The Joke's on John
The first thing Senator John McCain did following the telling of a completely derogatory and vile "joke" at the expense of Chelsea Clinton was to write a letter of apology (Flashes, June 18). If he ever says that about either of my daughters, the first thing he'll have to do is call someone with a big spatula to scrape his ugly ass off the floor.
I really don't want to minimize the horror of Vietnam, but John McCain should send thank-you notes to Hanoi every year. They stopped him from a career selling cars. I also don't like that his limp gets worse close to elections.
Name withheld by request
John McCain is a perfect example of the need for term limits such as Thomas Jefferson wanted in the Constitution. It is time to return government to those other than career politicians.
Thanks for Barry Graham's column on the Gay Denny's ("Boy Meets Grill," June 25). I mostly hung out there in my late teens/early 20s, which would have been about the mid-'80s.
I'm a responsible, career-driven 30ish homeowner now, but I still like to go to the Seventh Street Denny's every now and then after a night out.
Losing this Denny's would be a far greater loss to Phoenix than the Cine Capri. Thanks again for writing so well about it.
Name withheld by request
I read Barry Graham's column and I felt extremely offended in how he described the people at the "Gay Denny's." We the gay community have finally found a place to be ourselves and then you come along and write a piece totally negative against people that are not what society claims as "norm." Tell where you might find a place where everyone can go and be happy. I myself being a gay woman can't go to a straight place and be with my wife. But I can guarantee that anyone--no matter race, gender or sexual preference--can go to any gay place and be accepted. So please, Barry, next time you want to write a letter about the gay or abnormal lifestyle, try not making it so offensive. It is hard enough for us in life.
Name withheld by request
Awesome article about Gay Denny's! Barry Graham did a great job of capturing the atmosphere of the place that was my home away from home in the college years. I'm neither gay nor am I named Denny, but I've always felt happy and comfortable at Gay Denny's. It's been a while, but after reading your article, I'm thinking it's time to head back for a blueberry muffin, order of onion rings, and a chocolate shake. So I guess now that it's a Phoenix landmark, someone ought to be coming along to tear it down . . . right . . . about . . . now.
Brill vs. Brian
In the matter of the letter from Mason Jar operator Franco Gagliano ("Trash, Man," June 18), it is clear that Mr. Gagliano is under the illusion that your esteemed "Trashman" columnist Bill Blake and Beat Angels vocalist Brian Smith are one and the same. His disdain for the former has tainted his opinion of the latter, and ranting has replaced rationale. Now, I'm no conspiracy theorist; I believe in the lone-gunman theory, that The X-Files is a TV show and not a lifestyle, and that silicon implants are merely God's way of telling us we don't get out enough. Just the same, Mr. Gagliano's comments smack of high intrigue, suggesting that he and his heavy-metal venue have some vested interest in linking together two heretofore unconnected individuals. Personal gain? Divide-and-conquer among the local music scene? A break in the New Times ad rates when the Beat Angels are booked for his establishment? Who knows? Only Mr. Gagliano can answer those questions, and more.
To set the record straight, let me say that I know both Bill Blake and Brian Smith, and they could not be more different. Granted, I have never seen both in the same room at the same time, but I have heard the two conversing with one another in adjoining stalls of the men's room at Tiffany's Cabaret. The former, who is a professional journalist, drinks Bud, has a slightly raspy voice, walks with a perpetual stoop, and is fond of quoting both Descartes (incorrectly) and Elmore Leonard (correctly, albeit with an exaggerated macho flair). The latter, a performing musician, drinks fine wines plus the occasional shot of Scotch, and has a decidedly effete air about him, from his lispy vocal inflections to his prissy stride to his neo-Edwardian attire; additionally, he is prone to quoting Alice Cooper and Tommy "Tripod" Lee of Mstley CrYe (both quite serviceably, by the way). Blake is well-read, introspective, and Apollonian; Smith is of the Dionysian bent, far cruder in temperament, and wholly wrapped up in his rock 'n' roll world. Yet despite their obvious differences, I am equally fond of both men, for they are each generous to a fault and willing to sacrifice for their respective arts in order to make the world a more lively and colorful place.
Perhaps Mr. Gagliano will one day be fortunate enough to know Blake and Smith as I do. It is sad, and shamefully ironic, that a club owner feels compelled to demean two young men who, in their own distinct ways, have done much for the Phoenix music scene--when he himself has no doubt derived a small personal fortune from that very same music scene that supports his music venue. Can't we all just get along?
The following facts speak for themselves: Parent company Sumitomo of Japan was recently fined $150 million for manufacturing a copper crisis. Sumitomo "child" Sumitomo Sitix of Phoenix was fined $300,000 for violations of county environmental law ("Clearing the Air," Tony Ortega, May 28). It is obvious that the child learned all too well from its parent. Too bad the parent did not set a good example. Do you see the pattern here?
If only it were as simple as big multibillion-dollar industries dumping toxic chemicals into our drinking water and saying f*** you to the community ("Down the Drain," Chris Farnsworth, June 18). My, if it were that simple, all we'd need would be a handful of public executions and the problem would be solved. Right?
