Jake the snake: After reading the story about Roy "Jake" Jacobsen and his comments regarding the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, I was appalled ("PLEA Bargain?" Paul Rubin, September 25).
First, police officers put themselves in terrible danger every day just by coming to work. They never know what is going to happen and what they might be forced to deal with for the sake of the safety of people they don't even know. We should all have the highest respect for them and want only the best equipment and vehicles available to them. We owe this to them and their families.
Unfortunately, officers do die in the line of duty. However, there is no excuse for their death or injury being the result of a poorly designed gas tank. Ford should be ashamed of itself. Jake Jacobsen should be worried for his own safety instead of being a pitchman for Ford. He should be worried about the safety of his brothers and sisters on the force. He should be thinking about the day that this could happen to him.
The fact that he decided to absorb the cost of the trip after his return only says that he was covering his ass after seeing the outrage of his fellow officers. Maybe he has seen the error of his trip to New York, but he should still step down from his position in PLEA. PLEA is supposed to be there to represent the officers. Clearly, Jacobsen is only there to represent Ford.
We would never accept the death of 16 officers and the injury of several more from a criminal. That is a serial killer. Why should we accept this from a car?
Slaughterhouse jive: Thanks for writing this article on farm animals ("The Veal Deal," Speakeasy, Robrt L. Pela, September 25). It is so very important to educate the public about the outrageous abuse of power going on in slaughterhouses -- all for profit! Little is known about the enormity of pain inflicted on animals so we can have our five minutes of pleasure.
Thanks again, and keep up this important work.
Vegging out: The issues of vegetarianism and farm animal abuse are often overlooked in our typical "Arizona cowboy" red-meat-eating culture. Despite the blasé and sarcastic attitude of the reporter, Kari Nienstedt stood her ground firmly and does a phenomenal job representing the issues at hand. The exposure of animal abuse on farms and in many other arenas is long overdue in our carnivorously barbaric culture. It's about time that we wake up and realize there's a connection between the way we treat living things on our planet and what we eat!
More of the Best
Local hero: Thanks again for the Best of Phoenix edition (September 18). Always a pleasure! Although Pat Tillman may not actually qualify under the category of Best Pro Athlete, I still say he is the best pro athlete in that he had the balls to leave his sport and join the Army to fight for what he believes in. A truly exemplary sportsman, especially in light of the bad behavior seen in many other pro athletes.
Going coconuts: Things are picking up here thanks in large part to all of you. But, even though I'm pressed for time, I'd like to write to thank all of the editors of New Times and whoever else is involved in the voting for the Best of Phoenix, for selecting us as the Best Drive-Through Fast Food. All of us here were so surprised and amazed that in only six months of operations, a simple guy from Hawaii could be distinguished from all the other great restaurants in Phoenix. All of us here at Coconut Joe's are amazed and humbled. We will continue to try to improve to better service the Phoenix community.
Owner, Coconut Joe's
The Big L: New Times says that KFYI-AM 550 talk radio host Charles Goyette labels himself as a conservative and a Republican. Maybe, but his true leanings are toward constitutionalism at least and more likely Big-L Libertarianism.
Goyette is not alone on the AM dial in opposing the Iraq war. Noontime host Ernie Hancock on KFNX-AM 1100 is against the war, too. Not coincidentally, Hancock is a Big-L Libertarian as well. That is not to say that they are pacifists. Both Goyette and Hancock have no philosophical problem with owning enough small arms to equip a small Central American country. They are, after all, Libertarians.
Mex and match: I have noticed that your annual Best of Phoenix supplement is evolving into something nearly the mass of the metro Phoenix telephone directory. I might recommend you edit the categories so that not every business in the Valley is pigeonholed somewhere in its body: Best "Az-Mex," "Tex-Mex," "New Mex Mex," "Gourmet Mex."
I gather from some of the humorous headings that there is an intention to enlighten Phoenicians to visit otherwise overlooked landmarks. Perhaps this effort would be better served in a weekly column. The Best Of issue has become so tiresome and overwhelming that it is a shame such effort went into producing it. I would be happy to discuss offering my services in spearheading a weekly enlightenment column.
Biker bar: I just finished reading the Best of Phoenix's "Best Place to See Bikers Who Look Like Your Dad." I agree the Billet Bar is the best place for all Harley fanatics and other men and women to kick back, meet new people, share common, obvious interests, party hearty, shoot stick, and listen to a variety music, all the while admiring the creative custom bikes constantly cruising and displayed out front, each one more impressive than the previous. After all, I own the Billet Bar, so I should be a fan of it.
