Our computer jocks tell us everything's fixed now, but the damage has already been done. Incoming letters have been choked to a trickle, and we've increasingly had to scrape the bottom of our reserves.
Until we can regain your confidence and get your letters coming to us again, we thought we'd share with you the sort of bandwidth-clogging stuff that still manages to get through to the Pitch offices. Stuff that we normally shield you from.
There's Herman Cummings, for example, who wrote to us this week from Fortson, Georgia, to inform us that evolutionary biologists and creationists both have life's origins all wrong. He's upset that he hasn't been personally invited to speak to the Kansas State School Board, because he's the only person, he says, who has decoded Genesis properly. "Avoiding the truth is denying reality," Cummings writes, "and those who deny reality are generally called 'insane.'"
How true, Herm.
We also get plenty of Astro Turf -- disingenuous letters that are the result of coordinated campaigns by political groups that convince hundreds of people to send in nearly identical letters about a single issue. Recently, conservatives were bombarding us with complaints (nearly all of them using precisely the same language) about the network polls that showed how most of the country disapproved of the congressional intervention in the Schiavo case. Liberals, meanwhile, were sending just as many contrived letters bemoaning the Senate's attempt to do away with Democrat filibustering.
But not everything that gets through is without merit. A 15-year-old in Rochester, New York, wrote to thank us for mentioning that New Found Glory has been pulling her onstage during its recent tour since she showed up at a concert and begged to be included in the show. But she chided us for calling her Christine Chase -- she really goes by the name Christie.
Sorry about that, Christie.
And then there's Joe Mazella, a misguided West Virginian who, week in and week out, sends us what he considers an uplifting parable. This week, his installment is titled "Wonderful Wrinkles."
"I noticed something amusing while I was shaving this morning: The lines in my forehead have quit disappearing all the way," he begins in typically gripping fashion. "I know that society must think I am strange to be laughing at this rising and wrinkled forehead and silver hair," he adds later on. "But I really don't mind my body growing older that much."
And now, for Joe's weekly affirmation: "Laugh at your wonderful wrinkles.... They are evidence of a million smiles. Rejoice in all the signs that show how long you have lived and how much joy you have shared.... Toss your face cream in the garbage and send the Botox needles and plastic surgeons back to Hollywood. You are beautiful just the way you are."
Thanks, Joe, for that look on the sunny side of life. And now that we've finally printed you, please go away.
With that, we go back to our regular letters. Hope to see yours soon.
Additions and subtractions: It takes money to pay for schools, is that your story (Kansas City Strip, "Funny Math," April 14)? No, your story is that if you want more money, you have to go where the money is. Duh! So what do we tax? Property. Since you seem to think it's wrong for owners of expensive property to pay more taxes, how about we shift to a sales-tax basis to pay for schools? But then you'll complain that Kansas City, Kansas, has fewer sales dollars than Johnson County. So do we give the people in KCK more money to spend? If you did, they would just drive to Johnson County and spend it there. Here is your school-funding solution: Go to a sales-tax basis and start taxing all of those drug sales going on in KCK. That should balance out the funding.
If you don't like that approach, then move to Missouri. Oh, yeah, that's right! They're more screwed up than any school in Kansas, and the KCMO schools spend three times as much money per student as the Johnson County school districts. Yet they produce students who rank in the bottom 25 percent of the nation versus the top 10 percent from Johnson County. But don't let the facts confuse your hatred. Gee, you get paid for your "creative" writing?
Name Withheld by Request
Kasey strip: After listening to and enjoying Kasey Rausch's album, Born Near the Waters, for the past several months, I was astounded to learn that it "lacks sufficient lyrical depth" (Hear and Now, April 14).
Sufficient lyrical depth for what? For a pompous ass such as Andrew Miller to give it his seal of approval? Fortunately, most listeners may be blissfully ignorant enough to enjoy swimming in the shallow waters of the beautiful acoustic music and lovely melodies abundant on this album without perceiving the lack of discourse on the Middle Eastern peace process and other, more esoteric matters that only a person of your depth can appreciate, Drew. By the way, I thought your review was knee-deep in b.s.
Those that can, do. Those that can't become critics and write reviews in free papers with ads for hookers and penile extenders.
Kansas City, Kansas