"Almost everywhere you turn in the East Bay is some Vegetarian on their soapbox about their choice. Who cares?"


Someone tell Karen Edmondson of San Leandro that it sounds like she needs to eat some meat and chill out. Her little tirade ("Letters," August 22) about the Zaika restaurant (with all the other miseries of the world, a hissyfit over a restaurant of all things) gives credence to why some, emphasis some, vegetarians might be considered pretty damned silly. Almost everywhere you turn nowadays in the East Bay is some Vegetarian on their soapbox about their choice. Who cares? Most people can't afford to be vegetarian and/or organic, much less have the luxury of choice.

Diana Lazo, Berkeley

Emissions Improbable

Despite what "7 Days" reported August 22, we don't have to wait for low-polluting buses on East Bay corridors. They are already here! Not only has AC Transit been buying buses that eliminate 94 percent of the emissions of buses of just a decade ago, it has been replacing engines on their older buses with these newer, cleaner engines. This is only the first step. Non-polluting fuel-cell buses are coming soon. Details are available by downloading the Environmental Leadership Report at the AC Transit Web site, www.actransit.org.

Furthermore, for those of us who follow these things, Bus Rapid Transit is no compromise. It promises not only to be cheaper than rail, but more reliable as well, as anyone who has sat in a BART or Muni Metro car during a service interruption can tell you. Buses can get around the obstacles that would tie up an entire rail line. The fuel cell buses will not only eliminate the air pollution, but the visual pollution of overhead wires as well. It's a better system all around.

Bruce De Benedictis, Oakland

If You Thought You Hated Us Before, Just Read Us Now!

Wow, "7 Days" (August 22) really slammed home that point about avoiding "astonishing ... hyperbole" like the Oakland Trib's when it lit after SFBG publisher Bruce Brugmann for having "heaved his girth" around the circus like a fat-assed loner ("the man ... walked alone"). Never mind that no less a mass than Shirley Dean was spared the weight commentary in that same, childish column. Tell us instead how Brugmann's weight has anything to do with it. Is an effective pragmatist like Dean any less a mayor because of her heft? Is her weight -- or Brugmann's -- fairer game than Worthington's sexuality?

This in a column that in recent weeks used census and admissions numbers to rail, albeit indirectly, against Asian Americans for displacing other minorities at the University of California and in a publication that championed snooty furniture stores that don't care about Ikea because, sniff, those damned Swedes sell to the unwashed working classes.

The old, independent Express was no journalistic thrill ride -- it whined ceaselessly about developers, business owners, hard-working kids ("Yuppies!"), moderate politicians, capitalism in general, and heartless national corporations in particular. I really hated it. But the new, national-chain-ified Express has surprised me. It is actually worse. I'd somehow rather read petty taunting of the Berkeley bourgeoisie than New Times' arrogant derision of minorities, the poor, and the fat -- even if they do promise to confine their bigotry to crosstown corporate rivals.

Ryan Tate, Berkeley

Oh, I Wish You Were an Oscar Mayer Wiener

I would like to arrange for whoever decided the Express would no longer carry the comic strip "Red Meat" to be made into sausage.

Daniel Holliman, Berkeley

Come on Wheels, Take This Boy Away

Although I appreciate anyone who pays attention to the current trends in what is sometimes called alternative country, I find Chris Baty's statement ("Metronome Diary," August 22), that Gram Parsons only wrote two good songs in his career, embarrassing. But anyone who mentions the Mamas and Papas in the same breath obviously has a different point of reference than I.

Gram's voice alone was everything that anyone who has ever listened to real country music could ask for. Whether it is Roscoe Holcomb, Hank Williams, or John Prine, the truth is always in the voice. When you realize the time frame that Gram was writing and playing in, it becomes all the more impressive. I know. I was there, listening and playing. It is no coincidence that he has influenced so many singer-songwriters. He had it right, and he moved me as Lefty or Merle did.

I agree with Baty's take on Dave Gleason, but I'm not sure, from his written comments, if he has ever heard him live. His guitar playing, singing, and songwriting are extraordinary. I just came across him at Fuel in San Jose, as the opening act for Red Meat, and was blown away. I would love to see him expand his fan base, to SXSW or maybe with the help of someone like Dave Alvin or through Bloodshot records in Chicago.

No hard feelings, but take another listen to Grievous Angel or GP, and tell me that wasn't one of the best pure country bands you ever heard. His voice is incredibly soulful, and the songs he wrote on those albums were exceptional. Ryan Adams knows. Adam Duritz knows. No, there is a "Hickory Wind" blowing in heaven.

James Manganello, Los Gatos


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