Re: possession: Paul Hernandez's belief in demons is yet another example of how the Catholic Church has failed our most forgotten -- the seriously mentally ill ("The Devil and Mr. Hernandez," Gilbert Garcia, February 8). In a terribly morbid sense, we are all possessed with the spirit of ignorance, still dampening the prospects of psychosocial and human understanding -- of those we have culled from our midst.
False idols are the Zeitgeist of medieval tyranny; God's greatest gift to us is empirical truth.
Bird is the word: I found myself getting more and more upset reading "Raptor Rapture" (Jennifer Markley, February 1). First of all, if, as Kamile McKeever says, Rex belongs to the public, then I as the public wish to see this eagle. Why is he hidden away out of state? People in the Game & Fish Department take their jobs much too seriously, to the detriment of the people and animals they are supposed to serve.
Why are all the other raptors allowed to be photographed, flown at the Renaissance Festival, taken to other community outings, all at the whim of the Game & Fish Department? This appears to be solely directed at one man for the purpose of retribution. All too often animals are taken away "for their own good" and placed in a situation or confinement that is clearly not in their best interests.
Return Rex to his rightful owner and quit this "witness protection program" scenario.
Name withheld by request
Warming trend: Your coverage of the Arizona arsons is a damn fine contribution to American journalism. You deserve a Pulitzer Prize.
James Hibberd's interview was a great scoop, and you should stick by your policy of letting the police get their information just like the rest of us. I hope the Arizona shield law fully protects you.
Too bad you don't have the support of the entire Arizona press. You have the full support of this journalist and professor and many of my colleagues around the nation. I will pass on your work to my students, hoping they develop your fire for the craft, no pun intended.
Glynn R. Wilson
University of Tennessee
Burn free: Imagine a horror I would wish on no one: You have worked hard all your life, most often simply for survival. At last, you can create the perfect home, a place to raise children, a place to be prosperous and safe. You find your site. The setting is perfect. Light. Abundant resources, just the right combination of security and exposure.
You begin work. Hard work. Maybe your family helps. Maybe you go it alone. You watch the walls take shape, the doors, the space you call home. You feel deep satisfaction.
One dreadful morning, you return to your construction site, and what you have built, the home of your dreams, is gone, leveled to bare desert sand. There are no words to describe your pain.
No human words. Because you are a kit fox, a kangaroo rat, a cactus owl. What has annihilated your home is not fire. The engine of destruction is a bulldozer. A backhoe. The profits mounting in the developers' bank accounts.
An acre an hour per day of desert habitat lost to development. Twenty-four acres a day. 43,560 square feet per acre. 1,045,440 square feet of countless wildlife homes gone. Buried under concrete, laced with infrastructure. Under another species' dream homes.
Many ask, "Why property damage? Why violence?" I remember a bright morning years ago in Grand Canyon National Park. Eight of us closed a park road in order to draw attention to a Denver mining company's plan to sink a uranium mine into an old meadow sacred to the Havasupai tribe. We were arrested. As we were led away from our peaceful demonstration, a Phoenix mainstream television station producer said, "Next time, Mary, there better be property damage or violence if you want us to cover you."
Who, we might ask, are the real conspirators? The ones whose message is "Thou Shalt Not Destroy God's Creation"? The media who reported that message? Or every one of us, who, by our inaction, our silence, our greed, are destroying our greater home?
Source spot: "The Story of Us" (Jeremy Voas, February 1) was an eloquently precise and welcome lesson in the ethical responsibilities that journalists are supposed to hold sacred. I, too, am horrified by these extremist measures that have begun to plague the environmentalist left, but I also respect the importance of not compromising the integrity of journalistic privilege. Bravo to Voas and all at New Times.
Name withheld by request
Hot lead: I read the article that James Hibberd wrote. I heard many of the radio interviews he gave on the day it was published. I heard and read portions of a lot of people's opinions on the subject of ethics in regard to New Times' decision to interview a man who claimed to be the arsonist. I even believe that this man is who he said he is: the arsonist responsible for the fires in the Mountain Preserves.
