Letters for April 26, 2012
Eyes wide shut
Re “Empty Reno” (Arts & Culture, April 19):
So the author leaves for two years, then comes back, talks crap about my city, acts like an expert though he was absent for two years, and while he was gone, the rest of us were working hard to improve Reno. He notices one empty strip mall, and all of a sudden, Reno is desolate and empty. He could not be more detached from this community! Never mind the now-2-year-old national trend of cities of all sizes contracting back to their centers, right? Because Reno has some empty ‘60s chic strip mall on the fringes of town, the whole city is empty and desolate? That’s as inaccurate as saying tourists don’t come to Reno anymore despite over 4 million tourists visiting last year. I would suggest the author venture out of his suburban bubble a bit and explore Midtown and downtown, both of which are bustling with businesses and residents, and perhaps think twice about calling Reno desolate as a whole just because his own neighborhood is.
Mike Van Houten
Re “Range life” (Musicbeat, April 19):
I’ll admit that I’ve suffered through enough of Brad Bynum’s writing in this paper to already have formed a pretty crappy opinion of it, but his review of The Harvest and The Hunt finally incensed me enough to write a response. Why? His assertions on the metal genre. In his article, Mr. Bynum boasts that “metal bands especially tend to set their levels and rip ahead at a constant unchanging tempo.”
I think we can all classify Black Sabbath as a “metal” band, many would argue the first. From the first song, “Black Sabbath,” on their first album, Black Sabbath, they employ more dynamics than I’ve heard for years out of other genres. It doesn’t stop there. From Judas Priest to Iron Maiden, from Metallica to Sepultura, and even newer death metal bands such as Spawn of Possession and Ulcerate, the metal genre has been all over the dynamic spectrum, oftentimes in the same song. Perhaps Bynum should stick to writing what he knows, which from what I’ve gathered from his writings is talking about himself. He doesn’t know metal and should quit posin’ like he does. On a positive note, I have enjoyed David Preston’s recent restaurant reviews. Perhaps the other writers of this paper could learn something from him. For a start, maybe talking about the food instead of themselves and their friends.
Re “A sinking ship” (Arts & Culture, April 19):
The Dennis Myers piece about the Titanic was an interesting read. There is, however, another Nevada connection to the doomed ship. With more than 300 bodies still floating in the Atlantic, White Star Line, owners of the Titanic, moved quickly to recover as many bodies as possible. One of the first calls they made was to the Commercial Cable Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia, owners of the cable ship, Mackay-Bennett. It was built in 1884 and was financed by Comstock millionaire John Mackay and New York newspaper published James Gordon Bennett Jr.
The ship spent seven days on the scene and recovered 306 bodies, one of which was New York financier John Jacob Astor. They also recovered Titanic crew member Joseph Dawson who was taken to Halifax for burial. Dawson became the fictional Jack Dawson played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1997 film Titanic. The Mackay-Bennett was eventually taken out of service in 1922 and was finally scrapped in 1965. John Mackay became the richest man in the history of Virginia City’s famed Comstock Lode. He died in London in July 1902, 10 years before the Titanic tragedy never knowing the important part his ship played in one of the greatest maritime disasters of all time.
Who’s your daddy?
Re “The naked truth” (Feature story, March 29):
I really feel sorry for you folks down there at RN&R, with your choice to run that Caitlin Thomas thing.
Following immediately on the heels of the Rush Limbaugh misogyny scandal, you must have realized, “Hey, this sex thing really gets people’s attention.”
As for Caitlin herself, she’s just a fatherless kid trying to hustle a buck, exploiting the male sex drive while being exploited herself. So what?
The real issue is that the staff of the RN&R needed something to play “shock jock” with … to get everyone riled up. How boring, how pathetic of you.
Natalie Merchant sang it best in “Candy everybody wants”: “If lust and hate is the candy, if blood and love taste so sweet, then we give ’em what they want.”
Have your ad revenues gone up yet, boys?
Re “Vinyl fetish” (Musicbeat, April 19):
Pretty disappointing that Discology barely got a mention in your Record Store Day piece, especially since it’s been involved in the event longer than all of the other participating stores in Reno combined. I guess if businesses want to get featured in your paper, they need to advertise in it.
Tax in the road
Re “Getting your money’s worth for your taxes” (Streetalk, April 12):
I was surprised by the responses to your Streetalk question, “Getting your money’s worth for your taxes?” as only one out of the five responded positively. I know that I have access to fire and police protection 24/7, along with access to paramedic services through the Fire Department. I have roads to drive on, both locally and nationally with attendant safety features; traffic signs and lights are not free. My granddaughter is being educated, as were my son and I. I spent a lot of time in private schools that in retrospect were more interested in bolstering the religious aspects of the curriculum than critical thinking. Both my son and I enjoyed higher education. Although it was expensive, it was less so due to tax support.
I also benefit indirectly from public education because it ensures that my fellow citizens in the community have had some training in a variety of fields considered essential to the health and well being of our shared community. Without this basic education, our communities would have citizens with out basic critical thinking or communication skills.
Regulation gets a bad rap, but my tax dollars ensure that when I buy a product from a grocery store, it meets basic standards of purity, and it accurately lists ingredients. Regulation supported by tax dollars also helps protect me from criminal entrepreneurs and dishonest business practices. My tax dollars fund the court system and the penal system allowing me to feel safer in my community and in dealing with business.
My tax money also provides me protection from aggression by foreign powers through the armed forces. These brave men and women form the finest defensive force in the world. (It is not their fault if they are utilized to re-establish international oil companies in lucrative positions, a horribly indecent use of my tax dollars.)
My taxes have helped fund basic scientific research that continually opens up new areas of knowledge and contributes to the amazing technological revolution that has done so much to my world in a positive way.
My list could continue. I am disappointed that your respondents do not share my views. I feel that I get far more from my tax dollar than I get from any other area of my personal expenditures.