Letters of all shapes and sizes


In the cover story of the March 20 issue, “Nobody Listens at Open Mics,” I quoted story subject Sydney Schumsky about a suicide attempt. Schumsky says this was a misunderstanding and that she had only contemplated suicide.

Dave Good

Going to Hell

Re: “Atheists, Evangelists, and Prophets take over Balboa Park,” March 27 cover story.

Some things are really true; some things are really not, but this really is: All Atheists are going to Hell, and they don’t believe it.

  • David L. Lesser
  • via email

No More Apostles

I’m a musician and I play practically every day in Balboa Park. I’ve had many encounters with these people in your article about the atheists and the evangelicals (“Atheists, Evangelists, and Prophets take over Balboa Park,” March 27 cover story).

One thing I’ve noticed about them is that they all present irrational arguments — nothing rational, nothing objective. They even depart from their own scriptures. Some of them use the Bible, some of them use other writings.

They maintain certain things, and I’ve gone on to research what they’re saying. The guy who talks about being a blood donor — those verses aren’t in the Bible, about being a blood donor. I asked him why he uses all these words, and he agreed that they are all cliches. I asked, “Why don’t you use your own scripture?” and he just said, “Go away.”

Most of them don’t want to talk to me after awhile because I present specifics. I try to be objective. I don’t have my belief systems in view. They don’t want to hear it. They want to preach to you. They want you to swallow it whole without questioning. Especially the guy who screams and yells. I’ve had many confrontations with him, and all he does is scream louder. He won’t answer. He just wants to scream and yell.

He claims to be an apostle, but according to scripture there aren’t going to be any more apostles. Some religious groups say there are, but there are passages that clearly say there aren’t going to be any more of them.

  • Robert Evans
  • Downtown

We Don’t Argue

I enjoyed the article you wrote on the numerous religious groups who set up tables and booths down at Balboa Park (“Atheists, Evangelists, and Prophets take over Balboa Park,” March 27). I haven’t been there in quite some time, and there were just a couple last time I was there.

I, myself, am a Jehovah’s Witness. I’m writing just to make a couple comments about what you said regarding the two elderly Jehovah’s Witnesses. It seems to me that you viewed them negatively. I’m sorry you felt that way.

Most likely, the reason they were “off the main throughway” was so they could have a quiet place away from all the other flashy, loud booths — a place to have conversations with interested ones. We don’t argue with people at other booths or insult them or get into long debates with people who just want to argue. That would be a waste of time and energy. We are looking for people who want to know the truth, people who sincerely want to know what the Bible says about life’s most important questions.

You said, “The two men looked bored.” But you also said earlier in your comments about them that they were “sitting leisurely on folding chairs.” They weren’t bored, they were enjoying a beautiful day in Balboa Park. They were probably relaxed and taking in the peaceful area where they had chosen to set up their literature cart.

You also said the men didn’t acknowledge you. Perhaps they saw you in the distance visiting all the other booths, taking literature and snapping photos. They may have figured out you were a reporter and were not really there to learn about the Bible. Most likely they were waiting for you to ask a question or engage them. But I highly doubt they ignored you completely. We usually smile at all who approach us. Perhaps you didn’t notice.

Jehovah’s Witnesses are known worldwide for their house-to-house ministry. In this day and age people are a lot more busy, or they are not at home when we come to their door. So, when we set up displays in a public area, we are not like the others who shout out or pressure people to come over. For people who may not want to get in a long discussion and just want to grab a tract or book, we let them.

However, if the person asks a question, or their body language or facial expressions seem like they are genuinely interested or have questions, then of course we engage in conversation about our beliefs or help them with their questions.

Our method of evangelizing is anything but “hands-off.” It made me chuckle when I read that. For well over 100 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been very hands-on, teaching people Bible truths worldwide, in over 230 lands and over 600 languages and counting. Not only that, but in areas where people may not know how to read, we teach them. We also provide disaster relief. All this is done entirely by voluntary donations.

I hope you talk with Jehovah’s Witnesses again. The main reason we have been preaching for over 100 years has to do with what Jesus himself said at Matthew 24:14: “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” You can find a lot more information at our website, jw.org.

Thanks for the article!

  • Name Withheld
  • Oceanside

Crappy Graph

I’m calling about “The Inside Story of San Diego Opera’s Demise” on page two (News Ticker, March 27). There’s a graph there that’s the hardest thing to read in the world. As an engineer for many, many years, I made a lot of graphs every day. I don’t think this one would have made the grade. It’s all blurred and double-printed and everything.

It goes from 25,0000 up to 43,000. Right there, that’s a violation of good practice. The label numbers are odd numbers. It would have been better to use even numbers. You’re skipping from one number to the next. Would have been better to start with 24,000 and go up to 42,000. Or start with 26,000 and go up to 44,000.

It seems to show the decline of ticket sales from 2010 through the year 2014. Evidently, my strong magnifying glass says that 41,353 tickets were sold in the year 2010 and it declined to 35,100 in 2014. You could have done a better job labeling the thing.

Crappy graph. Very hard to read and very hard to understand. You wouldn’t even have had to make it bigger — just label it better.

  • Name Withheld
  • via voicemail

Just Plain Rude

I am extremely offended and disappointed by the Feast! article, “Bulgarian Beer & BBQ.” I don’t understand why someone would give the approval to publish this.

I am Bulgarian and a loyal client of Cali Comfort. And not because the owner is Bulgarian! I am stoked on the fact that they offer Bulgarian beer. I have been out and about and there are extremely few locations in San Diego where you can purchase Bulgarian beer.

As a Bulgarian I am even more offended that somebody would try to smear the quality of the lager, saying that another option is better — it makes me think that the author is looking for ways to be disgruntled rather than highlighting the facts. Kamenitza has been produced for centuries and the original lager brings back great memories.

