I have never written a response to any letter before, but at this time I am so angry about what Jennifer O'Conner of the PETA Foundation had to say, I had to write.
First off — Jennifer SHUT UP. How dare you assume to know how we took care of our elephant? While we had no control over what happened to her before she came to the Little Rock Zoo, she was loved and very well cared for while we were blessed to have her with us.
Do you even know how she was treated? Have you ever talked to her caregivers? Were you there the day they had to make a decision to let her go and not make her live through any more unnecessary pain? Were you there when they had to take Ellen for her daily walk around the zoo without Mary? Were you there shedding tears with everyone who loved and respected her the day she left us?
You live in Norfolk, Va. So the answers to all of these questions would be a big fat NO.
As for Ellen, be assured she is being well cared for and most of all loved by everyone in our wonderful state. Keep your nose out of our business and we will keep taking excellent care of ALL of our zoo friends.
Korean food explained
I'm really disappointed in the ignorance displayed in the Seoul review regarding the bibimbap. I understand the reviewer is unfamiliar with Korean dishes, but it's not an obscure culinary movement. A quick Google search beforehand to familiarize oneself about the popular dishes, how they are supposed to be prepared and what ingredients might be used would have been useful. Korean food is in no way like Thai, Vietnamese or Americanized Chinese, and they shouldn't be used as a point of comparison.
The rice in dolsot bibimbap is supposed to become crunchy, and for many is the best part of the dish. From Wikipedia: "The bowl is so hot that anything that touches it sizzles for minutes. Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the bowl golden brown and crispy." Also the traditional condiment served with bibimbap is gochujang, which is a fermented soybean paste seasoned with hot pepper. Adding this melds the flavors in the dish and makes it, in a word, awesome. I'd be surprised if this wasn't also served.
Yes it would have been helpful if the waitstaff were experienced and knowledgeable enough to explain all of this to the reviewer, but in this age of the glorious internet, it's not as if this information was not available to the writer, and it would have been a fairer and more accurate review if they had at least looked up the dish before starting. As it is, the review makes it sound like there was something "wrong" with the dish.
Also, as someone who is half-Korean and has eaten a lot of my mother's native cooking, a lack of spice or flavor in Korean dishes just doesn't happen. I imagine the chef was dialing down the heat and unusual flavors for an uninitiated customer and probably erred too far on the side of caution. Taken into context, that is a fixable mistake.
Since you are a community periodical that promotes itself as a watchdog of local elected and appointed officials, I have been hugely disappointed by your lack of coverage of the Edline issue in the North Little Rock School District. I am referring to the campaign by parents to convince the school board to enact a policy requiring teachers to update Edline weekly, as their counterparts in the Little Rock and Pulaski County school districts are already required to do. The 62-day delay in the formation of the Edline committee by Superintendent Ken Kirspel, the intentional exclusion of students from the committee and a glaring lack of parents on the committee (just two parents on the 13-member Edline committee are non-district employees), are clear indications of Kirspel's manipulation of the process to affect the resulting committee recommendation. Why is your periodical failing to call out the superintendent for his shenanigans regarding the Edline committee? Don't the parents and students residing in North Little Rock deserve better from the Arkansas Times?
North Little Rock
Huckabee's next act
Congratulations to Mike Huckabee for garnering the media attention that otherwise would have been spent on Osama bin Laden's porn stash. Too bad Huckabee could not have continued to pre-empt news of the latest European sex scandal or the rehash of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger's historic Californication. The media need to grow up. Meanwhile, back in Florida, Janet Huckabee stands ready with the vacuum and the carpet remedy just in case some remnant of the Natural State might smudge her rug. The stepping-stone Governor Huckabee once referred to as a banana republic has served well. Fortunately, it may take years for the Huckabees to scrape Arkansas off their shoes.
Huckabee has decided not to run for president. This decision allows Huckabee to rise to the top of the short list for vice president and still continue his career in show business. Unfortunately for America, Huckabee has also vowed to step up his efforts in his Huck PAC, an organization designed to promote Republicanism, the opposite of democracy. By lexicon definition, a republic functions in the opposite manner to that of a democracy. In a republic the bulk and flow of political power are controlled by an exclusive, privileged class of citizens, not the democratic masses. In America, Republicans want the captains of industry to pick and choose the privileged class, and to own the election software. Huck PAC is a tremendous threat to Democracy.
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