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Ranting About the Illegible Comic

To the Editor,

I was so inspired by the Rant Issue (March 6) that I decided to indulge in a little rant of my own. (Read this as a clever hook, or lead-in line, like "the gang of idiots.") The local weekly alternative rag prints a cartoon, "Flipside," on the back page (except when enough ad space is sold to fill the page sans the cartoon). I am amazed at how consistently the graphics are blurry and reduced in size to the point where the print can be read only with the aid of a magnifying glass. The March 6 issue really hit a new high, with the print so miniscule that not one of the four people I asked to read it for me (with the aid of a magnifying glass) was able to decipher more than a few letters or words.

Now granted, the humor of "Flipside" is not always something I get, but I sure would like a chance to decide for myself. And yes, I do know you get what you pay for, and it was free, but ...

I would suggest that if "Flipside" can't be given the proper space to be legible, perhaps fill the tiny space with a public service announcement, or just leave the space blank and let readers fill it in themselves.

Well, enough. Thanks for the opportunity to get this off my chest, and don't tell management about this. They have enough to worry about.

--Charles Wasson


Ranting About Preposterous Vehicles

To the Editor,

Of all the annoying excesses of contemporary American culture, there is probably nothing more out of control than our obsession with outlandish vehicles (Rant Issue, March 6). Drive a couple miles in any U.S. city, and you get the full flavor of what is going on: Super-sized SUVs and trucks hauling one person around, someone who's usually talking on a cell phone while holding a cup of coffee with the other hand. ("Oh, you mean I have to steer this thing?")

Clearly the winner in the category of "Most Preposterous Vehicle" has to be those oooohh so annoying, block-long pickup trucks with the double cab and double rear wheels. Of course, they are usually diesel-powered, which means their drivers are half deaf having to listen to that constant chatter while we get to breathe all the crap they pump out.

But a close runner-up in this category would have to be motorcycles! Am I the only male over 40 in Tucson who doesn't drive around town on one blasting everyone's eardrums within a half-mile radius for fun? I suspect their drivers are trying to relive those adolescent years when they used to drive around on their banana-seated bicycles with "vrooooom" noisemakers strapped to their frames.

Lastly, of course, there are those retro "sports cars." These things don't even have stick shifts, which makes them about as sporty as Uncle Ned's Buick! And the owners' demographics would lead you to believe the only time you will catch them speeding is when they are having a seizure or have passed out while driving.

Makes you hope that some day we will get back to practical cars like Ford Piñatas and the Mercury Thundercruiser 90OOZX.

--Doug Koppinger


Props for the Corps, Not the Volunteer Association

To the Editor,

That was an excellent article ("The Toughest Job," Feb. 27) that brought back many memories. My wife and I were married in the Philippines 40 years ago after meeting in Puerto Rico. We trained and got engaged in Hong Kong and married in Quezon City.

We volunteers are a dichotomy, an independent lot who on one hand want to be very involved in the betterment of humankind as a whole and eschewing the political scene, yet not desiring another bureaucratic organization like the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of America.

We all have stories of awareness. Very informally, I extend an invitation to all volunteers in the Tucson area who would like to get together for a very informal get-together of memories and maybe some good familiar tastes of long-forgotten wonderful foods.

--Allen and Kathy Pastryk


You Didn't Rave About La Parrilla Suiza Enough

To the Editor,

You said to write if we don't agree with you ("Peeved At Us? Let Us Know!" Feb. 27), and so that's what I'm doing.

For years, many of us have headed to La Parrilla Suiza when we are hit with a craving for good, wholesome and healthy Mexican food, or have out-of-town guests in who want something a little different than Taco Bell.

La Parrilla Suiza has been a part of the Tucson landscape for many years and has built a reputation. Much of what you said about the restaurant ("Lunch at the Swiss Grill," Feb. 20) was correct and certainly positive, but you should do your homework. First of all, the term "Suiza" comes from Sanborn's restaurant in Mexico City, where, years ago, a frequent Swiss patron requested sour cream on his food. Accommodating him, the restaurant created Enchilada's Suiza in his honor. Today, use of the term "Suiza" in Mexican cooking actually refers to the use of sour cream.

As to your comments about the cheese served on the table grills and in various dishes, it is actually a combination of three cheeses. Years ago, the owners found that mixing mozzarella, parmesan and Mexican cheese made for a better melting and dipping cheese, and it has been a hit ever since.

