The Foster Law Firm

June 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Top Lawyers

The Foster Law Firm, Criminal Law

The Foster Law Firm, founded in 1966 as the Law Office of Logene L. Foster, emphasizes both civil and criminal trial practice including Personal Injury, Probate, Criminal Defense, Family Law and General Civil Litigation. The firm also handles Appellate work in both Civil and Criminal areas of the law. The primary objective of the Firm is to deliver quality service for a reasonable fee.
Logene Foster attended the University of Houston and Southwest Texas State University and received his JD from South Texas College of Law in 1966. Logene is Board Certified in Criminal Law & Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Lynn Foster graduated from the University of Houston in 1992 and received his JD from South Texas College of Law in1996.
Lonnie Foster graduated from the University of Houston in 1986 followed by his JD at Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1999.

7838 Hwy 90A
Sugar Land, TX 77478
(281) 494-3156

Pico’s Mex-Mex Restaurant is having a Blast on 4th of July

June 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Dining

An All-You-Can-Eat “Backyard” BBQ Buffet

June 25, 2010. Houston. It’s Fiesta Time at Pico’s Mex-Mex Restaurant, 5941 Bellaire Boulevard, who will be celebrating the 4th of July with an All-You-Can-Eat “Backyard” BBQ. “The 4th of July is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends,” stated owner and chef Arnaldo Richards, “that is why I am inviting my family of customers to celebrate the holiday at my All-You-Can-Eat “Backyard” 4th of July buffet. We will be grilling Carnes Asadas (beef, chicken and pork), Hot dogs, Sliders, accompanied with Chilaquiles, Migas con huevo, Mexican rice, Charro and refried beans, chile con queso, guacamole salad, pico de gallo, salsas, corn chips, corn and flour tortillas and more, all served under the palapa.  We will also be serving $5 bottomless Mimosas, $7 Cuervo Tradicional Shaker Margarita, $5 Bloody Marys and Tequila Sunrise, and $2.75 Micheladas.” The 4th of July All-You-Can-Eat Backyard BBQ Buffet will be served from 11:30 am until 6 pm. Price: $12.95 per adult and $8.95 per child under 10 years of age. For more information about Pico’s Mex-Mex Restaurant’s 4th of July All-You-Can-Eat Backyard BBQ Buffet, please visit, or call 713-662-8383.


June 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Dining

On a recent Tuesday evening, we waited an hour and a half.  The family style brisket with veggies and salad was a fun solution for our group. At $40 for four people, it’s easy on the wallet also.  The hip crowd kept the energy high. The kitchen is open until midnight on weekdays and 2 am on weekends.


519 Shepherd Dr.


Media Relations Professional of the Year: Kim Padgett

June 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Edit

Houston (June 23, 2010) – Kim Padgett, principal of The Padgett Group, a strategic marketing and public relations consulting firm based in the Houston area,  was recently awarded by Houston media the 2010 Public Relation Society of America’s Inaugural Excalibur Award for “Media Relations Professional of Year”.

The award was announced at the Excalibur Awards Galaon June 17, 2010 at the Junior League of Houston. Nominated and voted on by reporters, editors and writers from the Greater Houston area, this prestigious distinction recognizes excellence in the field of public relations specifically in media relations. The award was originally to be presented by Houston Community News Editor Charlotte Aguilar, but was presented by surprise guest and close friend, KTRK ABC Channel 13 News Anchor Miya Shay. Padgett has more than 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing and communications and has been a media relations main stay in the Houston area.

“I am thankful to have received such a prestigious award. The fact that this award comes from such a renowned organization as the PRSA and that I was nominated by my friends and colleagues in the media, makes it that much more special. I am honored to be part of an event that represents such powerful and successful public relations practitioners,” said Padgett. Prior to founding The Padgett Group, Kim served as the Vice President and General Manager of the Thompson Group for both the Houston and Dallas offices. In addition to the Thompson group, Padgett contributed to the strategic communication and marketing direction of numerous companies including Iconixx, Life Line Screening Corp, and Net Explorer, Inc.
Padgett servers on the boards of numerous area professional and community organizations including the Partnership for Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Achievement Place, Houston Technology Center, Houston Children’s Charity, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Houston Restaurant Week, Joyful Toyful, Goodwill Industries, Rice Alliance for Technology Entrepreneurs, Escape Family Resource Center  as well as an elected official for the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for the City of Bellaire.

To learn more about PRSA and the Media Relations Professional of the Year Award, please visit

Big 12

By Lynn Ashby                                                            28 June 2010

We must discuss the Big 12 or, if you’re a Latin major, the Big XII. Cynics call it the Dirty Dozen, and note the athletic conference now has only10 members. How can it be called the Big 12 when the conference almost called it quits? Colorado left for the bigger TV bucks in the Pac-10. Nebraska did the same for the Southeastern Conference. UT, A&M, OU and OSU were being wooed by every conference including the Yalta and parent-teacher. (Incidentally, as every Texan knows, when we speak of college athletics or sports or teams, we’re really talking football TV money.)

The Big 12 is only 14 years old, but it sprang from the ashes of the Southwest Conference (SWC), which had been around for 82 years. Arkansas left for the SEC in 1992, and by 1994 the heavyweights in the conference were UT, A&M and Tech, which had big crowds and big bucks. (The current UT athletic budget is $167 million a year, $7 million more than last year and the largest athletic budget of any university in the nation.)

Rice, UH, Baylor, SMU and TCU were weaklings. The conference was uneven, the games lopsided, and it was not just a Texas secret. On Sept. 12, 1962, at Rice Stadium, President John F. Kennedy’s famous challenge to Americans to send a man to the moon, asked, “But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?” True story.

The SWC produced seven national football champions. The Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s outstanding offensive player, was won by five SWC stars. (Did you know that the Heisman is named after John Heisman who coached at Rice?) Five SWC linemen won the Outland Trophy.

The three strongest members of the SWC – UT, A&M and Tech — merged with the Big Six to the north. Baylor, the only non-public university in the new conference, was included because the Texas governor, Ann Richards, and the powerful lite guv, Bob Bullock, were both Bears. Baylor became everybody’s homecoming game, but the school should stop piggy-backing on its big brothers and start filling the stadium. Perhaps the Baptists should add a nice cocktail lounge and wet bars. Today the Big 12 is staying together because its commissioner, Dan Beebe, promised – but couldn’t guarantee – the major teams would receive a bigger, richer TV contract. If Beebe can’t deliver in a couple of years, watch for another divorce.

Two former SWC members are being mentioned to bring the 10 to 12. One of the names being tossed around is UH, mostly by UH. In a remarkable bit of timing, the Cougars just announced a $160 million building program for its football and basketball teams. Good luck in raising that kind of money in this kind of economy. UH has a new, dynamic president/chancellor, Renu Khator, who announced shortly after her confirmation that she wanted a better football team. Maybe an East Indian can succeed in putting fans’ fannies in the seats when no one else can.

The Coogs have only themselves to blame for not being in the club. Located in a city larger than any Big 12 member’s home – Ames, Iowa, anyone? – UH can’t half fill its stadium. As a yardstick, UT football brings in $87.6 million year, more than any other school and far ahead of Baylor, at the bottom of the conference, with $11.9 million. UH brings in $4 million.

TCU is also being mentioned as a new member. It has been playing some good football and baseball lately, but for decades the Horned Frogs were so bad even Baylor beat them. Can UT & Co. rely on continued success in Cow Town?

