Ronald C. Rickey
Miami Beach

That's It, No More Conch for Ed
I am a recent visitor to South Florida, and while on vacation I picked up New Times. I was so alarmed by Kirk Nielsen's article "Conched Out" (March 25) that I felt the need to write this.

As I am not a Florida resident, I was unaware of the plight of the queen conch. When visiting local restaurants and indulging in conch fritters, I have been told in the past that the conch was imported. I was told that they no longer allow the harvesting of the delectable sea snails in Florida waters, but not to worry.

I was given the same song and dance from the local gift shop where I bought several shells. I feel misled. If I had known that the population in Florida Bay was so endangered, I would have never even considered the one meal I consume each year, or made my purchase. I'm sure that my questions and concerns about why domestic conch was no longer available were downplayed for fear of the loss of a sale.

A total ban on all conch harvesting may not be realistic in this economically driven society, but I will do my best to make sure I no longer contribute to their demise. Perhaps farm-raised conch for local restaurants may help. But imported or otherwise, I no longer feel comfortable eating Strombus gigas. We all need to be more diligent less these creatures vanish forever.

Ed Anthony-Prozialeck
Macedonia, Ohio

Famous All Over Town
Greetings and much props to Tristram Korten. I read his story "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Suspect" (March 25). I've been doing this underworld art for some time now, just seeking heights.

The Miami art scene has grown in the past few years. Many writers from the old school are still doing their thing, but not many. From the old skool to the new. I just be makin' my street fame.

Hope to see more articles. Maybe some photos.
Smilee Cano

Fatuous Fun wiht Flaming Felines
I want to express concern regarding the cartoon Red Meat by Max Cannon (March 25). Though an attempt at humor, the reference to "... setting a fire to someone's cat" was most tasteless and inconsiderate of any and all pet owners, such as myself, who fear that an idea may be implanted.

Am I concerned about the other things mentioned in that particular cartoon (verbal abuse, sexual harassment, drunkenness)? No. Free-will adults do these things. But cats and other helpless animals are, alas, at the mercy of these consenting adults. I pray that no such harm should ever come to any cat, dog, or other four-legged soul whose care we should foster.

With all the animal cruelty in this world, through misguided direction or intentions, and with all the sanctioned scientific use of animals in labs, the thought of such drastic harm coming to a cat, dog, or any animal is most distressing.

Mr. Cannon's cartoon may be sermon-free, but surely in this case it should not be guilt-free on his part. May no harm come to any cat, or any other living thing, through this thoughtless, careless, heartless attempt at humor.

On another note Kathy Glasgow's "The Last Temptation of George Petrie" (March 11) was superb. My heart bled for him as I have been there, so to speak, and empathize with him completely. I discovered through personal experience how sometimes both the spelling and definition of friend (in my case, too, a 30-year span) was more appropriately expressed without the r: fiend.

I hope George is okay. If he felt the need, could we start a support group for him? Or perhaps organize a pen-pal group, not so much to continue a maudlin theme but just to let him know he is not alone and that many people, most assuredly myself, experienced a similar situation. I am glad and grateful he survived and is alive. Super kudos, Kathy! Godspeed to both of you!

Marian P. Howell

The Roots of the Matter
I am writing in response to David Abel's article "Cuba's Second Revolution" (February 18). The Cuban state's infringement against its peasant farmers becomes all the more visible (and gross) when one realizes how inexorably linked agriculture is to basic human freedoms. History is replete with sacrifices made to nature gods and fertility goddesses (yes, even Christmas is linked to these). For the most part, these sacrifices have always been measured against what the respective god or goddess was expected to produce.

There is something about nature and growth that strikes close to home. It goes to the very heart of what we are. That is why revolutions, no matter how sophisticated the society, will always start with the campesino and end with the campesino. When the peasants are as free to benefit from their labor as the crops are to grow, incredible things begin to happen. The process begets surplus, and surplus begets division of labor. It is this division of labor that defines the progressive, or civilized, element in each society.

In short it all starts with the hunger-busting, animal-feeding, oxygen-producing plant, and with the caretaker's autonomy (or lack of autonomy) in the caring for that plant. Suffocate the caretaker and you suffocate the plant and the rest of society with it.

Manny Losada

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