Later, after moving to Glendale, where my parents purchased a home, I worked with my dad at the ranch, doing odd jobs and tromping down the load in cotton trailers during picking season. At that time, in addition to acres and acres of cotton, the ranch also had a cattle feed lot and stables.

The late Scott Libby, Waddell's son-in-law, has a school named after him in Litchfield Park. Libby actually managed the property for Waddell, who often visited and held forth from behind a huge desk in the office building.

Believe me, I was the envy of my buddies in Des Moines when I told them I was moving to a ranch in Arizona. I could ride whenever I wanted, and I even got to help with the branding. What more could a 10-year-old want?

DeWayne E. Smith

Malaprop Department

In the "Cruising for Cops" article in the December 2 issue, Brian Smith writes:

"Tempe cops working the Mill beat seem nonplussed by the Copwatchers. Most acknowledge that their jobs are matters of public record."

I love your newspaper, but if I see one more journalist (or editor, assuming one read the article) who uses the word "nonplussed" without having the slightest idea what it means, I think I'm going to scream. I seriously doubt that the Tempe police are "confused and bewildered to the point of not being able to speak or proceed."

Huck Kennedy
via Internet

My Favorite Martin

I have read with great interest the many responses to David Holthouse's dead-on appraisal of Ricky Martin ("Ricky-Ticky-Tacky," November 25). In their breathless, laughable attempts to find something about their hero to defend, they originally come off as hilarious, but now come off as sad, shallow MTV-heads.

Of all the responses, only one mentioned Holthouse's pondering of the commercialization of Ricky. And he actually seemed to trumpet it as a good thing! Admittedly, corporate sponsoring can be a tricky subject. Performers say it helps put on a better show while keeping ticket prices down, but fans say it's selling out. Yes, I know the whole business started with the Rolling Stones' 1981 tour, and the Stones have continued the practice. But as far as I know, the Stones never forced their fans to sit through a commercial before their performance.

A lot of the responses touched on David's wondering about Martin's sexuality. Critics have been wondering publicly about the sex lives of Mick Jagger, David Bowie, et al., for years. And their fans took it with a grain of salt, so why can't Ricky's? It's not like he's the pope.

All the responses claim that Ricky is a role model. To whom? Are there really other Latinos who aspire to be juggling talentless hacks, whose careers will (hopefully) be forgotten about in a few years?

Finally, one fan said Holthouse was being mean and selfish by paying for his ticket when he wasn't a fan. The way I see it, David Holthouse should be commended for doing a public service!

John Krieger

Credit Check

I was delighted to see "Blues Christmas" about George Bowman (Jack Rackham, December 16). However, I am disappointed with the media approach of dealing with musical groups. Over and over, the focus is merely on the singer and does not highlight the very persons who make the whole thing of music possible -- the musicians. George deserves all accolades he gets, but it pains me to see how the musicians who remain anonymous "friends" who gave their hearts to make the music sound good are ignored like they do not matter. It isn't so.

The fact that George Bowman and Friends won the Arizona Blues Showdown with only three rehearsals in November was a team effort. Without the extraordinary talents of guitarist Dean Murphy, keyboardist Moe Denham and drummer Robert Severino, the band and George would not be on their way to Memphis. Dean Murphy has played with almost every blues artist in Phoenix, from Midnite Blues to Big Pete Pearson, etc., and backed up national acts like Joe Houston, Carey Bell, and Larry "Texas Flood" Davis. The stats of the incredible Moe Denham on keyboards are enough for a whole New Times page filled with names like Victor Wooten, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Steve Cropper, Chester Thompson and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, names people may actually recognize. These two guys, Murphy and Denham, are world-class musicians whose only handicap is that they live in a cowtown world where people don't give a toot to acknowledge more than the front person in groups. These two men deserve as much praise as George, and they go unmentioned. If you are a great drummer like Robert Severino, you're even farther away from getting any recognition from the public since you're that much farther away from that thing that seems to determine who the band is, the almighty microphone.

I am lucky enough to be one of the "Friends," and I'm also bassist in Sistah Blue, a local blues groups. We deliberately take a democratic approach to the whole music and media thing cause bands are like cake. The singer might be the icing, but that's not what gives the cake its substance. You go without that sugar and flour that make the keyboard, the guitar or the harmonica, you try making it without those eggs and the yeast that are thrown into that batter in the form of bass and drums, and you've got yourself a formless mush.

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