Down on politics: Thank you for your informative article ["Showdown at the Shore," by Richard Connelly, July 18]. I've been a resident of Clear Lake Shores since August 1989. Since that time, it's changed from a small rural neighborhood/town to a small suburban neighborhood/town.
It's still a great place to live and raise children, but lately I've had thoughts of selling and moving because of the state of its politics. I hate to think of how things might be if our area were struck by a hurricane or any other disaster.
I still think of the folks living in Kemah as my friends and neighbors and believe the majority of my neighbors feel the same way, but the politics are getting out of hand. I have great respect for Mayor Guthrie, and have faith and hope that he is working to set aside his personal feelings about Mayor King and that they both will put their cities first and work this out.
Clear Lake Shores
Driving Us Nuts
Valet victim: Regarding your article on the Spy club noise ["Facing the Music," by George Flynn, June 20], I have a comment on a related downtown issue.
It seems that despite the City Council ordinance blocking valet operators from reserving public metered parking spaces, the practice continues. They are clearly working in conjunction with the off-duty officer that the club hires.
I parked in a public metered space, and the valet guy told me that I couldn't park there. I asked why. I pay taxes! The cop came over and told me to move my car, that the space was reserved for valet. I was outraged and asked him why. His comment: "Don't question my authority."
City Council and HPD need to be more effective and professional.
Max out with IMAX: I wanted to say a hearty thanks for the free IMAX coupon in your paper. I've been wanting to go there, and you made it so easy. The show was awesome. I'll certainly be going back, and I'll continue, as I have for more than ten years, to read my only local paper, the Houston Press.
No respect: From my experience and my limited English, I think the entire article ["The Gong Show," by Wendy Grossman, July 11] has a somewhat disrespectful tone. Jason is a good gentleman and he is a physical scientist, too. He got his Ph.D. last year. He is a smart guy, not a crazy person.
Some parts of it will unfairly mislead people about our teacher, too. Li Hongzhi is an honorable, highly compassionate person who always thinks of others first and foremost. Perhaps you did not hear that he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice.
That nomination came because his principles present higher standards for human peace, because practitioners exhibit outstandingly peaceful attitudes and actions, and because he and practitioners guard freedoms of speech, assembly and belief in China. Supporting them would be a tremendous boost for guarding basic human rights in China and the rest of the world.
Distortions: Your article distorted facts and misled the readers, since the author quoted many words from the Chinese government and added some from her own imagination.
The Chinese Communist Party is the biggest dictatorship in the world, and it is characterized by falsehoods, evilness, brutality, and uses propaganda to control people and spread rumors around the world. The author quoted fabricated words from the Chinese government, which is equivalent to repeating those lies in this Western democratic country. This seriously distorted the truth about Falun Gong and damaged its reputation.
Practicing Falun Gong helped me recover from a stomach ailment and breast cancer. More important, I changed from a selfish person to one who really considers others before myself. I became younger and prettier.
Falun Gong practitioners have been using nonviolent ways to clarify the truth of the persecution by the Chinese government. As one of those doing the exercises in front of the Chinese consulate, I am ensuring that Chinese President Jiang's antihumanity activity will be punished.
Feng Wang Goins
On the mark: Good job as usual. This is exactly the reason why I read the Press: well-researched, well-composed and well-presented articles.
The obvious reason the Chinese government so heinously treats Falun Gong followers is that free thinking in a totalitarian regime is the antithesis of its existence. It has never supported human rights, nor has it been held accountable for its actions, as evidenced by granting the Republic of China the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.
American corporations lust after the market of more than one billion people, the U.S. government generally turns a blind eye, and Chinese citizens suffer.
However, I was heartened to see, by coincidence, that a resolution has been initiated in the U.S. House of Representatives to oppose the human rights abuses against Falun Gong.
It would be nice to see a follow-up article on this in the future -- hopefully with a positive resolution.
Sane practice: As a Falun Gong practitioner, I'm deeply hurt and upset by your feature. It seriously distorts facts about Falun Gong and is misleading to readers. The tone sounds like mockery. When Jason Wang and other Falun Gong practitioners are being brutally persecuted and are in miserable situations, we do not see compassion in this article. Should a good person who is trying his best to help those who are mistreated and in dangerous situations be described in such a way?
This article frequently quoted the words of the Chinese government and the Chinese consulate, which are channels for spreading vicious slanders of Falun Gong.
