So Long, Pam
When I moved to Baltimore, Pam Purdy was very generous in sharing information about the local music scene and I always appreciated her taking the time to point me in the right direction ("In Memoriam," Mobtown Beat, Oct. 3).
I was deeply saddened by the news of Pam Purdy's death. Admittedly, my band Thee Katatonix owed a great deal of our early successes to Purdy and City Paper's unwavering support. In recent years we considered asking her to pen the liner notes for our upcoming anthology CD. guess she won't be doing that. Rest in peace, hon.
Response? There Was Nun
I read the giant nun story ("City Resident Thwarts Gian Nun Invasion," Quick and Dirty, Oct. 3) and something struck me as odd--the part about the cat e-mailing Sheila Dixon and getting no response. This has happened to me, even before I became a Jill Carter fan.
Do you think that maybe City Paper could run a poll or something to see just how many people have contacted her office, and gotten no reply? I bet the numbers would surprise you.
Just a thought.
I used to have to explain my party's seemingly incongruous behavior (Political Animal, Oct. 3). That was until the Gore/Bush presidential runoff. And the Supreme Court's election of a president. If that was not a wake-up call to just how fucked up things had become, the following seven years was like a baseball bat to the head every day. The number of times I have to see that stupid countdown to Bush out of office kills me. Yeah, Bush is a crazy, self-serving bastard, but what are we looking at afterwards. Hillary Clinton? Anyone bother LOOKING at what she stands for? Anyone notice that the Democrats are spineless? Okay, maybe the fascism of the Republican party has dulled our senses, but just like the Republicans, the Democrats think that if they keep saying it, people will believe it and keep putting them in office. And they do. And nothing happens. Americans need to wake up. No one at the top represents them for more than five minutes out of every given day. Look around folks. The middle class is slowly disappearing, jobs are leaving the country, houses are out of most people's reach, and our food is produced just about everywhere but in this country. So what do our elected officials do for the average American?
Promise everything you want and deliver nothing.
So I get called a "spoiler" for preferring to hang with a party that isn't bought and sold by the highest bidder and tends to act on what they say. I look at both parties with equal disgust, even though one of them used to represent what I thought was right and what made America great. Can't we do better? Brian Morton makes me think we can't. He keeps banging his head about his party's stupidity, and they keep right on being idiots. And Brian ends up in a coma from all the head banging. And he might lose his health insurance because of it. Ain't the two-party system grand?
Hong's da Bomb
In response to Terry Dolbow's letter "Missing Gorelick" (The Mail, Sept. 26), I implore City Paper to continue publishing Henry Hong. I interpret Dolbow's criticism of Hong's style as "unnecessarily wordy" to mean "intellectually intimidating."
Mr. Hong either earned concurrent degrees in agriculture, etiology, genetics, chemistry, philosophy, history, and architecture, or he is simply one abundantly meticulous researcher. The columns are infused with rare bits of scientific flotsam, insights into modern food-procuring techniques, thoughtful analyses of food-borne dilemmas such as sandwich geometry and cob consumption, and topped with a modest dollop of sincere familial nostalgia. He clearly does his homework and advocates deserving local businesses.
"Stalkers" a salty gem on maize (Eat Me, Aug. 8), cites the White Out, Sky King, and XT3 varieties of corn, each name evoking illicit street drugs or violent gangs. Who knew corn could be so edgy? He outs the "Silver Queen" as a misnomer, a tragic revelation for any homer.
It is refreshing to read about how to shop instead of where to eat, to delve into the objective angles of sustenance instead of wallow in the wildly subjective nature of restaurant review. It provokes a DIY attitude and brings us always closer to our food, to ourselves.
Mr. Hong's articles are communal, well organized, intelligent, and humorous. They are functional and entertaining. Perhaps he could write on any topic for Baltimore magazine but within the rough stock of City Paper he seems at home.
I'll assume that Dolbow likes his food and his prose similarly prepared: bland. So here's a steaming pile of white rice and a frosty mug of tap water in his general direction. Henry Hong is a gift to literate Baltimore.
Grow Your Ears
I seriously object to Geoffrey Himes' characterization of Stockhausen, Boulez, Babbitt, Webern "and the like" as "not daring enough" ("Reopening the Symphony's Doors," Music, Sept. 26). Quite honestly I think that is some B.S. All of these composers are responsible for some of the most challenging and creative music of their time, inspiring generations of musicians and composers, including some of my favorite musicians here in town. If Mr. Himes doesn't like their music, fine, but his characterization of their music is inaccurate and unnecessarily derogatory. Just off of the top of my head, Stockhausen wrote a piece for string quartet to be played in four helicopters; Boulez was one of the first composers to integrate prerecorded sound with live performance; Babbitt took total serialism to its extreme, composing with synthesizers when they were the size of entire rooms; I can't think of something snappy to say about Webern, but I love his chamber music.
