One Is Enough
While I wanted to thank you for the article on Kirk, I did want to clarify a minor point regarding his cancer so you didn't scare anyone. Kirk had only one testicle removed, not both. Testicular cancer that requires removal of both testicles is quite rare and most men function normally with just one. We have many friends who are testicular cancer survivors and all of them have sired at least two children post surgery and post chemotherapy.
In fact, we have a two year old named Cooper who is living proof -- and it wouldn't take a DNA test to figure our that Cooper is Kirk's son. All you have to do is see how short he is to see the relationship. Chemotherapy can make you infertile for two to three years after treatment and sometimes fertility does not return. Kirk, ever the over-acheiver, had his fertility return in only a year and a half. And I thought I was just going through early menopause.
Young men 15 to 35 are more susceptible to testicular cancer. It is a very curable cancer. However, early detection and treatment is crucial as in any cancer. Just as women should do monthly self breast exams, men should perform exams monthly on themselves. Any small, painless lumps, swelling, tenderness, or pain should send you to a urologist as quickly as possible. Sometimes adolescents are afraid or embarrassed to tell their parents if they're having a problem and even many men in their 20's are afraid to go to the doctor. Testicular cancer is detected with a very simple blood test. Cancer is nothing to be embarressed about. You can get free information on any cancer through the American Cancer Society hotline at 800/ACS-2345.
Liz McDaniel Watson
To the Editor:
When I read the article on the controversy in Deer Park ("Who's the Boss?" Vol.17, No.4), I was disturbed to find that Mr. Clark-Madison cited as one of his chief sources someone who was not only an employee of the Chronicle (David McNair, circulation manager) but also a member of the protest group with a definite axe to grind. An uncharitable person might stop right there and dismiss the story as a `plant.' I was willing to chalk it up to lax ethics and journalistic arrogance. This was followed up last week by a letter from the very same Mr. McNair congratulating the Chronicle for being so "balanced and insightful" in its coverage. The blatant slant of the story and the Chronicle's willingness to allow this obvious conflict of interest offends me and calls into question the objectivity of your other reporting.
As to Mr. McNair's assertions about the `polite' nature of the protest (not forgetting that he is one of the protestors), I'm sure that whoever threw the rocks through the windows of the K&B sales office did so in the most polite of fashions. Polite is an interesting choice of words to describe those protestors running alongside the cars of potential homebuyers and their families screaming things like "Don't buy here or you will be ostracized by your neighbors!"
Perhaps when the Chronicle sends a reporter to cover the trial he (she) can bring back some notes for the staff to study about judges and jurors excusing themselves from cases in which they have a vested interest.
[Politics editor Audrey Duff responds: One of the many sources whom Chronicle reporter Mike Clark-Madison cited in his Deer Park article was, indeed, David McNair, who is an employee of the Chronicle, as Clark-Madison clearly stated in the article's first reference to the individual. The Chronicle stands by the story's accuracy and fairness. However, we should not have printed McNair's letter, and for that we sincerely apologize.]
To the Editor:
Many thanks to Mike Clark-Madison for his insightful coverage of the sordid affairs of Kaufman & Broad in Deer Park ("Who's the Boss?" 9/26/97). If I may take this opportunity to point out two things: I serve on the owners' association board, not the neighborhood board; and more importantly, let it be known that I am no relation to Kent Hicks, K&B vice-president for Texas.
Hicks's claim that K&B "is only here to do the right thing" is a good example of the spin-doctoring that drives the K&B machine. It is also a good example of how ill-fitting K&B's "rape-and-pillage-for-profit" mentality is for Austin. As for his claim that we paid too much for our homes, I don't know a single Deer Park resident who feels that way. Not to mention that it has absolutely nothing to do with the issue. Yet another example of K&B's being completely clueless about this community they say they care so much about.
Finally, Hicks's much-reported scenario of some mythical K&B-invaded neighborhood in San Antonio that apologized on TV after "the truth came to light" has never been substantiated. I'd venture to guess that neighborhood -- if it actually exists -- finally caved in to the K&B bully tactics that Deer Park residents have been successfully combating for five months now. Rest assured that there will be no apology from this neighborhood. The truth has come to light, and it stinks.
Very truly yours,
Nancy Katapodis Hicks
In response to Glen Shield's letter ["Postmarks," Vol.17, No.5], I'd like to say that as a volunteer for Neighbors of Triangle Park, I too have spent several exhausting months fighting to protect my neighborhood. The impending "Triangle Square" development is a huge issue not only for the surrounding community but for all of Austin. That's because it can set a precedent for the use of the thousands of other acres of state land within the city. It's much larger than just a question of "a vacant lot near Hyde Park." While I can genuinely sympathize with your frustration as a community group trying to rally support for your cause, there is no need to belittle other people's efforts to do the same.
James A. Bednar
This Stuff's Made
in San Antonio!
