Letters for August 7, 2008

Letter of the week
He’s been whispering, too

Re “Animal whisperer” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R 15 Minutes, July 17):

I was in McKinley Park reading aloud about Paulina Lawrence’s “special ability to talk with animals,” when the damnedest thing happened.

Ants advancing on my picnic lunch began guffawing and expressing their disbelief regarding the article. The ants informed me that it’s common knowledge throughout the Sacramento-area animal kingdom that Lawrence never correctly interprets her perceptions of what animals try to convey to her. The ants mentioned, and a passing toad confirmed, for example, that Kato and Loki (two cats belonging to SN&R’s Josh Fernandez) aren’t really “laid-back”; in reality, they’re passive-aggressive and deranged, and they do things too disgusting to mention on a daily basis to Fernandez’s kitchen utensils (it has something to do with getting even with Fernandez for directing the vet to cut their nuts off).

The ants also expressed amazement that SN&R “believed Lawrence’s delusional bullshit about her being intuitive.” (Those were the ants’ words, not mine.) The ants suggested that, before printing any of Lawrence’s claims as if they were gospel, SN&R should have tested Lawrence by putting 30 pets on one side of a large room and the pets’ owners on the other side of the room … and then bring Lawrence in and ask her to correctly match the pets with their owners, using nothing more than whatever information the pets themselves “told” Lawrence.

How about it, SN&R: Did 3,462 ants*—each with a brain the size of a pollen grain—outthink all of you when it came to recognizing the journalistically responsible need to predetermine if Lawrence possessed any psychic abilities at all? And why, unless SN&R mistakenly thinks that cats tell fewer lies than ants and toads do, is SN&R more apt to believe what Lawrence claims about what Fernandez’s two cats said is true, rather than what 3,462 ants, a toad and I claim is the truth?

Put Lawrence to the truth test, SN&R; it’s what you do best! If you don’t, my beloved goldfish has promised me that it will go belly-up!

*The ants mentioned that their picnic-raiding group started the day with 3,466 ants in it; but that four stragglers had gotten wiped out by a passing jogger’s spit about 11 a.m. (Could I [or Lawrence] make up such specific—albeit improvable—details if they weren’t totally true and we weren’t authentically “intuitive”?)

Gary Sawyer

He thinks we’re subtle

Re “Tour de burritos” by Ben Russell (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 31):

Hey, there, SN&R. I wanted to congratulate you on the pretty subtle cover photo of your recent issue. It really took me a while to sort of get it, but eventually, after puzzling hour after hour, I did. You sure make your reading audience has to use the ol’ noggin to figure some stuff out. So, thanks, you know?

Lloyd Benjamin

Tortilla canvass

Re “Tour de burritos” by Ben Russell (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 31):

Thanks for your fine article on burritos. I look forward to trying some of the burrito outlets mentioned in the article. To date, my favorite is the beef super burrito from La Bamba on San Pablo Avenue in Richmond, but I am always looking everywhere for that perfect burrito.

Try not to be picky about what is proper or authentic. To me, the burrito is a magnificent blank canvas waiting for the artist who strives to present the perfect eating experience.

And restaurants put themselves in peril when they tell customers what they should eat. When I was in the Berkeley [Police Department], I ate breakfast every morning at Betty’s on Fourth Street as soon as they opened (6:30 a.m., half order of buckwheat pancakes). I would listen to them tell customers who had ordered omelets that Betty’s preferred to make them wet and runny, supposedly in the French style. In all those years I never heard a customer say, “OK.” They all said make them at least slightly firm. Sometimes the customer is right.

Bart Lasiter

We could’ve asked the Mexican!

Re “Tour de burritos” by Ben Russell (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 31):

I am upset with Ben Russell’s article.

First, “Tour de burrito[s]”? Are you kidding? Burritos aren’t French.

Second, you seem to be looking for the best vegetarian burrito. WTF? Without meat, it’s not a burrito, pendejo!

Third, if you wanted to find the best burrito, you should have asked a Mexican. Why didn’t you at least call the guy? He writes for you!

And fourth, by basically saying there are no good burritos in Sacramento, you not only have insulted the countless taquerias, restaurants and moving vendors, but you have also made an idiot out of yourself.

Robert Quezada

Sorely disappointed …

Re “Tour de burritos” by Ben Russell (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 31):

When I saw the cover page of this issue, I was looking forward to reading about restaurants I could go visit to eat some yummy burritos! I’ve been eating super burritos (meat-filled, with beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, guacamole and sour cream all wrapped up in a large flour tortilla) for [more than] 24 years. So I was anxious to read your article. My mind was filled of images of the best carnitas, adobada, tripas, lengua and buche superburritos in town.

