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In the Company of Angels; 'Toon Training; Image Problems; Stop Him Before He Critiques Again; Corrections

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In the Company of Angels

Choose one: This reader recently had a bad experience with A) a pretty woman, B) a job recruiter, C) A and B: Although it clearly was not his intent, Jeremy Mullman's profile on TecHunters ("Rikke's Angels," Aug. 22, on an all-female company of high-tech headhunters) provided valuable insight as to why any company that uses the trio's services to fill its personnel needs deserves to get burned.

[Rikke] Christensen and her "angels" are clearly mere party girls who use their alleged good looks and unabashed moxie to develop business contacts and garner résumés. They evidently have no understanding of the sophisticated skills and talents needed by successful technology companies, and there is nothing in the article to suggest they have the requisite desire or intellect to develop that expertise. Alas, it comes as no surprise that [Monica] Dougherty mistakenly thought that a T&A engineer had something to do with female anatomy.

Here's the harsh reality: The best and the brightest are, for the most part, not the thousands of discarded employees from failed or failing dot-coms; rather they are the employees deemed vital by "real" companies who still have jobs. The only headhunters with any value are those with the access to identify this elite working cadre and the credibility to sell the merits of a job change. These headhunters ply their trade by reading trade journals and keeping abreast of the latest industry trends and developments, not working the local party circuit. By comparison, TecHunters and others of their ilk only serve as clearinghouses for résumés and provide no real added value.

Finally, SF Weekly should not allow its writers to make subjective judgments about women's appearances. While Mullman was clearly smitten by his subjects, he should not have been allowed to summarily describe them as "beautiful." This may come as a surprise, but not all men are taken by bottle blondes and dot-com fashion plates. Quite frankly, after reading about the shallow and exploitative nature of the TecHunter women and pondering the damage caused by their wanton ways, I don't see much beauty in any of them.

Eric Starkman
New York, N.Y.

Not just another pretty face: As a former acquaintance of Rikke's, I can tell you a few things about her. Rikke is tough: She's faced plenty of challenges in her life, but she tends to win her fights and emerge stronger than she was before. She has a resilient cheerfulness that never fails her. And yes, she's beautiful. But despite what's implied by the cover photo, Rikke has succeeded because of her wits, optimism, and a rugged determination to see the bright side of things.

Anne Sutton
Pacific Heights

'Toon Training

Why these comics aren't funny: I spent almost half of my Navy career in training. During that time, no one ever handed me a comic book. Any military training program, especially one addressing anti-gay harassment and violence, should merit slightly more sophistication than is demonstrated in the excerpts from Dignity & Respect, the Army's training manual on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ("The Adventures of Capt. GayMan," Bay View, Aug. 22). Soldiers are not schoolchildren. To suggest their training needs to be "dumbed down" to the level of a Saturday morning cartoon is insulting.

Even more disturbing is the apparent approval of this method of training by advocates of gay and lesbian service members. Training that does not present problems comprehensively and in a realistic manner is ineffective, and therefore unacceptable. I cannot imagine what the other services will come up with if one day they actually decide to train their personnel about the limits of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Maybe the Air Force and Navy can create board games like "Witch Hunt" and "Straight Women Are Melissa Etheridge Fans Too." And for the Marines, a mandatory game of "Don't Smear the Queer."

Laura Stratton
Oakland

We're saving our allowance for the instructions to the missile defense system: Joel P. Engardio seemed quite outraged that the Army released its training manual about homosexual policy as a comic book. Too bad he couldn't find anyone to agree with him. All of the negative quotes in his article had to do with its content, not its format, which only Engardio found patronizing, offensive, and trivial.

Engardio's attitude toward comics is about 30 years out of date. I advise him to check out Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer-winning Maus and Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics if he wants to see the true potential of comic books as a medium of communication.

Eric J. Siry
Upper Haight

Image Problems

Did you try Alcatraz? The homeless can't afford tickets.: Just wanted to let you know that your concerns about S.F.'s image are well founded ("A Brand of Justice," Matt Smith, Aug. 22). My wife, our three kids, and I just returned from a vacation there, and we were all very disappointed. It's partly my fault. For the past few months I'd been telling them how incredible your city is. Maybe I oversold it. My wife and I visited about 10 years ago and we had such wonderful memories; it really seems like we visited a different city this time. Something needs to be done for the good of the city and for the homeless. I can't see how letting them roam the streets begging for money is any better for them than letting the bears eat out of garbage cans in national parks. And as the flow of tourist dollars to the city diminishes (as I'm sure it will), it will become harder to fund programs that might truly benefit the homeless.

Please continue to push for action in your great city before it's too late.

Mike Wald
Vestavia, Ala.

Stop Him Before He Critiques Again

Well, that's better than his old nickname, the "SOMA Slasher": Some critics seem to feel that their job is to see how gratuitously nasty they can be and still get paid for it. Your Greg Hugunin is evidently bucking for the title "Butcher of Bernal." Restaurant reviews should be a service to your readers, not a training ground for fledgling hatchet-wielders.

What the reader can learn from Hugunin's slash job on Palatino ("Too Close for Comfort," Eat, Aug. 22) is that he's got a bug up his ass for reasons he doesn't make clear. He's contemptuous of the neighborhood ("infernal Bernal") perhaps because "it's gentrifying," although he does allow that it's a "lively little neighborhood." He sneers at all the people who obviously like Palatino, dismissing them as merely attracted to the waiter. Maybe he's hot for the waiter himself (mentioning the ponytail once is too much, mentioning the waiter's charm twice sounds yearning).

Your restaurant critics might try saying what they like (and hidden in this hit piece are dishes your guy had the good sense to like), saying what was disappointing and why, and describing the décor and service without the massive attitude.

I like Palatino. I like its food and its décor. I like the waiter with the ponytail too. I have eaten many meals in Italy and many Italian meals here in this city of restaurants. Palatino is up there with the very best of them on both continents. It's a pity your readers won't get to know about it if they depend on you for advice.

Elizabeth A. Zitrin
Mission District

Corrections

In a restaurant review of Aqua last week, SF Weekly misidentified the pastry chef. He is Eric Shelton.

Also, in a Dog Bites item in the same issue ("A Suggestion for Rearranging the Deck Chairs at Salon.com"), the name of baseball announcer Bob Uecker was misspelled.

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