Letters to the Editor

Week of July 30, 2003

Dickey Defender

No, on a slow week we run letters like this:Tommy Craggs' story, "The Wit & Wisdom of Glenn Dickey," is so much ado about absolutely nothing that I can't believe it saw print, let alone a front-page banner [July 23]. Basically, Craggs, through biting, sardonic, witty sarcasm, accuses Dickey of being pretentious and shallow (hardly news) and then claims to prove it with 22 of his first sentences from columns. True, many of the columns he quotes state the obvious, but, just as true, some don't. He admits error (on Tyrone Willingham), admits bias (for the A's), does some analysis -- nothing earthshaking, but certainly nothing to deserve the screaming headlines and scandal or importance usually reserved for the front page of the Weekly. It must have been a terribly slow week. Next week: Debra Saunders takes predictable conservative stances! The Wall Street Journalfavors business! Stop the presses.

Laury Fischer
Oakland

Changing Lanes

We'd love to comment, but we failed math:Matt Smith, in his article about San Francisco pools and their availability ["Playing Pool," July 2], proposes that San Francisco pool schedules are unfairly biased in favor of organized lap swimmers, and against children and families. He attributes this bias to the fact that lap swimmers are politically savvy and active and thus able to pressure politicians and timid city administrators to do their will. However, after claiming that "it's nearly impossible for a child to take a dip," and that "city pools are hopelessly skewed against kids and families," he fails to interview a single child or parent to support his case. In fact, although he takes pains to show that less time is scheduled for family swimming and recreational swimming compared to lap swimming, he offers no concrete evidence that a single child or family has been denied use of a city pool -- he merely speculates that this must be the case.

If city pool schedules are biased towards adult use, this is not necessarily evidence of unfairness. As the latest census data shows (www.bayareacensus.ca.gov), San Francisco has wildly skewed demographics. In [the city], the fraction of the population aged 5 to 17 (10.4 percent) is approximately half of the statewide fraction (20 percent), and the fraction of households with children under 18 is less than half the statewide fraction. Despite his indignation, Mr. Smith fails to make the case that a problem actually exists.

Julian Elliot
Laurel Heights

Lovin' Larry

Some of Frank's "friends" want to talk to you:As the producer of the Larry Ching CD, I want to thank you and Kimberlye Gold for "They Called Me Frank" [Music, July 16].

The article nicely illuminated not only Larry, but that little-remembered era of nightclubs that featured ethnic minorities as entertainment. It took guts, talent, and a thick skin to survive, and the Forbidden City ensemble -- and performers at other Chinatown clubs -- were true pioneers.

As for Larry being dubbed "the Chinese Sinatra" -- I just found an item in the Jewish Bulletin. Writing about Larry, the reporter called him "the man with the velvet pipes, about whom Herb Caen once said, 'Frank Sinatra is really the Italian Larry Ching.'"

So there.

Ben Fong-Torres
Castro

The real Rat Pack speaks up:I just wanted to thank you for writing such a nice article on my father. It was very informative and I will treasure it forever. It was true, my brother Mike and I did [play] Frisbee with his records, wishing now we shouldn't have done it. My dad was a very quiet and humble person most of his life. My mother Vicki was one of the chorus dancers at the Forbidden City, and she was the lucky one who caught and kept my dad in check until he married her. Unfortunately, she died in 1979 at age 59. I am the youngest of the three brothers. There are six grandkids on our side. My dad was an understanding and supportive father who would do anything for us kids. He never lost his temper with us, although in his early years, you didn't want to mess with him. Anyway, I'm starting to ramble. Again, I appreciate the kind words you wrote about my dad and just wanted to thank you for the memories. He went out in a bang, got to experience all of this notoriety and attention, and I'm so grateful for all the people who knew him and helped him in the past couple of years.

Phil Ching
Rohnert Park

 
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