Letters 04-20-2000

John Eagles

via Internet

Your stories continue to impress me. Keep on describing some of the less well-known culture of our border state. Thanks!

G. Ivan Hannel, J.D.

House Feathers

In response to "Fowl Play" (David Holthouse, April 13): I am not an animal-rights activist. I do not feel that animals are my peers, or that I should not be eating them for any reason whatsoever. I am quite comfortable being at the top of my food chain, and I will eat what I please.

I do, however, consider myself a human being, and I feel this is an obligation I have to live up to. This is the basic premise for my being against cockfighting, as well as dogfighting, bear baiting, and any of the other blood sports that mankind has lowered himself to throughout history. It is not about animal rights, but what it means to be humane.

You can glaze it over with descriptions of "tradition," "history" and such if you like. However, the basic problem with this is that lots of things mankind has done are steeped in history and tradition (such as human sacrifice and slavery), but this is not an excuse for them.

Holthouse paints a picture of good ol' homespun family fun. However, it cannot be discounted that it is also an inflammation of primeval aspects of human nature that I don't think are worth celebrating. I don't think we want to celebrate, build up or brag about them any more than I think we should brag that we get a thrill out of seeing one animal of any kind kill another. Holthouse talks about the fighting birds being "instinctive technicians that stick and move." Well, I'm sure that serial killers consider some of their best "work" an example of being a great technician, too.

Yeah, I eat whatever I want, but I don't work up my appetite by getting all excited watching it die.

Tee H. Combs

Executive Derision

I am glad to hear that the owner of Hi-Health, Sy Chalpin, is finally being held responsible for his actions as an employer ("Demean Machine," Patti Epler, April 13). When I first moved to the Valley six years ago, I was tempted to apply for a job at Hi-Health in its marketing department. With big ad agency experience in Chicago and Milwaukee, and having helped work with the team that launched NutriSweet, Triaminic Syrup, Metamucil and other over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, I figured I had a few skills to offer this company. With very few well-paying marketing jobs in Phoenix, each new classified ad published in the Sunday paper made Hi-Health seem more and more attractive. But time and again I was warned by professionals in this market that working for Mr. Chalpin has driven many a qualified employee into therapy. Since that time, I have worked with many printers, media representatives and other marketing professionals in this city, and every single time Hi-Health is mentioned, horror stories spill out of people's mouths as if they are having uncontrollable vomiting attacks. Good luck to Jill Lansdale in her fight to take down this terrible troll.

Mike Fritz

Olive Branch

Thank you so very much for your well-written article on my favorite beverage ("Martini Bopper," Kathleen Vanesian, April 6). Make that a double. I can't tell you how happy I was to see someone describe the Merc Bar as it really is. I walked in once, and walked right back out. I'm praying your article sobers the brutes of their self-satisfied stupor. There was one place, near and dear to my heart, that you neglected: Durant's, on Central Avenue. Straight outta the 1950s, it's the best combination of class and comfort I've found in the Valley thus far. Their martini? To die for. Give it a whirl.

Josh Krist


Ah, yes, I was once a nerdy record store clerk ("Bin There," Brian Smith, April 6). I even purposely left poppy crap that I really liked off my end-of-the-year Top 10 lists. And once, a nerdy former record store clerk came in and traded some stuff, and signed his name on the slip as "Henry Chinaski," which I recognized from Bukowski. But it was okay, I knew it was Brian Smith.

Patti Sturr

Jar Head

As a local musician, I consider it a privilege, a rite of passage, if you will, to play in a club with a history as rich as that of the "world famous" Mason Jar ("Franco's Wild Years," Brian Smith, March 23). To have been able to play on the same stage as some of my favorite bands is something I will always treasure.

Franco, for all his faults and alleged sneakiness, has done for local music what few other club owners in town were willing to do. He always gave you a shot, no matter whether you had a following, a demo, or even decent material. You always had a place to play at the Jar. My former band played there a bunch of times. We debuted there and we ended there as well. We opened for a national act at our second gig! What other club would give an upstart band that kind of opportunity without a demo or management? My wish for the Jar is for it to stay exactly the way it is. It's the epitome of gritty, real rock n' roll and I wouldn't want it any other way.

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