Say "Win"
I find it curious how the lady who finally got her jackpot from Harrah's thanked God for it (as quoted in the Arizona Republic) as opposed to thanking, oh, say . . . Paul Rubin and New Times for bringing the problem to public attention ("Winner Takes All," January 15). (Or perhaps she did, and the Republic now regards New Times as godlike.) She apparently now regards Harrah's as a good buddy despite that it was going to screw her over, until the world found out about it.

D. Rusak
via Internet

Well, after days of watching poor little Herminia Rodriguez wringing her hands, sobbing on the TV and woefully lamenting the sudden ability and immediate loss thereof to pay her granddaughter's medical bills, Harrah's decided to buck the public swell of dissension and fork out the winnings. I'm sure that all the while Rodriguez was yanking on that one-armed bandit, she was thinking only of using any winnings to pay medical and future college expenses--yeah, right!

I hope the media and print reporters who all jumped on the wagon to champion Rodriguez's cause take the time a year from now to fill us in on how much of that $330,000-plus went to those "expanding" medical treatments and college tuition! I'm sure that Rodriguez won't buy a new car, give money to mooching family and friends, buy a new house and return to the slots to feed those ever-hungry machines. My prediction is that this time next year, she will be holding another garage sale of all the goods she bought to pay bills, or maybe in the hope of returning to a casino and trying for another bolt of lightning.

It's people like Rodriguez who keep the managers of every casino drooling with glee at the sound of a slot arm being pulled! That's why they call 'em one-armed bandits, 'cause if you beat the odds once, they'll get you the next time. Let's hope Rodriguez seeks out a financial planner, and not a Cadillac salesman!

David Pergola
Fountain Hills

The Next Big Thing
Concerning Dale Baich's article about Big Pete Pearson's upcoming retirement ("Goin' Fishin'," January 22): We will all miss Big Pete, but the king is dead (i.e., retired), and the crown is passed. For some time now, kickin' the Hammond B-3 in Pete's shadow has been another treasure--Moe Denham. I've known Denham since our days together in Nashville, and as long as Denham's in town, we've still got the blues! I'm an ex-musician and nightclub owner; I owned a little nightclub in what was then Nashville's nightspot, Printer's Alley. I ran into Denham, who had just blown back into town after a European tour with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. We talked, I hired! (No audition necessary.) Moe Denham is not a household name in the Valley at the moment, but this is an internationally respected musician with BIG chops and a voice to match. I suspect that the new Blues Sevilles, under Denham's guidance, will keep your feet tappin' and heads noddin' for some time. Denham's one of the "biggies"--catch him while you can still afford to get in!

Ed Bigler

Flash Cards
Just as Robert Forster has a long history of performing in films, Max McQueen has a long history of generating, shall we say, "idiosyncratic" critiques (Flashes, January 8). If readers are able to dig it up, they should check out McQueen's review trashing Interview With the Vampire. His bit about the film glorifying a deviant lifestyle is a real hoot.

I'll never forget his one-star rating for Pulp Fiction, or his claim that it was the most overrated film of the year. Poor Max McQueen gets so flustered when people start showing their privates and swearing that he can't make heads or tails out of what's happening onscreen.

Mike T.
via Internet

Skip Rimsza and his crew have once again abused the emergency clause in order to give Frank Fairbanks a raise (Flashes, December 25). Where was the threat to the life, health and well-being of the citizens of Phoenix? Fairbanks was involved in Sumitomo Sitix's bid to obtain Foreign Trade Zone Subzone status, so he was a threat to northeast Phoenix, but that doesn't qualify him for a $6K raise.

The real threat is the mayor and city council and their continuous abuse of the emergency clause. Remember when they abused it to approve a parking garage for the Diamondbacks stadium? And let's not forget that they invoked the emergency clause in order to shove the toxic-chemical-emitting Sumitomo industrial complex into the middle of an established residential neighborhood.

It is very interesting that Rimsza and his council cronies fought so hard to save the residential neighborhood for the rich and powerful Adobe residents. What about the residents of northeast Phoenix who never knew about, never wanted and never will want the toxic Sumitomo plant? Could someone be thinking about future campaign contributions from the Adobe constituents? The Center for Law in the Public Interest and/or the Center for Individual Rights should look into Rimsza's and Phoenix City Council's constant abuse of the emergency clause. WARNING: The Phoenix City Council has become threatening to the health, life and well-being of the nonrich and nonpowerful citizens of Phoenix! Citizens without big bank accounts, beware! Let's all remember the abuse of the emergency clause during the next election.

Chris Wilson
via Internet

Deconstructing Valley
Barry Graham's column "Making Merry" (January 1) about the forthcoming closure of the Golden West hotel and Newman's is an excellent observation of the urban plight. I chanced going in Newman's one evening, and found myself reading about it the very next day. Newman's was dark . . . only a dozen or so patrons. The bartender struck me as being "real," congenial, courteous and clever, not "plastic" like some at the hoity-toity Arizona Center. The clientele ran the gamut of the "real world," where one struggles through each day.

If there were any justice at all, Newman's would be declared a historical landmark and its truthful beauty preserved. In my opinion, the developing interests that aim to renovate this "natural resource" would use the Grand Canyon as a landfill, cap it and build a strip mall over it.

I am a native New Englander, and I have seen beautiful neighborhood taverns leveled to make way for sterile cubicles that are only serving as mailing addresses for the nouveau riche (who have most of the money, but lost their souls along the route to progress). This letter will probably have no effect on the outcome of the downtown pillage about to befall Phoenix, but I can still have the satisfaction of saying, "I told you so," before I take my leave of Phoenix, and, as I go, I'll probably visit the Grand Canyon, before it, too, falls prey to the "lords of plastic."

Michael S. Boyd


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