Hats Off
Being a great fan of the BBC import Chef!, I was happy to see the article by M.
V. Moorhead ("One Toque Over the Line," September 25) about this largely ignored show. During the first two seasons, I told everyone I know that Chef! was my favorite show on television. Unfortunately, the third season was a disappointment, but I'm glad to see reruns of the first two seasons now.

Irina Hynes

Thanks to M. V. Moorhead for his article about the wonderful show Chef!! My husband and I love the antics and verbal barrages from the character and his crew. It is quite irritating to be interrupted by PBS fund drives and other activities from our local network, but we beg on bended knees for more! Gareth, Everton and Janice would be welcome in my home anytime! Three cheers to Lenny Henry and BBC for this wonderful show--wishing there were more like it.

Michele Staples

Since moving to the gastronomy challenged Valley, I look forward to M. V. Moorhead's restaurant reviews like the Bible of local cuisine. If Moorhead recommends the joint, I'm running, not walking, to it. The critic took his godlike review status to another level when he wrote about the television show Chef!.

Not only am I also a die-hard fan of the show, but I probably could go sauvignon to sauvignon regarding favorite dialogue and scenarios with Moorhead. I'm glad that another fan came out of the pantry and admitted that the English really do have one of the best shows on the tube.

A. Evonti Anderson

Editor's note: We're sure M. V. Moorhead will appreciate these kind words. And, for that matter, so will Howard Seftel, New Times' restaurant reviewer for the past five years, who was on vacation when Moorhead's Chef! article ran.

Wholly Holy
Was the letter regarding the Blessed Mother a "plant" by the editors to inspire reader reaction, or does a person of such colossal ignorance actually exist (September 25)? No wonder he asked to have his name withheld.

Shucks! All my years of looking forward to heaven only to learn it is to be peopled by misogynists having a stag party!

Anne Connolly

To print a letter which reflects completely erroneous impressions of what Catholics are really taught about the Virgin Mary is unfair and irresponsible. We do not "worship" Mary or statues of her. We honor, cherish and love her as the mother of Jesus Christ. To do anything less is an insult to Him. He spent 30 years with her, being "subject to her." He gave her to us to be our mother also. What a gift!

As the most perfect of mothers, it is her greatest joy to gently and sweetly guide us and lead us to Him, to Jesus Christ, our brother. This is what informed Catholics believe.

Lorie Futch

This is in reply to T.J. Gibson's letter (October 2) implying that the Catholic Church "encourages idolatry through the worship of statues." I am not impressed by Gibson's selective use of Biblical citations taken out of context. For the record, I am now a practicing Catholic, and previously belonged to nondenominational Bible study groups (similar to Gibson's) and conventional Protestantism before coming home to Rome.

Throughout my instruction in the Catholic faith, and at all the masses I've attended, I have never once been instructed to worship statues, any more than Bible thumpers encourage idolatry by worshiping a book. Catholics worship God alone, and recognize Jesus Christ as the only savior. Meditation and intercession of Mary and the saints are entirely different. It is more akin to Christians praying for one another. Those who have achieved heaven can and do continue to pray for us.

Space does not permit a reply to every charge, but T.J. Gibson is either too ignorant or too prejudiced to portray Catholic beliefs accurately.

J.S. Dunmire

Stardust Memories
Tony Ortega did a wonderful job with his article about Robert Burnham Jr. ("Sky Writer," September 25). Over the years, more people than I can count assumed that Bob Burnham Jr. and I were the same or related. I always set them straight when the confusion arose, but at least several people a week needed to hear the explanation. I debated with myself about using a pseudonym when I started at Astronomy magazine, but I saw that that course would end up producing more weirdness than just simply giving the explanation as needed.

I'm glad to know what happened to Burnham even though the story is quite a tragic one. I had heard bits and pieces over the years from various people (at Lowell Observatory and elsewhere), but they seemed disjointed and hardly credible. Actually, from Ortega's story, almost all the strange rumors about Burnham's life after leaving Lowell were true. I'm so sorry for him and his family.

I did a book this year for Cambridge University Press about Comet Hale-Bopp, and have several others in the works. So the question of identity still remains, and I suppose people will continue to confuse us. At least, with Ortega's story made public, there's somewhere to go to get the facts about a wonderful and profound man whose great book inspired so many of us.

Robert Burnham
Hales Corners, Wisconsin

I was very happy to read Tony Ortega's article which brings closure, although a sad ending, to the life of Robert Burnham Jr. We had been hearing for years that Burnham was living the life of a homeless person on the California coast. I had asked Brian Skiff if he knew how to contact Burnham because it was thought that Burnham was living a destitute life and that Dover owed him a good amount of money for rights to his book, the bible of amateur astronomers everywhere.

Several years ago, my wife and I stayed a night at Skiff's cabin (which we now find out was Burnham's old residence). It was spartan to say the least, but that knowledge makes the stay more memorable.

Wayne P. Johnson
Mead Valley, California

Like so many astronomers, I just found out via New Times' article that Robert Burnham Jr. had died. One would think that someone who had written a book which thousands of us depend on would have done well. One would think such a prominent astronomer's life would have been known before. One needs to reflect next time one sees the vendors in the park.

Dave Hamilton
Lincoln, Nebraska

I enjoyed Tony Ortega's informative and poignant article about astronomer Robert Burnham Jr. I am one of those amateur astronomers who pored through Burnham's when it first appeared, and still uses it under Arizona skies night after night.

It is sad that such a knowledgeable author should spend a large part of his life concerned about money. How ironic that someone who knew the night sky so well was depressed and obsessed by material needs. It is unfortunate that Robert Burnham found it difficult to bring some of his energy into his down-to-Earth life.

Steve Coe

Butch, Butch, Butch
I would like to comment on M. V. Moorhead's review of the movie Butch Camp ("Swish Cheese," September 11), in which he asserts, "Very few gay people I have known have bothered much with political correctness." He must mean gay men, as opposed to gay people. Generalizations are always dangerous, but I would venture to say that the vast majority of gay women, the other half of the gay people to which he refers (otherwise and more correctly known as lesbians), do "bother" with political correctness, at least to some degree.

I also enjoyed Moorhead's article "Grazing in the Grass" (Cafe, September 11). It was very funny and informative, and I think there is hope for the world when there are men in it who are not afraid to say, in print, that they find squirrels "beguiling." Very few men I have known would even know what "beguiling" means.

Patricia Victour

Graham Stand
I'm responding to the various tirades against Barry Graham's coverage of the deaths of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa (Letters, September 25 and October 2). I'd like to suggest a one-word defense strategy: stop. Barry Graham making you angry? Stop reading him. When the circulation of New Times takes a dive, he'll be out on the streets.

Brian Fellows

Let's see if I've got this right. If you are a mother of two, and a hero to millions, and a person who raises, oh, a couple of hundred million dollars for charity, and you die in a car accident, Barry Graham will spew venom and hatred at your memory after your death.

If you are a Nobel Laureate who spends her life giving dignity to the poorest of the poor, and a person who voluntarily accepts a life of poverty and grinding labor, and you die of old age, Barry Graham will spew venom and hatred at your memory after your death. But if you are a dope fiend, and a thief, and HIV-positive at a time AIDS is entirely preventable, Barry Graham will spend his (admittedly limited) writing ability in your favor.

Graham is of a sort all too common in the alternative press: always seeking something or someone to rail against to justify his pathetic job and his equally pathetic existence. He obviously thinks that it is his duty to enlighten us poor ignorant fools about how things really are, because we can't see for ourselves that anything a majority of people enjoy, or like, or believe in, is automatically wrong.

Louis CasaBianca


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