Mill Stoners
In response to "Meet the Crusties" (David Holthouse, February 26), check out this sob story: My dad abandoned our family in an alcoholic haze when I was 4. I barely remember him. When I was 15, I was kicked out of high school twice for "insubordinate behavior" and refused reentry even after an appeal to the superintendent of the Scottsdale School District.

When I was 16, my mom permanently threw me out of the house with a curt "You have an hour to pack your suitcase or I'm calling the cops." I knew this was no hollow threat, since I'd previously been "hog-tied" by police, removed from my bedroom and whisked away for three months for criminal damage to our family microwave. That was followed by incarceration in Durango and then St. Luke's Hospital mental ward.

Boo hoo. Guess what I did when I found myself homeless without a high school diploma? I worked for a living. What a foreign concept! The reason all of these so-called crusties are white is because the other ethnic groups have something called a work ethic. These jackasses aren't handicapped; they're just lazy bums. Literal losers by choice. I hope they all choke on their hemp "jewelry" and their stinky dogs eat their filthy carcasses. (Someone call the ASPCA to liberate those poor, enslaved canines.)

It angers me that many older people identify these worthless slobs with my generation. I'm 23 now, and despise the sidewalk scumbags who hit me up for change. Saintly public leeches, indeed! When I was 16 and homeless, I didn't turn to drugs, I didn't turn to "spanging"--I didn't give up. (Insert tears here, fade in "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.) These gutter punks are lazy, pathetic and more than slightly annoying.

They think their pierced-and-shaved fashion is antiestablishment--this is simply not true. I feel a more apt moniker for them is "trendies." Hopefully, whatever fad these trendies adopt in a few years will involve a quaint invention called soap. But it's a free country, and the dirty hyenas have the right to feed off the public trough as long as the general public supports it.

Whatever . . . They'll all probably get AIDS from shooting heroin, and it serves them right. (As long as their tainted blood doesn't pollute the Valley plasma supply, we have nothing to worry about.)

But to have this piece of in-depth journalism splattering New Times' front page is insulting to people who want to glean something insightful or informative from it. I generally like New Times--especially Flashes, Amy Silverman and Serene Dominic--but if it's going to print "How to Be a Lazy Piece of Shit 101" as news or whatever it thinks it is, maybe the paper shouldn't go to print at all.

In the future, David Holthouse shouldn't waste his considerable talent on such weak subject matter.

Larry Hicks

I was disappointed with the "Meet the Crusties" article. It glamorizes homelessness and drug addiction. Being hungry or dope sick is neither cute nor fun. If anyone wants to help these people, direct them to a recovery program. Don't give them money or food. What they really need is to hit a bottom so low that the only way to go is up. They need to learn to become productive members of the community once again. Don't play a part in their addiction!

Thomas Denorio

Say Uncle
I would like to express my gratitude regarding the extreme-fighting article ("John McCain Breaks Up a Fight," Amy Silverman, February 12). Not too often does somebody do an objective piece regarding the touchy subject of extreme fighting. Even rarer is it that someone does one with the grace and insight that Amy Silverman presented in her journalism. As a Canadian, I don't have much to say toward what U.S. senators can do or say. However, as a longtime UFC-type-event fan, I commend Silverman for bringing some of the facts to the people who otherwise would dismiss said events without ever seeing one. Everyone has his agenda; mine is that I am an adult and I don't like my choices being made for me. Once again, thank you.

Mark Loft
Ottawa, Ontario

The article on extreme fighting hit close to home, indeed. What the article missed, however, was that these fights have been in the Valley for more than two years. The "Ultimate Warriors" competition far predates the tournament mentioned in the article. Budweiser was even a sponsor in the last tournament we held at Midnight Rodeo (formerly known as Graham Central Station).

