Just Do It

About Dorian Hargrove — courage to pen that story (“Broken Skull, Broken Heart,” Cover Story, April 22)!

No, you will never be the same, you’ll be better! Different, in a very unique way.

Twenty years ago my brother was at the same hospital in the burn unit. I had a lot of conversations with God. My brother had 29 skin-graft operations. Dr. Dominick and Dr. Hansboro saved his life. He still has hundreds of staples in one leg. He wears a bandanna on his head because they grafted off his head so many times. The eagle tattoo on his upper arm is now on his butt.

He worked on the energy windmills in Tehachapi. One morning he swerved to miss a deer and flipped his truck. He wasn’t wearing a seat belt. He flew out of the truck, but he ended up underneath it, and the truck caught on fire. A Vietnam vet came by in his Chevy Blazer and pulled the truck off him. The EMTs said he would never make it. The hospital in Bakersfield said he would not make it. They said he wouldn’t make it here to San Diego to the burn unit. He did.

Your story is an inspiration to all. Realize that. And you have some important things to do. You have touched adults and children with your story.

And never underestimate the power of love. Keep on keepin’ on!

God bless you!

B. Koch
via email

Give Pills A Chance

Wow! I always read “Diary of a Diva.” I really appreciate her wit, if sometimes she does make me crazy. Nevertheless, I was totally caught off guard by the vulnerability and honesty that she shared in this last issue (April 22). As someone who encountered those same questions when faced with antidepression drugs a few years ago, my heart broke for her and that scary first step. I’m med-free now, after getting through a little rough patch, and happier than ever. I just wanted to give her some hope that a lot of us have been there — and just being willing to give that little pill a chance to help is a great step in addressing whatever is in your life. Good luck, Diva.

Name Withheld
via email

Let’s Go!

In response to a so-so review of their restaurant, the owners of Indigo Café responded by calling Ms. Wise a racist, drunk, ignorant woman who is seemingly out to ruin small business owners (Letters, April 29). Wow! Sounds like the kind of hospitable establishment where I want to take my family and friends to eat!

Name Withheld
via email

Doggie Bag Reviews

I would first like to say that I have not read Ms. Wise’s initial review of Indigo Café (Restaurant Review, April 15). However, I did have an opportunity to read “A Family Offended” (Letters, April 29), the rebuttal written by the Indigo Café’s owners and management. I also read Ms. Wise’s response to this rebuttal. Her response is where my issue lies. Ms. Wise states, “I had ample doggie bags of every entrée to reheat very gently, retaste at length (at least twice each), and examine visually in a strong kitchen light over the several days after my dinner, before signing off on the review.”

Is this the manner in which your publication encourages its food critics to base their opinions? “Several days after [her] dinner.” I am astonished if this is indeed the practice. I should hope any serious food critic would take the time to dine in at the establishment they are reviewing. It seems preposterous and insulting to any dining establishment to do otherwise.

Any person who has taken food home in a doggie bag knows that even “gently” reheating a food item will compromise the initial taste and flavor of the dish. And it’s revolting to learn Ms. Wise continues to take “several days” after the initial meal to visually “examine” her “ample doggie bags.” In my opinion, a published food critic shouldn’t be allowed to take food home for further inspection or review.

In light of Ms. Wise’s response to the Indigo Café’s rebuttal, I am inclined to believe this is standard practice for her food reviews. Correct me if I am wrong. Please tell me this is not typical of all your food critics. Your publication is highly regarded in the San Diego community, and Ms. Wise’s approach is unfair to the restaurant she reviews and the public who reads these reviews.

I encourage your publication to hire more food critics with the skills and ability to offer a fair and balanced critique based on their dining experience at an actual restaurant rather than reheating the leftovers at home and writing a piece about it.

Audrey Stone
via email

Naomi Wise responds: I do savor the food at the restaurant. I developed the doggie-bag habit during the years while writing my four published cookbooks. One way to discover the secrets of ethnic recipes was to eat at good ethnic restaurants, take home leftovers, and inspect them closely under a strong kitchen light, tasting bits to confirm that the herbs, spices, and condiments I thought I saw were present in the flavors.

Def Jam

Although I did not read the review of Ms. Wise on Indigo Café (April 15), I found the letters on both sides amusing (April 29). Both sides present a plausible stance. In her response, Ms. Wise uses the word “deracinated.” I looked it up in my Webster’s New Explorer Dictionary, and I could not find this term. I’d like to know the meaning.