Much of this conference-changing is guided towards a national football playoff. True, the title student-athlete is an oxymoron (ESPN? How do you spell that?), but who is really for a collegiate Super Bowl? Not the college presidents, not the coaches, not the beat-up players. The pushers are sports columnists, sports radio talk-show hosts, advertisers, networks. There is big money in a national play-off, and the last of the pushers’ priorities is the young men who have been in pads and out of class since August.

University football teams used to play 10 games and then a few of them played in bowls. Today the season can mean 14 games or more, and any team that finishes the season gets in a bowl. A national playoff would mean games into March, ending just in time for spring practice. And don’t use the reasoning that all the other college sports have national champions. If you can’t tell the difference between the blood, missing teeth, broken bones and exhaustion in football and the pitfalls of basketball or tennis, leave this conversation.

This brings us to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. It has just released a report saying lavish spending on college athletics is straining the schools’ finances and should be controlled. Big 12 members, for example, spend nine times as much on their athletes as on other students. No one has heard of this 22-member blue ribbon commission and its report will be ignored.

Finally, this one is worth re-telling: A major relic of the old SWC is Rice Stadium, which was built with 47,000 seats – expandable to 70,000 — because, back then, Rice could fill them. George R. Brown of Brown & Root got the contract to build the new stadium and broke ground in February of ’50. He vowed to have the new stadium ready for the first game the following September. Problems slowed down construction, so a reporter went out to check on the project. There was George Brown himself shoveling and mixing and sweating. When the reporter asked, “Mr. Brown, do you really think you’ll have this stadium ready in time?”

Said Brown, without looking up, “It’s a night game.”

Ashby cheers at

Yelp Eats! Week 6/21-6/27

June 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Dining

7 Nights. 19 Restaurants. 3-Course Dinner for $25!

Houston June 20, 2010 –, the site that connects people with great local businesses, presents Yelp Eats! a week-long promotion dedicated to giving consumers the chance to try great local restaurants at deeply discounted prices. The promotion will run from June 21 to June 27.

19 Participating restaurants include:
Arturo’s Uptown Italiano, Galleria/Uptown
Benjy’s, The Village
Benjy’s, Heights/Washington Corridor
Branch Water Tavern, Heights/Washington Corridor
Cava Bistro, Downtown
Cielo Mexican, Downtown
Crave Sushi, Midtown
Cyclone Anaya’s Mexican Kitchen, Midtown
Cyclone Anaya’s Mexican Kitchen, Heights/Washington Corridor
Cyclone Anaya’s Mexican Kitchen, Galleria/Memorial
Max’s Wine Dive, Heights/Washington Corridor
Mia Bella Trattoria, Downtown
Mia Bella Trattoria, Houston Pavilions/Downtown
Mia Bella Trattoria, Upper Kirby
Saffron, Upper Kirby
Soma Sushi, Heights/Washington Corridor
Sushi Raku, Midtown
Voice, Downtown
Yelapa Playa Mexicana, Upper Kirby

Yelp Eats will be running nationwide in 12 markets with Houston restaurants participating in the program. Other markets offering the promotion: Austin, Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Chicago Suburbs, Dallas, Orange County, Miami, Sacramento, San Diego, and St Louis

Menu & Website:
These special menus are open to the public. Reservations should be made by calling the business and mentioning Yelp Eats. For more information about the special menus, please visit or

Few reminders:
1. Call to make dinner reservations, and request the Yelp Eats! menu
2. $25 does NOT include tax/tip or additional items and beverages
3. Spread the word. This deal is open to all!

Banana Plantations

June 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Edit

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that bananas are taboo for anyone who is concerned about rainforest destruction? Even if I seek out “fair trade” or organic bananas, am I feeding the demand which is causing rainforest to be cleared? — Laura Barnard, Hillsboro, OH

Sadly, the short answers to these questions may be yes and yes for now, but that may change as the $5 billion banana industry slowly comes to terms with greener forms of production. Historically, growing the world’s most popular fruit has caused massive degradation of rainforest land across the tropics, spread noxious chemicals throughout formerly pristine watersheds, and poisoned and exploited farm workers.

“Banana plantations were infamous for their environmental and social abuses, which included the use of dangerous pesticides, poor working conditions, water pollution and deforestation,” reports the Rainforest Alliance, a New York-based non-profit that has been working to improve worker and environmental conditions in the industry since 1990. “Pesticide-impregnated plastic bags, which protect bananas as they grow, often littered riverbanks and beaches near banana farms, while agrochemical runoff and erosion killed fish, clogged rivers and choked coral reefs.” Also, the proximity of housing to banana fields, coupled with lax regulations for pesticide handling, led to frequent illness among workers and people living near the plantations.

But help is on the way, largely thanks to the pioneering work of the Rainforest Alliance, which certifies as sustainable those banana farms and plantations that meet certain criteria for responsible farm management set by the Sustainable Agriculture Network, a coalition of non-profits striving to improve commodity production in the tropics. As a result of the program, some 15 percent of all bananas sold internationally now come from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. The group is especially proud of its agreements with two of the largest growers, Favorita and Chiquita. All of Favorita’s farms in Ecuador and all of Chiquita’s farms in Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama are certified sustainable under the program.

While the Rainforest Alliance’s success is certainly a step in the right direction, other groups bemoan the fact that even certified plantations are on land that was once tropical rainforest. According to Rainforest Relief, Americans should still avoid purchasing bananas altogether and instead opt for fruit grown locally, such as apples, peaches, cherries or pears. The group is hopeful, though, that its work with farm cooperatives growing organic bananas under the shade of a diverse forest canopy in Costa Rica can eventually drive the larger international banana market toward better land use and worker safety standards.

“These growers are for the most part farming only small portions of the land they own or control, the rest being left as montaña—undisturbed forest—to keep their flowing water fresh and keep healthy the wildlife that ‘works’ their farms with them,” reports Rainforest Relief. The group has been working to develop secondary markets for bananas that may have been bruised during harvest or transport but which can still be used for baby food, vinegar and other applications that don’t require unblemished peels. Some of these products are marketed to tourists in Costa Rica while others are sold in the U.S.—look for the Rainforest Farms brand, among others—at Whole Foods and other natural foods retailers.

CONTACTS: The Rainforest Alliance,; Chiquita,; Favorita,; Rainforest Relief,

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, c/o E – The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; E is a nonprofit publication. Subscribe:; Request a Free Trial Issue:

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is there any link between increased volcanic activity—such as the recent eruptions in Iceland, Alaska and elsewhere—and global warming? — Ellen McAndrew, via e-mail

It’s impossible to pin isolated natural phenomena—like an individual volcanic eruption—on global warming, but some researchers insist that there is a correlation between the two in some instances.

“Global warming melts ice and this can influence magmatic systems,” reports Freysteinn Sigmundsson of the Nordic Volcanological Centre at the University of Iceland. Her research with Carolina Pagli of the University of Leeds in England suggests that rocks cannot expand to turn into magma—the primary “feedstock” for volcanic eruptions—when they are under the pressure of a big ice cap pushing down on them. As the theory goes, melting ice caps relieve that pressure and allow the rocks to become magma. This in turn increases the chances of larger and/or more frequent eruptions in affected regions, from Iceland to Alaska to Patagonia to Antarctica.

As for Iceland specifically, the eruption of Mt. Ejyafjallajökull that shut down some air travel for weeks this past spring cannot be blamed on changing climate: That volcano lies under a relatively small icecap which would not exert enough pressure to affect the creation of magma. But Sigmundsson and Pagli found that the melting of about a tenth of Iceland’s biggest icecap, Vatnajokull, over the last century caused the land to rise an inch or so per year and led to the growth of an underground mass of magma measuring a third of a cubic mile. Similar processes, they say, led to a surge in volcanic eruptions in Iceland at the end of the last ice age, and similarly increased volcanic activity is expected to occur there in the future.