While I understand that the author has his right to an opinion, I don’t see any quality or value in this article. And to call it the “second-best BBQ” and point to which restaurant is better (not even really a restaurant, but a BBQ stand!) is just plain rude.

I will be surprised if the owners don’t escalate this matter. I understand constructive criticism, but there’s nothing constructive to this article.

I have never in my life felt so disgusted after reading an article. If you care about the quality of information you provide, you might want to take my opinion into consideration.

  • Ana Gancheva
  • University City

Finding Religion

You have a column called Sheep and Goats. At the top of the page is an item about a local church, and at the bottom are ads for local churches.

Every other week recently, instead of a story about a local church there is a story about an English Catholic who was either persecuted or martyred in the 16th or 17th Century. Some were made safe later; some were not. But they all suffered for their faith.

For some reason, you don’t show that in the contents in the front of the Reader. When there’s a Sheep and Goats column about a local church, you have that listed under Religion. But when it’s about an English Catholic who suffered for his or her faith, you don’t have it in the Table of Contents. I can refer specifically to March 27, March 13, February 27, and February 13. You had some very interesting things about English Catholics, and I had to look all through the Reader to find the section, because it was not in the Table of Contents; whereas if it’s about a local church you do have it in the Table of Contents.

I wish you’d also put the pieces about English Catholics in the Table of Contents so I can find it. It’s a very interesting feature. I like it. After reading it, I’ve often gone on to look up more about it in various history books that I have. Please keep including the feature — and put it in the Table of Contents.

  • Name Withheld
  • via voicemail

Animosity Toward Musicians

Your article, “Nobody Listens At Open Mics,” (March 20 cover story) mentions very little about the open mic scene at all.

The question posed at the beginning —What does it mean to put yourself out there? — is never answered. Instead, it is ignored. I can tell you, the answer is this: It means you go to the mics and you talk to other musicians. That’s it. It’s not a mystery, and it doesn’t call for your first born child or anything. Going out and talking to other musicians about their music is the number one way to put yourself out there. That’s why the open mic scene is important.

The comment about the crowd not listening at open mics is probably the most offensive and least true of any conclusion drawn in this article.

I’m willing to bet that everyone who reads this article listens to music while they study or work. The idea of music for many people is to fill up empty space, and even if a couple goes to a coffeeshop to make out in the back, they probably want to listen to music. There are better places to make out if they didn’t like music. Half of the people you interviewed said they go for the music.

I don’t understand the insinuation that the open mic scene is not important. An open mic does a very good job of creating stage presence for each person. Forty-year-old men with families still go up and try to make a name for themselves in the scene. And more importantly, you see other people’s presence — something that inspires you to go home and do some more writing. That’s what the scene is about.

I’ve been songwriting for three years now, and I’ve been an off-and-on open mic visitor since I was thirteen. I know most (if not all) of the people mentioned in this article. I feel cheated to know they were part of a rude backlash in an unsolicited effort to put down something they love.

There were other parts of the article, animosity toward some unnamed musicians, that do not go unnoticed. I’ve met some of my best friends at open mics, and I’ve seen the most wonderful songwriting in the world in these small coffee shops on a Thursday night.

The article relies heavily on book-cover judgments. The open mic scene is not something to scoff at, and badmouthing it is in poor taste.

What is left out of the article is the depth that comes with really involving yourself in the scene. Knowing people and understanding their music is more important than what you think of them right off the bat.

And this is why the article is offensive; if you have to take something somebody loves and put it under a microscope, you’ve lost the point.

People who want to go to open mics always listen. And until the host turns off the spotlight and monitors, they always will.

  • Sarah B.
  • Poway

No Starving Artists

Reality check: one, two? Seriously, we professional lifelong musicians from Southern California need to chip in! Many of my hardworking musician/artist friends— some of them legendary musicians — up and down the coast were megashocked after I showed this article to them (“Nobody Listens at Open Mics,” March 20 cover story).

We really need to chip in and buy a decent microphone cable for Dave Good to hear the real truth about his deceptive article. None of these artists, songwriters, and/or musicians ever struggled to live day-to-day without eating food or having a place to sleep, such as Mr. Good writes about. Jewel Kilcher via Alaska is from affluent Swiss parents. Just as Jason Mraz (who owns a million-dollar recording studio, and has for years), Triston Prettyman, and Rob Machado all come from very affluent parents in North County.

Last year I remember hearing that Michael Tiernan announced whilst performing at Concerts in the Park at Fletcher’s Cove in Solana Beach that his blessed grandmother left him her very nice home.

  • Dale Hauskins
  • Encinitas/Hermosa Beach

What Can You Expect?

I’m calling about a Neighborhood News item published in the March 13 issue entitled “I Managed to Escape the Claws of the Tijuana Police.” This is yet another news item depicting Tijuana as Dodge City.

The author of the article talks about walking around in baggy clothes and swinging a bottle of whiskey — and he wonders why he was harassed by the police?

There are plenty of Americans living in Tijuana and Rosarito, Playas de Tijuana, and Mexico — many of whom had never had any trouble with the police at all.

He ends the story by saying, “There’re plenty of stories of people getting arrested for nothing, then beat up and abused by the police and judges.” Well, if you want to walk around with a bottle of whiskey, what can you possibly expect?

  • Vivienne M. Dunbar
  • San Ysidro

Rather Unusable

This letter is not about the Feast! column but about a coupon on the same page as the column. It is for Puesto. The coupon was printed in the March 20, 2014 magazine, yet it is only valid through March 1, 2014. This makes it rather unusable. That is all.

  • Michelle
  • Hillcrest

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