Letters to the Editor
Food with Attitude
Loved it, blah, blah, blah: I freaking loved your article on John Katsimikis at Bibas ["Houston's Food Nazis," by Brian McManus, May 4]. I thought I was the only one who knew! One time I brought a girlfriend who was from New Zealand in for a meal. We almost got thrown out as suspect Brits before I revealed her true nationality. Also, wish you had mentioned John's propensity to replace the customary period at the end of a sentence with "blah blah blah." I love that one. I'm taking the cover in to have it autographed by John himself. I hope he doesn't yell at meÉwell, maybe I'm hoping a little that he will. That's entertainment! See you over Greek salad!
This relationship's over: It's been more than four years since I've eaten at Bibas One's A Meal. When eating out, I pick the restaurant for menu and ambience. I enjoy eating where I can share food and the company of friends. For more than two years, I regularly ate there (I even had a favorite table). Katsimikis's attentions ranged from mildly amusing banter to boring, insistent interruptions to rude, ranting soliloquies. Attentive service was rarely a component of Katsimikis's waiting. My support of this longtime Houston eatery ended with six of us leaving the restaurant one evening with a pact to not return because of the unappreciated and uncontrolled abuse. While others may find his style "self-affirming," I don't. I choose to spend my dining dollars elsewhere. Maybe the Press will provide a public service by advising us "normal" diners when it is safe to return to Bibas.
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No dumping on dumplings: I eat at Doozo's at least twice a week, and I totally disagree with your assessment of their dumplings as rubbery and lukewarm -- they're always quite fresh and hot. If you just let them sit until they weren't fresh and hot anymore, that was your doing, not the Dumpling Nazi's. Otherwise, I loved your article and love the Dumpling Nazi lady, too.
Crime and Punishment
Unfair: I'm so glad this article was written ["Bam! Pow!" by Todd Spivak, May 4]. Someone needed to point out how unfairly these kids are being punished. As a senior who has survived four years of strict rules at DeBakey High School in order to preserve the prestigious reputation of the school, I read this article with a smile on my face. Finally, someone has the guts to say something.
Enough is enough: I have several questions for every parent in HISD. No, I changed my mind. I have several questions for every parent in America.
How much will you put up with before you say enough is enough? How much lunacy will you tolerate? How much negligence will you put up with from your child's school? When will you refuse to take it anymore? How much garbage will you let a school dish out to your child?
As a veteran educator with 33 years of experience, I can tell you that I am fed up. I have traveled with huge groups of students all over this country from New York to Dallas to local trips. I have had kids on overnight trips and afternoon junkets to the museum. I have been involved in taking an entire middle school on a trip. That would be about 600 students. As a result of those experiences, I have a message for the parents of the kids from the High School for the Health Professions: Your child's supervision on that trip was incredibly lousy. Your kids were being normal high school kids. The adults were the ones not doing their jobs. Most important, the punishment being doled out to those kids is the definition of poor administrative judgment.
Before people start yelling that I'm condoning bad behavior on the part of the students from the High School for the Health Professions, just cool your jets. I am about as conservative with student discipline as they come. For instance, I firmly believe in corporal punishment. But, in this case it's the high school principal I would take to the woodshed. Were the students who were out of their rooms wrong? Yes, they were wrong. Should they have been punished? Maybe. Do they deserve an academic death penalty? No, they do not.
What should happen is a complete investigation of the supervision policy of the school. The students should never have been able to get out of their rooms. There should have been 24-hour supervision in the hallways outside their rooms. Chaperones should have been posted in shifts outside the students' rooms. I have no idea how many students in total were in attendance on the trip. But I have had hundreds of students on overnight trips as long as seven days with no problems. Here is how to do it.
If you take students on an overnight trip, the assumption should be that some of them will try to sneak into another room. Supervision should be in place that rests on that assumption. You place adult chaperones in the hallways in shifts. There should not be any time when a student room is out of the sight of an adult. Students should go nowhere without an adult. That means that no student or group of students should be out of the sight of a supervising adult at any time. Had there been proper adult supervision on the island of Aruba a year ago, a tragedy could have been stopped.
Now, how do you punish such heinous acts done when the adults aren't doing their job? You tell them to get back in their rooms. You don't even have to be nice about it. Then you go jump the case of the adult who should have been watching in the first place. This kind of behavior has been going on since cave parents were trying to keep their kids in the right cave. Get a clue, Dr. Charlesetta Deason.
What you don't do is set up a guillotine in the cafeteria. Do you remove students from the National Junior Honor Society? No. Do you ban them from attending the prom? No. Do you destroy the reason the juniors came to your school in the first place? No. What can you be thinking? What universe do you inhabit? Can you make a distinction between students having sex in a third-floor bathroom and students who sneak into another room on a school trip? And, before you say it, I know they could have been having sexual intercourse in another room. That's the point. With a little supervision, that would not happen.
Schools have become appalling places in many parts of the world. We now send kids through the court system for being irresponsible. There are places where kids are treated like garbage. And the parents take it. What do we expect kids to be in the teenage years? What happened to detention or a couple of Saturdays at school? Instead, we have a principal giving kids years of punishment for being kids. Can it get more absurd? Obviously the answer is yes, if parents let it happen. If you apply enough political pressure, this will stop. Remember that the people who employ your principal are elected. Organize. How can you parents allow this to happen? They are your children.
JM Learning Solutions
Capitalist prigs: Greetings! I am writing to both thank Travis m$%#@$%g Ritter for his gracious preview of our rained-out Westheimer Block Party ["Go West," Night & Day, by Travis Ritter, April 27] and to notify your fine publication of an error in his copy. You see, we are not a "leftist rag." We are ardent capitalists who would sell our mothers up the river for six bux and some chili cheese fries at Lucky Burger. As a matter of fact, I have two dirty hippies tied up in my basement that I regularly torture and force to sew "vintage shirts" that I sell to "vintage shops" at very capitalist non-vintage prices. Lastly, the Westheimer Block Party has been reset for Saturday, May 27. We hope to see Travis there.
Managing editor, Free Press Houston
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