Offensive Tackle

We knew it was 1970: Regarding Greg Hall’s “Off the Couch”: When will Chiefs fans stop living in the past?

All I hear about is how dumb it was to trade some guy five years ago and how great the Super Bowl teams were. What is amusing is that some of the same people can’t tell you when the Chiefs were last in a Super Bowl. Hint: It was after the Cubs’ last World Series appearance, but not by much.

Name Withheld Upon Request

Posse Whipped

Clowning around: Many Pitch cover stories are solid, hard-hitting journalism, so it puzzles me as to why you’d publish about 90 million column inches of print and pictures on the Juggalos (Geoff Harkness’ “Down With the Clown,” October 31). No, I didn’t read the whole thing — only skimmed parts of it — but I got the message, all right. Why glorify these jerks with such abundant detail?

Also, regarding Harkness’ short blurb about Smokey Robinson’s show (Critic’s Choice, October 31): What I would want to know in advance of the show is what material he’s doing now. His great stuff with the Miracles from the ’60s, or that Velveeta he mushed in the ’70s and ’80s? By the way, Smokey didn’t write any hits for the Supremes. Those were all by Holland-Dozier-Holland. And the quote that Bob Dylan said Smokey was “the greatest living American poet” has been discredited for at least 35 years.

My favorite thing in the Pitch is Real Astrology. It’s a nifty bit of cosmic perspective that has much more to do with sense and wisdom than the debatable influence of planets. Please run it every week instead of erratically. It would be easier to read if you eliminated the gray background and raised the font from microscopic to merely small.

Frank Lingo


Geoff Harkness responds: If the Dylan quote has been discredited, someone forgot to tell Smokey Robinson. You’ll find it on his official Web site. Several recent respected reference works also cite the quote, including the 1999 R&B Essential Music Guide. Robinson wrote and produced a wealth of classic Supremes material, including “Your Heart Belongs to Me,” the group’s first chart single. As for Robinson’s output during the ’70s and ’80s, in addition to the classic “Tracks of My Tears,” those years produced his biggest solo hits, “Crusin'” and “Being With You,” both memorable and soulful tunes.

Gender Studies

A one-woman man: Given the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is lopsided with ultraconservative Republican appointees, it is not surprising that the court rejected Dr. J’Noel Gardiner’s appeal of the Kansas Supreme Court ruling earlier this year (Kendrick Blackwood’s “A Woman Scorned,” November 29, 2001). The Kansas court ignored current scientific and medical information vital to the understanding of transgender issues, and ignored the fact that Wisconsin had issued J’Noel a new birth certificate reporting her sex at birth as female.

Dr. J’Noel Ball met Marshall G. Gardiner in September 1998. Eleven months later, Marshall died, leaving an estate valued at $2.5 million and no will. Marshall’s estranged son, Joe, charged his stepmother with fraud over the transgender issue. His father was “religious and conservative,” Joe told the press, and would never have married J’Noel had he known about her past. From that time on, virtually every story that has appeared in such publications as People, Time and yes, The Kansas City Star, has made J’Noel out to be a freak.

Marshall Gardiner was my second cousin once removed. We were good friends who stayed in touch over three decades. He was neither religious nor conservative, but he had a great spirit that recognized kinship among all people and the oneness of all nature. To say that Marshall was unaware of who his wife was is to dishonor a brilliant man who did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

It is well-known among Marshall’s closest relatives that he never wanted Joe to have one dime of his money after Marshall was dead. Now Joe is rich for the first time in his life.

Allen Gardiner

Hayward, California

Old Yeller

The young and the breathless: Charles Ferruzza, the once young, thoughtless waiter, has incarnated into an older, thoughtless, ageist restaurant reviewer. He still cringes at the elderly (“John Knox Vittles,” October 31).

Pity Mr. Ferruzza in another 35 years when his dinner date is not an ex-hippie but an octogenarian, or when he hobbles about, clutching a walker or dragging an oxygen tank. Or — God forbid! — when he looks in a mirror and sees a “goddamn geriatric.” Perhaps he can spare himself the trauma by opting for an early exit.

Bill Arndt

Kansas City, Missouri