Baseball on the Brain
Online readers comment on "Sharp-Dressed Fans," by Richard Connelly, March 25:
Hooked for life: All it took was my dad driving around the outside of old Buff Stadium (or Busch Stadium, whatever it was called then) around 1959 or 1960, I believe, and I was hooked on baseball for life. Oh, and I also became a lifelong-suffering Colt .45s and Astros fan. Billy Gibbons's writing style is very cool, just like his music.
Look forward: This must be the worst start to an Astros article ever. Richard Connelly's credentials should be of concern. There was no research into this year's team. Sure, the Astros were pretty much irrelevant for most of the season, but that was last year. If you haven't noticed, they're kicking ass in the preseason. I welcome the new lineup and coaches who aren't afraid to make changes.
Great story: I share a few of these memories. One of my earliest memories was a 12- or 15-inning game in the Dome against the Cubs. My dad and I went last minute and got some dugout seats. Kevin Bass won the game for us, so it was all worth it. I just wish more fans would watch the game when they go and not show up in the third inning and talk about work the whole time.
Online readers comment on "Ohio Barbecue," by Robb Walsh, March 25:
Sad: Here in the Carolinas, the Southern Pride is almost universal, too, and you can just about count the old-fashioned log burners on one hand. A new barbecue joint pops up in Charleston about once a month, but sadly the great majority are cut from the same cloth as Bobbie Que's.
Well, I'm stunned: I don't even know what to say. Liquid smoke...chipped ham...what is that? I'd like to say that I know what barbecue is, but it's all subjective in the end. My favorite place is my house during fight night, with a couple of briskets smoked for 17 hours and a pile of ribs to boot. Just takes time — who ain't got that?
Nate the Snake
Great article: I agree that you can call anything barbecue, but that doesn't mean it tastes good. It is funny that the Ohio guy knows that smoke tastes good with barbecue, but just doesn't want to put the flavor in the meat the old-fashioned way. Good barbecue can never be mass-produced, because of the skill level and experience that you have to have to be a pit master.
Me too: Like you, I went to Bobbie's after not being able to park at Thelma's. I had the ribs. Yes, they were tender and the sauce was excellent. But not Texas barbecue.
Hey, Robb: I didn't realize you grew up in Pittsburgh — me too. I almost lost my lunch when you dredged up the memory of those barbecue sandwiches made with chipped ham and barbecue sauce (on a Towntalk hamburger bun, of course) that my family makes, too.
Online readers comment on "We're No. 1! (In Executions)," Hair Balls blog, by Margaret Downing, March 26:
This is crazy: It's crazy and hypocritical. "You killed someone, so guess what? I'm gonna kill you, and it's perfectly okay, because we're the government!"
It isn't going to bring the victim back. It isn't going to really help the victim's family. It isn't going to make us feel better or change our lives. It's going to hurt another family — the murderer's family (believe it or not, the families are usually nice people). And it's not going to stop other people from killing. But we'll do it anyway. We gotta get payback! Pathetic.
I'm a Texan, and I'm against the death penalty. Not all of us are bloodthirsty, hypocritical, insensitive people.
Broken system: Let me preface this by saying that I am not soft on crime at all. But is it a good thing for Texas to boast about being the No. 1 place for executions? Don't give me a bunch of junk about liberalism. I served on a capital murder jury for seven weeks and, yes, he got the death penalty. This was a 15-year-old kid who was tried as an adult.
The problem is that the criminal justice system is broken. Until someone can give me a foolproof way to know 100 percent the guilt or innocence of a defendant, then neither Texas nor any other state should be in the execution business. And Texas certainly shouldn't be so proud of it! A "reasonable doubt" just isn't good enough. What one juror deems reasonable isn't necessarily reasonable to another, and the potential for human error is too great. The courts are jammed with too many cases, and they are pushed through with assembly-line speed — unless, of course, you have deep pockets and can afford the best defense money can buy.
Mr. Fair and Equal to All
Houston Press and its writers do well in national, regional awards
Three Houston Press stories have been named finalists in the annual national Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Awards.
Press staff writer Chris Vogel was nominated twice in the local circulation weeklies division, for "For Their Own Good," a story about juvenile criminals held in isolation for up to 23 hours per day, ostensibly for their own protection, and for "A Quiet Hell," his investigation into how lax enforcement by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has led to the continued release of airborne toxins along the Houston Ship Channel.
Paul Knight, another Press staff writer, was named an IRE finalist for writing the first article to raise questions about unintended acceleration in the Toyota Prius.
In the same contest, KHOU-TV (Channel 11) won an IRE medal, the top award, for its investigative one-hour special "Under Fire: Discrimination and Corruption in the Texas National Guard."
Vogel was also named a finalist in the Public Service category of the regional (West of the Mississippi) Maggie Awards for "A Quiet Hell." The Maggies are sponsored by the Western Publishing Association.
The Press itself is a finalist in the Maggies contest for best newspaper, and its Hair Balls blog (houstonpress.com) is a finalist in the Best Web or Digital category. Winners of the Maggies will be announced in early May.
The Press's food blog, Eating...Our Words, headed up by Robb Walsh, our former staff food writer, was named a finalist in the blog category of this year's Bert Greene Awards For Food Journalism. Winners will be announced on April 22.
And Walsh is a finalist in another national contest, in the Multimedia Food Feature category of the prestigious James Beard Awards, for his feature "Not So Clear Cut" and the accompanying online coverage which appeared on the Eating...Our Words blog. Winners will be announced on May 2.