Don Hinds
Bay Park

According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, deracinate means “to remove or separate from a native environment or culture; esp : to remove the racial or ethnic characteristics or influences from.” — Editor

An Order Of Ignorance

Dear Ms. Naomi Wise, I recently read your review of Indigo Café and Catering that was published on April 15, titled “Upside Down in the Crescent City.” As a restaurantgoer, a big fan of Indigo Café, and an active community member, I have to say that your review could not be further from the truth or filled with more racial and cultural ignorance — messages that I am sure the Reader would not stand by!

I was absolutely shocked to read your statement “the cook looked more likely to be from Nuevo León than from Nuevo Orleans.” This is San Diego, in 2010, and your racial stereotype (or joke, if that is in fact what you were trying to attempt) is not appreciated! To assume that any “cook” comes from Mexico, based on appearance alone, in such a culturally diverse city, does nothing more than perpetuate negative racial stereotypes! Then, to say that although you understand that a good cook can easily learn other cuisines, so your expectations weren’t lowered yet, assumes that when you saw the “Mexican” cook, that you questioned lowering your expectations. All the cooks that I have met and worked with in the past have been hardworking, regardless of their race, and your expectations should not have been lowered to find a Mexican in the kitchen instead of a New Orleans native (which also happens to be an extremely diverse city). Who is to say that the cook is not from there, and since when did cooking ability have to do with skin color? Our city, and nation, therefore, has moved beyond these racial remarks.

As someone who volunteers and teaches in the San Diego Latino community, I find your personal commentary self-indulgent, overwhelmingly offensive, and crossing the line (though not surprising when you have a friend you call Samurai Jim. Let me guess, is he Asian?).

You should stick to reviewing the food — that is your job, not judging others based on race! Your review showed only your ignorance, lack of professionalism, and disrespect to the cultural community in which you serve.

A bit of advice, Ms. Wise, since someone who gives it should inevitably appreciate it in return. Next time, cut back on the alcoholic beverages before walking into a local joint and taking harsh stabs. The article could have easily been titled “Getting Tipsy in Crescent City with Ms. Wise and Friends.” (I assume the tab was picked up by the Reader?)

Name Withheld
via email

Don’t Insult The Chef

I was disappointed the Reader chose to print the review written by Naomi Wise for Indigo Café in its April 15 edition, particularly in light of its questionable politically correct content. While Ms. Wise is entitled to her opinions, however uneducated they may be, the thing that really stood out was her patently racist comment about the café’s chef. She stated he “looked more likely to be from Nuevo León than from Nuevo Orleans.” She then went on to enlighten us that “good cooks can easily learn other cuisines.” Really? If that was supposed to be funny, then her humor is far worse than any review she gave for the restaurant.

To assume someone of a particular ethnic origin can only cook their own ethnic cuisine is completely ridiculous and a sign of her complete ignorance. To further assume that only a good chef can then go on to break his or her ethnic mold and learn a completely different cuisine genre puts an exclamation point to both the ridiculousness and ignorance.

I would say Ms. Wise should stick to just reviewing the food without adding her version of color commentary, but her review of Indigo Café is so far off the mark, I question her ability to even do that well. I’ve dined at Indigo Café on several occasions, and everything I have ever tried off their menu has been, in the very least, delicious. Ms. Wise, if you were just trying to be funny, don’t give up your day job, although I don’t think anyone would be heartbroken if you did.

via email

A Real Firecracker

When I pick up the Reader, the best free literature on the globe, I always start at the back with those great church reviews (“Sheep and Goats”). In this issue, April 29, Matthew Lickona reminds us we are approaching Independence Day. How is that?

Within Brad Graves’s sermon lies a major question in world history: Must the sins of their fathers be paid for by their children and grandchildren? Are there any “generational consequences”? The Ten Commandments say “Yes!” In Exodus 20:5 we read, “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” This is known as “corruption of blood”: you may be innocent, but if your great-grandfather was guilty of sin or treason (as defined by your ruler), you and innocent family members share his punishment.

Hitler and Stalin acted this way against people they wanted to exterminate; if your predecessors were suspect, so are you. King George of infamous memory acted thus. Therefore, our Founding Fathers specifically repudiated that idea in Article 3, Section 3, Clause 2 of our United States Constitution: “…no Attainder [extinction of civil rights] of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.” Does the state contradict the Bible in this instance or merely emphasize the separation of church and state?

This approaching fireworks time of year provides a fine chance both to go to church and to reread those wonderful basic documents of our free American democracy.

