I just read your hatchet job on homeschooling ["No place like home"] in the March 18 issue. I understand that you think you've found a major problem brewing in Texas society and with education in the state. In some ways you have. However, did you once wonder where it was that these parents of wayward children were finding out about homeschooling as a dodge? Who's been telling them that they can take their children out and claim that they're homeschooling and avoid truancy fines?
Well, it's not legitimate homeschoolers. Most homeschoolers (and the vast majority are legitimate) lead very disciplined lives and have control of their children. That's why the children get ahead in school instead of behind. For most homeschoolers, it's not so much a matter of protecting their children from outside influences as it is that homeschooling parents want to make sure the values they are trying to pass on are not systematically undermined 40 waking hours a week.
I'll tell you who is informing irresponsible parents of homeschooling as a loophole: school administrators. You see, the parents who are out to avoid truancy fines are also the parents of disruptive children--the kind of kids that make public schools look bad and cause problems with school administrators. As a legislative aide, I've had occasion to hear of this kind of activity, admittedly second- or third-hand.
However, think about it. It makes sense. Suppose you're a school administrator and there's this disruptive kid you can't get rid of. The parents don't care and tell you to your face that, as far as they're concerned, the kid is wasting his time in school. Well, you say, "Take the kid out." And they say, "Yeah, and get in trouble with the law over truancy? No way."
Well now, you've got an ace in the hole. You say, "Just write me a letter saying you're homeschooling, and you're safe."
Why would a school administrator do this? Well, it helps make homeschooling look bad, and most administrators like that. For another thing, it gets this kid and his parents, who are royal pains, out of your school. You get less headaches, and your test scores improve to boot. And the kid isn't even included in the dropout statistics.
Think about it.
Got The Ticket
In response to March 18's "Talking up The Ticket" by Robert Wilonsky: Mr. W.'s write-up on "The Ticket" is so accurate from this avid listener's point of view that I thought I wrote the damn thing. I will go so far as to say with confidence that anyone who listens to The Ticket and doesn't agree with just about everything written does not listen very often, or in other words, is not a P-1.
I think the article got it right concerning sports radio. I myself enjoy more sports and less dorm room antics (I tried to study in college). I wish Cooperstein were still on the air, and I cannot listen to Rocco. Thanks for the coverage of this station. Living in Fort Worth, I don't see your columns at all, but I enjoyed this one. By the way, anything you can write about Rocco, truthfully or otherwise, that will get him canned is perfectly good by me.
Editor's note: You may have gotten your wish. See this week's Buzz column.
I greatly enjoyed Robert Wilonsky's article on the KTCK personalities. Wilonsky was right on target with his evaluation of Rocco Pendola. I can never qualify as a "P-1" because my radio goes elsewhere from noon to three.
Robert Wilonsky gets it! Finally a writer who accepts The Ticket for exactly what it is! Thanks for the story.
I have to extol the greatness of Robert Wilonsky for providing the unwashed masses of the metroplex with the most insightful piece done on The Ticket to date.
Like the great Gil LeBreton before him, Wilonsky refuses to capitulate to the ridiculous pressure exerted by his peers in the local media to dismiss The Ticket as an insignificant passing fad.
The sooner the rest of the so-called scribes in the metroplex pull their heads out of their collective "ace," the better!
Great article. You should do a follow-up sidebar on Gordo's obvious controlled insanity.
Steven E. Rogers
The Rules of Listening to Rock:
1. Never, ever wear sandals.
2. No matter what you think, the bartender is not your friend. He hates you.
3. The door people hate you too.
4. The bouncers hate you the most.
5. If you've never heard of Velvet or Pleather, you're not a Toadies fan.
6. Respect people's personal space. Quit flailing your arms--this isn't aerobics class.
7. You might think you look cool with that cigarette, but I don't. Blow smoke in my direction once more, and you're gonna be wishing you were back at Blue Planet with the rest of your kind.
8. Don't pay $15 to get into Trees to see a band you've never heard of. Trees is not that cool.
9. If you are sorry enough to be underage and drinking, do not get hostile when you are politely removed. Nobody cares.
10. Yelling "you suck" at the band will not encourage them to play any faster. Yelling "Freebird" will only make your fellow audience members want to kill you.
So. I guess this means I can't send my band's promo pack to anyone on the Observer staff. Thank God. I finally have a new lease on life. Well, I gotta run. I have an appointment to keep with my podiatrist (those platform shoes can really screw up a drum solo). Thanks for all your help.
Less is more
I think that Epic is just out for the almighty dollar and cheapening Stevie's legacy ["Soul to sell," March 11]. Sometimes less is more.
I didn't realize that there was so much of Stevie's stuff out there. I myself am torn on the subject. While I don't think that it's right for the record company to keep capitalizing on Vaughan's recordings, I am also intrigued to hear the new material because I'm a fan. They shouldn't keep using his "ghost" to sell the records. If they're going to make those recordings open to the public, they should just make them available to the public all at once and quit teasing us with all of these different releases and marketing ploys.
And as for Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepard, they need to get a few more years of some real-life experience under their belts before they get to thinking they are blues gods.
Stevie Ray Vaughan was an amazing musician. He brought new life into the dying blues. When I listen to Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepard, I can't help but think that if not for SRV, those guys wouldn't be playing how they play. SRV's impact on the music world won't be able to be measured for a number of years. I think we as music fans have the right to hear whatever he has recorded. Who knows, maybe an unreleased song of his might have the power to cause a young listener to pick up the guitar and want to play the blues. The future of blues is dependent on SRV.
Death to the buzzards
Gina Arnold was right when she dismissed Sleater-Kinney [Music listings, March 4] in the past. Rock's last stand? Please kill me now. This is the sort of thing that is killing rock music. My friends and I have names for these bands: Buzzards for bands that feed off the corpse of rock to enhance their value like the Sleater-Kinneys of this world, and weaselcore for idiot bands who have nothing to add to rock history, but think rock owes them a living.
Death to them both!
I recently came across Peter Rainer's review of the film Saving Private Ryan ["Life and death during wartime," July 23, 1998], and I want to compliment Mr. Rainer on his excellent work. I've written as a hobby for many years and taught writing in law school, so I like to think I know something about it; Mr. Rainer's review of Ryan is one of the best pieces of newspaper writing I've seen in some time. He did a superb job of perceiving and describing the horror of combat as well as the wrenching moral complexities of the film. Very nicely done.
Joe B. Reid
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I'm just now reading your article on Paul Westerberg, "Bastard of middle age" from February 11. Wow. This is one of the best articles I've seen about Paul in a long time. Extremely well written. The writer definitely broke through into the uncharted territory of Paul's mind. Thank you.
Dumbest Ramone alive
Zac Crain: You just might be the dumbest man alive for writing that review on Marky Ramone [Music listings, December 10, 1998]. They sound a little like the Ramones, but give Marky a break. You're probably one of those stupid assholes who go to a show and sit in the back trying to pick out all the bad things about bands, then try to analyze them over an espresso. Lighten up.