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Inn Again 

Week of August 13, 2003

Inn Again
The guts to tell the no-tell story: Regarding Mike Seely's article "Inn & Out" [July 30]: At the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, I learned that many of the "no-tell" motels in the inner cities were built for black travelers, as blacks were prohibited from staying in "white" establishments. People either stayed in "colored" motels or with black families. Also, most of these were built at a time when they were in middle-class neighborhoods that would not tolerate what goes on now.

The article was interesting and informative. The Post would never have the guts to tell about this institution.
Tony Spranaitis
St. Louis

No class: "Peter," the main character in Mike Seely's "Inn & Out," allegedly lives with his grandparents and claims to be a doctoral candidate at a local university. What else do we know about Peter? How about these extrapolated facts:

1) It's only a matter of time before Peter is diagnosed with AIDS or some other social disease, if he's not already infected.

2) Peter has the morals of an alley cat. Correction: Alley cats have higher standards than Peter, because they don't watch porn or do drugs.

3) Peter has a professional girlfriend who objects to his frequent visits with the seamier sides of life. If that pair ever decides to get married, I suggest that their friends not give them any durable wedding gifts. That marriage has less of a chance of surviving than a snowball in you-know-where.

I wonder if Peter's grandparents know about his frequent carousing. If so, how happy and proud they must be. My chief worry is that Peter is attending a local university of which I may be an alumnus. I hope and pray Peter isn't associated with my former school.
Richard H. Gerding
Concord Village

Skate Away
Zero tolerance: It is understandable that those parents whose children utilize Saints Roller Skating Center and are well behaved might feel it's unfair that the rink may no longer be allowed to hold all-night skating sessions because of a few jerks [Bruce Rushton, "Saints or Sinners?" July 30]. Generally, it's always the few bad apples that spoil it for others. That said, it's not the responsibility of the Olivette City Council to propose an alternative to decrease the vandalism and complaints of nearby business owners. That's the responsibility of Andre Stith, the rink operator. He's the one making the money -- I'm sure he's not operating Saints as a nonprofit organization.

As an African-American, I also resent Mr. Stith presenting this as a racial issue. If I owned a business nearby and my business was interrupted due to unruly kids leaving his roller rink, I'd be pissed, too. I wouldn't care if the kids were black, white or refugees! And I don't know about Mr. Stith, but any time someone shoots at another person, that's serious. What, were they playing with pop guns?

Mr. Stith, if downtown business owners' establishments were being vandalized or interrupted following a Cardinals baseball game because of drunken, unruly fans, the St. Louis Cardinals would be taken to task to do something about it. The same applies to you. Here's a solution: Hire more security and implement a zero-tolerance policy for all patrons.
Greg Gibson

Phair Is Foul
A failed experiment: The difference between hearing Avril Lavigne or Liz Phair singing "Why Can't I" is that one is expected to sink that low, while the other courageously falls from grace in the process [Gina Arnold, "Phair Trade," July 30]. Liz Phair's experiment with this album is interesting, but it fails because she's trying to erase all of her good points and replace them with slickly produced radio static.

As much as I'd like to agree that it's sexist to call her on showing off her goods, the fact remains that whether she wants it to or not, her skin on an album cover sells. All of these windblown-hair pictures are just serving to make her look like a common tart, as opposed to the honestly sensual indie diva she used to be.

The bottom line is that I can't just pass off her turn for the worse because of former greatness. I still respect her old music, but she's really lacking credibility as an artist right now. I applaud the "Chicken Little" letter, but that doesn't make up for a redneck-guitar-calendar album cover that I'm supposed to see as "empowering." Please.
Will Brown
St. Louis

A whiny critic: Is Gina Arnold a sullen fifteen-year-old? That's what she sounds like in her oh-my-gawd-my-favorite-singer-got-a-bad-review rant defending Liz Phair's new record against all the mean, stupid critics who dared to do their job and have an opinion. I've read all of those mean, stupid reviews Arnold refers to, and man did she make some strange and outright incorrect statements in describing what the other reviewers were saying. In lashing out like she did, Ms. Arnold sounds just like I did when I was fifteen and some mean, stupid critic lambasted the latest Rush LP. As she matures, maybe she'll learn (or maybe not) that sometimes interesting artists make crap records. And sometimes you just gotta deal.

And listen closer to that record, Gina. In a couple years you just might realize those critics were right on target.
Brian McClelland
St. Louis

India Ink
Hold the sarcasm: About John Goddard's sarcastic remarks on music in Indian/Hindi movies ["Missouri Masala," July 30]: I would say it reflects the Indian psyche. It has soothing music, unlike Western noise (beating drums and steel till it breaks -- welcome to rock & roll!), so you can see for yourself how peaceful at heart Western people are and Indians are (in spite of all the materialistic luxuries at their disposal).

