Monday, October 31, 2005

Karachi Calling

The comically misnamed Voter's Guide in Saturday's Houston Chronicle offered little to guide us in next week's elections, but it did confirm our surmise that the race for the District F seat on city council is an all-Pakistani affair.

We knew already that incumbent M. J. Khan was of Pakistani origin and that his batshit challenger, John Shike, also hailed from that same corner of the partitioned Subcontinent. Now, thanks to the Chronicle's incisive reportage of forms the candidates fill out and send in to the paper, we know for certain that M. J. Khan's other opponent, the unrelated K. A. Khan, is also a Pakistan native and claims a diploma from Karachi University (whether he received his retroactively remains an unaddressed mystery).

This most certainly is a development of historic scale, not only in our humble District F but likewise in the city of Houston, the state of Texas, the entire United States of America and perhaps the whole planet Earth outside of Pakistan (assuming they elect the equivalent of city councils there, we dunno).

What's interesting (mildly ... eh, not so much, really) is that while a Census update shows "non-Hispanic Asians" (are there "Hispanic Asians?") make up about 15 percent of the district's population---by far the largest percentage of 'em among the city's nine council districts---Pakistanis, despite their presence behind the counter at almost every convenience store/gas station in southwest Houston, can't possibly account for more than a mere 2 or 3 percent of the district's population, if that much (well behind Vietnamese- and Chinese-Americans, we presume).

So maybe the Pakistani immigrant, in addition to his recognized talent for buying up distressed properties in borderline neighborhoods and allowing them to become further distressed, has a heretofore unacknowledged knack for electoral politics, such as reputedly possessed by the Irish-American ward heeler in days of yore.

We've previously reported that our introduction to Mr. K. A. Khan came through a mailing with a fine-print identifier in which he blamed M. J. Khan for a rise in gang activity, prostitution and graffiti in District F (the graffiti proliferation is definitely fact-based, although we doubt the obviously increasing volume of preliterate handwriting on the wall would be less if Mohammad J. Christ hisself were on city council). K. A. has reported raising a fair amount of money for a council challenger, most of it from what appear to be fellow Pakistanis (M. J., by contrast, claims a fairly wide base of support and seems to have been responsive to constituent concerns, so we're assuming he won't be sunk next week in a miasma of voter confusion/indifference).

It's probably difficult for these candidates to stand out in the all-Pakistani crowd, so they might want to steal a turn from our fellow "non-Hispanic white" man we saw panhandling Saturday morning on the turn-lane median of Chimney Rock and Highway 59 ... festively sporting a tall witch's hat. We would have tossed him a buck, but we had the light.

It's that little extra flair that can mean the difference between an icy stare and a handful of loose pocket change, or being a "real estate investor" and having a good job with decent salary and benefits representing District F.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Feel Like Some Poetry Today

Threw a chair
at Phil Garner
But it sailed over
the insufferable
gray-streaked horizon.

Then awoke
to the smell
of burning plastic

Hey Soos.

The frickin

“Houston Dreamin’ Thursday A.M.,” excerpted from Down in ‘The Brae’, by Hidalgo “Hard” Hidalgo, reader representative and Metro patron since 1999

Monday, October 24, 2005

The ‘F’ Stands for Khan-Fucking-Fusing

A week or so ago we got one of those direct-mail pieces that clutter the mailbox around election time. This one did command our attention.

“M. J.=Crime Drugs Prostitution,” it blared, next to a picture of our District F city councilman, M. J. Khan, who, as Alice Roosevelt Longworth once said of Thomas Dewey, has a pronounced resemblance to the little man on the wedding cake.

Below that is a chalked murder-scene body outline with “District F” printed on it. (Subtle, no?)

On the back it says: “M. J. has destroyed our trust and community” and goes on to claim that District F has “more break-ins … drugs … gangs and graffiti … prostitution” since Khan’s been on the council.

Well, at least the boy’s been busy.

The fine-print disclaimer on the mailer reads “Political Adv. By K. A. Khan Campaign Lenny Treasurer.”

Lenny Treasurer?

We finally realized over the weekend that this K. A. Khan is running against incumbent M. J. Khan in the Nov. 8 election. K. A. has several large signs further uglying up the already stupendously fug-ugly stretch of Hillcroft near Highway 59. The signs proclaim that “The 'A' Stands for Accountability,” although we figured it stood for asshole based on his scurrilous and near-anonymous hit mailing.

