Far, far from the Big Muddy: It was such a pleasure to read the cover story about the fishing there at home [Wm. Stage, "Net Profit," July 31]! Though I'm only 29, I remember the days of the old fish market in Alton on the other side of the levee and the wet, crisp smell of the place; the backroom, knee deep, full of ice; the concentrated faces of the workers and a newspaper-wrapped purchase that my mother tucked away in a bag or asked me carry to the car. Living here in Michigan is great and all, [but] I'm often homesick. Although everyone hungers for changes, when I come back home it's so nice to see that many things are the same. Knowing that Mr. Beasley and others carry on the tradition of catching -- and, more importantly, that Riverbend folks keep eating -- the mighty Mississippi's bounty, well, it brings a smile to my face, nearly a tear to my eye. Thanks again -- it was a great read that sparked a lot of wonderful memories.
Royal Oak, Michigan
Don't throw down on the King: Who the hell is Robert Wilonsky, and why is he bad-mouthing Elvis ["Dig Dug," August 7]? What would have been the fate of rock & roll, a.k.a. the Devil's music? Elvis Presley was, is and will always be the king of rock & roll. There isn't a performer today that could make a pimple on Elvis' ass. Countless numbers of rock & roll stars have died before their time, but how many have the staying power, class and raw talent of Elvis? His image is known worldwide; his music is timeless. Elvis Aron Presley -- rest in peace.
Fronts for frauds exposed: What a great, hard-hitting story [Geri L. Dreiling, "Dressed for Deceit," August 7]! Your research is deep, and you don't pull any punches. It will be interesting to see how the city responds.
via the Internet
A gender blast: Affirmative action for women business owners is just another name for regressive Victorian chivalry that somehow survived the notion of "equality" for women. Women are put at the front of the bidding line, which somehow becomes a cause célèbre when male-owned businesses have to kiss their rumps to get a part of a public project? How many women-owned businesses are capable of being an effective prime contractor on a major public-works project? Marriage is the greatest affirmative-action program in the history of civilization. It doesn't matter who owns or earns what when men and women mutually benefit from marriage, both socially and economically. Human advancement depends decisively on cooperation [between] the sexes, not programs and policies that pit women versus men in a self-defeating struggle to the bitter end.
David R. Usher
Don't smear the sculpture: Perhaps a lack of imagination is what most afflicts Eddie Silva ["SLU of Despond," July 24]. The Lay Center for Education and the Arts is the culmination of Henry Lay's dream of establishing a place where literature and art are combined with the beauty of nature to stimulate learning and imagination. Apparently Mr. Silva, during his visit to the park, missed out on both opportunities -- to become educated and to acquire even a little imagination. A quote from last week's letters in the RFT can be applied to Mr. Silva's article: "Inserting your personal bias and hate because you have the power of the pen is childish." In this instance, as in his prior article "Wasted Space" [June 26], Mr. Silva's bias and hate is directed at the Reverend Lawrence Biondi. Unfortunately, Mr. Silva did not do his homework. The titles of the works and the sculptors were apparently unknown to Mr. Silva. The eleven original pieces, including "The Sun," "The Moon" and "The Three Sisters," were not commissioned by Father Biondi but by Henry Lay. When completed, the multimillion-dollar sculpture garden will feature at least sixteen pieces of outdoor sculpture, along with a children's garden and maze and an interpretive center displaying the area's natural and cultural history. I have visited this nature lover's dream several times during the past year, with its five-mile walking trail winding through forests, past open fields and lakes. It literally invites meditation on the pieces. Not only my imagination but also my appreciation of the beauty of nature and of art were stimulated. The only "anger imposed here" was imposed on me after reading Mr. Silva's uninformed article.
Mary Fran Byrne
Buy Twisty some popcorn: Almost every issue acclaims the return of Jill Posey-Smith's reviews. Tony Patti this week has excellent taste ["Letters," July 24]. Perhaps you could send Jill to the movies, too. But please don't ever move her out of Café. Currently I have two reasons to pick up the RFT: Dan Savage [Savage Love] and Café (Melissa Martin is OK but not as entertaining). Sometimes Savage disappoints, but Jill is always worth the read.