But when I read that the author thought “the quintessential Mission burrito is vegetarian,” I was flabbergasted! Actually, I was pissed. Then he even went on to say that he “find[s] goop unappetizing”. And again I thought, is this guy a prude?! Huge burritos are going to be goopy sometimes because they have so much good stuff in them—particularly guacamole and sour cream. That’s why restaurants give you a fork to eat your burrito.

At any rate, I trudged through the article hoping to hear something about carnivorous burritos, and the author did have a saving grace when he wrote, “Imagine a perfect spit-roasted suckling pig: Cut off a couple thick slices, wrap them in a freshly baked tortilla, let the fat be the sauce.” I thought to myself, at least I know he enjoys the fat on meat, but then he went on to talk about tacos! This was supposed to be an article on burritos!

This article was a big disappointment to me. It’s the only time I felt let down from reading your [arts and culture] feature article (I’ve been reading your weekly editions for [more than] five years). Although the author had some historical insights, he didn’t come across to me as a true connoisseur of burritos. Vegetarian burritos? Come on! Where’s the guy or gal that eats tongue and intestines? I didn’t want to read about the insights of a sissified bean-and-cheese burrito eater. The article made me want to puke!

I am sorely disappointed.

Peter L. Villanueva

… and sore from indigestion

Re “Tour de burritos” by Ben Russell (SN&R Arts&Culture, July 31):

Ben Russell’s story gave me a bad case of indigestion. I must conclude from reading it that the only good burrito in Sacramento exists exclusively in the author’s mind. His article annoyingly dripped of condescension like the unappetizing “goop” that spilled from his burrito.

Mr. Russell seems to be making the case that, because burritos are not served in every region of Mexico, they are somehow not legitimate as Mexican food. Given his line of reasoning, we should no longer consider pizza as Italian food because some people enjoy Canadian bacon and pineapple on them. There are as many legitimate burrito combinations as there are sandwich choices or pizza combinations. None of them are wrong. Ultimately the consumer will decide what they like in their burrito and what they don’t.

“Esteban” Anderly
Cameron Park

Why stop at 10?

Re “The 10 most awesomely bad moments of the Bush presidency” by Brad Reed (SN&R Feature, July 31):

Thank you for highlighting what this guy and the crooks he has appointed have done to America and the world. He has set our country back along time economically, socially, politically and spiritually.

I believe our problems started back around post-World War II, but this guy has proven what dirty politics and corruption is all about. The invasion of Iraq (instead of going after Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan), no national policy to run America the last eight years (which led to the housing crisis, inflated gas prices, illegal immigration, high crime rate, etc.) and the suppression of free speech by getting Dan Rather fired from 60 Minutes would just name a few [bad moments] if I were to create my own list.

I do have hope for our country that we will have a real president after eight years of decline and no leadership. We all need to recognize that fascism and imperialism is alive and well with the Bush administration (which goes against what Americans believe in) and make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself.

Rob Wormgoor

And here’s one more!

Re “The 10 most awesomely bad moments of the Bush presidency” by Brad Reed (SN&R Feature, July 31):

Maybe this one’s worthy of a numbered ranking: How about the ongoing dismantling of decades of environmental protections and regulations? According to my “Backwards Bush” calculator, there are only 172 days left for him to totally destroy the environment.

Susan Patterson

She mistook SN&R for The Watchtower

Re “The new evangelical” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Feature, July 24):

The only reason I picked up your paper was Rick Cole’s picture and “The new evangelical” title.

Not being familiar with the paper, I was shocked by the raunchy wording, disgusting comments by readers and overall anti-Christian bias of the entire thing! The article about the Coles and Capital Christian Center was very uncomplimentary and I’m wondering about the bias.

I will not pick up your paper again. My husband and I are thoroughly turned off to think there are so many disgusting people and things in our country! I certainly hope you are soon “out of business” here and in my hometown of Chico.

Gini Stanton
El Dorado Hills

God’s gonna cut us down

Re “Christ, Antichrist” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, July 24):

R.V. Scheide left out the hundreds of billions of dollars made by the end-of-time doomsayers. Revelations has provided a huge marketing scheme for those who prey (not pray) on all our fears and worries. The conservative right can spend all of our grandchildren’s money and trash the environment, since God’s only going to burn it all down.

Let’s hope that cooler heads will prevail at the polls this November.

Patrick Meadows