A cover-up: Regarding the article "Penal Violations" in the September 21 edition of the Houston Press [by Craig Malisow], I want to commend your front page exposure brought to the public on life in a Texas penitentiary. Many rack locations I visited through the week had literally covered up your cover's condom (looking a bit used and filled with something, I might add) with some piece of paper or other news publication so as to hide the used rubber from public view. It is truly sad and horrendous how little we know about Texas prisons, and how the refusal to supply rubbers, and resulting systematic contraction of HIV, is but one small piece of a frightening contradiction, which is: No rehabilitation takes place in Texas prisons, Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice policy statements notwithstanding. Is this the 1950s?
Progress pending: Your article was right on. Senator Rodney Ellis and Representative Yvonne Davis did an excellent job moving prison HIV policy forward. I filed HB2057 79(R), a bill to allow outside groups to distribute condoms in Texas prisons. Unfortunately, after the committee hearing, the bill was left pending. I plan to re-file the bill in the 80th R session armed with the information from your story and studies conducted on pre-test and post-test data from other states. I also plan to work with Ellis and others to make sure an entry test is in place. We have made some progress. We need to make more.
Garnet F. Coleman
State Representative District 147
Committees: Public Health, County Affairs
Outside assistance: It is unrealistic to think there will not be sexual encounters in prison. The Texas Prison System is sending out men infected with HIV who on the outside are "straight" and who have wives and girlfriends. They aren't going to tell these women they had sex in prison. The women are going to become infected without any knowledge of what kind of chance they are taking. I think it would be a lot safer for the public outside of the prisons if the condoms were provided, just in case someone who is told not to have sex disobeys the order. Better safe than sorry.
Official disagreement: Some things seem either skewed or glossed over in this review ["Top Tacos," by Robb Walsh, September 21]. I am not talking about Walsh's facts, but mostly about the "explanation" given to him by the health department official about the vertical roasters. I am a Lebanese man and have eaten shawarma (doner) all my life, both in Beirut and here in Houston. Let me assure you, the meat on those grills is not already cooked, it is raw. Just visit Fadi's on Westheimer and see for yourself. As usual, I think the average Joe is more informed about food than your top health official.
Also, please do not lump shawarma in with the Greek gyro meat. Greek gyro meat (which I also doubt is cooked before being placed on the vertical roaster, but I do not know for sure) is ground lamb. Shawarma or doner, on the other hand, is not ground. It is made from whole chunks of beef or chicken and sliced thin, much like tacos al pastor.
Wine at the Wall
His doing: I wanted to thank Robb Walsh for the wonderful article on our restaurant, Glass Wall ["Catch the Wave," September 28]. The only thing I wanted to mention was that while Lance Fegan handles all the food and designs the culinary menus, I actually design and implement our boutique wine program. I select, taste, purchase and pair every wine in the restaurant. The balance between Lance's food and my wine list creates a great synergy that seems to be a hit with most Houstonians. The Dr. Frank Riesling was a favorite of mine growing up in New York. I have been enjoying and selling wine for 20 years in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Houston is now my home, and I am proud to have partnered with Lance on this restaurant.
Tales from the script: In response to your "capsule" review of The Dying Gaul [by D. L. Groover, August 31], I thought of some taglines to go with it: "All Dying, No Gaul" or "The Dying Gaul Needs Oxygen" or "Die Already, Gaul." I understand a review (even a capsule review) is just that, an opinion. Being an actor for ten years (on and off), I realize that reviews, good or bad, mean nothing. One man's pork chop is another man's steak. But I actually agree with the majority of your statements, especially your ending that "it was typed, not written." Exactly! That's how the script was writtenÉin type. The majority of the play happens in a chat room. There wasn't any space to put a dance number in there. I understand your hating the script; Jesus, I had to read five times before I understood it, but that's what actors/directors do. They take a challenging script such as this and try to tell a story. In that, we succeeded. I am never one to suppress anyone's opinions or, for that fact, tell them they are wrong. All I ask is, if you hate the script, then say, "I hated the script."