Down the Drain
Industry has long used "dilution is the solution to pollution" to solve their waste disposal problems, and according to your article ["Reeling," by Bob Burtman, April 6], Lake Sam Rayburn "has reduced its surface area by 25 percent." Since the dilution factor has significantly decreased, might I suggest that Donohue Industries voluntarily reduce its waste releases by 25 percent rather than requesting an increase? It works for me.
Cheap Enron Eats?
Your opinion of the new baseball stadium is wrong. The stadium itself is rejuvenation. It's within walking distance of the already rejuvenated part of downtown. Only time will tell, but I think you are going to have to eat your words. Especially when you actually start to like it there.
Richard Connelly's "Low and Outside" [March 30] was not only an attempt at humor that failed, but reprehensible in its treatment of the Catholic faith. The many offensive lines from the alleged memos in the article demonstrate the outrageous disrespect that Connelly showed.
Connelly is either ignorant of the impact of his cheap jokes or is willful in mocking the most sacred sacrament of the Catholic Church. I recommend that he seek enlightenment by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church. If he wants to discuss Catholicism, then he should at least know that about which he speaks.
Susan Fani, director of legal research
Catholic League for Religious and
New York, New York
I've been enjoying your coverage of Enron Field. I'm glad I'm not the only one fed up with the gushing of the local media. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who thought of Fenway's 310 feet when our flacks started calling Enron's 315 feet the shortest down-the-line distance in the majors.
However, I don't think that this figure is correct anymore, either. I have read in other publications and heard Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies speaking of the 305 feet down-the-line distance to right field at San Francisco's new Pacific Bell Ballpark -- though we all know that that ballpark doesn't really count, since it wasn't paid for with taxpayer funds.
John W. Royal
Thank you for your excellent article on "Carlos," highlighting the problems with bilingual education ["Tongue-tied," by Margaret Downing, April 6]. You got it right. Let me add a few things:
MALDEF's grievance with the Department of Justice has been rejected with no change in HISD's policy. No revisions in the policy are anticipated, but the board members are open to input, just as we were prior to approval of the policy. Contrary to the spin, we met extensively with Hispanic and other leaders prior to approving the policy.
What remains to be seen, frankly, is whether the policy will be followed or ignored. I am confident that Dr. Paige's administration is supportive. However, as a board member, I have no idea whether our policies are followed on a day-to-day basis in the classroom. That is the problem.
Keep up the interest in our foreign-language students. They deserve a quality education, too, and they have additional hurdles to jump, in learning English along with their other subjects.
HISD trustee, District VII
Great reporting! Congratulations on your exposé on CEP ["Making (Up) the Grade," by Wendy Grossman, April 6] and on the repressive environment of the Houston school district. How do I recommend you for a Pulitzer? I am sending this to my colleagues and to the NYC education reporters. Keep up the good work, and stay on this story!
New York, New York
I applied for a job at CEP and had a chance to see the program. It may keep students quiet, and it may keep students in attendance, but I don't see how it could produce the educational growth that is claimed. Drill and practice on a computer is "marching in place." You may become a better marcher, but you will not learn any new steps.
The fable of the naked emperor ended without explaining that the little boy who exposed the scam was probably exiled, incarcerated or worse. CEP should rethink its statistical strengths. They are probably a significant factor in the increase in achievement scores of those who no longer have to deal with the selfish, time-consuming, whole-hog disruption of the CEP student.
Name withheld by request
Were I as articulate as Margaret Downing, I would have written an article just like that ["Trying to Make Amens," March 30]. Long ago, we had prayer before football games, but I don't remember any lasting effects, such as fewer injuries or more wins. But of course we had only Protestants in our school, no Catholics or Jews or -- God forbid -- Hindus or Muslims.
It seems to me that I recently read that less than 50 percent of Christians attend church (where they could pray openly without any objections). That seems the logical place to pray.
This article's most powerful message was delivered with the last three words, "Yes, you do." Keep up the good work.
In the article on FBISD, you mentioned that Jesus disapproved of public prayer. If you read Matthew 6:5, you will see that while it is hypocritical to pray loudly on street corners and in synagogues, it doesn't say a thing about it being hypocritical to pray loudly in football stadia.
I wonder how the Baptists will react when a bunch of the Pakistani kids in my neighborhood decide to lay out the prayer rugs and pray to Allah before a game. "Could we have the microphone for a few minutes?" As long as it's student-led, right?
Your article squarely nails the flawed and thinly veiled explanations for having school-sanctioned prayers. You almost sound Baptist. This is meant as a compliment, because though we've been wrong on a lot of important issues, we Baptists have traditionally lobbied for a strict separation of church and state.
Anytime we allow a government entity to explicitly or implicitly sanction a particular religious viewpoint, that religious group's moral authority and integrity are at risk. I believe that to be an effective and valid follower of Christ, we need to be on the "outside," not smug and comfortable on the "inside."
Thanks for keeping a vigilant eye on this issue.
Name withheld by request
Thank you to those special people like Susan Sciacca who are able to be caseworkers with CPS ["Saving Baby Angela," by Lisa Gray, March 23]. Like many employment positions, it takes a special person to work in an environment that has so much detriment, especially to innocent children. Stories like this one tell you that there is hope one day or one child at a time.
