The Mallinckrodt Project

Week of August 20, 2003

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The Mallinckrodt Project
This close to fascism: Thanks to Geri L. Dreiling for her "Nuclear Half-Lies" [August 13]. It made me realize just how lucky I was. My father was chairman of the chemistry department at St. Louis University and died in 1959 as a result of his involvement in the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago. He had a top security clearance, of course, so the Pentagon was dumb enough to keep medical records on the man; the only way my family ever got any compensation was to bypass red tape with a subpoena. (One of the morals here, for any GOP member who wants to turn this into a genuinely fascist society, is: Don't leave records.)

Sooner or later, someone in Washington is going to have to realize that a government that claims to be a democracy has to take its responsibilities seriously if it wants the support of its citizens. As things stand, the aftermath of the Manhattan Project is just the last in a series of disgraces, along with Agent Orange in Vietnam and the mysterious Persian Gulf syndrome, that make a career in the military look like a bad idea. No wonder they can't get anyone to volunteer for their all-volunteer army. JFK said, "Ask what you can do for your country"; he didn't say, "Bend over."
Daniel G. Schaeffer
St. Louis

The Poll Vault
Evidently Kirsten hasn't seen the puffins: Wow. I knew that St. Louis theater was still looking for that magical moment when everyone jumped on board and we became a theater town worthy of traveling to, but to have the RFT not include any theater options in the entertainment portion of the annual Best of St. Louis ballot? Wow. What a shame. I can't believe that "Best Zoo Animal" is deemed more worthy of inclusion than "Best Theater Company" or "Best Theater Production."

Thank you for the continued coverage via reviews and the updated Calendar section (kudos to Mr. Kerman and Mr. Friswold), but reconsider including us theater folk next year. We are a bit more entertaining and intelligent than the puffins.
Kirsten Wylder Mitchell, managing director
The NonProphet Theater Company
St. Louis

The Little Grant That Could
The secret is out: I was pleased to see University City's Committee for Access and Local Origination Programming get the recognition it deserves [Mike Seely, "Grant Farm," August 6]. The CALOP grants have been an invaluable resource to many filmmakers in the area for many years.

In all honesty, for those of us who already knew about the program and benefited from it, there is that little twinge of, "Oh no, now everybody knows where the treasure is hidden." But in the long run, if it means more exposure for more filmmakers whose deserving ideas wouldn't otherwise come to fruition, then that's the best result possible.

There are so many stories out there that need to be told. Without CALOP, many of them never would be. And perhaps your article will have the added benefit of helping unite the local film scene, as Chris Grega rightly observed it was in need of. If that were to happen, it would be a boon to all local filmmakers and St. Louis as a whole.
Dave McCahan
St. Louis

The courage to persevere: Nice article on CALOP. Chris Grega is 100 percent right about momentum and building a reputation. Eric Stanze is correct that for every 100 people who say they want to make a movie, only one will ever finish.

The deeper I get, the more I see the same players/producers popping up. Regardless of what I think about their work, I have tremendous respect for their ability to complete the filmmaking task. A lot of folks only want to get involved with the fun stuff. Blokes like Grega and Stanze will go from start to finish, through the good, the bad and the ugly.
Paul Henroid
St. Louis

Wow, that is funny: Lighting Stan Musial's statue on fire [Unreal, "Burning Stan," August 6]? Oh I get it, Burning Man! Hahahahaha. Wow, that is funny.

I hope Fredbird finds one of you camping and beats you stupid with your own laptop and a sock full of roofing nails while Steve Kline gags you into silence with his hat.
Bryan Pollard
St. Louis

No Sporting Chance
Unplanned obsolescence: Mike Seely let Sporting News editorial director John Rawlings off easy ["Sporting Snooze," June 25]. I subscribed to TSN from the time I was eleven until 1984, when I went away to college. In the years that followed, USA Today and then the Internet gradually ate away at what made TSN unique: stats, box scores and insight from local beat reporters. Now it's obsolete.

Rawlings has adapted TSN to change with the times, but his writers are neither interesting nor particularly talented. Seely praises TSN's "impressively voluminous Web site," but look again. These days there's not much other than stats, fantasy games and Associated Press game reports. And sound bites nobody has a reason to listen to.

The sea of mediocrity that has swept over TSN is on Rawlings' shoulders. What he needs is more talented, energetic writers with interesting takes -- like a Mike Seely. But Rawlings can't see that.
John Gilmore

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