Letters: Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Oh MacHenry Had a Bar
To the editor: Your Turkey Awards blurb on MacHenry’s (Nov. 14, 2007) was right about some things (though expressed in a typically jaundiced and unnecessarily personalized tone). Some of the regulars felt frustrated at what seemed self-destructive mismanagement, and the place was always on the brink of closing. Many times there was hardly anything to drink at the bar, and there seemed to be a certain cliquishness among some of the regulars.
But far more went right about MacHenry’s than went wrong, and what went right at times approximated the spiritual. It brought local, regional, and national talents together and created a matrix of creativity that could be inspiring and very informative for musicians and for listeners. In that way, it was as much a school as a pub/performance venue, with tuition the price of a beer.
A couple of points to respond to:
“Along the way, Walker allowed too many local musicians of dubious talents to take over the scene.” This seems a contradiction to the Weekly’s own choice of MacHenry’s for Best Acoustic Venue (“Best of Fort Worth,” Sept. 19, 2007); you labeled it as “talent-laden.” So which is it? Laden with dubious talent, maybe? And since local musicians of many styles and levels of ability were the scene, your comment was like criticizing a biker bar for letting in too many bikers.
“HackHenry’s was running on fumes long before Walker parked it.” That’s complete bullshit. After the move to Magnolia Avenue, MacHenry’s had its ups and downs, but it was steadily attracting more patrons. At license-renewal time, owner John Walker had to make a decision. His club made a big-time contribution to grassroots cultural life in Cowtown. I’m hoping someone else will pick up the torch.
The unique warmth and magic of MacHenry’s has to be seen as an expression of the nature of its founder. I feel a special gratitude to John and his cohorts who made the magic happen.
Will Shannonhouse
Fort Worth

To the editor: I would expect better out of a local arts-based magazine, especially when referring to a place that meant so much to so many people. My band played at MacHenry’s frequently, so I can only wonder who exactly the Weekly is referring to. Maybe I’m just another “hack.” Kudos to you, John Walker, for hanging in there as long as you did.
Michael Richardson
Fort Worth

Burying the Fort in Cow Flop
To the editor: Jeff Prince’s article on Fort Worth’s denial of its own military history (“What’s It Worth to Save the Fort?” Nov. 21, 2007) hit the nail on the head. That the military is, or was, part of this city doesn’t fit the Hollywood myth of the West that we have co-opted. However, we need to keep the story that we sell to tourists from contaminating the truth that we should be showing and telling our young people.
Fort Worth began as a fort, not as a ranch. The fort was the economic engine that kick-started the city and county. Today the military and defense contractors on the West Side add thousands of dollars to the local economy for every penny brought in by cows and cowboys or even tourists on the North Side.
The city spends millions to promote a facade so it looks like something it never was. Yet money cannot be raised here to display the B-36s and B-47s built here, or the artifacts and photographs of those who served here. We have no memorials to those who died here while serving here — and hundreds have. That this city once housed hundreds of nuclear weapons and was a frontline installation in the Cold War and the largest Strategic Air Command field in the mid-1980s is covered up by cow manure. And yet we glorify the cowboys and outlaws who never lived here but came to drink and carouse.
Our youth need better role models than Butch and Sundance and Billy Miner and the other outlaws who are lionized in the area where a fort once stood. They need to know about Ripley Arnold, Sam Starr, Vernon Castle, Harold Carswell, and hundreds of others who are the real heroes. Even if we hide it behind the cow sheds, we need a historical museum large enough to tell the real history and serve as a teaching tool for our schools.
Willard Thomas
Fort Worth
In last week’s issue, a story on page 7 (“Hot Water”) attributed to Texas Railroad Commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye the deDELETEion of much of the Texas oil and gas industry as being “largely self-policing.” Nye disagreed with that characterization of her remarks.
The story dealt with the dangers of disposal wells used by the gas drilling industry. According to information provided by the commission, commercial disposal wells, which accept wastewater from oil and gas operators, are only required to be inspected annually. Wells used by a single operator, such as a gas drilling company, are inspected only once every five years. Between inspections, reporting of leaks and other problems is the responsibility of the well operator, who also is the source of the commission’s information about what’s going into the wells.
Fort Worth Weekly regrets any mischaracterization.

To the editor: I would like to say that MacHenry’s also won a Best of 2007 award from the Weekly. That place and the people who kept it open have a very dear place in my heart. Thanks to you for the wonderful music I was able to hear, and thanks for helping get me through a rough time in my life.
Danny Davis
Destin, Fla.

Adoptive Support
To the editor: Thank you so much for your story “Healing Humpty-Dumpty” (April 6, 2005) on the TCU Child Development Institute’s adoption program. I placed my birth daughter for adoption in August 2000, so this article meant a lot to me. Thankfully she has never exhibited any destructive tendencies, but then I never abused or neglected her, either. Placing her for adoption was the hardest and smartest thing I ever did, and every day that is confirmed as I witness her life unfolding — a life she would’ve never had with me.
I think it’s great that these adoptive parents are getting the support they need and that much is being done to address these problems in kids who are adopted internationally.
Terri Rimmer
Fort Worth

A Longer Sky Arms Race
To the editor: The ongoing militarization of space is unfortunate and probably inevitable. In that respect, the article “The Real Star Wars” (Nov. 24, 2007) is correct. However, to suggest that China kicked off the race on this past Jan. 11 or that the Rumsfeld group “blew open that door” six years previously is to ignore decades of successful anti-satellite tests by the United States and the Soviet Union. The only new twist is that now it isn’t just us who can destroy satellites.
Matt Hembree
Fort Worth

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