All gays know Billy
I’m sitting at the Winter Park diner having lunch by myself because my boyfriend prefers to have lunch with his boy “friend” – I think he’s gay! Or maybe I’m boring. I entertained myself with your column and that was the second time this week. You are so damn funny! And such a good writer! And it doesn’t hurt that in your pic you look like Rutger Hauer.  I’m going to ask my hairdresser for an introduction.

He’s gay and he lives in Orlando so he must know Billy Manes, right? Anyway, kudos.

Maria, via the Internet

Call anytime
Just back from vacation.  Did see your story `“Cab fight,” May 8` online while in Hawaii. Didn’t cause me to jump off a cliff and yes I was able to return. I would agree, mostly fair. I would take issue with a few things: Tallahassee lobbyist, you played just like I thought. Honestly he doesn’t have a thing to do with anything local. No big deal.

Government `requests for proposals`: We’re going to have the upper hand in responding in a professional manner, but not in learning of their existence. Gumbs’ story was old and not accurate, but it was his story versus ours. To think that somehow played a role in our success is a stretch.

The only company in Winter Park?  Certainly made it sound like that was by design or restriction, which it is not. Mears drivers pulling off two strikes. This is really the fallacy of the past two months. Yes, they were some of our drivers, but I would say less than 20 percent max. In reality these drivers represented other companies or themselves.  Did they have a beef with Mears? Sure. Do some of our guys have a beef with us? I’m sure, but were these guys Mears drivers who were striking? Not even close.

I do appreciate how you handled all the information I provided and the several interviews. You were good in getting me to open up and talk (something I need to be careful of in the future) and I appreciate getting full quotes in context and you allowing me to clarify remarks after the fact.  I did appreciate all the time and effort you put into other sources of information.

Anyway, just wanted to touch base and close the loop on this.  I hope we never talk again. Just kidding. Call me anytime!

Roger Chapin, Mears Transportation vice president of public affairs

Comfort food
I love this place `Oyaji Japanese Cuisine; see review, July 26, 2007`. The decor may not be a fanfare for the eyes, but the food is like heaven on a plate to me. Their tempura stands up to a float in their ramen noodle soup. The mackerel steaks are cooked perfectly, and no other place in town makes a better agedashi tofu. Oddly, they make an excellent potato salad accompaniment for their hamburger dinner. When I am at a really low point, this is where I run for some soothing comfort food.


Poor and fat
I have said for a long time that I am “fatter” when I am broke `“Fat of the land,” May 1`.  It’s true. You can afford the bologna or the hot dogs, but you can’t afford the good-for-you stuff – even veggies are pricey. Now that I am a broke vegetarian it’s even harder. Thank goodness I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian `one who eats eggs and dairy products` though, because I live on store-brand white bread and processed cheese slices.

My mom, who tips the scale over 330 pounds, is poor. I used to think, how can she be so damn poor and still be so fat. Then, after the poverty hit me too, I truly understood – you cannot eat healthy overall when you have two bucks to your name. The healthiest you are getting is store-brand mac & cheese made with water and salt packages stolen from a fast-food restaurant. (Been there, done that, too often.) I’m glad that someone else either overheard me making this comment (as I often do) and decided to write a story on it or saw for themselves how screwed people in the poverty zone really are.


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