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Thanks for Reporting on Conflicts of Interest at the 'Star'

I am very impressed with the improvements made to your paper, noticeable since the acquisition by (Wick Communications). The articles are pointed and interesting and relate to my life as a Tucsonan.

Thank you for printing "When Readers Write" by Walt Nett (Media Watch, Sept. 29). Mr. Nett has put his finger on an issue of great importance to me and my family. He found a very professional way of uncovering the unbalanced coverage by the Arizona Daily Star on the issue of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

I hope the Star and their editors are able to rise above personal agendas, see the damage that their positions are doing to their paper and reputations, and strive for improved coverage.

Karen Martin


'Weekly' Readers Don't Know What a Good Sports Bar Is

After reading the recent Best of TucsonTM issue (Sept. 29), I must admit, for the first time in many years, I agree with the majority of the winning picks as well as the runners-up. I especially agree with a lot of the restaurant picks, such as Best Vegan, Best Vegetarian and Best Japanese. The ranking of the Best Lowbrow Bar Ambiance winners is in the exact same order of my favorite local watering holes.

I am a native Tucsonan and a sports fan. I was appalled upon seeing Famous Sam's win the Best Sports Bar category. My reasons for opining such a strong statement are rooted in an incident more that two years ago, but my concerns evidently still apply to this bar on certain nights.

On the evening of Jan. 17, 2003, I went to the Famous Sam's on East Pima Street to meet a friend who was driving in from Phoenix. The Lakers were playing the Rockets. This was the first match-up of Shaquille O'Neal versus Yao Ming. As expected, this highly anticipated NBA game was on the big screen. Then they started dismantling the big screen and turning off TVs. I asked the staff, "Why are they turning off the game?" They said it was time for karaoke. I asked, "I thought you guys are a sports bar? This is a huge NBA game. Can you please put the game on the small corner TV with no sound?" The rude staff refused.

Bob Dobbs' would never do this!

Mark D. Hansen


The Sad Thing Is, This Dude Could Use Something to Mellow Him Out

The Staff Pick in the Best of TucsonTM for the Best Head Shop was in poor taste. Granted, your newspaper is usually liberal. However, the blatant glorification of marijuana use is most definitely crossing the line.

I have to assume that random employee drug testing is not part of the Weekly's employment practices. (Editor's Note: Employees are subject to testing at any time.) The Best of TucsonTM issue is highly anticipated, and to cheapen it by putting in this not-so-thinly veiled reference to drug use just makes it a pathetic attempt to seem "alternative" and "hip." We know the Weekly is alternative and hip already.

I'll give the writer kudos for using the word "rapacious," as it must have been hard to come up with that word through the haze of bong smoke. That being said, don't try so hard next year--the paper does a good enough job on its own.

Taylor Hardy


More on the Gender Confusion Regarding Hair Salons by the 'Weekly'

It is truly a thrill to have been given first place in the Weekly's Best of TucsonTM issue for 2005.

However, there are a couple of things that I need to rectify. Firstly, we are not all dames. We have two stylists who sport sideburns and, secondly, one of them is the other half of the business. Yes, I draw the ads and am responsible for the creative end, but Carmen does absolutely everything else, and the business would not be here without him. I feel badly that he was not even mentioned.

Our shop is flavored by all of the wonderful, eclectic personalities who work here and who do their part to make the place come together and be what it is. So that being taken care of, yes, I do love dogs and know many great homeless ones.

So come on in, get beautiful and perhaps get in touch with a four-legged soulmate.

Signe Razzi, The Coyote Wore Sideburns


It Isn't About Roadkill; It's About Cash!

Roadkill, my ass ("Roadkill Blues," Currents, Sept. 29). Biologist Natasha Kline, the superintendent and any other honchos connected to the Saguaro National Park West are upset that they cannot charge a toll fee for using Picture Rocks and Sandario roads. That is what it's all about: toll fees, like the Saguaro National Park East charges. After all, more than 6,000 vehicles travel through the west part every day, and they would generate a lot of money.

Pete Guedel


How Did Mr. Dillingham Know We're Out to Annoy Him?

I realize that James DiGiovanna only writes half the things he does to annoy people like me, but I can't let his assertion that the '80s were "the worst decade for popular music and fashion in the history of the universe" go unchallenged ("Too Punk for the Punks," Cinema, Oct. 6). Come on, James: Any decade that featured the likes of Prince, New Order, Throwing Muses, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Jett, Human League, The Smiths, Guns N' Roses, Sonic Youth and early hip-hop deserves better than that.

The other assertion is harder to deny, but let's not forget Oscar Wilde's definition of fashion: "a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months."

Justyn Dillingham


Is It Just Us, or Is This Letter Sorta Hokey?

I must take issue with your assertion that "Cowboy poetry has a certain level of innate hokeyness to it ... it's about mythology and stereotypes and white hats vs. black hats, that sort of thing" ("Verses From the Boonies," Books, Oct. 6).

It is certainly not. Cowboy poetry is a venerable American folk form, which tells the stories of the working West. I think you have confused the "real" with the "reel."

Drum Hadley would no doubt agree, having been a participant at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which is now in its 22nd year, hosted by the respected Western Folklife Center.

Here at CowboyPoetry.com, a project of the nonprofit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, we would be glad to show you what cowboy poetry is. There are National Endowment for the Arts fellows who are cowboy poets. Cowboy poets are invited to the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian and the National Folk Festival.

You do your readers, our Western heritage and people of the working West a disservice by dismissing this true folk form as "hokey."

Margo Metegrano
Editor, www.CowboyPoetry.com


Of Wood, Smoke and Omissions

How can a review of a "barbecue joint" not mention what kind of wood is used for smoking ("Barbecue Bliss; So-So Sides," Chow, Sept. 15)? Do you have any editor review your work before it is published?

Shane Lindstrom

Rita Connelly notes that the wood used is pecan. We apologize for the oversight.

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