We're the Best
Hey, guys, just wanted to say thanks for the recognition ("Best Web Site," Best of Baltimore, Sept. 20). Tony Pente and I were both surprised by the news, and extremely pleased, at getting named the best web site in Baltimore. Really awesome of you guys to mention us, and we're all glad you like the site. Thanks again! It's quite an honor, and we're all proud.
Associate editor, OriolesHangout.com
You are absolutely right about Tim Smith ("Best Local Critic"). His beautiful style of writing makes his columns seem like literature. I enjoy the read even when I'm not particularly interested in the topic. Bravo!
...or Maybe Not so Much
Looking forward to devouring your Best of Baltimore issue, I was somewhat taken aback by your first "best" reason to live here: It's cheap??!! May I just inquire as to cheaper than what? Frankly, I can't wait to get out of the actual city limits. Property taxes are ridiculous, my car insurance is "red-lined" (being in zone 15), and for the privilege of actually residing in Charm City, I pay an extra tax on my cell phone.
I won't even get into local real estate prices. Yes, it's cheaper to live here than in New York City, Washington, or Beverly Hills, Calif., but that's about where it ends.
Editor Lee Gardner responds: The readers of City Paper, not the staff, determine the results of the Readers Poll, which is where the "cheap" win appeared. With all due respect, please take up your beef with your fellow citizens.
Myself, the management, staff, and owner of Christina's would like to thank City Paper for naming us "Best Strip Club." This honor brings prestige and high visibility to our establishment that money can not buy, along with a customer respect that will live on for years to come.
As you know, this type of business has never been regarded to be reputable and played down as seedy and shady. With the help of City Paper, the adult entertainment arena is finally being addressed as "artistic," enjoyed by both men and women alike. This positive exposure aids our business, and the entire industry benefits as well. Again, thank you.
On another note, I must offer critique on the writer's choice of words and description of actions during performances. The article stated: "Enter Christina's patented booby-bill-pickup, in which a lovely lady uses her breasts to remove her tip from your hand, or, er, mouth. So, when in search of naked chicks, consider Christina's." This behavior is neither acceptable nor condoned in our establishment; these actions are strictly against the liquor laws of Baltimore County and subject to fine or closure. I am hoping that the writer of this article may have in this instance confused us with a Baltimore City establishment. Using the word "patented" makes it sound as if we have created the gesture in question and maintain exclusivity. The use of "naked" implies we are all nude. We are not, and we can not be completely naked. Again, we do not allow our entertainers to use their breasts to accept tips. Sadly enough, this will bring much unnecessary visual scrutiny and potential fine-tooth combing by pre-named agencies and potential finger-pointing by our competition.
We will do our best for damage control and advise our management to be on the lookout for any detrimental behavior during performances. May I suggest articles of this nature where state guidelines are involved, a copy of the article be briefed with the business in question to prevent inflammatory situations.
William J. Light
Manager, Christina's Female Revue
Not Seeing Is Not Believing
In Russ Smith's column about the five-year anniversary of Sept. 11 ("No Thanks for the Memories," Right Field, Sept. 13) he writes: "In my office at home in Baltimore there are two pictures hanging on a wall, both taken from the roof of our old penthouse. One is of my then-8-year-old son (August '01) swinging a bat, with the Trade Center in the background; the other is of a plane stuck in one of the towers on Sept. 11."
Now, I have examined a great deal of Sept. 11 documentation. I've never seen a picture of either Flight 11 sticking out of the North Tower, or Flight 175 sticking out of the South Tower. In fact, I'm the author of the theory that the TV networks aired fake video of animated CGI planes striking the WTC. Indeed, planes have enough difficulty just avoiding large birds. The suggestion that a real Boeing 767 hit either the North or South Towers on Sept. 11 would be laughable if it weren't the pretext for a cold-blooded massacre.
So, if the photograph of a plane sticking out of the WTC has been published elsewhere, can you tell us more information about it so we can look at it? Did you shoot the photo yourself? If so, is it possible for you to post a thumbnail of it on Baltimore Indymedia?