I am not a promoter. I am a competitor. I am a computer-system administrator at Motorola in Phoenix. I want the chance to compete safely but test myself to the extreme at the same time. Do you think I could uphold my professional image if I were a boxer? I think walking into the office wearing a tie and two black eyes might turn some heads! The rules of the "Ultimate Warriors" fights have always been in accordance with state law, and no serious injuries have been sustained by its competitors. When my sensei and his teacher started these tournaments, they went to great pains to involve the boxing commission. Representatives of the commission were at every contest held. Why does Senator John McCain now involve himself when he is obviously so ignorant of what it is we do? I don't go for the conspiracy theory, because, as I stated, Budweiser sponsored our last event. As a competitor, I am saddened by all of this. These tournaments provided athletes like myself a venue to prove themselves in public. But no one was listening to us. The media insisted on portraying our tournaments as the "UFC" even when given our rules and tapes to show them different. McCain made no effort to find out what we were really about; he simply doesn't care. Once again, the little man loses.

Julian Huff

I just wanted to thank New Times for finally exposing the truth behind the ridiculous prohibition of so-called no-holds-barred fighting events. In the last four years, well more than 300 fights have occurred with no deaths or serious injuries. If only NASCAR or Senator John McCain's favorite sport, boxing, could say the same.

Anyone who looks at the evidence can only come to one of two conclusions regarding McCain:

1. He is attempting to kill a legitimate and safe sport on the basis of willful ignorance. He has been repeatedly exposed to the facts of the sport, yet ignores the evidence and keeps up with the "human cockfighting" nonsense. In the case of the now-dead Arizona event, it wasn't even a no-holds-barred show; it had far more restrictive rules than UFC. Yet McCain referred to it as such publicly. Even if he is sincere about his reasons for being against the sport, his not-so-subtle meddling into local affairs based on incorrect facts would still be inexcusable.

2. He is attempting to kill a legitimate and safe sport because it threatens him personally, financially and politically. Simply put, this means he is corrupt.

Which is the truth? Given the time and energy that he has spent fighting this very minor issue (he is, after all, a United States senator), it is difficult to imagine that he is both that ignorant and that impassioned about it.

Jason Wheat
Bakersfield, California

I just read Amy Silverman's article on John McCain and the event that was recently canceled, and I have to say that was one damn fine article. I hope to see the spread of informative articles like this so that more people can become educated on the self-serving ways of one John McCain. Once again, thanks to Silverman, and New Times should keep up the good work.

Dan Boyle
Butte, Montana

Apostle Pall
I enjoyed Robert Wilonsky's review of Robert Duvall's film The Apostle ("Savior Breath," February 5).

There are knowables and unknowables, the latter of which we can never know. They're mysteries and out of our control.

Mystification, however, is when, after a cold calculation of the needs of the soul, a mystery is made also, through pretense and fraud, out of that which is knowable.

In short, this is what The Apostle doesn't know or address, and why, as Robert Wilonsky suggests, Duvall spends his life in the film simplistically chasing his tail. But after all, the tail is still so enticing, and Duvall's performance noteworthy, God bless him, even when it's continually going in circles.

Philip Zurich

Memorable Pearson
I was really down, and a friend of mine invited me to a jam session hosted by Big Pete Pearson ("Goin' Fishin'," Dale Baich, January 22). I had played in the Valley in various bands, none blues--mostly reggae and Cajun style. Anyway, my confidence was wavering, as I was reeling from a recent divorce and the fortunes of the financial burdens associated with it. There was a long list of players already signed up at The Blue Note Cool Cafe that night, so I set my guitar case on the chair next to me and had a beer and listened to a few songs.

I thought, this is silly, I better get home. I headed toward the door and Pete stopped me. He came out of nowhere. He said, "Man, where you going?" He said, "Get your guitar out and get up there." He then asked his drummer and keyboard player to come up and back me up. He did not know me from Adam; maybe he just sensed I needed to play. Anyway, I did three songs which were well-received. I tried to stop after one, but Pete said to play some more. It really felt good to play and get that affirmation from playing and singing in front of a crowd.

That single act of kindness has stayed with me for the past six years. I ran into Pete at a car wash near my then-home in Tempe a few years back. I mentioned what he did for me that night and thanked him again. He just smiled and kind of chuckled. We talked for a while until his car was finished.

Anyway, thanks to Dale Baich for his well-written article. I hope Phoenix gives Pete a big, well-deserved thank you during the time he has left to gig in the Valley.

Jim Sauter
Malone, New York


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