Longing for the days of Ma Bell
Dear Jack Lessenberry: That roar that shook your house Wednesday morning was the collective laughter that burst forth from all Comcast customers who read your article this week ("Stuck in phone hell," July 8).
Inefficiency, confusion, putting people on infinite hold and never following up or calling back are the only things that Comcast excels at. And wait until your bill shoots up inexplicably and you can't find out why.
Our classic Comcast experience was when we called to upgrade our cable and Internet service. Comcast assured us it would be no problem and told us that some guy would be out in two weeks (my wife's next off day) to take care of it. Later the same day, we had no Internet. After several calls over two days involving interminable stretches on hold, we were told that Comcast policy was to cut off Internet service to the customer requesting an upgrade, until it is actually done. So we had to cancel our request for an upgrade in order to get our service back.
Seriously, bring back the days when government granted a single utility company the local franchise and then regulated the hell out of it to make sure that it continued to earn its monopoly status, both by providing competent service and doing so at a fair price. We can only wish that we'd morph back to that form of "socialism."
Save this week's article; you'll be writing it about Comcast within the next year, comrade. —Glenn Stadts, Harper Woods
Lay off Michael
What a shame. Was this the "let's trash Michael Jackson" issue (July 8)? Leading the editorials was an "enough already" letter, followed by a petty snipe by Mikhaela Reid, then the article, "Too soon?" by Serene Dominic that went over a list of the 10 negatives of Jackson's career.
I've always looked to the Metro Times for the best (and fairest) reporting on mainstream, local, new, old and odd entertainment. It's hard for me to believe that from a career that spanned more than 40 years, this was all that could be pulled together for this issue. I understand that the media has just about choked us with so much Michael Jackson coverage, but they at least report his many accomplishments along with the dirt. And to be fair myself, the poetry by Blair that was inspired by MJ, and the wonderful, moving piece by Larry Gabriel ("The ghost in the mirror," July 1), were both more in line with what Metro Times supposedly represents. I wasn't a serious fan, but I must admit that after watching some of his videos on YouTube, along with millions of others viewers, Michael Jackson was something special. He was no angel, but there's no denying the impact he's had in music and entertainment. —Cassandra Agee, Detroit
Smooth, but jazz?
Alex Zonjic thinks smooth-jazz artists (oxymoron) shouldn't be dismissed just because they don't play the music of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. I like smooth-jazz music. I especially embrace it when I'm working on my computer because the music so perfectly fades into the background ... kind of like saucy elevator music. I have never considered it jazz because it doesn't come close to the beautiful, organic, improvisational, soulful sound of real jazz. Kenny G. and his cohorts nearly destroyed the jazz genre with the so-called smooth-jazz radio format. It's simply not jazz.
Rather than calling it jazz, I wish that niche of music had been formatted with the name "Smooth-Jamz" — that way, real jazz would not have been obliterated from our airwaves. When I saw Zonjic's name on the roster of our Detroit jazz festival last year, I felt a sense of panic and sadness. The floodgate had been opened. I wondered if real jazz would fade into the background at our festival because there's so much more money in Smooth-Jamz music. Smooth-Jamz artists, like Mr. G., "want to get paid," whereas real jazz musicians just love to jam.
If anyone out there is confused about what real jazz consists of (including Zonjic), simply play Kind of Blue by Miles Davis and then listen to a Smooth-Jamz musician, like Kenny G. You will quickly discover that there is no resemblance between the music styles. Mr. Zonjic and friends, rename your style of playing! —Emma Lockridge, Detroit
Send letters (250 words or less, please) to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; faxes to 313-961-6598; e-mail to email@example.com. Please include your telephone number. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.