I am guilt-free when I say that once in a while I enjoy mindless, happy, even silly tunes -- although, I'm not sure I would take Morris up on any of his suggestions. If Marilyn Manson is right and the babes from Hanson are "instruments of the devil," then I can only say a prayer for him, myself, and the rest of the world.

Michele Sinisgalli
Miami Beach

Corn to Be Wild
I just got started on Jen Karetnick's review of the Smith & Wollensky steak house ("The Unkindest Cut," January 15) and it was the usual good work until she noted parenthetically that the purists might find corn in ceviche "somewhat odd." Not so. In fact, these purists expect to find corn there, as well as a piece of sweet potato and onion.

This from someone who has been there (Peru, where ceviche is a national obsession and was very likely invented) and married to one of that country's better ceviche preparers.

Ed McKinney

And Here to Speak on Behalf of the Mayor...
Usually I enjoy reading Jim DeFede's column, but I was disappointed by his unfair portrayal of Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas ("Style: 10, Substance: 0," January 1).

In his zeal to paint Penelas as lacking in substance, Mr. DeFede omitted nearly all of Penelas's accomplishments. He neglected to mention Penelas's "Safe Streets/Clean Sweep" initiative that has improved police responsiveness and contributed to an eighteen percent drop in crime. He also omitted Penelas's economic accomplishments, including a budget with no tax increase and his successful efforts to keep jobs in Miami-Dade and attract new ones. In his analysis, Mr. DeFede also failed to note Penelas's successful renegotiation of the new arena agreement with the Miami Heat, a substantive accomplishment that he lauded in a previous column.

Perhaps Mr. DeFede's most disappointing omission was his failure to recognize Penelas's successful fight to establish a county ethics commission. I for one appreciate Penelas's many efforts to fight corruption and promote higher ethics within the county, and I hope that Mr. DeFede will begin to support and encourage those efforts as well. (We can only wonder whether the county commission would still have overridden Penelas's veto of commission slush funds if Mr. DeFede had acknowledged it as a positive, substantive move by Penelas.)

Mr. DeFede's outstanding rating for Penelas's style and professionalism was deserved, but his low grade for substance was based on an incomplete ledger. When we see the full picture of Mayor Penelas's first fifteen months in office, he clearly deserves high marks in both categories.

William J. Collins
Coral Gables

Let Seth Lead You Out of the Musical Wilderness
Jeffrey Strichart's letter (January 1) about the South Florida music scene is correct only in part, namely: "There is a multitude of derivative, lifeless bands being chased around by promoters."

Promoters, radio stations, and record labels all seem to be stuck in a blind alley of tedious promoting, playing, and signing mimic bands that are ignorant of original sound and creative lyrics. This is a common practice: Bore the public until a band's market value declines; then a new cycle begins. The industry offers up new original artists to audiences starved for inventiveness. The rousing activity is then followed by imitators again.

We are now in the period of copycats, awaiting the birth of a new beginning -- unless the record companies abort the baby.

Here in South Florida there is a music scene, and a sound. Read Nina Korman's article "Unsung Heroes" (January 8). At the Songwriters in the Round at the Park Central Hotel you'll find at least one new birth: Seth Rottman. He sends out energy to the audience that reverberates. Funny that the audience recognized fresh talent and applauded louder for him than for the professionals with record contracts!

I'm sure the people who were there that night are still hungry for more of Seth's music. The way Quentin Tarantino brought the film industry out of menopause, so Seth could start something new for music.

Whoever is in charge of hooking up new artists with major labels makes me think that even when they're awake, they're asleep. Blame whoever that is! They're the ones who feed the record companies. And the record companies start the chain reaction down the line to the radio stations, and finally to listeners.

Alex Comandari

The Seth Fan Club Grows
I agree with Nina Korman that Seth Rottman has very original material. My girlfriends and I were surprised to read that Seth is twenty years old. With his boyish cute looks and his joking with the audience, and his introduction of his dad in the crowd, we thought he was about fifteen. He reminded us of a young George Michael when he used to be with Wham -- except for sexier gyrating hips!

I'd like a copy of his song "Alien." It made me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants!

Valerie Tesoriero

Brian Rocks the Underground
There is an underground music scene here that grows every day. But the underground is more than just music and kids; it has a lot to do with culture, lifestyle, and values that are outside mainstream society.

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