A fan steps up: As a big Beatles fan, I finally have to say something. I'm tired of reading all the Beatle-bashing in your letters section ["Boo, Beatles," Letters, March 23]. Most everybody who loves rock and roll knows the Beatles wrote original songs in the style of great '50s rock and roll artists such as Elvis, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers and Carl Perkins. But John Lennon and Paul McCartney created their own sound in a way that had never been done. Look at all the early Beatles albums. Just about every track could have been a single.
The Beatles are not boomer hype. Many, many generations have discovered the Beatles' music on their own, and that's another reason why their fan base looms large. "Boy band" is crap. "All My Loving" is just cool.
I think the Beatle-bashing is due to one thing. All these guys in their mid-thirties or early forties can't stand it that nothing that great happened in their time. When you look at all the great pop culture of the '60s in music, movies, TV and comic books, there's just no doubt about it: The '60s were the most creative artistic decade of all time. All those thirtysomethings have only Star Wars, and you know what? Lost in Space was more fun.
Lay off Lonnie: Last month an article I wrote appeared in Music News about Lonnie Posey, the talent agent for cover bands. This week the Houston Press covered the same information ["Lord of the Cover Bands," Wack, by Travis Ritter, March 23]. Imitation is a form of flattery; however, the subject matter of the article is where the imitation stopped. My article had a positive slant with regard to the music and the business Lonnie is in.
Ritter's story was belittling to Lonnie and the cover music he promotes. It started with the title, "Lord of the Cover Bands," as in Lord of the Flies...King of Nothing. Ritter went on to degrade cover music, cover bands and the business of promoting them. The tone of the story was condescending, as if the author were a household name with recording awards decorating his wall. Does the armchair quarterback even play an instrument?
As far as original music goes, you can put a monkey in front of a piano and it will create something original -- but is it good?
The same goes for putting someone in front of a typewriter. In the case of Ritter's article, since it contained the same topic and information as my article, I guess he had to put a negative slant on it so it wouldn't be a cover article -- also known as plagiarism.
Great guidebook: Thanks for the article "Band Suicide" [by John Nova Lomax, February 16]. On the verge of releasing an album, I can already see myself headed for many of the pitfalls discussed in the piece. In truth, it scared the hell out of me, but the plus is that it's a timely reminder that I need to get my shit together or, odds are, I'll end up like so many Houston songwriters who either fade away or give up and move to Austin. In fact, I think the article is second only to the documentary Dig in being what I consider a guidebook of what musicians should do (and avoid) when pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter.
No. 1 fan: Back in August, I wrote to call bullshit on the Houston Press's choice for album of the year. When I wrote that time, you asked if I had even heard the Plus and Minus album, which I had. Now you claim that a lack of onstage presence has nullified any success the album or Haaga's effort has garnered. I stand by my previous statement. Los Skarnales's Pachuco Boogie Sound System was the album of the year, by the band that consistently puts on the best show in Houston. If you didn't vote for it, you must not have heard it. Now go see them live.
Late to the Game
Out of print: I've been pretty happy since the Press started publishing video game reviews. It's nice to have a perspective on games from outside the usual gaming press. But Gary Hodges's February 23 Game On review ["Law and Disorder"] is a bit late.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, the "latest oddball title for the DS," was released in early October of last year, according to Capcom, the game's publisher. Furthermore, the game has actually gone out of print, with leftover new copies going for around $80 from third-party sellers on Amazon.
The only hope for gamers interested in trying Phoenix for the manufacturer's suggested price is a rumor that Capcom may print more copies in response to high demand after the game's release in Europe in March.
Yummy: I enjoyed your article on pho ["Pho Real," by Robb Walsh, March 23]. It's a staple item in our community and culture. If we travel for a few days without it, we go searching for a bowl of hot pho, no matter how bad the restaurant may be. A little hot sauce and lime, and it's all good!
I have to agree that it is annoying how you sometimes have to search for someone to refill your iced tea or water at these Vietnamese restaurants. (I am Vietnamese, by the way, so this is not a prejudiced comment.)
I hope you get a chance to try some more Vietnamese food. We're proud of it and happy to share it with people of other cultures.
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Carter's legacy: This article was nothing more than an exercise in "front-loading" an article with fear, uncertainty and doubt ["Bring It On," by Josh Harkinson, March 9]. If you were to strip off the title and the last sentence, the entire article would read as a warning against nuclear power.
Russian designs have no containment vessel. They also use graphite as the moderator and superheated water as the coolant. When water that hot comes in contact with graphite that hot, explosions result. This has been known for a very long time. Without a containment vessel, there's nothing to keep plants from spraying radioactive debris for hundreds of miles downwind. In contrast, the only civilian reactor incident in a Western country (Three Mile Island No. 2) harmed no one and released such a small amount of short-lived radioactive isotopes that no trace of it could be detected a week later outside the containment vessel. From this comparison, it is clear that the danger lies in allowing a Russian to design the plant.
Every year thousands die either directly or indirectly from pollution due to the "conventional" generation of power using coal. Count the deaths and long-term effects of all nuclear accidents, including those involved in the processing and reprocessing of fuel assemblies, and the death toll since the dawn of nuclear power does not equal a single year's death toll from coal-fired plants. President Jimmy Carter banned the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and the development of fast-breeder reactors in this country. Combining the two technologies results in an increase in efficiency and a shortening of the time that spent fuel is dangerously radioactive. A conventional single-pass-through fuel cycle uses only 5 percent of the energy in the fuel and leaves it dangerously radioactive for 10,000 years. However, reprocessing that "spent" fuel and using it in a fast breeder uses an additional 90 percent of the energy and leaves the resulting waste dangerously radioactive for only 200 years, with, by the way, no chance that it could ever be reprocessed to make a fission bomb. This was the fuel cycle envisioned by the nuclear power engineers in the '60s. Carter is the one who left us with long-term nuclear waste, not the engineers.