Praise for poetry winner, Tom Schusterbauer's "my father's song" ("Telling tales," Metro Times, July 26). This piece deserves more than an award it deserves to be shared with many people in many different aspects of life. As citizens of metro-Detroit we can relate to the working-class character, sacrificing for his family and reminding himself of what he loves. Mr. Schusterbauer's eloquent way with words and phrasing allow the reader to relax and feel like they are riding along next to the salesman in his 1954 two-door Ford. I am one of the lucky few who have been fortunate enough to somehow stumble upon this literary gem in a local unknown writer, who I can only hope will one day share his talent with the world. Kalin Franks, Northville
Train of thought
"Across the Great Divide" (Metro Times, July 5) was the first real positive and hopeful article about regional mass transit for the metro Detroit area that I've read. It tells me that a lot of people in our area want mass transit and are working on solutions to get this going. Keep the idea in the news; get more and more people thinking about it. The more it's in the news, the more this might finally gel. Maybe we really could have mass transit in our metro area. Our metropolitan area needs a boost, and all the cities that have gotten mass transit say that it is a great way to stimulate the economy and vitality of a city, and to even improve poverty. Let's continue to hear more about it. Kathlyn Rosenthal, Huntington Woods
Getting in some digs
Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Can you dig it?" (Metro Times, July 19): Allow me to ask, when have you known any business to give away services or merchandise? For the sake of example, have you ever heard of a car dealership approaching a no- or low-income customer in the following manner: "Don't worry, Mr. X, I understand that you don't have enough money to purchase a car, yet you need one and desire one. How about we just give you a base model, free of charge. We'll write it off."
Well, sir, that is exactly what funeral service professionals do. Client families that cannot afford burial or cremation services are eligible for assistance through the Department of Human Services (DHS). The maximum allowance to the funeral home is well below the funeral home's cost of doing business. Yet, funeral directors accept the DHS allowance and do write off the balance to these families in need.
I resent the choice of language ("badly ripped off," "capitalize on ... grief," "rapacious greedheads") used in description of funeral directors. Do you personally know any funeral directors, Mr. Lessenberry?
I have personally met a majority of the 2,200 licensed funeral service professionals in the state of Michigan. I know many more in the nation. I certainly don't know these inconsiderate, self-serving, rapacious greedheads that you portray as funeral directors. Sharon L. Gee, Royal Oak; Assistant Professor, Clinical Embalming, Wayne State University, Detroit; President, Michigan Embalmers Society, Hazel Park; Vice President, American Society of Embalmers, Chicago, Ill.
Jack: Absolutely right on the super rich ("What really threatens us," Metro Times, July 26). You know the top reasons for individual bankruptcy filings are unpaid medical bills and divorce. And now we have companies that cut pension and medical coverage in "retirement." One can save and invest for a lifetime, do it all straight, and end up broke because of one serious illness that racks up a six-digit medical bill. The SSI benefit is $603 a month and you get $10 in food stamps. Good thing the price of rice is dropping. Jerry Wolffe, Macomb Township
Let me see if I understand this correctly. You hired the reputable J. Loftus so he could write about ... Journey?
I myself can sum up the "Journey experience" with one line: Journey suck heavy buffalo balls. And, they have sucked such balls, from day one.
There is nothing even remotely interesting about the first, second or third incarnation of this schlock "band." They are the musical equivalent of a trailer park.
What's next? Hiring Derek Phillips to write about the complex ideals surrounding Foghat? Matt St. Aubin, Waterford
Your reviewer of Leonard Cohen's new album has me perplexed. Why the shot taken at the best singer-writer in rock history, aka Don Henley? Methinks Mr. Richardson illustrates the old gag: What do you call a music lover with no musical talent? A music critic! Vince Brooks, Williamsburg, Va.
In his review of Monster House (Cinema, July 26), Jeff Meyers wrote, "The best animated films feature characters that couldn't convincingly exist in the real world talking cars, insects and prehistoric mammals."
I say, "Dude, if you look past a few months back you'd see that the best animated films have nothing to do with talking cars, insects and prehistoric animals and usually come out of Japan and are generally directed by Hayao Miyazaki or Satoshi Kon, among others. Anyway, didn't mammals exist in the real world prehistorically?"
I do think he's onto something when he asserts Monster House might be better live action. It has always been my contention that engineers should not be allowed to taint art. And although there must be a few CGI artists, I don't trust them. Todd Abrams, FerndaleSend letters (250 words or less, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your telephone number for verification.