Pasadena Story
It seems eerie, growing up in the Pasadena area for 20-plus years and hearing all of those stories that you know couldn't possibly be true, then reading them from the source ["Sherwood's Rules," by Randall Patterson, May 15]. Good job.

A. Fuller
via Internet

Everybody Digs That Dinosaur Thang, Peter
I just had to write in response to a comment made by Peter Rainer in his review of The Lost World [Film, "Spielberg's Lost," May 22]. For one thing ... no, thang, black people enjoy a good dinosaur movie just the same as whites, thank you. I thought Jurassic Park was an excellent movie, and I am looking forward to seeing The Lost World.

Now back to Rainer's little unnecessary comment. He wrote, "Kelly, incidentally, is black, which either signals a welcome bit of colorblindness on the part of the filmmakers or blatant attempt to woo African-Americans to a movie otherwise almost entirely devoid of them." Who in the hell do you think contributed most of the hundreds of millions of dollars Jurassic Park grossed? Also, you must have forgotten about Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park. I don't think Spielberg was trying to woo African-Americans by adding one black character. If he wanted to woo me or other African-Americans, the entire cast would have had to be black.

All things considered, I strongly believe that The Lost World will do very well at the box office and attract many African-Americans, based solely on the fact that Spielberg has established himself as a very brilliant movie director -- not because the cast consists of one black individual. Period!

Peace, my brother.
Brandon Evans

Real American
I would like to thank you for your story "One-Man Mob" [by Steve McVicker, May 8] as a display of courage and a commentary on society. My interpretation of the reason for John Shike's marriage to Saba Hameed was primarily to take care of his sons. I noted there were no daughters, considered virtually worthless in the old culture of Pakistan.

Shike regarded Saba as cheap labor, and perhaps there was a dowry, common in the culture, although you made no mention of it. Under conditions where an American-born woman would balk, John counted on the dictates of her society to keep her quiet. It may have worked, except for three factors his scheming, brilliant mind did not consider. The first: Even a dog will bite when treated too cruelly or if her young are in danger. The second: This is America, and our culture abhors his type. Being an educated woman and forced to work to sustain her family, Saba became privy to this facet of our culture. However, the third factor was their common gene pool. Where another woman would have bent or broken, she proved as strong as he. This last provides the greatest irony of all.

Saba exhibits what it takes to be a "real" American -- spunk and courage. As a woman, I thank her. Lawyer Stewart Gagnon showed not only courage by representing her, but that nobility of the law has not died. Lastly, knowing how vindictive this man was, you still had the courage to write this story. I thank you again. I am very tired of "blood, guts and crime" journalism that reminds me of format fiction. It is refreshing to read something with depth.

Jane Foster

Back to Pakistan?
Like the district attorney who said John Shike's relentless abuse of the court system took her breath away, I am flabbergasted. It is behavior like Shike's that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Middle Eastern nationalities, but more than that, the negligence of the justice system that allows him to abuse the entire system for free makes this case seem commonplace. I am so appalled at every phase and facet of this story that I barely know where to start.

The part of the story that stuck in my craw throughout is the fact that neither of these people are American citizens! I would question whether Saba is even legal, given that her marriage was upheld only by common law. Did she ever get her own visa? What about her family?

Nonetheless, Saba's saga arouses sympathy for abused women. However, for all of Shike's antics, your story did not give the impression that he wanted her to stay. The fact that he has supposedly remarried would lead one to believe he was finished with her. Why doesn't she go back to Pakistan? There was no indication in the story that she has any reason to stay, and she had a good life at home. Her children were not born in the United States; her mother would no doubt be happier to be in her native clime in her old age. There was no mention of a job that offered great reward, as anyone who has worked retail and/or substituted (I've done both) will tell you. She does not even have to be present when he finally does sign the divorce decree, if he ever does. In fact, would the marriage be upheld in Pakistan, minus the crucial second ceremony?

Shike's capers are annoying when they are at his own expense, such as his cable access show. But Saba's determination to keep fighting simply enables him to play out his delusions at the court's expense. There is no vindication left for Saba; she's had her day in court. The ongoing saga is a pathetic illustration of why Americans are tired of supporting immigrants as if they are our own.

Kimberley Weathers

Editor's note: John Shike is a U.S. citizen; Saba Hameed is a legal immigrant.

Make a Scene
Hobart Rowland's article about the Houston Music Council [Static, May 1] hurt a lot of folks' feelings. At least the council is trying to make someone take notice of the talent in Houston in a positive way. The people involved are not paid: They have daytime jobs to pay bills and support their habit of listening to local original music. If more folks would join in and help, there just might be a music scene here that would draw the music industry to take notice. What a concept. There is more talent inside the Loop than any other city I have been to (Austin, Nashville, L.A., New Orleans, etc.). That's not counting the talent outside the Loop. The only difference is the support those musicians get. They need our support, not our criticism.

I got into this because I would go to see my friends play and found the audience was very sparse, the club owners treated them badly and someone needed to fight for them. I felt the only reason was that people did not know they were playing, and I wanted everyone else to enjoy the talent that I enjoyed.

When a band can tour outside of Houston and have more people come out to see them than in their own hometown, that is a very sad event. When are people going to support the music community instead of criticize it? Come on folks, make something happen! What are you afraid of? Success? Too many talented musicians are moving away from Houston because they do not get the support from the community.

Houston Music Council elections are coming up. You are quick to criticize. Why not help make a music scene?

Alice Romero

Can't Get Over It
I'm still reeling from the harsh review Houston Press gave Fakawwee Lodge [Cafe, "What a Joke," by Jim Sherman, February 27]. I was shocked to learn the restaurant closed a week after I ate there. Apparently, someone gave them a really bad review that (probably) caused the restaurant to shut down. This is "yellow dog" journalism at its worst and I am very disappointed in your magazine.

Webster's defines journalism as "the work of gathering news for, or producing, a newspaper."

Well, the Fakawwee review was not a fair review and did no justice to the term "journalism." It was a vehement diatribe to say the least.

My partner and I dined at the restaurant and really enjoyed the food. The wine list was adequate, the food was good and the service was friendly. Yes, the restaurant had its kinks, but that's expected with any new restaurant. Your writer didn't really need to blow this joint out of the water, did he? He seemed more intent on being vindictive and mean-spirited in his article, to say the least.

I am very disappointed in your publication for stooping to this level. Fakawwee was a nice addition to the Shepherd Square area, and now, sad to say, it's gone.

Karla M. Cummings

He's Just Batty
In your May 15 review by Michael Batty of Chess Records's 50th anniversary sets [Music, "Nails in the Coffin"], Batty assumes blues and jazz do not appeal to people in their twenties. Since I am 26 and have been enjoying blues and jazz since high school, I suggest that Batty cease and desist in attempting to speak for our generation. He should only speak on behalf of himself and his culturally deprived friends. One fact that rang clear from the article was his lack of appreciation of the aesthetic and technical qualities inherent in blues and jazz. The influence of these two forms of music on the modern rock that probably dominates the CD collection in his home should be obvious.

Cynthia Smith
via Internet


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