In response to Nancy Harley's hatchet job on Paravicini [Appetite, June 19-25], we are appalled! Rather than a restaurant review, it was a mean-spirited attack on an extremely good place to eat. We have been there more than once and found the food and service to be excellent. We don't think we want to eat at a restaurant she recommends, as it seems that her taste buds haven't developed properly. Is she a disgruntled home economics teacher?
-- Tracy McColl
Kudos to Nancy Harley on her recent review of Paravicini.
It was not a puff piece as many newspaper reviews are (read Gazette, Post, Rocky Mountain News and yes, sometimes the Indy).
Specific items, i.e. training, shortcuts, the need for better raw materials, all received her attention and I appreciate her specificity. The best-prepared recipes cannot overcome service, presentation, atmosphere and a genuine respect for the diner/customer. All of these are correctable and the restaurant would be wise to follow her advice.
She has hit upon one of my favorite complaints about most restaurants, the chains being the worst, that of asking, "How is everything? Fine? How does everything look?" -- usually moments after the food arrives at your place and well before you have had a moment to determine an accurate answer. But in my judgment, the question is uncalled for. I expect the food to be good. If not, it is my responsibility to mention it. Often I find their question an intrusion frequently delivered with no regard for the dining party being in conversation, or if dining alone, reading. The fact that the question/intrusion is delivered by rote and lack of sincerity only makes it more offensive. Can you picture an upscale restaurant in a major city or a European restaurant not respecting your time and space while you are their guest? These restaurateurs assume they are serving a delicious product and have no need to seek immediate validation.
I realize that many of the franchise establishments include this type of questioning as a part of the transparency of caring for you, along with the order-taker dropping to their knees, plopping their elbows on the table and introducing themselves, as your friend I suppose.
Obviously, Harley struck a tender spot in this diner who travels a lot and consequently eats out a lot. Ordinary food can be quite appealing if served well with love and class.
-- Paul Breeding
U of greasy fries
An open letter to Adi Gildor, who complained in last week's letters to the editor section about not getting a discount at Kimball's:
It's true; I am a snob, especially when it comes to one's education. I went to Cornell, an Ivy League college in the East and I can assure you my education there cost a good deal more than $5,000 a semester.
At Kimball's I've tried to impart this elitism to my managers and staff. Colorado College, the University of Colorado, DU, Stanford, such are the types of schools that we like and hence are afforded a discount. DeVry sadly enough is not one of those on our list.
So when you came, as you did several weeks ago, sporting an ID that looked like you made it at home, we were skeptical. After your temper tantrum in our lobby, we were sure you didn't attend a Kimball's-approved institution. You did, however, frighten my staff and thus gained a discount for yourself and your partner, a clever ploy that this DeVry College must have taught you.
All kidding aside, we see a plethora (GRE word) of IDs every day. Some date back to the '60s, some are fake, some are from the Star Trek University of Massage. We try to be fair with our discount policies while not giving away the farm. Let me edify you in regards to other theater's discount policies: Carmike does not give discounts to students or military. Cinemark only grants college students with photo IDs a discounted admission.
Because of situations like yours, most theaters are moving away from student discounts. It becomes increasingly difficult to know where to draw the line.
As to your concern over attendance at Kimball's, I can only say that we've been showing the best of foreign and independent film for 12 years now. It's true, some films are not well attended, but hell, we keep doing it anyway.
And by the way Independent, as long as you're printing business complaint letters in your editorial column, french fries at the downtown McDonald's are consistently too greasy. Is there anything to be done?
-- Kimball Bayles
Owner, Kimball's Twin Peak
The Greatest Generation
Thanks to Allen Best for "Let it rain, let it snow" [Your Turn, June 26-July 2]. Funny thing how hard times seem to bring us a wisdom that easy times don't. Like Allen, I'm a child of Great Depression-surviving parents. They taught me penny-pinching skills that stood me in good stead as a stay-at-home Mom in the '60s and '70s and as a divorcee in the '80s and '90s, and as a retiree today. Besides thrift, they taught (I hope I passed this to my kids as well) the importance of being grateful for small blessings and the satisfaction of doing one's duty, rather than rushing after happiness.
