Hateful words don’t belong on the side of any food truck

Monday, August 5, 2013
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Hateful words don’t belong on the side of any food truck

I totally disagree and am unsettled by Daniel Weaver’s July 28 Viewpoint bashing NYRA [New York Racing Association] for banning the food truck at Saratoga.

He fails to show the hurt and hatefulness these words are to Italian-Americans.

NYRA was right to ban this truck from Saratoga from any complaints that the name offended people of a certain ethnic group! Would he [feel the same] if it were a slur against Irish, Jewish or religious groups? I think there would be a major incident — not just a minor one, as he states.

These words were derogatory to many Italian immigrants who had to endure this slur to work.

I had to explain the slur on the truck to my 9-year-old daughter, and she also knew this was hurtful to people and questioned why they would do this. My answer to her was, “they were ignorant.”

I also question the two young people in this food business, who had the ethic slur painted on their truck. If they made this bad decision to use this word, what other poor decisions did they make on the quality of their food?

Michael A. Prezio


Better to have juries decide than mobs

Rev. James D. McLeod Jr. would have us believe that Trayvon Martin was killed because of the color of his skin [July 28 letter]. Thus, the jurors erred when it used evidence to acquit [George] Zimmerman of both murder and manslaughter.

I admit that if we dispense with trial by jury, we could save a considerable amount of money; but there are costs associated with using a mob-rule justice system that should be considered before changing our legal system from an evidence-based system to a faith-based one.

Fred Barney


Baseball, pure and simple, 60 years ago

Sixty years ago was a great summer for several youngsters playing youth baseball in Schenectady.

The Schenectady Little League All-Stars (11- and 12-year-olds) were runners-up in the Little League World Series, losing to Birmingham, Ala., 1-0, in the finals. (Not to be denied, the following year, they were the Little League champions, defeating Colton, Calif., 7-5.)

During that same summer, another baseball team, Niskayuna Post 1092 (15- to 17-year-olds) was playing American Legion baseball. That team had players from Nott Terrace, Mont Pleasant and Draper high schools. After winning the Schenectady County League, which consisted of four other legion teams, and defeating four other district teams from Amsterdam, Ticonderoga, Kingston and Staten Island, they reached the state championships in Cooperstown.

In a game on Aug. 8, 1953, they defeated Phelan Fire and Police Post of Utica, 2-0 at historic Doubleday Field. That game completed an undefeated season in state play. The following week, we lost to the Rhode Island state champions, 6-0, in Bristol, Conn. The team’s final record was 22 wins and one loss.

Several players from both teams went on to play high school, college, semi-pro and professional baseball. Most notable were major leaguers Jim Barbieri (Dodgers) and Billy Connors (Cubs) from the Little League champions.

It’s great to remember those days, instead of the recent talk of players in the minor and major leagues using performance enhancing drugs.

Russ Vendetti


The writer was the pitcher in the 1953 American Legion Championship game

Keep open mind about SPAC’s ‘other’ dancers

There have been many varying reviews of the dance companies that performed at SPAC this past month. I saw all three companies and found the variety to be inspiring and welcome. My eyes were opened to new interpretations of a classical dance form.

Aspen Santa Fe fused modern dance with ballet — something I had not experienced before. The National Ballet of Canada shared “Giselle” with us — Another new experience for many of us in the region.

Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. Art comes in many forms and dance is no exception.

I hope that more and more members of our community choose to embrace the variety of offerings at SPAC and support the arts in general, and not any one company in particular.

Melissa Zieker

Saratoga Springs

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August 5, 2013
1:52 p.m.
robbump says...

Michael A. Prezio writes ("Hateful words don’t belong on the side of any food truck") that "NYRA was right to ban this truck..."
I've been looking over my copy of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
I find a "freedom of speech", "to bear arms", "freedom of religion", and quite a few other rights ...
But nowhere do I find a "right not to be offended".
The time to have found offense was before the state entered into negotiations to have "The Wandering Dago" as a vendor at the track. They should let the market decide how distasteful the name is .... let those who disapprove boycott the food, and let those who don't care avail themselves of the fine food.
I don't need my government-nanny to make my moral decisions for me.

August 5, 2013
4:42 p.m.
wmarincic says...

I agree with robbump, I'm German and if someone named a food truck "The Sour Kraut" I could care less. We have more things to worry about than if someone with thin skin has their feelings hurt. I say I hope they sue NYRA.

August 5, 2013
9:31 p.m.
Newsworthy says...

I agree with robbump and wmarincic. NYRA knew the name when they contracted with the truck's owners; based on that, I believe NYRA owes the truck's owners whatever reasonable profits they could have expected from the racing season plus the cost of any spoiled food resulting from the ban. Mr. Prezio is perpetuating whatever negative connotations he believes exist with the word "dago" when he explains it to his son. Mr. Prezio and others that won't let it go are the real problem.

August 6, 2013
2:28 a.m.
Fritzdawg says...

Michael A. Prezio:

Hey, good thing you explained that to your daughter.
Otherwise she might have missed out on being offended.
Hey, let's see what else we can be offended by.
The term "Paddy Wagon" is actually an insult to the Irish, suggesting that they get arrested all the time.
The modern day equivalent, would be "N****r Wagon".
Are you a "Yankee Doodle Dandy"?
"Doodle" at the time, was simply a way to call someone a simpleton or idiot, and a "Dandy", was little more than a flamboyant (ahem) "confirmed bachelor".
"Mickey's" Irish Ale refers to "micks", another term that is derogatory to the Irish.
What if he named his truck "Guidos"?
That word is often used as a stereotypical slur for low-class Italian-Americans.
What about "Eskimo Pie", "Aunt Jemima", or "Uncle Ben"?
All derogatory.
Have you ever referred to someone's buttocks as a "Heinie"?
That term was originally used as slang(during both world wars) for "German", so essentially every time you use the word "Heinie, or "Hiney", you are implying that Germans are A Holes.
My grand parents were born in Germany, and Italy.
So what?
For all I know, THEIR grandparents moved there from Russia, or Norway or wherever.

Bottom line is, I was born HERE, and I AM AN AMERICAN, (damned proud of it too) and to identify myself as being of any other nationality is disingenuous at best.
Now go forth and be offended if that's what floats your boat, but please stop infecting the next generation with that nonsense.

August 6, 2013
7:46 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Fritzdawg, I take back 83% of everything I ever said to you. Great letter.

August 7, 2013
9:04 p.m.
tues8capt says...

All of you people are correct; we certainly have more important things to worry about than perceived heritage insults. I'm a tad tired of being PC and not offending anyone. Perhaps we should focus a bit more more on our corrupt government, state and federal, and removing it, before it becomes totalitarian. And perhaps we might say a prayer for two year old Logan and his family, who have endured what most of us could never envision. Godspeed, Logan, and may God bless.

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