Letters for June 5, 2003

They're off!

Heidi makes a killing:Just wanted to say that I thought Chuck Strouse's column regarding the Herald's photo and story on the Kentucky Derby was right on the money ("Horsing Around," Chuck Strouse, May 29). What I can't believe is that experienced racing writers, assuming that's what Carlson and Spencer were, wouldn't have questioned the whole thing to begin with. A rider of Santos' caliber had much too much to lose by using a battery, never mind in the Kentucky Derby, of all places. Santos is too good a rider to get much use out of a battery, and Funny Cide had a reasonable chance to win the race without any help. (And yes, I would have said so beforehand -- I got a really, really nice wager payoff.)

Heidi Pederson

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

But theHerald's killing Richard:Good story on the Herald's shabby, shoddy, and disgraceful attempt at journalism with the Santos/Funny Cide story.

Richard Valeriani

Sherman, Connecticut

A deathly insult:Thank you for Wyatt Olson's good work in exposing the seedy side of hospice referrals ("Troubled Endings," May 22). I am a marketing rep for a not-for-profit hospice in Miami. I run into the problems that he outlined so well every day. Catholic Hospice is not for profit. All we can offer a doctor is first-class professionalism and genuine loving care for his/her patient. For some, this is enough. For too many others, it is an insult. What a world!

Father Rod McRae

Hollywood

Praise from the employed:It was with great interest that I read Wyatt Olson's article on Vitas, since I am both a Vitas employee and a son whose mother is with Vitas hospice care. Olson certainly knows how to give a negative tone to an article.

What was his point? Did he write the article so Vitas could improve itself? Did he want us to know of our failings? Did he want to sensationalize things that could go wrong? The last one would make the New Times more in demand, so I suspect it is the latter.

For the record, my experience with Vitas has been not perfect, but it has been very good as a company to work for. And the care given to my mother has been excellent. I say this not because I am an employee but because this is the real Vitas way. I am proud to be a part of this company and its family of employees.

Anthony J. Borka

Lauderdale Lakes

Jeff stinks:I would like to respond to Jeff Stratton's shallow perspective on the folding of the Florida Philharmonic (Bandwidth, May 15).

It is common knowledge that the philharmonic has been administratively top-heavy for a decade, hence its inevitable bankruptcy. These are circumstances that have nothing to do with the transient audience of South Florida. To this crowd, naturally, their music is labeled "entertainment." But to label the very essence of musical study a potential lost cause is a joke.

Being a veteran of the music scene in South Florida and now an orchestra conductor in the Northeast, I can assure Jeff that classical music will stand the test of time as well as any great art. It is unfortunate that he insists on comparing the scenario [in South Florida] to the rest of the country. At last check, South Florida was not exactly setting the national cultural trend. As for elitism, ignorance is bliss, Mr. Stratton. I question whether he would agree to work several seasons for nothing or without an increase in salary. So in a way he is correct, because only truly noble people would agree to such impossible terms.

Glenn Quader

Glenwood, Maryland

He's odorific:Far be it from me to criticize Jeff Stratton's hipness; that is obviously the only thing he has going for him. But I couldn't help but detect a certain odor emanating from his articles on the philharmonic, and the source of it was his snobbiness. I am so sick of "rockers" looking down their noses at "classically trained" musicians. Of course, the "rockers" like Stratton are the ones making all the money, and the "classically trained" are eating cat food, right? Did Stratton even realize that one of the musicians he interviewed made a living as a rock and jazz musician prior to joining the philharmonic? Did he just leave that out of the piece? Oh, of course, his editor took it out! We certainly wouldn't want dear reader thinking that one of those stuffy, snobby, "classically trained" types was actually hip!

People have been saying that classical music has been dying since Wagner! They said it in Debussy's, Stravinsky's, Scheonberg's, Stockhausen's, and Reich's time. Each of these composers was revolutionary, reacting against the prevailing style preferred by the conservative, older audiences. Concert halls are the domain of the culturally elite. People with wealth and power have a need to show an interest in the higher aspirations of humanity. People with wealth and power also tend to have gray hair. This is nothing new, and it doesn't mean that when they die, classical music will die with them. They will be replaced by other people with graying hair and wealth. There will always be an audience for classical music.

John Corigliano is writing symphonies now that are instant classics. And guess what? He's hip! In other cities, young people with open minds are attending symphony concerts, and not because they think they are supposed to like it. They do so because they see it as an alternative to 4/4 time. It doesn't happen much in this city -- who knows why? Stratton's attitude certainly doesn't help.

Andy-Bob Nolen

Classical cellist and punk-rock veteran

via the Internet

And smelly too:Jeff Stratton is so full of crap. I can't imagine how he came to be employed by any newspaper other than a tabloid or how he keeps his job. I'm embarrassed for him. He should crawl back into his cave.

David Bagaus

Sarasota

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