Letters to the Editor

From the issue of September 14, 2000

 Living Proof That No One Is Prefect
Flawed free weekly fesses up:
As a dedicated reader of New Times since the late Eighties, I enjoy your paper each week, especially given the deplorable condition of “professional” dailies in Miami.

So what the heck happened with the September 7 cover? The subhead for your lead story states “... a fugitaive from justice.”

Either my vocabulary ain't what it used to be or they changed the spelling of fugitive without telling anyone. Granted it's hardly up there with Channel 7's daily mangling of journalism, but it's not up to your standards.

Please don't go down to the Herald's level!

Al Iriberri

Editor's note: Thoroughly embarrassed New Times art director Dean Sebring accepts responsibility for the typographical error and now wishes to get on with his life.

Deconstructing Alex
He billed himself as a reformer, but a close look at Alex Penelas's record reveals a politician more in tune with ambition than innovation
By Jim DeFede

Slingin' It from a Safe Distance
Broward politicians, of course, are little angels:
Jim DeFede was too kind to Alex “the Weasel” Penelas in his article “Deconstructing Alex” (August 31). In my opinion not only has Penelas sold out to certain business interests and right-wing Cuban buffoons, but he screwed Miami-Dade County voters when he did his famous flip-flop regarding the American Airlines Arena and wound up in Heat owner Micky Arison's pocket.

Personally I would like to see Penelas on a one-way cruise on one of Arison's Carnival Cruise Lines ships heading away from South Florida -- preferably on one of those ships that has a fire at sea.

Penelas in public office is one of a litany of reasons I would never move back to the northernmost banana republic.

Harvey Slavin

Bonfire of the e-Vanities
Tom Wolfe gets drowned out by the Latin dot-com hype
By Brett Sokol

Mr. Galaxy-Disco explains the cyberworld:
After reading Brett Sokol's “Bonfire of the e-Vanities” (“Kulchur,” August 31) about the Punto.com launch party, I am left to wonder whether he thinks the hype about Latin dot-coms is overblown or whether it's somewhere in the middle.

I'm a computer tech who studied my craft with many Latin students, but I rarely saw a lot of interest in Latin-based Websites or ISPs. Most of them stuck to American-based sites. So I'm not as bullish on these companies as most would expect here in Miami. I'm not saying they're not viable, but I don't see them becoming Web giants like Yahoo, Lycos, MSN, Sportsline.com, or Monster.com. If anything I expect Yahoo and others to expand into Latin America, which would be to the detriment of firms such as Punto.com and others.

I fear no man on this planet, but everybody knows everybody in the tech industry, so publishing my name would complicate my life, if you know what I mean. But you can use one of my aliases: Galaxy-Disco, which stands for “out of space, out of mind.”

Name Withheld by Request
via the Internet

Crazy for Desi
It all started right here:
In his review of Cuban Originals -- Desi Arnaz (“Rotations,” August 24) Bob Tarte wrote: “Raymond Scott, Arthur Schwartz, or Moises Simons, who composed some of the songs on Desi Arnaz, were hardly sons of Havana.” But in fact Moises Simons was born in Havana on August 24, 1889. He was a band leader and pianist as well as the composer of the famous “El Manicero” (“The Peanut Vendor”). Simons composed “El Manicero” late one night in 1928 on a napkin while in a Havana tavern, having been inspired by a passing peanut vendor who was singing a pregón (jingle) to sell his cucuruchos de maní (paper cones filled with peanuts).

I was pleased Tarte knew that before I Love Lucy Desi Arnaz was already a well-known band leader. He also was a rising star of the Broadway stage and appeared in a few movies in the Forties. More important Desi was responsible for introducing U.S. audiences to the conga rhythm of Cuba. His father was the mayor of Santiago de Cuba, and in the early Thirties became an exile here in Miami.

Desi began his musical career in Miami. One night while singing with a German dance band, he forgot his song's lyrics, but recalling the conga rhythm of the carnivals of his hometown, he brought out a tumbadora, a so-called conga drum, and taught the non-Latinos the simple one-two-three-kick steps of the conga, setting off what is referred to as the “rhumba craze.” It was all the rage in the U.S. throughout the Thirties.

Desi is famous for his interpretation of “Babalu,” which originally was performed by Miguelito Valdes in the Thirties. Desi often referred to Valdes as the authentic “Mr. Babalu.”

Not only did I Love Lucy forever change television history because of Desi Arnaz's innovations but his Desilu Studios went on to become the most important outlet for the best television programs from the mid-Fifties through the late Sixties.

Arturo Gómez
Miami Beach

Editor's note: Arturo Gómez is the music director of WDNA-FM (88.9) and host of the station's Monday edition of Latin Jazz Quarter from noon to 2:00 p.m.

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