Week of November 1, 2000

This lady needs to lighten up.

Jane Irvine
Concord, Calif.

Unfair knock on our neighborhood: I was astounded by Melissa Martin's article "Walk in the Park." Her title is misleading, as it appears she drove through the area and did not partake in a walk through the park or anywhere in the area. The "eerily handsome" and "soulless mansion" would not seem to encourage such a walk.

As a resident of the area for 15 years, I find it not only a pleasant place to walk but for my sons to play and the whole family to eat at several nice restaurants. I have been very pleased with Dana Ruben's Park Avenue Bistro. We have had excellent food and service. Ms. Martin's remarks about malfunctioning tiki torches, soggy-cornflakelike fish and the women's restroom were at best gratuitous, if not plain nasty.

Tricia Woo
St. Louis

Blind Faith
Careful questioning will prevent the next Heaven's Gate: Kudos for the finely written article on Chris Hummel [Jeannette Batz, "Playing with Fire," RFT, Oct. 18]. Full of sensitivity, carefully shaped and crafted with real human interest, the article also told the truth. None of us is exempt from careful discernment -- above all in religious matters, because religion grasps us to the depths of our souls.

Don't be discouraged by those who think that something on religion cannot be critical. If we'd been a bit more questioning, maybe we could have avoided Waco, Jonestown or Heaven's Gate.

Carla Mae
St. Louis

No happy ending: "What a sad, sad story" is all one can say after reading the article about Chris Hummel. When will people separate a desire for a spiritual connection to a god, goddess, creator or whatever you'd like to call it from the inherent dangers of blindly following organized religions? These religions were developed thousands of years ago, when humans had little or no concept of medicine or science. Organized religion has fought for countless centuries to suppress our understanding of the universe.

Hummel dedicated the last part of his life to the pursuit of a religious philosophy that claims to trace back to not only the son of a god himself and itself in the form of a holy ghost. That's not just one male deity you should pay homage to but three. Confusing, but not for true believers. They seem to glaze right over the fact that the entire religion is biased, starting off in Genesis, in which the fall of man is blamed on a woman. But it didn't stop there -- by saying man is better than woman, it went on to state that man is above all creatures on Earth, a fact that resurfaces many times -- for example, in Noah's ark, when it's up to a man to save the entire world of animal species because God is mad at us.

These stories seem like great poetry or allegorical fairytales and at first appear harmless, yet blame is being placed at all times on other ancient cultures, all in the name of a god. These people who helped shape Christianity all claimed that the creator of the universe was their messenger. Yet if God was looking down and helping them, how come "he" didn't know the world was round instead of flat? How come he didn't know that the world spins around the sun and not the other way around? Why didn't he know that Earth was not located in the center of the universe but in the suburbs of a galaxy we call the Milky Way? How come he didn't know that the dinosaurs ruled the earth before us? Many questions, no real answers.

In the year 2000, there was another trusting human named Chris Hummel. With all of our world's knowledge available to him, he instead chose to believe in a visionary named Pastor Rick Shelton.

What a sad, sad story.

Bill Lodderhose
St. Louis

So, Who's Snoopy?
Good grief! You guys should be worried: Really! First the Riverfront Times doesn't mention the presidential debate in issues 41 and 42, and then there is D.J. Wilson's poor excuse of a commentary in issue 43 ["The Big Turn-Off," RFT, Oct. 25]. Come on! Richard Gephardt is not Howdy Doody. Ted Koppel is Howdy Doody (maybe Alfred E. Neuman, too). Dick Gephardt is Charlie Brown. Get it right! This is serious politics!

Jane L. Anton

Look for the Union Libel
Other folks are licensed, so why not us? The cover story about the Pipefitters union was in poor taste and even personally offensive [Peter Downs, "Pipe Schemes," RFT, Oct. 11]. A co-worker and I went to lunch, and he read parts of the article to me. While one may very well find some humor in the story, I found it disturbing to a level not seen in many years, not since the days when the St. Louis Globe-Democrat was printing stories about the actions or perceived actions of the one great labor union local here in St. Louis.

My great-grandfather came to America and founded a welding company that employed many boilermakers. For some time, the Boiler Makers Local Union 27 and its affiliates have licensed and certified welders. I have friends who are licensed electricians. The plumbing industry has licensed installers; our public-transit system in St. Louis employs licensed drivers.

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