Bayousphere Barbara Jordan High ninth-grader Kim Smith ponders a logic puzzle with University of Houston-Downtown professor Randy Barnes, as part of the college's Prefreshman Enrichment Program.
Bayousphere Barbara Jordan High ninth-grader Kim Smith ponders a logic puzzle with University of Houston-Downtown professor Randy Barnes, as part of the college's Prefreshman Enrichment Program.


A Wave of Laughter

Grin and groan: This article is the best I have ever read on urban flooding ["Wading for Godot," by Richard Connelly, July 5].Your writing is superb. One of the things that has always annoyed me about the media's coverage of any emergency is that humor is nonexistent. How come they never get flooded out, or have their roofs blown off in a tornado?

Real people in these situations do laugh, if only just to keep from crying.

Thanks, and good luck to you and yours.

Jack Van Osten

Reality check: I seriously thought it was just another flood. I told my mother that, and she insisted that this one was different. When I read your article, I was assured of that.

I am living in Germany now and was truly entertained and uplifted by your wonderful narrative. I remember Hurricane Alicia and countless other storms that impeded travel or ownership of furniture/memories. Please don't take offense that your words made me feel like I was there with you without the reality. I couldn't have been more pleased to have escaped.

I love your writing with the News Hostage, and I look forward to your condemnations of the Chronicle even more.

Ken Macbeth
Munich, Bavaria

Making book: Richard Connelly, I will remember your name -- and I hope you write some books.

What a fabulous writer you are! It was as though I was in your shoes, step by step, the awfulness and the sense of humor hand in hand, just the way real life is for many of us. (My late mother was an Alzheimer's patient, and although it was beyond awful, my sister and I found many moments of humor. Since my mother had once possessed a delicious sense of humor, we knew that she would have laughed about some of the absurdities, as we did.)

Your writing style had me laughing out loud, over and over again. I simply cannot recall ever enjoying an article that much before.

Lindy Clarke Hall

Strip Search Horrors

Monstrous behavior: I am shocked and terrified about your article "Naked Shame" [by Wendy Grossman, June 28]. Just looking at the front-page title shocked me and caught my total interest in reading it immediately.

I never knew that they had strip search authority in the United States. I am totally against this procedure, no matter what the case may be. Just thinking that they have a right to invade your private areas, and may take pleasure in doing it, disgusts me. Those victims who had to experience something outrageous and awful should automatically sue the county for such monstrous behavior.

Officers feel they have more power over us just because they have a higher authority. Those officers should have to go through strip searches themselves so they can feel how uncomfortable and disgusting it is. I would feel like I had been raped. I support those victims who fight for their rights. What about those officers -- what kind of punishment should they get?

Patricia Sanchez

Fine Frye

Heroic Phyllis: I want to thank the Houston Press and writer Lisa Gray for the enormously moving portrait of one of America's most courageous leaders, Phyllis Randolph Frye ["The Transgender Menace Next Door," June 28]. Thank you for allowing more people the chance to understand now why history will look so kindly upon her tireless and heroic human rights work.

You poignantly explained the immense bigotry and ignorance that she has had to face and overcome. Thank you for shining a light upon a woman who even during a much-deserved retirement still inspires so many to continue her efforts to build a society based on respect, inclusiveness and equal rights for all.

John Nechman

Digital Disgust

Saluting a story: As for your article "Fingered by the Flood" [by Carlin DeGuerin, July 5]: Perhaps the "finger" in Fingers Furniture is the middle one on either hand.

David Robinson

Five Dead Kids

Don't blame homeschooling: I am disturbed by the media's repeated reference to the fact that Andrea and Russell Yates chose to homeschool some of their children [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, July 5], the implication being that homeschooling is somehow sinister and indicative of child abuse or neglect.

For more than a million families nationwide, homeschooling is a viable and wholly legal alternative to those public schools that do not, for whatever reason, enforce high academic or safety standards and cannot, by law, include faith-based studies in their curricula.

The Yateses' decision to keep all of their children home every day given the mother's fragile condition is surely open to debate, but even publicly schooled kids spend some part of their summer vacation at home.

While it is true that schoolteachers are often on the front lines in reporting suspected child abuse or neglect, there's no guarantee they would have seen anything. Most homeschooling families choose this educational alternative because they believe it provides a superior learning experience in a loving environment.

High test scores, acceptance of homeschooled students to top colleges and outstanding performance by home-taught students in academic competitions all attest to the success of learning at home.

Marjorie A. Westmoreland

Skirting the Issue

Drop dress codes: In 2001 I can't believe that when and where a woman can wear pants is still a matter of discussion [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, June 28]. Even worse, it is often women who are discoursing on what is appropriate for other women. I thought with the departure of former district clerk Katherine Tyra we had at least gotten it out of the Houston-area arena.

Does Her Honor Gilmore also think that male attorneys should wear jackets and pants of only the same material? From my own visits to various courtrooms over the past two or three years, I can assure you that I would much rather see a female attorney dressed in pants than in a super-short skirt that causes me to cover my eyes every time she bends over her briefcase or the counsel table.

Sharon E. Macha

Computer Crabbing

Spirit of the law: Thank you for identifying those state legislators who still fail to comply with the Texas Ethics Commission's requirement to file their campaign reports electronically ["Does Not Compute," by Jennifer Mathieu, June 21]. Joe Crabb, the five-term incumbent state representative I ran against in the 2000 Republican primary, continues to sign affidavits that he does not use or have access to a computer so therefore does not have to file electronically.

It is a stretch of the law that Crabb does not use or have access to a computer.

His campaign treasurer, wife Nancy Crabb, regularly sends out e-mails to area Republican activists. Gee, don't you need a computer to do that? I would think that if she has access to a computer, and she is his campaign treasurer of record, then Joe Crabb's reports would be filed electronically.

Crabb is flaunting the law, both in spirit and in practice. I am a strong supporter and proponent of a more open government. And by the way, I file my campaign reports electronically as required by law.

Michael Sullivan


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