Dirty Pool
I'm appalled at John Dougherty's article about Olympic swimming not being what it used to be ("Slow Strokes," June 13). It saddens me when Americans such as Dougherty bash our nation's best. Gary Hall Jr. is one of our nation's most talented, and, according to Dougherty, it sounds as if he's not even fit to compete.

Hello! Has anyone ever heard of support? On June 13, Hall appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. When he was asked about his training techniques, he said, "Swim like a fish, think like a fish." That sounds like he's ready to win. So what if the U.S. swim team isn't what it used to be? Things do change over time.

Also, it's not New Times' job to criticize it. I doubt that New Times' staff could make a difference in U.S. swimming. I'm only 15 years old, and I just wanted to tell John Dougherty to back off, and to Gary Hall Jr., bring home the gold!

Kelly Rose

Editor's note: We hate to burst your bubble, Kelly, but Hall told Jay Leno his philosophy was, "Swim like a fish, drink like a fish." (Emphasis added.)

RoxSand Trap
RoxSand Scocos' "Menu for a Small Planet" (June 6), touting menus with less meat and more food from the lower end of the food chain, leads me to believe that John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, has a convert in RoxSand. She decries the impact of beef consumption on the planet, claims that 5,000 gallons of water are required to produce a pound of beef, and that water pollution is a by-product of manure run-off.

After publication of the Robbins book, scientists at Texas A&M University prepared a comprehensive review of it, by request of the National Cattlemen's Association. This review revealed that at least three fourths of the claims and charges made in the book were untrue. While the rest had some basis in fact, most were based on very old information, not reflecting current science or practice. Robbins used references that were almost exclusively nonscientific publications.

The U.S. Geological Survey, in its circular "Estimated Use of Water in the United States," estimated that consumption in livestock operations accounts for only 1.2 percent of the total water consumption in the United States. An estimated half of the water consumed in the livestock category was used in fish farming.

RoxSand's call for a focus on sustainable agriculture and renewable resources is commendable. The Chefs Collaborative 2000 that is trying to foster a farmer-chef connection to encourage growing and consuming locally grown organic produce hopes to make agriculture as financially viable as the sale of land for strip malls and housing developments.

There is in existence today a group of ranchers who market beef through the Arizona Ranchers' Cooperative. The product is grass-fed, hormone-free organic beef. If there are chefs available to make a rancher-chef connection, they could encourage the production of this locally grown organic beef and make ranching as financially viable as the sale of land for rural subdivisions.

Stephen M. Williams

As if the Cafe section of New Times isn't pretentious enough when Howard Seftel is writing it, now we're being lectured by the annoyingly self-righteous RoxSand Scocos and her blatant promotion of the bourgeois establishment she owns--RoxSand. Call me a Neanderthal, but to this carnivore, nothing is better after a long, hard day than a bloodburger.

So what if it took 30,000 gallons of water to produce my steak? That's probably only half the amount of water it took to keep the grass green where RoxSand's husband plays golf. And those "fabulous first-rate resorts" that RoxSand loves so dearly--they were once "a farmer's land" or pristine desert. Maybe RoxSand should "examine" a golf course and resort where desert has "disappeared."

While she's at it, maybe she could examine "a culture" that has enough money to pay $30 a plate at RoxSand while children all over Phoenix go to bed hungry--there is something wrong with that picture.

P.S. Please let Howard Seftel know there is life west of Central Avenue.
Ira Johnson

We appreciate and respect what RoxSand Scocos' restaurant means to this community and are doubly pleased to hear her give voice to what should concern all of us. Kudos for her ideas.

We are all capable of higher food vision for ourselves and for our families. If each of us cares, we can make a difference even at our primary grocery-store level. Instead of submitting to a selection of weeks-old vegetables, we can support the farmers markets beginning to crop up.

