Black Christmas

One reader wants to flush the RFT, another is flushed with pride.


Cover, December 6, 2007

Christmas Killers

RFT really crossed the line: I have been a fan of the RFT for many years. The paper has been a voice for the disenfranchised and forgotten, and I respect its humor and straight-to-the point commentary, covering politics, business and community issues. I must say, however, that the December 6 cover has taken the paper to a dark and lonely place. Whether you are into the holiday season or not, this rendition of Santa and a Christmas tree is blasphemous. How does one explain this careless degradation to children during this beloved and most festive time?

There is a line and a limit to everything. You must know that you have crossed it. My question is why? With all of your popularity, all of your support, and all of your latitude to print most anything you want, how could you attack one of the most sacred of holidays and alienate many of us who have supported you the most? This is an excellent example of how good friendships tend to fade away.
Carl Williams, University City

Feature, November 15, 2007


Nothing does the job like a Washlet: As a local representative for the Washlet manufacturer Toto USA, I want to thank Chad Garrison for his recent article "Clean Getaway." I realize that the article was not about Toto's Washlets in particular, but he did mention Toto in a non-demeaning way. I am sure that the "Spaloo" is a good product, but Toto has been manufacturing these seats for more than 50 years and is the world's leader in toilet technology, setting the bar for toilet performance. In other words, very rarely would you need to "plunge" a Toto Toilet! With our $5,000 toilet, the lid automatically rises upon approach, the seat is heated, and it has a deodorizer that keeps the smell out of the bathroom. Additionally, it has a Washlet with two settings – one for the person's backside and the other for the ladies' front side. Of course, it has the air dryer. Finally, when all the cleaning and drying are done, the person exits the toilet, the lid goes down and it flushes automatically! I sell many other plumbing products, but the Washlets may be the best products that I do sell. I feel that Washlets represent a cleaner, healthier way of living.
Milt Loft, Fenton

Feature, October 25, 2007

Memories of Father John Kaiser

More of the priest's story unfolds: I just read Aimee Levitt's article "The Death of Father Kaiser" and wanted to thank you for the excellent story. John Kaiser and I met in St. Louis in 1958 at the Mill Hill House of Studies. We joined the seminary on the same day and were together for the next six years studying philosophy at the Jesuit House of Studies at Saint Louis University and theology at St. Joseph's College at Mill Hill in London. We were ordained together in St. Louis in July 1964. Our middle names and our patron saint is Anthony. We both had university degrees prior to serving in the military – John as a paratrooper in the Army, and I as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Next to his family, I do not think anyone knew John as well as I did. After the FBI report, I wrote a deposition to the court and a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft, asking him to look into the FBI case that found John's death to be suicide, which I knew to be impossible.

There is much more about John and our relationship, which spanned more than 36 years, from our ordination until his death in 2000. The story is told in my book What A Life, With My Wife, and My Neighbors Too, which you can find on our Web site The story begins in the first chapter on page 14 and continues until page 28, when we parted. John flew to Kenya, and I was the one who boarded the SS African Moon for the journey to Cameroon. 

John was appointed to be the rector in Mill Hill's seminary in Albany, New York, in 1968. He wasn't there long, but in the short time he was there, he wrote to me about the serious problems he was facing. The older priest was the Mill Hill Superior for the United States, and it was he who accused John of carrying a gun which led to his arrest and confinement in Bellevue.
Tony Barnicle, Eugene, Missouri

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