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Purple Plateful

Posted 10/30/2002

What the fuck happened to City Paper's restaurant column? I almost wrote last week to complain about Richard Gorelick's debut outing (Omnivore, Oct. 16). I changed my mind after deciding to give the new kid a break--maybe doing a review that both failed to review and name the restaurant in question was a quirk.

The second column pushed me over the edge, though (Oct. 23). His dense, nearly unreadable writing conceals an almost total lack of useful information. Christ, by the second paragraph we had a sentence of 70 words--fine for a Russian novel, but not suitable at all for a newspaper. Also, if I never again read a clumsy sentence like "This is what we wanted and this is what we ordered," I'll be happy.

Maybe my sense of humor is too lowbrow to find anything funny in making up Italian phrases--Michelle Gienow's infamous line about picking up a piece of meat on Eastern Avenue is more my speed. Still, Baltimore has many good restaurants that deserve to be written about by someone who is actually having fun dining out and writing about the experience. Can't you find someone who is more interested in food, service and ambience than in his own ability to generate purple prose?

Jon Parker
Ellicott City

Ladies Sing the Blues

It is so terrible to be a woman these days (Think Mink, Oct. 23). Since the day I was born I have been abused by men. Now as an adult I can fight for myself, but I still must endure the constant comments and stares. At several jobs that I have held, I have fallen victim to sexual harassment. I have never had someone physically harass me, but I have had my fair share of verbal harassment.

Its plain and simple that men are pigs, but all you must do to keep them at bay is be strong. I deal with harassment by the obvious decision of standing up for myself. Women must not tolerate unwanted touches or comments. If you want to protect yourself, you must stand up for yourself because no one else but you can.

There are policies at every workplace that are put in place to prevent sexual harassment. Use them to your advantage and don't ignore what is already given to protect you. I know it may be difficult for some to stand up for yourself, but you are only doing yourself harm by not saying anything. If you do experience trauma after filing a complaint, realize that if you do make it through, you will become a stronger person. If filing a complaint is not an option, then at least let the person who is harassing you know that you don't appreciate that type of attention and to back off or there will be. Be strong women!

Jacqueline Beltrand

Ratings Game

The article "The Color of Money" sets the scene of a first-time home buyer approaching a lending institution and being turned away based on race (Mobtown Beat, Oct. 9). Though this intro sets up a classic "big-money-keeping-the-little-man-down" scenario, I was struck by one enormous gap in facts. There was absolutely no mention of the critical role one's credit rating plays in the loan-approval process. All I read about was how AllFirst Bank only made three loans to African-American borrowers. I have been through the mortgage approval process, and not once did I fill out any racial demographic information. I never even met my lenders in person; all I was to them was a credit rating. Community reinvestment should be just that--an investment. Financial institutions make loans to credit-worthy individuals and businesses.

Subprime loan products are often offered to those with less than A-1 credit ratings, and I have news for you--that is a hell of a lot of people: white, black, Hispanic, Asian, or any other race. This is information I determined as a potential borrower. I am not a finance professional and I'm sure there are many unscrupulous lenders skulking about, but one-sided presentations always trouble me. Let's be a little better at presenting all of the information.

Pam Harris

Ovaries Trump Testicles

I will not tell a lie. I miss Wiley Hall III. He was a writer who wrote from the gut, and he knew what we black folks needed to hear about white America and the demonic powers of some white people who believe in democracy's creed of "White is right without a taboo."

I wish Brian Morton much success as the new political writer for City Paper. His article "How Not to Run a Campaign" was a surprise to me because he wrote with clearness, but with testicle supremacy, in talking about Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (Political Animal, Sept. 11).

Let me help white conservatives understand this campaign for governor. In my opinion, Robert Ehrlich is a conservative with bloody blue right-wing vigor. He claims blacks can get economic help from him, but he knows he's a liar and hopes poor blacks are too dumb to realize that he is a second coming of Ronald Reagan, with Newt Gingrich's heart of acid.

As an Afrocentric feminist who will be voting for Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on Nov. 5, I know that Ms. Townsend is anointed by God to bring all poor people out of the wilderness of conservative economic bigotry into the grace of collective humanity.

I am sick and tired of white men using our political system to enrich their own personal lives while the poor people in America go begging for bread.

Men of all racial groups have messed up this world economically, politically, racially, and sexually. It is time for women to right the wrongs of delusional men who resent progressive-thinking women who are not envious of the penis of men who are going nowhere fast spiritually.

Sigmund Freud once said, "Unemployment gives rise to envy." All Americans should not be envious of the Kennedys because they have money for which they have worked hard. Even with money, most of the Kennedys have reached out to poor Americans to help improve their lives, especially poor black Americans.

On Oct. 29, I will be 61. I was born during legal segregation. I am looking forward to progressive-thinking women changing the world. I want to die in a world celebrating a collective humanity.

Larnell Custis Butler

Three Queens

It's nice that Tom Tomorrow has promoted Katherine Harris to Queen of America (This Modern World, Oct. 2). She joins a distinguished list of royal American women: Kathleen Townsend, Queen of Maryland, and Hillary Clinton, Queen of the Whole Effing World.

Bob Erlandson

Just Say Next-to-No

I just wanted to endorse the liberating views of the Libertarian Party, as mentioned by Steven Sass (The Mail, Oct. 16). I firmly believe that the less the government limits our individual freedoms, the better. Who needs Big Brother telling us how to treat each other?

We just have to look at the prosperous and peaceful nations throughout history that embody the Libertarian principals of Next-to-No Government--Afghanistan, post-Roman-collapse Europe, civil-war-era Yugoslavia, Somalia, and many more countries blessed with Next-to-No Government. They got it (and/or had it) good there!

Highways? Heck no! Every road could be a toll road. And no government fraud or waste--all that money goes right to the bandits that just robbed you.

Gun control? You can shoot whatever and even whomever you want. Just watch out for his or her family.

Are you willing to work for $2 an hour? $1 an hour? Just to not get shot? Hey--there's no government there to make you sell your labor for more than you think it's worth.

Religious zealots got you down? Did they just try to ban gambling? Don't rely on that incompetent government. You can let them know how you feel with your very own firearms!

And there is so much more Next-to-No Government can do for you. Public health anyone? Hell no--let's go plague.

And, if all that sounds too good to be true, remember you gotta love any group that advocates turning all of our nation's highways into the Jersey Turnpike and allowing the wonderful, efficient, uncorrupt private business world--like Enron--to set our working wages and conditions. Yea, Libertarians!

Mike Serene

Editor's note: Last chance to start thinking about the holidays way too early. Our annual Holiday Guide hits the streets Nov. 20, and we want your Thanksgiving/ Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanza event to be a part of our exhaustive (and way early) holiday calendar. Please send information about your event (as long as it takes place between Nov. 20 and Jan. 1) to the mailing address below (in care of Holiday Calendar), or fax (410) 523-8437, or e-mail The deadline for event information is Nov. 1.

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