Pot Roast

Straight dope: As a leading advocate for the reform of policies governing medical marijuana, I believe Eric Barton’s “High Above the Law” (June 8) to be one of the most skewed articles on the subject I’ve ever read.

And to refer to sick and dying patients as a “parade of oddballs” was deeply offensive. It seemed to betray an inability to empathize with the suffering of others.

Barton spoke of federal marijuana patient George McMahon’s ability to smoke marijuana and “get high” wherever he likes, conveniently failing to mention that prior to being accepted to the government program, McMahon had lived through 19 major surgeries, been declared clinically dead five times, and was taking 17 different prescribed pharmaceutical substances daily. For the last 16 years, McMahon has smoked 10 government-issued cannabis cigarettes daily. During this time, he has had NO surgeries or hospitalizations, and he has no longer takes ANY pharmaceuticals.

Perhaps Barton should take time to investigate the vast amounts of international clinical and empirical research data supporting the therapeutic value of cannabis. He spends more time focusing on the odd appearances and mannerisms of people who support medical marijuana than he does providing scientific information. But sick and dying people aren’t often too concerned about image. They are patients out of time, fighting to find peace and justice in an absurd system that criminalizes their relief.

Christopher Largen
Denton, Texas

Sharper Image

Oh, say can you see: Thanks for writing about Roger Holden and the visual-effects technology he’s pioneering (Patrick Quinn’s “The Image King,” May 25). This is one of the best stories I’ve read in a long time.

Sam Snyder

Food Flights

Flipping the bird: I beg to differ with some of Charles Ferruzza’s comments about the Phoenix Bar & Grill

As a regular, I know most of the dishes are served on platters, not plates! The appetizer nachos — piled high with meat, cheese and fresh vegetables — come on a big platter. The portion for the price has always been one of my favorite features. And the Jazzy Jamaican Tiger Shrimp dish is a favorite of Phoenix fans. In fact, it was first introduced to me by a very burly man, smiling widely with pleasure. “The secret,” he told me, “is to get extra toast so you can sop up every bit of this delicious sauce.” Oh, yeah … I discovered the joy of Tea Garden spicy shrimp milk toast and have introduced it to many satisfied soppers since.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a pickier eater than I am, so I asked about the beef in dishes like the shish kebab and found that the Phoenix uses a prime cut.

Of all the nights for the Phoenix to entertain a food critic! I’m sure they wish it hadn’t been the rare occasion when one had to wait for appetizers to be served and the restaurant happened to run out of pickles! But before your readers get the impression that the Phoenix kitchen should crash and burn, I’ve gotta tell you, that tasty bird is worthy of a test flight! It’s a pleasing, down-home experience in history, world-class jazz and satisfying culinary fare that, in the words of the Pitch critic, offers more than conventional bar food.

Shar Valleau
Kansas City, Missouri

Hello, Dali: Regarding Charles Ferruzza’s review of Dave & Buster’s (“Fun House Food,” May 18): Sounds like their food designer (couldn’t be a real chef) is related to Salvador Dali. Who in their right mind would desecrate a rib-eye steak with barbecue sauce? Other dishes described sound as nutty.

Ferruzza’s reviews are most useful to us who appreciate good food. Stay with it and stay honest.

Chuck Ziegenhorn

Native Son

In local parentis: Liked Jason Harper’s article on the Beaumont shoot (Wayward Son, June 1) — a nifty, ground-level view of the event. (It’s not always easy to determine the crowd’s mentality while rushing around on the production side.)

The only part I wanted to mention is about Steve Unruh, our composer. Harper described him as “nonlocal,” and though he currently lives in Rhode Island for work, he is a Kansas native and lived in Lawrence when we began our working relationship. The local ties in this production are very important to us, so I just wanted to clarify.

Keep a firm grasp on those bottles!

Christopher Blunk