By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
As most people know, tens of millions of Semites are of the Muslim religion, so it was perplexing to read "Muslim values -- often criticized for ... anti-Semitic principles" in Dog Bites ("Schooled in Prayer," May 15). Webster's defines Semites as "a member of a group of peoples of Southwestern Asia ... chiefly represented now by the Jews and Arabs." Please be more judicious with your use of the term in the future.
The title "Mercury Falling" on the cover of your May 8 issue repulsed me. The article featured a third-party perspective on the life, acts, and death of Markus Cook. Yet, the title was "Mercury Falling." Mercury Rising is the zine that Markus edited for many years. It is now parented by other cyclists and continues on. Thus, the title "Mercury Falling" must only refer to one thing: the fall of Markus.
To any of the bereaved this is cruel. It is synonymous with "Guess Who Croaked?" or some kind of implication that Markus fell. Attempts to parade this article as cautionary or inspirational disintegrate when the reader refers to the title. It is an insult to anyone in recovery, as well as those who love him. Our community needs alliance and support for people with problems, not a tag of failure.
Riders on the Storm
In the advent that someone faxes you a letter bitching about messengers' riding habits ("Mercury Falling"), I'm "getting hot" with a "double time rush," by hand-delivering this tit-for-tat message to your offices: "Yeah yeah, whaddayagonnado?"
I can understand the hesitancy of those who consented to be interviewed for the Markus Cook story ("Mercury Falling"). A very sensitive issue requires accuracy, and there's one extremely important thing you got wrong: His last girlfriend wasn't the "love of his life."
Though I'm sure he loved her very dearly, he had many loves in his life, including (this is the short list): the totality of the bike scene; the L. Sid experience, both uphill and downhill; his former wife of nine years; his family (both related and unrelated by genetic proximity).
He even loved those poor, misled yups stuck in the traffic jams we all helped to create (yet there was admittedly more pity than love).
He could also be fond of his own indulgent self once in a great while, though apparently not enough. Because, as it turns out, heroin -- to the nausea of us all -- became the love of his life.
He made that choice and paid for it. And those of us who loved him back continue to pay and pay and pay.
He Got Cooked
The first time that I saw Markus Cook was when L. Sid opened for Fugazi at Fort Mason ("Mercury Falling"). The second time I was smoking a joint at the corner of Montgomery and Market when Markus pulled up in a pickup truck. He said, "You know there's going to be music today." I said, "I'm here to see you." That was the summer solstice show. I saw him again on Channel 9 in his bravura performance in a documentary.
When I moved to the Bay Area I thought that I'd meet a lot of people like Markus. Seven years later, I realize that people like Markus are few and far between -- no matter where you look. I'm happy that I had the chance to meet him.
Your recent article on the Ambassador Hotel ("No Way Out," Bay View, May 8) obscures several essential points about conditions in the hotel.
As a former tenant at the Ambassador, I have observed the following:
1) The building owner began to undertake the present series of repairs when the new management threatened to withhold payments unless the repairs were made.
2) The city has the power to go in and make the repairs if the owner fails to comply with orders from the building inspectors. The city can then charge owners and collect in court. Why has the city, especially the Health Department, been so laggardly for so many years?
3) The anonymous social workers quoted only made excuses for the owner and management. Social workers are supposed to advocate for their clients, not explain why the clients are better off putting up with abuse.
4) It would cost the owner a lot more to shut down the Ambassador than to repair it. The payments he would have to make to the tenants would be considerable. Some might, as the social workers imply, end up living or dying in the streets because the thousands most of them would receive would end up in the pockets of drug dealers after a few days.
Your report got one thing absolutely right: The Ambassador is the last stop for many, and not a dignified one.
Name Withheld by Request
Don't Ask, Just Tell
As "Phallus in Blunderland" (April 17) made clear, the urinary-reproductive system is very complex and sensitive. Cosmetic surgery is asking for trouble.
By coincidence, the same week you published the article, I had to see a urologist, but not because of an enlargement procedure gone awry. I fell while skating and badly hurt a testicle. (It swelled to three times normal size -- ouch!)