(The K stands for Khalid, according to city records, and Khalid A. Khan has reported raising a not-insubstantial $68,000 in campaign money, most of it from contributors with, and how shall we put this without offending the sensitive portion of our readership, Muslim-sounding names, which we report only because we surmise that Khalid A. Khan has not exactly staked a wide base of support in the highly diverse district, and because, well, we list “telling the truth” at the top of the Slampo’s Place Mission Statement. The third candidate in the race is John Shike, whom we know to be a certifiable loon, and we would so testify in court, if compelled to do so.)

M. J., a Pakistani-American who once was president of the local Islamic Society (and if this Khan vs. Khan khan-test is more than mere rank opportunism on the part of K. A. and reflects some split in the local Muslim community, well, we would hope some media outlet that pays its employees to gather and report information will so inform us), represents Sharpstown and Alief, areas that have undergone significant shifts in their racial/ethnic composition in the past quarter century. The District F seat was long occupied by the Last Angry White Man in Southwest Houston, John Goodner, and more recently was in the custody of a more buttoned-down Caucasian, Mark Ellis (who seemed OK). Hispanics constitute a majority of the District F populace, while the percentage who are Ofay has fallen to well below 20 (although us whiteys account for a much higher percentage of the electorate, natch).

We didn’t know too much about M. J. before the last election, when he sought the seat after Ellis decided to run for a citywide council position, and we still don’t. We learned that his wife was a doctor and he had some graduate degree or another from Rice University (credentials we found reassuring, even though at our advanced years we should know better). We also recalled hearing or reading somewhere (probably not in the local daily, which seems to have pretty much given up on covering local politics) that M. J. had some Republican connections or was affiliated with the Harris County GOP, but we also were led to believe that he was somehow allied with the slithery Sylvester Turner and the ever-present Sheila Jackson Lee, both liberal Democrats, and the former did in fact cut a taped phone message for Khan (the one we got offered no identifier, possibly because someone thought Turner’s voice is so distinctive that he needs no introduction).

We saw Khan once on a Saturday afternoon before the election, door-knocking a couple of streets over from us and later driving a late-model BMW or Audi up and down the street as if he were searching for some targeted address (we waved, but he did not, which suggested to us that M. J. Khan is a careful driver who keeps his eyes on the road and his hands upon the wheel).

That, however, was once more than we saw his runoff opponent, the son of a former Houston mayor (not Kathy Whitmire) whom we never espied in the neighborhood, nor did we get so much as a door-hanger or a piece of direct mail (lyin’ ass or otherwise) from the gent. We suspect he figured his hallowed last name would carry the day, but unfortunately for him many voters in the district nowadays wouldn’t know a McConn from a M. J. Khan. (And they may not know an M. J. from a K. A., either.)

So, using the “what the fuck” principle we often apply to local judicial contests, we went with M. K. in ’03. Excuse me: M. J.

We have no idea whether M. J.’s been a good, fair, fair-to-middlin’, poor or piss-poor council member. We saw him once at a meeting his office helped arrange so residents of our neighborhood could vent at Public Works supervisors over the continuing effed-up mess on Dunlap Street. Khan seemed pleasantly inoffensive and attentive to all. He gave a little wrap-up speech in which he suggested that “everyone” in Houston should purchase flood insurance (which, as far as we know, he does not sell).

We’ve asked our neighbors, but they seem to know even less than us about M. J., other than that his office has been relatively cooperative in dealing with the Dunlap Street Crime Scene. (One, an ex-NASA employee who claims to have lived on our street for 49 most likely godforesaken years, and whom we consult about past flooding and hurricanes, etc., calls him “Genghis, our man on council”… a little multicultural humor for ya there … )

The last time we saw M. J. was not an in-person sighting but rather on TV during the approach of Hurricane Rita, when he planted himself like 500-pound armoire behind Mayor Bill White’s left shoulder every time White and County Judge Robert Eckels staged a news conference. He looked properly concerned and stoic in the face of impending doom.

So, based on those fleeting impressions and that scant knowledge, it appears we’ll once again be bestowing the Slampo’s Place nod on M. A. … er, M. J.

