Letters from the Issue of May 19, 2005
Errors mar otherwise lousy article: Regarding Francisco Alvarado's "Bullet Time" (May 5), I must point out some factual errors. Taking a class at a gun show does not allow one to simply walk out with a concealed-weapon permit. Rather upon successful completion you are presented with a certificate to be sent in with a standard application to the state division of licensing. Applications require one of eight forms of certification, of which this is one.
Additionally it should be made clear to readers that even with a concealed-weapon permit most citizens (notable exception: off-duty law enforcement) may not carry a weapon into a number of locations, including "any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose." Sorry, kids, that means most of us will have to leave our jeweled Beretta at home when we hit the South Beach clubs.
Movie trivia: It was not the .357 Magnum immortalized by the character of Dirty Harry, but the substantially more powerful ".44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world" -- or so it was then.
The statistics given in the article about the use of firearms in crimes have little to do with the article's topic; the association simply is not valid. I would like to add a key statistic from the Florida Department of State: "Right-to-carry license holders are more law-abiding than the general public. The firearm crime rate among license holders, annually averaging only several crimes per 100,000 licensees, is a fraction of the rate for the state as a whole."
Last, on a personal note, I take quite seriously the responsibility of carrying (legally) on a daily basis. If not for my grandfather exercising his right to keep and bear arms, it is highly unlikely that my mother, and therefore I, would be alive today.
Darren De Silva
Gun owners, blood-sucking lobbyists demonized: It has happened again. New Times and Francisco Alvarado once more have succeeded in providing readers with falsehoods, mischaracterizations, and slanted reporting. I believed "Bullet Time" was going to be an informative discourse on those individuals who possess "concealed carry permits" in the great State of Florida. Yet Mr. Alvarado chose to glamorize and demonize guns, gun ownership, and gun owners.
What journalistic purpose was served by using photographs of so-called gun models sporting bejeweled ordnance with their fingers on their respective triggers? Why is PETA not in an uproar over an animal so close to a possibly loaded weapon? Are you not encouraging the mishandling of dangerous firearms to your readership? (Please note sarcasm.)
Furthermore, in the part of the story that incorporated gun-crime statistics, you failed to mention that just one-tenth of one percent of those who possess concealed-carry permits in Florida have had their licenses revoked. Was it your intent to imply that "blood-sucking lobbyists" and "greedy developers" are the perpetrators of these crimes because they carry concealed weapons?
Finally, you blatantly lied to your readers by stating erroneously that you can walk out of a gun show with a concealed-weapon permit in hand upon completion of a short course; you walk out with an application to send to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Licensing Division.
Wrong gun, right model: Francisco Alvarado should be better informed, or at least watch Dirty Harry on late-night TV. Harry Callahan carried a .44 Magnum, not a .357.
But at least "Bullet Time" was different, and the model named Kristin was outstanding. Keep up the great cheesecake shots.
Celebrities need to get a clue: Thank you for Tristram Korten's article "Dead Meat" (May 5) and for once again bringing to the public's attention the ruthless butcher Mark "the Shark" Quartiano. While his lifestyle and the way he flaunts his despicable behavior is shameful, even more appalling is the number of celebrities and famous people who pay him to participate in this abhorrent bloodlust.
If there is anything to the concept of karma, Mark will meet his maker slowly and agonizingly, courtesy of several large jaws full of razor-sharp teeth.
Why won't the media pay attention? I want to congratulate Tristram Korten for writing "Dead Meat." People like Mark the Shark are really at the bottom of the chum bucket. I wish government officials would do more about those kind of "fishermen."
I've been trying hard to catch the attention of the media, but very few journalists want to write the true story about sharks. Most prefer to write horror stories about sharks. I wish I could find someone who is willing to portray sharks for what they really are -- among the most highly developed and oldest creatures on Earth, and essential for maintaining the balance of the ocean ecosystem. Why is it so difficult to get media exposure for that?
Please take a look at my Website (www.sharkprotect.com), and thanks again for a wonderful article.
Josef Baron Kerckerinck
Chaumont, New York
Mark the Shark needs more bad publicity: I just wanted to commend Tristram Korten on an outstanding article. It is unbelievable that Mr. Quartiano still has a charter fishing license. I hope the article will bring much-needed bad publicity to his "trade" and he will be shut down. He is killing protected species and lying to cover his rear.
I hope you follow the story and provide us with updates, especially if he is being prosecuted and/or losing his license.
Attention hotel concierges -- read this article: Great article. This guy is a dirtbag. In previous years, the media have sensationalized his self-promoting stunts. Good for New Times for calling him what he is! All the hotel managers on the Beach should read this article so they don't send him tourist business. That way he too can die a slow death.
