Letters

Stars in Their Eyes
As an amateur astronomer with a dog-eared copy of the Celestial Handbook, I found Tony Ortega's article about Robert Burnham Jr. extremely poignant ("Sky Writer," September 25). Many amateur astronomers would be interested in reading about a man who contributed so much to our enjoyment.

Bill Walderman
Springfield, Virginia

Congratulations to Tony Ortega and New Times for the article about Robert Burnham Jr. It's fascinating and sad, and it quite characterizes Burnham's contributions to astronomy and the influence of his Celestial Handbook.

Arthur Babcock
Carmel Valley, California

Just a note of thanks for the wonderful article about Robert Burnham Jr. I use his books regularly and never knew the sad story of his life. The amateur-astronomy community should thank the author for the exhaustive research that must have gone into this piece.

Jim Seidewand
Rochester, New York

I simply wanted to compliment the author of the piece about Robert Burnham Jr. It was excellent, not simply because of the fascinating story it told but, I thought, also because of the tenacity that must have been required to track down so many small but resonant details regarding such a reclusive figure.

Jack Blum
San Juan Capistrano, California

The article about Robert Burnham Jr. is very good. I have had his handbook for years, and I didn't realize the history behind it. I will treasure it even more. There is a lesson to this tale, and it is not to judge a book by its cover.

Chris Rose
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Just Tuning Up
It is always interesting to see New Times writers attempt to establish their intellectual cachet by quoting famous philosophers. Such attempts are much more successful if the quotes are attributed correctly. The phrase "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" is not a Kierkegaardism, as Gilbert Garcia would have us believe (Soundcheck, September 18). I doubt that the quintessentially English term "scoundrel" was even in the Danish thinker's repertoire. A quick check with those more knowledgeable than myself was sufficient to ascertain that the author of the statement was, in fact, Samuel Johnson.

Matt Guthrie
Phoenix

Gilbert Garcia responds: Matt, I know the man said that truth is subjective, but the objective truth is that I never quoted Kierkegaard. I attributed an idea to him. Of course, this same idea has been expressed in a number of different ways, by everyone from Samuel Johnson to Bob Dylan. By the way, if you ever come across any English translation of Kierkegaard's Papers and Journals, you'll find that the word "scoundrel" was very much a part of his vocabulary.

I was upset and surprised when I read about Nastyboy Klick. Obviously, the columnist who wrote this doesn't listen to the two local radio stations that play this group's songs. NBK is requested several times each hour, according to the DJs I talked to. Stations nationwide play the songs, which just proves people want to hear the group's music. Generic music? I am afraid not. Nastyboy Klick's music is original; it has its own special flavor. I give a lot of credit and congratulations to this group: legitimate musical artists doing something positive with their lives.

Kimberly Garcia
Phoenix

I really must give major props to Serene Dominic's feature about one of my favorite bands, Pollen ("Resident Aliens," September 18). I was happy to see some of the raddest guys in Arizona, and some of the best musicians around, get some of the respect they deserve. Pollen is one of the greatest bands I have ever heard, and hopefully, through the publicity, deprived, Pollenless people will now have their lives fulfilled, and hear and love the wonderful five-man band.

Jen Hagen
Phoenix

"Any press is good press," goes the idiom, and thanks to Ted Simons' article about ex-"Lingo" and ex-Primus drummer Tim Alexander ("Dry Cleaning," September 11), Major Lingo received his praises (?) as a "freeform, hippy-dippy band." Simons almost gets it! Freeform . . . yes, as often as possible. Hippy . . . makes up a good 50 percent of our audience, while the other half relates to any other walk of life you can come up with. But dippy just doesn't quite work. Simons can ask any of the ska-jerking, dub-pounding, ethnic-waltzing, psychedelic-bending participants who have attended our shows over the past decade and a half, or, better yet, he can come witness for himself. He can look these folks in the eye and see if "dippy" isn't a description that falls way shy of the energy created by the music and the faithful.

Johnny Lingo
Phoenix

School's Out
Kudos to New Times and Amy Silverman! Silverman's article about Maricopa County Regional School District ("Board Games," August 28) was a great investigative piece. It was, however, deficient in some respects. Further investigation and interviews would have uncovered even more cans of worms, but enough is enough, I suppose.

Here's hoping legislators and the general public are now sufficiently informed and will get off their butts, contact senators John Kaites and John Huppenthal and demand legislation to increase the MCRSD board.

Sandra Dowling's rule has been ridiculously stifling and not in the best interest of students. I applaud New Times' chutzpah and appreciate the whistle-blowing. I hope it has not been blown to the wind. I am sincerely glad not to be working for Dowling anymore.

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