Prize Matters

THE TUCSON WEEKLY won three awards last week in the Arizona Press Club's annual competition.

Out of 67 entries statewide, Margaret Regan took both first and second place in the general criticism category. She won first first place for "Images of Arcady" (November 4, 1999), which reviewed a show of still lifes and landscapes at the Tucson Museum of Art. Category judge Elizabeth Maupin of the Orlando Sentinel said that Regan "takes an under-appreciated period in American art and illuminates it, giving the reader both an interesting lesson in art history and a vivid sense of these paintings as tactile objects. Through crisp, simple writing, I felt I had seen the paintings myself, and I felt both calmed and broadened by the experience."

Maupin also awarded Regan second place in the category for "Interior Motive" (November 25, 1999), a review of photographer Myriam Babin's work at the Elizabeth Cherry Contemporary Art gallery. "Like the artist whose work she is reviewing, the writer brings clarity and substance to a subject that could be considered mundane," said Maupin.

Frequent contributor Joe Forkan earned first-place honors in the color illustration category for his cover for "The First Men" (July 8, 1999), an excerpt from a book of short stories by local author (and former TW cinema critic) Stacey Richter. Category judge Dave Pollard, art director of Great Life magazine, said Forkan's work was "immediately engaging" and "strong graphically and compelling and mysterious."

Reality Check

To the Editor,

I only had two problems with Dan Huff's "Quantum Consciousness?" (April 6): the style, and the substance. With all the cutesy verbal flotsam clogging up the article, it was difficult to focus on just what the point was. Huff must have cut his journalistic teeth writing movie reviews. When he does get around to quoting the "experts," things really start to get goofy. Herr Doctor Garage Band Philosopher Chalmers feels that "perhaps we need to view consciousness as a kind of fundamental constituent of reality." Whose reality, what reality, where? Reality is one of those terms that philosophers -- and anyone else at the bar -- can use to mean anything they like. Did the rest of the universe have to wait on consciousness before it could be more "real"? And what makes our internal representations any less real than anything else? The "hard problem" for me is understanding what a philosopher might know about any of this. I hear that Chalmers believes that anything that processes information exhibits consciousness. I'll have to have a talk with my desk calculator.

At least Hameroff and Penrose are in fields that might bring something to bear on this question. But when Penrose starts talking about the Platonic Realm of Ideas, my consciousness starts to drift. That was a great idea 2,500 years ago -- back when the Greeks thought the brain was a radiator for the blood -- but we've learned a few things lately. Ideas live in the brain, and maybe that's what Penrose is saying, but who would know from reading this article?

Consciousness is the exceedingly complex interaction between our sensory inputs and our various needs; survival, reproduction, etc., and it evolved very slowly over a really long time. The quantum neurobiophysicists can fill in the functional gaps over the next few hundred years. But when it comes to questions like "If there's a tree in the forest, and there's nobody there, is it still green?," I'll seek the answer to that where people have always sought after such things: in the bar.

-- Kirk Alexander

P.S. Thanks for the invite to the conference, PhDudes, but I was engaged in a semi-conscious activity unknown on college campuses -- something called a "job."

To the Editor,

I loved Dan Huff's "Quantum Consciousness?" (April 6)! What a wonderful balance between humor and science. You took just enough poetic license to keep the article lively without tossing content in the process.

-- Steve Pothie

Words To The Wise

To the Editor,

Every Thursday afternoon, I rush in great anticipation for the moment I can pick up and read the news-packed Tucson Weekly. Because I know I'll find all the nonpartisan "investigative reporting" I must have in order to know what's really going on in our metropolis. Yet time after time, I can surely count on seeing the same GOP public officials (especially if they're up for election soon) mentioned in the infamous Skinny column and profiled, while "classic moments" from others conveniently slip by.

But I must concur with The Weekly's sentiment in asking the Arizona Daily Star the fundamental question, "Where's the real news?!" Though it's a wonder that The Weekly isn't in any big hurry to sing "Won't you be my neighbor?" for the Star's new Neighbors section, considering its own strong pro-neighborhood stance.

Instead of being so concerned about what the Star is doing (or not doing), make sure this paper is up to par -- and not just investigate who or what you want. Believe it or not, I do enjoy and am amused by The Weekly, and can appreciate your writing style. The premise of an alternative publication to the mainstream media is good. But in the quest of being "truth seekers," don't lose sight of the journalism standard or balance and objectivity in your own investigative reporting -- otherwise the message becomes transparent. Please don't take this as a love letter, and I'll see you at the neighborhood mall.

-- Sharon Platt

The Other Side Of 'Stories'

To the Editor,

Far be it from me to question the editorial judgment of Tucson Weekly's Books section, or even Randall Holdridge's April 13 review ("Rough Guide") of my collection of short stories, travel advisory: Stories of Mexico. Although it does seem a tad peevish when a critic's pithiest salvo is aimed at the fact that an author has a bald head, a consequence that, I assure him, is purely biological and has nothing to do with my writing ability or lack thereof.

In the interest of perspective, however, readers of Tucson Weekly's Books section might be attentive to the fact that Holdridge's is the only negative review that travel advisory has received so far. Over a dozen other critics have weighed in, with judgments ranging from good to orgasmic, in, among other media, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Book Review, the San Antonio Express News, National Public Radio, the St. Petersburg Times, Time Out New York, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Paper Magazine, etc. Curious readers can find excerpts from some of these on the travel advisory page at or

-- David Lida

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