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Hating the Floyd's music seems to come from "not getting it" more than having a real reason to hate it [Nick Schou's "Pretty Vacant," July 21]. The apex of the Floyd's amazing recorded work has been and remains Dark Side, Wish You Were Here and Animals. Add The Wall and you have an amazing array of sounds and melody, darkness and light, trippy and accessible, thoughtful and majestic. I am tempted to argue that you might be too young to get it yet, but then I have seen the big crowds at Which One's Pink shows growing with kids in attendance. Grade school, junior high and high school kids are fascinated by the music, which holds up amazingly well for its age. I've heard it said that TheDark Side of the Moon is still the music that folks want to spin first on their new stereo systems to really check them out. I encourage you not to take them for granted, because the weight of Floyd's Dark Side is still quite humbling once you are able to get it. Grasping it is not easy. If you need your tunes in comfortable two-minute slabs of punk sludge, you might never get it. Like classical music, the Floyd demands your attention. It is deceiving—it comes off as easy listening until you take the time to let the music speak to you. Again, if the quickie slab of punky posturing is what you enjoy, it might be that you could never enjoy Pink Floyd's deliberate and sometimes lengthy excursions into the stratosphere. Sad! Progressive rock certainly has given us some things to retch over. Emerson Lake and Palmer couldn't sound more dated and hyperbolic. But Pink Floyd holds its head up high with music that continues to reach new generations of young people with music and lyrics that require the listener's attention. For some folks, the live performances bring the music alive. I have friends who cannot abide a PF album but enjoy the live performances. Why not stop in for a Which One's Pink show sometime? I think that will really help. And no, I don't do drugs and the music sounds great.
B. Dirk Yarborough
Via e-mail

Nick Schou responds: I never said I hated post-Barrett Floyd, but I can see how you might have taken offense at my assertion that the band's more commercially successful stuff embodied everything that was lame about rock. That's kinda harsh, and while I stand by my written word, the band's big concept albums do reach a certain genius, as do the Moody Blues' In Search of the Lost Chord and To Our Children's Children's Children, both of which I love, but are arguably lamer and more dated than anything Floyd ever did. Dark Side of the Moon is okay, and from what I remember from college, so is Wish You Were Here. Isn't Animals the one with a lot of bird chirping, or is that disc two of Ummagumma? Meanwhile, as far as post-Barrett Floyd goes, I'm down with A Saucerful of Secrets and Meddle.

I had to laugh when I read your "columnist" Steve Lowery whine about the "election" of 2000 [Diary of a Mad County, Aug, 4]. Let's briefly go over some facts. The 2000 election was close. Al Gore actually won a majority of the popular vote, but George Bush won in the electoral college, and that's what counts; just as it counted in three previous national elections in which the eventual president got less of the popular vote than his opponent. That's the law. And let's not forget that after the election, a consortium of media, including the Bush-bashing New York Times, Bush-bashing LA Times and Bush-bashing Miami Herald, came to the conclusion that Bush won in Florida. Then there are all the people who supposedly voted for Bush by mistake (remember the butterfly ballot/hanging chad idiocy?) and weren't going to be making that mistake again in '04, and yet, lo and behold, Bush handily defeated Kerry in the state of Florida in '04, so I wonder where all those disenfranchised, disgruntled voters went? Did they move to France? Your staff is certainly entitled to its opinions (no matter how preposterous), but facts are facts. Even The New York Timessuggested that Michael Moore, by misstating facts in Fahrenheit 9/11, sent voters to the Bush side. I wonder if, by refusing to be truthful, you'll be doing the same thing in upcoming elections.
Jim Brachman

Regarding Commie Girl [July 21]: Hi Pretentious Twit, my trail name is Two Legs. I'm a 63-year-old grannie who's done 900 miles so far on the Pacific Crest Trail. I'm no hippie. You, however, are a bit snide. Well-named, too. Don't take potshots at what you don't know nada about.
Via e-mail

Congratulations to Steve Lowery for taking the bull out of bullhooks and describing why elephants never forget ["Dumbo and Dumber," Aug. 4]. These intelligent animals have every reason to go berserk (as several have) in response to years of institutionalized circus cruelty. Having ridden an elephant into my wedding, I can tell you that these magnificent creatures actually purr when they're happy. You can bet Ringling's "handlers" will never get to enjoy that sound. When enough people know the truth, which Steve does an excellent job of describing, elephants will be left alone by these self-serving circus profiteers. And more cities will do what I'm proud to say my city (Corona) has done—prohibit any traveling shows that include animals.
Tim I. Martin
Corona, CA

Editor's note: We received more than 60 letters regarding Steve Lowery's piece on circus elephants. For a further sampling, check out "Babar-ians at the Gate."


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