You didn't mention the wonderful flavor and smell of handmade tortillas. And there is nothing more enjoyable than sitting down at a table at La Parrilla and digging into a bowl of warm, freshly made corn chips, lightly salted, served with three different kinds of salsa. That, accompanied by an amazing special Margarita Gold from the bar, serves to pass the time while you wait for the enormous amount of food to arrive at your table.

Your server is always smiling and charming, and one gets the impression that he or she actually has recently lived in Mexico and understands the food that is being served.

Good luck on future reviews.

--Sheri Hulme


More on What a Cretin Bush Is

To the Editor,

I still continue to think about Connie Tuttle's "We the Misogynists" (Jan. 23). How shallow she must have thought me ("Bush Wants a Freakish Future," Letters Feb. 13); I did not go all the way with her premise. In 1992, Ramsey Clark published War Crimes: A Report on United States War Crimes on Iraq. Clark charges the elder George Bush, Colin Powell and Dick Cheney with crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against the environment.

Charge No. 6 states: "The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed Iraqi military personnel, used excessive force, killed soldiers seeking surrender and in disorganized individual flight, often unarmed and far from any combat zones and randomly and wantonly killed Iraqi soldiers and destroyed materiel after the cease fire."

Some 100,000 defenseless Iraqi soldiers (men) were slaughtered by U.S. troops. Many were buried alive in mass graves (trenches) dug by U.S. troops using earth moving equipment. It is estimated an additional 100,000 innocent men, women and children were also murdered, their charred bodies left in the streets and along the "Highway of Death."

Here we are, approximately half a generation later. Sanctions have been choking the life out of the Iraqi people. We understand that half the current population of Iraq is under 15 years of age--children.

If we bomb Baghdad, including the Iraqi military, we will effectively kill all the children and all the men. And the Bush family will finally have achieved one of its major goals: the systematic annihilation of an entire culture--genocide.

--Saretta Wool


Tuttle Does Not Have 'The Answer'

To the Editor,

I read Connie Tuttle's column ("Enlightened Education," Feb. 27) and have the following comment: Any time any one says that he or she has "The Answer" to the problems of educating kids, they don't. There is no one answer. I can say this after teaching, on and off, for 40 years, at every level from sixth grade to college.

While the Montessori method may be great for many kids, nothing works for all kids. I am sure that there are kids who have not learned under the Montessori method and that there have been parents who have removed their children from Montessori schools for educational reasons.

But even if it did work, Tuttle is going to ignore federal money and still guarantee that, "We are going to accomplish this by ensuring that every person who teaches in the state of Arizona, from preschool through high school, has a liberal arts undergraduate degree as well as certification in the Montessori method of education."

Who is going to pay for this? Is Arizona's pay scale for teachers so high that the teachers will do it voluntarily? And if so, why are there so many uncertified teachers now?

Good education starts with good, devoted, well-paid teachers. Some 37 years ago, after I had left teaching because I was not making enough money to support a wife and child, I met a high school teacher from Sweden, who was in the United States getting his doctorate (which was paid for by the government). We talked about the differences between the United States and Sweden. He informed me that, in Sweden, there were almost three certified teachers for each job opening.

When this country (not just Arizona) achieves those goals, then we won't have to worry about our children's education. And we won't hear from people who know "The Answer" any more.

--Sy Friedman


Thanks for the KCXI Coverage; Do More!

To the Editor,

Thank you for the article in one Weekly on KXCI ("Battle Over the List," Feb. 20) and the paragraph ("Static," Feb. 27) the following week in The Skinny. I think we need--and have a right--to know a lot more.

If Tony Ford became general manager of The Weekly and summarily began handing out dismissal notices and memos demanding that every article be submitted to him and ground up, you'd probably hope it became a LEAD story in SOME media outlet. The management of KXCI's need for secrecy and nonparticipation are indicators that something is wrong, and more coverage would be the first step toward fixing it.

Who owns KXCI? Isn't it the people who donated their time, money and sweat to build it? And they did that because we are at least as much community as we are individuals. Like ants and bees, we are born to serve, but community service is no less a sacrifice and a living trust. Taking it for granted, exploiting it or otherwise betraying it is a destruction of innocence and faith on the level of child abuse.

It's almost fortunate that it's not hard to see the lines the management crossed when they eliminated experimental jazz and other edgy shows. But KXCI hasn't changed; it just isn't hiding it as well anymore. A programmer had very little freedom of choice in the beginning. There wasn't a playlist, but there were enough guidelines to bum out a lot of intelligent, creative voices who gradually left.

I can't understand why it's necessary to oppress and micromanage people who are working for nothing in an institution that's supposed to be democratizing the airwaves.

