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Republic Rants

Paper Chase

Insulting the intelligentsia: Great article on the Republic ("Republic goes to paper hell," Spiked, August 15). I was surprised, however, not to see a parody of the "Other Views" section of the OpEd page. I find it ludicrous that, in its effort to provide its readers with other views, the Republic sees fit to print only the first three or four paragraphs from a syndicated columnist's piece.

Of course, editors that think the Republic's readers are interested in the fact that coyotes don't sweat can't possibly believe we have the stamina or intelligence to make it through a complete op-ed piece. I used to think when the Republic printed a story with an AP byline that at least then I was getting a real story without local spin. Now I'm wondering what they excise from those?

Ann Adams
Phoenix

Inside edition: Congrats on nailing the Republic redesign. As one of the worker bees who's had to live through it, it was nice to see what most of us in the newsroom have been waiting for you to do. Never have so many Republic people cheered the New Times.

There's a core of a staff at the Republic that really does care what the paper is like. All of us have been insulted and humiliated by the redesign, though not quite as insulted and humiliated as we were by Paul Maryniak's memo, which he never sent out to the reporters and we found out about thirdhand.

From those of us at the Republic who care about quality journalism, we say this to our loyal readers: We're sorry you've been sacrificed in the name of focus groups and small-town newspaper approaches to what's happening in your world.

Name withheld by request

Big stink: I just want to say it's not the Arizona Republic — it's the Arizona Repulsive or at least the Arizona Repugnant. Thank you for the New Times.

Name withheld by request

No, you guys suck: The ongoing criticism of the Arizona Republic by New Times is not surprising, shocking or even offensive. In fact, it is quite amusing, considering that the Republic is able to sell their paper. Can you say "yellow with envy?" I would suggest that if the entire staff of New Times hates the Republic so much, they should, oh, maybe stop reading it? It's pretty obvious from the "hate parody" that you know your way around it pretty well.

I don't usually read the stories in New Times because they are one-sided, oversensationalized rhetoric, designed to invoke a potent reaction, either positive or negative (C-writing by high school standards). I guess you get what you pay for.

Then there's the letters page, the part of the New Times that I do read. I am totally entertained by how effectively New Times generates such strong emotions from readers who actually consider it to be legitimate journalism.

Thanks to New Times and its readers for being my lunchtime entertainment, and thanks to the Republic for its just-the-facts reporting and informative infobits.

David Jones
Scottsdale

Funny pages: Just wanted to say thank you for the hilarious page you printed this week on the Republic. I almost had lemonade coming out of my nose, it was so damn funny. I particularly like the news brief about the kids drowning in the pools. Great job! Keep up the funny work!

Name withheld by request

A not-so-fine mess: We've been getting the Republic since the Gazette died. We are newspaper readers. We are so fed up with the dumbing down — and in Phoenix that is some dumbing down, lower than the LCD. It takes me 10 minutes to read the "newspaper," where it used to take 45 minutes to an hour. There is only Montini left, and I wonder if he is coming back from vacation? The "newspaper" is simply an advertising vehicle with demographics. It should be called Arizona Teen. There are only "minority" stories. Most of the stuff is news wire. What happened to Bob Petrie's column on the freeways — that was one truly helpful column. What happened to their TV writer, Goodykoontz? They have only their food reviewer and Montini and the real estate guy, Chris Combs. The rest are all pandering to the gun-loving powers, the powers that created the fix this city is in. Surely they are jesting. I do not read the editorials — I have lost my ability to suffer fools. I have lost my ability to put up with the mess that is the Arizona Republic.

Name withheld by request

Body by Bob

Distortions of contortions: Congratulations on having the insight to publish the article "'Roid Warrior" (Robert Nelson, August 15). We athletes are infuriated over witnessing the media hype on this subject, which is myth or just plain non-factual. I have written many letters to Congress, senators and media sports writers in vain, trying to protest the lies and damaging information that is written about athletes who use anabolic enhancing drugs.  

The problem starts with the media. They falsely report these stories for the sensationalism and hype that they create for the public. And then the uneducated public assumes an article is based on fact, when actually it is obvious to any real athlete that the writer has absolutely no knowledge on the subject of performance-enhancing drugs. Then, in the resulting public uproar, an equally uneducated politician will step to the forefront and declare war on the drugs and the athletes who use them, in an attempt for public attention, votes, endorsements and contributions.

