Both Sides of the Counter
Iread your article 'Turning the Tables' (Jan. 25) and found it disturbing. I've been in the food-service business all my life and have witnessed this behavior myself. I'm ashamed to say that I've participated in scams when I was younger and am ashamed of that part of my life. How Peter Francis and R. Chip DeGlinkta can publish a book in which they brag about their lack of integrity is inconceivable to me.
I'm fortunate to have a conscience that wouldn't allow me to publicly announce my lack of morals. My mother, of course, would read any book I published. I have worked in restaurants where these practices have forced the owners to close and therefore leave many honest employees out of work. I also know many people that go out to eat very infrequently due to the fear that they'll be scammed, thus damaging the entire industry. I stopped practicing these scams a long time ago and have been promoted and compensated accordingly in various restaurants and now own two of my own. Unlike the authors of this book, I became successful through hard, honest work. I hope they and their mothers are quite proud!
Owner, Pizza Gourmet and Brown's Diner
Knowing is Half the Battle
Talk about timing ('Turning the Tables,' Jan. 25). I was just in town for OffBeat's 'Best of the Beat' show and found myself on Bourbon Street. My friends wanted a frozen drink. The bartender, trying to 'ice' me, told me my debit card 'would take a few minutes,' but I insisted. My buddy gave a $20 to the barkeep for a $10 tab. The guy took off with his bill and started making other drinks. My friend had to yell at him to get his change. I also caught a cab when the meter was not turned on. A big argument ensued, with the manager of my hotel threatening to call the police on the cabbie. Not this tourist, jerk-face. Michael Altee Atlantic Beach, Fl. the thrill was gone It is so juvenile that DeGlinkta and his partner think they are cool because they were able to scam people and steal from businesses ('Turning the Tables,' Jan. 25). What a bore.
Where's the Uplift?
After wasting my time reading Todd Price's 'Turning the Tables' (Jan. 25), I wish Gambit would have its editors kill stories like this before publication. It was vulgar and tasteless. The world needs more uplifting articles, not articles praising thieves.
For Tomorrow May ...
Can't we just eat, drink and be merry without glorifying petty crime in a crappy book ('Turning the Tables,' Jan. 25)?
Sad But True
Sara Roahen leaving Gambit? Say it ain't so! Your reviews were one of the high points of my weekly reading and pointed the way to many memorable meals during my trips to New Orleans. I'll miss you! Maybe see you at Casamento's.
Winston Salem, N.C.
More Memories of Johnny
I was on the Tonight Show 12 times beginning Dec. 18, 1968 ('A Genuinely Nice Man,' Feb. 1). I sang 'Buzz the Fuzz,' a song about a cop who sells dope and his girlfriend, Alice Dee. Carson loved it and had me back the next week. I asked him, 'Johnny, why are you wearing a suit and tie and sitting behind a desk when the people watching you are in their drawers or naked?' He answered, 'Biff, that's like getting it from Emmett Kelly!' (Emmett Kelly was a clown for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.) Carson had me back the next week.
My third time on the show Johnny asked, 'How's it going, Biff?' I told him, 'Well, Johnny, I don't know. People ask me what Johnny Carson is really like, and I tell them I don't know. First time I met him he tried to sell me dope.' He had me back ... again.
Next time on the show, Carson said, 'Biff, I understand you were in the Army.'
'What did you do?'
'I was a soldier.'
Carson liked me. And my songs. I told him I went to Loyola University in New Orleans and got the kind of education that would prepare me for any crisis that might arise here in the 12th century. He had me back. Twelfth time on the show, I sang, 'Jesus and Mary Magdalene I know they had a good time ... singin' ... dancin' ... love in each other's eyes.' Robert Christgau, reviewer for The New York Times, said the minimum requirement for stardom was a year on the Carson show. So after a year, I bought a VW van, put a piano in the back and hit the road, played every bar in North America and returned to New Orleans to sell ice cream outside the cathedral.
Say No to Sex Ed Re: 'The Facts of Life,' Commentary, Jan. 11. If sex education has become nothing more than an excuse for fundamentalist preaching instead of 'Just the facts, Mr. Gym Teacher' boring biology, then I say get rid of it!
These kids would be much better served by getting their info off the Internet, back alleyways and popular music videos. As far as biology goes, we all know that God did it in six days and he just put all those dinosaur bones in the ground to f--k with our minds! They're building a multi-million dollar 'Christian' museum outside of Cincinnati to prove it.
America is the proof of devolution!