This bar's no concert hall
RE prairie prospect (NOW, January 22-28). I'm astonished by Elizabeth Bromstein's review of the Vinnick, Sheppard and Harte (VSH) show. No constructive criticism or even charm to her column, just petty remarks leaving the reader wondering if she might have taken advantage of C'est What's extensive selection of brews. That aside, your reviewer might want to find out whom she insulted with her needless comments regarding the "yammering" audience.
What Bromstein doesn't know is that the "appalling" conduct of the "rude crowd" happened to be coming from a group of professionals enjoying an evening in a bar, not in a concert hall - a group that included doctors, lawyers, teachers, company managers, law enforcement personnel and broadcasters.
But then, why would I be insulted by a reviewer whose amateurish scrawling includes such childish phrases as "geeky, fresh-scrubbed hotness" and "tits bulging out of a tank top"?
Christina Cherneskey, Toronto
RE bye-bye, bin laden (NOW, January 22-28). The Pollyannaish reveries by Strategic Forecasting Inc. about U.S. arch-enemy Osama bin Laden being demoralized and lacking the imagination to win represents just so much pie-in-the-sky Pentagon propaganda. Far from being a loser, bin Laden, without mounting more attacks, has already won by putting fear in the heart of the mighty American empire. The land of the free and of the Bill of Rights has imploded, becoming a garrison state where innocent people are arrested and imprisoned without charge or due process. National security has superseded basic individual liberties.
Any man worth $400 million who could enjoy a life of luxury but instead chooses to live in harsh conditions fighting for his beliefs and principles must be admired.
Dead or alive, bin Laden will always be an inspiration to all those opposed to the imperious American policy of might makes right.
O.G. Pamp, Tweed, ON
In the name of anti-racism
as someone who has attended many anti-war demos, I was deeply offended by the active role taken by the Toronto Coalition Against the War in organizing the January 17 protest to defend the wearing of the hijab in French public schools. While I think Chirac is mistaken, as a feminist I cannot accept that every cultural religious practice that oppresses women must be defended in the name of "fighting racism." Lisa Volkov, Toronto
Get your ya-yas out
you guys need to run more comedy articles. Your pages are full of theatre, art and dance, but there's usually not even one comedy article. That's ridiculous given the rich comedy tradition in this city and this country. Mike Nahrgang, Toronto
Leave drivel to tabloids
I usually enjoy the upfront section. It's short, clever, relevant and to the point, but why the attack on Toronto Life for its SARS cover (NOW, January 22-28)? I have no vested interest in the magazine other than being a subscriber, but it's obvious that you've got issues. Did your writer get up on the wrong side of the bed - alone? Did your writer try dating someone on staff and get turned down? Or maybe you believe yours should be the only game in town!?!
Come on, NOW, stick to reporting the news we can't get anywhere else and leave the slanderous drivel to the tabloids.
Moe Laverty, Toronto
Dalton's free lunch
I am employed by the provincial government and have been for 13 years. If Dalton McGuinty is looking to save money, he should put a freeze on those catered lunches and dinners for government employees province-wide. I can only imagine how much money he could save. I see extravagant catered lunches in my office on a regular basis (staff only get the leftovers, though). It makes me crazy to see taxpayers' dollars wasted on this unnecessary expense. I am expected as an employee of the province of Ontario to provide my own lunch. Why can't Dalton and his bunch buy theirs? Name withheld by request, Toronto
Terrorist hotline good idea
RE hot button hotline (NOW, janu ary 22-28). Jolly good idea of Michael Walker's to set up an anti-terrorist hotline. I live a short distance from Lakeview Generating Station. I'm all for anything that will protect citizens of Toronto. We must be vigilant and fight the temptation to think a terrorist attack can't happen here. Joseph William Lea, Etobicoke
York song remains the same
Judging by two-headed monster (NOW, January 22-28), nothing has changed at York University in the 20 years since I attended. Back then, a dysfunctional student council with compromised administrative oversight (at the student level; thankfully, the Higher Powers didn't mix in) yielded an election result so close that it took 12 hours of recounting to determine a winner.
Allegations of overspending and other malfeasance were rife; petty personal politics superseded the interests of voters/electors/students. Threatened lawsuits never materialized. However, on at least one occasion, a candidate (who somehow got to be his own scrutineer (the mind boggles) was caught stuffing ballots into his pants pockets.
The eventual winner, who went on to hold the post for two consecutive terms? None other than Maurizio Bevilacqua (or Morris, as he was then known), now a Liberal MP.
