Steroids: Thick Outside, Thin Inside
The cover photograph for Ted B. Kissell's article "Size Matters" (August 13) says it all: no face, no personality, just body. What a sad and pathetic statement for the gay community. The fact that there is so much emphasis placed on physical appearance -- and with great health risks -- does not paint a very attractive picture. A buff body on the outside might lead to status and entrance into a club, but what about love, self-esteem, and long-lasting friendships?

I have many gay friends, but I still find it difficult to understand the superficiality that seems inherent in their culture. Surely this emphasis on appearance and the use of steroids will only hurt them in their endeavor to be accepted by a society that already questions their intentions.

I only hope that, like anorexia, this distorted perception of body image as it relates to social acceptance can eventually be altered so that a beautiful body is not all that is seen.

Michele Sinisgalli

Steroids: Jason, Sweetie, Put a Lid on It
If Jason DiBiaso wants to defend the use of steroids for aesthetic purposes, that's his business. When he defends the exclusionary practices of the group Miami Hardbodies (which limits entrance to its parties to those possessing solid pecs and six-pack abs -- not to mention acne, hairy backs, shrunken testicles, and "bitch tits") that's his right. But when he accuses author Michelangelo Signorile of "nonparticipation" in a group that won't allow him entrance, that's a bit like scolding minorities for not joining the Aryan Nation.

If steroid junkies choose to limit their circle to members of a master race and then accuse others like Signorile of being divisive and factionalizing the community, that's way beyond rational thought. But then, maybe she was just suffering a mood swing.

Daniel Munstock

Steroids: Get Ripped Nature's Way
There are so many safe and effective over-the-counter bodybuilding supplements available that I feel no desire or need to use steroids. One can still look great with natural muscle and not much more effort. I experimented with anabolic steroids years ago, and the results I got were marginal compared to those I achieved using products I bought in a health-food store.

Jason and John are friends of mine and I don't care what they use, but I'm proud to weigh more than 200 pounds at five feet ten and still have a 32-inch waist -- naturally.

Michael Stephen McFarland
Miami Beach

Steroids: Startling Revelations!
So gay men in South Beach are superficial, catty, vain, body-conscious, promiscuous drug-users. Who knew?

D.M. Christianson
Miami Beach

Is the Rewarding of Criminals Carrot or Stick?
After reading Tristram Korten's article "Behind the Badge" (August 6), I was curious about the way the FBI reportedly handled this case, involving former Miami police officer Danny Felton.

The FBI uses many methods to track down drug dealers and other criminals. Mr. Korten may wish to check with the FBI before making statements about their misuse of legal methods. Criminals have much information to relate, and if they are rewarded, they can often lead the FBI to more serious offenders. In that regard, this story was rather one-sided.

I appreciate having found your Website and now read New Times weekly.
David A. Nass
Lamoni, Iowa

Welcome to Idiotlandia
I loved Alan Diaz's article on the enterprising German artist who had a rude awakening here in Miami ("Not a Pretty Picture," August 6). Now Erwin Hollecker realizes what locals already know: Miami is a hostile place. Other states, such as California, gave him permits to sell his artwork without a problem. That's because those states are part of America.

Miami is not.
This place is run by idiots with no education or culture. If Hollecker had greased the palm of some slimeball at city hall, maybe he'd have a chance -- that's a language they all understand.

What I don't understand is how cops just breeze by every bum in downtown Miami who has his hand out with nothing to offer in return. Yet they haul in this poor soul who is selling original artwork for only five dollars.

Well, just another example of our tax dollars hard at work -- locking up artists who also happen to be tourists. Only in Miami!

Robin White
Miami Beach

Another Letter Like This Will Force Us to Reconsider the Value of Involuntary Lobotomies

As far as Jim DeFede's article "Baba's Big Bucks" (July 30), so what if Baba Sissoko is a crook! He is a black African man; he is not at all a white American crook. He is black. So Jim DeFede must be either a tremendous racist or a very lucky guy who is loved by the people who manage your newspaper.

How many whites are doing the same things as Sissoko right here in the United States, a country with a bunch of crooks! How many people are going free after robbing millions of dollars from people here? Take a bill from BellSouth and check all the phony charges -- they are crooks, and they are white Americans.

Mr. DeFede is very stupid, blind, or even a potential crook when he writes about a black man who is not an American. Another article like that will force me to dispose of New Times as trash.

