Das ist gut, ja?: This is just an outstanding article -- personal journalism at its finest. I've mailed a link to my entire distribution list, including print and electronic newstypes here and in Europe.
Thanks for a great read.
Jim Serra, KPLC-TV
Lake Charles, La.
The Young and the Savage
Bully-busters, stand up and fight: It's about time someone told this story ["Animal Kingdom," March 21] the way it deserves to be told. Michael is my nephew, and I have personally seen the devastation this ordeal has caused -- not only for Michael and his family, but for those of us who love them as well.
We live in a day where children are not only cruel, but are violent and relentless with the kind of torture Michael has had to endure. It will not end unless someone takes a stand, and the rest of us need to stand beside them.
Much thanks to Scene for telling it like it is and for helping these good people say what so desperately needs to be said.
Move On, Lazy Writer
MV & EE have no fashion sense: "White-bread, Vermont folkies sporting designer hippie threads?"
I've been following Matt Valentine's work for nearly ten years now, and neither he nor Erika have ever worn designer clothes. Justin seems more qualified to review fashion than music.
It's obvious he doesn't like the album [Playback, February 28], and that is a valid criticism, but lame references to alleged drug use? (Why not just say they might be involved in animal mutilations?) That's just lazy writing.
New York, N.Y.
Kucinich fans vote with Google: The anti-Kucinich letter writer in the March 14 issue ["Accomplishments, Kucinich-style"] is way off base. He professes amazement at the number of Kucinich supporters who wrote in and mentions that none of their letters cited any of Dennis' accomplishments.
Given the irrational hatred that Scene has for the congressman, it's foolish to assume that a representative sample of responses was printed. Given Kucinich's margins of victory and the demographic of alternative weekly readership, my guess is that letters ran 10 to 1 in Dennis' favor and that the most flattering were not printed.
For the record, a Google search of "Kucinich" and "accomplishment" yielded 49,300 results, with the first containing the quote "I still can't figure out how he gets so much accomplished," while the same search for Senator George Voinovich yielded only 20,400.
[Editor's note: As a general rule, Scene tries to run all the letters it receives, whether here or in the blog section at www.clevescene.com. A cursory look at previous letters sections will show we have no aversion to running letters from critics. But for the record, letters for and against Kucinich generally run about 50-50.]
Hungarian Grammar Lesson
Zwack most bad speakin' da English: Though I don't like its bitter taste, as a second-generation Hungarian American, I am happy to see Zwack here in Cleveland ["Shots for Hungary," March 14].
Their billboards read "Zwack Is Most Good," which I hope is a deliberate mistranslation of "Zwack Is the Best" in Hungarian. ("Zwack a legjobb.") Otherwise, it's a terrible translation error.
Good Man Down -- Not Out
Pray for your saints, and boot your sinners: Joe P. Tone's article "Good Man Down" [March 14] completely misses the point about St. Hyacinth. This is obviously a changing neighborhood, but there are many good Samaritans like Gary Scofinsky. This good guy unfortunately befriended a convicted murderer, who showed his appreciation by beating and robbing him.
Tone thinks St. Hyacinth residents stay because they are "provincially stubborn." Many people here strive to maintain a quality of life that doesn't require a fancy house on a big lot. Many here, like Scofinsky and his neighbors who visit him at Metro Hospital and put up wanted posters for his assailant, care for and watch out for each other.
Some of their graffiti remains, but the Goonies were put out of business quickly because of a concentrated effort by residents who weren't going to tolerate them, coupled with cooperation from Third District police. The epidemic of thieves who strip abandoned homes of siding and plumbing is largely a result of the current economy. Within walking distance from Scofinsky's home are a number of new homes and Hyacinth Lofts, a development that achieved almost full occupancy without any advertising.
Abandoned homes in this area, like many others (including inner-ring suburbs), are mostly results of predatory lending, which continues to be legal in Ohio. Still, the area boasts the highest concentration of small businesses in the city.
Quality of life is about how you make it, not where you make it. The best is yet to come, Gary Scofinsky. Please stay. We need good guys like you.