Why music sucked
I have to thank you for putting why this year's music sucked ["2000 Meltdown: The year music flickered," 12/21] in the Weekly. I have only been alive for 14.5 years, and I've watched music go downhill. We are full of mindless teen pop puppets who can't even write their own songs. I hope that in the year 2001 we will see music get better. I want my generation to be known for good music—not for Britney Spears and the controversy over whether or not her boobs are real.
Paul Allen's rec room
Geeky rock correction: In the Year in Music issue, Arlie Carstens of Juno was quoted as saying the high point of the year was watching Tom Verlaine and Lenny Kaye score short experimental films at EMP ["Thanks for the memories," 12/21]. While I agree it was amazing, that was not Lenny Kaye. Perhaps Arlie slipped that in knowing no one in the Weekly music
department would know better, Lenny being most distinctly not involved and bearing no physical resemblance to Tom Verlaine's friend Jimmy. If, for some reason, Arlie genuinely thought that was Mr. Kaye, I hope it doesn't dampen the memory to know there was only one certified legend playing in Paul Allen's rec room that night.
I was wondering if Seattle Weekly had hired a new film reviewer(s)? Within the last three to six months, the quality of your film reviews has turned very sour and negative. Did you hire the Grinch? Whoever is doing the movie reviews does not enjoy their job or does not have a happy home life, because he/she just murders films he/she doesn't like.
In addition, your choice of "star" films has deviated from what it consistently was for years. I would brag to people that if the Weekly gave it a "star" it was guaranteed to be well worth your hard-earned seven dollars and a Saturday evening. Now the "star" system seems to be random and way off base. (Did the Weekly star any of the movies that are being rumored for Oscar contention?? How could the Weekly not star Pay It Forward? The whole audience was an emotional mess at the end!?) I can't rely on the Weekly's movie reviews anymore, and that is a huge disappointment, as I am an avid moviegoer.
LISA M. THENELL
Geov Parrish misses a very important point in his article about the state legislature in Olympia [Impolitics, "And then there's Olympia," 12/14]. While the situation was very similar during the last legislature, with a 49-49 tie in the House, a number of groundbreaking initiatives were instituted—initiatives that mean a lot to working families in our state.
Three stand out: 1.) Washington is now the first state in the nation to provide a permanent funding source for unemployed workers to cover their living expenses while they are in training and retraining to gain new skills and move back into work. 2.) The state found a solution to the child care crisis by implementing a groundbreaking early childhood education career and wage ladder program for child care workers. By linking wage increments to education, training, and experience, the state is keeping child care affordable, reducing astronomically high turnover rates, and improving the quality of care for our youngest children. 3.) The state expanded and enhanced the first and largest public-private waged work welfare-to-work program in the country, namely Community Jobs, by which people move into work and off welfare. Over 4,000 participants have benefited from this program, which opens up economic opportunity with greatly increased wages and career development.
These are only some of the results created under the leadership of Democratic Speaker Chopp and Governor Locke. They set a standard for productive work in 2001 with another evenly divided House. It does not have to be a do-nothing session!
JOHN R. BURBANK
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY INSTITUTE, SEATTLE
Let me get this straight. Light rail [see "This time, with feeling," 12/21] will take 4,000 cars off the road at rush hour, for only $2 billion plus overruns, but we must wait until 2009.
We can do better! Paying half a million dollars for each car removed from rush hour is a little high, but the big problem is that the time frame is wrong. For only $300,000, I will keep my car completely out of Seattle, and I'm willing to start
As a BONUS, if Sound Transit sends me a check within four to six weeks, I'll stay completely out of the Eastside for free. I urge the ST board to act now to take advantage of this amazing offer!
Questions of soul
I don't know whether to thank you or castigate you for this recent article ["Tearing at Children's Heart," 11/30]. The accusations, innuendo, and gossip proffered as a news story have poured salt into the still-open wounds that my wife and I retain from the recent loss of our son. He was a patient of Dr. Lupinetti and had gone through the Norwood operation at the tender age of 9 days old. He died of respiratory and cardiac arrest in his pediatrician's office on August 22. He was 8 months old, and he and his twin sister were our world.
