Week of May 11, 2005

Chuck It
Faint praise -- and we'll take it! For most of its history, the Riverfront Times has offered insightful probes of the people and institutions of St. Louis. In the past few years, many of us have been disappointed as we felt quality journalism was replaced by shallow sensational stories of little consequence, hiding behind flashy covers. As a result, we've ceased being faithful weekly readers.

I'm delighted to say that Kristen Hinman's work -- specifically her recent article on Chuck Norman -- promises a return to the RFT we once loved ["The Old Chuckaroo," April 27]. Her research and writing provided a story which was interesting and informative even to myself, who has been a part of WGNU for years. St. Louis looks forward to reading a worthwhile RFT again. Go, Kristen!
Nick Kasoff
St. Louis

Samir Rocks!
Pow! Right in the kisser! I just read Chad Garrison's piece on Samir ["I Punched Saddam in the Mouth," April 13]. Only in the USA could an auto mechanic ever get the chance to punch a bloodthirsty dictator like Saddam right in the mouth. Wow, thanks for that great story!
Roy Hill
Rudy, Arkansas

Samir -- a true American: Thank you so much for your article about Samir. What a hero he is! Samir may have been born in Iraq, but he will always be a true American, too, for his spirit of truth and his relentless pursuit of justice that led to finding Saddam Hussein.

I appreciate that you honored Samir's desire for anonymity, but if there is any way that you can forward the heartfelt thanks of an appreciative American, please pass along these words for me:

Samir, you are a hero, an American and a brother. You will always have a friend in me and in so many fellow citizens around the world who appreciate what you did in being a part of the capture of Saddam Hussein. May God bless you as long as you shall live!
Jon Miller
Sharpsburg, Georgia

Long live Samir! I just wanted to thank you for running this story. I am sure that most news outlets would be scared senseless to even seriously consider running it. This is the first time that I have visited your site, but rest assured it won't be the last, as I have already saved you in my "favorites" list.

Long live freedom in America, and long live those who know its true worth and meaning and are not afraid to express it.
D. Alexander
Belmont, North Carolina

Prouder than hell: I know beyond a shadow of doubt that this is the best story I think I've ever read coming out of Iraq.

If you could forward a message to Samir, please tell him I'm prouder then hell to have him as a fellow American, and that I am glad that he punched that s.o.b. in the mouth. He deserved so much more for his crimes, but at least he got a little bit of what's coming to him. And from someone who personally suffered under his despotic rule.
Richard McCormick
Radford, Virginia

Steel Plus
Rebuttal of the rebuttal: Writes James Kuntz in his April 6 letter: "Maybe I was spoiled growing up in Tampa, home to Morrissound Studio, the studio for metal music."


Yeah. In the early '90s they were. Now they are the studio for Walt Disney, as they currently do more work with said company (as well as commercials for Busch Gardens and Sea World) than they do with death-metal bands. I guess Donald Duck and Flipper can now be considered "true."

"Oh yeah, in response to that freak smearing his blood, contact Savage Love for some guidance."

Considering the subject at hand is the selection of metal around town, telling me to contact a sex-advice column for guidance makes about as much sense as Gorefest's decision to release the Sole Survivor record.

"Only the purist's blood will do, so keep your contaminated corpuscles to yourself."

The only thing contaminating the Crestwood Streetside's metal section were CDs from the Darkness and At the Drive-In that the Transworld employees began stocking there after my departure.

"Don't mind the burning crosses, just invert them and carry on."

Don't need to. My crosses are always inverted.

"Rock on, Metal-fish."

Rock on, Metal-turd.
Mark Zilliken

Last week in Randall Roberts' cover story "Stranglehold," we misidentified the vacant hotel at the corner of Washington Avenue and Tucker Boulevard. The building is the former home of a Days Inn, not a Drury hotel.

As last week's paper went to press, the Riverfront Times received word that staff writer Malcolm Gay has won a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for "Eat Me," his June 9, 2004, feature about a local cattle cooperative's beef with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Gay's story was honored for Newspaper or Magazine Reporting on Nutrition or Food-Related Consumer Issues. "Eat Me" was also selected earlier this year as a finalist in the newspaper category of the International Association of Culinary Professionals' Bert Greene Awards.

Additionally, staff writer Randall Roberts' "Raising the Bar" (March 10, 2004), an ode to a week of drinking in St. Louis, was named by the Beard Foundation as a finalist for Newspaper Writing on Spirits, Wine or Beer.

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