Letters to the editor

Hear Spot moan

The story about communicating with animals [“Hear Spot Talk,” March 18] was amusing, to a point. But Cathy Easterbrook was flat-out wrong in telling people not to interfere in animals’ lives.

Is she saying that we should disband animal control, dispense with the cruelty laws, close down the animal shelter, and let people inflict horrendous pain and suffering on animals because she believes it is wrong to interfere?

I don’t believe that animals are suffering because they are working on some lesson or trying to help people. The animals are suffering because so many humans are selfish, greedy, insensitive and cruel.

Kind and compassionate people need to rescue animals from bad situations. The reasoning that we shouldn’t rescue a starving dog because he/she is looking out for two little boys is dangerous thinking. Do we ignore animals and humans in bad situations because they have some higher purpose in being there? The idea that people and animals are victims by their own choosing may or may not be true. But aren’t we, as souls pursuing our higher purpose, obligated to express compassion, and help those in need? I think it is a real cop-out to ignore suffering, rather than taking steps to alleviate it.

If Cathy does, indeed, have the ability to communicate with animals, I wish that she would communicate with the ones in research labs that are being burned, mutilated, poisoned, irradiated, drugged, etc. The nine billion animals that are slaughtered for food every year have stories to tell as well. And then there are the animals who are hunted for entertainment, and the animal slaves in circuses and rodeos. There are plenty of fur coats to talk to on the streets of Asheville. I wish she would speak to the rabbits who are having their eyes burned with chemicals so women can have a new shade of lipstick.

These are the animals that need to have their stories communicated. I would bet my life that they are not going to say they volunteered to be tortured. But then, it doesn’t take an animal communicator to get the message. All you have to do is look at the terror in their eyes and listen to their screams.

— Terri David
Asheville

Astrology column irresponsible

I do not read your paper, although I have some friends who do read it, and my teenagers read it.

However, I am writing to express my annoyance that your paper is too insensitive to the problems of families. What I am referring [to] is the astrology article [Real Astrology, March 11] that stated that all Tauruses should be allowed to draw on bedroom walls. It further stated the astrologer would let his daughter draw on her bedroom walls for her creativity.

I work hard to provide for my children, and I teach them respect. My daughter used your newspaper as an excuse for painting so-called “poetry” on her walls. …

I encourage my daughter to use her journal and develop her artistic side, but I do not appreciate the Mountain Xpress telling her it’s OK to destroy property. Also, what should I tell [my] landlord when he sees those walls? Security deposit, good-bye.

Your paper is a joke, like April Fool’s Day. I request that you cancel my subscription.

— Betty Jo King
Asheville

Beware communicating with your pet

I am writing about your story on communicating with animals. Well, I read the story and decided to try mental telepathy with my pet goat, Butthead. I discovered that I could quite easily talk to him — but the conversations were not at all what I had expected.

When we first started communicating, Butthead mainly just talked about eating thistle to get high, or burdock for regularity, and I didn’t mind that. (By the way, it turns out Butthead’s the second avatar of Alexander the Goat, the famous hoofed warrior of the lost city of Capricorn.)

Unfortunately, as our conversations grew longer and more intimate, Butthead began to bring up subjects that made me very uncomfortable. He wanted to know whether I had a boy friend, which I thought was none of his business. He wondered whether I had any old animal-husbandry magazines with photos of nanny goats, which of course I did not.

Well, to make a long story short enough for a letter to the editor, it turns out that Butthead has started propositioning me — in my own back yard! He’s a horny old devil, and, because I am a good Christian woman, I cannot even think about some of the things he has thought to me. Suffice it to say that, since a recent incident by the hedgerow, I don’t go out into the backyard alone anymore.

However, the worse part of mental telepathy is that Butthead can talk to me right through the walls of my house. He’s been keeping up a steady stream of lewd and suggestive remarks for a solid week now, and I’m getting pretty tired of not sleeping. Even when I leave home, I can hear his rude thoughts as far away as the veterinary hospital, where I went to price goat euthanasia.

