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Letters Column 

Week of March 9, 2006

New Web site

Web Design 101

Too Blogger for me: The new site, I have to admit, is a little too Blogger for my taste. I think the Web site of a first-and-foremost-print publication should be something like its hard copy. This new endeavor looks like a kid in college (with no design background) created it. The bigs aren't big enough, I can't tell the news from the reviews — it's all too much the same.

I enjoy the RFT because it stands out from the Post-Dispatches and News-Democrats of the area because it isn't a typical paper. So why should your Web site be so very...typical? Also, the advertising looks like it's eating the publication.

Hope this helps, and best of luck with your new design!
E.A. Lehnerer, Collinsville, Illinois

Calendar, February 23, 2006

Musicals 101

Froeb impedes progress: Ian Froeb's idiotic preview of the musical A New Brain displays exactly the kind of ignorance that keeps St. Louis from becoming the cultural center it could be ["One for My Baby, Tumor for Me"]. He writes, "The problem with that they're always about something dumb."

Really? Would those dumb things include spousal abuse (Carousel), war and peace (Hair), interracial marriage and alcoholism (Show Boat), the rise of Nazism (Cabaret), America's penchant for turning criminals into celebrities (Chicago), deadly gang warfare (West Side Story, Zoot Suit, The Capeman), apartheid (Sarafina, The Song of Jacob Zulu), class warfare (Sweeney Todd, Threepenny Opera), political corruption (The Cradle Will Rock, The Fix, Fiorello), political prisoners (Kiss of the Spider Woman, Man of La Mancha), political assassination (Assassins), the Russian pogroms (Fiddler on the Roof), the American labor movement (The Cradle Will Rock, Pins and Needles), AIDS (Rent, Falsettos), Western imperialism (The King and I) or the many, many other musicals like these — several of which have received Pulitzer Prizes for drama?

How about a little more intelligence in your pages? How about knowing something about a topic before writing about it? Or is that too much to ask?
Scott Miller, St. Louis

News Real, February 9, 2006

Prohibition 101

The drinks are on Sue: Thank you for the article by Mike Seely highlighting the liquor moratorium in the 20th Ward ["Lose the Booze"]. I live in the Marine Villa neighborhood, where Luke Reynolds wanted to open his bar. I have a great deal of respect for Craig Schmid and he has done many great things for the neighborhood. But this liquor moratorium is hurting the area and seems to go against what many neighborhood residents want.

Pete Rothschild has raised some excellent points. The neighborhoods with the most economic investment are the ones that issue liquor licenses and include bars in their economic redevelopment. We only have to look at our neighbors in Soulard to see what kinds of investments can be brought to an area that allows for some diversity in its businesses. There is a reason people chose to live in the city, and it is to be part of a dense and exciting urban area that allows you to find goods and services within walking distance of your home. A car should be optional and a stagnant environment that is hostile to change is not going to encourage people to move to the neighborhood or to retain those already living there.
Susan Sheppard, St. Louis

Bar none: I was absolutely appalled at the comments Alderman Schmid directed at Luke Reynolds' club. As a nondrinker I can vouch for the value that good-quality drinking establishments bring to a community. I also DJ club nights, and I'm currently looking for a suitable venue to launch my newest one. There are so few good venues these days, and to hear about the logistical red tape Luke has had to go through quite honestly infuriates me.

Do you have contact info for Alderman Schmid? I want to make sure he hears from me and other people as well. His attitude is judgmental, but what should I expect from our fabulous city government? Thank you for the informative article!
Doug Curtis, Fenton

Editor's note: Craig Schmid can be reached by mail via the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, City Hall, Room 230, 1200 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103. The phone number is 314-622-3287. For more information visit

Letters, February 2, 2006

Logic 101

I think, therefore I am Carl: In response to Christian Peper's letter decrying society's supposed failure to practice complete freedom in sexual matters, I would first of all observe that by "freedom" Christian means a particular course of action, namely the uninhibited pursuit of one's desires as opposed to a right to choose from two or more alternatives. I must then point out the inevitability for conflicting drives inherent in freedom as he defines it. And since Christian offers no criteria for choosing one freedom over another — for example, the pursuit of overeating over the pursuit of marathon running or the pursuit of profligacy over the pursuit of abstinence — his conception of freedom is self-contradictory and thus unworkable. And because of this defect, his implication that freedom is unambiguously good must be rejected.

As to Bob Osterholt, I think he should recognize and respect the problem that previous letter writers have with Brie Johnson without resorting to unfounded accusations of grandiosity and jealously. Those writers and I simply don't think she's funny, either in her almost-nonexistent original material or in her regurgitation from others of stuff that wasn't funny the first time.
Carl Schiller, St. Louis

Café, February 2, 2006

Waiters' Etiquette 101

Timothy O'Neal, checking in midmeal from Kansas City: Regarding Rose Martelli's review of Busch's Grove ["Gorge Busch"]: Checking in midmeal to see how things are going is as past tense as a dessert tray. Yes, I have to present a stupid dessert tray at a joint with a 47-page wine list.

A topnotch server will, secretly and from afar, take a long, honest look at those chewing midmeal and determine if approaching a table might be a good idea. If everyone seems happy, let them be happy. If there's the slightest indication of food issues, then by all means, a server should head right on over. Heck, it didn't seem like you had too much trouble throwing up a smoke signal that the lobster was "off."
Timothy L. O'Neal, Kansas City

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