We'll get right on it, Bill: I wish you had printed a more representative sample of the responses I received about my blog, BillHaas.blogspot.com [Unreal, February 2]. Most were very supportive -- people telling me that they had always admired me for speaking out on tough issues, that it was very brave of me to speak out about how life scares me when money and love seem in short supply and how I've tried to find answers to that fragility over the years through medication and talk therapy even though I have none of the symptoms of clinical depression except the thought of killing myself if life gets bad enough (that's situational depression, and it is hard or impossible to treat -- we all would get down when life is unhappy enough long enough, even those like me who are basically happy people who try to get joy out of every day) -- and wished me peace and love.
Those who wrote with mean comments didn't bother me at all: I've always been at peace with myself, know who I am, like me and have never let others define me. I think being mean to someone who has shown their vulnerability says more about their unhappiness than it does mine; in my opinion, they are the ones who need professional help.
Finally, I assert unequivocally that I would never have hung up on a call with a high school class, as one writer alleged. I've never hung up on anyone, ever, in my professional life, and I wouldn't have done it to a class of students. I urge the Riverfront Times to follow up the allegation and try to track down the truth. And shame on you for printing it without asking me if it might be true.
My plan is to be mayor of St. Louis (if not this time, someday), to find a lasting love relationship and be around another 30 years adding to people's lives politically, and making those uncomfortable who need to be. That's my real story and I'm sticking to it.
Bill Haas, board member
St. Louis Public Schools
Unreal's in love! I'm a St. Louisan residing in the United Kingdom who loves Unreal. As I was perusing "Unreal Presents Soulard Mardi Gras Bingo," I noticed the "Woman Too Old to Be Dressed Like That" item on some of the cards [February 2]. I just wanted to share a wee bit o' culture by way of a great phrase the British have for such heinous sights: "Mutton Dressed as Lamb." Another less-quaint expression I've recently come across: "A Whitney Dressed Like a Britney."
Another morsel to pass on that may be of some use during Mardi Gras is a game my husband and his little sister used to play as kids being dragged across the British countryside attending folk/beer festivals. The game is called "Pretender or Contender"; the object is to find the most pregnant beer gut of the day. Anyone can start it by calling a "Contender"; then you try to best your friends by finding a better belly and calling their "Contender" a "Pretender." And so on until you all settle on a winner at the end of the event.
Grandma's got it goin' on: Give me a break, Prudence McPrude [Chad Garrison, "Have You No Decency?," February 2]! Cosmo and the like are now porno mags? What's next? Time, because the necrophiliacs are getting off on the front cover photos of corpses? Or Modern Maturity, because for some, Grandma's got it goin' on? Puh-leez!
A little tension relief can be a good thing: What possesses James Melka and his group to think they know what is right or wrong for everybody? There is a morning show on KFNS (AM 590) that, somewhat tongue in cheek, started a group called D.A.M.M. (Dudes Against the Moral Majority), of which I consider myself a full-fledged member.
Melka and his clones don't want the likes of Cosmopolitan in local checkout lanes or risqué displays at Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch in the Westfield Shoppingtown. Why stop there, Mr. Melka? You have to rid the checkout lane of gum with sugar, TV Guide (have you seen the filth on TV these days?) and tabloid newspapers (no wait, he probably buys those).
Melka outdid himself when he referred to serial killers and rapists addicted to porn. I'm guessing these rapists and killers also drink tap water and eat food. He and his group represent everything that has gone wrong in this country since Janet Jackson's Super Bowl stunt. We don't need anyone anointing themselves the moral police.
I'd like to relate my only Chesterfield experience: My son was driving home from the University of Missouri with several friends. They stopped at a Steak n Shake in Chesterfield. When they returned to his car, it would not start. They were parked in a busy strip mall. It was around 8 p.m. These were college boys. Some had long hair, one had a beard, one (Heaven help him) wore his hair in dreadlocks. They asked numerous people if they could have a jump. Most avoided eye contact and acted as if they were deaf. Finally a man with his wife and kids said, "If I had cables, guys, I'd help you out." They informed him that they had cables. He walked away without saying another word. Eventually I drove out to Chesterfield and jumped his car. In my opinion Chesterfield has greater social concerns than whether one's wife is going to be lured into purchasing a Cosmopolitan and possibly discovering a new technique of relieving some tension in her uptight husband.
From now on they're "Natty A": Consider how you may be confusing people by calling scum like the National Alliance "NA" [Unreal, February 2]. The initials "NA" are a registered trademark of Narcotics Anonymous. Infringing on our ability to reach out to recovering addicts is serious business.
Name withheld by request
Mt. Vernon, Illinois