Light Barr: I have just finished the article on Dr. Ringer ["Nature of the Beast," by Bob Burtman, April 12]. I have been in the plastic surgery field for the last nine years and have heard it all. I have also met Ms. Barr, who seemed neither psycho nor 280 pounds. She may be half that weight.
Most ethical plastic surgeons in Houston grimace when Ringer's name is mentioned. His side of the story sounded very much like sour grapes. Let's give Ms. Barr a hand for having the courage to stand up to the blight of our medical society!
Caroline W. Molnoskey
Good as gold: I congratulate Mr. Burtman on his insightful article but would like to point out one minor error. The specialty boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (which indeed is the "gold standard" for board certification) do certify some doctors of osteopathy along with MDs. The ABMS, however, does not include any of the several entirely osteopathic medical boards.
Dark Side Demons
Censor the ads: I got a taste of God from hearing of Marilyn Gambrell's work in your article ["Captive Emotions," by Melissa Hung, March 29]. The message of redemption came through beautifully.
Flipping to the back of the Press, where ads announce "naughty local girls," "sensual rubdowns," "private sessions" and "get gay!" I got a taste of the destructive. Somehow I don't think Gambrell would sanction this dark section. Nor would those who came to tears -- either the incarcerated deadbeat parents or the hurting youths.
The Press needs someone with the courage of Gambrell to oversee its contents.
Spin cycles: As a local attorney who often deals with at-risk students (and their family members) who many would say have fallen into the dreaded "vicious cycles," I greatly appreciate your article. It shows how with compassion, we can move people out of those cycles.
It was one of the most moving and inspirational pieces I've read in any local publication. Thank you for pointing out the many heroes, educators and students who have not given up on those members of our society who are too often written off as "lost causes."
Trivial pursuit: Unfortunately you've taken a very real struggle and trivialized it by saying both sides want the same thing ["Tuning Out the Static," by Lauren Kern, April 5]. Communities of listeners have no other outlet -- this is it. The corporate press will cover the world with a perspective that matches its owners'.
The Pacifica National Board wants to increase listenership of those who can send in pledges. Why is a radio station that is supported by its listeners successful if it has a cash surplus? This is not relevant to Pacifica's mission; the stations have always come through regardless of their finances. Getting information to depressed and under-represented communities to make those people's lives better is the true goal. These people don't have extra money to pledge. This is the fundamental contradiction between the board and management and what the listening community wants. This difference is irreconcilable.
If the majority of the listener-sponsors are against the direction you are taking the network, shouldn't you abide by their will?
Elect the boards: The Houston Press article is very commendable. I wish The New York Times would take such interest and responsibility. I am a member of Friends of WBAI here in New York. We want a new board in place at Pacifica and elections for the local advisory boards of all stations.
Thank you for your seriously in-depth investigation of the Pacifica Foundation and listeners' dispute. It is a very important battle. Your article is most informative and will enable people to check this situation out.
New York, New York
Shots at Richard: I was amused to see images of my old acquaintance Richard King (Rafael Renteria) floating to the surface. This excellent article seemed to imply that Richard was shot at because of his political views. Those of us who know him, and are still generous enough to admit that the incident may have happened, are more likely to credit an outraged poetry lover attempting to save the art. To my knowledge, he's never been committed enough to his cause to stop pamphleteering and put himself in harm's way.
In my opinion, trying to resolve the issues with Richard King around is like trying to put out a fire with the help of a pyromaniac. His misunderstanding of his "Marxist-Leninist-Maoist" politics makes him confrontational rather than solution-oriented.
I tend to disagree with the left-leaning programming of Pacifica Radio, but I believe that open discourse has an important place in society.
Thanks again for the great article.
Still getting a big Rush: I don't have a problem with you having an opinion about Patrick and crew on KSEV, or those of us who love them [News Hostage, by Richard Connelly, March 29].
However, Lakewood is not a Baptist church. If you listen carefully you can hear John Osteen's bones turning in his grave. And I challenge you to come back in a year and revisit the subject. Having been involved with broadcasting on and off most of my life, I have never seen such a complete turnover in personnel on a radio station and all go to the same spot on the dial quite this fast. The fact that an entire group of advertisers went with the hosts speaks volumes.
As for Rush -- who needs broadcast radio anymore? I'm sitting here listening to Rush over the Internet.
Straight poop: When KPRC's afternoon guy Chris Baker asks why dogs arch their backs when they go poopy on the sidewalk, I feel quite certain his audience will be riveted, his management proud, and his advertisers thrilled. It's the same mind-numbing crud we see or hear so often these days -- but hey, "no old, cranky people" here! On the other hand, Dan Patrick has proved that by offering people reliable information and commentary not readily available elsewhere, you can build a successful radio station.
My money is on KSEV and the information guys.
Status over food: Robb Walsh's review of Tony's in this week's Press was one of the best he's written ["Still Your Father's Tony's," April 12]. However, the problems he encountered with the service are not unlike those in most restaurants in the city; that is, uninformed, misinformed and unsophisticated waitstaff.
I've waited tables in this town for 15 years, and I marvel when I go to dinner at how much of a challenge it is to get even bare minimums of service (basic knowledge of ingredients, a clean knife with an entrée, etc.). It's just surprising, I guess, that Tony's has to deal with those issues as well.
The more fundamental issue -- that today's diner wants to learn as much as eat -- reminds me that Robb may not be paying attention to who's sitting around him. I've worked at several of the "finer" restaurants, and I can tell you firsthand that here it is all about making people feel important. I can tell you about the art of properly prepared risotto, but not if you tell me you want "the mushrooms on the side."
The people Robb thinks of aren't in Houston. They're in Austin, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. The folk here are all about seeing and being seen. Food is merely a diversion between events in the "conversation Olympics." Houston's a great restaurant city, but not a great foodie city. It's sad, because there are talented chefs and staff that care, but whose knowledge and insight are wasted on the masses.
Mad cow: I used to love reading the dining section of the Press but now am consistently disappointed. Robb needs to get over himself -- Houston is about food. There are so many talented chefs with creative cooking ideas, yet they take a backseat to his desire for greasy comfort food.
We all like that occasionally, and I personally have my favorites but don't need a reviewer to tell me where to find them. And what's the story behind the "what you can get" from the Skewer column? I'm just a little disgusted with mad cow and parasite takeover. Maybe put it in a different section, but let's talk about the great food Houston has to offer. I'm practically starving for a decent review!
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Thanks. I feel a little better, and I can't wait for the next issue.
Name withheld by request
Covered dish: I just read your review ["The Inkblot Test," by Robb Walsh, April 5]. Your style is great, the food is covered superbly, and all the rest is a welcome bonus. Sometimes your column is the only part of the Press I read if I am in a hurry. It is always the first thing I read. Don't change!