Thom Medigar
Miami Shores

One Lobbyist You're Lucky to Have Around
In response to the article "Don't Call Me a Lobbyist!" (July 23) by Jim DeFede, please allow me to give your readers another perspective on Chris Korge. For the record, I'm not a business partner or political associate of Chris. In fact, I'm a Republican, which has led to many spirited and friendly discussions. He and I met at Epiphany Catholic Church and our families have formed a deep friendship.

It is my assessment that Mr. DeFede's article was accurate about Chris Korge's personality traits. He is indeed intense, aggressive, and possesses superior negotiating skills. I have observed his competitive nature during our weekly golf games, although his business and political acumen far exceed his golf skills. I hope New Times realizes that those of us in the world of business do not regard any of those traits as negative. Those traits, along with a strong work ethic, usually lead to success and influence in a free, capitalist society.

I wish Mr. DeFede had taken the time to interview those of us who call Chris a friend. The article would have had more credibility had it attempted to expose all of Chris's sides, including his being a loving husband and dedicated father. Mr. DeFede quoted former Congressman Dante Fascell, who described Chris as always "on the move," but neglected to mention that a large part of that "move" is spent at dance recitals, cheerleading competitions, basketball games, and church fundraisers. In addition, Mr. DeFede would have found a man who devotes a lot of energy to charitable causes. I'm aware that he and his wife Irene hosted a fundraising event at their home for the Children's Home Society.

I hope New Times readers will agree with me that all of us benefit from Chris's influence. If we are selected to host the Democratic National Convention, Miami-Dade residents from all stations of life will benefit. And finally, I hope it is not lost on New Times readers how lucky we are that Chris has taken the responsibility to be involved and, as he put it, "support good people." If he had not chosen to be involved with Mayor Penelas, who knows who we would have ended up with.

In consideration of these facts, my friend Chris Korge doesn't seem like such a bad person. Whatever his motives might have been, I guess you could even say he's New Times's friend as well.

Douglas Yount

Korge Participants, Shouldn't You?
Occasionally when I run into Chris Korge, I tell him (somewhat jokingly): "At one time I could say I taught you everything you know!"

Chris's reply: "I don't know much."
Many people have assisted Chris in his development. I met him when he joined the Jaycees while he was an assistant city attorney. Since then he has played an important role in many years of successful community development. He has a very strong personality and a desire to excel and to win.

Chris effectively represents the interests of his clients, which is what a lawyer and lobbyist is expected to do. In my own experience as an unpaid lobbyist, I have found that many times representatives in government need or want to know the facts concerning situations about which they must make decisions. For 30 years I have educated officeholders about my understanding of issues I felt were important, and have shared with them perspectives that differ from their own. I have also provided analysis and insight that officeholders have used to say no to paid lobbyists.

There has not been an officeholder I know of who has been able to read people's minds; their constituents must tell them what they are thinking. When talking with your governmental representative, don't be obnoxious and don't tell untruths of any sort, otherwise your credibility will be destroyed. Officeholders can weigh the information they receive from all sources, paid and unpaid.

This is a participatory democracy in which, as Thomas Jefferson said, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. We can see that there has not been enough vigilance in South Florida, where we have had problems with our local governments throughout much of their history. If this is your community, you must either participate or expect bad things to happen.

My friend Chris is participating. Have you participated lately?
Philip Reilly
Miami Beach

Peter to Tanya: Hawk It to Me
I recently read Peter Rainer's review of the movie The Mask of Zorro ("The Z Stands for Zzzzzz," July 16) and, based on his review, decided I would not see it. But after my boyfriend begged and pleaded, we went.

To make a long story short, Peter Rainer has no sense of humor and would not recognize talent if it spit him in the face.

Tanya Gaetan
North Bay Village

Adult Role Models Succeed Once Again
I just got back from summer vacation and read Ted B. Kissell's article about Miami Northwestern Senior High School principal William E. Clarke III and his alleged indiscretions with staff ("A Real Class Act," July 9), as well as Robert Andrew Powell's "News Flash: The State Stuffs the Stingarees" (August 13), about sanctions imposed on Miami High School by the Florida High School Activities Association.

How long will it take the public to get it? With all the immorality that surrounds us -- top school district officials purchasing degrees from diploma mills, the district's Office of Professional Standards covering for drunk administrators and allowing sexual predators to work in our schools -- why would the people in Miami High's athletic program think they were wrong?

John Rutledge


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