Best Of Ballot Stuffing
I appreciate Living Room being selected as Best New Bar. Although, as a designer who has created 13 nightclubs, the idea that Living Room is referred to as a bar is questionable. I have never designed a bar. I do, however, appreciate the editorial that followed the Best New Bar category clearing this up.
On a serious note, I am appalled that Exit 66 was allowed to win the Readers' Poll as Best Dance Club. It is difficult to reconcile the fact that Living Room lost this poll by only two votes. More than a dozen votes were counted before Exit 66 was even open, and a majority of the rest of them were a minute apart. How the hell can a club that wasn't even in business have counted votes? If you want to count what I believe are false votes after they opened, so be it. But a basic requirement should be that the club is open.
Frankly, we would have won this category, and that's not cool. Now we have to tolerate another business advertising New Times Best Dance Club for all of 2009 — rubbing it in our faces — a title they stole from us. I wish nothing but the best for Exit 66 and all businesses trying to survive in a tough economy, but fair is fair.
Living Room Nightclub
The Panthers are the worst professional team in the city and one of the worst in pro sports. In the article that names the Florida Panthers as Best Sports Enigma, you wrote: "If a team wins in Sunrise, does anyone care?" This team has not won a playoff series since '96. One reason fans have been turned off is because of asinine front-office moves like the trade of goalie Roberto Luongo, probably the worst trade of any local sports franchise ever. Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun was picked as a reserve for the all-star game, and he was awful. Jay Bouwmeester is no star — he was on the trading block.
The Marlins are the enigma. The Panthers are a failure.
Good Hustle on Hustler
Great reporting effort ("HIV Hustler, Bob Norman, June 4)! Joel Steinger is an evil dirtbag who should face execution for his crimes. So too the politicians and lawyers who paved his way. I forwarded your article to my friends and asked them to forward this to whomever they voted for in the last election. Let the politicians think about it. Both political parties are complicit in this crime. What's new? BTW, Raquel Kohler was a victim. She does the time for her boss' crime.
Your series of articles exposing the Mutual Benefits criminal enterprise underlying these investment scams is excellent. I am sick of superficial ambulance-chasing stories, those short stories of daily mayhem that the public gets addicted to reading in the morning newspaper. Your investigation gets down to the underlying operation of criminals exploiting our legal and political system to public disadvantage. We need to learn how crime thrives in the selfsame system we rely upon to protect us. Otherwise, we are like lambs led to slaughter.
A Response to Sarcasm
Paul Rien's recent letter on pit bulls is proudly full of sarcasm but short on facts ("Some Pit Bull Sarcasm," June 4). Here in Washington, D.C., there is no breed ban, and there never has been. Dog bites topped 3,000 per year in the 1970s, but there were fewer than 200 reported bites in 2007. Only ten of those bites were categorized as severe and were inflicted by nine different breeds of dog.
Our neighbor, Prince George's County in Maryland, enacted a pit bull ban in 1996. A task force examined the effectiveness of this ban in 2003 and found the ban to be "inefficient, costly, difficult to enforce, subjective and questionable in its results." And that's with a price tag of more than $250,000 per year.
If Rien is truly concerned about protecting the community from dogs, he should encourage local elected officials to provide more resources for animal control, support subsidized spay/neuter programs, and enact and strictly enforce animal cruelty laws.
Director, Pets at Risk Program
One on the House
Just read your article "Slip Slidin' Away" online about your visit to Scandals Saloon (Tara Nieuwesteeg, May 28). Thank you so much for your excellent coverage of our club. I loved your wit and description of our customers and the club itself. My partner, Lloyd, and I are extremely proud of "The Saloon," and it was so good to read a positive and fun article. Thank you again and hope to see you soon. The cowboy cocksuckers are on me.
