Contrite as a Kite
It would have been better had I been drunk at the University of Houston's art auction, then I would have an excuse for my gaffe about Jan Becker and for klutzing off of the platform on my duff [The Insider, "Higher than a Kite?," April 10]. While I don't believe Jan huffed that I was "drunk" and an "asshole" -- she is too nice a lady -- she had a right to say it. Only a drunk asshole would fail to notice that she is still gorgeous and trim. Mea culpa. I publicly apologize.

Everyone who knows Maxine Mesinger knows that she is fiercely loyal to her friends. No one with a brain as big as a grape would intentionally offend a friend of Maxine's.

My remarks were an effort to be as cute as Don Rickles. I paid for them by busting my can when I fell off the platform. To any who were offended, my apologies. Please consider that I am not the first lawyer to stick his foot in his mouth in a public place.

Richard Haynes

Patience Counseled
"Cotswold Unspun" [by Bob Burtman, May 1] was a well-written and well-researched article, and I commend the reporter for it.

I have been involved indirectly with this project, since I represent a theater group's expansion plans in the Houston area (not the group referenced by Leo Linbeck in your article). Obviously, many questions remain to be answered before the Cotswold Project should be given approval by the city, or any other group. You have raised many of those questions in your article, as well as alluded to the unconventional manner in which this project has been handled.

I would suggest that the concept and intentions are admirable, but maybe the actual experience and wisdom of the "leadership" is somewhat lacking. However, we shouldn't penalize them for this, but be a little more patient while they acquire some experience on "the firing line."

In any case, congratulations for being the only Houston journalists to raise real questions and point out obvious concerns for such a long-term and sweeping project that will affect all of us in Houston quite significantly. Keep up the good work.

Ron Marshall
via Internet

Spell Checking Cotswold
I read the Press weekly, and I especially enjoy it when you take business to task! This latest plan to fleece us all, the Cotswold project, will hopefully be put out to pasture with the help of your high drama. Water gardens in the oppressive humidity of downtown Houston? What a stroke of genius! I for one cannot imagine that floating to jury duty will be any more pleasant than the cool, comfortable and courteous ride on the Heights 50 bus I have had for several years.

P.S. Cotswold appears as a "questionable word" in the Spellcheck program ... that should tell us something!

Daniel J. Impastato

Lowering the Boom Boom
I cannot believe that any responsible parent would send their child to Boom Boom Jackson's "Classical School for Brilliant Children" ["The Boom Boom Method," by Lisa Gray, April 24]. I cannot imagine what any child could do to deserve the brand of discipline administered at this facility. Death-row inmates aren't treated the way Mr. Jackson sees fit to deal with his students.

Children need love, attention, care and nurturing. They also need to be taught from an early age to respect others and the differences between right and wrong. It is a parent's job to instill good values in their children. When parents don't take this responsibility, they fail their children. Unfortunately, some parents feel they can pass on these duties to other people, and the children are the ones who suffer.

As for the parents who embrace Mr. Jackson's methods, I have just two comments:

First, take a look at Mr. Jackson's credentials. Check out his story. Most of the accomplishments he brags about just don't seem to check out. Who are you entrusting your children to?

Second, don't let any outside source take the responsibility for disciplining your children. Stand up, be an adult and do your job. They are your children. It is your duty, not the school's, nor anyone else's for that matter, to mold and shape your children. Don't expect others to do your job for you. If you do, nine times out of ten you will be disappointed.

Susan Parsons

I just finished reading the excellent article in the Press about Boom Boom Jackson's brutal infliction of corporal punishment on one of his young students. The injuries were sickening, and cry out for a solution. It disturbed me just as much to read the district attorney's lame explanation of the grand jury's "no bill" decision. Denise Oncken was quoted as saying that the jury had to consider such matters as whether the child "deserved" such a punishment, and the size of the child. Does she really think any child, anywhere, deserves to have his buttocks turned into hamburger? As an attorney she should be aware that the U.S. Supreme Court in just the past few years ruled that adult prisoners cannot be subjected to corporal punishment for purposes of discipline. I am sure that Texas law would protect even an animal from such injury.