On the flip side, volcanic eruptions can exacerbate the ongoing effects of climate change: Already retreating glaciers can lose all their ice when something below them blows. Of course, many volcanoes around the world are not subject to pressure from ice caps, and scientists stress that there is little if any evidence linking global warming to eruptions in such situations.

Some have theorized that large volcanic eruptions contribute to global warming by spewing large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the stratosphere. But the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by even a large and ongoing volcanic eruption is but a drop in the bucket in comparison to our annual output of industrial and automotive carbon emissions.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, greenhouse gas emissions from volcanoes make up less than one percent of those generated by human endeavors. Also, ash clouds and sulfur dioxide released from volcanoes shield some sunlight from reaching the Earth and as such can have a cooling effect on the planet. The 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines—a much larger eruption than what occurred recently in Iceland—caused an average cooling of half a degree centigrade worldwide during the following year. Regardless, single volcanic eruptions, even if they last for weeks or months, are unlikely to send enough gas or ash up into the skies to have any long term effect on the planet’s climate.

CONTACTS: Nordic Volcanological Centre at the University of Iceland,; U.S. Geological Survey,

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, c/o E – The Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; E is a nonprofit publication. Subscribe:; Request a Free Trial Issue:

Death and No Taxes

By Lynn Ashby                                                    21 June 2010

My first indication of the changing situation was when my children started inquiring about my health. “How ya feelin’ today, Dad?” asked the eldest. “You look a little tired, Daddy,” said my daughter. Another son e-mailed me: “Is your medication kicking in? Just asking.”

They had never been so concerned before, not even when I passed out and was run over by a Mardi Gras float, or when I was wounded at Khe Sanh saving my commanding officer. After the mistaken obit appeared in the paper, my wife showed up for the funeral, but the kids only sent flowers. So what gives?

Next I noticed my daughter wandering round the house with a clipboard, putting little tags on the furniture. In some cases she took photographs. Then I got an e-mail: “Dad, the safety deposit box is at the Left Bank of the Bayou, right?” And another: “What’s the PIN number for your ATM account? I’m playing Trivial Pursuit.” My son the lawyer wanted to update my will.

It certainly was nice that my offspring suddenly became concerned over my health. Then I spotted a newspaper headline: “Legacy for One Billionaire: Death, but No Taxes.” The article began: “A Texas pipeline tycoon who died two months ago may become the first American billionaire allowed to pass his fortune to his children and grandchildren tax-free.” Hey, we all knew George W. took care of his rich Texas oil buddies, but no taxes at all?

After reading further, I discovered the situation isn’t quite that blatant. What happened was in all the Bush tax cut maneuvering, the law he finally signed contained an accounting quirk: no estate taxes for 2010. The Dems vowed to close that gap when they took control of Congress, but they failed to reach an agreement last December.

Enter – or depart — Dan L. Duncan, the richest man in Houston. A poor East Texas boy with only a business school education, he got into the gas pipeline biz and knew how to make money. Forbes magazine estimated Duncan’s worth at $9 billion, ranking him as the 74th wealthiest person in the world. In March, at age 77, he died of a brain hemorrhage. Had he died last Dec. 31, his estate (or death) taxes could have been at least 45 percent. On the other hand, if Duncan had lived past next New Year’s Eve, the rate could be even higher — 55 percent, although many changes are being discussed. Don’t complain. When John D. Rockefeller, America’s first billionaire, died in 1937, his estate paid 70 percent. Oddly enough, today two billionaires are main supporters of the estate tax: Warren E. Buffett and Bill Gates.

The was enacted in 1916, and since then the rates have fluctuated, but this is the first time the tax has been repealed entirely. Before last New Year’s Day, any estate worth more that $3.5 million — or $7 million for a couple’s estate — was taxed beyond that amount. With all the screaming about the tax, we’d think it applied to millions of departing Americans, but actually the tax affects only about 5,500 estates a year. In 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, that came to $25 billion. Spouses can inherit any amount without limit — Duncan left his home and ranch to his wife along with stock valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. But Duncan’s estate beneficiaries are subject only to a capital gains tax which is far less than the normal estate tax.

Oh. I get it. So that’s why my brood is so inquisitive about my health. They know that if I croak before the next Cotton Bowl game or the ball drops in Times Square, which ever comes first, they get my vast fortune with no estate tax. This also explains last year why they were so intent on my good heath. All of 2009 they kept inquiring about my cigar-induced cough, my vodka-based crawling. “Keep Lynn till ’10,” must have been their mantra. Throughout the calendar year of 2009 they no doubt had life-support systems at the ready to keep me comatose if not frozen. But with the stroke of midnight on Dec. 31 last, it was open season on Daddy.

Maybe I should get a bodyguard who doubles as a food taster. I’ll drive home a different way each evening. Father’s Day, my birthday and Christmas should be called off this year. Those packages might tick. I must be careful of any delivery from Acme Napalm Co. or Shrapnel R Us. Look both ways before crossing the minefield. Avoid leper conventions. No, I’m not paranoid, just careful.

Wait a minute. Why can’t the hunted become the hunter? Maybe I can take a page out of “Kind Hearts and Coronets” and dispose of my relatives one by one until I hit the family jewels? Uncle Waldo has that big company and probably is sitting on a fortune, if his fourth wife didn’t take it all when she left Waldo for the Green Bay Packers. Maybe at the next Labor Day family picnic I can bring him some potato salad that I inadvertently left in the sun for three hours.

There was always the rumor that Cousin Crabgrass was Howard Hughes’ illegitimate son. I could give Crabgrass new Kleenex boxes for Christmas and tie the shoelaces together. Then there is Grandpa Spindletop. He was named for his father’s best friend who had something to do with oil and died childless. Gramps, mind if I borrow your pacemaker?

Hold everything. The news story says during his life Duncan gave away millions to charities, medical research, museums and foundations. I don’t actually give away millions, more in the low $3-$4 range. Annually. Now the phone is ringing again. It’s an offspring. “Dad, you just accidentally faxed me your last IRS return. It’s sort of depressing reading, If I go first, should I leave you something in my will?”

Ashby is hiding out at

The Natural State: Arkansas

June 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

Arkansas is a natural for outdoor activities. With magnificent mountain ranges, millions of acres of national forests, 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,000 miles of streams and rivers, few states in mid-America can equal her great outdoors. Famous for unparalleled fishing opportunities, the state also offers a wide variety of canoeing and kayaking options.  The Natural State has more than 1,500 miles of trails for horseback riding, bicycling and ATV riding. Visit to request your free Arkansas Vacation Planning Kit.


June 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Edit


Will Designate Cash, Daigle & Sullivan For Assignment

HOUSTON, TX–The Houston Astros have announced plans to purchase the contracts of catcher Jason Castro and outfielder Jason Bourgeois and to recall third baseman Chris Johnson, all from Triple A Round Rock. Astros General Manager Ed Wade made the announcement.

Wade also announced that the ballclub will designate catcher Kevin Cash, right-handed pitcher Casey Daigle and outfielder Cory Sullivan for assignment. The Astros have 10 days to either trade, release or assign outright the contracts of the designated players.

All of today’s announced moves are effective on Tuesday, June 22.

