Alan Scherstuhl's recent "Studies In Crap" column, "Muscling into a union bigwig's old mail" concerned the records and correspondence of Jack Joyce, electrical workers union leader. Jack was my father-in-law's father. He passed away this past winter, which shouldn't surprise you since you found the records that you used in your story at his estate sale. It also shouldn't surprise you to learn that Jack still has a lot of family in Kansas City, including two sons and two daughters. I hope that my wife and I were the only members of the family to see your incredibly insensitive column. Whether your writing and publishing this column without bothering to take the time to investigate who Jack was and when he lived was the result of laziness or ignorance, I hope it's not a mistake you'll make again. When you troll local estate sales for your source material, please keep in mind that these people have families and that estate sales by definition deal with the lives and memories of the recently deceased. A little sensitivity doesn't seem like too much to ask.
Kansas City, Missouri
In the Night + Day blurb headlined "Eco Stroll," Crystal K. Wiebe invites us to "make up for your oversized carbon footprint by taking part in the 14th-annual EarthWalk." While I'm in favor of reducing carbon footprints, I doubt that anyone's participation will achieve that objective, especially when you consider that a vast majority will drive a fossil-fuel-burning vehicle both to and fro. They'd leave less of a carbon footprint by staying home, sleeping in. Plus, with any public event, be it a 5k run, an art walk or whatever, you end up with trash. And despite efforts of organizers, some of that trash inevitably ends up as litter. Little Johnny's fruit-snack wrapper just blows away while both Little Johnny and his parents are focused on the puppet show.
A few years ago, parents were invited to the Earth Day assembly at our children's neighborhood school. That afternoon, I walked the few blocks in the sunny 70 degrees, encountering no other parents along my way. Upon arriving, however, I was met by a parking lot overflowing with cars. In the assembly, the children danced, sang and recited odes to the rainforests, after which we parents were dismissed to wait outside for our children. Most climbed into their cars, started their ignitions and turned on their air conditioning because, of course, after being locked in the sun, the car interiors were hot. I sat on a bench and breathed their exhaust.
I applaud any effort to reduce our negative impact on the natural world. But I've concluded that if you have to make a big production out of doing so, then that's probably all it is.
Thank you for Charles Ferruzza's wonderful review of Frida's Contemporary Mexican Cuisine, though it failed to mention Gilberto Gutierrez, who is also a co-owner of Frida's, Ixtapa and Guadalajara Café at 103rd Street and State Line Road. Guadalajara Café was the first restaurant in the Kansas City area to be opened by this group, in 1996. We're thrilled with the new Frida's and loved your review, but we missed the mention of Guadalajara Café. These three restaurants are all outstanding. Thank you.
Kansas City, Missouri
Charles Ferruzza responds: Not mentioning Gilberto Gutierrez and Guadalajara Café was an unintentional oversight. I agree that all three restaurants operated by Gutierrez and his partners are excellent. Frida's, however, is in a class by itself.