F Is For Foodie

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Nice work on the "Alphabet Soup" section in this week’s Alibi [Feature, Aug. 3-9]. [Laura Marrich] and Jennifer Wohletz did a wonderful job of gathering information on local specialties and sharing great food tips. It was well-written and informative. Thanks for your thought and effort.

Reading With A Mexican

Just wanted to write a quick note to let you know that the “¡Ask a Mexican!” column has made me start reading the Alibi again. It forces me to pick up the Alibi every week and it’s the first thing I read. I had gotten burnt out on the Alibi because I’ve probably been in Albuquerque too long. Please keep running it. It’s the freshest, most educational column I’ve come across in a long time.

P.S. I tried to think of a reason why I no longer like the
Alibi but none of my distaste is really rational or fair. For example, I don’t like the sort of cynical, urban hipster tone but I also can’t stand the do-gooder activist stories. I would prefer less ads because it’s hard to find actual content if you don’t know where to look, but I’d also hate for the Alibi to go out of business even if I don’t like it all that much—can you imagine a city the size of Albuquerque without an alternative weekly?

P.P.S. Feel free to ignore post script … as I’m sure you already have.

Buffalo Eyes

I read "How to Eat a Buffalo" [Food: Have Fork Will Travel, Aug. 17-23] and I was disgusted, heartbroken and outraged. What big men, shooting an animal that’s helpless and accustomed to humans, then letting it suffer for 30 minutes. I’m sure the tears that came out of that buffalo’s eyes were not tears of joy. This is exactly why I’m a vegetarian.

Crap No One Needs

Marching for peace while paying for war is like praying for health while hogging out on junk food! Soldiers risk their bodies and their lives to wage war, but, sadly, most U.S. peace activists do not break their addiction of buying what no one needs in order to live simply below the federal income taxable level to stop baying for war!

As long as you spend like crazy for crap no one needs, you will insist on having an income larger than the taxable level. Your buying addiction keeps you paying year after year from every paycheck for U.S. atrocities all over the world.

Would you pay to have your pet cats and dogs tortured and bombed? Would you pay to cripple, make homeless and murder neighborhood children on your street? The children of Iraq, Lebanon and the West Bank are no less precious, no less human than the children on your street.

Your federal income tax pays to burn babies, to paralyze parents, to blind grandparents …

I refused to be a soldier in 1969 during the Vietnam War. For me, as a conscientious objector to all wars, to pay federal income tax to train other Americans, largely the poor and people of color, to become professional hired killers to murder or command with no conscience would be more evil than being a soldier myself.

Many U.S. progressives spend endless energy and hours analyzing, measuring, protecting and cursing the beast (the U.S. Empire) while they keep on feeding it with their federal income tax dollars and their consumer dollars. Many U.S. progressives are addicted to the loot of this empire while they damn the blood! The loot always is drenched in blood.

I have no right to pay tax to do to other people what I do not want them to do to me.

Nothing in life is more important than refusing to pay federal income tax for war—no matter who is president. The best way to refuse to pay federal income tax for war, with no fines and no threats from the IRS, is to live simply, below the federal income taxable level.

The federal income taxable level for 2006 for a single person under 65 who is not blind is $8,450, for a married couple filing together—$16,900. I lived well all of 2005 on $3,885—less than the taxable level. I have paid no federal income tax for war for 27 years. I pledge never to pay the rest of my life.

No Stone Unturned

[RE: Film Review, “ World Trade Center ,” Aug. 10-16] Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center is a film for people whose cinematic experiences delve no deeper than the after-school special, or perhaps (on an adventurous afternoon) the Lifetime channel. Stone utilizes everything at his disposal, reaching far and wide to build a film that draws from every greeting card, every church picnic, every Kodak commercial, to fashion a monstrous creature of pure syrup and saccharine; unrelenting in his efforts to please all of the people all of the time. There’s plenty of natural lighting, friendly faces, sudden gasps and slow-motion cries of agony for everyone, so bring a box of Kleenex for your girlfriend’s mom.

What I’m trying to say is this film is so profoundly disappointing, so manufactured and unoriginal that it ultimately accomplishes the very opposite of its director’s intention: It makes the lives of the these brave men and women seem contrived and one-dimensional. They’re portrayed so cheaply, so formulaically, that on certain occasions the interaction between these people is more pitiable than the events of that day. Maggie Gyllenhaal contributes nothing, and Nicholas Cage—a fine actor—is reduced to a sort of talking head, painfully trapped under the weight of clunky dialogue and heavy-handed theatrics.

There is one scene in particular that sums up the aesthetic of this movie: It is the scene where one of the trapped officers, a man who is at the end of his rope, “sees” Jesus Christ before him. And in that image, Jesus is offering the man … a water bottle. No, that’s not a typo. Jesus offers the man a water bottle. Now, to my way of thinking, a more astute director would have simply allowed the officer to verbally relate that image to his friend (who is also trapped), thus allowing us in the audience to imagine it for ourselves. But not Stone, no sir, he shows us a glowing, illuminated Jesus filling the screen with his soul-cleansing bottle. And the only thing going through my mind was: “I wonder what brand Jesus likes?” And sadly, my friends, that’s as much thinking as this film requires.

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.

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