I have never uttered the phrase "Jewish Iraq war veteran" and certainly not to describe myself. I would resist describing anyone in such an over-concise manner it misrepresents the complexities of real people.
I have enjoyed the Pitch for more than a decade (even a few times from Iraq) and have come to expect sound journalistic diligence. Why would you claim these to be my words without even picking up the phone to ask me?
Other people have described me as such, I think to demonstrate an example to contradict a false but widespread belief that American Jews don't serve in the armed forces. Jewish professionals are frequently seen being advocates for civil liberties in the popular media but rarely as military figures. The implication to the prejudiced becomes that Jews take advantage of the freedom supplied by others and will bellyache at any potential infraction of their liberty but lack a willingness to contribute to its provision. Nonsense!
This is one of the major reasons I joined the Army, where one is often reminded that freedom is not free. I was uncomfortable with the idea of someone doing the heavy lifting for me and believed it was appropriate to "earn" a little of the freedom and security we enjoy in this country. One of the great aspects of our nation is that no one actually has to do anything special to earn their rights.
In the future, if someone wants to know how I describe myself, they should ask me.
Full Court Press Playing defense: Regarding Bryan Noonan's "Ministers With Balls" (April 6): I have been watching Calvin Wainright for years, since he was driving that Sunshine Van for Don Bosco. And I see him every now and then around the city. I now have a 12-year-old son, and I will become a single parent once again in the very near future. There are no positive men in my family. It's just me, my sister and my mother, and we will do whatever it takes by any means necessary to raise my boy to be a respectful, positive, successful and forthright man. My son doesn't have many friends or places to go outside of school. He likes sports, but of course, at 12, he certainly doesn't want his mom walking him to the B-ball courts and watching over him like he's 2 years old. How can I get in touch with Mr. Wainright? My mother works with at-risk kids, too. Maybe they can help each other.
Name withheld by request
Editor's note: Calvin Wainright can be reached at Heaven Sent Outreach Ministries, 816-497-1105, or at email@example.com.
Brew ha ha: Enjoyed Charles Ferruzza's Granite City story ("Stone Cold Sober," March 30).
As a beer geek (I teach beer appreciation as "The Beer Jockey" for UMKC's Communiversity), I want to underscore that this place does not actually brew beer! (That is the dirty self-flagellating secret of their process.)
Most of the work and skill reside elsewhere, and they truck the unfermented brew in for finishing. There are no brew kettles here. They are not on a par with McCoy's or 75th Street.
My comparison is that at Subway, they heat up bread. I do not think that makes them a bakery. It may smell OK and taste decent, but it is not the real deal.
Keep the beery reviews coming.
World Keeps Spinning
Recording the past: I enjoyed Jason Harper's "Wayward Son" on the closing of Recycled Sounds (March 30). I've been thinking along the same lines lately. I spent my youth working at Caper's Corner records (still KC's greatest record store, 20 or so years after its demise), then four different Pennylane locations and the old Music Exchange on Westport Road. Recently, I decided to organize much of my collection from that period specifically the thousands of photos that I took at area shows during that period. I am having an exhibition at Hattie's coffee shop in Prairie Village through April. These photos capture artists, venues and an era that is long gone in KC.
Correction: A photo caption in the April 6 issue incorrectly identified actress and playwright Lynn Redgrave as author Jeannette Walls.