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Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2001

The Mag: Letters

September 13, 2001

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If there's one thing I'd like to see, it's more financial ed 101 classes taught BEFORE students have the opportunity to mortgage their futures.

-- Robert Baker,

Lawrence

Having some street smarts

I'm responding to your article on street racing ("Secret society of speed," Sept. 6) and what a ridiculous piece of crap it was. This is not some new phenomenon or some fad that is passing through. We are for real, and this isn't some joke or glee club like you made us out to be. Also, your ridiculous act of keeping counts of your wins and losses is vulgar and immature. It's people like you who give us a bad name by trying to race anybody and everybody. You won't see most racers trying to beat station wagons and trucks. We race for the thrill of competition between two equal cars and see who is best, not just to (screw) around.

But if you want a real race, you won't find it in lawrence. The roads are too crappy and there are too many stoplights. If you think you could handle a real race other than racing soccer moms, then on any weekend night go to 135th and Quivira in Overland Park. There is a shopping complex there, and that is where you will find good races. And also know we aren't secretive about who we are and what we do; we just race smart -- unlike you.

-- Nathan Cederlind,

Overland Park

Bobo's fete

The experience of Bobo's Buka ("Out of Africa," Aug. 30) bore little resemblance to the restaurant where I have been dining at least once each week since it opened July 1. I realize all is a matter of taste. But what I felt the reviewer missed entirely is the point. It appeared that the very aspects of Bobo's that were the most African were the things that she felt obliged to reject the most.

For example, I love to share a bottle of the nonalcoholic Nigerian palm wine with an entire group of friends sharing my table. It is an "acquired taste," as Frook says, but there's $7 worth of fun in trying to acquire it. Servers are happy to bring glasses for all guests to sample this authentic taste of Africa.

The criticized "decor" is a good example of the big point missed in reviewing Bobo's. The Buka is not a chain with lots of money behind it. It is a treasure unfolding. It is one courageous woman's dream of making a living doing what she enjoys most: cooking and sharing the culture of her native country. It is an example of the incredible struggle to meet regulations, hold up under the unexpected and find people willing to work as hard as you do in this Land of Opportunity.

Opening night at Bobo's, I ordered from a stunning menu. Because everything is cooked fresh and there were kitchen kinks to be ironed out, the wait was longer than usual, but my meal was mouth-wateringly delicious. I wondered how a fledgling restaurant could keep up with such a fascinating and ambitious menu. Well, it couldn't.

So, for the time being, there are just a few African entrees offered during evening hours. But I understand what the owner needs to do in order to survive for herself and for what she wants to bring to us here in Lawrence.

What offended me the most about the review, however, is that not once was the owner's name mentioned. Modupe Ajijola was referred to as the manager and later as the cook. She is all of that, but so much more. I am just one of a growing number who look forward to what this energetic, talented, determined Nigerian woman of deep faith is going to cook up for us next. No matter what your reviewer's superficial impression was, those of us who understand what's happening here are filled with wonder and joy. When we ask to be seated in the Buka section of the restaurant for the fun of eating in a traditional African style using our fingers, we'll laugh at ourselves and how clumsy we are, but not at the African food or the custom. That experience is, after all, the reason we have chosen to sit in the Buka.

And when someone says there should be American food served, too, I will agree with the owner when she reminds us that "Soul food is American!" Anyone who hasn't tried the lunch buffet of Caribbean, Jamaican and soul food is missing the best deal in town and the very best cornbread, catfish and yams!

I plan to keep dining at Bobo's to help the restaurant flourish and watch patiently as Mo's gift to us unfolds.

-- Barbara Moser Schaible,

Lawrence

The other side

I just want to commend you for your excellent review of "The Others" ("This old dark house," Aug. 9). I saw it last night with a friend, despite all the limp reviews that it got -- reviews from publications I usually respect.

"The Others" was a truly subtle, fabulously acted movie of impeccable mood. I particularly loved Fionnula Flanagan. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I appreciated your view of this wonderful film. Have you ever read the ghost stories of M.R. James?

-- Adam Menken,

Los Angeles, Calif.

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66044

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