Letters for the week of April 27 - May 3, 2005 

A geodesic dome for sale. World's greatest rock band for sale. A mail-order bride for sale. Ethiopian food for sale (barely).

"Most Amazing Community You Have Never Heard Of," Best of the East Bay, 4/6

Buy my completely normal geodesic dome
As owner of the dome house shown in your squib on Canyon, I don't wonder that your reporter felt a "creepy vibe" on his/her visit. We pay for and maintain our own roads, and have privacy and security concerns. Think of it as neighborhood watch; sounds durn near civilized, don't it? So gaping strangers may not be welcomed like theme park visitors, and if they're creeped out, that's fine.

And how "alternative," anyway, is a standard geodesic dome? Please!

Having vented, I want to thank you for printing that photo of my home. Can't afford upkeep anymore. Someone who understands that community membership ISN'T for sale, should know my place IS. Has view for miles with no houses, roads, lights. Needs work (quite livable as is), but can be as commodious as you want. Offers over a million, please. Contact vrozay@yahoo.com.
Van Rozay, Canyon

"Roboscalper," Feature, 3/30

Floored by U2
Great article on a hot-button issue. Having been a U2 fan for years I had to go the "contact" route, cashing in on favors, etc., to try and claw my way to good U2 seats. Well, I got them for the Pittsburgh show -- VIP seats in Club Igloo -- but they cost a pretty penny even at face value, which I did get them for, and I had to know the right people. Those floor tickets were what I really wanted. But alas.

One small correction: I believe you listed the floor ticket prices at $150. Actually, they were $50. U2 has always provided the best tickets for the cheapest price. Unfortunately that screws up the supply/demand thing -- real fans will easily shell out $150 to see the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band. That price would keep the half-hearted fans away. But for $50, anyone can afford that. It's a nice gesture by the band, but I think it backfires.
Jessi Dobos, Pittsburgh, PA

Editor's Note
The price quoted correctly in the article was for seats on the floor, not standing-room-only tickets.

"The Right Thing," Film, 3/23

Wither the true film critics?
My, my, why even bother? If Willy Wonka's (aka Robert Wilonsky) movie reviews can't even get the simplest facts right, what does that have to say about their more abstract designs?

Fact: [In the recent film Millions], lead character Damian's eyes are hazel, not blue. Fact: His brother not only wanted to buy this and that, video games and baubles, but the film made it explicitly clear how, in contrast to his brother's idealism, the found money brought out a previously untapped sharp practical business acumen in him: He wanted to invest the money in real estate; he advised his father to convert the pounds into dollars rather than euros, in the expectation that the new euro would be worth less than the dollar (which it was); etc.

And then Willy the Wanker writes "the most basic tenet of religion: sacrifice." Huh? I always thought it was the godhead. Silly me.

With such feeble resources at his disposal, no wonder Willy the Wanker falls into lockstep with all the other mediocrities who write what passes for film criticism these days in his adulation for Danny Boyle's elaborate "visuals." It hardly crosses his pea-brain that perhaps the fancy shmantzy "visuals" are little more than TV commercial/music video artificiality. Or that the little boy behaves not like a real little boy, but the artificial marionette of his creator, mouthing adult greeting-card PC sentiments, oh so coyly, oh so cutely. But never mind, why bring truth or honesty into the argument? Movies these days are meaningless escapes, which the supposed critical establishment has long ceased to evaluate the least bit critically.
Allan Marcus, El Cerrito

"Mail-Order Strife," Film, 3/23

Fraud on several levels
Melissa Levine's review of Mail Order Wife accurately describes the film as wallowing in its "own miserable perversity of spirit" -- also applying to the male leads. However, she really should have pointed out that Lichi (or her alternate nom de catalogue, Mai Lee) operated at the same low level by practicing fraud on several levels. One immigration expert who viewed the film pointed out that her fraud was of a type no longer possible for many years. We left the preview wondering why anyone should spend money or time to see this film.
Norm Ishimoto, San Francisco

"We Call First Tibbs," On Food, 3/16

A different experience
I just read your article on Addis Restaurant on Telegraph and I wonder if we dined at the same place? I just returned and truthfully, I'll never go back. The meal was no better (albeit no worse) than other Ethiopian restaurants in the area, but the service was horrendous. We sat quietly at our table as Ethiopian diner after Ethiopian diner received their food before us. Finally, after sitting there for literally 45 minutes, we were finally able to get our waitress' attention and ask her how much longer she thought the food would take. Her answer? Another ten minutes. I have never waited nearly an hour for food at any restaurant -- be it some of the best ones in the City to other ethnic community gems. What is shocking is that at no time did anyone ever come by to fill our water glasses, check on us, or inquire if we'd like more tea. Instead, we sat there and waited ... and waited ... and waited. Had I not seen and smelled the food around me, I would have left well before then. When our food finally did arrive it was simply adequate and not at all the special treat you describe in your article -- not that this is your fault, obviously, but I wanted you to know that not all dining experiences at Addis are as intoxicating as your review would leave readers to think.
Becky Caudill, Oakland


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