Acting locally is the answer, one step at a time.
Joanne Rapp

If RoxSand Scocos feels so strongly about meat consumption, why is meat such a large part of her menu? She states that she encourages "biodiversity . . . using food from the lower end of the food chain: fruits, vegetables and grains and using less meat." Yeah, she uses less meat but still charges the same price. No fresh fruit is offered at her dessert counter, and fruit is not available upon request. However, fresh fruit does not complement stale, obviously frozen desserts.

RoxSand compares her style of service and diversity to Rancho Pinot Grill and Pizzeria Bianco. Please! My one-time dining experience at RoxSand was the most unpleasant, lifeless dining experience I have ever had, including fast-food and drive-up windows. RoxSand should not flatter herself as being in the same league with Rancho Pinot Grill and Pizzeria Bianco.

RoxSand states that 80 percent of what she brings in is organically grown, locally. This is not possible based on her menu, especially since a large part of her menu is meat or farm-raised seafood. The only time that organic vegetables are used are for specials that are tasteless and boring along with the norm of overly priced entrees. Is that price for talent or quality of product?

The term "politics of food" is also used frequently and loosely by RoxSand. Again, focusing on her restaurant, does she really think that this term can be applied? And what about that awful comment about Hawaiians weighing 300 pounds? Come on, New Times, that definitely should have been edited out!

By volunteering her time, and her obviously strong will and opinions, RoxSand has marketed herself very well. But on the streets of Phoenix and Scottsdale, people do not talk about going to her restaurant for "sensitivity" or to "feed their soul" so they can be "happy and healthy."

RoxSand Scocos should wake up and take a look at herself and her business before she goes out and attacks her next victim.

Name withheld

Southern Exposure
David Holthouse's article/interview with Superdrag contained quite a bit of incorrect information ("Speed Racers," June 6). First of all, the Fort Sanders area of Knoxville, Tennessee, is not a den of iniquity. Granted, there are drug dealers and lower-income persons living in the area. However, the majority of these people are students of the University of Tennessee, not career criminals or blights on the face of society. The drugs that are peddled and purchased in the area are the drugs you would expect to find in and around a college campus.

I was born and raised in Knoxville and watched the Fort Sanders area turn from a prestigious neighborhood into an extension of the college-dormitory program populated with students, former students and the occasional homeless soul. The houses and apartments in the area are inexpensive to rent, which, of course, will attract college students who choose to live without the benefits of "daddy fare" as well as a few socially disruptive elements. In the 23 years I lived in Knoxville, I never saw a pimp or a prostitute on the streets of Fort Sanders, but I see them here on Van Buren Street every day.

Secondly, I witnessed Superdrag's metamorphosis from an extremely loud, not terribly tight garage punk band (the Used) into the musicians they have become today. I attended many of the parties to which Holthouse's article made reference. In truth, the band may have exaggerated its importance and the number of attendees to those parties. However, the basement in which the bands played was a room maybe 60 feet long by 30 feet wide with a standing-room-only capacity of 50 to 70 at best.

While it is true that it was hot enough to form condensation on the walls, it was also too hot for anyone to remain down there for more than 30 minutes or so without going upstairs to breathe, and it took 15 minutes to get to the bottom of the stairs through the crowd. That's why seven to ten bands would each play 30- to 45-minute sets.

Now that I've done my civic duty to Knoxville and offered information to allow Holthouse to amend his records, I wanted to thank him for bringing a little piece of home to a recently transplanted Southern boy. Thanks!

Allen Vandergriff

Train Man
I enjoyed the column about the last passenger train pulling out of the station (Screed, June 13). I felt as if I were coming from Chicago to L.A. on the California Zephyr and to New York, too. The descriptive words brought back memories such as train whistles give a mournful cry, train rumbles, brakes squeal, belch smoke, clickety-clack into the distance, small pillows, trying to get comfortable, small bathrooms, etc.

Thanks to Peter Gilstrap for making memories come forth once more. Please have more stories like this in New Times.

Rose Hoffman


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