copyright Bill Widener 2001

Another Plea

Imagine how terrified the people on those hijacked planes must have felt. There were children on those planes. Celebrate the dignity and respect that the people who came to help them deserve. Think about the people of Afghanistan and the torment and suffering that they have lived for more than twenty years. No schools, no hospitals, not even a central government to blame. I bet a great majority of them have never even seen a photo of Osama Bin Laden. Much less elected him, nor had a choice when he came to power. And "we" helped him. We aren't safe anymore. No one is.

I summarily reject the patriotic rhetoric espoused by president George W. Bush, for in the end, it will mean nothing. God, please help us. And protect us ALL from evil.

Kimberly M. Hayden

In Response

I helped put up the flyers which read: "THOUSANDS OF DEAD AMERICANS CAN'T BE WRONG. U.S. MEDDLING IN FOREIGN CONFLICTS MUST BE STOPPED." In last week's Ace, Avalon Sandoval [LETTERS, SEP 20] asked: "Who are the College Libertarians to declare that these people deserved to die because of botched foreign affairs?"

Apparently the challenge of interpreting our flyers was too much for some people. Of course we don't think the victims of the terrorist attacks deserved to die. Our point is that their deaths should be a message to us - what would be wrong is for America to ignore the message.

Why does Osama bin Laden hate us? He was incensed when the U.S. sent troops into the Muslim holy land of Saudi Arabia during the Gulf war. He is also angry that the U.S. supports Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What bin Laden wants is for the U.S. to stop meddling in the Islamic world. We want that too.

Would this be capitulation to the terrorists? No, it would be the morally right thing to do. The U.S. government uses our tax dollars to support Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an occupation that violates international law. The U.S. government hinders free trade with its sanctions against Iraq, sanctions which have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians. Unless the U.S. government stops this sort of meddling, there will continue to be terrorist attacks. The only way out is to stop giving people reasons to think America is the Great Satan.

Bradley Monton

Faculty Advisor, UK College Libertarians

Etiquette 101

As our country heals from all that has happened, flying the American flag, a sign of unity, pride, and freedom, is very important. Unfortunately, national pride has not been at its highest as of late, and many Americans have forgotten or have never learned proper flag etiquette. Such was the case I noticed upon arriving on campus Friday morning where I saw the latest issue of ACE. Something was terribly wrong: the flag on the cover was backwards.

I was happy to see (on Sept. 14) the Lexington Herald-Leader report on a ceremony held by a local Girl Scout council to help teach flag etiquette, and that the Herald-Leader also published the main guidelines for how to display the flag with respect. I wish that more people could have read that article.

The primary rule that I feel needs most to be re-taught is this: when displayed horizontally or vertically, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left. Imagine as if the flag were another person facing you. When you look at that person, his/her right hand is opposite your left. In the same manner, when you look at the flag, its own right is your own left. So I ask all who want to show your patriotic spirit to do so by flying our American flag proudly, and to show the most respect possible by following the code of our flag.

Additional flag history and etiquette can be found at

Robyn Ready

Ace's cover is published in a vertical format. The flag flies horizontally. If you held last week's issue with the spine closest to you, the stylized charred star-field [as rendered by our Art Director] does appear in the upper left cover - exactly as it would if you were viewing the flag.

Though jingoism is banned at Ace, no disrespect was intended. Obviously.

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Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507


Bright Lights, Big City

This is the time of year where I ask myself, "what's the best thing about Lexington?"

Obviously, I must love it - or else resign myself to the fact that it has an otherworldly gravitational pull that sucks us all to the ground and keeps us here.

This was really reinforced for me this weekend when I had more company than usual - many of them out-of-town guests - and eventually, "it" came up.

The topic of which no one speaks.

It's the first thing EVERYBODY notices about my house, but NOBODY ever mentions.


Which is the fact that it's stacked to the rafters with boxes.

Given that I bought the house almost ten years ago, it's pretty clear that these are not left over from the first move.

In fact, they're left over from the second move.

The one that didn't happen.

Last fall.

It was this time last year, almost to the day, that I tendered my resignation to my Village Voice bosses, and informed our staff - over my birthday cake - that I'd be leaving them sometime around Thanksgiving.

I had somehow landed three job offers in substantially larger markets. An embarrassment of riches, to say the least (which I owed to a couple of extremely aggressive headhunters, and several friends, mentors, and college pals who were willing to ruthlessly exploit their connections and call in favors on my behalf).

All were the kinds of gigs that people in this line of work dream about their whole lives.

Many of my friends had worked hard to convince me that to move up, was to move on.

That "home" and "place" are provincial notions employed as a means of denial and rationalization for those who just can't do any better.

I tried to believe them.

I thought I could do it.

I really did.

Hence, the boxes.

My goal was to pack one box every night when I got home. The higher the stack got, the more I cried.

"Conflicted" doesn't even begin to describe it. I was a wreck.

The closer I came to making a decision about which offer I could live with (and that's always how I thought of it), the more wrenching it became.

I became a complete sap.

"This might be my last Dilly Bar," I'd think as I pulled through the drive-thru at Dairy Queen.

"I'll probably never have another O'Round," I'd confess to my friends, choking back the tears.

Or I'd say to the guy who brings me my kung pao every Saturday, "I'll miss you the most, Steve, out of all my waiters"

I'd go for long drives in the country and get misty about the horse farms (conveniently forgetting that I'd grown up with horses, and had generally found them to be largely disagreeable).

I'd go see my favorite bands and become lost in reveries around the ghosts of bass players past (glossing over my chronic lament that the IRS wouldn't let me legitimately claim these guys as dependants).

By late October, I was almost packed.

Fortunately, I was blessed, at the time, with a boss who was smarter than I was.

He sat me down, in a pretty fatherly fashion, and told me that while he wasn't in the habit of refusing to accept resignations, that he sensed I didn't really want to leave.

Ultimately, he and the CEO figured out the way for me to stay.

It seems so long ago now.

And yet my house is still filled with boxes - a subliminal but constant reminder of the decision I made. Maybe I'll have a yard sale. Maybe I'll unpack.

So this year, I go about the business of putting together "Best Of" with a slightly less jaded eye than in years past.

Because I know I'm blessed by the "Best" every day - from my family and friends who know me and love me anyway, to my work family (the crew that puts together this paper every week, always working harder and smarter and more creatively than any boss could ever drive them to - guided solely by their own internal motivation).

I love the fact that, from my house or office, I'm within walking distance of everything from sushi to Turkish coffee to high tea with crisp white tablecloths and service so impeccable it's almost excruciating. (OK, to be honest, I did almost throw up after I saw the sushi, but that was just because I hadn't eaten or slept for about 20 hours. I'm sure it was delicious.)

Every day, in every way, I am grateful to be here. In this job. At this paper. In this town.

The fact that we all (the paper and the city) have a lot of growing up to do just means new challenges.

It's all something to celebrate even for a cynic like me.