I can cite former President Bush, who passed the Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 1990, making steroids a schedule III crime equal to cocaine and amphetamines. And now Senator Dorgan (D-North Dakota) has taken the torch and is yelling from his soapbox about a subject he has no informed knowledge of.

Why can't athletes use these substances? The facts your fine article provided — there is little or no evidence of any great harm caused by these drugs. They cannot cause overdose, addiction or intoxication. The great harm is only the possibility of being caught and arrested, and the resulting fiasco that will follow the unfortunate athlete. You must perform honest hard work in your training and diet for steroids to work, unlike other methods of physical enhancement such as liposuction, various implants, facial plastic surgery, which are far more risky and dangerous than steroids. Or you could use hormones for birth control or gender change. But hardworking athletes cannot legally use steroids.

Legal cigarettes and alcohol kill millions, while steroids have never killed anyone. Its a travesty, in an era of technology and science, that these laws are guided by such ignorance, misinformation and a "Reefer Madness" mentality.

Praise you for having the notion to display the side of this issue that too few hear. I'd like to hope it's the beginning of a new, enlightened awareness of performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids. The striving athlete certainly needs this position seen and heard to rid us from the legal shackles with which we are wrongly bound.

Mike Schlanger
Baltimore, Maryland

Truth teller: Thank you very much for writing this article. Finally, there are some un-biased journalists out there who are willing to write the truth.

James Urban
Traverse City, Michigan

Haunting Psyche

Heart of darkness: Regarding the Lumley Vampire, which was highlighted in Spiked ("The Vampire Strikes Back," August 8), it is very interesting to consider the psychological images that people of certain personalities and perspectives will choose to represent themselves. In the case of the Lumley Vampire, which conducts its secret bashing tactics of organizations, administrators, supervisors, individuals and even line officers at a personal level through its Web site and e-mail, it seems that they (ED — whatever) are consistent in both image and action.

Consider the "vampire" as a psycho-mythological image: The "undead" lacking a human soul. Evil in intent or action. Exploiting fear and ignorance and preying on others in the darkness. Existing on the lifeblood of others, having none of their own. They turn to ashes in the light of day!

If, as you note, they are "drawing blood" from the Department of Corrections, it is on the level of a single mosquito. There are too many honest, hardworking people in that department for it to be otherwise.

By the way, speaking of images projected, have you considered the Freudian interpretation of the image "Spiked"?

Robert W. Olding
Glendale

Mix Master

Substance abuse: Members of Cocaine Anonymous read "X Man," (Robrt L. Pela, August 8) with great interest, since the quote featured so prominently in the middle of the page contains Jeff Barthold's statement that: "We're the official drink of Cocaine Anonymous!" This statement is completely inaccurate.

Cocaine Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from their addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances. There are no dues or fees for membership; we are fully self-supporting through our own contributions. We are not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. We do not wish to engage in any controversy, and we neither endorse nor oppose any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay free from cocaine and all other mind-altering substances, and to help others achieve the same freedom.  

Cocaine Anonymous groups are guided by our Twelve Traditions, which are adapted with permission from the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Specifically, our Sixth Tradition states that "A C.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the C.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose." Accordingly, there can be no such thing as an "official drink" of Cocaine Anonymous.

I am currently chair of the Board of Directors of the Cocaine Anonymous World Service Office, and I can assure you that no one in our office had ever heard of Mr. Barthold or his beverage until your article was published. I am rather surprised that you featured such a quote so prominently without checking the factual basis first.

Steve E.
Chair, Board of Directors
Cocaine Anonymous World Service Office

Cheers: Your interview with Jeff Barthold was simply the funniest thing I've read in months. I read a lot, too. Thanks.

Howard Alexander
Scottsdale

Make that a double: Not to pull a "Flaming Moe," but you can make your own glow-by-black light drinks by using plain old tonic water as a mixer. The secret's out!

Bill Rouse
Phoenix

Feeding Fido

Going to the dogs: I was not thrilled when you immediately jumped to conclusions and compared raw feeding for dogs (Bones and Raw Food/BARF) to your prior assessment on raw feeding for humans (which I found quite amusing the week earlier) ("Bow Wow," Carey Sweet, August 15).