The author made some statements without giving any reference, which would mislead readers to falsely think they are undoubtedly true. Our teacher never demands, forces or forbids anyone to do anything. He teaches us the exercises of Falun Gong and tells us how to be a better person.
Falun Gong is neither religion nor something mysterious or strange, and practitioners lead a normal life. The only difference between us and others is that we spend some of our spare time doing the exercise and applying the principle of Truth, Compassion and Forbearance to our daily lives to become better and better people.
Pressure the politicians: Thanks for writing the article about Jason and what he might expect if he's sent back to China. This is a good example of communist oppression of the human spirit, a spirit that always yearns to be free no matter where it manifests.
Yeah, their practice seems a bit strange, but obviously dangerous to the Chinese communists if Falun Gong practice facilitates even one iota of awareness of self -- the enemy of any groupthink system. Since we seem addicted to the cheap products from China and determined to have a relationship, folks, let's at least put some pressure on our bums in both parties to spare Yongsheng "Jason" Wang and his family certain death by these Chinese communist bastards.
All in the Family
Bitter review: In Kelly Klaasmeyer's piece on Lawndale's "Big Show" ["The Biggest and the Baddest," July 18], she observes more than once that many of the spectators appeared to be relatives of the artists involved. Her comment about artists' families, linked as it is to her conclusion about how the show "makes us look like a bunch of earnest but untalented hobbyists," is sharply revealing, not of the quality of the artwork she reviewed but of Klaasmeyer's own petty mind-set.
So what if Mom and Pop take the usual pride in Bubba's or Sissy's fledgling accomplishment? To Klaasmeyer, family pride is evidence that the artist is not a real artist. To her, you can't be a real artist until you either reject your own family or are rejected by them, as if alienation from family were a sure sign of artistic maturity and sophistication.
She seems to think that if she can awaken in "us" a fear of being labeled provincial, then all of "us" will be cowed into toadying along with her mean-spirited review. But the most refined examples of provinciality are those who would worry along with Klaasmeyer about how this "makes us look."
Her sarcastic critique seems gratuitously brutal given that even she acknowledges the artists' earnestness. Her bitter metaphors (e.g., "visual stench") would serve better to stoke some personal vindictiveness than to enlighten the art-viewing public.
Her comments cannot be justified as falling within the fair gamut of art criticism. They destroy Klaasmeyer's credibility as a critic and make it seem that sour grapes flavored her review.
I am one of those irksome family members whose attendance Klaasmeyer found so embarrassing. Now it probably irks her even more that she missed her chance to make that artist a particular subject in her review. Well, Kelly, there's always next year.
Kelly got it right: I just read Kelly Klaasmeyer's review of Lawndale's "Big Show." Ouch -- but true. I really appreciate her articulating exactly what many of us were talking about the night of the opening.
I guess there is little the good judge didn't like. Too bad for this year's showcase. I'll keep my fingers crossed for next year.
Tube steak stakes: I generally agree with Robb Walsh's reviews, but his "Dog Days" [July 18] really has me wondering if everyone knows who they are serving, or is he just really lucky?
Yes, I'm a 20-year Chicago transplant. Of course, the first thing I get when I arrive back home is a Vienna Beef Chicago dog, Polish sausage and a Hielman's Old Style beer. If I'm really starved, I add an Italian beef combo to it.
My last trip to James Coney Island for a hot beef injection was so bad that I contacted not only JCI but Vienna Beef as well. The jumbo I had was so overcooked I could not believe it was a Vienna.
I spoke with the local Vienna rep. He clued me in on having mentioned to JCI several times that they were overcooking the product.
Sure, I got a coupon for a free meal. On that trip to a different location, it seemed like a prankster had loosened the lid on the celery salt. Needless to say, JCI has some pretty bad quality control on its take of a Chicago dog.
The last place I ate Chicagos that were good in Houston was Big Frank's, which has been gone for a couple of years.
Mark J. Wills
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Fem fighter: I really appreciate your article on Kittie [Playbill, by Paul Friswold, July 18], and I'm surprised at your reaction to chick bands. I'm the lead singer/guitarist for local band deep six (www.deep6.net), and believe me, I hear the same thing every time we play: either "Man, that's badass for a chick" or "You sound like Phil from Pantera."
I wish people would stop genderizing music. If it kicks ass, it kicks ass, right? Does it matter what your genitals look like (unless they're completely repulsive, then you might not want to mention them)? But the next time someone sees us play and says, "Man, she's badass for a chick," I'm gonna punch them in the face. I've been playing guitar for eight years. Kiss my ass!
Thanks for letting me vent.