Castro, who turned 23 on Friday, entered today hitting .265 in 57 games at Round Rock with four home runs, 26 RBI and 32 walks in what is his first season in Triple A. After a slow start that saw him hit .226 in April, Castro has hit .278 since May 1 with four homers and 20 RBI. Last night, he hit a two-run home run vs. Omaha. Castro, who was the Astros first pick in the 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft, hit .313 in 16 games for the Astros in Spring Training this year. In 2009, in what was his first full professional season, Castro hit a combined .300 at Lancaster (A) and Corpus Chrisit (AA) with 10 HR and 73 RBI. Additionally, he played for the U.S. squad in the All-Star Futures game (hit 3-run HR), was a member of the Gold Medal winning Team U.S.A. squad in the IBAF World Cup in September and started for the West squad in the Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars game in November.

Houston native Bourgeois, 28, entered today fifth in the Pacific Coast League in batting with a .345 clip in 65 games at Round Rock. He was also tied for fourth in the league in stolen bases (18) and tied for eighth in on-base-pct. (.405). Bourgeois, who was claimed off waivers by Houston from Milwaukee on October 26, 2009, hit .321 in 13 Spring Training games for the Astros with two triples and a .412 on-base-pct. Bourgeois has appeared in 30 Major League games in his career, six for the White Sox in 2008 and 24 for the Brewers last season.

This will be the second Major League stint for the 25-year-old Johnson in 2010. He opened the season with the Astros, appearing in eight games (.227, 5×22) before being placed on the 15-day Disabled List on April 20th with a strained right intercostal muscle. On May 8th, he was activated from the DL and optioned to Round Rock, where he is hitting .329 in 38 games with eight home runs, 33 RBI and a .570 slugging pct (entering today). In Spring Training, Johnson, who was the Astros fourth pick in the 2006 Draft, led the Grapefruit League in both HR (8) and RBI (22) in 25 games. Johnson has appeared in 19 Major League games the last two seasons combined for the Astros.

Cash, who entered today hitting .216 in 19 games, has been with the Astros big club since having his contract purchased from Round Rock on May 5. He was signed by Houston as a minor league free agent on January 22 of this year. Daigle has a 7.50 ERA (5ER/6.0IP) in eight appearances for the Astros with two walks and three strikeouts. He began the 2010 season at Round Rock before having his contract purchased on June 1. Sullivan, who was signed by Houston as a minor league free agent on January 20 of this year and made the club out of Spring Training,  entered today hitting .190 (12×63) in 56 games, with most of his at-bats coming in a pinch-hitting role.


Post Oak Little League

June 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Events

We still have space available in our baseball camps for the weeks listed above.  All camps are held at Post Oak Little League, which is located on the campus of TH Rogers middle school.  To register or for additional information, please go to

You’ll Know When You’ve Arrived

June 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Edit

THE UN-COMFORT ZONE with Robert Wilson

During the 1996 Summer Olympics, I saw a young athlete with his brand new silver medal around his neck and a massive smile on his face. He was so thrilled with his achievement that he was mixing and mingling with everyone he met on the sidewalk. Perfect strangers were shaking his hand, slapping him on the back, and having their picture taken with him. I did not know who he was, but it was clear that he was relishing the highest point of his life to date.

On March 29, 1982, amid thunderous applause, Katherine Hepburn stepped onto the stage at the Academy Awards to receive the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in On Golden Pond. Was she as thrilled as the Olympic athlete that I saw? Probably not. It was her fourth. Been there, done that, the mantle is getting crowded.

In my column titled Pack Mentality, I wrote that human beings are highly motivated by status and its symbols. A reader contacted me and said she had grown beyond that. She told me how, after 20 years of financial success, she put the corporate world and materialism behind her. She now works at a fraction of her previous earnings for a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of babies.

I agreed that she had put status and its symbols behind her, but only in one area of her life. I then asked her what level of comfort was she seeking to achieve in her new career?

Abraham Maslow, in his Theory of Human Motivation, identified five levels of need that people strive to satisfy (in order, they are: Survival, Safety, Social, Esteem, and Fulfillment). I have found that we work through those five levels separately in each area of our lives: work, relationships, parenting, hobbies, sports, volunteering, etc. With each new endeavor, we attempt to pass all the mileposts until we reach our comfort zone.

There is a joke about parenthood that illustrates this: When the first baby drops her pacifier on the ground, the parents sterilize it before giving it back; with the second baby, the pacifier gets wiped off; and with number three, it just gets popped back into his mouth. I used to think the humor referred to how harried the parent was from handling the needs of three kids, but now I realize it refers to the parent’s comfort level with raising children.

Status is an esteem need, and the symbols that accompany it are recognition for our achievements. However, as long as those status symbols remain important to us, then we haven’t mastered that area of our lives. It is when we are in our comfort zone that the achievement is secure. At that point, the symbols are no longer important and we are ready to move on to the highest level: fulfillment. You will know you have reached the peak when you freely share your expertise with people who are levels below you.

Many years ago, I heard an interview with a professional football quarterback. The reporter asked him if he ever taught his secrets of success to younger up and coming players. He replied, “What, and lose my job to one of them? Hell no! Let them learn it on their own the way I did.” Clearly, he was not yet in his comfort zone.

All of us have reached a comfort zone in one or more areas of our lives. I spent six years as a member of the public speaking organization, Toastmasters International. For the first four years, I was fully focused on learning and achieving. In that time, I completed two educational levels and won 13 speaking contests. During my last two years in Toastmasters, I became a professional speaker and was no longer interested in entering the contests. The shine of those “amateur” trophies had worn off a bit, and I found my joy was in sharing what I already knew with those who were just beginning.

You will know you have reached the highest level, when sharing your expertise is as satisfying as achievement.

Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. is a motivational speaker and humorist.  He works with companies that want to be more competitive and with people who want to think like innovators.  For more information on Robert’s programs please visit

Call for Houston Sports Photos

June 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Edit

Old Houston Area Sports and Outdoor Photos Sought

Houston, TX – June 5, 2010 – Local author and historian, Mike Vance, is seeking privately owned photographs for his new book Houston’s Sporting Life:1900-1950. The book will be published by Arcadia Publishing in early 2011. There will be a scanning session held at Becker’s Books, 7405 Westview, on Sunday, June 13 from 1 to 3pm. People may come by with their photos and have them scanned on the spot plus complete all necessary paperwork.

Vance elaborates on the type of photographs desired: “We are looking for good and interesting photographs of any sports or outdoor activity in Houston and the immediate area between 1900 and 1950. These need to be photos to which you own the rights. We’re interested in organized team sports, school sports, and individual activities such as golf, hunting, fishing, swimming, racing, bowling, boating or anything else that constitutes a sports or outdoor activity. We will arrange to scan the photos with you present so they will never leave your possession. We are seeking a release only to use the photos in this project. The rights to the photographs will remain yours.”

A substantial portion of the proceeds from the book will go to Houston Arts and Media, a local 501c3 non-profit organization which produces media to teach local history.

About Houston Arts and Media:
Houston Arts and Media’s purpose is to produce educational and historical film, video and books. The work will be done by members of Houston’s creative, educational, research and production communities. Houston Arts and Media is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization.

