Our readers talk back.

Comments Lazy and Unethical

Dear Mr. Black,

How unfortunate that Robb Walsh has been allowed to besmirch the outstanding reputation of The Austin Chronicle's Food section with his uninformed reporting and lack of journalistic ethics ["Sweet Heat," Food, Aug. 25].

Apparently lacking the ability to fact check or even the motivation to validate comments for his story on the Hot Sauce Festival, he exercised the utmost in lazy and unethical journalism by using a quote by me printed in another newspaper to validate his point of view. Unfortunately for him, he not only lifted my quote from a story in the Austin American-Statesman, published five months prior to his story, but used a partial quote completely out of context. As a career journalist, I can tell you this is unacceptable behavior from a professional journalist.

Walsh never tried to contact me for his story but simply stole a quote from a competing newspaper that had nothing to do with his article, claiming that my comments were reported as a way of explaining to the press the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival's return to "its snobby, Tex-Mex-bashing roots." After committing many years and many volunteer hours to the success of the wine and food festival as well as to promote Austin's dynamic culinary scene, I can assure you that in no instance would I be a part of any event or organization that bashes Tex-Mex, barbecue, or any other cuisine executed by our city's restaurants and chefs.

It may be that Walsh has felt slighted by the festival since he has not been heralded as a preeminent expert on these cuisines like he has so hoped. And it's my understanding that Walsh has not attended the festival for several years, so it's doubtful to me that he speaks from a position of authority.

Walsh's story is even further erroneous as he apparently didn't read the Chronicle story of July 14 ["Food-o-File," Food] five weeks prior to his article that I have moved from Austin and am no longer serving on the festival board as of July 1. So his portrayal to your readers offering current and authoritative information is wrong in every aspect.

I'm sorry that Walsh has given the Chronicle Food section a black eye when I know how other Chronicle Food writers have worked so diligently to not only present accurate stories but adhere to strong journalistic values.

Of all the capable journalists in our city, I'm not sure why the Chronicle would choose a Houston-based writer to tell Austin about what is and what isn't acceptable for our town's food celebrations. You may want to reconsider.


Cathy Cochran-Lewis

Whole Foods Market community relations coordinator

To Lizbeth!

Dear Editor,

Re: 25th anniversary photos ["An Austin Chronicle," Sept. 8]: When Martha [Grenon] asked to photograph Lizbeth and me, I couldn't understand why. She said she specialized in photographing famous people before they became famous.

Naturally I thought of that when I lobbied my publisher to put one of those photos on the dust jacket of Travels With Lizbeth. Also, it was only one of three or four photos made of me contemporary with the events in the book, and the only one whose photographer I could still locate. I must admit, however, it was not my favorite shot. My favorite was the tongue shot, which Martha took in the same session.

No one, save our companion, ever seemed to appreciate the tongue shot. But it was the best picture ever made of Lizbeth, at least to me.

Lars Eighner

Missing 'Femme FM'

Dear Editor,

I suppose radio managers feel they have to tinker with things to earn their pay, but why do the KUT brass have to cut back John Aielli and fire Teresa Ferguson ["Media Watch," News, Sept. 8]?

I like Paul Ray's Twine Time, but two hours of Sixties R&B on Saturday evening is plenty, while Ferguson's Femme FM attracted me not only for her excellent sampling of female vocalists but also to listen to the silkiest voice on Austin radio.

Honestly, I kept expecting KUT to give her more hours on the air. To run her off is, to put it plainly, a dumb move.

Jim Cullen

Jamie Lee Curtis Is Great!

Dear Editor,

Re: Jamie Lee Curtis: I resent your opinion concerning her movie Mother's Boys [Film Listings, April 22, 1994]. Thank God we are not all made alike or even see the same films. To me, it would be hard to find such a natural actress as Jamie Lee to make movies today even watchable. You did a disservice with your critical review of her acting in this movie. I was on the edge of my seat concerning her next move. She is believable in everything she does. You go girl. You'll still be great after all these other so-called actresses are long gone!

Sandie Medlin

Anderson, S.C.

Soul Is in Terrible Danger

Dear Editor,

I understand why people would be upset over an atheist in church ["Church Fight," News, June 23]. Personally I think they should assign several different lay pastors to convert him [Robert Jensen]. His soul is in terrible danger. It sounds like the pastor [Jim Rigby] might be in danger himself. I hope the church makes a sincere effort to convert this man. Your pastor should be concerned with newly converted Christians not courting favor with an atheist!