He doesn’t seem the least bit concerned that I may sell him or have him put to sleep. “We’ll always have each other, whether I’m alive or part of a burrito,” he likes to think. I’m starting to think that he may haunt me to my grave. I wanted to write in and warn your other readers before they attempt to communicate with their own animals. If this letter prevents even one innocent pet owner from being abused like I have, it’ll be worth it.

— April (Last Name Withheld)
Asheville

Please, no foolish stories

I have heard that you all are going to load your April 1st newspaper with a bunch of foolish stories. This is a very bad idea, as well as an insult to your readership, who depend on your paper for movie reviews and horoscopes.

I would say that purposely foolish stories make a mockery of the news, but you people already make a mockery of the news, what with your talking animals and strippers and what-not.

If you leave us wondering what is real and what is not, then our only choice will be to scrutinize everything we read and then try to decide for ourselves what to believe and what to question. Is this really something that you want a reader to have to do? I can tell you, it is not something that a reader wants to do. We have enough to worry about, what with grocery shopping and keeping the oil changed in the truck and trying to stop the dog from digging under the fence.

— Deedee Honeycutt
Asheville

Ways to improve AIDS groups

There exist many social issues we must face in order to bring a better life to our community. The Mountain Xpress article [“WNCAP: A house divided,” March 11] may have helped raise to a zenith some of the local voices of concern around HIV/AIDS, a complex disease with devastating power to confront us as a population.

The letter to the editor by Jewel M. Johnson, headlined “Black community must unite against AIDS,” speaks to one very important component of need, about which I commend her for writing. I hope she will bring creative ideas and suggestions to any of the AIDS service organizations, as well as to the vast number of agencies in Asheville and the surrounding communities. Perhaps her call to come out as a community to fight this epidemic will bring forth even more leaders relating to her concern.

I am in support of her desire to see more action in the realm of HIV/AIDS and alcohol/substance-abuse education and prevention. It is my hope that she is in contact with the National Minority AIDS Council in Washington, D.C. (202-483-6622), an organization that is the primary sponsor of the largest annual conference on AIDS, The U. S. Conference on AIDS, to be held this year in Dallas, Texas. The most current models of successful interventions are represented there, and people who offer their wisdom and experience provide an immeasurably diverse network potential.

A lack of that network potential is part of our problem here in western North Carolina. We are not meeting the ever-changing needs of the people who are living with HIV/AIDS, partly because not many of us attend conferences, such as the aforementioned, even though most offer scholarships.

We are not listening to what people living with HIV/AIDS are saying, and many people with HIV/AIDS are not saying enough, which makes it seem as though a few have concerns.

Proactive suggestions for turning problems into solutions may help this region better prepare for the future. I can make two suggestions, and I hope readers, or those read to, will have others.

First, in upcoming fundraisers, specify the dollar-amount goal that the agency needs, by category. For example, let the public know that it will take $20,000 to provide all the emergency-funding needs for clients this year; $2,000 to cover the expenses of moving to a building with handicapped access; and $15,000 to provide day programs or computer links where clients can go at their leisure, if they want and search for educational materials on the Internet. Then, let the public decide the direction they would like to funnel their money.

My second suggestion is to create an office environment representing the diversity of our world. It would not only be enriching and fulfilling for the clients, but for all the staff, as well. I refer back to comments about the U.S. Conference on AIDS and what strength of diversity can be found there. Incorporate more of that here, and we will be in a better place.

In conclusion, I would like to know that our community is supportive of compassionate interventions, while realizing that none of us has the only solution. Opening our ears to the voices seeking change does not have to be made so difficult. Take a step aside if another solution comes along that has potential for greater benefit. Encourage living more harmoniously. Find that we can do more together than against one another. Let us all hear what you want to say — but let us also see what you can do to effect positive change.

— Michael J. Harney Jr.
Asheville

Beware too much healing

I have heard Asheville called the Santa Fe of the South, the Paris of the South, and an “energy vortex,” among other things. Now it seems some would like to deem it “America’s healing capital.” I think it was apropos that the commentary by Carolyn M. Ball [“Asheville: America’s Healing Capital?”, March 11] had a big question mark after the title.