For information: or
Phone: 713-686-9244

BP oil leak

June 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Edit

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that the BP oil leak is much more of an environmental threat than previous spills from tankers, and if so why? — Nathan Gore, Pawtucket, RI

No one knows for sure how the ongoing oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico will affect the deep sea ecosystem, but scientists are not optimistic. Oil from what is now considered the nation’s second largest spill, 1989’s Exxon Valdez mishap, slicked 11,000 square miles of ocean surface and 1,300 miles of pristine Alaskan coastline while killing hundreds of thousands of birds and marine mammals and untold numbers of fish and fish eggs. But the impacts of the ongoing Deepwater Horizon leak in the Gulf may be far worse given that much of the loose oil is actually in the water column, not on the surface. In fact, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently detected huge deepwater plumes of dispersed oil up to 30 miles long, seven miles wide and hundreds of feet thick.

Why would an undersea spill be worse? One outcome could be the expansion in size and extension in time of a seasonal “dead zone” that already plagues the Gulf of Mexico as a result of industrial pollutants and agricultural run-off from the Mississippi River. While huge Gulf of Mexico algae blooms help to naturally clean up the Midwest’s factory emissions and wasted fertilizer, such a process doesn’t come without a cost to the ecosystem. Every spring, in a condition known as hypoxia, this fast growing algae depletes large sections of the Gulf’s water column of the oxygen crucial for other life forms to survive there. The BP oil spill is likely to exacerbate this problem, as natural oil-eating microbes swarming over undersea oil plumes could cause or add to hypoxic conditions in otherwise teeming swaths of the Gulf.

According to NOAA researcher Samantha Joye, the undersea oil poses a direct threat to large marine wildlife, such as fish, sharks and cetaceans, and also to the tiny stuff, including zooplankton, shrimp, corals, crabs and worms. By endangering these latter populations, the foundation of the marine food chain, the oil could have chronic long-term effects on the wider Gulf ecosystem, including the industries—more shrimp and oysters come from the Gulf than anywhere else in the world—that rely on them.

Another worry is how the chemical dispersants being used to break up the undersea oil will impact the Gulf’s ecosystems and inhabitants. The dispersant’s ingredients are a trade secret closely held by the company that makes it, and therefore have not been vetted by marine biologists to determine their safety for use in such a large application. It also remains to be seen what impact the tiny oil droplets left in the dispersant’s wake will have. It could actually be worse for the undersea environment to break the oil up into tiny droplets (which is done to try to make it easier for microbes to digest them).

Beyond all these undersea environmental effects, the oil is also starting to wash up into coastal wetlands already besieged by overdevelopment, pollution and the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina. If there can be any silver lining to this catastrophe, it may be that it is the wake-up call we’ve needed to start moving more rapidly away from fossil fuels to a clean, renewable energy future. For starters, we can all begin to reduce our own oil consumption and opt for clean and green energy sources whenever possible.

CONTACTS: Deepwater Horizon Response,; NOAA,

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Where does ethanol as an automobile fuel fit into the alternative energy mix? Is it better for the environment than gasoline? — Donna Allgaier-Lamberti, Pullman, MI

Ethanol—a biofuel derived from corn and other feedstocks—is already playing a major role in helping to reduce emissions from many of the traditional gasoline-powered cars on the road today. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly half of all the gasoline sold in the U.S. contains up to 10 percent ethanol, which not only boosts octane but also helps meet federally mandated air quality requirements. By promoting more complete fuel combustion, this small amount of ethanol mixed into gasoline reduces exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide—a regulated pollutant linked to smog, acid rain, global warming and other environmental problems—by as much as 30 percent compared with pure gasoline.

Also, a growing number of so-called “flex-fuel” vehicles now available can run on either straight unleaded gasoline or so-called E85, a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol proponents underscore emissions savings, cost stability (ethanol is distilled from domestically grown corn) and reduced reliance on (foreign) oil as benefits of more drivers filling up their tanks with E85 instead of gas.

But even though some eight million flex-fuel vehicles are now on U.S. roads, most of them are not near convenient ethanol refilling stations and are therefore mostly running on regular gasoline. (The U.S. Department of Energy website has a map-based listing of E85 refueling stations across the country—most are in the Midwest’s “corn belt.”) So while the capacity and perhaps demand for a cleaner burning fuel is there, supplies have not kept pace—some say because the federal government has subsidized ethanol producers only and not the distributors and retailers who get the product to customers.

But this may change. In May 2009 President Obama signed a Presidential Directive to advance research into biofuels like ethanol and expand their use. The resulting Biofuels Interagency Working Group is developing a plan to increase flex fuel vehicle use by making E85 and other biofuels more available.

While many environmental advocates view increasing ethanol use as a promising development (if drivers would actually fill up with it), others are not so sure. Cornell agriculture professor David Pimentel argues that producing ethanol actually creates a net energy loss. His research shows that a gallon of ethanol contains 77,000 BTUs of energy for engines to burn but requires 131,000 BTUs to process into usable fuel, not including additional BTUs burned from fossil fuel sources to power the farm equipment to grow the corn, and the barges, trains and trucks used to transport it to refineries and ultimately fueling stations.

Pimentel also says that powering a car for a single year on ethanol would require 11 acres of corn, which could alternatively feed at least seven people. If we step up our use of ethanol and begin putting our farmers’ yields into gas tanks instead of on dinner tables, we could see a shortage of domestically grown food and higher prices at the grocery store. To address this problem, biofuels producers are researching alternative non-food feedstocks such as algae, corn stalks, wood chips and switchgrass, though they would still make use of arable land that could grow food for human consumption.

Dear Texas School Teacher,

June 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

Dear Texas School Teacher,

You have ben waiting in great antisipation – some would say angished fear – for your new tectsbooks as approved by us here at the Texas State School Board Comitee.

Well, here they ar. Tell us if you don’t like the emprovments and end-of-chaptor questions so well know who to far. Thank, Texas State School Board Comitee.

HISTORY: Columbus landed in America to: (a) get away from the reign in Spain. (b) bring the One True Religion to the heathens by massacring all non-believers, turning the rest into slaves, stealing their gold and spreading deadly diseases throughout the New World. (c) find a new route to India, but got lost. India had no idea how lucky it was. (d) Keep from falling off the edge.

True or false: The Founding Fathers have been wrongly portrayed in paintings and movies as wearing knee pants, silk stockings and black loafers with silver buckles. Ditto for lace collars and ponytails.

Fact or rumor: Thomas Jefferson was not an Enlightenment thinker who changed the world, but he did wear all of the above.

The War of Jenkins’ Ear was not covered by health insurance because Jenkins was such a deadbeat and a drain on society that he refused to pay a 38 percent increase in his premiums.

GOVERNMENT: Which one of these is NOT a freedom guaranteed by the Constitution: Religion, press, speech, right to assemble, cable TV. (Extra credit is given for naming any freedom which should be abolished.)

Finish this sentence: The Second Amendment is the most important of all because: (Grade points reduced for mention of Starbucks.)

Barack Obama is: (a) the first line of the “Macarena.” (b) Kenyan for “show me the birth certificate.” (c) a one-term president.

True or true? Texas can secede from the Union any time it wishes.

Who said: “Give me liberty or give me a break.” “We distort, you deride.” “You lie!” “Honk if you want a theocracy.”

Gov. Rick Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas’ history. Who was the longest-serving inmate on Death Row? Hint: Not if Gov. Perry had his way.

The State School Board is: (a) wise (b) brilliant (c) charming (d) all of the above.

MATH: If an Amtrak train leaves Dallas at noon heading for Houston on the same track that an Amtrak train leaves Houston heading for Dallas, how long would it take for everyone to realize mass transit is a commie plot?

When are 59 votes fewer than 41 votes?

Write a 500 word essay on: Taxes should only be levied to run basic governmental functions such as chain gangs, SWAT teams and death panels.

