Maybe they can smell the despair: How do men like Gary Karpin keep happening in Arizona ("Dr. Buzzard," Paul Rubin, January 27)? It seems like this kind of con man is a rampant problem in this state, particularly in the Valley of the Sun.
Thanks to Paul Rubin for exposing this guy's creepiness to the public. It is truly a buzzard who can prey on people in their most vulnerable moments.
When I was getting a divorce, I was so lost and alone. I felt so worthless that any seeming kindness would be welcomed. I, too, fell victim to someone like Gary Karpin at that time. In my case, he was a real estate agent. So I can sympathize with the women in your story to the utmost. I felt stupid later, as they must, but it was because of the state of despair that I was in.
It's always wise to be wary of smooth talkers like Karpin asking for money, no matter where you live. But that motto should be emblazoned on driver's licenses in Arizona, because so many snake-oil salesmen seem to ooze to the surface here.
Paige Weinstein, Phoenix
A schmear of relief: I was at my local Einstein's grabbing a bagel and picked up a copy of New Times. I flipped to the contents page to check out the stories and caught your article. Thank you for writing about these women and Gary Karpin. I feel relieved that this man is finally being held accountable.
Ramona Kleespies, Phoenix
Space, the Final Frontier
Intelligent life elsewhere -- though maybe not here: I'm writing to address Robrt L. Pela's interview with Rebecca Hardcastle titled "Space Crash Course" (Speakeasy, January 13). While Pela's choice to ridicule Ms. Hardcastle came as no surprise, given the state of journalism in this country today, I still wish to address the issue.
There's one issue that is larger than all other issues. The weight of this issue and its relevance for the human family far exceeds global warming, population, 9/11 and Bush's (questionable) reelection, etc. This issue is absolutely staggering. This issue is the presence of extraterrestrials on Earth.
There have now simply been far too many highly credible witnesses -- such as police, pilots and military personnel -- who have seen unusual objects flying around in the sky. While these objects are most commonly disk-shaped, they are sometimes triangular or cylindrical. These objects exhibit performance in complete defiance of known aerodynamic principles (if not physics). These objects will appear and disappear. They will accelerate from zero to thousands of miles per hour instantly. Once flying at thousands of miles per hour, they will make hard, acute angle turns without slowing down. There have been cases where one object will morph into two or more objects, all of which will fly around independently and then perhaps merge back into one.
In this day and age, it would be easy for a skeptic to argue that these objects are simply top-secret military aircraft. Perhaps they are, although it would seem odd that a top-secret aircraft would be seen flying slowly at low altitude over populated areas. (I personally would argue that they might be top-secret military aircraft using extraterrestrial technology retrieved from "UFO crash sites" such as Roswell and others.) But the problem with this argument is that people have been seeing these objects since at least as far back as the 1940s. There are many accounts of strange aerial sightings going back centuries. So if the military was experimenting with highly innovative aircraft 60 years ago, it seems odd that none of that technology would have found its way into the civilian sector by now.
Even the most skeptical and conservative scientists concede that given the vastness of the universe, there must certainly be intelligent life that has evolved elsewhere. But they're quick to insist that because of the absolute impossibility of exceeding the speed of light, intelligent extraterrestrial life would never be visiting us on Earth.
There is no reason to believe that intelligent extraterrestrial life would be any less curious (and altruistic) than we are. It is to be expected that it would want to explore the universe and would take great interest in cultures rapidly evolving through technological adolescence like we are. So the only thing keeping them from being here is the assumption that you cannot exceed the speed of light. I feel that it's kind of a stretch to assume that a culture 1,000 years or 1 million years more technologically advanced than our own would not have figured out a way to do just that. A "secret government" has known about extraterrestrial activity since at least July 1947.
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The ridicule that Pela exhibited toward Hardcastle is standard practice in the campaign of secrecy.
Robert Bolman, via the Internet
Real-life X-Files: What a fun interview with Rebecca Hardcastle in Speakeasy. Robrt L. Pela really had fun with this fruitcake. His subtle jabs were rich. But (and I say this with trepidation) what if she's right? Yikes! We'd be talking about the real-life X-Files.
Lyle Richardson, Los Angeles
Does he work for food?: Stephen Lemons is truly a gifted writer and an excellent judge of food. I've been following his suggestions for several months, including the one on Tina's Ethiopian Cafe in Chandler ("Watt's Good for You," Cafe, January 27), and I have never been steered wrong. Give the guy a raise, but maybe he doesn't need one if he gets to eat at all those great places he reviews.
Ed Greenwood, Phoenix