Hambright makes a homesick Floridian warm and fuzzy: Every time I'm back in my hometown, it seems more and more corporate and strait-laced; thanks to Courtney Hambright for writing columns that renew my faith in its sketchy seediness (Night Court, "Saving Face," October 20). I'm a Lauderdale native who now lives in England, so for me, your column is a nice reminder of a time when drinking involved warm weather and cold beer, not the other way around.
I'm also a newspaper writer who does a weekly column as well as food-and-drink stories, so I appreciate how difficult it can be to come up with something witty and well-crafted once a week. (Hell, I'm happy if I hit witty once a month, and I gave up on well-crafted a while back.) And I know that the "Hey, nice job" letters are sometimes few and far between. So I thought I'd write a quick note to say: Hey, nice job.
Huki Is Happenin'
And long live Drasnin: This is Barb from the Hukilau, and I read Jonathan Zwickel's article "Playin' Huki" (October 13). I just wanted him to know that I think he did a great job reporting on the festivities.
I thought the whole article was excellent but particularly liked the part on Robert Drasnin. I hope he's still around to come back for Hukilau 2006.
Norman is more than OK: I have read several stories that Bob Norman ("Westside's Stories," October 5) has written about the county spending taxpayers' dollars, and I, for one, am happy he did, as are many Broward taxpayers. That shows he is concerned about where his tax money goes.
I want to thank Norman for his work, and please, keep it up.
All Sharks Don't Bite
Blame Florida traffic for crotch-rocket shenanigans: You attack the psychos on the bikes but say nothing about the bikers' experiences that were not their fault ("Crotch Rocketeers," Jeff Stratton, July 7).
When I bought my bike, I really loved it. I showed it a lot of respect. I knew its potential and also knew that the motorcycle was only as good as I made it; if I didn't think I could make a turn or maneuver, then the bike would respond accordingly, and I would not. But while trying to learn to ride this machine, I had people not paying any attention to the road; these idiots would just pull right out in front of me. I had people in double turn lanes pull into me during a turn, leaving me nowhere to go but in between the SUV or the car and the curb.
Everyday that I rode the bike, I had to avoid being hit. I still sit at lights and get paranoid that some drunk is going to hit me while waiting for a light. So finally, I started pushing myself to handle this machine a little more aggressively to avoid these people. I started running lights instead of sitting and waiting for them. I started doing things like driving in between the cars to get to the front of traffic, so no one would be around me to drive into me. This seemed to work, but I got reprimanded by two officers for doing it.
But I figured that no law was going to prohibit me from making my ride on the bike safer, sticking me in the middle of a bunch of large cars with people driving them who have no idea what is going on. So I pushed my speed up and started making the bike lean more into turns, thinking I could use these skills in an emergency situation. And yes, I have been made to use these skills to avoid being killed by someone else's negligence. I am now at the point of being so sick of people in their cars that I am breaking a lot of laws just to get away from them on the highway.
I admit I speed on the highway, but who doesn't speed in their cars? On my bike, 55 and 105 feel the same, and I don't make it a habit of looking at my dash, even in my car while on the highway, because people in Florida drive like brain-dead zombies. Most don't even think of hitting the brakes and just slam into you when you're in rush-hour surging. I've watched it happen almost every other day on my way to Boca Raton to go to work. So now I am one of those crazy crotch-rocket-riding assholes, because Florida drivers and cops have made me that way. I don't have kids, so I can ride that bike any way I want to avoid being killed. I love speed, and when I have the chance and the road is right, I open it up.
When I die on that bike, I will have died with contentment and relief. And, oh, please don't let them try to save me and have me live my life crippled, maimed, or brain-dead. I do not fear death, because it is coming no matter what, and even the most careful people die. I know I am going to die on that bike if I keep riding it every day.
Not all sharks attack people, and not all bikers cause accidents.
Ronald R. a.k.a. ADICTD
New Times columnist Bob Norman is a first-place winner in the National Association of Black Journalists' Salute to Excellence Awards Competition, for his "Minority Report" stories about corruption and cronyism at the North Broward Hospital District. Also, New Times Assistant Production Manager Amber Tidwell received five design awards from the Florida Press Association.