Larry Till, Toronto
My vasectomy not so nice
In reference to paul corman's ar ticle (NOW, January 15-21), I'm glad that he has undertaken "the ultimate manly sacrifice for love" and had a vasectomy. I agree that it's a reasonable option for a couple who seek a permanent solution, rather than the woman undergoing an invasive surgical procedure under general anaesthetic. And yep, the birth control is definitely effective. Been there, undertook the sacrifice myself.
I must, however, point out that his understanding that "my sperm will be reabsorbed into my body without completing their biologically ordained purpose" is most likely incorrect.
After time, the "tied off" vas deferens becomes "jam-packed" with sperm cells attempting to crowd their way down a blocked-off tube, according to my urologist. Not comfortable, at least not for me. If you can imagine the internal tissue getting so hard as to make you think there might be some abnormal growth - well, you get the idea.
I had the procedure reversed after five years. My body feels a lot more normal than it did.
Name withheld by request, Toronto
Food guide obsolete
In your news article on toxic salmon (NOW, January 15-21) you refer to Canada Food Guide recommendations for weekly fish consumption. The old food groups model maintained by the guide is on the brink of obsolescence. The new four groups - fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes - are becoming known through the work of contemporary health advocates, the best known of these being renowned baby doctor, peacenik and vegan advocate Benjamin Spock. Doug Moore, Vancouver, BC
Jesus Christ pose
sarah liss was moved by Sufjan Stevens's weird, naive Christmas carol "in spite of the blatant pro-Christ bias" (NOW, December 18-24). Whoa. Somebody slap me. And please, hip Ms. Liss, know that going in it's highly probable a Christmas carol just might be favourable to the Nazz, uh, alleged son of God and whopping 33 and a third per cent of the Holy Trinity.
As for the cute tag, "Jesus rocks. Who knew? Maybe it's a Guelph thing," maybe fellow scribe Tim Perlich can give her an introductory course in Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Staples Singers and the Right Reverends Al Green and Solomon Burke. I'm no Christian, but they sure do rock, too.
Robert Lawrence, Halifax, NS
Lapping up the "c" word
RE f**k this sh*t (NOW, January 22- 28). There's nothing I love more than seeing the word "cunt" in print. It's very refreshing. Keep up the good work. Jonathan Tracey, Toronto
Mozart will do for Belleville
RE the Triplets of Belleville (NOW, January 22-28). John Harkness implies that the film is as good as Bach in its own way, even though there's no Bach in it. Mozart will do just as nicely. In one of the many astonishing scenes in this laconic, brisk, engaging and utterly charming piece, the indomitable club-footed grandmother and ever-barking Bruno pursue a transatlantic freighter, accompanied by the keening Kyrie from Mozart's Mass In B-Minor. Not many films can make you smile and tear up at the same time. Don't wait for the DVD. See it now. Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Smoking out the TTC
smokers bug me. when they do it In my face they infuriate me. When they do it in no-smoking areas designed for my protection, I get livid. When they do it in a publicly owned and operated institution, then I want justice. I'm talking about the TTC. Every day I run across people smoking on TTC property. While it's usually the most anti-social smokers who light up on the subway platforms, it appears that bus bays are considered the great outdoors and smokers see it as their god-given right to puff away blissfully awaiting their next ride while gassing those around them.
When confronted, they typically have three responses: a) they pretend you don't exist; b) they look at you like a bit of excrement on their shoe; c) they offer a cursory "Don't you worry about it." They continue smoking, daring you to escalate the situation further.
Now, you might expect some help from TTC staff. Forget it. They're either too busy, too apathetic or too morally conflicted (after all, half of them are smokers, too) to lift a finger to help you. I understand that this is a powerful addiction we're talking about. Some say stronger than heroin.
Well, maybe we should start treating it that way. How about free nicotine patches? We give out free condoms, and I believe many more people are sick or dying from cigarette smoke than STDs. I recommend giving the entire TTC staff the authority and the obligation to ticket those who insist on poisoning the rest of us. Right now, a No Smoking sign does as much good as a 100km/h sign on the 401.
Steve Meikle, Toronto
RE CJC makes no apologies (NOW, January 15-21). Contrary to Len Rudner's assertion, this reader did not notice any extra effort on the part of Mike Smith to make his article unnecessarily negative toward the Canadian Jewish Congress. What I did find was the just condemnation of a particularly baseless attitude on the part of the CJC: "Protect the students; they can't think for themselves."
There are certainly weaknesses in Jenin, Jenin, as Smith rightly points out, but for the CJC and school officials to throw out the baby with the bathwater - especially when there was an opportunity for cooperation at hand in the form of a joint screening of Israeli "propaganda" - is, at the very least, counterproductive.
I believe the true "waste of valuable ink and paper" is Rudner's attempt to turn an ostensibly local issue into a justification for human rights abuses half a world away. Two wrongs don't make a right, Mr. Rudner.
Edward Weiss, Toronto