Cell towers on the moon
i gather from your article cell Hell (NOW, February 15-21) that the current placement of cellphone transmitters is unfortunate since it results in excessive exposure to microwave radiation for some people. However, you do not suggest any alternative, safer locations. Let us remember the inspirational words of M. Almeida (NOW, November 2-8), who said, "Any creative solutions... ? A plot on the moon?" (Of course, Almeida was talking about my comments about Israel, but no matter! I recognize a universally applicable sentiment when I read one.)
And while it may be tempting to move the transmitters to the moon, that is not going to result in a working cellphone network. Indeed, for the network to work, the transmitters need to be close to customers -- and hence, unavoidably, located where people will be exposed to microwave radiation. There are no safe, useful locations.
That does not, however, mean that the problem is without solution. My own proposal would be for everyone to reserve cellphone use for emergencies (when it is justified) and to otherwise communicate in non-cellular ways such as e-mail. If the volume of cellphone use decreases, then the level of cellphone-related microwave radiation will correspondingly decrease. (Of course, so will the profits of cellphone companies, but them's the breaks.)
Since NOW is currently inviting its readers to access movie listings, etc, via cellphone, it would appear that your concern about cellphones isn't that great. Perhaps you should consider the implications of your own investigative reporting as it applies to your own marketing schemes.
What a concept. I hope M. Almeida approves.
Progressive Jews exposed
re friendship wins (now, febru- ary 8-14). The mainstream Jewish community owes thanks to NOW for exposing, inadvertently, the true colours of "progressive Jews." Jeff Halper, an Israeli radical leftist supported by Jewish groups of that ilk, is on a speaking tour of North America to condemn the Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes in disputed areas.
Yet Halper is indifferent to the barbarous slaughter of Israeli civilians, his brethren, by Palestinian terrorists. In the current violence, unarmed Israelis are murdered by bombs and snipers, whereas Palestinians are killed while initiating violence against Israeli soldiers and civilians, or their masterminds are eliminated by Israeli forces.
A handful of extremist Jews attended Halper's harangue, while at about the same time 2,500 mainstream Jews heard Natan Sharansky -- the renowned human rights activist, formerly of the Soviet Union, now a political ally of hard-liner Ariel Sharon -- warn not to relinquish Jerusalem to the Arabs.
NOW is making the same error that the Toronto Star regularly committed during the Palestinian intifada, 1987-1993, when it hugely inflated the importance of tiny radical, vociferous Jewish groups hostile to Israel. For example, the Star used to solicit the opinion of Jews for a Just Peace rather than the respected Peace Now organization. It's akin to calling on Trotskyites for their views on free trade or Moonies on Christian issues.
Two sides to every story
have you ever thought that there might be two sides to every story? Your coverage of the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has been completely one-sided.
I do not think the Israelis are without blame, but they are tired of the violence, stone-throwing and bus bombings. My grandmother had to escape from Yemen and the persecution the Jews have to endure there. She now lives in Israel, while Yemen and other Arab states send support funds to the Palestinians. The history of Arab behaviour toward Jews has shown that if the shoes were reversed, there wouldn't even be consideration of giving the Jews a Jewish state.
Your criticism of other news sources is unfounded. At least they have made the effort to show both sides.
PM's all about business
re chretien tortures human rights (NOW, February 15-21).
I suppose it's nice that the PM is spending time mildly chiding his Chinese hosts about their dismal human rights record. Here is a government, after all, that even has its policemen kick over threatening, tourist-made snowmen in Tiananmen Square.
If Chretien wants to be refreshingly honest with us, he should just tell us to shut our gobs, face up to reality and get on with the really important business of securing Chinese markets. Our standard of living is surely more important than broken snowmen or even persecuted followers of falun gong.
Hypnotized into sleep
i am writing in response to ellie Kirzner's insomnia article (NOW, February 1-7). The article provided a number of excellent suggestions for those who find themselves tossing and turning through those long, dark nights.
I would like to suggest another prescription-free method of tackling insomnia. The ancient technique of hypnosis provides relief for many of our modern-day maladies, including insomnia. Self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques are easily and successfully used in those wee hours when you'd rather be sleeping than staring at the ceiling.
Honky-tonks of Toronto
i really enjoyed tim perlich's article sharing his reflections on the success of the O Brother soundtrack (NOW, February 1-7).
Perlich is so right when he observes, "Twang isn't driving O Brother soundtrack sales, it's truth." The vast appreciation of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack did not come out of the blue.
The return to this music by the overproduced-record-exhausted public is what has supported the success of this album. This CD did not lead the public to the appreciation of this music, it was the public that led the CD.
There are a rapidly growing number of circles of musicians here in Toronto who are fine-tuning their skills in this musical genre.
Many younger, dedicated musicians are now playing with the more experienced players who enjoyed a similar swell of popularity here back in the 70s.
The energy in these bluegrass and old country Appalachian-style gatherings in the city today is generating a truly soulful revival of the past. And as a musician myself, it's very exciting to be a part of the momentum.
I thought I'd pass on a few other important regular shows around the city not mentioned in Perlich's article that may be of interest to anyone who's caught the old-timey fever:
Joanne MacKell and the Paradise Rangers rightfully claim to deliver "official honky-tonk" every Sunday, 5-8 pm, at the Old York, Niagara and Wellington.
The Brothers Cosmoline -- Dan Kershaw and his band -- are currently holding a Monday-night residency at Barcode in February, featuring a bluegrass opening set (the Brothers Kitchen) and different guests weekly (College at Euclid).
The B-Bop Cowboys are stellar country-flavoured swing -- Bob Wills meets Louis Jordan, every Wednesday at the Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen West).
King Chango's new sound
about the article written by Matt Galloway, King Chango Dethroned (NOW, February 8-14). I disagree with his comments.
I was one of the many people who showed up to the King Chango concert at Lee's that night. We were a group of eight people of diverse nationalities, ages and interests. I think I speak for all eight of us when I say they are one of the few bands to actually create a new sound. Through their fusion of different styles of music and their lyrics, they convey a message of unity.
Their positive energy and enthusiasm is shared with an audience that feels just as important as the band members themselves, adding again to the anti-divisionist concept behind their music.
To my tired ears, it's refreshing to hear that some bands actually have the balls to break through the mainstream of commercialism and the monotonous sounds we are all used to.
Although it may seem to some a bunch of incoherent melodies, the reality is that it may take some time before some of us realize that music does not have to be such a serious matter -- it's something to be enjoyed and celebrated.
By the way, I'm not sure what Galloway meant when referring to King Chango as "empty dance music." If anything, their songs are filled with anti-racist messages, lessons on unity and freedom.
Maybe Galloway needs to take a trip to Latin America and some Spanish-language lessons to understand how meaningful their music is.