Regarding Gerald E. McLeod's comment about San Antonio Tex-Mex food: Oh my goodness. Mr. McLeod, as a lifelong (31 years) resident of San Antonio, let me let you in on a commonly acknowledged local opinion that may elude foreigners from Northern parts. Rosarios is considered by not one San Antonio native as an exemplary Tex-Mex restuarant. Rosarios is a fine place to eat, the decor is great, but everyone down here knows that there are way too many Tex-Mex restuarants to pick one as The One. Your assertion that Tex-Mex food down here is merely "adequate" would be like saying that Austin is an okay place to see live music. Everyone knows that all Austin has going for it is its live music scene (and maybe overpriced Tex-Mex) just as everyone knows that San Antonio is, if not the best, at least one of the best cities in the state for authentic Tex-Mex.
And so, as a service to hungry southbound Austin-ites, let me do Mr McLeod's job for him and clue ya'll in on some eateries that may not provide much in the way of decor but deliver on the food. Blanco Cafe #1. Los Barrios. Las Palapas. Taqueria No Que No. Jacala Mexican Restuarant. Mi Tierra. La Margarita. And a myriad number of taco joints in the west and south sides of the city. These are just a few of the way too many to mention Tex-Mex places in San Antonio. Do yourself a favor and at least hit Blanco Cafe next time you're down here.
Don't Mess With Texas
The Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact (HR 629) is currently winding its way through Congress. Its approval is the last legal hurdle before Texas becomes the home of a permanent "low-level" nuclear dump. All Texans should oppose this measure for the following reasons:
First, the term "low-level" does not refer to the lethality of the material, just to its source. Although you are not permitted to discard exhausted fuel rods in a "low-level" dump, you can dispose of the cladding around them. In fact, any material that cannot be reprocessed into a bomb meets the legal definition of "low-level" waste. Everything in a decommissioned plant except the exhausted fuel itself is eligible, including the reactor core, the control rods, and all ancillary machinery. Items so hot they have to be dismantled by robots are classified as "low-level" nuclear waste.
Second, supporters claim that if Texas agrees to take waste from Maine and Vermont, Texas cannot be legally forced to take waste from the other 47 states. What they do not mention, however, is that Texas could form a compact with only one other state, both agreeing to handle their own radioactive rubbish as they best see fit, and enjoy the same protection from out-of-compact waste.
This alternative would also lessen the amount of radioactivity Texas is stuck with, and would eliminate all financial liability for out-of-state wastes. Additionally, this would protect small Texas communities from the inequity of having to bear the burden of radioactive waste produced in faraway places.
Lastly, while it is true that this dump will be used to store medical refuse, "gloves and booties," these materials do not constitute even token amounts. In fact, nuclear power plants are expected to contribute 99% of the dump's contents.
Ventura: Pious Mewler
Scribbling at 9AM:
Michael Ventura's Part I of Harry Smith's anthology was insightful and thought provoking in a very personal way for me. Part II throws this into political waters with a rude and irritating splash. I've heard lounge singers with or without a cause, Peter, Paul & Mary say politics is "natural" when it comes to folk music. I am, however, generationally out of whack with that era. I won't be listening to this anthology to dwell on the sins and stigma of those seeking meaning in the present from the past -- indeed it may require additional steps on the part of the listener. I am also uncertain whether Harry Smith and where he grew up should be a step to consider along the way. I will say first of all that we are truly obsessed with history, everyone -- whose, I just can't tell. Clearly, slavery and genocide are equal in "sin," but they did not shape our institutions. Rather, these were created on paper and by tradition, and given vertical support by iron and horizontally based in indiscriminate blood. The mythologies of the civil States war shaped the perception of our institutions but history of human beings is much more complex and profound than the symbolic stigmata carried by the way. I will for my own reasons listen to the anthology but Mr. Ventura, do please spare me the pious mewling about the "beloved American dream." This nation regarding or disregarding "ourselves and our posterity" will pass away and those Americans living will have no real need for the past. Though not being well versed in literary or cinematic surrealism I know in Luis Buñuel's memoirs, My Last Sigh, of the "sovereignty of the subconscious." To me, this means that however brutal, considerate, noble, lonely, or arrogant our dreams are, they belong to each of us. Each has a value in that we face it with courage -- and integrity! Whose great vision remains intact at the end matters to people (at the end!) but there shouldn't be a need to reassure for the regrets.
"Imagine there is no heaven..." and thanks for the music lead. Michael Ventura listens.
Thank you and all the wonderful people at The Austin Chronicle for selecting The Cowboy From Vienna as one of BoA 97. I really appreciate the recognition and having the photo on the cover of this special awards edition.
It was good to meet Kim Mellen, and her article about accordion dreams was fun to read and captured our reason for being on access television. Her sincere and friendly manner was a big help to me throughout the interview and I appreciate that. Bruce Dye, who took the cover photo, represented the Chronicle in a professional way and we are happy to see his excellent work on the cover.
To all our friends at The Austin Chronicle, we say thank you for all your kindness and great effort in making us feel welcome in the heart of Texas. I would like to thank Patti Moon for her encouragement and support. I am grateful.
From all of us in the Cowboy from Vienna family, we send our best wishes for everything good to each and everyone at The Austin Chronicle.
