Letters to the Editor

A shrimpy complaint:
I have always enjoyed Jen Karetnick's reviews because I have felt that she was someone who had done her time in the trenches, worked at a restaurant, and dealt with the South Florida dining audience. I admired her almost as much as [Gourmet editor-in-chief] Ruth Reichl, who has done her time. I was misled.

Jen, you need to go back to work in a restaurant before you make the bonehead comment, "I don't understand how a restaurant can offer shrimp cocktail and not have shrimp scampi available" ("Flameout," February 8). Jen, have you forgotten how shrimp cocktail is made? You take U-13 shrimp down to their last tail segment and boil them with some Old Bay seasoning, a carrot, and an onion. Now imagine these same cooked shrimp being sautéed again for shrimp scampi. What would the taste and consistency of these twice-cooked shrimp be? I can just hear your review. It is people in the media like you who are determined to turn every restaurant into a Burger King. You make my skin crawl. "Have it your way" is your motto. And you lack a clue as to what really goes on in a restaurant.

Put on your nurse's orthopedic shoes and rejoin us in the field. Rekindle what it takes to be a server in South Florida and learn once again how things are done. Let me close by saying, yes, I am a restaurant employee, and no, I do not work at the Raindancer. I work at a restaurant you have raved about in your reviews.

My problem with your last review is that you added fuel to the already volatile dining-audience fire, and you as a restaurant reviewer should know better. Know what you are talking about before you put it in print, please!

via the Internet

Feature subject unhappy? Stop the presses!
Amy Roe's January 18 cover story, "The Elmo Files," is not about me, it's not really about anybody; it's sort of a caricature of a man, a political cartoon without the humor. But political cartoons require two dimensions, and the character described in "The Elmo Files" has only one.

My briefcase is black, not brown; "Elmo" is 56 not 57; I am past the point of describing myself as a "kid"; artsy-fartsy and bellicose rhetoric are not part of my vernacular; telling people to "drop dead" is contrary to my bleeding-heart sensibilities; my frequent trips to the bathroom are due to male menopause, not to fluffing my hair with my wife's "pink brush"; the phrase "my Freudian underwear is showing" is not my favorite phrase -- my favorite phrase is "yellow journalism sucks."

So tabloid journalism is the real subject of "The Elmo Files." The story left out that "Elmo" donated 500 hours of free financial and paralegal services to minority and underprivileged clients. The story didn't tell you that when I was asked about my heroes, I named a female security guard at a South Florida courthouse. She is an African-American, single parent with five dependent children. One of the children is her niece, who contracted AIDS from her drug-addicted mother at birth. I was able to save her home from a dirty-rotten-lowdown banker who wore no socks. She, by the way, is a member of the Mensa Society. I was able to negotiate a forbearance agreement that saved her homestead and garnered a 50 percent reduction in a $6000 water bill.

That ends up on the cutting room floor -- too pedestrian, not good grist for the tabloid mill. Oozing jelly donuts and loafers with no socks are used as symbols to define a man's life. Elmo is stripped of everything remotely interesting beyond the obvious and the easy.

In this life there are so many ironies that, were they lethal, humanity would cease to exist. When I was asked what I thought of the story "The Elmo Files," I answered, "Tacky!"

James "Elmo" Spaulding
Royal Palm Beach

Owing to a reporting error, James Spaulding's age was misstated in the January 18 story. He is in fact 56 years old. New Times regrets the error.

keep appearing like gypsy cabs in Prague:
In regard to "Bones of Contention" (Bob Whitby, December 7): It appears that since the ouster in 1977 of Gypsy Graves by the Board of Governors from her own museum -- and changing the locks to prevent her access -- the museum has not been as successful as anticipated.

Inept decisions were made by a board including business people who were not knowledgeable about running an archaeology museum; they viewed it as a business rather than a venue for science. Serious mistakes of this new board of governors include failure to accept philanthropic help from a wealthy African family, a botched land deal in Wyoming for dinosaur hunting, and failure to deliver the Masada and the Dead Sea Scrolls for exhibit at the museum.

The Broward County Archaeological Society (BCAS) also had their ties to the museum severed. The BCAS had contributed greatly to the establishment of the museum and provided volunteers as well as dedication to bringing a first-class museum to South Florida.

Gypsy Graves should regain her position as museum director. Her many degrees speak for themselves. I hope the travesty of her ouster from the museum can soon be reversed and that Gypsy, who is a leader and knows how to run a museum, will soon be able to open the door to the Graves Museum of Archaeology and Natural Science in Dania Beach.

Name Withheld by Request

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