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


If it was a white school...: Don't you have anything else to do with your time? I believe you missed the whole point of the Vashon basketball program and what Coach Irons actually did for the students. He took disadvantaged students and gave them discipline and hope. He gave those children an opportunity that they wouldn't have had unless their parents could afford to send them to Vianney and DeSmet, which offer city students scholarships to come play for their basketball team. How can these students cheat when you have a referee doing the games? These students played and practiced basketball all year round, starting their freshman year. Most of them wouldn't have had a chance or a thought of going to college if it wasn't for Floyd Irons. But these stupid, jealous parents in other school districts can't see that. They were and are the best because Irons brought it out of them. If it was a white school, this article would have never been written. I'm not saying that Irons is the best character. I'm just saying that what he was trying to do for these boys was a great thing. Look at the news: I'm pretty sure that parents don't put in their minds to raise kids to rob banks, do tax fraud and vote in presidents that can't run their own households. It was privileged information that was gathered, so the writer of the article really didn't do a good job. Who in their right mind would publish a child's address in a public newspaper? I think the character and the integrity of the writer should be questioned. Think about it!
S. Scruggs, St. Louis

News Real, October 26, 2006

Grand Scheme Down with the dissidents: Malcolm Gay reports in "Grand Debate" that some Grand Center residents and members of the arts district's Masonic Temple are suing Saint Louis University over its use of public funds to build a new sports arena. I disagree with the dissidents. I was recently a victim of crime while visiting midtown St. Louis. Perhaps SLU's new arena could be the answer to making the area safer.

As it stands now, there are deserted buildings in the area. A 2004 plan to reduce the crime rate in deserted areas of Baltimore stated that worthwhile projects would stimulate positive activity. Baltimore's crime rate has declined significantly according to the thirteenth edition of Morgan Quitno Press' published rankings. Perhaps an initiative like the one the university is proposing will do the same for St. Louis. The sports arena also has the capability to stimulate the economy. According to an October 29 report on National Public Radio, the new Busch Stadium beautified a downtown St. Louis area that was once an eyesore and a tragedy. Now the area has grown economically with 50 new businesses opening. The growth provides more jobs and stimulates the environment to promote tourism. The dissidents need to look beyond their personal issues and think about midtown St. Louis as a whole. I am glad to see that the majority of the residents and outside supporters are in favor of the project. My hopes are that SLU will prevail and do something positive for the Grand Center area.
Melissa Benton-Hopper, Florissant


Unreal, October 26, 2006

Unreal Fan Keep it "coming" — ha! I thought Trojan Victory and the Bud stuff was funny as hell. Keep it "coming," man! (ha, ha, ha.)
Steve Cobb, Austin, Texas



Feature, October 12, 2006

Lewis & Clark Disembark Man overboard: The antics of the people who've been re-enacting one of the greatest human adventure's in recorded history are predictable behavior, and Malcolm Gay's "Lewis & Clark & Clark & Clark" was an unremarkable write-up.

No good result could come of such material without slanting the article humorously. Lacking this, readers could get bored. Even the people taking part in the expeditions got bored.
John D. Coty, St. Louis

News Real, October 12, 2006

Thin Ice How about a decent goalie, Dave? Dave Checketts' "new" ideas about cheaper tickets and the Ice Girls are good for Blues fans. However, he needs to invest his money in obtaining a quality goalie and players who can send the Blues to the playoffs, rather than giving us another dismal season.
Luis Martinez, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland



Riverfront Times is looking for freelance writers to help us add to our coverage of local theater. Please send clips, r&#233sum&#233 and cover letter to: Tom Finkel, editor
Riverfront Times
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St. Louis, MO 63130 Or via e-mail to
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