Way 2 Go!
I wanted to write a note thanking you for including Way 2 Cheap! Inc. on "The Best of Austin, '97" list. I was very excited the day I received your notice informing us of the listing and had to exercise great control to keep from telling anyone until the publication came out on the 26th.
Way 2 Cheap! Inc. was started in April '95 in South Austin and thanks to the loyalty and support of the people we have experienced great success. It is a pleasure to be recognized in a publication that has come to mean so much to those in this area.
I look forward to a continued relationship with your publication.
R. Chris Lott
President, Way 2 Cheap! Inc.
A Native Writes In
Dear Louis Black:
In early August, Clay Smith of your staff requested an interview with me regarding my novel, Confessions of a Polish Used Car Salesman, and my then-forthcoming reading at a Barnes & Noble in Austin. Clay assured my publicist the The Austin Chronicle would print a piece of at least 350 words about me/Confessions, and that it would run two days after my reading. To accommodate the interview, I changed travel plans to be in Austin a day early, and this, of course, cost money as well as writing time, and the promised piece never showed in that issue. Since then my publicist has left several messages for Clay, which he did not answer until I left a message for him -- when he wrote an 8/26 letter to my publicist stating he had "no say about when my treatment of his visit here will be printed, absolutely none," and that he'd "be more than happy to send... a tear sheet when the in person is printed, which hopefully will be quite soon."
No such tear sheet has arrived. Perhaps there's been an oversight? If not -- if Clay's word was a false promise -- I am disappointed as a writer, editor, and former Texan.
[Ed. note: Please see "In Person" on page 42.]
Sweaty & Standing
To Those Who Care (I Hope!):
A deplorable situation exists when a city as large and as beautiful such as is Austin does not operate public transportation vehicles that are air-conditioned and well-maintained on a major East-West artery such as William Cannon #33. I have been a bus customer for some time and have been on many cross-town routes. Those buses are always comfortable and efficiently run. I hope that improvement for #33, William Cannon, is in Capital Metro's immediate future schedule.
P.S. Today was really awful. An old, hot STS vehicle ran the route. It was packed to the doorway -- SRO!
Graglia Breaks Hearts
Talk about adding racial insult to Hopwood injury! Graglia is saying that whites are superior! Someone should remind him that such racism is against the law. I believe Graglia should be disciplined for his latest demeaning remarks; he really should have been fired before he received tenure years ago. If this was his "most congenial response" to questions about minority students then I can't imagine what the real Graglia would actually say within his "good ol' boys club." Evidently, the dean of the law school is part of this elitist club to allow Graglia to continue teaching all these years. If this is the case, then there's probably a lot of sexism in the school also. School grades or skin color does not reflect one's worth, but the amount of genuine goodness in one's heart and deeds; and this combined with past suffering should determine what they deserve. Us "lower classes" also know that the causes for social problems has less to do with ones culture but more to do with society's prejudicial attitudes such as Graglia's.
There's absolutely nothing Graglia can say now to make "minorities" feel welcomed at UT. They're not stupid. They know he has already told them they are not welcomed. As a major roadblock to diversity, "Jim Crow" Graglia seems to be bringing us back into the 20th century instead of forward into the 21st century. I can't help but wonder if he has a white robe and hood hidden in his closet. I went to UT from 1968-73 and never heard such insensitive remarks from any of the instructors even way back then! I'm glad I didn't take Graglia's class or I may have suffered such emotional distress as to cause me to drop out of school! I may live in California but my heart is in Texas, and now my heart is aching knowing that such a cruel person is there hurting so many people and shaming UT and the entire state!!
Alien Sedition in Austin
To the Editor:
The Federal Government imposing a $1,000 "fine" on illegal aliens instead of deporting them amounts to rewarding foreign invaders. Last year, the INS handed out less than 6 million dollars in fines to businesses that were prosecuted for hiring illegals. That is about one dollar for each of the five million illegals the Federal Government intentionally underestimates are living in the U.S. Employers can hire them without fear of the INS and still make a profit even if caught several times. Obviously, it is more profitable for businesses to hire illegals with impugnity, and to pay campaign contributions (bribes) than it is to pay American wages to American workers. There are no lobby-dollars for controlling illegal immigration. According to INS figures, the INS deports less than one percent of all illegals living in the U.S., and two-thirds of those are convicted criminals released from prison directly to the INS, so they did not catch them. Less than one, as in one percent, or one dollar, is next to zero, or absolutely nothing. Therefore, the Federal Government is doing next to nothing to enforce immigration laws past the border while illegal immigration continues on its out-of-control upward spiral. Even if illegal aliens are caught at the border, almost all of them are set free the next day or two right at the border to try again until they succeed. The Austin City Council's proclamation of Austin as an open city for illegals amounts to open alien sedition. The illegals know all these facts. All these conditions create the incentives and rewards for the continuing the foreign invasion. The effects are especially obvious in the Austin area, which has approximately 100,000 illegal aliens. Only traitors reward invaders.
Norman D. Plume