Secondly, about the length of a movie (max bang for their rupee): I would say, since most of the flicks are about human emotions and relationships, the films tend to get slightly lengthier. Might be strange to you, as "length" is something not well-known in the West -- say, for example, "length of any relationship," "length of period you will work at a place," "length of time you will spend with a family member," "length of the time you spend being unselfish." So I am not amazed at that comment, because I think Western people are used to "short" spurts of emotions and tricks they play to get more materialistic luxuries.
Rajeev Prasad
Maryland Heights

Putting on the Brakes
The Turin Brakes fan club: I just wanted to say thanks for Niles Baranowski's wonderful July 30 Critic's Pick about Turin Brakes in their first real U.S. tour (opening for David Gray). They seem to be getting quite a bit of attention this time around, and I think your article pinpointed the reasons why. I've been searching for reviews, but they're not getting as much coverage in the other cities they've played. I've seen three of the shows and was very impressed. Thanks again!
Jeanne DeBonis
Brecksville, Ohio

Sign Language
Pulling for Bambino: Thanks to Bruce Rushton for writing "Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign" [July 23]. I am Harold Davis Jr.'s little sister Diana. I am proud to see this article feature him. Yes, you are right. Bambino is God-gifted. When he was two years old, my mother entered him in an art contest, and he won. He has been drawing for more than half his life. Bambino has had a few hard knocks. But he is very smart. I believe our mother's, father's and sister's deaths were just too hard for him. I would like to help him get on his feet and get a sign shop like he used to have. I love him dearly and he is a beautiful person. I pray that Jesus will continue to keep him and help him be the man that Jesus has called him to be and then he can even help others.

Thank you again for featuring my brother. I think for him to see himself in the paper might be the driving force he needs that will help him get himself together, so that he can be the real man that he is. I love him very much.
Diana Wheeler
Sugarland, Texas

Beer Goggles
Too many feminists: I read Geri L. Dreiling's article about the Michelob ads ["Stick to Mich," July 23]. I am upset that there are so many feminist activists out there these days. They just want to nitpick everything. I am a woman and not only do I not find the ads offensive, but I think they are very artistically creative. The women depicted are not nude or doing anything obscene.

My opinion is that some of these ranting fems just need to get a hobby.
Erin Mendieta

D.C. Chimes
Reader gets through entire RFT story!: I have never read one of your articles all the way through -- until now. D.J. Wilson's story about D.C. Chymes (Isaiah Wilhelm) was so compelling that I read every word ["The Worst of D.C.," July 16]. I know him personally, because I was the Steve & D.C. Songbird on the radio with them regularly on the morning show in 1999, and I am still an occasional guest. I find D.C. Chymes to be a very serious and professional person who is also funny. He's extremely nice and always treated me with the highest regard. I find him and Steve to be wonderful people, and I thank God that I know them. They are good buddies to have.

I would suggest that people not point fingers and pass judgment on D.C. Remember that we are all human, and we all fall short. None of us are perfect. I still think very highly of him and like him very much -- no matter what befalls him.

God bless you, D.C. Chymes (Isaiah Wilhelm). I do hope that he will pay off all of his debts and try hard to do better from this day forward.
Vanessa Vargo
Granite City, Illinois

The un-Christian thing to do: While I agree that anyone who earns the kind of income that D.C. does should be paying their bills, that does not necessarily make it newsworthy when they declare bankruptcy. It was obvious from the caricature alone that D.J. Wilson's article was meant to slam D.C.'s Christianity. And yes, even Christians end up in bankruptcy court. Our faith doesn't protect us from the consequences of poor decisions, but it does help to guide us through those difficult times.

And let's be honest: If D.C. had not been so public about his faith, we would not have seen anything printed about his financial difficulties in your paper. Does this mean we can hope to see more dirt on other local radio and TV personalities? Because I'm inclined to believe that there are far more scandalous and salacious stories than this one. The intent of your article was not to inform; it was mean-spirited and intended to discredit D.C.'s faith. Shame on you!
James Carter
Dupo, Illinois

Who should be ashamed: D.C.'s problems originate from delusions of grandeur or some sort of addiction. I am sure you media-types will crawl on your belly like a reptile to uncover the real problem, issue or fault. The Bible states that you, me, D.C., George Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Osama bin Laden, the Reverend Al Sharpton, the Reverend Larry Rice and U.S. Senators Trent Lott and Rick Santorum are all the same. It's a level playing field when we're all sinners. Just because D.C. claims to be a born-again Christian does not change the fact that he is a human being. Maybe not as evolved as me and my tree-hugging friends, but human nonetheless. Therefore, D.C.'s "problems" have nothing to do with Christianity, and shame on you, RFT, for making the inference.
Verna Sutherland
St. Louis

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