Word. Thought. Written and spoken, words are modules of cognitive life. They replace the crying, yelling, and babbling of infant tongues. Words impact everything. "Human," "boy," "alive"; three of the first words that could have been used to announce my existence in this world and three words that still are at the core of my perceived identity. I have always loved words and the languages that they became and can yet become. I was a quiet child because I couldn't always find words to say, not because I lacked thought. In high school I became aware of my need to search for words. That journey is what made me very happy to see Vincent Williams' article "Word Counts" (Social Studies, Sept. 13).
As a word lover, I carry a dictionary in my book bag with me everywhere. As I encounter the world, listen to people speak, watch how they interact, and read what they write, I often need to use the dictionary to find words that describe how I feel about all I experience. I even took a course in semantics in college without it being required. Word origins and uses are a huge part of culture, society, and life as it was, is and will be. Every day I wrestle with the words that the English language offers me. I try to find a way to make sure what is said is what was meant. This battle takes place everywhere, whether it is trying to speak to a beautiful woman or decide whether to explore journalism, novels, poetry, essays, lyrics for songs, etc. as a means of expressing myself. As Saul Williams says, "words matter (they materialize)." They are the mothers ("mater") to thought. They are the ideas, concepts and thoughts behind artistic expression. The words of the writers at City Paper (especially Vincent Williams) continually inspire me as they stretch convention and comforts. In this moment, the world needs thinkers, creators, lovers, and writers. This letter is to encourage all those who, like myself, are trying to be what the world needs.
He Said It, Not Us
In response to "Answering to a Higher Power" (Mobtown Beat, Sept. 13), I am appalled at the arrogance of the local Muslim community that, in a post-Sept. 11 society (plans originally submitted in 2002), has established a secret mosque under our very noses. It is this exact type of dirty, bare-bones religious "community center" (a mosque that masquerades as something more benign) that was used so successfully by Ramzi Yousef and his followers in Brooklyn and New Jersey in 1993 to plan and execute the first World Trade Center attack.
The clandestine element of evil--the element that decent Muslims refuse to eradicate from their midst--uses our own sensibilities and civil liberties to burn us time and again. Foremost is our freedom of religion.
A religion that claims, as its ultimate goal, to eventually convert or kill all nonmembers and has declared war on our society obviously deserves our closest form of oversight. Why they needed to lie and build secretly shows that they have no respect for our laws or the community they are forcing themselves upon.
American black Muslims need to take a step back and review who it is they are in bed with these days. To use the Rahmans (decent, caring people) as a front to implement their plans in our city is the type of sinister, low-tech activity that will someday be viewed as, "Wow, why didn't we catch that at the time?" The city needs to condemn this property immediately, and we need to litigate these lawless people out of our community.
Paranoid? You bet. Never forget . . . I haven't.
Not Northern Virginia
Please remind me--this is Baltimore, correct? When I recently read Omnivore's review of Thai Landing (Sept. 13), I actually had to check to see if my house and this paper had been transplanted to Northern Virginia, where substance has been replaced with surface. In a city that prides itself on being down to earth, without pretension, and most of all authentic, both the article and author lose all creditability with the following quote: "Fools want authenticity, but good diners want an artful simulation." I will remember this while I stand at a table in Lexington Market and devour a crab cake from Faidley's or clean off my own table at Attman's to enjoy a corned beef sandwich. My father lived in Thailand for a number of years and continually raves about Thai Landing and the authenticity of the food. If you have a problem with the food and service and some recommendations for updating the décor or exterior of the restaurant, I would listen. To insinuate that the chicken and basil (No. 512 on that "encyclopedic menu") would be tastier because of new dishes, chairs, and artwork is just, well, so Northern Virginia.
The Principles Problem
While I respect Ned Humphrey's fairly civil tone in his response to Max Obuszewski ("Rad Max," The Mail, Sept. 13), and even agree that Islamic extremism does indeed present a threat to peace, freedom, democracy, etc., I have to take issue with Mr. Humphrey's claim that George W. Bush has taken a "principled stand against Islamic fascists." In light of the torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, alongside the monstrous sums of money doled out at whim to companies like Bechtel, Halliburton, and Blackwater, as well as restrictions and erosions of our constitutional freedoms here in the United States, I'd have to say the principles George Bush seems to be standing for are corporate welfare, corruption, and dictatorial power.
