The Naked Truth
Montgomery County news flash: The article about Montgomery County and the "cover-up" of Michelangelo's David, removal of paintings with nudes portrayed, removal of books from libraries and the banning of the class T-shirts ["(Cl)ass Warfare," by Beth Gullett, December 5] was referenced in the Nudist News this week.
As a longtime nudist, it never ceases to amaze me the misconceptions people have about nudism, nudists and the human body in this country (and how prevalent and accepted it is in European countries).
But when I read something like this article -- the covering up of one of art's acknowledged masterpieces -- I can find only disgust for those so shallow as to initiate such nonsense, and pity for those who blindly follow or don't have the good sense and courage to stop the nonsense from happening.
One would hope that minds would never be so small or prejudices so great as to allow such things to happen in this day and age. I hope that common sense and reason ultimately prevail.
Advise and consent: I am on the board of directors of Mainstream Montgomery County, which was mentioned in your article by Beth Gullett, and I just want to write and express my admiration for the article. I agree with her conclusions, but I must point out a small error: It was a committee of librarians rather than Commissioners Court that returned the books to the shelves.
Commissioners Court (specifically, Judge Sadler) began this controversy by summarily removing the books. There is now a committee of five citizens appointed by the commissioners to "advise" the existing committee of five librarians who are responsible for deciding these matters. It has no power whatsoever to affect policy except as assistants to the librarians. The decision-making power is still in the hands of our hired professionals, the librarians.
We are not privy to the votes of the citizens committee because Commissioners Court stipulated that the committee would be advisory only, in order that their deliberations would not be legally required to be open to public examination.
So, you see, Judge Sadler's Commissioners Court has succeeded only in adding an unnecessary and functionless level of bureaucracy to a system that worked fine before they saw fit to meddle with it.
The Reverend Ross H. Henry
TAKS critic: I am so proud that the Press started writing about the Republican agenda of TAKS ["Wake-Up Call," by Margaret Downing, November 28]. The TAAS test helped get President Bush into the White House even though each year the bar was lowered behind closed doors. The state has known that the TAKS test was going to be lower and has informed the school districts for the last couple of years that one in five students will pass the test.
No test should be developed with failure as a goal. The government wants public schools to fail this test so a voucher system can be implemented. It's a lot easier to get that system implemented when 80 percent are failing rather than 11 percent.
We should thank every voter who placed these politicians in office for destroying our public education system. The TAKS is leading Texas backward, and the population should rise up and ask why our children are headed for failure no matter what they're taught. This is wrong. Give the children a chance and maybe many of our learning problems will be solved.
Gays and religion: I was most dismayed that you would pick Joel Osteen as best religious leader [Best of Houston issue, September 26], in light of the feature you wrote on him and his church earlier this year ["Power House," by Jennifer Mathieu, April 4].
The article noted that he does not "condone" homosexuality and sees it as a sin. Notwithstanding the blatantly obvious flaws in this belief (such as, how does anyone condone something that is beyond the realm of control or choice because of its biological nature and, therefore, makes our "approval" or "disapproval" a moot point?), I fail to see how anyone could be considered a leader when he continues to hang on to such antiquated beliefs and value systems that make no sense and are harmful to others.
Osteen and his ilk are no leaders, religious or otherwise, unless you count their power to lead the ignorant and misinformed into more discriminatory, violent behavior against gays and lesbians by trumpeting this nonsense. You can do (and have done) better than this, Houston Press. It's time to print a retraction and chalk up your choice of him to poor judgment on your part.
Joel's a real joy: This is a great informational article. I enjoy Pastor Joel Osteen, and he is my favorite TV minister. I wait up late at night just to see him. He surely is God's gift to humanity.
What is most admirable about his ministry is that he doesn't ask for money as most of his so-called equals on TV. He spends almost every minute of his broadcast time preaching and, most touching, leading people to Christ. Most of the other preachers spend the final ten minutes begging or trying to convince their viewing audience to purchase their products, which in my mind is despicable.
Most of them are selling Jesus, but Pastor Osteen gives the people the good news freely, just as Jesus did. He is truly a channel of blessings. Keep up the good work.
Rosemary H. Ganpot
Brooklyn, New York
Extra Innings at Rogers
School parents care: I feel compelled to respond to Ms. Kohlhausen's baffling letter [Letters, December 5] regarding the Post Oak Little League ball fields ["Power Plays," by Margaret Downing, October 24]. I am a resident of Tanglewood and the parent of two children at T.H. Rogers School. My children have several classmates who are residents of Tanglewood or Briargrove, so there is already a significant neighborhood component to the students at Rogers. My son has shown no interest in playing baseball, and I imagine he would continue this disinterest even if Rogers were our neighborhood school, which shoots down Ms. Kohlhausen's theory. And as I understand the Post Oak Little League serves only boys, I'm not sure where my daughter fits into Ms. Kohlhausen's ideas.
We are aware that our neighborhood schools are overcrowded, but I have no idea where she gets the idea that Rogers has outgrown its facilities. The Vanguard component at Rogers has the luxury of limiting its enrollment, unlike neighborhood schools, and the programs for the impaired have more or less constant enrollment numbers.
