Letters for July 21-27, 2005
Bring Back All Books
Or find something to read: Regarding Sam Eifling's July 14 story, "Sleaze! Sex! Suspense!" So it's time: Rod Cronk is closing up shop at All Books & Records in Fort Lauderdale. Poor man. He was so demoralized. He explained what was going on. Why is it that the good guys always get shafted?
I've been an All Books & Records customer for more than ten years. Back in 1994, business was booming: The Sears Town store was overflowing with books, periodicals, records, CDs, and New Age paraphernalia. You name it; Rod stocked it. He also had his Oakland Park store, plus warehouses full of everything. What an aptly named bookstore.
Rod is a wonderful, generous man. I once volunteered to write an article on the store. I interviewed Rod -- tape-recorded him even, and then I proceeded to write everything down. Literally. Word for word. In return, Rod fed my appetite for all things Balinese by giving me, gratis, every issue of National Geographic that had a related article. Over the years, he kept rounding off the amounts he charged me, always in my favor. My last visit there saddened me deeply. What do South Floridians read when all is said and done? do they read?
Rod Cronk and his All Books & Records are a South Florida institution. They'll be missed. Sorely missed.
Ride, Stratton, Ride
Responsible rider: I just read Jeff Stratton's July 7 article, "Crotch Rocketeers," and needed to respond to some of its false statements. Not that I completely disagree with the whole article, but it's obvious Stratton doesn't ride, and because of that, his story is biased.
I am something of an old-timer to be riding a crotch rocket. At 41 years of age, I ride a modified Kawasaki ZX-12R Ninja. Like all open-class bikes, mine came with a maximum top speed of 186 mph (I have since liberated some more mph).
Like most mature bikers, I love to feel the sense of power but rarely exceed the speed limit.
Today's bikes are supersafe, but the speed must be mastered over years. These teens-to-20-something kids have no skill but also no adult fear. Because fear, like wisdom, comes with age and experience. These are the exact same kids who also dart in and out of traffic driving a Ford Focus or Honda Accord with a supersized muffler hanging off the back. My first vehicles were a slow 1972 Ford Torino and an even slower 1969 Honda 350. Still, I crashed them both.
Anyway, most of our peers are police-respecting, responsible riders who twist their wrists only when it is absolutely safe to do so. We yield the right of way and wave to children. My wife has her own bike, a Kawasaki ZRX. My son has two minibikes.
Let's go back to the very start of your story. The guy with the Kawasaki ZX-12 that crashed at 110 mph and walked away -- so did his bike! Try that with your car!
Responsible shooter: Loved "Crotch Rocketeers." It's sad that this situation doesn't have too much of a quick fix. Or a fix at all, for that matter. A quote in the article from Thadeus' stepfather was: "But we want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else's child." These are just and noble words but also wasted ones.
Motorcycles are being made and young kids are being born simultaneously. I guess programs could be instituted to help save these kids. Just saving that one kid isn't enough. Where was this father when his stepchild was alive? These well-meaning people always seem to appear after the fact. Now they want to tell me how to stop my child from getting killed. No thanks; I'll take my advice from someone who found a way to keep his kid alive, thank you very much.
Early on, I noticed the dangers of firearms in the hands of inexperienced individuals. As soon as I was of age, I became an NRA-certified pistol instructor. I don't know how many accidents I've prevented with my teachings, but I'm glad I had the guts to be proactive.
Responsible squid: I just read "Crotch Rocketeers." It was good, but you have some terminology that is incorrect: A "rice cooker" is actually supposed to be a "rice burner."
1. A common term used for these types of riders is "Squid." We use it because when they crash their body... well you get the point.
2. "Crotch Rocketeers" sounds soooo wrong. It should, in my opinion, just be "Crotch Rockets."
3. My ultimate issue is the grouping of all crotch rockets/rice burners in the same boat. I have been riding sport bikes since I was 14. This gives me a thrill that nothing else in my life can duplicate. I am only 30 years old, and when I was younger, I did some of the same stuff that these squids are doing. But the difference, as you put in your article, is that I started off with a small 150CC and only now do I ride a 1000CC V-twin sport bike.
You should do a follow-up story about the other side of the sport-bike craze: the guys who love the sexiness and ride these bikes but don't act like squids. The ones who ride 'cause they love it and don't have $40k for a custom chopper that goes only straight or a Harley that costs an arm and a leg to fix.
Responsible reader: Jeff Stratton's "Crotch Rocketeers" article hit very close to home for me both emotionally and literally, since I know all the roads described and occasionally frequent the bike night at Hooters on Pine and University. I felt that the story was well-written, and despite the overwhelming negativity toward my favorite sport, I appreciated reading the stories.
Don't ignore it: Trevor Aaronson's June 30 story, "Hollywood's Finest," states that there are serious concerns with certain officers who are patrolling the City of Hollywood's neighborhoods. We share those concerns. We want competent police officers on our streets. To that end, we must ask "Why isn't the city doing an investigation on officers that are not qualified to be protectors of our city?" Why are there cover-ups with records of past arrests, psychological tests, and so on? This is unsettling.
The United Neighbors of South Hollywood understands that not all officers are bad. The vast majority that we have encountered are excellent role models for what a police officer should be. The Hollywood Police Department and the city should recognize these officers and not place them in a position where they are judged to be "part of that Hollywood Police Force" that you so eloquently described in your article. Thank you for enlightening us on this serious matter.
Ken Crawford, President
United Neighbors of South Hollywood
Whack the Weed
But not the Wyatt: Wyatt Olson's "Attack of the Killer Weed" (June 23) was a great article. As a forester, I understand the problem with invasive/exotics we have in Florida. All native Floridians, as well as others moving to this wonderful state of ours, should read this article.
Help Oh So Wanted
New Times Broward/Palm Beach is looking for an articulate joystick jockey to write an online column for our group of 11 weekly newspapers. An ability to distill the essential elements of newly released video games without resorting to technobabble -- and without bowing to industry hype -- is a must. Also useful: an ability to appreciate and explain gaming's role in pop culture. A sense of humor is required; bad breath is optional. Interested parties should send a cover letter, résumé, and two sample columns of 500 words apiece to:
Andy Van De Voorde
Executive Associate Editor
New Times Newspapers
Denver, CO 80203
No phone calls, please.
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