And the winner is: Nath Wolmack and mom Nadine check out the watermelons at Ron's Shrimp in Brazoria.
Deron Neblett

Art Car Bawl

Starving artist: Good article, Richard Connelly ["Divided Road," May 24]!

I was one of the parade participants from the past who was planning to boycott the Art Car Ball this year but was talked out of it by a fellow artist (okay, I admit, free patron party tickets helped to change my mind). After discovering only beer and wine were available (silly me, thinking $125 would mean water or soft drinks were available too), we decided to dine on the vast array of food offered. When we made our way up to the buffet line, only salad and rolls were left. I was told by the caterer that it was our tough luck, she was just glad she didn't have to throw away any food and could go home early.

One drunk patron decided to impress his girlfriend by throwing his leftovers at us as we walked by -- too bad we didn't think quickly enough or we could have caught something in midair and at least had a decent meal. A lot of the artists felt used and abused that night.

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I sure hope I'll be able to tell my kids one day, "There was a dark time in the art car community, but through ingenuity and the spirit of those involved, they were able to pull through and put the meaning back into this glorious event."

Amy Meadors

A Vanishing Past

Preservation rules: Former mayor Lanier may have put it best when he said, "In the Old Sixth Ward we have that small-town ideology, the charm and history that constitutes an urban fabric as fine as any in the world." The Old Sixth Ward Historic District ["Bulldozers at the Gate," by Brian Wallstin, May 3] has been trying to push this herd of elephants up Mount Everest for way too long, with only scattered successes. Our combatants are few in number and are growing frail and weary and falling by the wayside. The developers appear to be gaining ground, and it is taking a terrible toll.

Clearly something needs to be done, in a major way, right now, before the battle is utterly lost. The TIRZ has the power to institute land-use controls, such as the design guidelines created by the Old Sixth Ward and the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. What we need are some rules here. Something simple. NO MEANS NO! would be a nice place to start. Other successful historic districts across the planet use this to great effect. It is perhaps the only real rule we need.

The money-grubbing developers outnumber us, have more money and maybe even have smarter attorneys than we do. So, to those sympathetic Press readers who also fondly remember Grandma's house and wish to pass this Texas historiana on to future generations, I say give us a hand. Write to the mayor, to council, to anyone who will give a damn. HELP!

James Schriver
Spring House historic custodian

Oinked Out

Vegging the bet: Slaughtered pigs insulting to vegetarians ["Pigged Out," Letters, May 24]? As someone who has pondered becoming a vegetarian, the picture [Bayousphere, by Deron Neblett, May 10] only reinforces my feelings in favor of doing so.

Name withheld by request
HoustonCement Lament

To the finish: I would like to thank you for taking the time and showing the interest in our efforts to stop the FMC concrete batch plant from invading our neighborhoods and lives ["Mixing It Up," by John Suval, May 24]. It is truly an uphill battle. As an RBC member, I will see it through regardless of the expense. I know Margie, and I am grateful to her on a daily basis for her fight on our behalf.

Mary E. Lucht

Examine the Examiners

Spit out the gum: I'm totally appalled at the behavior of this individual who calls himself a doctor of medicine ["Nature of the Beast," by Bob Burtman, April 12]! One first needs to be able to take care of oneself before trying to give care to others. Ringer should not be allowed to practice medicine or surgery -- anywhere!

The Board of Medical Examiners' actions (or nonactions, in this case) are outrageous! They are the ones who see and hear the most horrific accounts of alleged malpractice and complaints. They too are the same ones (the only ones) who should be putting sanctions in place.

There must be a better way for the BME to police these individuals. If the process is too gummed up to manage cases from within, then it's probably past time to find a solution to un-gum it, instead of just keeping a complaint file, where the real facts sit dormant.

Susan Moore


Down on Angela: I dearly love Tim Fleck's columns, but he didn't complete his research on one of them [The Insider, May 10]. Angela Mora is no angel, pioneer or founder of AVES. Angela had clinic billing problems last year with the feds, city and county.

While Francisco Sanchez may not know how to run an agency, he was left with many balls hanging in the air that Angela juggled for a long time. They were about to fall, and some people in the HIV service community believe that's the real reason she left town.

Name withheld by request

Left out: It continues to sadden me to know that over 350 indigent HIV-positive patients are now to be left without the highly specialized health care services and caring staff of AVES United Clinic.

Many of these patients will now become very ill before seeking medical care. This in turn will increase the number of patients requiring hospitalization within the Harris County Hospital District, an institution that is already at its limit because of increased patient loads, decreased nursing staff and an overstretched budget.

The "management problems" of AVES persist, especially now, with the staff's fear of retaliation from Francisco Sanchez should they choose to exercise their right to freedom of speech. He remains "very difficult to contact" and withheld my paycheck, apparently to get even with me for talking with the Houston Press.

My concern with this "rising political star" Democrat is that I will someday find myself having to vote Republican rather than support any effort of his to gain a political position of any capacity.

Michael Venator

The Home Front

Harbor's no pearl: Regarding the Houston Press review of Pearl Harbor ["Bora! Bora! Bora!" by Robert Wilonsky, May 24]: I've read several pretty negative commentaries on the movie in the last couple of days, but yours was the most convincing. Thanks to you, I've saved myself several dollars today. The previews were great, but I think I'll stay home.

Dennis Oakes

Real Thing

Foreign tastes: I've typically read most food writers' columns just in passing, but yours are the only ones I've ever looked forward to and sought out. I was especially pleased to see a few months ago your comments on Gorditas Aguascalientes, as I'm fond of the sopes, gorditas, etc. at both locations ["On a Whim," by Robb Walsh, January 25]. And I enjoyed your discussion of masa in the same column.

I've lived, and with great curiosity, in countries on three continents, including Mexico, and so I am sensitive to issues of authenticity. I hope to get over to El Hidalguense in the near future ["The Aroma of Authenticity," by Robb Walsh, May 10]. As for Otilia's chile en nogada, I'm wondering if you've had the version at Pico's, on Bellaire Boulevard. I think it had a fair amount of ground walnuts in the sauce and also the pomegranate seeds on top. I remember that when I compared what I had eaten with author Diana Kennedy's recipe, Pico's had seemed not to get it quite right.

Julia Powell

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