Week of February 16, 2006

"Your tombstone will wind up a moss-laden perch that will become the local pigeon's rest stop."


Feature, February 9, 2006

Pongin' All Over the World

Pour the Kamenitza! I liked Ben Westhoff's story and wanted to let you know that beer pong is well established in Bulgaria. In fact, beer pong is something of an institution at the American University of Bulgaria. I did a semester abroad over there in 2001 while at Mizzou. I'd never seen the game before, and I was amazed by how deeply everyone got into it. There were kids from all over the Balkans playing: Bulgarians versus Macedonians, Albanians versus Romanians. It was a spectacle. At the end of the semester, the students held a tournament that even drew alumni back to compete. Of course, they were playing with Kamenitza rather than PBR or Bud. Just thought I'd share.
Jim Reilly, associate editor, Fly Rod & Reel Magazine, Rockland, Maine

Feature, February 2, 2006

Candid Camera?

Down with cronyism: I wanted to compliment Chad Garrison on what I thought was a great piece of investigative reporting in "Red Light, Green Light.". I've always felt that the RFT was somewhat of a one-sided liberal rag. I don't feel that way anymore.

It's nice to know that there is some entity out there uncovering the flagrant cronyism that happens in our city's politics. American Traffic Solutions will still probably get the red-light camera contract, but at least it will cost Ms. Joyce Aboussie a couple more meetings in her office. Wouldn't it be fun to know what she does for all these people that makes them all jump at her beck and call? That would be a good article in itself. Keep up the good work.
Brad [last name withheld by request], Chesterfield

Critical Fatwa, February 2, 2006

Fatwa-ing the Fatwa

Solid waste: I'm not sure when the last time was that I read such garbage. Not only has Lenny Kravitz had a sixteen-year career in music and had the honor of being the only male to ever score four consecutive male vocal Grammies, but he has also had every single one of his albums go platinum or gold in 33 countries around the world. I'm quite sure Mr. Kravitz will be around much longer than the Toiletbowla of Rock. His repetitive style is not only not even close to being funny, but his articles would not even be worthy of cage-lining material for a blind bird. Mr. Kravitz has heard the same criticism for sixteen years and still stands strong.

Fatwa! Toiletbowla of Rock, when you lie rotted with age, disease and crying because no one will be at your side, you will realize the power of your worthless dribble. Your tombstone will wind up a moss-laden perch that will become the local pigeon's rest stop and will one day wither and fall without a single person noticing, unlike those you try and belittle.
Michael Gunter Hopatcong, New Jersey

Letters, February 2, 2006

Dance Dance Revolution

Belly ache: In response to the letter by the Kittens of the Albino Alley Cat Revue: I have been to see the Albino Alley Cat Revue twice, and I found the shows fun and entertaining both times. I appreciate the ladies' desire for respect as performance artists. This is why I was incredibly disappointed at the close of last Saturday's performance. The final act featured a "Dance of the Seven Veils," and the dancer was attired in a paillette-covered bra-and-panty set that I suppose was meant to be reminiscent of a belly dancer's bedleh (typical costume).

As an instructor and performer of Middle Eastern dance (belly dance), I cringed. In their letter to the RFT, the Kittens complained that the RFT article "perpetuates a stereotype that burlesque is just glorified stripping." Ironically, the ladies of the Albino Alley Cat Revue have similarly misrepresented belly dance. Middle Eastern dance artists such as myself struggle daily with the myths and misconceptions regarding our dance. Belly dance is not about seduction, titillation, etc. To incorporate a belly-dance-themed act into a burlesque show only serves to reinforce stereotypes of belly dancers as, you guessed it, glorified strippers. Please. Leave belly dance to the belly dancers, and we'll leave the burlesque to you.
Heather D. Ward, St. Louis

Unreal, February 2, 2006

The Cruelest Cut

First, do no harm: This article ["Spare the Rod"] might have been better titled "Spare the Rod." The remarks are clearly those of a circumcised man, and I can understand being defensive about those who oppose routine infant circumcision (RIC). Were they of a similar mind when female genital mutilation was outlawed in the U.S.? The author mocks the info about nerve endings, etc., which is easy when you have not experienced sexual pleasure with an intact penis. Or to face the discomfort of their partner without the functioning of a foreskin.

I had a friend who is intact, but had his two sons cut. He had the same line about the redundant, unnecessary foreskin — he must have been "educated" by his wife — or some "uneducated" circumciser! He was present when his second son was cut. I asked him if, based on his argument, he would get circumcised, too, in order to look like his sons. He immediately said, "No way!"

At a pediatric conference last year, in our demonstration against RIC, I spoke with a young female doctor with her intact son in the stroller. She said she cuts if the parents want it (I asked what other healthy body part she would cut at parents' request) and asked her how much education was provided in med school about the anatomy and functioning of the intact penis. Answer: none! They are taught how to cut and how to get consent, in residency! Not knowing its purpose and functioning! So at least the Catholics Against Circumcision are simply doing what any doctor following the Hippocratic oath's first dictum would do: Do no harm! Leave the boy the way he was born, whole and perfectly designed. And he's the patient. Did he consent to this cosmetic surgery?
David J. Biviano, Seattle, Washington

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