Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, December 17, 2009


Time to roll up the sleeves and get dirty: A stunning indictment [of President Barack Obama]. Is it too much to hope for the same [against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio] from the Obama administration? Possibly so.

The writer notes our president's Ivy League background and the difference between the bound, musty, volumes of a law library and the realities of life. Recalling Goethe's words from Mephistopheles in Faust: "Grau, teurer Freund, ist alle Theorie, und gruen des Lebens goldner Baum." The relevant color may be not pink, but gray.

Our old friend Jon Talton [formerly of the Arizona Republic] recently summed up Obama's essence on his blog:

"Barack Obama fits the Burkean mold of slow change, respectful of tradition and custom, seeking to preserve the best of existing arrangements. Unfortunately, 30 years of right-wing revolution (represented by Mr. Obama's opponent, the wealthy Republican John Sidney McCain III) have driven these laudable benchmarks so far to the extreme that Mr. Obama's innate restraint is exactly the wrong temperament for this pivotal moment in history."
Emil Pulsifer, Phoenix

Small change: "Pink Negro?" A better title would have been the politically incorrect words "Uncle Tom"! Obama has sold out the people who voted for change. Ain't a dime's difference between Obama and Bush.
Mike Ross, Tempe


Missed it by that much: Fascinating story about Rick Orr, and so incredibly well-written. The old adage is true that somebody's junk is somebody else's treasure. And how!

The regret over missing that Picasso would be like playing the same Lotto numbers for years, and then not playing for a week and your numbers come up. Ah, what might have been?!
Jim Mathis, Phoenix

Sounds interesting: What an interesting way to make a living, though it would be best to [also] have a day (um, in Rick Orr's case, night) job! Don't know if I would like having to live in a Ford van, just to see if I could make the picker thing work.

Here's wishing Orr the best of luck with that movie, but even if he were to make a fortune on it, he'd continue to pick, looking for that art treasure in all the crap from people's lives. Good hunting, my friend!
Billie Jenkins, Phoenix

Memories of Rick Orr's father: Yeah, Rick Orr is a pure picker, seeking treasures in other people's [old possessions]. I, too, am a picker. I pick among obscure books and newspapers to hopefully find a gem or two that can be recycled for my memoir.

But in "Chasing Pablo," it was a gift to find the son of one of the most towering people in my life — his father, Owen Orr, a.k.a. Greg Benedict, the actor.

Owen Orr was indeed a towering figure in my high-school days in Riverside, California. At 6-foot-4 with a face that could have been chiseled by Michelangelo, he was a bad-ass mick who would drink you under the table and then karate-chop the table down on top of you.

On graduation, he disappeared into Hollywood-land and would come back with tales of the starlets he had fucked and the stars he was shucking-and-jiving with. It was pure Irish bullshit, and we knew it — only later we learned that it was true, that he was running with Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Troy Donahue, and Dean Stockwell.

Although he did not become a leading man in the movies, he became more a leading man in life, lifting countless alcoholic drunks from the gutters and leading them back. These drunks included some of the aforementioned [actors], who would tell you to this day that Owen Orr was their savior when they hit bottom.

The day they kicked me out of Betty Ford for passing funny paper (a non-sufficient-funds check) on the former First Lady, it was Owen who rode out on his big bad Kawasaki and drove me at 80 miles per hour through rush-hour traffic on the Ventura and San Diego freeways to my first AA meeting.

So, Rick and Robrt, thanks for the memories.
Robert W. Gately, Scottsdale

A.k.a. business: While everyone would love to make that great find, there is always somebody else on the other side of that find who was just ripped off. Pickers are preying on the uninformed.
Name withheld

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