Chemicals are a two-edged sword: They can kill us, but we can't do without them. All of us are exposed to industrial chemicals every day. Gasoline is an extremely dangerous substance, yet we pump our cars self-service with not a bunny suit in sight. Many people don't know that the powder they put on their little darlings' butt is almost as dangerous to their tiny little lungs as asbestos.
It's a tough problem. On the one hand, the public must be protected from intentional torts that it cannot recognize or understand. On the other hand, manufacturers have the right not to be sent to debtor's prison for using or having used a chemical that might possibly hurt someone. Motorola didn't dump a million gallons of toluene into the Salt River . . . it allowed parts-per-billion of a cleansing agent to escape its manufacturing process. The leakage should have been stopped, and it was. It should have been explained, and it was. What to do now? Like so many decisions in the world of reality, this one is not black and white.
I certainly don't believe that this judge was in the back pocket of the industry when he wrote the decision that he did. If he were, he wouldn't have required 60 pages. This decision, like the many that will follow it, is not written by someone trying to get away with murder--but by a person trying his best to harness the power of an open flame without being consumed.
As Chris Farnsworth ("Talking the Walk," June 18) stated: "The AIDS walk is a large, highly public event, sort of a one stop shopping occasion to help all of Phoenix's AIDS groups." The Malta Center has been a part of the history of the "walk" for eight years.
As the walk's copyright owner, AIDS Project Arizona (APAZ) has the ability to be the sole beneficiary of the money raised. However, there is a history of proceeds from the walk in Phoenix being shared by the agencies that are involved in the HIV arena. APAZ is wise in continuing that tradition, but he who holds all the marbles can make the rules of the game.
APAZ, its staff, volunteers and members of the board have many times bent over backward to include agencies rather than exclude. Now tighter demands are being placed on them as the agency that distributes the funds. Even with this in mind, APAZ struggles with how to include those who fall outside the guidelines.
In the early '90s, there were only three of us, at times, struggling to meet the needs of the seven agencies in the Walk for Life. Now APAZ struggles to meet the needs of 23--and still growing--agencies.
We are all in this together and we need to continue to work together for the benefit of all those touched by HIV. What we do need is more companies, corporations and individuals to support this major endeavor. As always, we need walkers! As agencies we need to continue to work together, support each other and realize that any monies raised go to a good cause in helping men, women and children with the HIV virus.
I am truly grateful to all at APAZ for the good they do in the community.
Father Joseph I. O'Brien, O.P.
The Malta Center
I'm writing this letter in response to the article "River of No Return" (Soundcheck, June 18).
It is clear to me that River Jones wants to turn the Mason Jar into another yuppie hangout with "culture" just so he will "have a place to go." There are a million places in Phoenix that can cater to the desires of the "culturally advanced" that would be just as hip as a revamped Millennium Mason Jar.
The Mason Jar as it stands right now, sad to say, is the best and almost only metal club in Arizona. If the Jar is turned into the Millennium, it will have a resounding impact on Phoenix's metal scene, of which I am a big part.
I understand that the Mason Jar isn't the most "fashionable" place in town, but those of us who are associated with the place don't care. It's the only place in town where we can go and not get society's "culture" rammed down our throats. It's not much, but we call it home.
Find somewhere else to make a pet project for your "culture."
Flashboy, you are the reason I make sure to pick up New Times every week. That and the fact that your paper is the only non-establishment paper in the Valley of the Gun.
I loved your "Spare Us" blurb on Davy Libidowitz (Flashes, June 11). Also, thank you for being one of the few journalists willing to take on Joke. I remember when Libidowitz first wrote for the Tribute, he was Joke's lapdog.
There have been many occasions on which I have wanted to scribble a letter to the editor after reading New Times. I always envisioned it being a congratulatory pat on the back for a job well done. Unfortunately, that letter will have to be written another day. Today is the day I finally write the letter I have pondered writing since you hired Barry Graham to fill the void normally occupied by Screed.
Interesting premise--hire a Scotsman to give his viewpoint on Phoenix and its culture, or lack thereof. He convinces New Times that he has something worthwhile to say, then offers up line after line of crap.
At least when Screed seemed to be about nothing in particular, there was some insight or thought-provoking underlying message there. When Mr. Graham writes about having diarrhea ("The Cowering Inferno," May 28) in an attempt to prove he is manly (which, by the way, hasn't convinced me), he is merely talking about diarrhea. While reading Graham's columns, I can't help but feel I'm listening to the drunken ravings of a washed-up loser at a 15-year reunion. Actually, it's more like suffering through the immature prattlings of someone who just turned 21 and is subtly trying to convince everyone he is all grown up by making as many references as possible to alcohol and bars. How revolting. Then, to top it off, I'm supposed to feel some sort of sympathy or empathy toward the criminalistic scum of society by reliving Barry's little "I almost committed murder and armed robbery" story.
You haven't hired a thought-provoking, entertaining writer. You have hired an immature, crap-spouting, criminal-minded, socialist, bleeding-heart brat. If there's so much wrong with America and its citizens, why doesn't he go back to Scotland? I know, if he had to wear the kilt, we would all see why he's constantly having to "prove" his manliness by committing crimes and drinking vast amounts of liquor before riding carnival rides.
Born in New Mexico and having had a chile pepper as a pacifier, I haven't stopped laughing. Thanks for a great article. I have mailed copies to New Mexico, and they've enjoyed it as much! Gracias.
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