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Another Goop Scoop

Posted 5/19/2004

I enjoyed your story on "The Go-Goop War" (May 12);
"Part 2"'s even better than the one before.
I did not mind that it was a wee bit long,
But I must say your writer got one thing wrong.

He said that Long Jaw and Shrub were the same,
But that's just playing the Cynic Cats' game.
The Cynic Cats meow; the Cynic Cats prowl
In their long tails, shades, and bewhiskered scowls.

There are no facts that these cats won't ignore
To say Shrub and Long Jaw are the same on the war.
After torture and lies, arrogance and shame,
Do these cats really think Long Jaw is the same?

A dog will fight you, will fight you with pride,
But a cat would rather stay off to the side.
If they can believe that nobody is right,
Then they can safely stay out of the fight.

The toppity top cat of the Cynic Cats' club
Is Absolute Nadir, secret friend of the Shrub.
Oh, he wears a hair shirt and pretends to be pure,
But his purrs leave Shrub smiling, you can be sure.

Nadir claims Long Jaw won't do enough
To create a paradise of hope, peace, and love.
"That's not the point," Long Jaw is blurting;
"We have to help the folks who are hurting."

Long Jaw the dog says, "I'll fight for what's fair,"
While Nadir the cat lifts his nose in the air.
While down on the ground, the poor people call,
"Just get rid of Shrub before we lose it all."

Dogs, cats, and monkeys fight up in the Tower,
While the rest of us bet on who will win power.
We can't afford to join the Cynic Cats' club,
Because we have suffered too much from the Shrub.

Geoffrey Himes


The writer is a City Paper contributing writer.

Candid Cop Camera

Since reporter Brendan Coyne says the arrest of peaceful demonstrator Mike Shea at the latest Critical Mass bike ride was "inexplicable," and since police flacks haven't answered City Paper's questions, allow me to step into the breach (Mobtown Beat, May 12). Shea was obviously singled out because he was carrying videotaping equipment with the intention of monitoring police behavior. The intention seems clear: Baltimore police want to send a message that anyone who dares to record police-citizen interactions at such events will be arrested on bogus charges. ("Fleeing the scene"? Shea didn't get very far, did he?) That's not inexplicable, just despicable.

Jon Swift


Right Spurn

I find it odd that Republicans who usually pat themselves on the back as hardheaded, results-based pragmatists (especially when it comes to things like school accountability) have given the current administration a complete pass. Russ Smith is so busy parroting Republican National Committee talking points and defending Donald Rumsfeld from liberal straw men that he seems not to have noticed that, by just about any objective measure (with the possible exception of number of schools painted), the war on Imaq has been a fairly complete disaster (Right Field, May 12).

Regardless of whether one supported the war or not, Rumsfeld and George W. Bush have made a complete botch of it. It has united a huge percentage of the world against us (it is not "hard-core leftists" that hate America, but apparently now a majority of Iraqis). Al-Qaida pledge pins are flying off the shelf as America's true enemies are emboldened by the apparent inability of the world's superpower to control a small, flat country. Costs in dollars and lives are skyrocketing past even recent rose-colored estimates.

Why would firing Rumsfeld for incompetence show the world that we are weak? Isn't that exactly what Mr. "Hope Is a Plan" has just spent a year achieving?

It's kind of fun watching thoughtful conservatives (e.g., George Will) begin to wise up to the fact that this administration's complete incompetence is setting back their cause by decades. I wonder when Mr. Smith will join them?

John Irvine


Mortal Recoil

Ř am writing in response to Don Rottman's letter (The Mail, May 5, ). While I sympathize with grief of the family and friends of Christopher Elser and understand the public outcry of the senselessness of the act, I do not agree with Rottman's analysis that Elser's death was somehow more noteworthy than the other victims of violence.

If Rottman's statistics are correct and "over 80 percent of those killed in Baltimore are involved in the drug trade, murder, prostitution, violence, and the pathology of urban culture," are those who died somehow not human beings? I think Rottman neglects to mention the systematic discrimination, lack of jobs, and bankrupt education system that lends to what he calls "the pathology of urban culture." It's shortsighted to blame individuals alone for what some deem pathological behavior without understanding that inequality of opportunity can lead to inequality of outcome. Also, by blaming and devaluing people, we lose sight of the human suffering of those swept up in a system that is far from egalitarian. Thus, when we hear or read about Baltimore's murder rates or the latest shooting, it becomes easy to dismiss it.

If the media were as expedient as it was in the case of Christopher Elser in describing the biographies of what Rottman calls "those who will not save themselves," it would be easier for the public to grant them the same humanity as Elser. Maybe then the poverty, unemployment, and underemployment characteristics of inner-city neighborhoods would be understood as the tragedies they are.

Heather Hax


From the Driver's Seat

As an owner-operator of a licensed taxicab in Baltimore I feel compelled to write. In regard to the "Hacks" article on April 21, it's hard to believe the insurance issue was not touched upon in either the article itself or the responding letters. If a vehicle is operated in an unlicensed hack capacity and was involved in an accident, the insurance company would not pay a claim. Something to think about when one jumps in a hack.

In response to the race issue, what a nonissue. If you are operating a taxicab in Baltimore and don't pick up blacks, you are going to ride around empty all day.

LeRoy Hoffman


Evening Song

┌our subjective views, positive or negative, are welcomed, Justin Trevett Peters. I simply am calling "bullshit" on your recollection of facts (Sound Tracks, April 7).

In your review of Evening's Other Victorians you state: "Evening finds a simple four- or five-note riff for each song and then plays infinite repetitions." That is an incorrect statement.

I challenge you to find a single song on the album that repeats a mere five-note riff. What you are assuming is a keyboardist is actually another guitarist. Do your job, put the headphones back on, put down the bio, and listen.

You clearly have spent ages immersed in classical composition if the notes on Evening's album are predictable. For that I am impressed.

Speaking of predictable, there's the fact that your freshman ears haven't written a positive review yet. That, my young friend, is predictable.

Enough of tearing down; critical thinking does not imply negativity. I implore you to step up and articulate what you consider to be "original indie rock."

Ryan Troy

San Francisco

The writer is Evening's manager.


Editor's note: With this issue, we bid a fond farewell to former City Paper staff writer/current contributing writer Afefe Tyehimba, who is giving up her Third Eye column and leaving Baltimore behind for the balmier climes of South Florida. We wish her smooth sailing.

The Mobtown Beat section also takes a powder this issue, but just for this issue and the one after. It returns in a couple of weeks. Next up: our annual Sizzlin' Summer issue.

Address letters to The Mail, City Paper, 812 Park Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201; fax: (410) 523-0138; e-mail: letters@citypaper.
com. Only letters that address material published in or policies of CP, are no more than 500 words long, and include the writer's name, address, and daytime phone number will be considered for publication. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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