If one black helicopter costs $4 million, how many can be bought by cutting Medicaid in half?

Minimum wage – Class warfare at its worst or an impediment to the free market?

If a plaintiff’s attorney squeezes $250,000 in damages from a good, solid God-fearing company that makes diapers which occasionally burst into flame, how much will an equally veracious, greedy attorney wring from an upstanding, talented physician who mistakenly amputates the wrong leg?

GEOGRAPHY: Texas is surrounded on all sides by jealous people who want to come here. In 500 words, describe the solution. Hint: Unattributed quotes about land mines, pit bulls and F-16s are not considered plagiarism.

Which of these is NOT a national park but should be: Mt. Olympia Snowe, Forrest Gump, Tiger Woods. (This is a trick question. The correct name is Eldrick Tont Woods.)

SCIENCE: Charles Darwin should be: (a) studied with doubt. (b) not studied. (c) sentenced to eternal damnation.

Name the Biblical chapter and verse where this appears: “God created the Earth in seven days, 10,000 years ago, more or less.”

Should sex education be taught in Texas public schools or should our students continue to learn it by circumventing the Parental Control block on the Internet?

Draw a wheel (it’s sort of round, isn’t it?) List three reasons it should be outlawed.

Earth, wind and fire are: (a) a musical group. (b) underwritten by AIG. (c) still not proven.

SOCIAL STUDIES: “Fair and Balanced” is: (a) slogan of a GOP subsidiary. (b) tattooed on Sarah Palin’s ankle. (c) a law firm.

Newt Gingrich: (a) is an amphibian of the Salamandridae family. (b) stole Christmas. (c) will explain in his autobiography why he was thrown out as Speaker and fined $300,000 for misleading a committee investigating him. (d) Our next president and none too soon.

Name three myths on this list: The Easter Bunny. Global warming. The separation of church and state.

A poll by Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. shows that Tea Party members are “less educated…than the average Joe and Jane Six Pack.” This proves “Quinnipiac” is Algonquian for: (a) village idiot (b) morally challenged (c) He Who Hits the Six-packs.

Well, teachers, that abot does it. We hope you like theze emprovements. Or else. Your State School Board Comitee.

Ashby changes facts at

Rare and Well Done

June 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Dining

More than 30 years ago, Perry’s began as a modest meat market and deli, and quickly became known for its quality cuts and impeccable service. Today, Perry’s continues to gain loyal fans by crafting an award-winning menu set in comfortable, casual elegance. Our staff decided on the Sugar Land location for our dining experience. The General Manager, Jeff Halford, and his staff treated us with impeccable service the moment we walked through the doors.

From the intimate settings to patio dining, to the timeless piano bar with live entertainment, Perry’s is simply perfect for a gathering with friends after work, a casual weeknight dinner or even a special occasion. An innovative menu features their famous pork chop, chateaubriand, and flaming desserts – all with a tableside presentation – as well as signature items including an herb-stuffed Filet Mignon. Of course, as with any steakhouse worth its salt, Perry’s hand-selected, USDA prime beef is dry aged in house for 28 days and is always mouth-wateringly perfect.

To complement the perfect meal, our Sommelier, Paul, started the evening with a wonderful Chardonnay. Perry’s presents a spectacular selection of world-class wines including Perry’s own private-label reserve Chardonnay, Meritage and Cabernet Sauvignon.

We decided to start our meal, as suggested by our server, Mike, with an Appetizer Sampler. This array of mouth-watering samplers included the cherry pepper calamari, fried jumbo asparagus topped with colossal lump crabmeat, seafood stuffed mushrooms, and my personal favorite, the homemade polish sausage.

The main course goes without saying, the best tableside presentation I have had the pleasure of experiencing in some time. From the plate presentation of the Symphony Kabob, to the carving presentation of the succulent pork chop, the staff at Perry’s is second to none. Their attention to detail is to be commended. Another favorite was the tournedos béarnaise. The béarnaise sauce was so rich and creamy without being over bearing on the tournedos of beef tenderloin. It is served with jumbo asparagus that is the perfect compliment. We also had a side of lyonnaise potatoes that was perfectly textured to compliment the goodness of the tournedos.

Perry’s Bar 79 has it all –live entertainment, rare vintages, intriguing bar menu and inviting social hours featuring half-price signature appetizers and specials on wines and martinis including a mini-martini flight of three!

Each Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille has its own special ambiance and features that provide the most unique private dining experience in Houston. It is the perfect venue for your most important business and personal moments, all of the Perry’s restaurants feature private rooms ideal for accommodating six to one hundred guests. The five-star service and attention to the smallest details will ensure your event is a splendid success.

What began as a small butcher shop in 1979 has grown into one of the premier steakhouses in Texas, featuring locations in Clear Lake, Champions, Katy, Memorial City, Sugar Land and The Woodlands as well as Downtown Austin and Uptown Dallas. Visit to view the menu, locations and private rooms. To Chris Perry and the entire family of staff at Perry’s Steakhouse….thank you, the title to the review says it all! Rare and Well Done!

photo courtesy Perry’s

Dinner Club – Beachy Keen

June 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Edit

DRINK: Champagne pallet cleanser, red and white wine
HORS D’OEUVRES: Louisiana Crab Cakes
DINNER: Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon, Herb Encrusted Filet of Beef & Mashed Potatoes

A recent jaunt to Destin introduced us to Chef Tim Creehan’s Florida cuisine at the Henderson Park Inn. You can buy his cookbook in the lobby, so you can re-create the dining experience at home.  With his book “Simple Cuisine” as inspiration, we hosted our own beach-themed evening.

Ingredients – Serves 12
¾ cup Béchamel Sauce
½ finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups homemade fine breadcrumbs
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
¼ cup melted butter
1 recipe Grilled Vegetable Salsa
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl; mix well.  Add the crabmeat and gently mix; do not break up the lumps of crabmeat.  Add one cup of the breadcrumbs.
Divide into portions by spooning into a 3-ounce ladle and leveling the top.  Roll each portion in the remaining one-cup breadcrumbs; shape each into a cake.
Place on a baking sheet brushed with melted butter.  Bake for 10 minutes, turning once.  Serve with Grilled Vegetable Salsa.

Main Enjoyment
Ingredients – Serves 4
1 (14-inch) cedar plank
1 (3-pound) side of fresh salmon
3 cups Chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ stick butter, chopped
¼ cup Original Chef’s Grill Plus
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 cup brown sugar
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
Soak the plank in water for 30 minutes or longer.  Preheat an outdoor grill to high.
Remove the skin and pin bones from the salmon.
Combine the Chicken Stock and lemon juice in a saucepan; cook till thickened and reduced to ½ to ¾ cup. Remove from heat and whisk in butter gradually.
Drain the plank and place salmon skin side down on it.  Brush with the olive oil; sprinkle with garlic and brown sugar.  Place on grill and cover.  Grill until fish flakes easily.
Leave salmon on plank and brush with lemon/broth sauce.  Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Ingredients – Serves 4
2 ears corn
1 bunch green onions
1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Juice of ½ lime
1 cup chopped tomato
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Preheat grill.  Brush corn, onions and bell pepper lightly with Chef’s Grill Plus.  Grill till charred, turning constantly.  Remove from the grill.  Cut corn kernels from cobs and chop onions and bell pepper finely.  Place in bowl.
Add cilantro, lime juice and tomato; mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Purchase high-quality angus filet mignon, about 3-inches thick.  (One filet for each person.)
4 bulbs of garlic
3 large white onions
2-3 clusters of fresh basil
2-3 clusters of fresh sage
Truffle oil
Olive oil
Break garlic into cloves and cut into thin slices.  Chop onions.  Remove stems, and chop herbs.  Slice filets into three 1-inch thick medallions.  Heat olive oil and a splash of truffle oil to a moderately high level (in a 7/8 ratio of olive oil to truffle oil).  Once at desired temperature, add a liberal amount of onion, basil, sage and garlic.  Sauté for about 30 seconds.  Place filet medallions directly on top of herbs, and sear them for 40 seconds on each side.  Deliver directly to plate.

photo by Anthony Rathbun

Houston Celebrity Watch

June 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Edit

Everything is bigger in Texas! From movie stars to famous singers, many celebrities have ties toour great city of Houston. Whether they are native born or representatives of Houston, they surely shine bright in the hearts of Houstonians.

