Gutless Politicians

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Gutless Politicians

Stop the floods: It is time to change the City of Houston's rules and be proactive ["Out of Control," by Brian Wallstin, December 20]. Should we surpass the federal requirement, if the federal requirement is inadequate to Houston's needs? Maybe we should force additional cost on developing in the floodplain to discourage it.

The city should require not a compensating mitigation but a beneficial impact. Maybe we should require twice-the- volume mitigation. All this is within our reach, but there is no politician in Houston who has the guts to stir those waters.

I am a Timbergrove resident, and I believe there should be a watershed management plan that is enforceable, that is proactive and that reduces the damaging effects of the flooding to which we will always be prone.

I am glad to see that Bruce Tatro has finally seen the light. Especially after he has seen that Albertson's and Baxter's City Park TIRZ has not followed through on its promises. This was predicted before the TIRZ was even approved by City Council. Now the folly of the shortsightedness of that vote is dealt with in hindsight.

Mark Janzer

Med Center Madness?

This is not a test: "Bayou City Body Snatchers" [by Debbie Nathan, November 1] is a good story. I worked at both Baylor and M.D. Anderson in the 1960s. Evil things happened there, and as the French say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Texas Medical Center can be a dangerous place.

In the mid-1980s I suspect I was, unbeknownst to me, used in an experiment at Baylor/Methodist, or some-thing went wrong when they were doing tests on me. That's because shortly after the tests, I received a cheery phone call from a "researcher" saying Baylor wanted to give me a free echocardiogram.

Several people intently watched the echocardiogram as though they were expecting to find something. It was a strange experience, and then they told me the test was normal and thanked me for coming in. Odd, no? It is a good plan to stay away from the Medical Center and get your health care elsewhere.

Name withheld by request

Cover Convicts

Golden words: My husband and I especially enjoyed the article "All That Glitters…," by Brian Wallstin [December 20]. Your newspaper is so refreshing and always presents all sides.

Please continue to write articles relating to prisons and inmates. In-mates are part of society, and they have it very rough.

God bless you.

Billie Burt

Force of Hobbit

Jackson's whole: I am quite used to the low quality of journalistic writing in general and understand that many writers at the Houston Press are quite accomplished at directing their work toward specific target audiences with varying effect. While I agree with much of the substance of Gregory Weinkauf's review of The Lord of the Rings ["In the Baggins," December 20], his inane prattle about Peter Jackson's film interpretation is off on a few factual points. Weinkauf's assertion that there are logical lapses is overblown. There are not "helpful eagles," only one: Gwaihir the Windlord. Further, Gollum doesn't slip through an "impassable landslide," he meets up with the Fellowship at the West Gate of Moria and enters when they do in typical stealthy fashion.

Where are the editors these days? The English language is drowning under the waves of nonsense terms like "vertically challenged" -- say what you mean, man! Short is short. Hobbits are small, not just short, which addresses why Jackson did not use shorter actors. He felt it important to maintain the proportional aesthetic ethos of Tolkien's world. Why not use child actors with makeup? It does not work as convincingly.

Jackson and his cast and crew have done a remarkable job with a difficult (well nigh impossible) work, and in a manner that is far more faithful to the spirit of Tolkien's work (despite obvious liberal deviations) than Ralph Bakshi's admirable attempt. As W.H. Auden said of the book(s), you either like it or you don't, and that seems true of Jackson's adaptation. Just think: In ten years or so there will be a cable miniseries "remake" that is even more faithful to Tolkien -- I'm sure he's rolling in his grave in expectation.

J.K. Shepler

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