Nelson Norman
El Cajon

Big Crush

I was mortified when I saw the ad for the band called Hole (page 87, April 29). The ad is promoting crush videos! The word “Crush” is listed in the ad to reinforce the act! Crush videos depict live animals being crushed by the heels of sickos and then sold to other sickos! How can you help to promote such abusive acts? What is wrong with your editor? Your paper could have turned down the band’s blood money. I am in the process of getting together protesters, I’m advising the media, and will certainly add that the Reader advertises and promotes such trash.

Susan Collins
via email

Crush is the name of Hole’s New York–based management company. — Editor

Bad Geometry

I had no idea that Bob Denver — aka Gilligan — was once a fellow OBcean (“Famous Former Neighbors,” April 22)! You say that “he rented a cottage on Pescadero & Orchard” — but every OBcean knows those streets run parallel! It’s likely that he lived in the alley between the two, but can you recheck your source and find out the cross street for my famous former neighbor?

Mark Rafferty
Ocean Beach

Jay Allen Sanford responds: Denver’s OB pad was at the foot of Pescadero Avenue, in an alley that connects with Orchard Avenue. Apparently at the time, the alley was named Pescadero Drive (a street sign for Pescadero Drive still exists at the alley on the south side of Pescadero Avenue). The cottages were demolished in the early 1970s to make way for the multistory condo complex that now occupies the site. But it was impossible to include such detail in a two-inch-tall comic strip, with only 50 words allotted, so I simply cited “Pescadero” without specifying Avenue or Drive.

He’s No Gentleman

I’m writing in regards to Mr. Ron Tyler’s letter (April 22) regarding Duncan Shepherd’s movie reviews. By the end of his letter, even I felt a mild tinge of “hurt feelings” inflicted by Mr. Tyler’s voracious attack on not only the movie reviews but Mr. Shepherd personally.

Mr. Tyler states that he is a “gentleman and a retired professional,” yet his whole letter is an onslaught of hatred and disdain felt towards Mr. Shepherd. “I’m sure that Miley looks better at three in the morning or after a hard workout than he [Mr. Shepherd] does at his best in a tux”? Is Mr. Tyler really inserting a quip about the reviewer’s physical appearance into his review-on-movie-reviews? Not very gentlemanly or professional, if you ask me.

I will continue to read Mr. Shepherd’s reviews — favorable or unfavorable of the movies — because he has garnered my respect by providing an interesting perspective on movies and leaving accurate ideas of what one might expect, whether I agree with his reviews or not.

After reading Mr. Tyler’s letter thoroughly, I am convinced that he possesses the same “apparently cynical, pretentious, emotionally callous,” etc., personality that he accuses Mr. Shepherd of having — and I bet he has never even met the guy. Next time Mr. Tyler writes a letter, he should try a little harder to live up to his self-administered “gentleman and retired professional” description.

Melissa Roberts
via email

Caught By The Constitution

In “The Check Will Never Be in the Mail” (“City Lights,” April 22), the victims fell into the trap of using the bureaucracy’s administrative remedies. This created adhesion contracts that stripped them of their rights. That is why no agency or court will give them justice within that context, if it goes that far.

The U.S. Constitution provides for this conundrum, in the First Amendment, by guaranteeing your unalienable right to petition for a redress of grievances. This is a demand for action, not merely for “hearing the complaint.” Redress means:

Compensation for injuries sustained; recovery or restitution for harm or injury; damages or equitable relief. Access to the courts to gain reparation for a wrong.

Just sidestep the minions and go right to the mayor’s office. By law, they must provide a timely and substantial response; they can’t lawfully say “no” or ignore the petition. If the executive branch of government will not enforce against itself (more likely), then you, as sovereign, have the power and right to enforce your petition. If a right is not enforceable it is no right at all. Your only rational recourse is to withhold present and future monies from that government until your grievance is redressed. That is exactly what our forefathers did, as a first step, against the king.

This is the only legal means at your disposal that does not need a lawyer, tons of money, and years of judicial meandering. The U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear a case requiring them to define the “petition clause” and missed a historic opportunity to, for the first time in our history, create an original ruling here. The group, which spent 15 years trying to petition Congress in this case, is found here: givemeliberty.org/.

Nevertheless, we must rely on the plain meaning of this clause and proceed because when the City ignores your petition and sues for revenue, the clause will become evidence for proper legal intent and procedure by your citizens’ group. No subsidiary statute or regulation can lawfully contravene this clause because it is the supreme law of the land.

