WHY DID YOU FEATURE LEANN RIMES [“The Texas Twenty,” September 1997], an attractive young singer, with pictures that make her look like a cross between a drunk, a drug addict, and a hooker?
Jeanne E. Rutherford
TEXAS MONTHLY IS TO BE congratulated for including my friend and fellow writer Angela Shelf Medearis in its list of influential Texans. By doing so you pointed out that not only is children’s literature “real live literature” but it also deserves recognition in the mainstream media. Your readers need to know that we have a thriving children’s literature community, from Houstonian Ida Luttrell, whose early chapter books have gotten countless children on the road to reading, to nationally acclaimed science writer Janice Van Cleave of Waco, who has almost single-handedly revolutionized the dreaded science fair with her wild and wonderful books of experiments. And then there’s Joan Lowery Nixon of Houston, who has won four Edgar awards for her young adult mysteries, the Spur Award for her Western novels, and numerous other awards. As the president of the Mystery Writers of America, she has joined Barnes and Noble in a project called “Kids Love a Mystery Week,” which will be held in February at stores across the country.
WHILE I AM A FAN OF ANGELA SHELF MEDEARIS and am proud, as a fellow Texan, that she has 1.5 million copies of her books in print, I must point out that, in terms of total number of books sold, the best-selling children’s author in Texas is John Erickson, the author of the Hank the Cowdog series (published by Gulf Publishing), which has sold some 2.2 million copies since 1988.
National Accounts Representative, Gulf Publishing Company, Houston
IT IS REFRESHING TO SEE THAT CONGRESSMAN Bill Archer, independent of political-action-committee money, is able to represent the interests of hard-working taxpaying voters—the true silent majority. I’ll gladly trade in any of our many PAC-addicted congress members from New York for Mr. Archer any day.
Great Neck, New York
WELL YOU MISSED ONE—DR. ROBERT Floyd Curl, Jr. Like Dr. Richard E. Smalley, Dr. Curl is a Rice University professor and a 1996 Nobel prize winner for chemistry. Unlike Dr. Smalley, who was born in Akron, Ohio, grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, and like all smart folks, presumably came to Texas as fast as he could, Dr. Curl is no Texas transplant. He is a native son. He was born in Alice and graduated from San Antonio’s Jefferson High School and Rice before heading off for a time to study free radicals at Berkeley. There is no doubt that both Dr. Curl and Dr. Smalley deserve recognition for their many achievements, including the discovery of the buckyball. Our hats should go off to both.
C. James Gibson
Anne E. Swenson
YOUR “TEXAS TWENTY” LIST IS interesting reading. What puzzles me, however, is a strong lack of Hispanics. This year Henry Cisneros became the president of the most successful Hispanic TV network, Univision. He previously served in the Clinton Cabinet. Austinite Joe A. Morales has definitely “risen to the top of his field” as one of the most requested voice talents in the world. He works for presidents, major corporations, cartoons, and sporting events. Staying with entertainment, Emilio and/or Bobby Pulido certainly deserve to make your list.
R. Scott Murphy
Editor’s note: In our “Texas Twenty” story on Latina publisher Christy Haubegger, we referred to supermodel Christy Turlington as an Anglo. Ms. Turlington’s mother is a native of El Salvador. We regret the error.
WILLIE NELSON AND KINKY FRIEDMAN in the same article [First Person: “My Willie,” September 1997]—I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. I’m looking forward to reading the book. In case you didn’t know, Kinky Friedman is much better looking in person than in photos.
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING KINKY Friedman? His “My Willie” was a real knee slapper. Kinky’s style, as Willie might say, is smokin’! Move over, Dave Barry, ’cause Friedman’s coming through.
Charlie Mac Bussey
IN YOUR ARTICLE ABOUT PROGRAMMING on PBS stations [Television: “No Show,” September 1997], you ask why there isn’t anything like Newsroom, the public-affairs program created for KERA in Dallas in the seventies. Well, there is, 7 News X-Tra, and it airs weeknights on KVIA-TV in El Paso. Our program is something rarely seen in a local television market. It is an attempt to go deeper than the superficial that is so common in newscasts restricted by time, consultants, and inexperienced reporters. We share hosting and producing responsibilities, and together we have a combined experience of thirty years in journalism, most of it here in El Paso.
7 News X-Tra began two years ago as a topical news, weather, and sports program. It evolved into a live nightly discussion of a single issue, in which our viewers can interact with our guests through live call-ins and e-mail. The only break from that format occurs on Friday nights, when we discuss the week’s headlines. We also bring community leaders to the table to take questions over the phone from viewers. 7 News X-Tra is now one of the most talked about programs in El Paso. It has earned the respect of our community and good ratings for our station, and it’s all done on a shoestring budget. 7 News X-Tra seems to offer everything you believe is missing from local TV news these days—and this from a commercial television station, not a public broadcasting outlet.
Stephanie Townsend Allala
7 News X-Tra, El Paso
KELLI, HANK, AND TRIP KUEHNE ARE all winners in my book [Sports: “The Links That Bind,” September 1997]. I’ve followed their junior and amateur golf careers for years, and the things they’ve accomplished are incredible. Ernie, “sports father extraordinaire,” lay off the kids and let them know that shooting a 65 does not make them a good person and shooting an 80 does not make them a bad person.
A MORE RATIONAL EXPLANATION THAN “King Ranch’s skepticism” for the failure of Mr. Norris to sell his daguerreotypes, as reported in the article “King Fishy” [Reporter: September 1997], is simply this: Caveat emptor. As for the statement by Mr. Norris that “Sotheby’s was scared of the King Ranch,” imagine the great howls of laughter that must have evoked in the venerable auction house offices!
Bruce S. Cheeseman
Former King Ranch Archivist, Kingsville