Dear slur: In reference to the "Steers and Queers" headline (Amanda Scioscia, February 15), your advertisers should know that you just alienated a group with a lot of disposable income. I'll be considering where they advertise when I plan future purchases. Rhymes may sound catchy, but distasteful ones that promote thinking of an entire group of people in a certain way should not be printed.
How do you feel about these, for instance: "Triggers and N------" (on black sharpshooters), "Links and C-----" (on Asian computer sites), and "Cheaters and Breeders" (on daytime soaps)? Get it?
Name withheld by request
Belief stew: I don't know about those atheists ("Beyond Belief," Gilbert Garcia, February 15). I've always believed, "Supreme Being good. Religion bad." Except for the innocuous ones like Buddhism, Unitarianism, etc. Unfortunately, the beast (pun intended) the atheists wish to slay is simply the tyranny of the majority. That is not likely to happen anytime soon. Minorities will be victimized until the end of time. I've even heard that today's practicing Christian is somehow an endangered species. Isn't that a blowjob with teeth? Well, a pox on both of their houses. Their victim mentality badges aren't as shiny as mine and they never will be.
Mark A. Hoffman
Could Stand Improv
Laugh gasp: First of all, I would like to say that I am a former student of Louis Anthony Russo. After reading the article written by Robrt L. Pela, I decided that I couldn't just sit idly by and let him smite the good name of not only Mr. Russo, but of the Star Theatre and the talented actors who play there ("A Crying Good Time," February 8).
While Pela had a few cordial comments, I felt that his article overall was belligerent. Perhaps had he gotten off his lazy duff throughout the decade of set-aside invitations, he would have witnessed the extremely talented people who have come through Russo's training program and stage show and could have shown a little more respect for him and the art of improv. It is just this kind of ignorance that I expected from a writer at New Times -- not only does this guy not know anything about culture, but I'm sure he wouldn't know good improv if it bit him in the ass.
I have since moved to New York to pursue my acting career and I have been excited to find that much of the training offered by Russo is the very same training that is being offered here in New York. Other actors who have gone through his program have also moved to Los Angeles and Chicago and are doing very well. So not only was he bringing laughs to Scottsdale and surrounding communities, he was also providing the individuals in his classes with a very high level of training.
But I'm sure that Pela researched that, or did he? I doubt it, since he blatantly states that he isn't even a fan of improv. Well, that's obvious because he thinks improv is "a bunch of would-be comics impersonating rubber ducks and enacting zany car crashes." I'm sure Pela couldn't do an improv performance to save his life. Perhaps he should have attended a class or two to really experience what all those actors learned to get up there and perform for more than 100 people per show, which is a lot more than some of the attendance levels for improv shows here in New York.
Finally, I would like to say that Louis Russo is well-respected by many agents and other teachers throughout Arizona, and he certainly has my utmost respect and admiration. I feel that the Arizona acting community has lost one of the great teachers of all time. And this void will be felt. I know that Russo would have told me to just get over it, but I'm sorry, I can't, not when you have just a plain old moron writing an article about something he knows nothing about.
Influence pedaling: Regarding your coverage on mountain bikers turned arsonists ("The Waiting Game," James Hibberd, February 15): You handled the matter the only way you responsibly could and in good journalistic tradition, despite misguided complaints to the contrary. There is always an agonizing balance between protection of the First Amendment and a citizen's duty to help uphold the law. In reality, publishing the interview with the self-admitted arsonist provided law enforcement with much more than they would otherwise have, at least to that point in time, to apprehend these fools.
I'm also compelled to express the stunning irony of mountain bikers described (in this case self-proclaimed, I suppose) as eco-terrorists. Any mechanized sport, motorized or not, in natural areas is patently environmentally destructive. Contrary to claims by many mountain bikers, this sport has a large and uncontrollable scofflaw element whose interest, if any, in environmental protection is overwhelmed by adrenaline highs of speed and on-the-edge riding. These folks aren't concerned with the delicate nature of desert soils, or whether a few snakes, lizards or native invertebrates are crushed by their wheels. I have seen oval tracks where a biker circled repeatedly to dispatch a snake on a mountain road.
The sport of mountain biking encourages an attitude of mechanized mastery over nature, not environmental concern and respect. On average, a mountain biker travels five times faster than a hiker, and therefore produces five times the environmental destruction. To native animals, large or small, any mountain biker must be terrifying. Perhaps there is another meaning to eco-terrorism.
Mountain bikers, and the lobbyists and apologists for this multibillion-dollar sport, cry discrimination if kept off trails, and continually whine about shared use. No one wishes to exclude them, just their bikes.
Ronald F. Brusha
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Ann furthermore: This is to inform you and your readers that the Dr. Ann Wigmore Foundation is indeed open. It was never closed as reported in your January 25 article "Raw Deal" ( Eater's Digest, Elan Head ). In September, the board of directors voted off a board member who disrupted and took over Dr. Ann's Web site. Having no Web site for four months was detrimental to the mission and project of Dr. Ann's Living Foods Education.
Dr. Ann originated this program of teaching raw, high-enzymatic, nutritious, organic living foods in Boston in 1963.
Susan Lavendar, director
Dr. Ann Wigmore Foundation