Tarot is just for fun: Miami New Times should be ashamed of "Pollsters Schmollsters" (July 3). Not only are these so-called psychics ripping people off, but also they are misrepresenting and stereotyping other people's culture. Tarot cards were not meant for predicting the future; they were meant for playing card games. It is shameful how the "psychic" industry continues to misrepresent this item and how the media never questions the industry's distortions of a culture. The tarot began in 15th-century Italy as a trick-taking card game similar to spades. Most English speakers associate tarot cards with psychics, but the use of the cards for fortunetelling did not begin until the 18th Century, when occult writers associated the cards with Egypt and kabbalah. In many European countries, tarot cards are still used for games, while in places such as North America, the tarot has been marketed exclusively as a divination tool, obscuring the tarot's true purpose as a classic card game.
Save the Mutts
Nail the owners: In response to "Animal House" by Frank Houston (June 26): I just hope someone is feeding the black dog that showed up through the bushes! Live and let live: The sad thing is that those dogs and cats — as horrible as the conditions were in that house — were living and being fed. Now some of them are dead — dead from euthanization, which needlessly happens to so many dogs and cats. If only our county were more aware of the real problem with the overpopulation of pets due to the irresponsibility of owners. Lots of them are from countries where the dogs are allowed to run free and have litter after litter. The real culprits are the pet owners who let the animals go to the streets, while some person with a huge heart takes them in thinking she is going to work a miracle. So ironic.
A New Baleen
An unbeatable Baleen: I thought I might take a minute to acknowledge Lee Klein's review of Baleen Miami, "Still Lazy After All These Years" (June 26). If his experience did not meet his expectations, we apologize. When the restaurant opened in March 1999, it was an instant success. I was on the opening team with Chef Robbin Haas, worked with Noble House for several years to follow, and have returned as their corporate director of restaurants. It is with that familiarity that I say, yes, the Baleen Miami today is a new translation of the opening concept. In fact, the Baleen Miami concept is changing again.
We had planned to roll out new menus that throw back to the original concept of an à la carte fish house, with exciting tableside preparations, new service levels, and intense staff training in August 2008. Your article has encouraged us to speed up our efforts. It is true: We should provide our guests with an unbeatable experience — one you would rave about to your friends, one that would cause you to return again and again, regardless of cost.
We hope Mr. Klein will return soon to enjoy these enhancements.
Corporate Director of Restaurants
Noble House Hotels
Just Say No
He's no hero: Having spent my teenage years growing up in Dade County, I found the story about the downfall of Robert Platshorn interesting ("Ganja of the Sea," by Brantley Hargrove, June 19). It is a shame, however, that some people see him and others of his ilk as romantic adventurers. Their justification is that marijuana is not that bad, or no worse than alcohol. This is a common misconception.
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Marijuana causes many health and social problems. It lowers testosterone levels and causes sterility. It has many of the same carcinogens as tobacco, and because of the way marijuana is smoked, more of those carcinogens are drawn into the body. There is a higher incidence of paranoia, schizophrenia, and depression among regular pot users. Marijuana impairs short-term memory and the ability to learn new information. It leads to the use of harder drugs. It severely impairs judgment, causing young people to make mistakes they might regret.
Platshorn's tale makes an interesting essay, at most. The moral of the story should be that you reap what you sow, and there is no such thing as easy money. In the end, he received nothing but the justice he deserved for facilitating the spread of poison in our community.