Pay Now or Pay Later
I must say I was fascinated with your article on inmate health care at the University of Texas Medical Branch ["Critical Diagnosis," by Michael Berryhill, January 22]. Your reporter seems to suggest that nothing will be done to correct this injustice because these are only criminals, who deserve everything they get. To take the attitude that prisoners are undeserving of quality health care because of their status as prisoners misses the point. Prisoners are still human beings who should be treated with something resembling human dignity.

Unfortunately, the point you make with this article is merely another symptom of what is wrong with our criminal justice system as a whole. There is a tendency now to treat all of those who are on the "wrong" side of the law as something less than human. We can do anything we want to them; after all, they are just criminals. Unless you kill all of them, at some time they'll have to live in society. We will either pay now or pay later.

Brian D. Lacour
via Internet

Damaged Goods
I am writing concerning the article written by Michael Berryhill regarding the medical care for Texas prisoners. My son has been in the prison system for almost two years. We are extremely grateful to have just received the news that the court of appeals has reversed his case and he is coming home. But what is coming home is not the son who went in.

He went in with mental illnesses the system at first refused to treat. When they agreed to treat him, after my state senator became involved, the medications used were old and outdated. My son had a serious negative reaction to the medications, and because he was not monitored at the time, suffered serious physical injuries that went untreated by the system for the entire time of his incarceration.

My son's is but one story. He is coming home to live a life less than what is rightfully his. His rights were violated again and again. I would like to thank Mr. Berryhill for sending out the information on the medical concerns of myself and many other citizens of Texas who have loved ones in prison. Whether society wants to hear about it or not, we must let people know. As fast as the prison population in this state is growing, eventually it will be one of their loved ones.

Beverly George

Occasional Squishy Avocado: No Big Deal!
Regarding "Raw Competition" [Dish, by Meredith L. Patterson, January 8]: I wonder if your critic hasn't lost perspective. She rants twice about one particular "sin" -- a squishy sliver of avocado in her California roll during her "last trip ever" to Miyako. And she bemoans a teensy-weensy 15-cent price hike on most happy-hour sushi. Good gosh, that brings the price to a whopping $1.15 per piece! Considering that Japanese restaurants in cities as close as Dallas and as far away as Sydney are charging at least twice as much, I'll stick with Miyako and tolerate an occasional squishy avocado.

Joe Kallaby

Houston, Home of Decent, Cheap Sushi
Relocating to Houston from Honolulu had plenty of downsides; finding decent sushi at Miyako for a fraction of what I used to pay wasn't one of them. If needling them about a piece of mushy avocado contained in a California roll is fair, you might also commend them for pricing that makes Japanese food more accessible to Houstonians of average income.

Lisa Chiu

Sushi Happy
Your critic was right on target about Cafe Japon's dip in quality. I see their frenetic expansion and I'm certain that drive-through windows will materialize on their future restaurants. As for Miyako: Hey, lay off. They are the original purveyor of "sushi happy hour," and if they had to extend their happy hour to keep pace with their megalomaniacal competitors at Cafe Japon, all the better for us.

P.S. By the way, Cafe Japon has five restaurants versus Miyako's four, not "twice as many," as your critic stated.

Jeffrey Eakin

Rock Solid
I recently had the pleasure of attending a jam session at Antone's in Austin, with Tommy Shannon playing as part of the house band. I've played in blues bands with some excellent bass players, but Shannon's presence on the stage is like the Rock of Gibraltar. Rock-solid riffs emanated from his hands through the bass and carried the whole band as they moved from one song to the next. I was watching a true master at work and will remember this experience for a long time. If you haven't seen the man play, you are really missing out. The recent article about Shannon ["Cry Tough," by Josh Alan Friedman, January 15] was a really touching piece. His roller-coaster ride through life is mirrored in the music he plays.

Paul Roland
via Internet

Three Sides to the Story
I enjoyed the article on Tommy Shannon -- good stuff. However, please note that Johnny Winter's Second Winter is not the only three-sided LP in history (it may have been the first). In 1986, Joe Jackson came out with Big World, another three-sided LP. Don't mean to be nitpicky, but I felt the correction was necessary.

Ronald Kerr
via Internet

Metaphorical Maligning
Just when old largely maligned Peter Rainer actually finds value in a wonderful movie like Titanic [Film, "Schlock Poetry," December 18], along comes Thomas Smith to remind us that film trashing truly is a spectator sport [Letters, "Waterlogged Metaphor," January 15]. Smith sure confuses movies with metaphors (or something in between). You know the type -- a jaded Roman in the Coliseum, screaming at the lions to maul and munch harder on hapless Christians.

Actually, I've been waiting for at least an intelligent riposte concerning James Cameron's film. So far, almost every critic of worth has found Titanic to be quite remarkable. (The New Yorker sure has been pandering to Hollywood for years, hasn't it, Tom?) Unfortunately, Smith ends up loving his images and sense of drowning more than he elucidates any real objections. According to Smith's implied standards, we might find Casablanca to be similar melodramatic trash. Unfortunately (for Smith), the public, for some strange reason, has been flocking to this film in a manner not seen since the days of Gone with the Wind.

At least Rainer backs up his points, even at his most aggravating. Enough, Smith: Back to your bathtub, kazoo and rubber duckie!

Peter S. Lunde
via Internet


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