Hex Mex

The write stuff: While a graduate student in Seattle, I was an avid reader of Gustavo Arellano’s column, “Ask a Mexican.”

While in my hometown of Kansas City before heading to New York to finish my last academic semester of my master’s program, I picked up the Pitch. I was amazed to see the column printed in the first few pages. I have been raving about Arellano’s writing to my fellow Chicanos, and they are delighted to finally see Latino masterpieces in the Midwest.

I tip my hat to you.

Daniel Melgoza
New York, New York

Hurricane Party

Sonic youth: I have to admit, I’m a bit of a fan of anything Rock the Vote — but more so of Stan Henry (Janovy, June 15). In addition to being an all-around good guy, he was instrumental in turning out 74.4 percent of registered voters ages 18-24 in Kansas City during the 2004 general election. He encouraged our former Rock the Vote team to attend shows at the Hurricane and register voters. What a great story, and what a great man.

It was so refreshing to have Stan call us up throughout the 2004 election cycle and say, “Hey, why don’t you get down here and register these kids to vote!” He proved that he cares about the young voters of KC long before this election bid.

Lindsey Walker
Kansas City, Missouri

Dearly Beloved

Getting lit: Regarding Justin Kendall’s “Meet the Parent” (June 15): My wife recently spoke about what she felt were the best books written in recent years. I told her that Toni Morrison topped the New York Times list. She asked me if the book was Beloved or Song of Solomon, both of which she thought rated that high. Good thing the Motley crew didn’t get to her school libraries.

Early this year, The New York Times Book Review‘s editor sent out a short letter to a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify “the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.” The winner: Beloved by Toni Morrison.

Frank Smith
Bluff City, Kansas

Blunt Talk

Medical M.J.’s response: I would like to respond to “High Above the Law” (June 8) by saying that I think using the term high, not so much in the title but in the story, is misleading because it misrepresents what the patient, any patient — fat, thin, short, tall, gorgeous or ugly — is trying to do. We are not partying or trying to escape our duties as employees, parents or proud citizens of our communities; we are healing our bodies, minds and spirits so that we can have healthier lives and relationships. We are not out to harm anyone or to hook our children on dangerous drugs. The simple truth is that cannabis is a safe, natural, God-given herb that not only effectively treats (and, in some instances, possibly prevents) thousands of symptoms and ailments but also can be used for food, shelter and clothing. I’ll never understand how so many good, solid Christians here in the Midwest fail to make that connection.

I’d also like to take a moment to defend my hero, George McMahon; he may ramble a bit on the microphone, but it’s only because he has so much information to give people in the short span of 20 minutes. This isn’t a war on addiction and abuse anymore; it’s a war on patients — on people who are often unable to stand up for themselves. We save the dolphins, we save the trees, we save the whales — why not these people? How can we continue to label them as criminals or oddballs?

I can’t help my life — I’ve had the most unusual experiences: I’ve been raped, I’ve broken my neck, I’ve been harassed out of college, and I’ve buried my husband. And I’m not even 30. But the most important thing all my experiences have taught me is that we all have to work together to support each other in our most noble endeavors. Isn’t that what community is all about?

Finally, my love and my thanks go out to Eric Barton for writing such a truthful and telling story. It forced me to face my demons and brought many more out into the open.

The path of enlightenment is not an easy one, especially when we must sweep aside the cobwebs and deliberate mistruths of the past 70 years, but this story was an honest beginning; thank you for telling it.

Jacqueline Patterson
Kansas City, Missouri

Window Treatment

Pane in the glass: David Glass and Co. have proven that they have royal glass jaws and are unfit to fight for the honor of Kansas City.

With the opening of The Kansas City Star‘s new building, if they follow the old adage, they won’t be casting stones anytime soon.

The glass is half-empty — Stan Glazer may be our next mayor. The glass is half full — Stan Glazer may be our next mayor.

To paraphrase, I know art when I see it, and the Nelson-Atkins’ extension in glass still looks like crap.

As I stood looking through the glass window into the tiny Room 39, I realized that Charles Ferruzza was right — reservations are mandatory (“Lucky Strike,” May 11).

Name Withheld by Request

Correction: Last week’s Backwash item “Not So Bright” stated the wrong date for the media and VIP unveiling of The Kansas City Star‘s new presses. The event was held Tuesday, June 6.