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A PUNK'S PUNK
This is Frank Agnew, formerly of the OC band The Adolescents, among others. I first want to let you know that your trashing of my son's band CTW (he's the singer/guitarist) was a little uncalled for (Rich Kane's Locals Only, Dec. 1). Granted, they are green and new at this, but the reality is they're 14-year-old kids having fun with their friends and staying out of trouble. It appears you took this show far too seriously as your tone throughout the review (not just of CTW) was pretty damn mean—especially the "How about crappy?" stuff.
I've had my share of negative reviews in the past, but none portraying such vitriol and lack of tact. A reviewer has every right to write negative reviews if they so desire, but it isn't necessary to be nasty. My advice: be careful who you recklessly trash in public; it's bad for your career.
via e-mail Rich Kane responds: That was hardly a "reckless trashing," Frank. Here's my advice to bands everywhere: if you're good enough to play on a stage in front of a paying audience, you should also be able to take criticism —that goes for proud parents, too.
SHE WAS TOPLESS TILL NOW
I'm sure Commie Girl is getting a ton of messages about this (and probably already knows about it), but the day after Thanksgiving isn't for shopping (Rebecca Schoenkopf's Commie Girl, Dec. 8)! It's International Buy Nothing Day, a day on which we buy nothing and decide not to participate in landfill-filling, worker-exploiting, toxic waste-producing, credit-busting hyperconsumerism. My best hope is that she wrote an article about Buy Nothing Day before Thanksgiving (because she's just that cool!) and that I just missed it in my tryptophan hangover. If, however, she's not familiar with the idea, check out www.adbusters.org and poke around. Maybe she can inspire the masses of OC to avoid shopping next year (ha!). Regardless, thanks for being a voice of sanity in OC.
a.k.a. Pope Spanky XXIII Rebecca Schoenkopf responds: Hey, Spank, I just shopped so I could write about the culturalness of it all, and I didn't really buy, aside from the velour tube top. But you know what? I've never owned a tube top before. Don't you think it's time I did?
SPIDER WEB CAM
Re: Alison M. Rosen's list of lousy gifts ("Shittygiftophobia," Dec. 8). Maybe it's her own acrophobia getting in the way here, I don't know, but the "all-expenses-paid skydiving trip" sounds like a pretty good gift to me!
www.futurecam.com Alison M. Rosen responds: Thank you so much for your concern, Paul, but I do not have acrophobia. I love our eight-legged friends. Sometimes, when I see a spider crawling across the floor, I take a cup and put it on top of the spider, open-side down, creating a little cylindrical spider terrarium. Then I take a piece of paper, preferably an index card or some type of stiff cardboard, and slide it under the cup, careful not to nick the spider's legs. Then I lift the whole thing—spider, cup and paper—and set it outside where I set the spider free. "Run, spider, run!" I say encouragingly, no matter how close I've grown to the little guy. Sometimes I'll be at a party or something, and there will be a spider, and someone will lift their foot with the obvious intention of squashing the spider. I don't do anything rash, but later, when everyone's laughing and having a good time again, I remove my shoe and begin beating the person with it, yelling, "How's that feel, murderer? How's that feel?" Usually people are kind of surprised, but I think it works because they never squash spiders again, at least not in front of me.
WEEKLY IS EVIDENCE OF GOD'S EXISTENCE!
Nick Schou's story on Dana Rohrabacher's appearance at the anti-immigration meeting was about the best piece of writing ever to grace your fine rag ("Bush Victory Evidence of God's Existence," Dec. 8). So Rohrabacher believes George W.'s narrow win is a sign of the existence of God? What a tiny God Rohrabacher prays to. My God is interested in bigger news, like the countless acts of kindness and love that occur every day but are mostly unreported.
To the editor: Chris Ziegler is a very disturbed man, and you must be a very disturbed person yourself to allow him the space to write a Christmas gift list that includes a lock-picking set, ready-to-eat military meals and a horse leech ("Miscellaneous Great Gifts!" Dec. 8). This is sick.
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Christmas is supposed to be a time to reflect on God's love for man enfleshed in the birth of Jesus Christ. It is offensive to me that our holiday has been hijacked by non-Christians as an excuse to sell things like horse leeches.
Please do us all a favor and fire Mr. Ziegler, and then fire yourself.
Chris Ziegler responds: I hardly consider myself non-Christian. Just last year, after attending midnight Mass, I gave my mom an air pistol, 250 rounds of ammunition, and a T-shirt with a skull and the legend, "Kill 'Em All, Let God Sort 'Em Out" on it. Then we sat down as a family, hugged one another tight, watched Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and learned a little lesson about the real meaning of Christmas. But I guess those Martians taught me wrong. In the future, I'll turn my back on crassly commercial leech tycoons and concentrate more on the gifts that reflect a real Christian perspective: cocaine mirrors, deformed human skulls, 8-foot pagan idols and, per Steve Lowery's recommendation in the same issue, oral sex.