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Blood of a Con Man

Letters published June 14, 2006

Blaine's family sees through the lies: Blaine Zahand is my younger brother ["Stripped Off," May 31]. Let me begin by apologizing to the women involved in this story and to any other person that his lies have affected. His lies have carried him through his entire life. His lies have become an infection that destroys everyone who comes near him. Not only has he lied to and cheated these women, but he has done so to his own blood. His mother, grandmother, aunts, and siblings -- even the mothers of his children.

As much as I love him (he is still my brother), I hate the way he has chosen to live. His choices have caused so many people grief. It makes one wonder how we can all be so susceptible to his charms. As silly as this story seems and as lame as his excuses are, he has always managed to be convincing. I believe that he thinks that his lies are truth -- that is what makes all of this so sickening.

I am glad that someone has broken free from his games and has come out to let the masses know what he is about. Even our family knows that he lies and cheats, but we have ignorantly let him back in to do it all over again.

Everyone out there needs to avoid him at all costs -- he will do nothing but hurt you. Prison did not change him and even the military was duped by his con crap and let him out after only a few months of service.

I pray for his sake and the sake of his children that he seeks help. I hope that this article not only opens the eyes of the people he has hurt, but his own as well.

Zakk Zahand
Garfield Heights

Add her to the list: Blaine also ripped me off. I met him back in June 2004 at Amber's Cabaret, and he was a good guy. We started dating and getting closer. One day I get a call from him saying he's in jail and needs $200 bail money (his "grandmother" called me on three-way).

He told me to put it in his soccer bag in the back seat of his car. So I did. Then he called me like a week later and said, "I'll pay you back. Do you wanna hang out?" I used to go to his house all the time. We used to watch movies, cuddle, and have a good time.

Then he didn't call me for like a month. I finally called him and said, "Where have you been?" He said he'd been really busy.

Then in July 2005, he called me and asked if I wanted to give him $200. He said he would bring me back three times as much. I thought about it for a couple of days and I said to myself, "Why not? I trust him." Since I was short on rent anyway, I thought it wouldn't hurt.

He came over to my apartment and I gave him the $200. He asked if he could come back later to spend the night. I said yeah.

About two hours later I called him and asked him where he was. He said he was in Sandusky.

"Are you still coming?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said. "I'll be there in about an hour."

I never heard from Blaine again. I almost got kicked out because I didn't have any rent money -- all because of him.

Carrie St. Clair
Cleveland

A Hack and His Vomit
Get out and cover Cleveland bands:
John Cramer devotes an entire article to trashing Wilco [Sound Off, May 31]? It wasn't even a review of anything, just an unwarranted, random opinion vomited into Scene out of left field.

It seems that Cramer has an axe to grind with Wilco's fans, those college-radio-listening "soul patchers and chain-walleters." What's the matter, Cramer? Did some skinny hipster smack you around with a chain wallet and steal your girlfriend?

Get out and write about some Cleveland bands. Nobody wants to read random vitriol about national acts, spewed forth from a low-rent pulp-magazine hack. We want to read articles about Cleveland bands, written by low-rent pulp-magazine hacks.

Get off your high horse, Cramer, and get thee to a rock club.

Hank Chinaski
Akron

A service for Wilco fans: What a pleasure to read your in-depth critique of Wilco and Tweedy. Please list some of the music that you enjoy, so that Wilco fans can realize what good music really is.

You are unbelievable in your arrogance. Do you really think that so many people do not trust their own taste? I have enjoyed Wilco's albums and think they are an amazing band to see live. But that's just my opinion. I don't sit around getting pissed off because I don't agree with what people listen to. So help out a Wilco fan who is tricked by all the hype.

Chef Pie
Los Angeles

Some writers got no reason: What is it that truly bothers you about Wilco/Tupelo/Jay Farrar? Because it is not revealed in this article. Did he sleep with your sister? Are you Tweedy's illegitimate son?

My point is that you don't make a point. You say that Tweedy sucks, but you don't give an example or make a comparison (i.e., he ripped off the Replacements, who ripped off the Who -- and you hate the Who). I couldn't even figure out if the guitar-solo thing bothered you. You didn't quite make a connection.

It seems the point of this article is that you hate egos. But saying that Jeff Tweedy has an ego, but not really saying why he is overrated, simply baffles me. And every musician has an ego. The idea that you are onstage and people are dying to hear what you say creates an ego. It's an inherent part of the business.

Just because you can turn a phrase doesn't mean you should be a writer. There is a point to every story, and unfortunately, you didn't think of one. You are just angry.

Tim Roche
Newport, Rhode Island

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