That’s M. J. Khan. For council.

His opponent is K. A.

The district is F.

The letters are many, but the days grow short.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Genius of Greg Hurst

"Well, I don't guess he'll be waching the game."
-- referring to Saddam Hussein Thursday evening while segueing from a report on Saddam's trial to a story on the Astros' first World Series appearance

Menawhile, back on the ground, James Kunstler, in slow-roasting the New York Times Sunday Magazine's blithe examination of a land-voracious suburban builder, offers this pricelessly pungent prediction for our fellow consumers in the higher latitudes (Kunstler's a guy who we hope is wrong, even though we find ourselves agreeing with a good portion of what he writes):

Home heating costs are going to crush the public this winter, and even the supposedly well-off in big new houses are going to feel the pain, because the truth is that many of them are leveraged up to their eyeballs to be where they are, and supernatural utility bills will push them over the edge just when the national bankruptcy laws have been revised to make wiggling out of debt much more difficult and punitive. The price of gasoline will keep ratcheting upward from where it is now like a medieval torture device, and will combine with home heating costs to make the public's collective head pop like a winter melon.

Not exactly sitting cozy by a warm fire, huh? Almost makes us glad we live in a zone where the high temperature on October 20 was 85 and all we'll have to worry about is the tab for the wintertime air conditioning.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Why the Astros Lost on Monday Night ...

... Because God looked down on Minute Maid Park and thought he noticed Ken Lay sitting way too close to the field.

"I'm not always just," God explained in an exclusive post-game interview with Slampo's Place, "but I'm always angry. And I've got a long memory."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Our Astros Dream (And You Can Be in Ours, If We Can Be in Yours, Assuming You Pass the Background Check)

As recorded, with the Lord as our witness, shortly after waking at 6:45 a.m., October 15, 2005, Lafayette La:

We had tickets, or a ticket, to an important game, possibly in the playoffs, although it seemed like a World Series game, yet we had no way to get there, there being the Astrodome (or it could have been Colt Stadium, who knows), apparently because we were both the ingenuous, open-hearted 12 year old we once were, as well as the sorry old bastard we’ve become, and thus probably could not drive, but we remembered there was a number we could call and the Astros organization would arrange a ride to the stadium by sending a player or coach around to pick us up before game time, and we vaguely recalled (either from a past dream, or possibly as a recovered memory in this particular dream) having once satisfactorily availed ourselves of this service and being taxied to the Dome by Terry Puhl, who (we recalled) was a very nice guy who drove a spiffily refurbished El Camino and played us some homemade cassettes that betrayed an unexpected (to us) taste in music, so we called and a team functionary on the other end informed us that “Mel Tillis” would be phoning us back shortly to get our address, leaving us thinking that she meant … Bob Lillis? … and not the stuttering country singer who sired the comely Pam and made the taquito the hot breakfast food of the third week of November, 1986, but when the call came it was neither Mel Tillis nor Bob Lillis, the caller identifying himself as “Bill Rigney” (!?) but sounding like our professor for Introduction to Philosophy, a Dr. So-and-So Frankfurter, a self-described Holocaust survivor who stood in the front of the class and chain-burned cigs in the fruity European style and took pains to disagree with the premise of almost anything a student said, supposedly in the service of teaching you to think but most likely because it beat actually teaching, and we said to Mel/Bob/Dr. Frankfurter, “They say you’re going to come pick me up,” and he replied: “They? Who’s this ‘they’? …” and so it went for several more exchanges, until we finally realized the SOB on the other end was not coming for us, and we huffed, “Well screw you dad, we’re takin’ Metro!” and he said, “You do that …” and the conversation ended, but then we started to worry that we couldn’t bring our dog on the bus …
… And we woke up.

We share this because we know it means something, because we’ve heard and read so much about some supernatural force guiding the Astros---God, destiny (which won’t be denied), Roger Clemens’ mother looking down from above, etc.---that we believe that somewhere in this illogical sleep-glop is a sign from above, one that will reveal the key to the team’s 2005 World Series triumph.

We recounted the dream in an email to our psychoanalyst, Dr. Jasper Lamar Crabb, who quickly wrote back: “What this means is that you won’t be going to any post-season games this year. Most likely ’cause you been a bad boy.”

