Goodwill gains: Regarding Allie Johnson’s “ Extreme Makeover” (May 13): Great article, Allie, but I’m not convinced. In February, after I had cleaned out all my closets and the basement of my home, I took my bundle to the drive-through Goodwill in Olathe to drop off my name-brand stash. Five minutes later, a young slacker came out to retrieve the valuable booty (I can no longer fit into my size 2 designer clothes) and lugged it into the storeroom.

I helped him with several of the boxes I had carefully packed, only to find that they were being piled on a garbage heap of shit that reached to the warehouse ceiling. I said, “Are you ever going to get through this mess?” and the kid just shrugged his shoulders. There was so much unsorted junk in that warehouse that he literally stepped on piles of it to heave my boxes skyward. I saw him step on lamps, baskets, and fur coats to heave my “crap” to the top of the clothes mountain, even though much of it spilled down, avalanche-style.

I will never again drop anything off at Goodwill. Instead, I’ll opt for a charity that treats its donations as gold.

Gretchen Kaufman


A Graves Concern

Liberals don’t get it: Kudos on the exposé of Congressman Graves’ goon techniques (David Martin’s “ Goon Squad,” May 13). The piece was good at illustrating how very together, moneyed and organized these guys are for present and future wins. I just don’t think that liberals get how disciplined, systematic and deep the machine is. I’m only surprised that your cover character isn’t wearing a brown shirt.

I suppose that we shouldn’t be surprised. We so need articles like yours because I don’t think that Mr. and Mrs. America get how terribly dangerous these folks are to our system, our environment our freedom, our lives. For them, the ends always justify the means.

Thanks so much for the fine work.

Patricia Hamarstrom

Kansas City, Missouri

Now and Zen

Monk’d: I read with great interest Allie Johnson’s article, “ Trouble in Shangri-La” (April 22), and found it very thorough and informative. Comments in the article made reference to Chuck Stanford’s past during the ’80s and ’90s.

I have known Chuck since the mid-’70s — first as a magician, then as a friend, then as a businessperson with his party-planning business. Throughout these thirty years, I have found the Stanfords to be extremely honest and entirely open to ideas and suggestions!

It must be extremely difficult for Chuck Stanford to wear “several hats.” One can only do one’s best when, on the one hand, one’s life is to be one of nonmaterialism. On the other hand, fliers, signs, Web sites, newspaper ads, building rent, utilities, visiting resident monks, trips to Tibet, etc., all require funds to pay for them!

Chuck has always been a dynamic person with a strong character — the Rime Center will survive these growing pains.

Greg “Twig” Novak

Kansas City, Missouri

Paint Misbehavin’

Shoot!:Regarding Nadia Pflaum’s “ War Paint” (Night & Day, April 22): I’ve known Chris Cotten longer than he’s been putting on the KC Parks and Rec tourneys. I consider Chris a good friend, so when I say he’s no “saint,” I know firsthand. He’s done some good stuff to promote the sport, but saint?

I’d also like to comment on the title, “War Paint.” Paintballers prefer not to be associated with words such as war, army, gun and the like. Nonetheless, excluding the words war and warrior, this was a positive piece about a very misunderstood sport.

Bob Caldwell

Louisburg, Kansas

Optical Illusion

The name of the rose: Hey! Read Geoff Harkness’ “ Use Your Illusion” (May 13). As a big Guns n’ Roses fan who is wondering what this latest GNR offspring band is all about, his article helped inform me.

My own personal take on it — yet to be formed. This animal is just a cub yet.

Anyway, I’m writing about the last paragraph or so of what your article had in it. Something about a song you mentioned, “Best of Me.” Not sure I have come across anything about this song at all yet. And I’ve read a lot and have been following the whole GNR soap opera since after Spaghetti. Can you inform me a bit more about this song, any and all info please. And, of course, if you can direct me to or share with me any audio of it, that would be cool.

Patrick Mulroy

Ottawa, Canada

Great Scott: I thoroughly enjoyed “Use Your Illusion.” Geoff Harkness hit all the right chords when describing the current GNR incarnation.

It’s certainly a volatile situation, and who better to mix the water than Scott Weiland? There’s no denying his superb vocal style and his talent for rising from the flames of rock-star excess time and again. It will be fun to watch this drama unfold.

Mary Nickles

Frankfort, Kentucky