Letters to the Editor
Escort service: I was a student in Galveston from 1976 to 1980 and spent many a Thursday "Ladies Night" at Sonny's, having my chili cheeseburger and a beer and playing shuffleboard (best table in the Southwest) ["Mustard on That?" by Robb Walsh, August 31].
What was interesting about Sonny's was what was stamped on each tabletop: "No Cursing Allowed." And that was not a joke.
The night of my graduation, we ended up at Sonny's on a ladies' night, hound-dogging after the UT nurses who would pack the place. And of course a friend from school who knew the rules "did not watch his language"...He got the owner to the table faster than a mosquito to your leg after a Houston rainstorm.
As my friend was lifted out of his seat and "escorted" through the screen door to the street, the son came out from behind the bar and announced to the crowd, "Next show at 11."
What a great Texas/Galveston bar...I still go there every chance I get. There's no other place in the state like Sonny's.
Horse thieves: Channel 11 must have an intern who reads the Houston Press. On August 31, Lisa F. and Pretty-Boy Hurst "broke the story" about horse-slaughtering in Texas ["Horse Flesh," April 13, by Josh Harkinson]. WTF?! An intern who can read! She/He will be reading on the evening news in no time.
Name withheld by request
Constructive criticism: "The White Coat Club" [by Craig Malisow, August 17] provides anecdotes about a few of the more egregious offenses perpetrated by trusted clinicians. Consistent with much of the Press, the story helps to elucidate important issues that escape much media attention, doing so with an impressive degree of sophistication and journalistic integrity. I sincerely appreciate that. Therefore, I would like to offer some constructive criticism regarding this article.
In Boling's characterization of the "white coat club," she states that "the board was more interested in protecting one of its own than in investigating her claim." However, nowhere in the article is there an objective description of the Texas Medical Board or a discussion of the Informal Settlement Conference, which she may be implicitly referencing. The lacking frame of reference leaves the reader with the impression that the board is made up of chummy clinicians interested only in "protecting their own" under the guise of a regulatory enterprise.
In fact, the ironically titled ISC is a structured process. Its members are composed of at least one senior clinician from the board, one non-physician board member and an independent attorney, as prescribed by Texas law. Whether this institution is effective is open to scrutiny. However, framing the lens of this story largely through Boling at best undereducates the reader about this organization. While her spectacular anecdotes about a cocaine-abusing clinician and sexual predators are effective at capturing attention, they do little to explore thoughtfully whether doctors are getting away with "pretty much anything."
As a young resident, I am acutely aware of the board's power and know that clinicians have lost their licenses or never received them. The board's ability to profoundly affect the lives of anyone with an MD or a DO is not lost on us. And I know of no clinician who regards the board as "one of us." So, I welcome the Houston Press's attention to this imperfect bureaucracy. I hope my comments help to motivate a deeper investigation in the spirit of the free press, while keeping a watchful eye on perspective and objectivity.
Portrait of an Artist
So true: There have been many reviews written about me and my work, and many of them I have hoped to rewrite, correcting all of the mistakes and just made-up stuff. Kelly Klaasmeyer's terrific review, with its wonderful title "Long Life: The MFAH showcases autobiographical work by a Houston legend" [July 13] is just so much a correct, unvarnished, truthful depiction of me and my life and art, that all that needs to be done with it is for people to read it. It hasn't been an easy life, but it has been an honest life, trying to make truthful art that will help its viewers comprehend what this ride is all about. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for being an art critic who can write powerful prose that is factual and imbued with an insightful vision.
We as art professionals should provide the world with reality, reflecting not just what makes the art-economic wheels turn but what reveals truths that will help you hang onto the wild beast of life, which will destroy you if you fall off.
Thanks for telling my story and for the review of my show. I will continue my quest to provide the world with truthful, insightful art of excellence.
Bert L. Long Jr.
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