Friday, October 14, 2005

Where Katrina Met Rita: Allons à Lafayette!

SOUTH OF I-10, LA. -- David Vitter made a funny the other day, or tried to, when speaking in Lafayette, according to The Advocate of Baton Rouge (which we see is billing itself as "The Independent Voice of South Louisiana," it being one of the few dailies left in the state not sucked into the maw of the Gannett chain).

Vitter, the state's freshman Republican senator, observed that Lafayette was "unfortunately ... the crossroads where Katrina meets Rita," then added, after what surely was a pregnant pause, "I always knew I was against same-sex unions."

Nothing like a little same-sex-union humor to loosen up the Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee.

The truth is, though, that being at the "crossroads" of the two hurricanes has been somewhat advantageous for Lafayette, which has long fancied itself a sort of mini-Houston, with its French Catholic joie de whatchamacallit balanced out by a fairly rigorous devotion to the money-making subclause of the Protestant Work Ethic. Lafayette developed as the mercantile center for what essentially was an area of small farms, thus avoiding having its economy tied to the large slave-and sharecropper-dependent plantations that dominated nearby parishes, and much later the offshore drilling business was so good to the city that by the late 1970s it was estimated that one in 80 residents was a millionaire (we, unfortunately, knew only 79 people when we resided there). A few years ago residents rejected casino gambling and subsequently lost their horse track to adjacent St. Landry Parish, which is struggling to address many of the pressing issues of the 19th century.

So far Lafayette's luck has held: the city escaped serious damage from both hurricanes, aside from downed power lines and scattered trees falling on to or through roofs, and evacuees from Rita and Katrina apparently are sending a nice little buzz through its economy. According to the local Gannett franchise, the city recorded 570 home sales in September, a 200 percent increase over the same month last year, when it already was in the midst of a construction boom. Not that the benefits aren't coming with costs. Upwards of 3,000 evacuee children have enrolled in the school district, and the traffic congestion in town has gone from onerous to nearly unbearable. We heard the manager of the Cajundome on the radio saying that the evacuees housed there had put 10 years (maybe it was 20) of wear and tear on the facility. While the city of 110,000 has taken in far fewer evacuees than Houston, the impact of the mass relocation is much more evident here.

While Vitter the senator was taking the personalization of acts of nature into previously uncharted territory, our new favorite megalomanic, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, was on a tour of shelters in the state, urging evacuees to get back to the city and assist in its rebuilding. But a Gallup poll for CNN and the Gannett Co. found that almost 4 in 10 residents who sought assistance from the Red Cross say thanks but they won't be returning.

Meantime, New Orleans is keeping its priorities straight: The city council has been engaging in what are no doubt thoughtful discussions on staging Mardi Gras next year.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

“Gut It Down to the Studs …"

The following comes from a recent posting on, a site devoted to New Orleans music and musicians. The forum was titled “A.K. After Katrina: What Happens Now,” the posting subject was “Non-Ethnic Cleansing” and the writer identified himself (we assume he’s a he) as “NOLA Burbanite.” It’s rude and raw and at points reads uncomfortably like a Travis Bickle soliloquy from Taxi Driver, yet we found it darkly compelling, a healthy corrective to all the sentimental and intellectually dishonest glop we’ve read of late about the future of New Orleans. (We also found on this forum a posting from someone seeking the post-Katrina whereabouts---and we’re not making this up---of musician Barry Cowsill, last seen in New Orleans and once of the proto-Partridge Family pre-teen idols The Cowsills [“The Rain, the Park and Other Things”], who is described as having “scars on his forehead that are in the shape of a halo so he wears a bandana or a hat all the time …”) Anyway, we're going to quote at length from NOLA Burbanite, without permission and with a few copy editing fixes, and hope he doesn’t mind. He's a suburban Céline ...

... I do believe that in the long run Katrina could be the best thing to ever happen to this city. The great cleansing of 2005. A cleansing of the filth, crime, grime, corruption and all the dirty little things that hid behind a mask of culture and good times. This has little to do with race, it has to do with a culture of ignorance and irresponsibility in a city that often puts good times, food and entertainment above things like education, economic progress and prosperity.

