Letters to the Editor

Published the week of March 29

BOB AND WEAVE

I enjoyed your in-depth story on Beatle Bob and can attest to the dark side of the St. Louis icon ("Something in the Way He Moves," RFT, March 22). For 10 years, I published the local Spotlight music magazine. Around 1995, I learned that some guy was calling nightclubs, saying he was me. The imposter would ask if he could get a writer on the guest list. Beatle Bob just happened to always be tagging along with the "writer."

It became obvious who the culprit was. And he wasn't even using a publication that was defunct (as he now does with Night Times and Jet Lag). At the time, I was still very much in business, and my reputation was being affected. I was pissed.

I eventually confronted Bob while in Memphis during a music festival. I approached him at a happy-hour party held in the cafe next to Sun Studios. He denied any knowledge or involvement in the hoax. I didn't believe him for a second and was further frustrated at the idea of being taken advantage of.

Fifteen minutes later, a small group of us gathered in the cramped Sun Studios to hear a killer blues band play live. Not more than a minute into the first song, the Bobster started doing his trademark groove thing. I had to smile as I realized the absurdity of it all: Beatle Bob dancing in the same room where, 40 years earlier, Elvis recorded his first songs.

My frustration quickly melted away. I soon realized that if we're going to enjoy the benefits of rich, one-of-a-kind characters like Beatle Bob, we must also learn to accept the faults that go along with their quirkiness.

After all, Beatle Bob has always been friendly to me in public and spoke highly of my efforts to promote local music. When I organized the old annual Regional Music Showcase conferences, he eagerly promoted and participated in the event's Beatle Bob dance competition. In a way, I suppose I used him as much as he used me.

Sure, he may be deceitful, mysterious and overly obsessed with seeing every show, but just think how dull the music would be without him.

Dance on, Beatle Bob!

Bob Baker

Way to go, RFT, for giving props to Beatle Bob, a movin', groovin', dancin' machine of love. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to shake my moneymaker alongside this man on many a St. Louis dance floor. Whether it's blues, reggae, country or rock & roll, Bob is always front and center, in the mix and a half-beat off. He is truly a sight to behold! I love that "dancin' man and can't imagine not seeing his face, or moves, on the local music scene. Bob is a living example of the adage "Free your mind and your ass will follow."

Always cordial, damn glad to see ya and ready with a sweaty hug, Beatle Bob is one of St. Louis' most visible ambassadors of music and should be considered for a star on the Delmar Loop Walk of Fame.

Groove on.

Joan R. Ferguson

If you ask me, what makes this modern life so banal is the ubiquitous absence of mystery. Thanks to the industry of celebrity tell-all, it seems there's nothing these days we do not know. We are subjected, moment to moment, to the minutiae of celebrity preferences and peccadilloes, from Jennifer's favorite position and the size and shape of Puffy's little puffy to Sting's Tantric frequency, intensity and duration. Presidential and congressional escapades have been itemized. And who doesn't know who's had what implanted, enhanced, lifted and lipo-sucked? Or which ex-senator needs the little blue pill, and why? As a culture, we're outing ourselves in such numbers that we have to elbow our way through the crowd to get our 15 minutes of fame. It's damned depressing.

So let me be, if not the first, then the most emphatic to say: Leave Beatle Bob alone! Isn't it refreshing not to know where he lives or how he makes a buck? Don't you admire his impenetrable mystique? The details are his business, and if he isn't willing to share them with the RFT and St. Louis' populace, the enigma a.k.a. Beatle Bob has the right to just say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

As for me, I'm eager not to know.

Karen Walsh

LOST BOYS

Having just finished reading your article on the Juvenile Transitional Center ("Lost and Found," RFT, March 22), I felt compelled to write. I applaud The Riverfront Times for bringing this worthy endeavor to public attention. There are too many unsung heroes in this world. It is refreshing to see praise given where it so rightfully belongs. I would like to thank Stuart Marcus and Tim Carl for their perseverance and their commitment to "the project." Having a personal background as a teacher of children with behavioral disorders, I share a keen awareness of the help these children need. They not only require special help but also deserve to receive it close to home. It is the responsibility of the community to allow each child the benefits needed to become productive members of our society.

I say bravo to Stuart Marcus and Tim Carl. We need more heroes out there. I thank them for caring about our youth, who are so easily forgotten.

Wendy Ginsberg

FLYING BLIND

Your feature article did an excellent job of presenting TWA's dilemma with decreasing revenues and increasing costs ("Gremlin on the Wing," RFT, March 1). But one TWA cost was understated -- all those nonproductive TWA costs unique to operating an airline hub at a very inefficient Lambert Field.

The inefficiencies unique to Lambert, mainly an inadequate all-weather hub-airfield capacity, cost TWA in excess of $100 million per year in padded schedule times, operational delays and misconnected-passenger costs.

Sadly, St. Louis city and the Airport Authority power brokers continue to push their dream of making Lambert a "world-class airport" and continue to waste huge amounts of money and time on the jobs program known as the W-1W plan. While much-needed and cost-effective immediate improvements to Lambert (worth at least $20 million a year in savings to TWA) are frozen in political paralysis, St. Louis remains fixated on a $2.6 billion land grab and knocking down 2,000 Bridgeton homes for a new W-1W runway.

Just what will the new runway do for Lambert and TWA? I must respectfully disagree with Mayor Clarence Harmon's effusive evaluation. The new W-1W runway will do little for Lambert's all-weather capacity. And the cost -- 70 percent of the airlines' share of W-1W's cost -- will surely put TWA out of business, something that even Carl Icahn and years of inept management couldn't do.

Proof? A real-time simulation at the FAA's Technical Center in New Jersey will prove W-1W's lack of operational merit and the project's failure to significantly improve the airfield's all-weather capacity. On the TWA side, the airline's latest grim 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows TWA's inability to pay for the new runway. The plan offers no savings to TWA and other Lambert users. W-1W won't make Lambert any better; it just makes it more expensive.

And when the W-1W plan puts TWA out of business, will another airline move in and make Lambert one of their hubs, providing the level of scheduled air service that St. Louis area citizens now enjoy? How about Southwest Airlines? I would expect to see a lot of orange B-737s at Mid America Airport in St. Clair County whether MetroLink runs out of there or not. It will be worth the drive.

For those politicians who, with all good political intentions, have supported the W-1W plan without comprehending its fatal technical and economic flaws, a real-time simulation can provide a high-tech exit strategy. Relying on the technical validity of a real-time simulation to abandon what was sold to them as an airport "improvement" plan, the politicians and power brokers can safely back away from the huge public-works jobs program known as the W-1W plan. Otherwise, TWA dies and St. Louis loses.

T.L. Brown
Captain, TWA

HERE'S THE SCOOP

I often peruse your Web site. Whether I am in search of a smile or in search of a breath of fresh air, even I have as yet to figure out. I don't find your material to be respectable, yet it entertains me. Out of all national weekly publications, yours is the least evil. I found myself inadvertently typing my way into your site tonight, only to be confronted with vulgarity and a lowbrow-genre humor which I haven't encountered in years. I was delighted. The article: "Deep Doo-Doo" (RFT, March 22). The author: Adam Pitluk. I have never enjoyed reading a trashy article as much as I did tonight. I actually laughed out loud (and I don't laugh). I would like to see more articles like this one. You folks have finally got it!

Rocky A. Loessin
Lodi, Ohio

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