Inspirational leaders, Radio Hosts, and Houston Humanitarians are just a few of the people who have Houston in common. Some stars are still making a name for themselves in the entertainment industry; others are international sensations who need no introduction at all.

H Texas presents our Houston celebrity breakdown.

Beyonce Knowles

This Houston native broke into the entertainment world at the age of seventeen in the dynamic girl group Destiny’s Child. In 2001, Beyonce broke free from Destiny’s Child and entered into her solo career with her first album “Dangerously in Love.” Since going solo, she has won five Grammy Awards, and starred in several movies which include, the Oscar nominated movie “DreamGirls.” She has recently added the title of wife to her resume after marrying Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z in April 2008.

Renee Zellweger

A Katy native, Academy Award winning actress Renee Zellweger started her acting career in Houston with her first lead role opposite Matthew McConaughey in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” She has gone on to plump up for roles in movies such as “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and display her dance moves in the movie “Chicago.”

Jennifer Garner

Born in Houston, the “Alias” actress turned movie star started her career off in New York City auditioning for television shows and small films. Garner’s love for the stage sprouted from studying ballet for nine years. Garner is best known for her roles in “13 Going on 30,” “Elektra,” and most recently, “Juno.”

Dan Rather

Veteran Anchorman Dan Rather was born in Wharton, TX, and graduated with a degree in Journalism from Sam Houston State University. Rather first caught the eyes of Americans after leading the nation during the coverage of the Kennedy assassination in 1963.

Hilary Duff

After bursting onto the celebrity scene as Disney’s “Lizzy McGuire,” the Houstonian’s star power rose with platinum-selling albums and lead roles in “A Cinderella Story” and other feature films.

Chandra Wilson

Famous for playing tough-as-nails surgeon Dr. Miranda Bailey on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” the Houston native sharpened her acting skills at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston.

Isaiah Washington

Born in Houston, TX, Washington is best known for his former role as Dr. Preston Burke on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

George Foreman

Residing in the Houston-area, the former Heavyweight Champion gives back through The George Foreman Youth & Community Center. Known for his famous George Foreman grills, few kitchens throughout the country are without his grills. Foreman also spreads the word of the gospel at The Church of Lord Jesus Christ in Houston.

Nolan Ryan

Lynn Nolan Ryan is a retired Major League Pitcher of the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers. The all-time leader in no-hitters in baseball history, Ryan is the current president of the Texas Rangers. Texans showed their pride for the athlete by naming Nolan Ryan Junior High School after him in 2008.

Phylicia Rashad

Texas born Phylicia Ayers-Allen is best known for her role as Claire Huxtable on the 80’s hit show “The Cosby Show.” Phylicia won a Tony for her role in “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Dennis Quaid

Acclaimed for his portrayals of Jerry Lee Lewis in “Great Balls of Fire” and Doc Holiday in “Wyatt Earp,” this Houstonian first gained the attention from his role in “Breaking Away” in 1979, and earned strong reviews from his role in “The Right Stuff” in 1983.

Randy Quaid

Starring as the lovable but dimwitted cousin Eddie in the National Lampoon “Vacation” movies, he fine-tuned his acting skills alongside famous younger brother Dennis at the University of Houston’s School of Theatre.

Carl Lewis

After attending the University of Houston as a track star, Lewis went on to attend the Olympics where he won ten medals and set a World Record for the indoor long jump. His impressive finish earned him the honor of being named the “Olympian of the Century.”

Yao Ming

Standing at seven feet six inches, Yao Ming is the tallest NBA player. Drafted from overseas, Ming has brought the Houston Rockets to new heights.

Clyde Drexler

After leading the Rocket’s to their second NBA title in 1995, the River Oaks-Memorial resident retired in 1998 to coach basketball for his alma mater, the University of Houston. He recently showed off his dance moves as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2007.

Lyle Lovett

Well-known for his brief marriage to actress Julia Roberts, the Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter grew up in Klein, Texas. Lovett studied German and journalism at Texas A&M.

Hakeem Olajuwon

Olajuwon joined the Houston Rockets in 1984, and was affectionately known as “Hakeem The Dream” for his grace on and off the court. After 20 consecutive basketball seasons, first with the Cougars and then to the Houston Rockets, the retired, two-time NBA champ still calls Houston home.

Kelly Rowland

Alongside lifelong friend Beyonce Knowles, she achieved chart-topping success as a member of Destiny’s Child.

Tara Lipinski

Living in Sugar Land wasn’t exactly ideal for a girl who loved to figure skate, but she made it work. The Olympic gold-medallist now resides in Los Angeles where she’s established a successful acting career.

Melora Hardin

Melora Hardin started her career in TV hit “Back to the Future” in 1985.Generating laughs from NBC’s hit comedy “The Office,” Hardin is also known for her role on TV Show “Monk” and for her vocal skills on her album “All the way to Mars.”

Solange Knowles

The singer, actress, and younger sibling of Beyonce, is following in the footsteps of her sister. Her album, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, has reached the top of Billboard’s Hot Dance Singles Charts.

Mark Ballas

At the age of 10, Ballas became a dancing champion, and began to explore the professional dancing world. Famous for his sexy moves on
“Dancing with The Stars,” the
Houston native is also lead singer of group Ballas Hough Band. Ballas’ band released their debut album BHB in 2009.

Clint Black

Raised in Katy, he started his country music career playing in his brother’s band while touring the Houston club circuit. Black has won more than six CMA awards, and has had multiple songs reach the top of the country music singles charts. He is also known for marrying Lisa Hartman Black of
“Knot’s Landing” fame.

Billy Gibbons

A Houston native and “Sharp Dressed Man” is one of the beloved guitarists and lead vocalist of ZZ Top. Gibbons was considered by Jimmy Hendrix to be one of the top guitarists around. In 2002, The Cancer League honored Billy Gibbons for his fundraising efforts for sufferers here in Houston. He currently resides in both Houston and Hollywood, California.

Jaclyn Smith

Originally from Houston, the “Charlie’s Angels” star started her career as a Breck shampoo model back in 1973. Smith is also known as the “Queen of Television Movies and Mini-Series.” She has appeared on mini-series such as: Windmills of the Gods, The Bourne Identity and Christine Cromwell.

Shannon Elizabeth

Noted for her on-screen sex appeal in “American Pie” and “Scary Movie,” the actress and poker queen was born in Houston and attended high school in Waco. She has recently been making a name for herself in the World Series of Poker where she has defeated many celebrities and poker professionals.

Matt Stone

Recognized for wearing an imitation of Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink gown to the 72nd Academy awards, Stone is an animation genius. The Emmy Award-winning animator and co-creator of “South Park” was born in Houston. He’s the voice behind several of his characters.