New Orleans is like a partying teenager that has just been smacked in the face with hefty dose of reality. Now, it’s time to grow up.

Katrina has changed our demographics forever and I have to say, I’m pretty excited about it. There are a lot of good-hearted poor black people that were devastated by Katrina. But along with them were legions of thugs, degenerates and young men who just didn’t understand that there was more to life than hip-hop, gold teeth and guns. They wreaked havoc not just upon themselves but upon our entire city--- in our school system, in our youth, in our infrastructure, on our self-esteem and on our national reputation.

The thug youth also put a lot of hurt on their entire communities---mothers, fathers, sons and daughters’ lives that were wrecked in one way or another by the daily violence that occurred in their neighborhoods. A lot of these people lived off the welfare state. There were few jobs to go around, few incentives or desire to try to get ahead and little more to do than to try to avoid the bullets, wait on the welfare check and food stamps and visit the free clinic. I pity them and I hope they are able to rebuild their lives---just so long as it’s somewhere else. This city has been on a decline for decades---a downward spiral that just goes deeper into a pit of poverty and hopelessness. This problem hasn’t been solved but it has been, at the very least, temporarily diverted to other cities like Houston and Baton Rouge.

I think we may look back and find there was no other way to fix it than to start by cleaning house and starting from scratch.

Then there are the thousands of transplants that come down here in all shapes and sizes--- from the gutter punks that ride in on freight trains and the musicians that come here but never make it to the young naïve professionals that actually think New Orleans is a good place to start a career. Most of these are great people but they offer nothing positive to the city other than to piss around for a couple years, engage in long-term cultural prostitution and take up space and resources. To them, I say it was nice knowing you but don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
I hope to see a city rebuilt not just on tourism, music and entertainment but on industry, commerce and “real” business. The whole entertainment industry makes for nice Lagniappe but basing the entire economy on it creates a facade of economic prosperity. It creates no real jobs – just a city of bartenders, waiters and bellhops. It doesn’t produce anything, it creates no tangible assets and it builds a marginally paid population that has little money to reinvest in the future of the community.

There’s a reason corporations don’t want to come here and it’s not just because of the poverty, crime rates and uneducated population--- it’s because many New Orleanians place such a low priority on progress. The city is just too immature.

It doesn’t matter how many how many corporations set up shop, how many resorts are built or how many musicians leave--- New Orleans’ unique culture will never die. Many people who lived in the city, mainly transplants and/or music fanatics, just don’t understand NOLA. They think it’s some sort of fucking cultural museum and they’re worried that economic and societal progress is going to get in the way of their favorite exhibit. To them I say fuck your museum---this is a place where people live. A real place with real people and families that have real concerns beyond the goddamn Neville Brothers or your favorite restaurant.

Most locals, who by the way live in the suburbs, don’t give a rat’s ass about music clubs and they’re not worried about culture getting washed away because they know it's here to stay. They know that what makes this place special isn’t some fucking club you visit, some old restaurant you eat at or something you read about in a magazine. New Orleans is found in the heart, mind and belly of locals, not in some rotting building in the Marigny or a fucking song you heard on WWOZ. New Orleans, more than anything, is passed down from generation to generation.

You’ll find all the culture of the city in places like Metairie, Mandeville, Kenner and Gretna, just without the fucking show set up for tourists. People move to the suburbs for a reason--- they’re trying to move forward, something that’s difficult to do in the city. They try to educate themselves, get real jobs and send their children to decent schools. They’re tired of getting their cars stolen, tired of the gunshots, tired of pissing away their lives in lounges. Suburbanites are red-blooded New Orleanians. The only thing that makes them different is that they have matured.

Now that the city is temporarily dead, it’s ironic that the only culture or signs of life are in the suburbs. Most people from the city are still living in far off places as evacuees while most suburbanites are back at home slowly getting back to life. Schools are opening up, the fish is starting to fry, the music is starting to play and the engine of progress is cranking up again. New Orleans, on the other hand, is black. A stagnant cesspool that will take months, more likely years, to get back to get back up. Not on its feet but on its knees. Even when Nagin opens the city, it’s not going to be well for quite a while---most of it is still in darkness, businesses are closed and the infrastructure is in shambles. People will go home and have nothing to do other than to stare at the mold on their walls.

