing, anti-USA zealot with some sort of international socialism either covertly or overtly being supported as part of an agenda hell-bent on bringing down America, killing off religion, destroying capitalism, taking our guns away, making us all think like little politically correct automatons punching the chad for a wooden head?
There are Oval Office candidates representing tear-streaked, condom-distributing, rabbit people living in some fantasy world "imagined" by John Lennon who are totally oblivious to history, current events in third-world dictatorships and who think George W. Bush is the left-wing equivalent of the anti-Christ.
Has anyone ever noticed that out there in the great unwashed America there are still some people who take exception to the aforementioned residents of Whiny Land, feel disconnected by the widespread attempt of the feminazi high priestess enforcers to emasculate them and now and again lash out in some direction or another to show their displeasure?
Let a few people fire some errant shots at a peace shrine, bought and paid for with tax-deductible dollars of some nonpolitical tax-exempt front for the shrill crowd, and all the fiends of -- can I say hell here, or is this a "family newspaper"? -- come roaring out of the collective left-wing voice that makes up the American media to make fun of the only bunch of people in the whole USA that it's still legal to make fun of.
To yell and back: The April 10 issue of the Houston Press made me want to scream. I first read with great interest the four letters to the editor concerning Margaret Downing's excellent article about CPS in Brazoria County ["Fostering Abuse," March 27]. The letters were informative and showed deep concern (and knowledge) about foster and CPS care. I, too, appreciated Ms. Downing's article.
Unfortunately, I later read "Billboard Blues," by Richard Connelly. I am so disappointed the Press would publish such an article. Not only was it immature and belligerent, it was extraordinarily horrible "reporting."
I tried to understand the point. I think it was that The New York Times incorrectly reported that billboard companies fear peace billboards in Houston "might get shot at." There's no story there. Even it were true, I don't think it merits a story.
The Press does absolutely the best job in town of reporting about CPS and city and county politics. Please, please don't demean this important, serious reporting by putting it alongside tabloid stuff like "Billboard Blues."
Denise D. Havard
Kids and Abuse
Lying to survive: I would like to respond to a letter ["Letters," April 10] written claiming that children do not lie. First, I have known the Rogers family ["Fostering Abuse," March 27] since I was nine. I am now 23. Coming from a broken home myself, I attached to this family on my own because being around them in different periods of my life blessed me in knowing that love within a family can exist. As a child in a broken home, I did lie several times to get what I wanted. Most of it then was just a survival technique so I could please whoever I was around or to get out of a situation that I was not comfortable with. Now that I am older, I've learned better and I am wiser because of what I went through as a child. Whoever says that children do not lie either does not have children or has never been a child in a deprived and discouraging situation desperately seeking attention and/or a way out.
All my love to Mom and Dad (Kenny and Gloria Rogers).
Secondhand slap: When Cheri and I found out that the Houston Press was doing an exposé about Brazoria County CPS, we were elated. The rush to judgment, lack of due process and coercive tactics of CPS have shocked everyone who knows about our case. Given this, I couldn't be more disappointed with Margaret Downing's report.
My actions, which occurred over a few hours during a single afternoon, were certainly ill advised, but were done with the best of intentions. I would not call my actions "stupid." Ms. Downing did not present information on the positive relationship I have had with Cara or my ex-wife's continuing support. Ms. Downing also did not contact me.
The significant issue is how my aborted attempt to protect my stepdaughter was relayed, secondhand, by a therapist who met with Cheri only one time. Somehow, between Cheri's mouth and CPS's interpretation, the events of that day went from an innocent lapse of judgment to the calculated undertakings of a child molester.
CPS and the Pearland police proceeded with their interpretation despite my ex-wife and stepdaughter's arguments to the contrary. Not only that, since they were so certain their conjecture was fact, they charged Cheri with concealing a crime. Imagine this: one's own words relayed thirdhand "proving" the falsity of one's firsthand account. It boggles the imagination. How it all went downhill from there is the story.
I had seriously hoped our cooperation with the Press might save another family the grief and expense we have suffered. Instead, I feel I have been publicly raped by the story.
Barrels -- Oil and Fish
Disconnections: It was like shooting fish in a barrel [Letters, "Crude Casualties," April 3]. No weapons of mass destruction. No connection to Al Qaeda or the September 11 attacks, but now Bush and his buddies have all that oil and those lucrative reconstruction contracts.
