Pushcart express: Karina Contreras rides along in a grocery cart on a Sunday morning at the farmers market on Airline.
Pushcart express: Karina Contreras rides along in a grocery cart on a Sunday morning at the farmers market on Airline.
Deron Neblett


No Muckraker

Debra's nice but lite: Just want to compliment you on a great story ["Heir Time," by Wendy Grossman, February 15]! Most of my reads of the Press come up with 50 percent truth, 50 percent posturing by the paper -- still a very interesting alternative to the Chronicle. This was 100 percent ON!

I met Debra only one time, back when she first started here. My CEO was on a segment on consumer scams. I went along to check it out. My take? A really nice lady, but pretty clueless about everything. She is a bit of a local joke in our agency, mainly because of all the con men and promoters she puts on her program! And this is a former investigative reporter? Come on!

Dan Parsons, Better Business Bureau

Choppers Alert!

Clowns bring him down: I have always hated clowns ["What a Circus!" Letters, February 15]. They are insidiously creepy, and I find them frightening. Now, thanks to the likes of Krusty and Bronco, they are becoming politically active. Terrifying!

Perhaps, if we are really lucky, the black helicopters that their left-wing type fears so much will snatch them up and eliminate them from the gene pool.

We can only hope. God bless ordinary folk, and God bless the Hollisters.

Luke Giles

Isle of Man

Down on the sodomites: Consider this my demand for a retraction of your statement that I am a member of Houstonians for Family Values [The Insider, by Tim Fleck, February 22]. I am not a member. I made the statement about quarantining the sodomites on an island on the day before I met Dave Wilson. We have picketed outside City Hall for years. I have opposed the sodomite agenda ever since they came out of the closet.

I said "they" -- not the government, the sodomites -- should buy themselves an island. I envisioned them building hotels and having all the vile sensations they can muster. On an island they would infect only one another with AIDS and not spread the epidemic to the innocent. They would not recruit the children into their wicked sodomite lifestyle. If they needed food, I would even drop it to them if they paid for it.

I have not watched one episode of Survivor. If it is true that the winner was a sodomite, then I can offhandedly say the whole episode was set up by wealthy sodomites to manipulate the minds of the people into accepting and tolerating sodomites.

You misrepresent the truth in equating my advocating putting the sodomites away from the people as if I were advocating racial hatred, which I'm not. Sodomites are not a race. A black man will not go to hell because he is black. But a sodomite will go to hell because he is a sodomite.

I reserve the right to be independent of all organizations and groups. I will work for almost anything that will stop the sodomites from recruiting children. The sodomite agenda is cursed by God Almighty and is doomed to fail.

The Reverend Aubrey Vaughan

Taken for Granite

Good neighbors: I enjoyed your article ["Set in Stone," by Lisa Gray, March 1] on the headstone engraver, but I was very disappointed that you didn't give the location of the business. I think it is the Schlitzberger's on Lawndale. I live in the neighborhood behind it and get discouraged that we seldom ever get any positive mention in the news.

True, the Houston Press did name the Forest Hill subdivision Best Hidden Neighborhood in the last poll, but that's about it. If this had been in Montrose or the Heights, it surely would have been mentioned. Otherwise, thanks for a nice story.

Gerald Davenport

Editor's note: Indeed, you got it right -- it is the location on Lawndale.

Great Expectations

How about explicit sex? I enjoyed your story on the lack of Valentine's flowers ["Late Bloomers," by Wendy Grossman, February 22] and can understand your disappointment. I would have been disappointed if the flowers did not arrive on time to my wife, especially if the florist had made an explicit promise that they would be.

It seems this is a holiday synthesized by florists, card makers and the media where people -- especially men -- are expected to behave in a certain way. Popular culture says that if I don't send flowers to my wife on Valentine's Day, it must mean that I don't love her, and that I will have to grovel at her feet to make up for her disappointment.

This is, of course, ridiculous. It's one thing if she says she'd like to receive flowers then and I say okay. But if she never says what she wants, or if I don't agree, then that is another matter entirely. When we have explicit agreements on important issues, we won't inadvertently do something that would disappoint or hurt the other.

Thanks for the story. It will be interesting to see how the florists handle Valentine's Day next year.

Dustin James

Deflowered: I also got stung by 1-800-Flowers. My incident was back about two months ago. My wife graduated from college, and I sent her one of their Congratulation Bouquets. This was supposed to be a surprise. They guaranteed me delivery the next day. Late in the afternoon they called my house to tell my wife that they would not be able to make the delivery.

So instead of a surprise, now she knew someone was trying to deliver flowers, but she didn't know who. Two days later, at 8 p.m., the flowers finally arrived, and they looked like crap.

Good thing we have been married 26 years, or this could have been real trouble. She got a good laugh out of my outrage. And this was not even a holiday.

Bobby Wright


Prison officers need respect: As the wife of a TDCJ correctional officer, this article ["Hard Knox," by Steve McVicker, February 8] really bothered me. Unless you work in the prison system or are married to one who does, can you know what they go through each day? In the 21 years my husband has worked for the system, he has come across every kind of inmate you can imagine. I would like to see one of these attorneys spend 24 hours in one of these prisons and see if he still thinks these inmates are the victims of "cruel and inhumane treatment."

In December '99 my husband, who is not a big man, was escorting an inmate who elbowed him in the chest, knocking my husband to the ground and causing him to break his ankle. The inmate later claimed he was assaulted by my husband and other officers. Inmates usually tell only the side of the story that will benefit them.

Why not do an article on what these officers have to deal with on a daily basis? Or what their spouses have to deal with. The special occasions that are missed because they have to work extra shifts to make up for the shortage of officers. The work schedules that hardly allow for family time. And the one main issue: how underpaid these officers are.

President Bush is now pushing for a pay increase for the military. What about the men and women who risk their lives every day to keep these criminals where they belong?

Janie Salazar


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