Week of September 22, 2004

Gumbo Limbo
Cajun queen: I suggest Michael Renner pay a return visit to Graham's Grill on a Wednesday evening, when there's live music ["Ragin' Cajun," September 15]. An amiable guy plays a respectable steel drum, plus synthesizer and what-have-you, and happy-hour drink prices are extended during the time he's there. I think the music goes from 6 to 9 p.m. Like the food, the music is perhaps not truly outstanding, but it's enjoyable and I always feel like I'm at a very cheerful party. I invariably leave feeling better than I did when I arrived, which is hard to beat.
Barb Margulis

Cajun spleen: It sounds like Michael Renner had a much nicer experience than we did the two times we went to Graham's Grill. The first time they were out of crawfish étouffée. The second time they "lost" our reservations and we were stuck sitting in the area you mentioned -- right next to the musicians. Needless to say, that kept our conversation to a minimum. That night they were out of red beans and rice. Seriously. Both times the service was less than stellar as well. Maybe they knew you were a restaurant critic.
Ericka Brewer
St. Louis

Tall Tale
High praise: Very nice article by Mike Seely about the Hansbrough brothers ["Tallboys," September 1]. The family background was spot on. I've known Gene since grade school and Tami since junior high. I was at Mizzou with Gene in the mid-'70s. He was a pickup-ball legend at Brewer Fieldhouse before I arrived, while I was at Mizzou and after I left. He is generally recognized as playing more pickup ball than anyone else in Mizzou history, undergrad, med school and residency.

That and the fact that he won the Big Eight indoor high jump in '72 and the outdoor in '73 are the only things you didn't mention. Of course, not many people remember. Extremely good work.
James A.(Alfia) Hobbs
Poplar Bluff

Burke's Works
Not everybody loves Raymond: I am a survivor! From age nine through age sixteen I was under the absolute control of a homosexual priest [Malcolm Gay, "Immaculate Deception," August 25]. Together we did everything one can imagine that a man and boy can do. After many years of psychosis, I went to the chancery office to tell them my story. That was a waste of time.

Gay Ray is the worst example of an archbishop I can imagine. Burke is such an egomaniac, he is not going to have any priests left to follow him because he is leading them down a path which will destroy the church.
Name withheld by request

Wicked ways: For all those "anonymous" priests who are selling their eternal souls to belong to some unnamed American secular "church" and who choose to anonymously persecute good, holy and faithful Archbishop Burke, I have a warning:

Read Ezekiel 3:17-20 -- you may be "anonymous" here on earth, but God will be waiting for you after your deaths.
Darla Meyers
Hudson, Wisconsin

Requiescat in pace: We have no proof but believe my son, who committed suicide in 1984, was one of those abused by Michael McGrath. And of course he was often reassigned. I hope you can publish the names of all the abusers.
Name withheld by request

A rare and telling tale: I can't imagine all the research required to put this type of article together. Malcolm Gay's hard work is appreciated. Even though the victims' statements are disturbing to read, they are key to understanding the true scope of the clergy abuse problem. It is rare to read a true and documented account of a bishop's response to victims' allegations, and very telling.
Kim Fischer
Crystal City

Pet Corner
Doing an Elliott Davis: I can't believe what Unreal said about Randy Grim's successful effort to change the city pet ordinances to include the word "guardian" as opposed to just "owner" ["Doggie Style, August 25]. A few years ago, when you were still a true alternative paper, you did a cover story on Grim and his noble Stray Rescue program. Now you're trying to do an Elliott Davis on him?

When I worked for the state of Missouri in the late '80s and we only had one computer for the whole office, I used to joke that 50 percent of government time is spent waiting for Liquid Paper to dry. They waste time anyway, constantly, so why not get them to do something that makes a positive point?

Was it a waste of city time and taxpayer money to change the ordinance? A geology professor I studied under lived out in the country and had a community of feral cats in his barn to keep the mice down. Whenever he found a dead one, he'd just toss it over the fence. This guy taught a great course, stressing how endangered some of the troglodytic species are, but his callous attitude toward other animals made him hard to respect.

