"Nothing like unveiling your landfill plan the week of Christmas to make sure as few people come as possible."

Week of December 7, 2006

Music, November 16, 2006

Pet Sounds

Go, Lee! I've been a fan of Be Your Own Pet since 2002 and yes, they are great live. But they haven't been recorded like they really sound since their debut single, "Damn Damn Leash." Now their two founding members have left. But I've never seen any press get the facts right until "Pet Smarts"! Not Spin, not Rolling Stone, no one. So Lee Stabert is the shit.
Brian McGinnis, Brentwood, Mississippi

Rotations, November 16, 2006

Critical Spin

Annie misses Chemical mark: I own My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade, and I feel as if Annie Zaleski and I listened to two different albums.

When I listen to The Black Parade, I hear a band broadening its musical horizon while still maintaining the passion and connection with the audience that got it here. The musical influences are obvious, but it is still all MCR. It may not be a groundbreaking effort, but few albums are. Gerard Way proves himself to be a great vocalist with a chameleon-like quality reminiscent of David Bowie. The song "Teenagers" is catchy and humorous, but it should become an anthem for teenagers raised in this post-Columbine environment.

It's a great album from beginning to end; it makes you laugh, cry, get angry, be sad, but maybe most important of all, feel. I think she missed this one.
Jamie Carter, Dupo, Illinois

News Real, November 9, 2006

Gift-Wrapped Garbage

There's bad ideas and there's good ideas: Molly Langmuir's "What, a Dump?" — great article! Being a chemical engineer, waste management is something I understand. Building in a floodplain (not to mention the wetlands) is not a good idea. Overland and underground water will always be an issue, I don't care how many liners are used.

Nothing like unveiling your landfill plan the week of Christmas to make sure as few people come as possible.
Richard Burrow, Roanoke, Virginia

Feature, November 2, 2006

School's Still in Session

Don't break the rules — change them: I was impressed by the excellent research and writing in "Basketball by the Book." No one wants someone to violate fair rules. On the other hand, it seems to me that what rules there are or should be may be complex. As a St. Louis School Board member from 1997 to 2005, I never remember hearing anyone mention the recruiting issue with respect to Vashon. I think I presumed that good basketball players were allowed to go to Vashon to play.

Let me pose these questions to illustrate my point about the complexities of the issues involved. No one could condone a basketball player from the county lying about residence to attend Vashon, but if Vashon was an athletic magnet school, would it be all right for city athletes to choose to go there? And basketball players from the county? As I think your article pointed out, the St. Louis school district makes exceptions for students to go to schools outside their neighborhood. What if the district had a rule about going to a particular school that specialized in an area of academic or extracurricular interest to the student? Would it be OK then?

The district has discussed school choice, where students could choose to go to any school they wanted to if they had transportation and there was room. Couldn't basketball players then legally go to Vashon? Students are sometimes welcome to attend a district in which they don't reside if they pay tuition of sorts. Could St. Louis do that outside the magnet program and then give needy students a scholarship of sorts?

More generally, if a student excels in an activity that they want to pursue and which might get them into college to further their education, I think they deserve to have that skill nurtured by the best instructor or coach we have.

So while I don't approve of our staff violating rules to win, if that's what happened, in principle I'm in favor of good basketball players in the city and area having been coached by Floyd Irons, and other students coached and taught by instructors of their choice. Maybe instead of enforcing the rules more strictly, some rules need to be changed.
Bill Haas, St. Louis

Floyd and me: I have wondered for years about the eligibility of Floyd Irons' players. Several years ago I visited Vashon to talk to counselors about civil engineering. I went to the office to ask which counselor I should speak with. Mr. Irons, then assistant principal, was standing next to me, and the secretary asked him which counselor I should speak with. Mr. Irons turned and walked away without saying a word. Apparently he was only interested in basketball!
Aaron Greenberg, St. Louis

Watch out for the race card...: Many throughout the state have been waiting for the Missouri State High School Activities Association to note Irons' behavior. (I especially enjoyed the time he pulled his team from a state tournament game with the board of control in attendance. No one seemed to notice.) The recruiting items noted in Hinman's article have been common knowledge for years. No one seemed to notice. Obviously Ms. Hinman is a racist. Irons always plays the race card...some notice!
J. Cheatham, St. Clair

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