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Nick Schou's "Prescription for Disaster" (Feature, Jan. 29) is a lesson in nuclear insanity-as practiced by the irresponsible journalist. I lived 20 miles from Three Mile Island at the time of the accident, and I've got news for you: there was no hydrogen explosion. It didn't almost blow through the containment wall. It didn't shake the Pennsylvania countryside. All that happened was that the hydrogen got vented along with some radioactive gases. The vented gases did what gases do: they underwent diffusion and quickly reached harmless concentrations. Arguably, the only people who were affected by that accident were those who suffered psychological effects due to irrational fears based on misinformation. Ironically, "misinformation" is the best description for the work of fantasy that appeared in the OC Weekly. "Prescription for Disaster" starts out badly and goes downhill from there. It's such a distortion that it should have been held for publication in your April Fool's edition. Your readers deserve better than that.
-Richard Boyer, via e-mail
Nick Schou responds: Our readers got better than that. You would have, too, had you taken as much time to read the article as you did to dash off this piece of pseudo-historical histrionics. A hydrogen bubble did form and explode inside Three Mile Island's Unit 2 reactor; it was recorded by the plant's equipment and is included in the presidential commission's report on the disaster. The reactor walls held, and the explosion was contained. Like all large explosions, it sent out quite a shock wave-another documented fact of which you appear to be ignorant because it didn't happen to you. In case you forgot, my article wasn't about Three Mile Island, but rather the following: federal officials are pushing nuclear industry officials to stockpile and distribute potassium iodide (KI); those officials are resisting the proposal for legitimate reasons-chief among them that KI works on just one of several isotopes; San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station's officials continue to push evacuation as the only reasonable response to a radiation leak; and finally, as anyone familiar with Orange County freeways knows, that evacuation is likely to be quite a disaster in its own right. Sounds to me as if you were a bit closer to Three Mile Island on the day of the disaster than you think. Either way, Richard, you are clearly an expert when it comes to venting gas.
I empathize totally with Buddy Seigal in his attempt to quit smoking ("Smoke Yourself Healthy," Jan. 22). I'm a freelance writer working at home on a computer, and writing this makes me want to smoke. So does everything else Seigal mentioned. I quit in January, not only for health reasons but also because of unfair tax policies and social persecution. As a nonsmoker (if I stick it out), I will continue to defend smokers' rights and patronize smoke-filled bars where I can ask today's social martyrs to blow some my way. Whenever I'm especially desperate for a cigarette, I chant my personal mantra: "Fuck you, Rob Reiner."
-Becky Busby, via e-mail
It is rare in this cynical and jaded world that we can expect to hear a movie critic admire a movie as ambitious as The Thin Red Line. As I watched the film, I was completely submersed in its content. If I squirmed in my seat, it was only in response to the psychological horror with which I was faced. F.X. Feeney's defense of the film was clear and concise. Moreover, it found the film's true meaning (Film, Jan. 15). I tried to sell this film to friends and family, but many of them found the film too slow or overbearing. But it's pretty clear they felt it. So often people hate a movie because of how it makes them feel; they may not question the intent of the film's writer or director. I can think of a dozen movies that put me into a funk after viewing them. But if a film makes me feel anything at all, it has succeeded. Sadly, the emotional impact of The Thin Red Line was not appealing to most; it took us to a place we spend most of our lives trying to avoid.-Frank M. Hannah, Placentia
I read Rich Kane's review of Doom Kounty Electric Chair at Club Mesa (Locals Only, Jan. 29). Comparing the band to Stone Temple Pilots is so weak it makes you wonder: How deep does Kane's music knowledge run? Doom Kounty Electric Chair sounds like the Hellacopters, perhaps, or maybe even the Backyard Babies. Does Kane know these bands?
-Scottie Diablo, La Habra
Rich Kane responds: Yes, and both of them sound like Stone Temple Pilots.
Thanks to the OC Weekly for keeping its readers informed on the outrageous arrest of Steve and Michelle Kubby. Most publications would prefer not to get involved in the reporting of events regarding the medical-marijuana issue, and the fact that you do is important in getting the public to understand exactly what is going on. Please keep reporting on this issue and on issues like it.
-Amy Vandale, via e-mail