Marilyn King


Better Than the Usual Glut


Why can't we see more humane and enlightening stories like Joe O'Connell's recent article on his dad, football memories, and his own fatherhood approaching ["Why the Longhorns Must Lose (Eventually)," Web Extra, Sept. 8]. It is so much better than the usual grind-house glut of narcissism that passes for journalism in the Chronicle. Please give O'Connell my compliments, and please, please, open the windows down there and let in more fresh air like this wonderful story.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Kent

Honoring the Grey Ghost

Dear Editor,

I really enjoyed your last issue, as it brought back so many memories for me ["An Austin Chronicle," Sept. 8]. My dad was the original director for ACL, so I was one of those kids running around at the Armadillo, and even Hippy Hollow (it was much cooler in the Seventies). The one piece that hit me the most was the one about Grey Ghost. I was one of the Continental Club calender girls in the late Eighties, and Steve offered me a job there. The Ghost was doing his happy-hour show, just him and his piano, and I was there with my friend Ron. We noticed that these people weren't putting a dime in the tip jar, as these 9-to-5ers were more interested in talking about their bosses, or whatever, but they weren't paying attention to the soulful music that surrounded us. Ron took off his hat, and I walked from table to table and got every single person in that place to put some money in the hat. After all, I was a model and even worked for Louis Black's Renegade Modeling in the early Nineties, so I sweet-talked them out of their cash!

After Grey Ghost was finished, I walked up to him, with this hat full of cash. I said that my friend Ron, pointing to him, had thought that his music was very touching, so we passed around the hat for him. He looked at us both with a smile and said, "Boy, you sure are funny white folks!"

I loved the one with Biscuit and Doug Sahm, but the Grey Ghost was a very special piece for me. Thank you again for bringing back so many wonderful memories.

Sincerely yours,

Sara Scafe Toole

Club Foot U2 Redux

Hey Chronicle,

I loved your 25th anniversary supplement, especially David Sprague's U2 photograph ["An Austin Chronicle," Sept. 8]. It brought back a couple of great memories – one of a more recent vintage!

I was at the Austin stop of U2's first tour – on March 31, 1981, at Club Foot. As I recall, Brad First booked it, F-Systems opened, and I did the poster. They showed up in a van with one roadie, and I took them over to Ray Hennig's for strings and drum heads. The Edge wanted to play every vintage guitar in the place and had to be bodily dragged back into the van to make sound check on time.

Incidentally, Brad and I were their guests at the Frank Erwin Center on Nov. 5, 2001. As anybody present on that unforgettable night can tell you, just six weeks after 9/11, it was the rock & roll megachurch of healing that we all needed badly.

As the Edge started "I Will Follow," Bono announced, "We'd like to do this next one just like we did it 20 years ago for our friends at Club Foot."

Brad and I looked at each other and grinned. Now that was a shout-out.

Richard Luckett

Looking Like a Douche

Dear Editor,

Just about anyone in Austin who reads the Chronicle already knows what I'm about to lay on you here – Darcie Stevens is a self-righteous know-it-all with shite taste in music who seems to have her head fairly firmly planted in her posterior. However, it has seldom been as blatantly obvious as the fawning fan-girl pablum she posited regarding Spoon in your 25th anniversary issue ["An Austin Chronicle," Sept. 8]. First of all, Dame Darcie hasn't lived in my fair city long enough to presume to tell me what is or is not a requirement for Austin residency. I'm sorry, but four years doesn't qualify you for jack aside from a "Keep Austin Weird" bumper sticker (which really just makes you look like a douche if you weren't here when Austin really was weird). Secondly, a good portion of Austin musicians and music fans would take offense at the mere idea that someone who looks like Beaker from The Muppet Show and sounds like the act of defecation given moderate pronunciation skills should be crowned as their "mouthpiece."

So yeah, I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore. I'm sick and tired of my friends in Dallas having a good laugh at Austin's expense because they pawned off Darcie Stevens on us. Just because she can string a sentence together doesn't mean she should be given a public forum to do so. So with that in mind, I'm pitching in $10 for a "Send Darcie Home" fund. Really, I don't care if we send her home, just as long as we send her away from here. Any matching contributions would be greatly appreciated.

No matter how hard you try to shove them down our throats, Spoon is still not freakin' cool.

Semper sarcastic and spiteful,

Jon Cohorn

[Editor's note: Darcie Stevens celebrated a decade in Austin last June. She's from Conroe, Texas. Any donations in her name should be made to the SIMS Foundation:]

Jerry Lynn Williams – the Best

Dear Editor,

Re: Jerry Lynn Williams article ["The Lone Ranger," Music, Jan. 27]: This was an excellent article about a guy who deserves a book of his own. Jerry Lynn Williams was a genius. He was the epitome of funkiness. I have owned his Spindizzy LP for years and still blow the minds of great musicians by playing it. I used to own Gone, but someone stole it. And I've just ordered Peacemaker. I would love to have a CD copy of Gone and the cassette mentioned in the article. There will never be anyone as good as Jerry Lynn Williams again. I'm a 55-year-old guy, and I cried when I heard he had died. Thanks Jerry, wherever you are. You were the very best.

