Out of the Park
Relief pitch: Keep 'em coming! I'm really enjoying the comic relief of the Astros daily updates ["Astros Daily Update"]. It has certainly helped break the tension of this fan, who crumbles under the pressure of the playoffs. Last year, I learned I probably could not handle the intense emotions of actually attending a -- dare I say it -- World Series game in Houston. The tickets I had in hand would have gone up for auction on eBay. For me it would have been flying just too close to the flame. This year I think I might be able to get myself into the ballpark because of the emotional release of reading your musings. Thanks for doing your part. Astros, it's up to you now.
Oh, Lord: Thank you. I thought I was the only one who was tired of the god that is Roger Clemens. That John Lopez piece was sickening. And thanks for recognizing the brilliance of Roy Oswalt. I tell everyone that the key to the pitching staff is Roy, but everyone else just talks about how brilliant Roger is.
One thing I hate about the Astros' winning this thing is that I'm going to hear nothing but how great Roger is, that he's a god, and I'm sure that Andy, Craig and Lance will be shoving the God stuff down my throat.
But thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one who feels this way.
One Wizard: With regard to your new nickname for Roy Oswalt, I just want to thank you. It's about time he was called something other than the Wizard. Anyone who knows anything about baseball could tell you that there was, and will always be, only one Wizard: Ozzie Smith. I sure hope "Lee Harvey" catches on. I'm tired of Astros fans stealing our Ozzie's thunder. Go Cards!
Maya Nuesell, lifelong Cardinals fan
Tar and feather the whores: I saw the Houston Buffs. I saw the first Colt .45s game. I saw the first home run (Mickey Mantle) in the Astrodome. I saw both All-Star games in the Astrodome. I saw that heartbreaking Mets/Astros playoff. I saw hundreds of games over the years.
I attended one game at Enron Field: season No. 1. I do not like the hill in center field or the flagpole in the playing surface. To justify them by saying other ballparks have had such features is asinine. I despise the left-field fence, which is on par with high school parks, and below par in the National League.
The easy outs that have gone for home runs in the left field that isn't there have pushed up the aggregate runs-scored total toward the level of Mongrel League Baseball; i.e., the onetime "major" league known as the American League. In interleague play, including the World Series, Mongrel League Baseball fucks with the strategy game that used to characterize National League ball. Primary reason? Putting nonplayers at bat as designated hitters.
The sports whores who pushed for, designed, built and accepted the downtown park ought to be tarred and feathered for that roof superstructure that can be hit by a pop foul. The umpires, and not the Astros, should decide when the roof is closed.
The one good thing about the new stadium? The prostitutes aren't out on the pavement, as they had to be on South Main. On the other hand, they hang out and strut on the sidewalk outside the #^*!!!# "window" where the left-field fence ought to be. So, do I give a rat's ass about the Astros' having made it to the World Series? I don't think so!
Name withheld by request
Sex sells: I enjoyed Josh Harkinson's article "Pick Me Up" [October 13]. But I just couldn't help thinking back to the more critical Press of a few years ago, when Richard Connelly wrote News Hostage instead of Hair Balls. He routinely bashed the attempts of local TV news to raise ratings by covering strip joint controversies, and one of his best lines summed up the Houston Chronicle entertainment pages as "fucking pornographers." Back then the Press even had a weekly political column. Times change. Politics are out, sex is in. Welcome to the new Houston Press. Congratulations.
Intimate strangers: So this is why a friend of mine who happens to be a personal trainer is sleeping with no fewer than ten married women, often all during the course of a single week. Perhaps these married couples should start "communicating" through random sexual exploits at swingers' clubs. Better yet, maybe they shouldn't be married at all. This article reads like a how-to guide to avoiding intimacy.
Isms everywhere: Seems the Houston Press has dispatched the young and the horny to "investigate" Houston's swingers scene. What Josh Harkinson came back with in his article "Pick Me Up" is less unbiased reportage than an accumulation of lookism, sexism and ageism.
Admittedly, his use of the obscure term "steatopygous women" had me and my wife scrambling for a dictionary. Not finding it in our abridged Webster's, we checked the online Merriam-Webster's, which called it "an extreme accumulation of fat on the buttocks."
So it appears that what's bothering Harkinson is not the promiscuity but the observation that many middle-aged women are overweight, and that they're not properly ashamed to exhibit their flab in public. I suppose fat women are not supposed to have sex for fear of breeding more fat women that cannot be portrayed in whacking material (at least not his).
As with most Houston Press articles, one cannot quibble with the facts so much as the way they are presented. Obviously, the purpose of this piece was a lewdly suggestive cover that would ensure that the paper would be picked up off the free racks all over the city. The article provided no real insights into burgeoning cultural phenomena, as it telescoped a highly titillating anecdotal story that may or may not accurately describe the majority experience in "the lifestyle."
Naturally many people cannot or will not understand why so many Americans may want to shed their sexual shackles for a night of frivolity. That's why these clubs typically don't advertise, since they don't want the curiosity-seekers and leering defenders of probity that inevitably point to them as the cause of cultural decline.
In an era of increasing sexual repression, it appears that the Houston Press is willing to tackle what even the Houston Chronicle avoids: the likelihood that an increasing number of Americans wish to experience sexual freedom with other like-minded individuals. A couple more articles like this might just quash the entire movement.
Like an animal: One is naturally tempted to attack the messenger over an article such as the recent one about "swinging" in Houston. However, arguments can be made that the subjects you traffic in are sometimes necessary for the public interest. Certainly, many of the types of injustices you portray should be publicized.
On the other hand, this latest exercise in vulgarity does go somewhat beyond the pale. Nevertheless, if anyone deserves opprobrium, it's those identified in the story as "swingers."
To think that any man could so demean the relationship with his wife as to drag her into a club where raw sexuality is displayed and where, subsequently, the wife is subjected to sex with another man in a private residence is stupefying.
The continued, extravagant interest of the American male in perverse and morbid forms of sexuality is inexplicable to me. Is sex so strong an urge that it confounds the entire moral and ethical sensibility of the man and drives him to behave like an animal?
The types of behaviors portrayed should be seen as right up there with the great crimes of history. In a word, the activities described in the "swinging" article are monstrous, almost beyond belief.
PS: Love This Modern World.
Require liners: Thank you, Houston Press, for letting folks know that garbage doesn't just go away -- it goes somewhere ["A Mighty Wind," by Greg Harman, October 6].
The dangers of air and water contamination from landfills are all too real. The state environmental agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, is revising the standards for Texas landfills. It's time the state stopped allowing expansions over old, unlined landfills and required the double lining of all landfills with leak detection systems between the liners, as Pennsylvania and other states require. Underground storage tanks for chemicals and gasoline have these sorts of systems, and so should landfills.
For more details on better health and safety standards for landfills and other trash facilities, go to www.texasenvironment.org.
Executive director, Texas Campaign for the Environment
Simply Not the Best
It's a rip-off: You have published an article under Best of Houston 2005: Goods & Services [September 29] saying that Archer Volkswagen offers the Best Service from a Car Dealer in town.
I am sorry to say that that is not true. I purchased a vehicle from Archer VW four years back. I am happy with the vehicle (German cars are the best) but very much disappointed with the service.
It is frustrating to deal with the service department. It's a rip-off.
I've filed two cases against Archer VW in the last four months with VW customer care. I thought it my responsibility to let my fellow readers know the truth.
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"Speed Racers" (by Ray Hafner, October 20) misstated the model of instructor Louis Spahni's bike. It is a Honda CBR 954.
The Houston Press regrets the error.