Online readers comment on "The Twitterverse," by Craig Hlavaty, May 20:
Great article and outstanding research: I learned a bunch. Wouldn't Leona Helmsley just spin nonstop in her grave if she knew the "little people" had access to all this knowledge and all these networks via Twitter. I really appreciated the reference to the "snooty" group who early on wanted Tweets to be relevant, the say-something-profound-or-be-gone group. Those same people were around last century when the telephone first made an appearance. Nobody wanted to obey back then either. Good!
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Good job: This is extremely well researched and one of the better perspectives on Twitter's impact on our lives and business. Thanks for writing it.
Ring, ring: I think that it's the phone manufacturers who absolutely dream of a phenomenon like this. Why else would people need such über-equipped phones other than to connect themselves to society about what they're eating, dreaming or pooping?
Interesting indeed: I've never Tweeted, Facebooked, MySpaced or any of that bullshit, but this article is pretty fascinating. It seems that Twitter is split between those who are actually informative versus other folks who send shit out like "N tHe BthRUm."
That was long: I'm used to reading 140-character blurbs.
The Homeless Question
Online readers respond to "Are the Homeless Ruining Midtown?" Hair Balls blog, by Richard Connelly, May 25:
One solution: Hand out leaflets with a map to Washington Avenue?
Getting it straight: Prior to development, the Midtown area was always a transient, seedy area due to the bus station, homeless shelters and homeless services in the area. So you decide to build your home, set up your business in an area that has had that undesirable element prior to you being there, and you want them to leave so you can feel comfortable? I guess that is the American way. Please tell me where the homeless reservation will be once you get your way.
Cop out: Call the police on every single one. I did this while living in my Montrose home and pretty soon beggars avoided the neighborhood.
No patience: The homeless reservation is at Hermann Park. Have you ever been there early on Saturday or Sunday? It looks like a large campground without the tents. At some point, the city will have to do something because the homeless bums will lower property values and tax revenue will decrease. That should get the city's attention. I, for one, have no patience with these beggars. I should have the right to go out without being harassed for money. These bums do not just ask — they get very aggressive.
No quick solution: Everybody just needs to relax and deal with the ups and downs of living in a free society. We have free speech in this country, so sometimes someone might ask you, "Buddy, can you spare a buck?"
The entry hints at aggression and harassment, but simply asking for change is neither. I am asked on the street for change every day because of where I live, and "no" always turns them away. I don't have to explain how I don't have any change, or that I only use my check card, or tell any other lies. I just say no, and they move on.
If something rises from merely asking for change to criminal activity, obviously the police should be contacted. It's just hilarious to me, though, to see people with a warm place to sleep acting like suffering victims because someone below them dared to speak to them.
It sounds to me like homeless are being used as a convenient excuse for bars that aren't turning the profit that they once did. The homeless have been in downtown and Midtown for years, and I don't think there is a quick solution to the issue.
Not So Attractive
Online readers comment on "The Five Most Overrated Houston Attractions," Hair Balls blog, by Richard Connelly, May 26:
Defending the museum: I've been to several children's museums around the country, and the one in Houston is quite amazing. Go during off hours (I'm not going to tell you when they are because then you'll find me there) to beat the herds and germs. As far as all the other stuff...it's better than sitting in front of the TV.
An eyesore: I couldn't agree with you more on the "Downtown Aquarium." It's a tourist trap in the purest sense of the word. It's also a fucking eyesore. I am not a fan of anything Tilman Fertitta does, because it's always trashy. He has ruined our skyline with that ridiculous, half-lit, neon Ferris Wheel. Fertitta is single-handedly ruining Houston and the Gulf Coast. He is the British Petroleum of restaurateurs.
New and improved: The Children's Museum doesn't belong on this list at all. The improvements they made a year ago are awesome. The Kemah Boardwalk should be on this list.
Haterade: Okay, so maybe you are right with a lot of these. But there are way better attractions out there. And even so, you really are just a hater. Houston has so much culture that isn't easily seen.
Ohhh: I recently moved here from Seattle. I saw the "Downtown Aquarium," and I went. Paid something like $25 for a "wristband" thinking I was going to an aquarium. Yeah, not so much. And I have warned everyone since.
Less space: Targeting Space Center Houston is rather appropriate. Back in the '80s, my dad took me to NASA so I could film the place with this giant VCR camera strapped to my shoulder. It was for a social studies project, I think. We drove around anywhere we wanted, parked next to the rockets and walked into the front of the place like we were there to meet someone. Of course, we weren't, and the moment we told some random employee what we were doing, he volunteered to answer questions, gave me literature and walked me over to film some exhibits in the lobby area, like a mock lunar rover and a used space capsule. But today, people go to Space Center Houston and get a history lesson in Star Wars and Buzz Lightyear, with a red sniper beam on their forehead if they walk off the roped path.
Behind the Wall: I totally agree with four of your five choices. But I have to say that the Water Wall is a very pleasant location — if you can find parking, that is — and it is free. So there is no exploitation here, not even any nearby concessions.
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