Would You Like Totally Start Making Sense Please?
I was totally appalled by Jim DeRogatis's article "Bush Whack" (December 19). Bush has one thing in common with Nirvana: They both have made great and original music. Bush is the best band to come along since Kurt Cobain died. The group deserves some respect. Will every successful alternative rock band from now on be labeled as Nirvana wannabes? Sixteen Stone was a quintuple-platinum album. Razorblade Suitcase is number-one on the Billboard charts. Doesn't that tell you something? Next time, Jim, try to make some sense.

Rena Segal
Coral Springs

Picking Herald Nits
While I agree that the Miami Herald is a manipulative, self-interested, and less-than-honorable publication, I believe that Jim DeFede was out of bounds on some of the "reporting" on the incestuous relationship between BrandsMart and the Herald ("All Herald BrandsMart," December 19).

No doubt the Herald bent over backward to publish a puff piece about one of its biggest advertisers (BrandsMart), yet I believe there was no reason to include in the story information about the tax-evasion conviction of BrandsMart's founder Robert Perlman.

What pertinent part of a story of a new BrandsMart superstore being opened would have been compromised by leaving that old news out of the story? None that I can see.

I would recommend to Jim DeFede that he continue his excellent investigative reporting and quit nitpicking. There is so much that is rotten and stinking at the Miami Herald to check out. For example, he could ask why the Herald continues to run a "Black Colleges" column on the sports page -- clearly a "politically correct" example of racist bigotry at its worst.

Harvey Slavin

Dade? Broward? It's All One Sprawling Mass of Mess
Looking for the trendy weekly read, a workmate of mine recommended New Times. While the reviews are adequate and the entertainment guide thorough, I am quite disgusted with the fuel you supply to exacerbate regional rivalries, particularly between Broward and Dade residents ("Letters," December 12). What gives? I find the two areas quite indistinguishable. I've never been able to tell when I've crossed from one to the other. Is there a river, toll booth, minefield? Do I need special documents, a passport perhaps?

Both are flat, coastal, overbuilt, and largely suburban. What qualifies as cultural hotbeds (e.g., South Beach, Coconut Grove, Las Olas) are relatively inconsequential to the working masses since these areas cater mostly to the seasonal crowd. It's much the same thing as Disney World to most Orlando residents: Glad it's there, but wouldn't want to go during the high season or on the weekend. As for the urban cores of Fort Lauderdale and Miami, I imagine most Aventurans and Lauderhillites are just as happy working in Kendall and Plantation. Why? Because to most South Floridians culture is the Heat, and downtown is something to avoid (unless, of course, there's a sports arena nearby).

This battle over an arbitrary county line is pathological. Ever consider researching what the pitiful souls are defending? What's left to protect? Certainly not the beachfront. With Haulover and Hugh Taylor Birch parks accounting for the only quasi-protected, pedestrian-friendly stretches, there's not much left unfettered. Where I come from, natural beauty does not include magnificent views of high-rise condos. South Florida's beaches have become "virtual beauty," a monotonous cycle of dilapidation, discovery, and development.

This recent blowout regarding waterfront property seems to have more to do with corruption and megalomaniacs than saving the environment or protecting the cultural heritage of one county over the other. And if that's an inaccurate picture, blame the media, not me.

Dear readers, Broward and Dade have been destroyed, plundered, and rendered dead for longer than most of us have been here. Flagler's Folly begat this mess, and Wayne's World is just another chapter in the story of naughty boys toying with Gaia. It's ironic that the environmental rape of South Beach by Deco decadents is now packaged as a national treasure. And what about those lovely canals of manatee soup in Fort Lauderdale?

My guess is that Mother Earth weeps. But she is a survivor, not a victim. With only a thin sponge of sand and fetid organic matter to soak up the tears, sweet Mama could wash it all away in one healthy hurricane season. I think it wise that we ought not to inconvenience her too much. She is holding all the cards.

I applaud the efforts of individuals who are sensitive to the environmental security of South Florida. I can't stand reading the petty provincial whining you choose to publish. If New Times is truly an instrument of renewal, you should be encouraging the citizenry to run for office, become stockholders, or start a revolution. But please don't help turn regionalism into a synonym for hate. There's enough wrong here already.

James Haliburton
Fort Lauderdale

Big Fish, Big Fan
I just finished reading Kirk Semple's piece about T.O. Sykes ("55 SW Miami Avenue Road," December 5) and had to say how much I enjoyed it.

T.O. was such a special person. One of the things we had in common was that we were drawn to the same real estate: He lived around the corner.

Another touchstone was our fondness for our children. My daughter, Pam Adams, who had studied cooking in Paris, worked as a cook at the Big Fish and was a great friend of Pat Sykes.

I thought Kirk set the mood well in his story and sustained it throughout. It was a great angle to have the real estate be the subject, rather than particular individuals. I'll look forward to his next one.

Barbara Grace Goolsby

Sorry, Roy, but We Simply Do Not Believe It or Not
In his story about Big Fish, Kirk Semple seems concerned that there is an Avenue Road in Miami. It's not original. About 55 years ago a "Little Big Book" (price $.10) by Robert L. Ripley contained this: "Avenue Road is a street in Toronto, Canada -- Believe It Or Not."

Roy DeVaney


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