This summer, with heat indices of 105 and 110 degrees, I noticed that, as usual, several people in my neighborhood had left their dogs out in the yard, some tied up and some not, and some with no water dishes. Some of these folks are otherwise nice people, and probably treat their kids at least a little better than their pets. Some otherwise well-intentioned but thoughtless humans just need to have their thought processes derailed for long enough to point their eyeballs at a problem and make them focus. Then there are the ones who just don't care, and shouldn't be allowed to "own" pets at all. I once rescued a really cool German shepherd whose feet had been destroyed by frostbite because his "owner" had left him out no matter what the meteorological conditions, for years. We eventually had to do mercy euthanasia for that guy, for other, more severe neglect-precipitated conditions.

Finally there was that episode of Animal Cops in New York City with the female shepherd whose "owner" kept her in the fenced-in alley behind the apartment building, and who was so covered with bloated ticks that she almost died of anemia. The vets spent hours getting them all off, and fortunately she recovered and got adopted by some decent humans. Her "owner" worked at a nursing home! Yeah, I want somebody like her taking care of me when I'm too decrepit to feed myself or vocalize a complaint.

Even something as simple as making a symbolic statement in a city ordinance is a step in the right direction. Guardianship is substantially different from ownership. People's attitudes can't be changed all at once, but anything that makes even a little headway is a good thing.

Shame on you, Unreal. Bend over and take it "Doggie Style."
Joseph McLoughlin
St. Ann

You shoulda been there for Unreal's goldfish-swallowing days: Unreal must have been the kid in my school who tortured animals to make himself look tough. What is so wrong in using the word "guardian"? Maybe the guy who bludgeoned Dusty to death would have been more merciful had the word "guardian" been in place on the adoption papers. And maybe if puppy mill owners thought of themselves as "guardians," they'd feel the need to treat the animals better.

How can you "own" a living creature that has a thought process? Something that Unreal obviously lacks.
Jan Siener
St. Louis

Lowering our standards just for you: Why keep Unreal employed? I apologize, but anyone who pokes fun at laws changed in favor of ending child or animal abuse has obviously never witnessed the horror some children and animals go through.

What Unreal is saying in ridiculing the city for its effort is that he supports those who beat their animals with baseball bats and chains. He must like the fact pet owners can get away with doing anything they wish to abuse their household pet. I pity those with minds incapable of understanding what is involved to change the laws against child or animal abuse.

I'm embarrassed for your paper that you support this type of person. I thought your newspaper would set higher standards for your writing staff. Obviously not.
Kelly Toennies
O'Fallon, Illinois

Too much time on Unreal's hands? It saddens me to think that Unreal has nothing better to do than berate Randy Grim, a man who has made a huge difference in our community, not just for animals but for people as well. Too bad Unreal has to write this sort of snotty dribble as a substitute for real contributions and accomplishments.
Peggy Wilson

Ignorant mocking of a noble man: Randy Grim's work is extremely laudable. He fights to protect the animal companions with whom so many of us choose to share our homes. Unreal makes his/her lack of concern and compassion readily apparent; the resulting article is ignorant mockery of a noble man.

I wish to convey my thanks to Mr. Grim for fighting such a thankless battle.
Jennifer Spencer
St. Louis

Race Relations
Stud on the track: Mike Seely did a great job to relate the passion that drives a person to a normal life at the racetrack ["Dirt Track Nation," July 28]. I appreciate his view, with all the in-depth research he was exposed to during the past few weeks.

Thanks so much.
Bob Wente, owner
Tri-City Speedway
Granite City

Those Were the Days
Flashback! I was in St. Louis recently and was reading the July 28 Riverfront Times and I was pleasantly surprised to see Rose Martelli's review of Minions Café ["Afternoon Delight"] -- not for the restaurant, but for her reminiscences of Eagle Island. I am a former president of the Girl Scout Council of Greater Essex and Hudson Counties that own the camp. EIC is "my" camp. I was involved in everything there for many, many years.

I have passed your article along to the Girl Scout Council so they can see how "famous" we are 1,000 miles away.

By the way, my husband and I went to Minions. We enjoyed the food and we understood why you had a flashback. The wait staff was young and lively. The owner's daughter wasn't playing her guitar, but we talked to her quite a while.

Thank you for making my day with your article.
Jeanne K. Van Steen
Nutley, New Jersey

Last week in "You Say It's Your Birthday," our Night & Day item about the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, we stated that the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra is still in search of permanent leadership. In fact, the SLSO appointed David Robertson to fill that void. Additionally we bollixed Leonard Slatkin's résumé. Slatkin remains music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, not to mention conductor laureate of our own SLSO.

That's why they call him "The Maestro."

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