City dwellers who return will have to step off their snooty little horses and welcome themselves to the metro area. Properties in the surrounding suburbs have been getting snatched up faster than thugs were stealing shoes on Canal Street after Katrina struck. There’s barely an apartment to be found. Many people from the city have lost their homes entirely and those who are in need of major repairs may have to wait months, possibly years, to get a contractor and make the repairs. In the meantime, they’re living in Baton Rouge, Austin, Jackson, Atlanta and everywhere else far from the place they love. They can’t return to the city because they have nowhere to live. It is the suburbanites who will rebuild the city---they are the backbone of the metro area and I think the city will see that now more than ever.

My father, like many others, grew up in the city but refused to raise his children in the cesspool that New Orleans had become. I have been back in the city many times since Katrina. First I was struck and hurt by what had happened. My grandmother’s house in Lakeview, our family parade corner on St. Charles, the school I attended on Carrollton--- all were vacant and had been set back into the dark ages. Now, when I look at the devastated neighborhoods, I see it as a sign of progress, a cleansing of the sickness and filth that had plagued New Orleans for so long.

I’m here, I’m excited and I want to rebuild. I want to gut this motherfucker down to the studs and start from scratch. To rebuild the city my father used to tell me about, the city that I always thought could be. I want to rebuild a New Orleans where I would actually live and raise my children, a place that I would actually be proud to call home. I want economic progress. I want responsibility. I want everything great that New Orleans is, only I want it to grow up. We don’t need a fucking second line right now, we need to get to work.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Gloop. Glop. Gloss.

We've noticed, perhaps belatedly, that the Houston Chronicle is trying to horn in on what we assume is the lucrative franchise for slick piffle long held by Paper City magazine. Yes, the daily paper is dumping its very own glossy throwaway rag on local newsracks, and calling it, in an exercise of creativity previously unparalleled in America's newsrooms, Gloss.

Although apparently not available in our zip code, we stumbled across the product during a rare visit inside the Loop (there were plenty available), and after a hasty perusal, we could find only one word to sum up this soulless, pointless, cobbled-together catchall paean to goofy fashions, tasteless home décor and rich people with strangely palsied facial features. The word is pathetic. (We noticed the name of restaurant critic Alison Cook among the 800 or so Chronicle employees credited with the making of Gloss, and thus got our hopes up for some quality verbiage and gently withering assaying of the local social treadmill … but no.)

It's bad enough that Gloss is a shameless, point-by-point rip-off of the Paper City formula (no telling where they got it, of course). What's worse is that, in every respect, Gloss is head-and-shoulders below Paper City. Even the paper on which it’s printed feels like a sorry, cheap facsimile of Paper City’s truly superior asswipe.

Pathetic. (We said that already, right?)

Check out our all-new sistah blog,, for Senior Reader Representative Hidalgo Hidalgo’s loving tribute to the late Nipsey Russell (1924-2005).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Introducing Our New Reader Representative (Take It Away, Leon)

We’ve been buried lately under a blizzard of hate mail, stupid questions, lame suggestions and otherwise irrelevant communications from readers---so many that we at Slampo’s Place can’t get any work done. So, like most other legitimate publications, we’ve decided to deploy our very own Reader Representative (or “Re-Rep,” as he’s known on the street) to deal with the underemployed riff-raff. We've even entrusted him with (for the time being) his own blog.

We firmly believe that it’s best to insulate our workers from any contact with the public, especially those who call in or email after tiring of being on-hold on talk radio. It’s kind of like our republican form of government---we’ve “elected” someone to “represent” you, the reader in the ”legislature” of public opinion on our publication’s operations. You dig? Of course, our Re-Rep, unlike other reader representatives and ombudsman and whatnot, is free to handle issues however he sees fit, as long as he never veers from the company line or writes anything that might jeopardize our 30 percent after-tax profit margin.