Don't trash modern composers just because you don't dig it. Let your ears grow some more. If you have a problem with serialism, or the academicization of new composed music, then say it, don't blame the composed music situation on some of the most interesting composers from that time period.
Thank you City Paper and everyone who made it possible for me being recognized as "Best Local Author" in City Paper's Best of Baltimore issue (Sept. 19).
I sincerely would like to share the honor of being "Best Local Author" with the writer who made people read about me in City Paper. Miss Petula Caesar wrote a splendid article about me and my book, Improvise in the Amen Corner.
Petula Caesar is a gifted writer who has a wonderful instinct that is cautious and prophetic. She really listens when interviewing a person. Petula resides in "holy creativity," which is not egotistical or overbearing. I wish Petula Caesar could write full-time for City Paper, doing a column on the lives and interest of everyday people--just a thought.
Above all, I want to thank my editors Kendra Kopelke and Mary Azrael who made my book of poems and drawings a reality. Thank you to all staff members at Passager Books (University of Baltimore)--great and small--who gave me kindness in word or deed when working on my book.
I want to thank my son and daughter who have come out of our struggles of misunderstanding to realize "we are family"--we must love each other always. My three wonderful grandchildren who laugh at my jokes. I prayed to God to make me a grandmother. He did with his goodness.
My religion is important to me. I am Roman Catholic, and my daily prayers to God, Jesus, Holy Queen Mother Mary, and the Holy Spirit keep me humble. "They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing" --Psalm 92:14.
Friends, don't quit too soon. My book was published at age 65. I thank all of you for reading my letters in City Paper and all publications.
Larnell Custis Butler
No Thank You
I know on the wall at Charm City Cakes they've proudly displayed their past Best of Baltimore "Best Cakes" award from 2003. I wonder, did you send one over this year? Because I'm not aware of any merit in an "award" where the business would be ashamed to display it ("Best Form Over Function," Best of Baltimore, Sept. 19). In your "review," first you compliment CCC by calling their creations "beautiful . . . daring, vibrant works of art," but then immediately negate that praise with phrases like "what's the point," "come with a price," "you'll pay with both your taste buds and your wallet." I thought the list was designed to celebrate the BEST of the city. Didn't know it was an opportunity to get in a quick barb.
After all that CCC has done to put the more positive, artistic, and creative aspects of Baltimore in the national spotlight, their own paper slaps them with a backhanded compliment. A sucker punch like that from your own team carries one hell of an extra sting.
Has the writer of this review ever even tasted cake from CCC before? Adding insult to injury, you insinuate the cakes cost too much--which simply isn't true. Almost every traditional CCC wedding cake is exactly on par with bakeries local and nationwide. "Daring works of art" don't grow on trees, they are specialized items created by a team of Baltimoreans who take pride in their work. Of course it takes a lot of hours to create these creations, but the cost of most custom items is determined by the time it takes to create them.
Pretty much shoots a hole in the presented "evidence" in your "form over function" criticism (expense) and leaves you with what? The fondant (taste). The same fondant decorators everywhere use to preserve freshness and seal in the flavor of their cake and icing? Is there a tastier fondant out there only you guys know about that you could perhaps turn the rest of the world on to?
Curious, didn't you ask CCC to make a cake for your BoB party this year? Isn't inviting an "honored" guest to your own party only to throw tomatoes at them a little cruel? Before you dismissively shake this off with a shrug, and a hip, snarky, "whatever"--consider how it feels for the gang who spent the past two weeks creating a big, bright, yellow, City Paper paper box replica for YOUR celebration--only to be kicked in the gut by the very same people they were creating something special for.
Here's a question for YOU City Paper: next time YOU crave a fancy cake for your very own BoB party, ask yourself what YOU value more--form or function?
So tonight, while you're out celebrating the best of the city, I'll be at home watching some Baltimore citizens on Ace of Cakes--I hear it's a great episode, one that features a cake created by CCC for some soldiers returning home from the war. (And I hear they didn't even charge them.)
Los Angeles, Calif.
The writer is the brother of Charm City Cakes proprietor Duff Goldman and a producer on Ace of Cakes.
Editor Lee Gardner responds: For the record, arrangements for cakes for the Best of Baltimore party were made by another department at the paper; no one on the editorial staff had any idea that Charm City Cakes created cakes for the party until the day of the event.
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