Happy days are here again!
Edan Milton Hughes
San Francisco, California
Bail to the Chief
Evil slants: While I greatly enjoyed the article ["Without Warrant," by Scott Nowell, March 27], I felt the slant was a bit biased toward the "evilness" of the bond business.
What especially amused me was the fact that you quoted Paul Kubosh on his opinion of the mailouts, because he and his minions are most aggressive in regard to telephone solicitations.
While getting a letter must frighten those individuals with a warrant, can you imagine the heart-pounding fear when you get a phone call from a bonding company soliciting business on a criminal warrant issued from Harris County? In this case, you had a superior case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Please withhold my name, as I work in the bail bond industry.
Name withheld by request
Au revoir: I read the article about the arrogant former master sommelier at Cafe Annie ["Grape Escape," by Robb Walsh, April 10]. Houston may be better off without him.
He truly epitomizes all that is wrong with the industry. Instead of trying to educate and enlighten his clientele, he seems to be taking great pains to belittle and denigrate them. The role of a sommelier is to assist guests in pairing a wonderful wine in whatever price category with their meal and to ensure gracious, sublime wine service to enhance their dining experience. If the sommelier can introduce the patron to new and different things that broaden the depth of knowledge and enlighten the guest to new wine possibilities, that is a wonderful occurrence; but insulting a winery's products, the intelligence of the patrons and an entire region isn't the way to encourage guests to use a sommelier's services.
I have seen my sister-in-law Amy Smith work very diligently to become a sommelier in Las Vegas and have seen how she makes each of the patrons she deals with look at wine and wine service with a new appreciation, even when they order White Zinfandel with seared foie gras.
I wonder what the chef at Cafe Annie thought of the comment about "customizing the food to the wine." My understanding of the role of a sommelier is to pair the wine with the food. I would believe the other master sommeliers in the world would agree with me.
I hope the future brings many sommeliers to Houston, as I do believe that they could enhance the dining experience as long as they don't share the arrogant attitude displayed in the article.
Does not compute: I went to your office downtown to inquire about where to find classical music concert listings in your paper. I used to find them listed near the Stage section, and I haven't been able to find them for the past couple of months.
I was informed that you had changed the format of the newspaper and that some information that used to be included in the paper can now be found only on the Web site.
I was really taken aback by this, considering the Houston Press is free to the public and such a seemingly liberal publication. I made the assumption that part of the intent was to make information available to the general public. I really admired that, and that's part of why I read it in the first place.
I definitely do not think that making some information available only to those who have Internet access is in keeping with this idea. As a matter of fact, it seems to be a contradiction.
You should really rethink this decision. If it has occurred to me, I'm sure that it has occurred to quite a few others.
Otilia St. Charles
Print the events: Having some of your events listed only online is really a disservice to your readers. As people pick up your paper, they look for events of interest as part of their reading the Houston Press.
If you don't provide this information in your printed paper, people will likely forget to get on your Web site later, and thus events are not as well attended. It also has reduced the listing of events, particularly for lectures and literary events.
Please reconsider your recent decision and begin including them in print.
Expand on the bands: That was the worst piece of writing I have ever read from you, and that's saying a lot ["Combat Rock," by Rob Harvilla, March 27].
Rather than expand on two of the better and more diverse bands out there -- that is, when you aren't writing lovely articles for Guns N' Roses or Saliva or some other shit act passing through -- you turn it into a joke.
To the Max
Stalling is super: Nice review of Max Stalling's One of the Ways. I think Max is great ["Vive le Max!" by William Michael Smith, March 27].
I happened upon him by accident about a year ago at Poor David's Pub in Dallas. He was a last-minute replacement opening act for Bruce Robison. I was hooked. I've seen him three or four times and constantly play his CDs; they touch my soul.
I feel Wide Afternoon is equal to One of the Ways and find Dime Box addictive. I am 58 and pretty hard to please -- Max is right up there with favorites Dwight Yoakam, Rodney Crowell and Radney Foster.
Thanks for the nice review.
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Ponytail hell: Thanks for yet another lengthy, boring and, of course, smug column [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, March 27] on why we're proud to be Americans.
Luckily, socialism is dying out and so are all of you old, white-haired, ponytailed hippies left over from the '60s.
Alas, you have nothing fresh to offer to Houston; only a free rag that advertises booze, cigs and whores.