Letters August 5-11, 2004

Kiss Has Class

Mick Jagger Too Funky for You, Bucko?I'm a few years older than Geoff Harkness, who wrote the July 29 story, "Army of Old." I was in fifth grade in 1979. The same Kiss-mania raged when I went to school. I wasn't so hip to the pop culture of the day. Case in point: For a school auditorium event, the teachers organized a student talent show. My classroom was voting on what our act should be. One option was a Saturday Night Live-type comedy skit.

"Shut up! You don't even know what SNL is!" one classmate said. He was a jerk, but it was true. I didn't know what SNL was.

Four guys in my class entered the talent show as a Kiss act. I didn't entirely know what Kiss was all about either. The day of the performance, these four idiots brought makeup to school. They were trying to make up their faces like the Kiss characters. I can't remember with certainty, but I think one guy brought some drums to school, and two others had guitars. They had a Kiss record, and bottom line: These four idiots sat there on the auditorium stage while a Kiss record played. And that was their whole Kiss act.

My lack of knowledge of the hip things of the day was redeemed when Joey, the kid a few houses down, said during one drive to school that he hated Kiss. Bottom line, Kiss had a few good songs. Sure, they don't have a song catalog to rival the truly great rock acts. But strange as it may seem, Kiss wasn't all about the music. It was about the cheesy costumes. It was about the cheesy stage antics. It was about the cheesy merchandise. And that's not an insult; Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are geniuses. They created an act, a persona. When the act didn't endure with the old fans, they found new fans.

They created their own unique brand of live stage entertainment. How many bands can take mediocre music and make it so entertaining? Next to none! Kiss was an opening act for Blue Öyster Cult. A year later, Kiss was the headliner and Blue Öyster Cult the opening act. BOC was perhaps superior to Kiss, musically speaking. Nobody's ever created a stage act like Kiss -- not even David Bowie, who was a little too funky for my taste.

Marc Smilen

Dania Beach

New Times:Right-Wing Hacks

Van Bergen: One Smart Lady:Trevor Aaronson's July 29 article, "Patriot Acts," does not do justice to the author, Jennifer Van Bergen, or the book, The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America. The title of Aaronson's article suggests that the book is on the USA Patriot Act, yet the Patriot Act is among many other topics covered. Aaronson's statement, "The dash of doomsday is all too palpable" is totally without merit, as is the term "a good soldier of the left."

Van Bergen is better described as "an articulate professor." Aaronson uses the name tag "leftist" too loosely, as when he describes the publisher, Common Courage Press, as "a small, left-wing publisher." I'm still trying to understand where Aaronson got the idea that the book has a "sound-the-alarm style" or that "Broward's Jennifer Van Bergen joins Michael Moore in bashing Bush." The book does neither. I found little evidence of the author's giving her opinion and felt it was more of a fact-based textbook. All this leads me to believe that Aaronson did not read enough of the book to fully understand its value and readability. I found The Twilight of Democracy to be a book that one can keep going back to as a reference guide. It is best described by the attorneys, professors, and constitutional experts who endorsed it.

Bruce Glaser

Tamarac

Who's Endorsing NBHD?

And do they have any credibility?Congratulations on Bob Norman's article "Message Control" (July 22). Norman's column is the only place I can find out what is going on here in Hollywood. Keep it up.

Because I enjoy Norman's work regardless of the subject matter, I have been following his stories about the North Broward Hospital District and thanking my stars that I don't live in its area. Not long ago, Norman wrote about some of the quite poor and rather negligent medical care in that district.

Lately, NBHD has been promoting itself as an underwriter on WLRN-FM (91.3). If the district has a legitimately high ranking, as its promotion suggests, this might provide them with a defense to some of Norman's charges. Though it would not excuse the financial and other shenanigans Norman has exposed.

Donald Berger

Hollywood

Saludos, Jebito!

Somos Republicanitos: Thank you, Bob Norman, for another job well done. You mention a connection between NBHD and the governor's office ("Message Control"). NBHD's dumping of El Heraldo could bring on an interesting triangle. The editor of El Heraldo, Elaine (Miceli) Vasquez, was one of the main if not the main campaign person in Broward for Jeb Bush.

Again, thanks for being one of the few people who seem to care about the corruption in Broward County.

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