Asheville, being my hometown and the place I have lived most of my 44 years, leaves me a bit sensitive about some of the schemes people come up with to bring yet more people to our mountain mecca. Ms. Ball’s article, I feel, is with good intention — but some of her statements seem as though she is living in a New Age cloud.

According to the author, “the region’s abundant and diverse sources for botanicals” can be used to heal the influx of people and bring in billions of dollars — all “without stressing the environment.” I was wondering, however, if she actually gave much thought to the subject of wild-crafting (the gathering of native plants) and the effect that this practice is already having on native plant populations. How much wild-crafting does Ms. Ball feel our mountains can sustain, especially if her goal is to heal the nation? I don’t think this is a fear- or scarcity-based notion. There is a limit to how much any natural system can sustain human-based activity. Further, her statement seems to rest upon an all-too-common attitude that, simply because things exist in nature, we can exploit them for our own selfish needs.

The article goes into another realm when it mentions the escalating health-care costs associated with HMOs, PPOs, insurance cutbacks, etc. Ms. Ball fails to make any mention of the high costs of alternative forms of medicine. Is she proposing that a mega-industry of the healing arts will make health care more affordable?

I was also concerned about increased traffic and related problems (after the hordes arrive), and the likelihood that many of the now-happy/healthy converts will want to put down roots in our area. Will this not ultimately adversely affect the environment? In case no one has noticed, green spaces and wild places are disappearing rapidly in our mountains. I can’t see that more people are going to help this situation.

I can completely agree with Ms. Ball about the advantages and desirability of integrated medicine, and I would like to think that, in my lifetime, I will see a healing system based upon health and not wealth. Optimal well-being rests very much on the existence of a healthy environment. If drawing in masses of people to our “delicate and precious ecosystem” to fuel a healing industry is the “optimal solution,” then I can transmute to that plane of reality. Presently, my higher power is skeptical.

— M. MacEwen
Fairview

It’s no joke

The word is out — Asheville has become a New Rage Mecca, and some of us are hopping mad about it.

Old Rage, as many of we seniors understand too well, is something to be honored, like when Jesus cleansed the temple by throwing all the check-cashing services out. But this New Rage Movement is giving the Asheville area a black eye.

“The Lord your god is a wrathful god, and if you look at Him cockeyed, He will smite you in the visage,” declares the Prophet Utalkintameman (King Blame Version). Maybe some of these New Ragers would do better to remember that.

Folks can laugh all they want to, but the truth is, these sneaky people are spreading a New Rage Religion right here in our midst, in the guise of promoting simple “feel-bad” techniques.

I’m OK, Your Not OK, these people say — and that really makes me mad.

Books such as The Dance of Anger are but one of the many means in which these sleazy schemers push their hidden agenda: the worshiping of Hindu Gods, like Idis Spizea — the Lord of Fury.

Even the words they use are a dead giveaway: One isn’t angry, you see, one is “cross.” Don’t tell me that’s not a religious reference! And then there’s the fact that they’re always burning incense — so much so that they’re generally incensed. They come here for the altitude, and then they keep on going ire and ire, until they really sore!

They try to pawn these godless rituals off as mere “relaxation techniques,” using “color therapy” and other suspect tricks. But when your kid comes home from school and starts screaming “I hates tan!” — which is an anagram for “I, the Satan!” — you’ll see they’ve gone too far!

What’s more, special facilities are being prepared for those of us who choose to resist. Watch out, or you, too, might wind up in one of these Old Rage Homes!

Don’t get me wrong. Rage has a long and honorable history in Asheville. George Danderbilt was so mad about the pounding he took at the hands of greedy bankers and brokers, he named his big house Bilkedmore Estate. And contrary to common belief, our great mountains aren’t smoking — they’re fuming (leave it to the goverment to screw things up).

So we sore don’t need a lot of hotheads coming in here and getting everyone steamed up. That’s why I say, take your fancy New Rage ways back where they came from. And leave the sizzle to the honest citizens of Asheville, who are mad enough already. You people aren’t the only ones that count, you know — I rate, too!

— T. Doff
Asheville

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