"Casino Royale," Feature, 10/26
He's a table bully
What's up with your article on "James Bond"? Why would you give this guy so much over-the-top space in your paper? Full-page picture and many, many pages of type.
I know this guy and always leave the table when he comes in because he is very sexist and what we call a "table bully." What made you focus so much attention on him? If it was a poker story you were after, there are countless other players and stories that would be good role modeling and actually interesting.
"Riding BART at 4 a.m." Cityside 10/26
24-hour BART now
BART's excuses for lack of 24-hour service are bogus. All of the Chicago lines and several in New York have no "extra tracks" for diversions during repairs. This has not prevented 24/7 service in decades. On very rare occasions, a "bus bridge" is used for a short gap -- something BART does when necessary. As it is, the "midnight" curfew really is closer to 1:30 by the time all trains have tied up and early-morning trains begin at 4. Surely a limited service could be operated. Trains every half hour would facilitate late-ending concerts, movies, parties.
David Vartanoff, Oakland
"The Tipping Point," Kitchen Sink, 10/5
Tipping is suspicious
I spent time this summer in Finland and Japan, two countries with no tipping. This made service transactions surprisingly clean. When cab drivers, waitstaff, and hotel staff gave good service or were helpful beyond what their job required (as was generally the case), I did not wonder if they were angling for a better tip. Nor did I fear that they would think badly of me, and of Americans, if I overtipped or undertipped.
In contrast, when a woman in Japan offered her services as a guide for whatever I was willing to pay at the end of the day, I wondered at every story she told about her unfortunate life whether it was merely an attempt to win a bigger fee. This suspicion polluted our relationship. We can't easily change our society's practice of tipping, but individual restaurants can make small changes by replacing tipping with a service fee.
Nancy Van House, Berkeley
"Hyphy vs. Thizzin'," Close 2 tha Edge, 11/2
The real deal
Props to you and your article . As a longtime Tower Records employee, I've seen, heard, experienced Bay Area rap culture for years. From the local retailer perspective, many nowadays do take this "Hyphy Generation" and the "New Bay" for granted and don't care to know who, what, and why. Example: A customer would walk in and ask, "Who's a hot-selling rap artist here?" Many offhand will say 50 Cent or Jay-Z. Personally, I'd recommend Frontline or Mac Dre. The "New Bay" is the real deal. I plan to pass your article to my peers and our Bay Area stores to somewhat "educate" and bring some light to what many are hearing out on the streets.
LeRoid David, San Francisco
Really enjoyed the piece on bay slang. I'm sitting here rollin' on your comments. Me an my homies have been seriously on one about all this shit for the last few months so it's hella entertaining to see other people talk and write about it. I mean just three weeks ago I made a mix tape with all the Bay slaps for some people outside of the Bay Area like my home girl Jessica in LA and my boy Chris out in NY. I included a Bay Area glossary 'cause they specifically told me they "had no idea what the fuck Bay Area doods are rapping about." Now they all know 'bout them scrapers with mustard and mayonnaise; rippers; ripper slippers; grapes; being blown off that purp; how to properly do the "thizzle dance" and make the "thizz face;" what it means to go dumb; hyphy; the difference between a blap, slap, and a slumper; whistle tips; to be on grup; or thizz gurp and of course proper usage of "what it dew."
So props. You being doing hella much and I like it.
Lydia Popovich, San Francisco
I appreciate your article on the new terminology, anything that helps bring the music to the forefront. But I think you got a few facts wrong, one being that Thizzin doesn't have a sound. For further information I invite you to read my blog, the article entitled "From Underground, Mobbin, Hyphy to Thizzin; A brief history of New Bay" at Blog.MySpace.com/venusdammit. I think it will answer some questions and show some origins of where all this stuff is coming from. I gave your article credit too, by the way -- it was still pretty on point.
Macha Harper (aka Venus the Hyphy Lizard), Oakland
"Dreaming of Seabiscuit," Movies, 10/19
Your writer of the review of Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story shares a lot with a horse, specifically his ASS. Having seen the film, I can tell you that it has real passion and emotional power.
Simon A. Conder, London, England
"Doing Away with Childish Things," Cityside, 11/2
Read my book
I was glad to see some mention about toys in your paper even if the slant was on the more dramatic aspect of toy safety. But while this aspect is essential, this approach can create fear and distrust of stuffed animals that are certainly mostly safe and treasured. However, all parents should be well informed about the appropriateness of any product they purchase. My new book Smart Play/Smart Toys -- How to Raise a Child with a High P.Q. guides parents from baby to older children about important aspects of play, safety, selecting, and using toys. May I invite your readers to learn more by visiting DrToy.com, obtaining a copy of my book, checking out safe, quality, and positive playthings at the Ark, Toy Go Round, Sweet Dreams, Mr. Mopps, and other fine stores, inspecting toys currently in use, and most of all taking time out to play with children -- the most important gift of all. Meanwhile, "Let's play!"
Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D/Dr. Toy, Berkeley