Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Kristi Kates - July 28th, 2005
The Foos’ went from their original idea of an acoustic album to this, a double-disc that exercises both the Foos’ heavy-punk ambitions and their quieter abilities. Yet another foomination - er, rumination - mostly on relationships, Foo leader Dave Grohl still stays behind his wall, only peeking his head around lyrically to give a few scant glimpses into how he really thinks about things.  There are some solid songs here, but they’re mostly on the acoustic disc - the headbangin’ disc gives the impression that the band was a little too concerned about giving off the impression of rockin’ hard to actually cut loose and do so.  This latest Foo effort offers up a few solid tracks - but the Foos might’ve been better off if they’d concentrated on one collection of quality songs, instead of spreading themselves too thin. 

Bryan Adams - Room Service - Mercury

Canadian pop-rocker Bryan Adams used to be a big deal in the early ‘90s.  Heck, he’s still a big deal in Europe, much like David Hasselhoff.  But although this album’s concept is pretty cool - Adams reportedly recorded the 11 tracks of Room Service in various hotel rooms while on tour in Europe, hence the title - it doesn’t live up to its own hype.  His raspy, urgent voice still sounds pretty decent, given the genre, but the songs themselves are awfully generic, suggesting that Adams might end up playing fairground bills instead of arena rock shows. There are a couple of songs that you might want to snag as singles, if you’re a fan of that back-to-basics heartland rock formula (namely “This Side of Paradise” and “East Side Story”), but overall, it’s quite lukewarm - average, even - in both its songs and presentation.

Screaming Trees - Ocean of Confusion - Songs of Screaming Trees 1990-1996 - Sony Music

Screaming Trees, although they did have one radio hit with the uber-hooky “Nearly Lost You” (which also appeared on the soundtrack for the slice-of-Seattle-life flick Singles), never quite hit the stride that fellow Seattle-ites like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains did.  And that’s really a shame - which is something you’ll discover when you take a listen to some of their back catalog as revealed on this disc.  More experimental and psychedelic ‘60s than the bulk of the grunge bands that came out of their hometown, it rocks hard but still manages to showcase some gothic-meets-grunge lyricism and the gutteral, expressive vocals of bandleader Mark Lanegan.  Old-school Screaming Trees will find this a must have, while grunge fans in general will want to add this to their collection, even if they’re new to this Seattle band who are still rocking under the radar.

Backstreet Boys - Never Gone - Jive Records

The first BSB album in over five years from the Orlando, Florida boy band, now more men than boys, the group seems a little lost on this effort, and with good reason, since boy bands are finally out of vogue for the most part.  It’s somewhat admirable that they’re attempting to stage a comeback - well, maybe gutsy is a better word - but they didn’t strike out far enough from their original sound to make any kind of real impact.  They’re still not writing much of their own music, which probably contributes to their somewhat superficial sound - the harmonies are there, granted, but there isn’t much of a foundation to support the Boys’ vocals.  It’s not completely horrible - they do have a good production team behind them, and again, they’re trying and all - it’s just that the results aren’t really much of anything.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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