--Dennis Williams


This Skinny Attack Went Too Far

To the Editor,

Sometimes your efforts to dig up dirt are not only mean-spirited but also silly and adolescent. Your attack ("Wait, Rex," The Skinny, March 6) on Deputy District Attorney Mary Judge Ryan was a case in point and only serves to reflect badly on you.

--Mary Romaniello


Your Recent Restaurant Reviews Suck

To the Editor,

Beverly Seckinger's letter ("Your Overly Positive Review Wasn't Positive Enough," March 13) complaining about your review of Yoshimatsu ("Robots and Pizza, Japanese Style," Feb. 27) was spot on. And I'll go her one step further: Your restaurant reviews are bad lately because your reviewers don't know anything about food.

Why do you have regular staffers doing the restaurant reviews? Is it some sort of cost-saving measure? It sucks. Your book reviews aren't written by people who don't know anything about books; your movie reviews aren't written by people who don't know anything about movies. (Brief aside--James DiGiovanna, I love you.) Why do you short-change food?

Get it together, Weekly, and get someone on staff who knows a thing or two about cuisine.

--Rachel Wilson


You Criticized; Now, You Should Compliment

To the Editor,

Let's keep the Tucson Weekly fair and balanced.

Dave Devine's article, "Bucks Over Beauty" (Jan. 9) was very helpful in moving Pima County forward rather than backwards.

He criticized the County Board of Supervisors' action regarding the Veterans Memorial Overpass billboard relocation.

As a result, and due to public attendance at their meeting, the District 2 Board of Adjustment denied additional variances for the billboard relocation. Jones Outdoor Advertising filed suit, and the District 2 Board of Adjustment kicked the item upstairs. This week, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to proceed with condemnation of the billboard.

I think all of us should give the Board a vote of thanks. The Weekly should now run another article, as large as Dave's first article, commending the Board for not caving in to the billboard industry and for helping to rid Tucson and Pima County of a bit of the eye pollution we are plagued with.

Your article could also give the District 2 and other district Boards of Adjustment some encouragement to stand strong in the future and deny billboard variances. The billboard codes we have are good and if we will only enforce them, great progress can be made.

--Dan Whelan


Jealous, Mr. Limberis?

To the Editor,

This letter is a response to the very demeaning and racist article ("Passing the Buck in Oro Valley," Feb. 27), i.e. "richest and whitest," by Chris Limberis, about the Oro Valley Library and its minimal expenditures for their volunteer programs.

The dinner referenced in the article did not take place at Michelangelo's Restaurant, as mentioned twice, was not "per tutti mangiare bene a Michelangelo's," but was held in the library building. It was a simple self-service buffet dinner, and the library staff cleaned up afterwards. The meal was catered by the restaurant but not served by any of their personnel.

The bookmarks, from Thomas Promotions Co., are given to the volunteers as a permanent reminder of the thanks that the employees of the library feel they deserve for the work that was performed prior to the opening of the library and up to the date of the dinner in October. It might be informative if you, or the writer, to know that up to opening day, more than 120 volunteers worked 1,475 hours doing the initial preparation of the library, unpacking, sorting and shelving 1,215 boxes of books containing more than 62,000 items. Your writer hasn't any understanding of the amount of arduous work and the time necessary to open a library, and of the dedication of its volunteer staff.

The money paid to Tucson Trophy was for plaques given to acknowledge major contributions by various corporations to the library--a proper gesture by the Oro Valley Public Library.

The payment to Jewell Coffee and Tea wasn't for the dinner but was for the initial setup of the coffee machines, for public programs and volunteers. Most major non-government and entities have coffee areas in their places' business.

It is wise to get one's facts correct before putting them into writing. The caustic tone in this article makes one wonder why the writer is so prejudiced against Oro Valley. Jealous, perhaps?

--Ross S. Wheeler, volunteer


Lessons in Language

To the Editor,

It is quite possible that "Gods and Generals" is as bad as Mr. Nguyen tells us it is ("Gone With the Yawn," Feb. 20). However, his ignorance of writing and speaking styles of the 19th century is not concealed by his lavish use of three- and four-syllable adjectives.

Letters to my grandmother from her brothers who fought in this conflict are written in the manner that Mr. Nguyen sneers at; newspapers of the day might be a good correction to his misunderstanding of the times. The language of that day was still influenced by the educated British class which began our country--nothing like the careless syntax and violent speed we witness today. Or did you think they marched into battle to punk-rock music?

--Mary Schlentz

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