Mr. Bush may say he is standing for a principled stand, but this is the same man who explicitly stated that "We know where the weapons of mass destruction are," "No one ever could have imagined that terrorists would use jets as missiles," and "You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie." Can anyone really take what comes out of this man's mouth seriously anymore?
Ned Humphrey begins his rather snide attack on Max Obuszewski with "I personally know and like Max Obuszewski." Well, I too know Max O., and I have good reason to not like him at all. However, Max is absolutely right when he argues that the U.S. is an "empire" How can Humphrey knowledgeably and honestly argue otherwise?
The U.S. is the last world "superpower." It earns its title through its unparalleled military strength. Its so-called diplomatic skills wouldn't be worth diddley were it not for the U.S. military's oft demonstrated ability to painfully punish any nation or people who don't ask "How high?" when the U.S. orders them to "Jump!"
This country has been terrorizing Third World peoples since the genocide of the Native Americans and the Middle Passage of slavery. The single purpose of American foreign policy is to maximize the profits of the international corporations that finance the Republican Party--and the Democratic Party. We've overthrown democratically elected governments or armed real terrorist coups and counter-revolutionary fascists (mostly Christian fascists!) from Guatemala and Iran in the '50s, Chile and Argentina, Nicaragua and Grenada, apartheid-era South Africa, Afghanistan, Angola, Indonesia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and arguably a dozen more. According to Joel Andress in his illustrated book Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can't Kick Militarism, U.S. soldiers killed 600,000 Filipinos following the imperialist Spanish-American War.
When Bill Clinton's secretary of state Madeleine Albright was interviewed on 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl reminded her that UNESCO had estimated that Clinton's sanctions and military overflights and bombings had already cost Iraqis a million lives--half of them children under 5. She then asked Albright if she thought it was worth it.
Albright hesitated for a moment, then said, "Yes." She never denied UNESCO's figures.
Just as most British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian, Dutch, German, and Italian citizens refused to deal with their countries' imperialism, most Americans seem to be likewise in denial. "But we didn't know!" has become the universal excuse of hypocrites, the ethically challenged, and ignoramuses.
Until we stop terrorizing Third World peoples--including the Palestinians and Lebanese--Third World people will not stop terrorizing us. Not liking the tactics of those we wish to exploit is no excuse to go halfway around the world to kill them. In the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, our excuse for killing millions of Indians was that some of them massacred white men, women, and children who had invaded their land.
Incidentally, we didn't like their religion either.
"Sorry, Max," Humphrey continues. "I'll take what we have over what they're offering any day." You simply don't get it, Humphrey. Max isn't advocating what they have. He's simply trying to explain to his ignorant and pompous countrymen and -women what such people really want. And that is for us to get out of their countries!
I have a Tim Kreider cartoon from a back copy of City Paper on my apartment door. In it, two Aztec men are watching the Aztec high priest cut the heart out of an "enemy." One consoles the other by saying, "It may not be a perfect system, but it's still the best one there is." Sounds condemningly like Humphrey's "the `empire,' with all its faults, is indeed the best thing going."
A. Robert Kaufman
Speaking of Bob...
I was surprised and disappointed to read Chris Landers' Campaign Beat about the U.S. Senate race ("Heavy Hitters," Sept. 6), in which he wrote about only three (Allan Lichtman, Dennis Rasmussen, and Josh Rales) of the four candidates who got an equal amount (1 percent each) in the last published Sun poll. None of the other Democrats polled above 1 percent. A. Robert Kaufman, the socialist running in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate was not even mentioned. Why? Along with Kweisi Mfume, Ben Cardin, and Michael Steele, even Mike Schaefer (whose primary asset is that his name is the same as the other Schaefer--no relation) was written up.
To add insult to injury--and make no mistake about it, leaving Kaufman out of the last City Paper issue before the primary had to diminish Kaufman's vote--the Tom Chalkley illustration likewise included all of the above mentioned--except Kaufman. Surely Chalkley knew that Kaufman was a candidate!
Finally, The Washington Post poll of about a month ago credited Rasmussen with 5 percent, Lichtman with 4 percent, Kaufman with 4 percent, and Rales with 1 percent--this of course was before he spent $5 million on his TV blitzkrieg.
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