A 45-mph Best Friend
I just finished reading your article "Heartbreak at 45 mph" and want to thank you for the exposure you are giving to retired greyhounds (Michael J. Mooney, May 21). We also adopted from Friends of Greyhounds and volunteer there when we can. Michelle and Jerry are wonderful and have truly devoted themselves to these magnificent animals. I am happy that you found and fell in love with Jailamony. She will be your loyal friend for her lifetime. I hope that everyone who reads your article will find it in his heart to adopt a loving greyhound. They are truly the best dogs to own, and we marvel at our Bambi every day.
Good luck to you in your quest to find out more about the sad lives these dogs lead before they are adopted (if they are lucky). I was one of the volunteers who helped clean and de-tick the mistreated kennel dogs so they could be adopted. They may not all be abused physically, but there is not a lot of love given to these dogs. My dog never showed eye contact until we brought her into our home and loved her. They do learn fast, though, and soon get very attached. Again, thanks for bringing these dogs into the spotlight. Every bit of attention helps the cause.
Greyhounds on the Big Screen
I've been a greyhound owner for nine years ("Heartbreak at 45 mph," Michael J. Mooney, May 21). My beloved Picoola is now 13 years old.
I've always wondered what goes on behind the scenes at the kennels. I'm glad you included the thread about the dogs getting treated nicely at the one kennel. My dog was from a good kennel, and from what I heard, she was one of the best dogs there. I know the horror stories exist, but being the optimist that I am, I just don't like to think about them.
On a side note, I also wrote a feel-good screenplay about greyhounds called 9 Greyhounds. It's a cute family-genre script about the dogs and their owner. The script was awarded a top-ten finish in the Creative Screenwriting Magazine AAA Competition. I entered it in some more competitions recently after I did a rewrite. It would be a great story for the big screen and would be my way of getting the word out on what a great pet these dogs can be.
Thanks again for your story; hopefully some more greyhounds will get adopted because of it.
Let me get this straight: Keeping lobsters in a large aerated tank with adequate space and food is animal cruelty because now and then, a very loose claw hand will drop upon them while a patron of John Baker's Royal Palm Ale House attempts a "capture" ("Coin-Op Cruelty," Deirdra Funcheon, May 14). If the $2 spent by the patron results in a catch, can you say, "Dinner!"? The hypocrites of the Animal Rights Foundation Florida (ARFF) picketed this business on May 22.
These are the same jackasses who want to stop the use of all animals for medical research, the same research that has allowed many of them as well as myself to be alive today. These are the same folk who ally themselves with the 2 million members of PETA and other such organizations. They have no idea. Look at PETA's poster girl, Pam Anderson — botox, silicone, meds for herself and kid, and whatever was used to have the kid. Now she demonstrates against it. Hey, is any one of you a diabetic? The only reason you are alive today is the meat-packing industry and so much more.
Perhaps members of ARFF will dress up as lobsters, as PETA members have as fish at elementary schools. Does anyone have a large enough tank to throw them in?
A Problem With Pain Ads
I drive a Prius and am happy to be informed of these malfunctions ("Hybrid Hell," Paul Knight, April 23). But I am concerned about the way you put it on your front page. How many other models of nonhybrid cars have had serious malfunctions that don't end up on your front page? I think a little more attention might go toward your ever-increasing ads for pain clinics. Two years ago, you had maybe three pages of pain ads. Now you have 12 and a half. So, your attention-grabbing "Hybrid Hell" front page might be better-suited to read: "Thanks everyone for getting hooked on Roxis, and we helped." I think you need to be a little more aware of how you present your features. Then again, you have to make your money through your advertisers. Just too bad they're ruining so many lives. Hey, hundreds of pill mills are way less dangerous than those "hybrids from hell."
Name withheld upon request
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Three Green Eyeshades for New Times
The 59th-annual Green Eyeshade Awards, a contest administered by the Society of Professional Journalists to acknowledge the best journalism in 11 Southern states, recognized the work of three New Times staffers. Columnist Bob Norman won first place in Sports Commentary for his story "The Lost Season." Associate Editor Deirdra Funcheon won first place in non-deadline reporting for her story "To Hug a Porcupine." And Blog Editor Thomas Francis won third place in public affairs reporting for "With a Bullet."