I wanted to thank you for recognizing us. We appreciate and respect all of the positive attention that your magazine attracts and are honored that you chose us. Please keep that in mind when I tell you that the article seemed to have been written by someone who has not visited the Billet in a few years. The Billet is a lot of what you said and more. First of all, the Jukemania box has been deceased for quite some time. Also, the clientele was portrayed as a toothless group of old guys (and gals) who started riding during their midlife. It is true, however, that we cater to all types of people despite their age, riders and nonriders, some tattooed, some not. Young and older, couples and singles, most with common interests whether it be bikes, tattoos, martinis or other beautiful women and men of all ages, everyone always has a great time there.
I would also like to clarify that the tattoo shop around the corner is named EZ Tattoo and has been for quite some time now. Its new name came when the shop was completely remodeled and expanded two years ago. You should see it sometime.
When someone from New Times visits the Billet again, I'll buy 'em a drink outside on the Paradise Patio Bar, the fairly new addition to the Billet, where a tropical setting and huge bar is the perfect place to shoot pool, have a cocktail and feel like you're on the islands, and not on Second Street and Scottsdale Road.
Guns and Ammo
Awakened interest: After the Universal Exposition, some people wanted to tear down the Eiffel Tower; it is still standing!
The Column Vendôme in Paris was made of the melted cannons Napoleon I seized at Austerlitz; that which has been melted down can no longer be utilized! It seems that you are confusing critique and criticism ("Fear Factor," Spiked, September 18), but I suppose that a piece that generates controversy has also triggered interest, which is far more rewarding than indifference.
So, thank you, in a way, for awakening the interest of the people who will read your article but will disagree with your opinion!
We stand corrected: Ilan Brat, the writer of "Jazz Rift" (September 11), knows just enough about the local jazz scene to be dangerous.
His ill-reported article about the Sunday night music at the VFW Post 1710 in south Phoenix was poorly sourced and researched. I know, because I have been writing about the local jazz scene since 1972 for various local publications, and since the late '70s for the Jazz in AZ newsletter.
Brat repeatedly refers to this VFW post as "Virgil Bell," but no one in the know ever calls it anything except "The Vee." That has been its nickname ever since Dave Cook created the Sunday jazz jam session there many years ago, just as he did for almost a decade at the Melody Lounge in Tempe.
Brat misspells the name of "the trumpet player known for playing the national anthem at major sporting events" as Jessie Maguire, when it is Jesse McGuire.
He quotes Carolyn Clark's "husband," calling him Tony Clark, although Clark is her family name, not his. By the way, his publicity always refers to the location as "The Vee," never Virgil Bell.
Describing Dave Cook as "a nearly legendary local jazzman" is nearly blasphemy. Brat should reread his own quotes of Dom Moio, and talk to countless other local jazz players who will reiterate that. Cook was and still is the foundation and anchor of Phoenix-area club jazz, the person who created the post's successful jazz focus, and competently fueled it until Ms. Clark moved in and moved him out.
The bands that now play at the VFW Post are talented, entertaining and danceable, but the real get-down Sunday night jazz jam is where Dave Cook plays, Club Central in Park Central Mall. Ask the musicians who sit in there, or at the newest jazz jam, Monday nights at Kazimierz World Wine Bar in Scottsdale. Those are the places to hear real jazz.
Head games: This Sunday at the VFW, I was honored to express my gratitude for the continuous work that Dave Cook does for jazz, and this community.
By the way, Tony Collins is not married to Carolyn Clark. But we all had a laugh about their premature nuptials in print. And now everyone knows I'm the headless horseman (see photo in the piece)!
Voice of reason: Good article touting an anti-Limberger talk-show host ("True Believer," Susy Buchanan, September 11). Too bad the only venue for a show like his is a pay-as-you-go station like KFNX.
I had a show with them almost five years ago, so Mike Newcomb isn't the first to spill the "liberal" beans there. However, the Internet seems to be the only true bastion left for free speech in America these days, unless you are a fan of the current regime in the White House.
I'm now into my fourth year and heard in more than 60 countries. People of the world want a reasonable voice from America and they find it in my show. America is waking up, let's hope before it's too late.
The Meria Heller Show
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