If more citizens around the country would employ this right, then many cases would work their way up to the Supremes again, and they would be forced to address it. They don’t want to because the “sovereignty” now claimed by the government over us “servants” would be exposed as a fraud and their house of cards would fall.

The Revolution was fought over this very issue: the king and his court refused even to acknowledge the petition presented by his English colonists in America. This precipitated the Declaration of Independence, which, by the way, includes that very petition within its text. This is why our right to petition was included within the First Amendment: because it is the most important right we have. Not even the free speech clause can compel the government to redress!

The petition right/power is one of only two clauses that give citizens direct control over their servant government, without deferring to representatives. The other is the jury power (the only power/right mentioned in the Constitution three times). Most important is the right and power of jurors to nullify bad laws when the government attempts to enforce them. How? By voting with their conscience, judging the law as well as the facts. (See: fija.org for more info.)

These laws must be learned and used by all of us whenever possible because our representatives, as well as the top bureaucrats, are owned by the wealthy who have demonstrated that they do not have our interests in mind.

Pat Palmer
Normal Heights

Gee Whiz!

This is concerning your article entitled “My Friday Night Adventure in La Mesa” (Feature Story, April 15). Basically, the lady, in my opinion, is overreacting. The 290-sex-offender status can encompass anything from child molestation to indecent exposure — a drunken little mishap where you’re taking a whiz and someone would call you in and report you. Indecent exposure is considered a sexual offense. Even though it might be inappropriate to take a whiz out in the middle of nowhere, the sex offender that she’s complaining about could have a 20-year-old case. Jessica’s Law changed a lot of how that is dealt with and how that’s reported.

David Morgan
via voice mail

What Happened?

Recently a friend in San Diego introduced me to the Reader and the puzzle page. Wishing to “Astound my friends & become famous,” I completed and submitted crossword puzzles for three separate weeks. One of those puzzles was selected as correct, while the other two were rejected as being incorrect. The problem is, all three were correct, and now my intelligence and reputation have been publicly impugned. I would like to know if the entries were received by your editor, and if so, why were they rejected? Was it something I did wrong?

Bruce Campbell
via email

Among the various reasons that puzzles are not counted as correct: the wrong side of the page is faxed (we receive a page of ads); the edge of the puzzle is obscured or cut off; the name of the sender is obscured; the entire fax is too dark to read. For best results, photocopy the puzzle and fax the photocopy. For those submitting Sudoku puzzles, please send the entire half-page rather than cutting out only the puzzle you complete. — Editor

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Dorian Hargrove is my brother. After reading several of the letters that were sent regarding the cover photo and article that my brother wrote I find myself compelled to respond. Yes, the photo was disturbing. I also found the article to be equaling as uncomfortable for me to read. In fact it took me several days and lots of tears to get through the piece. However nothing is as disturbing as getting a frantic phone call from your mother telling you that your baby brother has been in a horrible accident. Nothing is as disturbing as rushing to the hospital only to find your brother in horrible pain and not in his right mind. Nothing is as disturbing as being told that he might not make it through the ordeal and if by some miracle he does he will never be the same. That is the definition of disturbing.

It seems that many have missed the point of my brother’s article. I believe what he was telling us is that we are all just one little bump in the road away from having our lives as we know them changed for ever. That we must think before we act, that we should not take anything for granted, that we should be thankful everyday for the love of friends and family. But most importantly, it is never too late to change.

I am so proud of my brother and so incredibly thankful to the Doctors and nurses who saved his life and by doing so saved the lives of his family. For those of you don’t know Dorian he is an immensely talented, thoughtful, crazy witty guy. He also plays a mean game of Trivial Pursuit although he has yet to beat me.

For those who responded to Dorian’s story with kind and encouraging words I thank you. For those who found the story to be self serving, Dr. Shiny Shoes, I feel only pity.

Michelle Beck

Michelle, I emailed Dorian after I read the story, and I told him that he need not reply, I simply wanted to thank him for sharing his ordeal and wondered encouragingly how he would ever top something so beautifully written. Of course, Dorian replied and thanked me anyway, because that's how he is. Self-serving is the last attribute that comes to mind when I read Dorian's stuff.

I was quite astonished at the number of people that responded negatively, especially the people who took issue with the cover. To them, I say this: remove your eyes now, because you are bound to be offended by whatever you see, wherever you look. All of us have had accidents and all of us have scars. I am more prone to see a compelling human being when I see the scars rather than the clothing that hides them.

And, Michelle, don't let the few who think otherwise get you down, I think that most of us know better.

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