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Big Wins Beget Big Heads

Letters published December 28, 2000

Big losses beget big music conservatories: I enjoyed reading the story that was featured in the November 30 issue about the losing Oberlin football team ["The Ream Team"]. I found it interesting to see how schools with constantly defeated football teams treat their programs.

I am currently attending Mount Union College, a school that has won national titles in four of the past five years. At Mount Union, they treat the players as if they are gods of the game and quickly seem to forget the reality that it is only Division III play. Even though many think that Oberlin's losing streak is a major issue, I think that it is better than basing a college around a winning team that includes many players with extremely big heads.

Athena Mericsko

A word about the long arm of the law of averages: Overall, I enjoyed the article ["The Average Inmate," December 14] and found it a fair review of the general facts (I made no review of the particular case). I do have one comment/criticism that hangs on the border of statistics and interpretation.

In general, you handle "average" in an accepted manner, notably the modal category for things like race, sex, education, and so forth. Even crime is correct, given the data you got from us -- namely, the intake study. However, the intake sample is not representative of the people who are in prison right now. We get lots of people walking in our door for drug crimes, but they don't stay long, because their sentences are fairly short.

At any point in time (a point in time is more of a snapshot or census concept), the inmate population is much more weighted toward the serious and violent offender. The last census we completed -- July 1, 1998 -- had 4,005 rapists and 3,449 drug traffickers in prison on that date, when sorting offenders by the most serious committed crime. Over 60 percent of our population on that date had a sex offense or offense against persons as the most serious crime, while only 13 percent had a drug crime as the most serious. Thus, the sub-headline to some degree misleads. People entering the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections' doors tend to be nonviolent, most frequently drug offenders. Those there now, or at any point in time, tend to be fairly serious violent offenders.

Steve Van Dine
Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections

A metal monger wields his steel: Kudos for finding a way to take a cheap shot at my publication [Regional Beat, September 21]! But do me a favor: In the future, when taking a shot at my magazine, please get the name right. It's Music's Bottom Line, not Bottom Line.

As far as your analysis of us being a "pay-per-publication," let's look at the facts. MBL has charged no one, ever, to do an interview or have their CD reviewed in our paper. Bands request, we respond based on all the numerous things -- interest in the band, the events they are trying to promote, or even just because they are out there trying to make it.

But since Scene has so much integrity, would you please enlighten me as to when the last time coverage was given to a band for a show at a club that didn't buy an ad in the mag that week? Also, aside from Mushroomhead, when was the last time a local band was on the cover of Scene?

Second point: Biaxadent. Since Dion wants to continually take shots at me that A. are not true and B. are cowardly, because he doesn't take them to the source and airs his problems out in public, let me fire back.

You said, "He has kept his band going, even when no one in town would book it." Know why? Because A. their music sucks, B. most promoters are smart enough to not have all-ages shows with naked chicks doing stupid lesbian acts, and C. their music sucks (I know I already said that, but I can't emphasize that enough).

Final point: It is laughable that Scene would dare take a stab at me about my support of the local scene or being the "local metal cartel." This coming from a collection of out-of-towners who need a map to find the Rock Hall. If the fact that I provide coverage to local bands and review their CDs and get them played on the biggest radio station in Cleveland, WMMS (Metal Show, Sundays 10 p.m.-midnight), makes me a "power player" to bands, so be it. I don't abuse this power. Well, until now. Let me officially state that anything Biaxadent is officially off the list of things Music's Bottom Line will cover, consider, or have any part of -- right there with pedophilia, plunger rape, and analyzing who makes the best cinnamon cappuccino in town (wouldn't want to cut into Scene's core market there).

Chris Akin
Music's Bottom Line

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