The ring of truth: I was very happy about the initial Jaco Pastorius article ("Jaco Incorporated," Jeff Stratton, November 30). I know all involved for two and a half decades. Except for minor details, this story tells it like it is.
Were we letting our biases show? As one who has no stake personally or otherwise in the outcome of the "family feud" apparently waged among the Pastorius clan, I must say that the original article written by Jeff Stratton does seem slanted toward the Ingrid Pastorius side of the feud.
I feel that that is fine as long as Stratton and the newspaper are upfront about that. However, if he/it is trying to pass this article off as an objective, researched, "just the facts, ma'am" piece of journalism, then shame on him/it.
The voice of the working musician: There is no disputing Jaco Pastorius' legend as an artist. As a working bassist myself, I especially appreciate his innovations and discoveries as to expanding the limits of the coolest instrument in the band.
However, musical genius aside, that does not cancel out the fact that he was also an obnoxious, drunken a**hole for much of his later years like many legendary standout musicians before him. Jim Morrison and Sly Stone were great artists but also substance-abusing, unpredictable a**holes to work with. As a fan, you never knew what you were gonna get at a Doors show or a Sly Stone show. One night, fantastic, another night, too stoned to stand on their own two feet. In Sly's case, he might not even show up. As a drummer, Buddy Rich was the equivalent of Jaco on bass. However, he also was a completely mean, abusive bastard to work with. How about Jeff Beck, the legendary guitarist from the same school as Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton? Another self-obsessed, brooding a**hole whom no one could work with. David Lee Roth? Unmatched performer. The ultimate rock showman and the ultimate self-centered, arrogant d*ck.
Perhaps it was Jaco's character, or lack of it, and lack of any self-control, that has kept him from being more honored in his hometown. Despite what some blindly loyal fans may think, character does count, even with musical geniuses.
West Palm Beach
Next we'll burn them at the stake: Praise to Julia Reischel's article about sex offenders, "Not in My Bus Stop" (November 30). "Sex offender" has become our modern witch, condemned to a social form of burning. The term sexual offender covers an enormously wide range of acts, from minimal harm to the victim to maximum harm, including murder and disfigurement. This term does disservice to us all when it is thrown about without specification of the term itself.
These days, sexual offender has replaced former frighteners such as the bogeyman, witches, and the devil. Now some public/political figures seek to gather an audience to themselves by harping upon the "demonic" sexual offender. Such usage makes a difficult situation much worse.
The Brambles of Pretentiousness
Wasting time on five-syllable words: Oh my God, "The Brambles of Perversity" (Brandon K. Thorp, November 30) completely sucked. Does the author of this nightmare article feel lofty using words that most people would require a dictionary to follow his ramblings with?
Please do your paper a favor and find a more qualified writer to offer opinions. This guy is the worst. Are you trying the street slang/lofty vocabulary now? Are you trying to relate to half the people and condescend to the rest? What a complete waste of 15 minutes of my life I will never get back.
Skeleton With a Dime
The casino casts a high-voltage spell: Bob Norman reported the scene at the casino accurately in "The Tightest Slots in Town" (November 30). I've known an addicted elderly cancer patient who cried to return for another "vacation" to Biloxi (before Katrina blew it away). She was bald and ashen-gray but drawn with the little strength she had left to sit mesmerized at the slots, feeling great because she got free meals and lodging and lots of cheap trinkets for all her losses.
Don't kid yourself: When these folks lose enough, they become dependent upon their families and require many services from the state's hard-working taxpayers as a result of the "fallout" from gambling.
Norman stated that he was "too much into the concept of personal freedom" to vote to outlaw gambling, saying "That's America, people." It is not America to allow people to hurt themselves and others, and it is certainly un-American to have the state muscle in to be the grandfather figure raking in most of the filthy lucre "for the children's education."
A lot of bums should be in jail: I was disappointed with Thomas Francis' article "Hooray for Hollywood" (November 16) in that it was simply a summation of what is already known about the alleged criminal activity in Hollywood vis-à-vis the smelly Schwing-Bioset "deal."
And, geez, what a coincidence (not!) that the computers of Wasserstrom, Mayor Mara, and Schwing shill Arnold Goldblum all "crashed" around the same time. We all know that's complete horsecrap. What was missing, of course, was any good reason that the state's attorney, Michael Satz, hasn't indicted the Hollywood mayor yet! Or that obvious liar and probable criminal mind, Whit(less) Van Cott, Hollywood's former utilities director.
Both "Hooray for Hollywood" and "Suddenly, Justice?" (Bob Norman, November 16) imply that, since Van Cott retired, he's "untouchable" by the law. Since when did the statute of limitations run out just because someone retired?
Mayor Mara proved to be smarter than Wasserstrom, whom she left out to dry. Even Van Cott, who seems to me as guilty as O.J. Simpson, left Wasserstrom with a big can of worms nothing more. Oy vey, Keith! Then, again, any a-hole who switches political parties to get elected in Democratic Hollywood and then supports the Jebster for governor deserves a good screwing from his "fellow employees"! Stick that where the sun don't shine, Keith Wasserstrom!
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In our article "Jaco Incorporated," by Jeff Stratton (November 30), it should have been noted that Jaco Pastorius passed away on September 21, 1987, not September 19. Also, Jaco Pastorius Inc.'s fifth board member is Gregory Pastorius, not his brother Rory. And the estate's royalties arrangement was not characterized correctly: JPI income is split evenly among the four children, although John and Mary Pastorius receive additional income resulting from a 1979 divorce decree. Besides the $550 that twins Felix and Julius are paid monthly, they receive annual lump sums that have increased to about $7,500, not $2,500. New Times regrets the errors.