Thank you, Ms. Sciacca, for "shooting straight from the hip."
Perhaps you can do a little research and come up with the number of these idiots who have killed or seriously injured themselves and innocent people in the pursuit of this "sport" ["High on Speed," by Lisa Gray, March 23]. You may even come up with a few quotes from the surgeons who get a "rush" out of trying to save lives and limbs as a result of their "fun." Then find the amount the taxpayers have had to bear for the lack of judgment and insurance from these fools. You just might even come up with the impact of these jerks on auto insurance rates in Harris County.
The tone of your piece, that these are "cool" people out to have a little harmless fun, is as irresponsible as the actions of these jerks.
Perhaps your next offering will be a piece on the "thrill" of blowing away a hapless convenience store clerk.
Lisa, Lisa, Lisa.
If you want to really experience the thrill of street car racing, drive out to Deer Park on a Saturday night and hook up with the guys that have dirt under their nails from transforming '57 Chevys and '68 Cougars from yard ornaments into real street machines. Those yuppies on Westheimer are the offspring of the women on Houston's Best Dressed List -- too much money to spend, and too superficial to even know what they're missing in life.
Name withheld by request
No Gallo's Humor
I have had enough of Bill Gallo ["Heart Condition," April 6]. Every movie that he has panned I enjoyed. I saw Return to Me the same day I read his absurd review. The movie had an equal balance of humor, which is an element that most romantic comedies lack. I have never seen a packed movie theater stand and applaud. Bill Gallo, I wish you had just written that you didn't get the movie or weren't really in the mood to see a great film. That would have given me better confidence in your judgment.
The person who "reviewed" Road to El Dorado needs to be fired ["Road to El Bathhouse," by Robert Wilonsky, March 30] -- from the nearest artillery piece. Is your Houston Press so named for all the Texas rednecks you employ, or for some other inane reason? Get a real critic, one with a clue.
Kelly Klaasmeyer's article ["A Room of Its Own," March 23] is pretentious fluff that could just as easily be found in the real estate or designer showcase section of the Chronicle. There is no need for me to read this section again.
Pans, Not Pap
Reading Lee Williams's reviews makes me think nothing short of magnificent ever came out of the Houston theater scene. When I read a review, I'm trying to cull the good ones from the bad -- but how can I when every "review" reads like a cheesy promo?
Please, people. Can I have just a little objectivity here?
Thank God it's not just me ["43 Skiddoo," by Margaret L. Briggs, April 6]. Living just blocks away from 43 Brasserie, my partner and I eagerly waited for the place to open. One word summed up our dining experience: disappointment. I had the asparagus/prosciutto etc. sandwich, and my partner had the croque whatever. Our faces dropped when we saw the croque covered in sauce. Things got worse, however, when we both tasted it. It was truly awful. My sandwich, on the other hand, was all right, but the only thing I could taste was the cheese. Let's hope something changes soon.
I had the same asparagus sandwich that Ms. Briggs had -- isn't prosciutto supposed to be thin? I found it to be a perfect sandwich for my lunch, refreshing, not heavy, and extremely healthy. I am certainly not a food connoisseur, but I am a paying customer with a bit of food-industry experience, and I appreciate the uniqueness of 43 Brasserie.
The negative review did disappoint, but did not surprise me. It was typical of someone's taste who is used to Southern food: lots of meat and loads of fat. The 43 Brasserie is very simple, very fresh. I urge everyone to try it at least once; it won't satisfy everyone, but it is an exceptional alternative to much of what Houston has to offer.
(Styro)foaming at the Mouth
Concerning the review of Riva's ["Inner-City Suburban," by Margaret L. Briggs, March 9]: Why would a food critic order a crème brûlée to go? Okay, I'm sure she has her reasons. But why compound the mistake by disparaging its appearance in a Styrofoam box? Having a tight schedule is normal and excusable; being daft, less so.
Please tell me she's joking when she encounters some melon in her salad and denounces it as "arbitrary accessorizing" because there is no prosciutto to accompany it. Brings to mind Grandma bemoaning the green beans because they contain dehydrated onions but lack the cream of mushroom soup.
Briggs responds: Reread, please! I didn't disparage that poor crème brûlée, I pitied it. And if melon's not thrown in a salad for texture and taste -- and in the case of limp, mushy, flavorless melon, how could it be? -- then it is indeed arbitrary. Or downright daft.
No Take-out Brûlée?
Your review of John Crapitto's Italian restaurant was right on target ["All Joking Aside," by Margaret L. Briggs, March 23]. For my money, it's the best-kept secret in town!
Great article ["Everyband," by Anthony Mariani, March 30]!
As a 31-year-old, I can look back at my childhood and remember buying all the magazines that had KISS on the cover and making a huge poster collage on my wall. Yes, I was a KISS freak, as we were called back then. Over time my interest waned and my KISS merchandise eventually dwindled.
Now, as I watch these aging rockers go through their paces, I marvel at their business savvy. To say that fans want to hear Peter and Ace play songs that they were not a part of is simply genius! As a loyal fan, I must say that it is like a slap in the face to make Peter and Ace play songs that were not popular (for a reason: because the songs sucked).
If you listen to KISS Alive, you will notice the power these legends had together. The spectacle you see now is the result of hype and excess, a tragic but beautiful KISStory indeed.
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