Even if Rogers were a neighborhood school, I doubt it would have any significant impact on the Post Oak Little League membership, as Ms. Kohlhausen asserts, since the majority of POLL players either are enrolled in private schools or are zoned to Spring Branch schools.
And I am happy to reassure Ms. Kohlhausen that I am unaware of any Rogers parent who doesn't care about the after-school activities of our children -- her children as well as mine. We are looking forward to sharing our land -- made safe, accessible and multifunctional -- with the Post Oak Little League, the Post Oak YMCA and the neighborhood at large.
Keep Rogers viable: Although letter writer Donna Kohlhausen raises some interesting points, I must say that I could not disagree with her more on each of the issues she addresses. Furthermore, the letter is reminiscent of recent comments made by board member Jeff Shadwick.
Ms. Kohlhausen seems to believe that children at T.H. Rogers should pay a price for attending a school to which they are not zoned. As a pediatrician and advocate for children, I strongly disagree with and am disappointed by such an attitude. The three populations of children (gifted and talented, deaf and multiply impaired) at Rogers deserve to have adequate facilities that will allow them to develop their academic, social and physical abilities. These children should not be denied what they need to learn because of a relationship between POLL and HISD that predates all of them.
Ms. Kohlhausen suggests that this would not be an issue if Rogers were a neighborhood school and the majority of the students were POLL players. However, this is an unlikely scenario because more than half of the POLL children attend private schools and over 15 percent are zoned to Spring Branch ISD. A recent study showed that the school has not outgrown its facilities. Over the past 20 years POLL and PONY with good intentions have made substantial improvements to the fields. Unfortunately, the current configuration of the fields limits their safe use by the students at Rogers. This is HISD property, and despite the comments by Jeff Shadwick, the school must remain in its present location.
I empathize with Ms. Kohlhausen concerning the dog waste problem at River Oaks. However, I would rather deal with dog pee than some of the safety issues that we are confronted with daily when attempting to use the POLL and PONY fields.
Rogers is one of HISD's highest-rated and most successful programs. I hope that Ms. Kohlhausen will get her facts straight and understand the position of the Rogers parents. We welcome the opportunity to share information about the unmet educational and after-school needs of the Rogers students with POLL parents.
Jesus G. Vallejo
All That Jazz
The sax that sux: Regarding jazz lite, while I miss the good old days when Houston had a real 24-hour jazz station (which KUHF was before it defended its format change with the silly analysis that more people listen to classical music during the day than listen to jazz at midnight), I'd rather hear Anita Baker and Bob James than Waylon 'n Willie and the boys [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, November 14 and December 5].
And when I hear that monotonous saxophonist, I just change the station. And as for KTSU being a jazz station, how can you have a jazz station that ignores piano jazz? I once tracked their songs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a week. They played more songs featuring a flute (two) than a piano (one)!
KTSU's slogan should be "Jazz in all its colors, as long as it has a horn or some rap in it."
Racket defense: Saw it coming, but I figgered you could handle it. You did. I'm with you, boy (or Jethro, or Bubba, or whatever handle you're aliasing under out in Montgomery Heights these days as you slop the hogs and screw your cousin).
Good shit, man. Keep it comin' and give 'em hell. I gotta go search for my Boz Skaggs Silk Degrees.
Yee haw, y'all.
Round up the posse: I just read the letters bitching about the demise of KIKK-FM. I have this one retort: IT'S JUST A RADIO STATION -- GET OVER IT!
Thanks for letting me get that off my mind.
Please do not print my name; if those kooks are willing to start a petition to "save country music in Houston," they'll probably want to hurt me for pointing out their silliness.
Name withheld by request
Behind the Times
Record Rack lack: Bruce can complain about CD burners all he wants, but the fact is the Record Rack has sucked for years [Racket, by John Nova Lomax, November 21]. Bruce should have concentrated on import records and hard-to-find albums. Instead he chose to have 18,000 Pet Shop Boys remixes and every crappy dance/club CD imaginable. You can buy those at any Soundwaves or Wherehouse Music.
I bought an import CD there a few years ago. I scratched it and went back to buy a new one. He said they had one copy, but they'd sold it. Now I would think a smart businessman could figure out that if he sold one, he should order another one. He also says there is no Cult or Pearl Jam. Thank God! Like Numbers, that is just plain played out. Move to the future!
Good-bye to a good shop: I had to say farewell to Houston's only good record store. I can't believe the guys are closing.
I only have to say he was right about the downloading. I mean, I would download stuff only once in a while, to see if it was good, so I could go to the Record Rack and buy it (if I liked it).
I disagree with massive downloading, though. They should allow people to download only half the song, or maybe allow it for new bands trying to get recognition.
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Well, I wish those guys at the Record Rack the best. I've been buying stuff from them since 1993 and slamming dance floors in clubs such as Picasso, Vinyle, Valentino's, 804 and Delicious.
I went to R&R and saw a guy spinning some stuff on a laptop (sitting down) and the crowd was going wild. It really freaked me out. The downtown scene is stuck with DJs who spin only CDs. I can also spin with CDs, but they aggravate the hell out of me. So I'm out of a job as well.
I hate to see the other shops go, too. Hang in there.
Tim (DJ Alibi) Dobesh