It's time for a change. The Houston school board should take long overdue action and prohibit this outdated practice in the remaining schools that allow it, and the Texas Legislature should join the ranks of those in 27 other states that have already prohibited school corporal punishment. Good school discipline should be instilled through the mind, not the behind!

Robert Fathman
President, National Coalition to Abolish
Corporal Punishment in Schools
Columbus, Ohio

What do you think Boom Boom would say if we held him and "paddled" him to the same extent as this child? I think the ramifications to the "paddler" would be completely different, as well as the feelings of the recipient.

Lord help the person who strikes my child....
Cheri Muskiet
via Internet

The Bill Jeffreys Fan Club is Riled
Channel 11's loss of Bill Jeffreys will be another station's gain [The Insider, "How Dumb Can They Get?," April 24]. I'm not surprised, since Channel 11 has "dumbed down" tremendously in the two short years I've been in Houston. I solved my problem of disliking all the local news programs -- I only watch Headline News.

Jim Lake

Your Insider article about Bill Jeffreys's dismissal from Channel 11 was right on the money. I know Bill -- he is a good man and an excellent newscaster. Obviously, the management at Channel 11 does not know real talent when they see it. In my 75 years on this earth, I have listened to and seen many, many news programs. They do not come any more professional than Bill.

Management's reason for Jeffreys's dismissal -- "too much complaining" -- is a real cop-out and obviously a cover-up for the real reason. You know that there is a saying in the Army: "When the troops stop complaining, you had better start worrying."

I think I would complain too if I were a senior newscaster covering the City Hall beat and kept on weekend duty for over a year. I do not think that much goes on at City Hall on the weekends.

By the way, I wrote a letter to the Chronicle when Bill's dismissal was announced. They never printed the letter or acknowledged it. I think they have a little "Channel 11-itis" at the Chronicle.

William H. Lukens

Kudos, Tim, for noting Bill Jeffreys's untimely departure from Channel 11, Houston's "I Don't Get It" source.

Something's not quite adding up here. Jeffreys's dry wit and deadpan presentation are his hallmark. Channel 11 has lost a tremendous talisman of credibility with Bill's departure. Channel 11 was, in my mind, the last serious news station in Houston. Now they've joined the ranks of "MacInformation" purveyors so common today. There is, I think, more here than meets the eye.

David Huff

Sorry, He Just Couldn't Get His Tongue Around It
No one within GOP circles will mistake me for an ally of former Congressman Stockman. The ridicule of his pronunciation of "ORVS" [The Insider, "Stockman Chronicles," May 1], the optimal Republican voting strength of districts, was uncalled for, however.

D. Markham
via Internet

Really, Really Sssssssucks
I used to look forward to reading your movie reviews every week. Now they suck. In the April 17 issue you waste an entire page trashing 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag and Anaconda [Film, "Dead Heads," by Peter Rainer and "Sssssssucks," by Robert Abele].

Would you please go back to giving honest and interesting reviews of obscure and offbeat movies? Also, I hope you will start listing the ratings from other critics, like you used to do.

George Ramsay

Do They Take Orders To Go?
As a native of Kansas City, I was surprised you singled out Gates as that city's best barbecue [Cafe, "Hot for Sauce," by Jim Sherman, April 24]. And no, I'm not going to rave about Arthur Bryant's. Neither of those two places is run any longer by the people who started them and made them great. They've been sold to other companies.

I'd recommend Rosedale Barbeque, 600 Southwest Boulevard, in Kansas City, Kansas. It's been there since the 1930s and has Calvin Trillin's endorsement. The original owner, Anthony Rieke, ran the place until he died recently at age 94. His daughter Janelle now runs it, after helping Anthony for the last few years. Try it the next time you're in K.C.

Mike Rieke
via Internet


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