Common sense may be the defining characteristic of the parents of what has been dubbed the Greatest Generation. With few tax-supported social safety nets, they helped, but did not coddle their neighbors. In an age when many were themselves immigrants or children of immigrants, they knew when it was time to call for a break and pressed Congress to drastically cut back the number of immigrants. They also designed curriculum to "Americanize" newcomer and native-born alike. With 40 years of 1 million legal and 800,000 illegal immigrants a year, and with "Americanization" becoming a dirty word, we seem to be lacking their common sense and backbone.
The sampler my grandmother helped me to embroider hangs in my kitchen, and has stifled many a self-pitying thought. "Work will win when wishing won't."
-- Barbara Vickroy
Targets of violence
Good job on the May 8 article exposing FBI spying on peaceful political groups [FBI Embroiled in 'Spy Files']. No one knows how out of control the FBI (or should I say the FIB) can be than myself and Judi Bari, who had to sue the agency in federal court after they blamed us for bombing ourselves in Oakland in 1990. We were, in fact, on the way to perform music and recruit for redwood summer protest activities in California at the time.
A 10-person jury found after six weeks of trial and three and a half weeks of deliberation that the FBI lied and that Earth First! was telling the truth in our case. Environmentalists are frequently the targets of violence because we threaten the bloated profits of large resource-extractive industries. Nevertheless, the FBI chose then to blame Bari and myself of being terrorists rather than victims of a car bomb attack that was meant to kill us (Bari died seven years later from cancer). Even after a credible letter writer took credit for the bombing, accurately describing the bomb's components as only the bomber would know, the FBI continued their smear-and-intimidation campaign. Fingerprints were never compared, hot leads were left to go cold, and even DNA evidence was stifled.
The FBI clearly sided with the terrorists in blaming Judi and me for a crime they knew we didn't commit. And a jury awarded us $4.4 million for the infringement on our constitutional rights of free speech and freedom from false arrest. When it comes to our national security, it appears that it is the FBI that is the threat and it is the environmental, peace and civil rights organizations that are our true defenders.
-- Darryl Cherney
Under the bushes
In response to the four things that last week's letter writer Mark Lewis thinks we know, here are four things that are provable.
He says, "Iraq did not fire weapons of mass destruction against U.S. forces in either of the two Iraq wars." No, but Saddam did use these weapons repeatedly against Iran during its eight-year war and against the Kurdish people in the north.
He says, "If Bush and Blair were certain that Iraq had these WMD, they would have been easy to find by now." Just today we read about an Iraqi nuclear scientists who had buried under his backyard rosebush, under Saddam's orders, plans and parts for uranium enrichment equipment, which has only one purpose -- to build nuclear weapons. How many other "backyard rosebushes" are there out there?
He says, "The only nuclear weapon used was the depleted uranium we spread all over the country." Um, it's called depleted uranium for a reason; it's been depleted of its radioactive properties. These rounds are used because the density of the uranium tips makes them good armor-piercing ammunition.
He says, "The only biological threat to U.S. and U.K. troops was the anthrax vaccine they were forced to take." Yes, the same deadly anthrax vaccine that livestock veterinarians have been taking for decades.
Here's something else provable: three United States presidents, every CIA director since the mid-1980s, the unanimous United Nations Security Council, Hans Blix, various U.N. weapons inspections teams, and the Russian, German and French intelligence agencies all have declared that Saddam possessed WMDs.
Quick, the conspiracy's just gotten bigger!
-- Tom Neven
Attempt at wit failed
Whenever I see a letter writer use a worn out clich like "Let me make sure I have these things straight," usually what follows will lack original thought, and the prose will be immature and boring.
Such was the case in Greg Hartman's, June 26 letter, Conspiracy Theories, where he blasts various topics in the Indy's past several issues. Hartman nitpicks weeks-old Indy issues and tries to correlate them with Bush, corporate fascism, FCC mergers, global warming, etc. I'm sure he knew what he was trying to say, but I don't believe most readers did.
For most letter writers, especially me, it's more than enough covering one issue, let alone weeks of them. It would have been fun tackling Hartman's failed attempt at wit but he talked about so much and said so little that I wouldn't know where to begin or end.
I could have written a whole letter about just one bizarre comment -- "The recent rainy weather in D.C. proves Bush lied about Iraq" -- if that would have been his theme, but the only theme I detected was another silly, tedious bashing of the Indy.
Once again though, the Indy displays its democratic spirit when it prints letters like Hartman's, even though it was more suited for the local opposition!
-- Phil Kenny