Bob Hamilton

Reno, Nev.

Playing Footsie With a Jellyfish

Dear people,

Attempting to sort out the nuances between nations in the Middle East and its neighbors sure must be akin to playing footsie with a jellyfish.

I admire writers who venture forth to dangerous beaches, absent of rubber boots. To name a few, for me: Ernest, James B., my friend M.V., Ayn – and of note, a recent instance of stirring work by Ben C. Cohen ["Postmarks," Aug. 25].

George Will Howard


Another John Aielli Fan

Dear Editor,

Thank you for covering John [Aielli] on KUT ["Media Watch," News, Sept. 8]. I love his show, as do a lot of people. I am glad you realize how important this is to Austin. They are really stupid for doing this. Thanks again.

Matt Jackson

U2 – Second Performance

Dear Editor,

I was confused by Margaret Moser's description of U2's show at the Austin Opera House during their October tour ["An Austin Chronicle," Sept. 8]. Unless I'm reading it wrong, it seems like she's saying this show was U2's first performance in Austin.

I saw the band at Club Foot on the Boy tour, which would have been a year or two prior to the October tour. Two things I remember about the show: 1) The band played "I Will Follow" twice, because it was the only song the audience was familiar with; 2) the Police were playing the Erwin Center that week, and Sting was at Club Foot to see U2. My friend Kliff Kiehl spoke with him very briefly.

Yours truly,

Paul K. Smith

[Margaret Moser responds: The U2 caption was in reference to their second show in Austin. Their first was in March 1981.]

To All, Thanks!

Dear Editor,

Hey, Louis Black, and everyone involved over the years: Thanks.

Chris Vreeland

More on 9/11

Dear Editor,

In his letter defending the 9/11 myth, in the Sept. 1 edition, Ethan Love refers to the collapse of WTC 7. He said that "the fires burned all day without being fought," then, "The idea that controlled demolition was involved is ridiculous."

Well, apparently Love must have missed the PBS documentary Rebuilding America where proprietor Larry Silverstein described the demolition of WTC like this: "I remember getting a call from the fire department commander telling me they were not sure they were going to be able to contain the fire ... and I said, 'Well, you know, we've had such terrible loss of life ... maybe the smartest thing to do is, is "pull" it' ... and they made that decision to 'pull' ... uh, and we watched the building collapse."

The term "pull the building" is demolition-industry speak for initiating the demolition of the building. The most revealing part of this is that there had not been time for the proper placement of demolition charges to insure an engineered demolition between the time the building was evacuated and it came down. This means that the demolition charges had been placed in the building with their control devices well before September 11, 2001. So if WTC 7 had been wired for demolition prior to 9/11, it is logical that the towers were similarly equipped; which is evidenced by the way the towers came straight down.

Ron Hepler

A Lot of Anti-Jewish Prejudice or a Lot of Ignorance

Dear Editor,

Rocket launchers have proven to be the perfect terror weapon. You don't know where or when it will come, and for anyone nearby when it strikes, the result will probably be fatal.

Hezbollah's attacks were sowing fear, disrupting business, and razing the social infrastructure. They launched more than 2,000 rockets in the early days with the goal of terrorizing the Israeli population and killing civilians. The Katyusha rockets carry a deadly payload of thousands of large ball bearings, which put holes in house fronts more than 150 feet from the point of impact and rip through cars and buildings like machine-gun fire. As Haifa's police chief said, "These attacks are meant to kill civilians."

Yet when Israel tries to take out the rocket launchers, intentionally placed among civilians, the world media and the useless UN blame Israel for the violence! The Muslim terrorists have made it clear through the years they want to destroy Israel plus Christian America for helping them, or anyone not Muslim, for that matter. There must be a lot more anti-Jewish prejudice in the world than I ever dreamed of, or a lot of ignorance, or both. I don't get it, not even a little bit.

Gerard Kern

Defending Conspiracy Theory

Dear Editor,

Ethan Love ("Postmarks," Sept. 1) asserts that "the structural engineering community is in agreement on what happened on 9/11, and controlled demolition was not part of the picture." Jeff King from MIT disagrees. Google "Jeff King + MIT + 9-11" for a 15-minute presentation that contradicts Mr. Love's assertion.

John Young

Legalizing Pot Threatens Bureaucracies

Dear Editor,

Re: "Weed Watch": It's election season again [News, Sept. 8]: The goal of every bureaucracy is its continuation and expansion. The legalization of marijuana threatens many bureaucracies, so in the name of protecting the precious children, the heads of several bureaucracies will fight against the legalization of marijuana.

Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.

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