While our experience with the heart center was one of great turmoil, I can't see how your article does anything other than stir the roiling cauldron of doubt and guilt surrounding the circumstances of my son's treatment. Your examination of the "cold" mortality figures surrounding Children's of Seattle comparatively offer little in the way of reaching any sort of informed conclusion on the performance of the heart center. You hint that they may be sub par, but don't offer a broad enough picture to reach that conclusion.
Again, when looking at potential conflicts between the heart center and other disciplines, you hint at a sub par result but offer little proof other than comments that may have their own roots in personal bias rather than professional opinion. You simply cast a shadow of doubt but don't offer substantial proof that the medical care was substandard.
I can barely cope with my son's death with the knowledge that my wife and I, along with the Children's of Seattle staff, did everything reasonably possible to give my son a long life. Should I reassess that opinion because of this article of dubious intention? Should we have sought out another hospital for his treatment? Should we have asked different questions of his care providers? Should we have been more or less combative as advocates for our son's treatment? What did his doctors not tell us?
These are just "neutral" questions to the journalist, but these are questions of soul, character, and life and death for my wife and me. What questions haunt your life? Does my anguish seem a fair target for your profit? All I know is that my son is dead and neither your article nor the heart center can do anything about it.
Nina Shapiro responds: It is true that I can only imagine the anguish that David Hurley and his family have experienced. But as a parent as well as a writer, I could not help but imagine it while writing this story, and it has been painful to even contemplate. My heart goes out to Hurley. Nonetheless, the controversy that I wrote about was not deduced from innuendo and gossip: It was revealed in extensive interviews with present and former staff at Children's, including administrators, as well as voluminous documents, all of which were examined over a period of months. Regarding the conclusive proof Hurley is looking for about the level of care at Children's heart center, I presented professional opinions as well as data in as much context as possible, and let readers draw their own conclusions.
Hullo from the Brits
Greetings to Seattle Weekly from England and the Groundhogs. My good friend Jack Endino sent me a copy of the Culture Bunker page from the October 5 issue and I would just like to say how heartening it is to find that our music is heard and appreciated outside of Europe and the UK.
I know that Steve Malkmuss of Pavement considers "Thank Christ for the Bomb" his favourite album, which I was amazed to find out, as we did not really have much exposure in the US until a short tour in June 1972 when Hurricane Agnes did her best to blow out a lot of the gigs (and succeeded in Akron).
We were supporting Humble Pie, Black Oak Arkansaw, and Edgar Winter, but after playing the Poconos Festival we had a couple of days off, so we decided to try our hands at horse-riding at a nearby stable. We had never been on horses before and when, on the second day out, one of our roadies was thrown from his mount and mine bolted, I decided I was not enjoying myself and jumped off.
Unfortunately, my right wrist snapped on contact with the ground, and I spent the next two days at the General Hospital of Monroe County in East Stroudsburg, Pa.
I came home and spent the next six weeks with a cast on my arm and have never been back to the States since, so it was great to see my picture in your paper, and I want to thank Michael Krugman and Jason Cohen, who must have been over here to take the pics.
Please include my e-mail address, as I would very much like to hear from your readers. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all in Seattle.
TONY (TS) MCPHEE
Letter o' the week
I asked myself waking up this morning, has the new millennium really arrived? I checked my bookshelves and found two books: Number, The Language of Science by Tobias Dantzig and Mathematics, Life Science Library 1963.
It seems a Hindu, around 500 AD, first used a symbol for zero, called "sunya." Around 825 in Baghdad, al-Khowarizini wrote of the Indian zero as "sifir." Italians imported the zero as "zephirum" in the 13th century and by the 14th century called it "zero." The Germans named it "cifra," which became "cipher." The city-state of Florence had outlawed the use of zero, fearing that the merchants who had mastered its use would cheat them. The use of zero went underground and was made into a secret sign, thus the word "decipher."
My conclusion? With no zero until many centuries after 0 AD, 0 BC, year zero of our Lord, the only possible way to start counting years would have been to begin at 1 AD. Math: Year 1 + 2000 years = 2001. Thus, we are not yet to the new millennium. January 1, 2000, began "Y2K," the Roman numeral year "MM," but this New Year's Eve will end the first 2000 years!
MARK C. BILLINGTON
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