Obviously a major case of penis envy: Upon reading Tristram Korten's story about Mark the Shark and after seeing the gory photos, it was obvious to me what this man suffers terribly from: penis envy! I suspect that his lust to catch bigger and bigger prey is inversely proportionate to his confidence in his manhood. What else could explain such a grotesque display of Cro-Magnon machismo?
Idiots like Quartiano ruin it for all: Thank you very much for a truly superb article that eloquently exposed Mark "the Shark" Quartiano for the scum he is. We can only hope the feds go after him and make the charges stick. As an avid diver and occasional angler, I can attest to the depletion of certain fish, including sharks and other pelagic species, from our coastal waters.
While pollution, coastal development, and commercial fishing practices are all contributors to the demise of our oceans, idiots like Quartiano certainly share the blame and ruin it for those of us who respect the rules and exercise responsibility on the water.
Capt. Kent Bonde
Where are the feds when you need them? The article on Mark the Shark killer has created a dilemma. I'm not sure who the Asshole of the Month Award truly belongs to: Mark the Monster Scumbag, who has a small dick (see below) with huge balls; or the National Marine Fisheries Service's Monster Pussies with smaller dicks and no balls. "We are aware of potential violations this individual may have committed...." Huh? Sounds like these "experts" wouldn't know a thresher shark if it popped out of the toilet and bit their fat asses. Or are those pictures accompanying the article just papier-mâché sharks?
Why hasn't the Fisheries Service in Miami acted against Quartiano if he has killed an endangered species? What exactly do they act on if not this? Are they just another jerk-off -- I mean jerkwater -- entity that only performs the illusion of enforcing our laws?
Tristram Korten's excellent reporting sadly confirms that in America, the bigger asshole a person is the more successful he will be. Mark Quartiano has been embraced by Channel 7 (WSVN-TV), that epitome of reputable "investigative journalism," so how could he not escape the limelight of notoriety? "Journalists" like that would prostitute their own kids to sensationalize a story on child prostitution. That Channel 7 canceled its special on Quartiano only after a public outcry clearly shows it takes an asshole to know an asshole. Where are you, Rick Sanchez?
And we all know the truth about things referred to as "monster." Some "dock maidens" -- those comely, statuesque, billfold-filleting Queens of the Marinas -- tell quite another story about this monster. "Oh, Mark? Monster, my booty. It's the biggest cocktail weenie we've ever seen, a whole two and a quarter inches fully erect. Midget bait. And he's always asking for a discount. He needs to get a reel rod."
If Monster Mark were a true sportsman, he would be paddling around on a surfboard off the coast of Malibu with a paring knife looking for great whites and tiger sharks. Let's see those pictures, Monster Man.
That this is still a story, that it's still in the news, is an utter disgrace. If he is arrogantly killing endangered species, Monster Mark should be in a federal prison cooling his Monster Attitude with his fan club -- they love Monster Ass in the pen. After he serves his time, then we can throw what's left of him into Miami Seaquarium at feeding time. Now that would be poetic justice.
It's okay to kill cows and chickens, but not sharks? How should I start about Mark the Shark? Let's see, maybe education? Do you eat meat or chicken? The way docile creatures like cows and chickens are handled is inhumane; it's senseless slaughter. A cow gives birth just like your wife did, milks its baby the same way. It's a mammal with hair on its body. It eats grass. Get it yet? It's a nonviolent creature. Lions, tigers, alligators, sharks -- these are violent creatures. When was the last time a shark killed a human? Maybe last month?
And how about our government? The Bush regime is killing off innocent young men, women, and children for -- let's just say it -- for money. Well, I got to say Mark the Shark kills for money too.
A little history on me. I've been a captain since 1971 and ran every boat out of the Haulover and Castaways marinas. I'm still running boats, but now in North Carolina. Two species of fish that will be here when we are long gone: the not-so-well-known thresher shark and the more popular snook. Both are species that only a select few fishermen can catch with rod and reel. Think about it: If they were so easy to catch, there would be none left.
From Miami-Dade to Broward County in the spring there are maybe 30 threshers caught. This time of year they're passing through, following the bluefish schools headed north. Mark Quartiano is the only person on the East Coast who has figured out how to catch them consistently. Its a very secretive fish -- filmed only once underwater and never caught on long-line boats (which, by the way, are still fishing here). Out of the billion out there, look how few are caught.
I've been wanting to say this for years: Who is the person who plays God and tells us that because it's pretty, it jumps, and it's different, it has more right to life than a ballyhoo, pilchard, goggle-eye, or mullet?
Calabash, North Carolina
If you don't like profiling, try fighting crime yourself: After reading Rebecca Wakefield's article "Racial-Profiling Study Liberated" (May 5), I must ask: When will liberals realize they cannot have it both ways? While cowering in their corners whimpering about terrorists, pedophiles, and other criminal types threatening their liberties, they take issue with "profiling," adamantly dismissing a proven theory: If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck....