And so—ta da!---we’d like to use this occasion to introduce our Re-Rep (at left above). He’s actually the second person to fill the post. Our first, a gentleman known to us only as “Super Johnny,” who worked out of cubicle in a city in India whose name we can neither pronounce nor spell, recently left our employ to accept what he described as a “better offer” (in his case, we think that means being paid). So now we’ve retained the services or a 20ish male whom we call Hidalgo Hidalgo (when we asked him his name, he replied, “Hidalgo”; when we asked whether that was his first or last name, he replied “Hidalgo”; so we believe his name to be Hidalgo Hidalgo). We found him sprawled under a shade tree late one afternoon on the median of Hillcroft Drive across from the Fiesta Mart in southwest Houston, surrounded by discarded scratch-off lottery tickets and empty Bud cans. What he doesn’t know of the English language or the sometimes obscure and dated cultural references that fly under the copy editors’ radar here at Slampo’s Place, he makes up for in enthusiasm and willingness to work for cash, and not much of it. So henceforth, if you’ve got a complaint or a suggestion for Slampo’s Place, or if you’re just really lonely and looking to engage in some sparkling electronic repartee, reach out and touch (but not there, please) Hidalgo Hidalgo, like the lucky readers below:

Dear Asshole “Slampo,”
You, sir, obviously have issues with women. In the recent weeks, your “blog” has referred to individual females as “a very hot Latina,” “a frisky young Oriental lady,” “a big, beautiful black woman with an exquisite bottom upon which we could fall into a deep sleep and dream for hours” and “a saucy old white gal with a bankroll as thick and fungible as her collagen-injected lips.” Your self-consciously cute attempts at political incorrectness aren’t funny and are hurtful to the powerless people whom you mock. Consider yourself warned: We will tolerate no more of this.
Ms. Jane Berkshire-Hathaway
Adjunct professor of women’s studies
Dairy Ashford Community College, West Campus
Houston, Texas

Dear Ms. Asshole,
For an explanation of these lapses in taste we turned to Ms. Soledad Justinian, our assistant deputy associate editor for Women’s News and Home Economics, only to find when we turned that Ms. Justinian had lost her job in the last round of layoffs here at Slampo’s Place.
So all we can say is that you obviously have no sense of humor, most likely ’cause you ain’t gettin’ any!
Muy mucho sincerely,
HH, Re-Rep

Dear Assholes,
Who are you, Pat Buchanan or somebody? We’re sick and tired of your constant slanting of the news and disarrangement of facts to serve your hateful right-wing agenda. All you do is yank on Bush’s knob and stand on your hind legs and bark for your corporate masters. We despise you and all stand for. And remember, this is pledge week, so we’re counting on your promised $11.54 to help us meet our goal of keeping our vital program on the air and not accepting any more money than is necessary from our corrupt and evil government.
Up the ass of the ruling class,
Amyl de la Goodman
Co-host, Los Super-fine Left-Handed Lesbian Latina Hour
KPFT radio

Dear Mr. or Ms. Asshole,
We must not be reading the same blog. At Slampo’s Place, we are neither liberal nor conservative, neither right nor left. How can you tell? Because we just told you, asshole!
In fact, we have no coherent set of convictions whatsoever; we just like to assume an authoritative voice and pretend we know what’s going on.
And may we add: Screw you, sir or madam!
Yours in solidarity,
El Reader Rep Hombre

You Illiterate Asshole,
In your recent posting “The Day I Lost My Virginity” you wrote of “a historical event.” As anyone with half a brain and an associate degree in English knows, it should have been “an historical event.”
Got it? Get it!
Yours for precision in things small and large,
“Slim” Bywaters, ex-copy editor, Slampo’s Place

Dear Pathetic Asshole,
As you may have heard, the layoffs at Slampo’s Place several months ago left us without copy editors. The most recent downsizing announced last week by corporate management will necessitate the elimination of the articles “a,” “and” and “the” from all postings on Slampo’s Place. So the miscue you spotted with your keen and practiced eye should not recur.
By the way, in your haste to be escorted from the premises several months ago you left draped over the back of your chair a red sweater spotted with large coffee stains that not only was an eyesore but was stinking up the entire floor. We took the liberty of tying said article of clothing into a ball and have given it to Tupac, our young and eager Rottweiller-in-training, so he’ll have something to gnaw on while passing the long lonely nights at his post. S’Ok?
Screw you again and again (and again),
HH (OG), The Original Rep-per

So there you have it! Nothing like a little open, honest give-and-take with the readers to clear the air. Remember: Our Reader Rep is standing by!

¡Llame ahora!