Lisa Hartman Black

Remembered as rocker singer Ciji Dunne in “Knot’s Landing,” this native Houstonian struck country gold when she married Clint Black. Her single “When I said I Do” recorded with husband Clint Black, received notable success on the country-hit charts. It hit number one on Billboard Country Singles & Tracks in 1999.

Shelley Duvall

An actress and producer born in Houston, she was discovered by production scouts while working at a Foley’s cosmetics counter in Houston. She started her career off portraying a free spirited love interest in the movie “Brewster McCloud” in 1970. She is also well known for her role in “The Shining” and as Olive Oyl in “Popeye.”

Sean Patrick Flanery

The “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” star was raised in Houston and attended University of St. Thomas. Flanery became interested in acting after college, and moved to Los Angeles to fulfill his dreams. He has also appeared in the movies, “The Boondocks Saints” and “Simply Irresistible.”

Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper spent his younger years raised on a cattle ranch in Houston. The Academy Award winning-actor shone on the big screen in “American Beauty” and “The Bourne Supremacy.”

Kenny Rogers
A native Houstonian known for his award-winning country hits continues to make albums that rank atop Billboard charts. Rogers’ second solo album “Kenny Rogers,” charted the pop and country charts with the single “Lucille.” To date Rogers has recorded 65 albums and sold over 120 million records.

Robert Earl Keen

A famous Texas singer-songwriter, he went to Texas A&M with fellow musician Lyle Lovett. Keen is known for his national released album A Bigger Piece of the Sky in 1993. He currently resides in Kerrville and has a ranch in Medina.

Joel Osteen

Born and raised in Houston, Osteen is an Inspirational leader in most American households. Lead Pastor of Lakewood Church, Osteen spearheads one of the biggest mega churches in the U.S. Osteen emphasizes the power of love and positive attitudes through the goodness of God’s power.

Debbie Allen

A choreographer, dancer, director, and actress, Debbie Allen has entertained audiences for years. She attended Jack Yates High school with sister Phylicia Rashad. Allen is known for her fabulous choreography and famous role in the television series “Fame.”

David Cook

Look out Ladies! A bartender turned winner of “American Idol” and teen heartthrob may have grown up in Blue Springs, Mo., but he was born in Houston. This “Idol” singer had eleven songs debut on the Hot 100 in 2006, which gave him the title of having the most songs held by an artist.

Letoya Luckett

Known for being a former member of Destiny’s Child, Letoya Luckett has made a way for herself with her R&B solo career. Born and raised in Houston, Luckett has topped the Billboard charts with her #1 albums, Letoya Luckett and Lady Love.

Ed Young

Homer Edwin Young, also known as Ed Young, is the pastor of the Second Baptist Church here in Houston. Second Baptist Church has over 5 locations in the Houston area, and more than 48,000 members. Young’s preaching encourages the well being of nourishing the heart spiritually and physically.

Gone but Never Forgotten

Farrah Fawcett

An iconic symbol of beauty and 1970’s pop culture figure, Fawcett is one of the most recognizable “Charlie’s Angels.” Born in Corpus Christi, Fawcett spent part of her childhood in Houston. A multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee, Fawcett earned praise for her roles in movies “The Burning Bed” and “Extremities.” In 2006, Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer, and survived it for 3 years. Fawcett later died on June 25, 2009.

Patrick Swayze

Idolized for his sultry moves in “Dirty Dancing,” and breathtaking performance in “Ghost,” Swayze grew up in the Oak Forest neighborhood. Swayze contributed to many Houston charities. Swayze died on September 14, 2009, at age 57.

photo by Peter Lindbergh

Florida’s Emerald Coast

June 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

Not every beach should be a scene. For those wanting good food, quality family time, and a great place to relax and unwind, head to Destin. Named for the beautiful emerald waters off the Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s Emerald Coast boasts 24 miles of sugar white sand beaches, raucous entertainment and comfort food with a twist.

The Henderson Park Inn is one of the most romantic Bed and Breakfasts in the area.  Perfectly perched adjacent to the Henderson Beach State Park and directly on a quiet stretch of beach, this New England-styled bed and breakfast features Victorian-inspired furnishings and large veranda with impressive views of the Gulf of Mexico. You feel like you’re visiting grandma’s as you enter the quaint lobby; complimentary soft drinks, water, cookies and candy bars await.  Just a few steps away is an expansive deck where you will find incredible sunsets and happy hour drink specials daily from 4:30 – 5:30 PM.

Breakfast is complimentary; although dinner isn’t included, it should be included in your plans.

Shrimp and grits do not appear on many upscale menus, so when you see them, you should try them.  Seafood is the stand out at celebrity chef Tim Creehan’s Beach Walk. Try the sushi grade tuna – served with baby spinach and a soy ginger sauce.

On the sandy beaches of Okaloosa Island, one marine biologist’s dream has lived on since 1955.  Florida’s oldest Marine Park has been educating generations as it plays host to Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions, tropical black-foot penguins, loggerhead sea turtles, harbor and gray seals, American alligators, nurse and lemon shark, tropical fish aquariums and more than 14 fascinating Gulf-edged exhibits.  The three bottlenose dolphins were trained by the original trainer of “Flipper.”

Acclaimed for its sporting collection of great golf escapes, this area tees up an incredible 1,080 holes.  Get down to basics at the Emerald Bay Golf Club and Medicus Golf Institute.  Learn the components of every golf swing and discover “Key Alignments” every successful golfer must overcome to master the game.

Round out your adventure at the BoatHouse Oyster Bar.  It’s right on the water and right on the money for entertainment.  Featuring live music nightly and beer with breakfast, you’ll request the beloved honkey-tonk tune “Redneck Mother” before the night is through.  The oysters rock – raw and baked – and the Cheeseburger in Paradise helps stave off tomorrow’s hangover.  Here’s a tip:  arrive early; revelers don’t give up their seats too often.

Henderson Park Inn, 2700 Scenic Highway 98, (850) 269-8646;
Beach Walk (850) 650-7100;
Florida’s Gulfarium Marine Show Aquarium (850) 243-9046;
Medicus Golf Institute, (330) 225-5949;
Boathouse Oyster Bar, (850) 837-3645

photo by Laurette Veres

Family Summer Getaway

June 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

Already thinking about your family’s summer getaway? You’re probably looking for a destination that offers something for everyone — golf, spa, tennis, an amazing pool experience and plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. Look no further than The Woodlands Resort.

In less than an hour, you can be lounging in a tropical paradise with flowing waterfalls and frozen umbrella drinks while the kids zoom down winding waterslides. The resort’s signature Forest Oasis Waterscape™ is the complete experience with underwater music and marine murals, plus, live-bands, dive-in movies and gooey s’mores at dusk.

Land lovers can relax at The Spa with nature-inspired spa treatments, whirlpools and a eucalyptus steam room. Or, hit the links on 36-holes of championship golf at The Oaks and Panther Trail™ courses. For tennis, there are 21 indoor and outdoor courts with hard and clay court surfaces.

Want more? The Woodlands Town Center is the hub of activity featuring one-of-a-kind shopping, dining and entertainment. Visit Jaded, a boutique owned by WWE diva Torrie Wilson or sip on a glass of wine at Crush Wine Lounge overlooking The Fountains at Waterway Square with its choreographed water show. You can also rent a kayak at Riva Row Boat House for a leisurely afternoon on Lake Woodlands.

photo courtesy The Woodlands Resort

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