Compliments To The Cook

To the Editor,
The new design of your web site is very attractive.

I am also happy to find in Rebecca Cook a critic who criticizes as well as applauds. As you probably well know, the history of food criticism is a checkered one, reaching its apex with the lamentably departed (at least from Tucson) Lawrence Cheek and (to delve into ancient history) Laurie and Tom Pew.

Mailbag I gave up reading The Weekly several months ago solely because the restaurant critic apparently in permanent residence did nothing but gush over every site he visited.

One need not be as picayune and, at times, churlish as the Pews tended to be; nonetheless every single restaurant is not necessarily God's gift to epicures. And not even the best of restaurants is sublime in all aspects.

Therefore, it is pleasant to find again a reviewer who is truly a critic, a critic not in the pejorative sense, but one who is capable of writing a "critique," praising when, in her opinion, praise is deserved and scolding when, in her opinion, scolding is warranted.

That's what criticism is about.
--James Pray

Bringing Out The Beast

To the Editor,
Regarding the item "Case of Moist Towelettes & Two Tickets to the Coast" in your "Dubious Achievements" (Tucson Weekly, December 28): I've had the pleasure of working with both Leo Banks and Jim Nintzel and neither one has ever called me a "psycho" to my face. (Franzi and Danehy, on the other hand, well, that's a long story...)

As an active member of SPEAK (Supporting and Promoting Ethics in the Animal Kingdom) and APR (Arizona People of Animal Rights), the two very peaceful organizations responsible for getting Reay's to nix their lobster tank, I deal with mockery all the time.

Fortunately, like Emile Zola, "the fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous." You see, it's much easier to poke fun at something that "seems" extreme than it is to try to understand it. Luckily, the basic idea here is a simple one. All animals (including Leo and Jim) desire to be free, to be pain free, and to be with their own kind. That's it. Everything activists do is based on this premise. If you grasped that tough concept, then consider this AP query. If we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, no matter how different they are from our own species, how likely would acts of violence among ourselves be? Or as George Bernard Shaw phrased it, "While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?"

I know what you're saying: "It all sounds good, Maria, but remember, you're a psycho." Funny, I don't feel amoral or antisocial. Maybe there's a new twist to the definition. How about someone who doesn't tolerate cruelties inflicted on members of other species that would outrage us if performed on members of our own species?
--Maria Nasif
Tucson Weekly Staff Photographer

Passionate Response

To the Editor,
I read Stacey Richter's review of Carrington ("Love Is Bland," Tucson Weekly, December 21) and then saw the movie. I learned long ago reviewers seldom get past their own simple lives.

Richter thoughtlessly saw a homosexual man and a childless woman during the turn of the century and, dah, it's supposed to be about rebellion. Rub your eyes and blink three times. It was about human beings trying to find solutions to their needs. But no, Richter wants them to put on their martyr suits and hack off the heads of men that look like Hugh Grant.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Stacey. Of course they lived in the country and had no neighbors peering over the wall. They were intelligent people. The solution was to isolate themselves. It seems you want them to walk around with a "kick me" sign on their backs and an AK-47 in their hands.

As far as your complaint about dear old mom not "bugging" Carrington about not having children, I suggest you and your mother seek therapy.

Separating love and sex is not a "rare trick" but natural and all around us. Makes me wonder if you do not see it because the only relationship you ever had may be with your right-hand man.

Your comment that the film had too much focus on the bedroom scenes suggests a fear of intimacy similar to an alcoholic delirium of spiders crawling out from the wall. If you find rolling in the hay fully dressed too much sex, perhaps you should avoid hay rides.

The movie was about the needs human beings have, and the difficulty in achieving all needs when the one you love, and the one who loves you, finds you sexually revolting. It was not about the "forbidden" as Stacey claims, but about what could not be, and all the ramifications from that limitation in Carrington's relationship with Strachey. The movie depicted a life tragedy.
--James S. Serilla

Ticket To Rave

To the Editor,
I read "Busman's Holiday" in The Skinny (Tucson Weekly, December 21) and was shocked by what you wrote about your experience riding SunTran. Who the hell do you people think you are? What you people wrote about some of your fellow passengers was mean and totally uncalled for. Referring to some of the "losers" was not necessary. Not everyone in this town owns a Cadillac.

It was especially disappointing to read something like that during the holiday season. Where is your sense of compassion for some fellow man? I suppose you keep it (along with your lack of personalities) locked up in your fancy-ass, gas-guzzling Cadillac. I suggest you all purchase home computers and e-mail your banal ridden rambling to The Weekly. This way, you can all live in your fancy houses in the foothills. You then will not have to co-exist with the rest of society.

In the meantime, I'll continue reading Smith and Danehy. They are some exceptionally talented writers, and I enjoy reading their columns immensely.

As for the rest of The Weekly, I'll use it to get the logs in my fireplace started. Or I'll pass it along to people to line the bottoms of their birdcages. It's known as recycling...
--Kelly G. Reese

Teach Your Children

To the Editor,
I've never encountered more ignorance in one place (barring the last time I had to endure Rush Limbaugh for 10 minutes) than in Tom Danehy's column on home schooling ("Homies," Tucson Weekly, December 14).

Myth: "It's the height of self-indulgence." Truth: It's a difficult undertaking, and one of the most unselfish things a parent can do. It often requires a family to give up their dual income, and to dedicate the same kind of time and effort to curriculum planning, social activities and field trips that a public school teacher does. Fortunately, home educators don't have to spend much of their day managing classes of 20 or more students.

Myth: "...a parent wanting to keep his child away from society..." Truth: Though the xenophobic, racist, para-military wackos who keep their children isolated get labeled as "home schoolers," to label all home educators as such reminds me of Limbaugh's demagoguery (i.e. Femi-Nazis, environmental wackos, etc.). As a parent hoping to manage the unselfish act of home schooling, I share progressive reasons for doing so.

The student/teacher ratio is excellent. My district (Amphi) allows a kindergarten class size of up to 35! Upon exploring "open enrollment" with some District 16 schools, I was told they are "maxed out" at 18. So sending my child to public school forces me to accept unacceptable class sizes, as well as many outdated approaches to teaching.

The flexibility and diversity are superior. The home educators I network with are from many races and backgrounds (which, by the way, Tom, include African-Americans, Catholics, people who speak foreign languages, Flush-Rushers, etc.).

Finally, if the public schools are the only places where a child can play sports, then all children should have access. We all pay our taxes. There are several schools across the nation which work hand-in-hand with home educators to share their resources. They've learned that home-schooling works, and it keeps their class sizes manageable as well.

I think Tom Danehy (whose columns I usually admire) needs to do a little research before spouting off on a subject about which he is so unfamiliar.
--Donna Sharkus Lepley

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