The reason I believe that is because I believe Mr. Hibberd. I believe that he talked to the arsonist, that he did not notify the authorities before his meeting as he had promised the man prior to the interview, that he went to the meeting alone, and that he did not bring a tape recorder. I believe these things because of the integrity of his journalistic ethics as he presented them.
If it were not for my ability to see the evidence myself through Mr. Hibberd's reporting and the information that came afterward such as the interviews and commentary of others, I would not believe any reporter. We need to be able to believe the people who tell us the news of the people and events in the world around us. Or we would all be lost in our own worlds, with no connection to the people who live in other places.
I do not condone the actions or activities of the arsonist and his group, if indeed there is a group. I don't believe everything the arsonist told Mr. Hibberd. There is too much at stake for the arsonist to lose by being too honest. I think he lied about some key elements of his story.
However, there is also too much at stake for Mr. Hibberd to lose were he to turn away from his ethical duty to discover and report the truth. I need Mr. Hibberd to be willing and able to gather the truth from the authorities who are charged with my protection, but somehow fall prey to their own demons of corruption. From the criminals who have vital information to give us regarding their activities that will not only lead to their capture, but also to an understanding of how their minds work so we can try to prevent similar crimes in the future. I need this man and others like him to have the ability to do this so that I am not alone in the world, and not subject to the whims of criminals on both sides of the line.
Sushi and the Banshee
Yearning Japanese: Carey Sweet's review of the new, incredible, nothing-else-like-it Temari Japanese restaurant in Phoenix came up sour ("East of Edamame," January 25)! As in sour grapes. I realize she's paid by the word, but to date herself, and confuse her hatred of some long-ago Brat Pack movie like The Breakfast Club with the here and now of fresh, innovating and highly stylized Japanese cuisine from head chef and owner Dennis Mahr, is downright mean, and totally misses the mark. I think it takes more sophisticated taste buds, or maybe just taste, to help Ms. Sweet provide a fair, accurate review of what will soon become a Phoenix hot spot. No sourpusses need attend.
San Diego, California
Fish of fury: I recently read the review of one of my new favorite places to eat, Temari. I was struck by a number of things.
First was Carey Sweet's use of space. Although Ms. Sweet is a restaurant critic, she dedicates three full paragraphs to a movie review. While I share the same low opinion of said movie (The Breakfast Club) and its actors, I kept thinking, "And this would be germane to the point in what way?" After all, Hollywood has produced endless insipid coffee-house scenes over the past few years, but I don't equate them to a general commentary on my morning latte.
Next, Ms. Sweet turns it into a real estate review. Her exact words are, "Temari, a Japanese restaurant plunked in the middle of a strip mall in Gilbert." Perhaps Ms. Sweet hasn't lived in Phoenix long or perhaps it has just escaped her attention that Phoenix is one very large strip mall. In fact, some of this city's best eating establishments are so "plunked." Has Ms. Sweet ever heard of Tomaso's? I have to mention here that having hung around in the Gilbert area for the last couple of years, I admire anyone who has the balls big enough to bring something new and interesting to an otherwise restaurant-challenged area. It is a very long drive from Gilbert to most places.
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Ms. Sweet's actual restaurant review finally begins in paragraph six. To be honest, I must say that I have not eaten most of the dishes she discusses, but I do agree with her that the edamame is sumptuous. I tend to be a purist, sticking to sashimi. If you have eaten fresh sashimi, you know that if it's not completely fresh, it is inedible. There is no sauce or batter to cover up bad flavor, no rice with which to camouflage bad texture. Not even the most generous portion of wasabi will stop you from sneaking it surreptitiously out of your mouth! It only took a couple of visits to Temari for the sushi chef to come up with a personalized and consistently delicious assortment sashimi platter for my beau and me, with the best scallops I've ever eaten. I am at a loss to understand how a fish purveyor who is in need of "tighter quality control" (Ms. Sweet's assessment) is able to pull this off.
I simply have not noticed any of the scathing things Ms. Sweet observes in her review of Temari. What I have noticed is that each time I've been there, the place is full of Japanese people happily eating their meals! I figure, they oughta know. And I have noticed that each time I've been there, I leave thinking "good food, good service, reasonable price and a wonderfully short drive home."
Oh, and the music ain't bad, either! Sing on, Dennis!