As you pointed out, dogs are not humans. To compare the two is simply asinine. Its use as subject matter for you seems out of place. Did you taste the raw meat products or query a sample of local dogs to get their opinion? Right. If you'd done minimal research, what you would have found would have turned your stomach, indeed.

Your overpriced kibble is still just kibble. If you tore yourself away from the local restaurant scene long enough to watch the news or read a paper once in a while, you would have likely by now learned that what comprises kibble is a relatively disgusting mix of items. Your assumption that your kibble does not contain "intestines, heads, feet" is incorrect. Kibble usually includes dead animals, including dogs and cats; is full of highly rendered fat, which is often rancid; and is made mostly of preservatives and grain, which is intrinsically bad for dogs and cats and is leading to the newest epidemic of "environmental allergies" that most people are paying their veterinarians a fortune to diagnose.

Ours is not an issue with "cooked" food, as you so wrongly assumed, but with kibble, a grotesque and vile concoction that many are making millions off, while our animals suffer from a lack of nutrition.

My food costs less than yours. It requires no more effort, and the benefits are immense. This is not some crackpot fad. BARF animals live longer, healthier lives; have increased immune systems; require no teeth cleaning and less veterinarian visits; and benefit from amazing coats, excellent oral health and a much decreased instance of cancer.

I cannot tell you how many pet owners — completely sane, employed, upstanding members of the community not prone to holding their animals in the air and making kissy noises — have come to me as a last resort in their dogs' failing health, only to have it turned around by eliminating grains and moving to BARF.

What we at the co-op have provided is a way for the Arizona community to easily access this food at highly affordable prices while learning from others about the diet, and we do so for absolutely no benefit to ourselves.

I do enjoy your rants on the Valley eating scene verily, so my hope is that when, next stuck for an article, you will not venture into a subject of which you so obviously know nothing about without doing your research and will instead, as they say, stick to your day job.

Amanda Hayden Blum
Founder, Arizona Bones and Raw Food Co-op

It's a dog's life: Feeding dogs a diet appropriate for their species is not new. The author is mistaken that this is a "fad." There are hundreds of thousands of people feeding raw diets to their pets. It didn't originate in Australia, although an Australian vet has popularized it. Commercial dog food is new, having only been in use since after the second World War. Even if the author of the article wants to continue to labor under the misconception that her dog food doesn't contain by-products, it does contain preservatives, chemicals, and large quantities of grains and fillers.  

There are some decent commercial dog foods out there, most made by small independent companies. Raw isn't the only way to go. But to dismiss it out of hand in some flippant and cute fashion in an article that is very misleading and full of misconceptions and unresearched statements is quite unprofessional.

Sharon Hansen
Via e-mail

Mexican Fiesta

Homesick for Phoenix: Send 'em here to Cleveland, Ohio! ("Tamale Tale," Silvana Salcido Esparza, August 15) I haven't been able to find a decent tamale since I moved from Phoenix back to my hometown three years ago. In fact, send a few of the drive-through places here, too. (What I wouldn't give for a chile relleno burrito!)

The Northeast/Midwest doesn't have anything like that as far as I know; the owners would most likely make a killing! Sure, we have your chain restaurants, a few Mexican and Puerto Rican places, but nothing comparable to the cooking there.

Terri Simons
Olmsted Falls, Ohio

Fan Mail

Ill will: I can't decide if you are an asshole or just an idiot ("Still Ill," Jonathan Bond, August 8). One thing is for certain in that you are not a writer. You have a twisted view of Morrissey's career that is not shared with the base of his fans. What a waste of your time to write that garbage.

Name withheld by request

Scales of Justice

Sneak up on 'em: I get absolutely ill when I read about these supposed inspections of juvenile facilities ("See You in October," Amy Silverman, August 8). First of all, when they are announced — and they are always announced — the inmates (kids) are the ones forced to clean up and make it look "wonderful" for the cameras.

Second, the real problems are hid under threats — regardless of what the facility staffers say — of tell-and-pay.

Third, why don't these inspectors simply just show up? They are entitled to. Federal and local funding keeps most facilities open, and private facilities are funded about the same way and are not entitled to any notification (even though they still get it).

Better yet, subpoena and depose the inmates — without benefit of files and on a random choice from a list of all inmates. The only way to find out is to ask. Who better to ask than the kids.

Lori Trevino
Via e-mail


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