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And the Woman in the Middle . . .

Re: “The Woman on the Right,” by Jake Austen, February 11

Great article! Biased comment here . . . my mom’s the one in the middle. What a treat to see this pic! And I’m sure she appreciates the trip back down memory lane where the music was really FAB.


Approaching 100 Percent White

Re: “Not Just a Record Fair,” by Miles Raymer, January 14

CHIRP launched last month. I was excited about the prospects of another local radio outlet in Chicago, but have been sorely disappointed.

They espouse to be made up of volunteers ‘from all walks of life,’ but at least 39 of their 43 DJs are white men and women between 20 and 40ish years of age. Four didn’t have pics at their bio pages, so I can’t really give an exact number, but it approaches 100 percent white. Kind of a disingenuous mission statement, if you ask me. Their mission statement also espouses a commitment to “diverse” programming. But is 12 hours of “indie” music with little to no ethnic music or news programming really all that diverse? And do we really need another “indie” music station on the north side when we already have WNUR, WZRD, and WLUW? Perhaps they should do a little local news and try to fill the vacuum left by our declining local print media instead of producing something we already have. But then again, right now they are only broadcasting to folks who have a computer with an Internet connection, again severely limiting the “community” they reach to like-minded, like-moneyed folks. I guess I should have expected more of the same, but am disappointed nonetheless.


Metal Haven RIP

Re: “Start Mourning Metal Haven: The Ravenswood record store—a destination for serious metal fans in and out of town—is winding down,” by Miles Raymer, February 11

I still remember my first purchase at Metal Haven when I first discovered the store back in 2003: a used Napalm Death From Enslavement to Obliteration CD, and a used Entombed Wolverine Blues CD. At the time, I was only living in Chicago for over two years, and I was buying my CDs from Rock Records (RIP) and Crow’s Nest (RIP) downtown and Dr. Wax (RIP) when I used to live in Edgewater. Someone tipped me off about Metal Haven while at some show at the Fireside Bowl (RIP), I believe that was 3 Inches of Blood and a bunch of corny metalcore bands in the winter. I was sadly into Swedish Melodic death metal at the time (In Flames, Soilwork, etc) and Metal Haven set me straight into the path of the real extreme metal. After walking into the old Belmont store, I knew this was the real place to get my metal fix. Mark was helpful, even though you can get intimidated by his expertise, but I’m glad to have met him, and subsequently through the years, became his friend and occasional concert/drinking buddy. That led to a buying frenzy from Grindcore (at the time, I thought Pig Destroyer was really scary), to Norwegian black metal (my first Mayhem CD was the Mediolanum Capta Est live album), to some great thrash treasures (Voivod’s Dimension Hatross, Sodom’s Persecution Mania, Coroner’s Punishment for Decadence).

I also enjoyed looking and having a laugh at the goregrind/pornogrind/brutal death metal section appropriately titled “Brutal Shit.” I mean c’mon, don’t the CD covers of Cock & Ball Torture, Cliteater, and Nunwhore Commando 666 look really silly? I’m gonna miss that store, I’m gonna try to get some more stuff before it bites the dust. I don’t think I’m gonna want to get rid of my collection knowing that more than half of that came from Metal Haven.

A Sad Metal Fan

Plenty of Blame to Go Around

Re: “Whose Fault Is Scott Lee Cohen?,” by Michael Miner, February 11

It was the five other candidates’ job to find out about SLC.If they wanted the lieutenant governor job so bad they would have done a little homework and found out about all his problems. Blame the five opponents for SCL, not the media.


Forget Mark Brown—where was his esteemed colleague/hotshot political reporting legend Mike Sneed in all of this? Doesn’t Snide pride herself on all those “scoops,” “tips,” and “twaddle” that she digs up on Chicago’s past, present and future movers and shakers? Guess not.

This gal is the Miss Haversham of Chicago Journalism, happily living in the past—specifically, the glory days of the 80s and 90s, when people really, really cared about Ed Vrdolyak, Ed Burke (and Anne), Betty Loren Maltese and the other usual suspects. Current office seekers? Can’t be bothered—let’s worry about “homeless” Betty and her Las Vegas halfway house. If I were editor of the Sun-Times I’d kick both Brown and Sneed to the curb for botching this story.


What a pleasure it was to read Michael Miner’s piece written so beautifully with humor and intelligence. And indeed, a robust Fourth Estate is essential for a successful republic. Thank you Mr. Miner.


Seething Contempt

Re: “Should We Feel Sorry for Kevin Trudeau?,” posted by Michael Miner, February 12

Let’s not limit this to the judiciary. Government in all its branches deeply resents public intrusion—as well as the public itself. In one of William Greider’s books he noted that congressmen and senators shared, right across party lines, an almost seething contempt for the people they were supposed to be humbly representing. Trips to home states and districts were dreaded events, to be held to an absolute minimum (except in the unlikely event that a congressman faced a credible primary or re-election challenge).

Who was it who said that if the public was dissatisfied with their government, government would just have to elect a new people?