Mary Katherine

Taco Belly

I read the article on Valley of the Sun tacos ("Taco Bender," James Hibberd, January 6) last time I was home in Tempe. My roommate clipped it out and we decided to go check out a couple of the places you reviewed to see what your credentials were. Caroline's checked out as your reviewer said; I was underimpressed on all counts. The joint on Seventh Street also was less than I would have imagined. Both of these mean that I trust your judgment. And as far as Mexican food goes, that's saying a lot for me!

Chad Harrison Ford
Austin, Texas

Green John

The Flash's criticism of Senator John McCain is entirely justified (Flashes, January 20). But let us look at the alternative. Governor Bush is 100 percent a representative of the special interests that are entirely opposed to any environmental program which limits their profits. Attack McCain and help Bush? Ridiculous. McCain is less likely to destroy our environment.

David Lerner


Working for Don Lapre ("Don Wan," Leigh Farr, January 13) could best be described by a line from Animal House: "You fucked up, you trusted me."

Al Ryan

Critical Mess

Just want to compliment New Times for its focus on the overlooked and underrated bands, labels and records that get lost in the shuffle in the current bleak mainstream "music" culture of thug rock "Korn Biscuits" and plastic "neo-New Kids." I especially enjoyed last year's features on Bomp! Records, Brian Wilson's Smile, MTX, The Muffs, and Sweep the Leg Johnny (old friends from my university days). The well-chosen reviews from "independent labels" like Dionysus and Sundazed are exciting to read. Also, the recent pages and pages of Top 10s have been both fun and interesting. Overall, I'm impressed with the amount of space and quality devoted to music in New Times. Ironically, The Metro Times of the rusty rock n' roll city of Detroit (where I used to live) has only had about a quarter of the musical coverage of New Times! I look forward to New Times each Thursday because of its ambitious, copious and knowledgeable music coverage.

Ted Liebler

I realize that a critic's role is to be critical, but I am weary of the frequent caustic and cynical attacks of many of the reviewers featured in New Times, as if in competition to top each other's sophomoric elitist discernment. To quote a recent reviewer, it is "more exhausting than edifying." Lighten up, and save the hellfire self-righteousness for truly worthwhile causes.

Julia Nations

After reading Carey Sweet's review of Joe's Real Barbecue ("Spit Happens," January 20), I decided that since I'd already come from Minnesota to Phoenix, I might as well drive a few more miles to check out the cuisine in Gilbert. I wondered if the food was as good as she said, such as the meat being " moist": In all my other Phoenix cue experiences, "moist" has turned out to be a euphemism for "mush."

It was worth the drive, she told the truth and, even better for this reader, she was succinct. I applaud what I hope is a trend to tighter, more concise writing. It shouldn't take as long to read the review as it does to eat the meal.

Sheila Dickson
via Internet

Excuse me if I don't join the chorus of protesters who feel that the elimination of the Independent Film Channel is the end of civilization ("Cox Suckers," Brian Smith, December 9). Yes, the IFC has its virtues, but variety of programming is not among them. Though the network has access to classic foreign films of the past, it seldom shows them, preferring endless repeats of recent American films. How many showings of Barton Fink or Jungle Fever does the world really need? A little more Jean Renoir and a little less Coen brothers would do the IFC inestimable good.

A few weeks ago, the Arizona Republic's resident pseudointellectual, Richard Nilsen, patted himself on the back for being one of the "thinking, feeling people" who will mourn the loss of IFC. Enough said; any person who is truly thinking and feeling (not to mention educated) knows that if Nilsen likes it, there must be something wrong with it.

Morton Lowry

Separation of Church

As a 1977 graduate in good standing of a moderately sized university in the Deep South, which in the late 1980s severed its decades-old formal ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, I can guess why Grand Canyon University ("The Tie That No Longer Binds," Terry Greene Sterling, January 20) has severed its formal ties: The Southern Baptist Convention is stiflingly conservative and widely invasive of people's private lives. At my alma mater, for example, all students were forced to attend chapel once a week, at which they were treated often to public vocal derision of other Christian denominations; all faculty had their private lives scrutinized to minutiae, such as being forbidden to mow their lawns on Sunday; students were forbidden to hold dances of any kind; and the list goes on. My heart swelled when at last I heard that the board of trustees of my alma mater had broken completely with the SBC, and that as soon as they did, private donors came forth to give the university enough money to build two entirely new halls for the sciences and the humanities and to renovate one of the pre-existing halls. To my knowledge, my alma mater has done nothing but thrived since the decision.

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