Remembering de Menil
I thought Shaila Dewan's piece on Dominique de Menil was well written and quite moving [Art, "The Last Eccentric," January 8]. But it made you thirsty for more about this wonderful humanitarian who shared her art, as well as her spirit, with our fair city. Twenty-four years ago, as Quakers with no meeting house, Albert and I asked to be married in the Rothko Chapel. She granted permission, and although attendance was limited to 30 guests, we were glad to celebrate our union in a chapel open to all faiths. May her spirit live and inspire us toward continued ecumenical sensitivity in this, our multicultural world.
May Mansoor Munn
Warning: Boarding Schools Can Be Hazardous to Your Child's Health
It is very unfortunate that it took the near loss of a person's life to draw attention to the Marine Military Academy ["The Few, the Proud, the Battered," by Ann Zimmerman, January 8], but I am very glad it has happened. The parents who send or allow their children to attend these schools should know the stories those children tell when they come home are not made up or exaggerated.
There are many reasons for a student ending up at one of these boarding schools. They may, as in my case, choose to go there for the chance of academic advancement. They may also be sent there by parents who either feel they cannot deal with the problems their child is causing or do not want to deal with their own parental responsibilities. And while the academic environment is indeed an improvement on that of the public schools, the dorm environment is by no means a replacement for life at home, with people who care about you.
True, the problems described in the article can occur in any classroom, bathroom, gym or parking lot of any public school. But unlike public school, where one can leave one's problems at school, a student at a boarding school must deal with student and faculty problems all day, every day, and the staff is in no way an adequate source of emotional support. Drug use is rampant, but the staff spends most of its time trying to catch the students rather than trying to help them with their problems.
My point is that none of these schools are healthy environments for students, and now that the problems have been exposed, hopefully this will pave the way for reform and better conditions for every young cadet and coed. Our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, cousins and friends will now have the opportunity to receive education and discipline training in a less hostile environment.
Safer Than a Public School Parking Lot: That's a Recommendation?
As a graduate of the Marine Military Academy, I feel that I should defend the efforts that the academy puts forth on behalf of its students. While I do not believe that a military school is right for every student, I do know that the MMA fills a void that other schools cannot or will not fill. I have the utmost respect for the staff and faculty, and I know of no other school that cares for the well-being of its student body more than that of the Marine Military Academy. Your sons are considerably safer in the barracks of the MMA than in the parking lots of many of Houston's public schools.
Bruce E. Burgner
Found: The Lost Art of Burt Bacharach
Robert Wilonsky, thanks so much for your profile of Burt Bacharach [Music, "Baby, It's Him," January 8]. Working as a gofer for Southwest Concerts in 1977, I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Bacharach. He was and remains the embodiment of class.
I noted in your article your disappointment at the scarcity of the Casino Royale soundtrack. The excellence of its production has made it a talisman sought by high-end audiophiles. Rejoice, however, because it is available on CD! It is on the Varese Sarabande label, serial number VSD 5265. I came across my copy of it a couple of years ago at the late, lamented Planet Music. I saw it a number of times thereafter. Sadly, I must say that I have not seen it recently at Planet's successor, Borders, nor at any of the myriad record stores I haunt.
Nevertheless, it does exist on disc. It appears that Varese Sarabande may be owned by Arista Records. Neither the disc nor its insert has a mailing address for the record company. That information is easily available on the Internet. If all else fails, you can probably get a copy of the disc through the record company. While I have not heard the recording on vinyl, the production values on the CD are superb. The sound is characterized by a remarkable degree of detail and intimacy.
In any event, many thanks to you for an enjoyable article. I'll see you in the line to purchase the Rhino boxed set.
Scott R. Sommers
In Over His Head
Thomas Smith, I will begin by saying that I might have found your review of Titanic [Letters, "Waterlogged Metaphor," January 15] more plausible if you had stated the correct year in which the tragedy occurred (the ship sank in 1912, not 1915). Second, if I want to see a movie replete with "gay ripostes and brilliant repartee," I will buy a ticket to Jackie Brown or Deconstructing Harry (which I did). As for the "silly and insipid" dialogue, I feel confident in saying that most people did not find it nearly as insufferable as your moronic metaphorical meanderings.
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What "rational, intelligent Houstonians deserve" is to be spared from the likes of your, and, as is too often the case, the Press's film critics' pompous posturings, begat from the delusion that they possess insight that we (insert metaphor here), the unwashed third-class steerage passengers, are lacking. I do agree that it was indeed William Shakespeare who tossed out the bon mot about suffering fools gladly, which I found to be particularly apropos while reading your letter.
For One Thing, He Got Elected Mayor
This Lee Brown thing is really getting out of hand ["Situational Ethics," by Jim Simmon, January 15]. I am usually pretty good at keeping up with current events, and I made an "A" in history. The problem is, what in the hell has this man done to deserve such attention and power? As drug czar, he didn't solve the drug problem. He didn't do well in New York City. He was a "lame duck" as police chief here. In short, he hasn't earned any real accolades or accomplished anything noteworthy that I can think of. I don't even think he will get a footnote in history. You tell me: What has this chair warmer done?