Liberals need to take a stand to prove they actually have the balls and/or ovaries they were given at birth. Quit vacillating and cut our cops some slack. They might not be perfect, but compared to law enforcement in other lands, we have filet mignon while they have only hamburger.
Come on, people. If you really want to tie law enforcement's hands, next time you find yourself strong-armed or burglarized, don't wimp out and call 911. Demonstrate absolute bravery and courage: Handle the problem yourself. Then you can talk about "profiling."
Peter A. Blum
Give them the credit they deserve -- or else: Thanks to Brett Sokol for the hilarious story on Robert "Desi" Desiderio's photographs documenting the real pioneers of South Beach nightlife ("When Drag Queens Ruled the World," May 5). As he so colorfully pointed out, these girls don't simply deserve credit, they demand it.
As fate would have it, the closing of the show has been scheduled alongside the MiMo-related screening of Lady in Cement at the next "Shelley Novak's Hollywood" May 30. Believe it or not, Shelley in all her glory is actually an occasionally erudite film buff, with her very own monthly night at the Cinematheque. As Sokol witnessed, she still means business after all these years. It's nice to see a drag queen who supports the arts.
Dana Keith, director
From hard-core to genteel: Wow! That's all I have to say about Brett Sokol's "When Drag Queens Ruled the World." It seems like a lifetime ago. An era like that will never happen again. It was (forgive the cheesiness) magical. I saw this and wanted to thank New Times for a look at South Beach when it was on fire. And an overdue thank you to Miami Beach itself for providing the wildest time and some of the best friends I ever had (and still do). Desi and Shelley are brilliant!
Although I was probably the most, um, hard-core maniac at the time, I was still voted your best drag queen for 1995 and 1997 (or 1998?), an award I felt ruined me at the time.
As a manager for Guerlain in Denver, I would say my life has done a complete 180. Again, thank you!
Gary-Michael, a.k.a. Taffy Lynn
Marc Anthony's vocals were perfect, and I should know: I feel compelled to address comments made by Fernando Ruano, Jr. in his story about the Billboard Latin Music Awards ("Stars on Parade," May 5). I am not writing this with any anger but rather with genuine curiosity. I am a co-owner of the audio company that for several years has provided the live sound for the awards program. I was very puzzled by Ruano's statement that the vocals of Cristian Castro, Marc Anthony, and Juanes were several decibels lower than normal owing to a sound system "glitch." Did he have firsthand knowledge that a glitch occurred? I can say that no such glitch occurred and would be interested to know if someone told him otherwise or had specific knowledge otherwise.
Furthermore each of the three artists he noted had his personal sound engineer present with our engineer during both rehearsals and performances. Their input was solicited and they appeared satisfied with the sound levels. Also there were no glitches in the system that affected the vocal balance within those mixes. Their only priority is their artist's vocal performance; they are there to ensure it is correct or to their approval.
The only glitch (if you want to call it that) I can recall was the guitar level at the beginning of the Juanes performance, which began quite loud. This was not caused by an equipment problem but by the guitar player himself, who had turned up the volume on his amplifier prior to the performance -- higher than it was during rehearsals.
Answer: Ramon Cernuda is not a used-car dealer: I just read Kirk Nielsen's article "Fake Art, Real Money" (April 28) and I have two comments for the record. When Nielsen first contacted me, he said he was working on a story about forgeries in Cuban art, not a negative profile of a collector and dealer, Ramon Cernuda, for whom I have a great deal of respect.
Also my comment about obtaining second opinions (the used-car-salesman example) and my belief that issues of authenticity are best left to those in the noncommercial field of art were given as general remarks and not, as suggested in the article, meant to apply to Cernuda in particular.
Florida International University
May 14 the Society of Professional Journalists announced the winners of the 2004 Green Eyeshade Awards contest. For the past 55 years the contest has recognized the work of journalists from eleven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Miami New Times was honored with five awards from among weekly and monthly publications. Tristram Korten won first place in the investigative-reporting category for his story about controversial Miami bail bondsman David Collins ("Devil or Angel," June 17, 2004). Brett Sokol won first place in criticism and second place in serious commentary based on a collection of his "Kulchur" columns. Kirk Nielsen won third place in the business-reporting category for "Cows to Cuba" (April 8, 2004). Contributing writer Bill Jensen, who is managing editor of the weekly Long Island Press, won first place in feature reporting for his story "Hardcore and Bleeding: Virtual Love and Actual Death in Miami" (May 20, 2004), an account of the unsolved murder of 27-year-old RJ Lockwood. Jensen's article was also named the best among all newspapers and magazines represented in the contest.
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