I fervently hope that our city council and park board come to their collective senses and fire the Samuell Farm management and personnel and replace them with people who are trained to take care of animals and, most important, care about animals.

Enid Breakstone
Via e-mail

Of gods and goddesses
I think you guys were a little hard on Jay Farrar in your recent article on Wilco ["The only one," February 25]. Listen to Son Volt's Straightaways cranked, and then tell me that Jay isn't a musical genius. I think it remains to be seen whether Jay or Jeff is God.

Jeffrey Seelig
Via e-mail

Why do reviews of Wilco or Son Volt always have to become a Beatles vs. Stones argument? Can't we agree that both bands represent some of the best original American music to be recorded in a long, long time?

Scott Siegel
Via e-mail

In the recent article on Wilco's performance at the House of Blues in New Orleans, I couldn't help but laugh at the description of a particular audience member. You talked about this pacifier-sucking, rhythmically swaying, Bjsrk-looking girl as though she were a goddess who is sweet, innocent, and in touch with the music.

Two friends and myself were at that performance, right up front, and unfortunately very close to her. That girl was a ho if I ever saw one. And I've seen a lot of hos in my time.

On the bright side, she and her friend did get me one of Mrs. Tweedy's cookies.

Via e-mail

Critics' rules
I was inspired by "The rules of rock" [March 11], so I thought the critics could also use a few pointers. So if you wanna be a rock and roll critic, listen up:

1. I love The Band. Most people love The Band. Most people know of The Band's significance. Consequently, nobody needs 10 references to The Band in each week's music section. We get the point--move on.

2. Same goes for Ronnie Dawson.
3. Hanson, N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, and the Spice Girls are easy targets. Don't waste your time criticizing them--it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

4. Don't make insipid jokes about drummers. As Levon Helm (oops--I broke my own rule), Ginger Baker, and Earl Harvin proved, drummers are just as important as any other band members.

5. And don't tell us that bassists are unimportant. Paul McCartney and Bootsy Collins proved you wrong 30 years ago.

6. Do not ever describe a band by alluding to 10 other bands. If you find yourself writing something like "they remind me of Pavement mixed with Neutral Milk Hotel, with a little jangle from early R.E.M. (by way of Uncle Tupelo)," hit the DELETE button and quit your job.

7. Terms that should never be used to describe a group: "meta-", "post-", "indie", "lo-fi", "art-rock", "avant-garde."

8. Nobody cares about music-label mergers except musicians and music critics. You're a music critic, not a music-industry critic. Assume that we're smart enough to know how shady the music business is.

9. For that matter, don't be so damned cynical. Every generation has its share of crappy music. Likewise, every generation has a few groups that blow our minds and make it all worthwhile.

10. Don't lump Phish, the Grateful Dead, Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews Band, Medeski Martin & Wood, and Widespread Panic into the same category. Don't lump any band into a meaningless category just to fit the needs of your article.

11. Don't use "noodle" to describe the fans of any band. In fact, don't waste our time by describing music fans.

12. It's OK to wax orgasmic about a particular band. It's not OK to actually write "orgasmic" in your article.

13. Don't refuse to write about bands with turntables or bands without guitars. There's a reason nobody knows about Dallas' hip-hop scene.

14. Don't wear a goatee. Don't wear black. Don't chain-smoke. And don't drink coffee.

15. Don't waste your readers' time with snide, cynical "how-to" lists. Nobody cares how bitter you are, and we'd rather be listening to some good tunes.

Walter Biggins
Via e-mail

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