Looking for the Truth Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
Jacob Bernstein's "Dateline Havana" (October 16) offered a point of view that one rarely has the honor of experiencing: men risking everything to get at the truth. Sadly, in Cuba today such things as honor and integrity get you thrown in prison or driven into exile.
In early October I briefly met Olance Nogueras at a conference at Florida International University. When I see a journalist such as Nogueras, it amazes me that people still question the bravery of men and women in Cuba. Even though he had no First Amendment to protect him, he kept digging and continued to do his investigative pieces.
People like Nogueras, born and reared after the revolution, have not become the "new men" Castro raved about, but rather men and women who hold on to what it is to be free and human. More than a century ago, Jose Marti said to honor that which is honorable. Therefore I honor the independent journalists who have fought the fight for truth inside the lie that is Castro's Cuba.
If Only Cougars Could Speak
According to Paula Park's article concerning the Southern Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Center ("Nothing a Few Tons of Kitty Litter Wouldn't Solve," October 16), Col. Robert L. Edwards of the state Game and Freshwater Fish Commission is not able to substantiate that any of the center's cats were injured prior to being placed in the facility. Why is that? The commission's own officers removed those cats from homes where they were neglected and mistreated and brought them to the center. I worked there as a volunteer and I saw the condition of cats delivered by an officer. I also saw the attention and healing given by Dirk Neugebohrn and Barbara Addington. I saw the cats become healthy.
What does it matter that there are other places in Florida where cats can be transported? They have a home here with proven caring, devoted, and hard-working people. I hope the Southern Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Center finds supporters in our courts. The good people of this facility have been through enough. Let Dirk, Barbara, and their friends and supporters continue to live in peace in Dade County and continue the healthy protection and care of animals who previously experienced none.
Ellen D. Coulton
Trees: Noble by Nature
Regarding "They Came, They Sawed, They Conquered" by Jacob Bernstein (October 16), the lopping-off of the trees in Miami Shores was done in an inexcusable manner. Doesn't the city realize the value of its prized possessions?
Of all the inhabitants of this planet, trees seem the noblest. They certainly display the most perfect sense of symmetry. They are constantly striving upward (if left alone) without abandoning their roots, which they sink deeper and deeper into the earth that gave them life. Trees absorb more water when fully leafed, in many instances preventing puddles from forming on roadways, which can and do cause accidents. Trees remove harmful chemicals from the air.
Can't we learn from mistakes made in the Brazilian rain forest and elsewhere? We must be careful with nature's gifts.
Ronald C. Rickey
A Pleasantly Irriating Kind of Ignorance
After reading Larry Boytano's article "The Young and the Rockless" (October 16), I became annoyed yet pleased at the same time. It was nice to see someone covering the young local music scene for a change, a scene I am proud to be a part of.
It seems, however, that Boytano did not really look into the story, or just didn't give a damn. Promoter Carl Hensley says, "There is no place for the kids to go." I disagree. There are places, just not enough of them. Rose's Bar & Music Lounge is not the only place that hosts talented young bands. Maybe it is the only place in Miami (I doubt it), or maybe it is just the only one the writer chose to attend. But venues spring up here and there, and when one closes (R.I.P. Cheers -- we love, miss, and thank you, Gaye Levine), another soon takes its place. There was the Plus 5 in Davie and the Cellblock in Pompano. There was Cheers and now there is Rose's -- and the House of Rock and Squeeze, not to mention the countless other clubs (most of which have shows at least once a week).
True, many of the kids who see bands play are underage and can't drink, but there are plenty of us still very involved in the local music scene who are old enough to drink. We just may choose not to. The article made the assumption that the lifestyle of the people in this younger scene is filled with drugs, violence, and disrespect. Maybe that just depends on which band you see, but I have not encountered that much in the eight years I have gone to shows. There are tons of bands and people out there who do not believe in this "wild" and "careless" lifestyle, who do not drink, do drugs, or leave trash or graffiti. Maybe New Times needs to find a writer who is involved in the scene or goes to more than one club before writing such an article.
Judy Shoots, Judy Scores!
Congratulations to Judy Cantor and New Times for the article about Gonzalo Rubalcaba ("The Quiet Cuban," October 9). I know for a fact that it is not easy in Miami to play contemporary Cuban music. It is also true that it can sometimes be difficult even to write about it, or for that matter, to even mention it in some circles.
So I would like to praise Ms. Cantor not only for her wonderful piece, but also for her courage. I have read all her articles about Cuban music, and they're all on-target and reveal an apparent and surprising sensibility and understanding of the music.
Alvaro F. Fernandez
Ship 'Em Back to the Land of Baguettes!
Knowing you guys and gals at New Times, I am almost positive you printed Pasquale and Alain Genteur's letter to the editor (October 2) to show South Florida what a couple of imbeciles they are. (They should understand that French-derived word.)
For the record, from my 1990 edition of Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary: "en*tree 1: the principal dish of the meal in the U.S."
I suggest we the readers of New Times start a collection and send these guys back to France so they'll no longer get flustered over expressions such as French fries, French kiss, and French dressing.
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Yeah, Mon, He Know How to Ramble On
I was surprised that New Times accepted for publication a review written by someone -- Jim DeRogatis -- whose education in Jamaican music was so obviously limited as to be illustrated by the information he "borrowed" from his library at hand ("Dub and Dumber," September 18).
I am a Lee Perry/Upsetters aficionado and have one of the largest local collections of Perry's music, much of which I played on Conscious Riddims at WVUM-FM (90.5) from 1990 to 1993. Outside my obvious interest, I must say that DeRogatis's description of Perry as "adding nothing new" to the already established technical playground called dub is shortsighted at best. A seminal reggae figure attempting to "capture the stoned experience"? What a surprise! That was one of his goals. After all, reggae was and is a spliff-inspired genre.
The fact is that Perry was an innovator, incorporating unusual sounds (cows, babies crying, et cetera) into his music. In the context of his time, he was a genius. DeRogatis should have kept to a topic with which he had reasonable experience. Instead it was a rambling, semi-informed tirade about a career he obviously had minimal experience exploring.