The article on Merle Haggard by Jonny Whiteside ["Love and Hell," October 15­21] was awesome. He put Merle in a light that many people don't see. I've been a fan for over 30 years, and I have seen the ups and downs. Merle has never looked for sympathy when things go bad -- he just comes back again, better and stronger. Mr. Whiteside did an excellent job of telling Merle's story. Thanks.

--Eileen Cordova

San Leandro



I just wanted to drop a note letting you know how much I enjoyed Jonny Whiteside's article on Merle Haggard. My cousin, Wren Stewart, forwarded it to me to read. For selfish reasons, of course: It mentions her father, my "Uncle Wynn."

Again, the article was wonderful.

--Kathy Wanderer

Simi Valley




John Nelson's "Rampart Roller Coaster" [Outlaw L.A., October 29­November 4] was topnotch. A good story from a real person's perspective, not a faux intellectual, and not someone whose agenda is so thick I can barely follow the story. Good stuff. Keep it up.

--David Jamison

Los Angeles



Every so often, the Weekly goes too far to the left. John Nelson's article painted an unfair picture of hard-working cops who, like most people, need to blow off a little harmless steam. (Harassing junkies doesn't hurt anyone, because few junkies have any feeling left anyway.)

--Denise Wilkenson

Santa Monica




Brendan Mullen's article on the passing of Claude Bessy ["Thees Ees Zee Reel Shit!," October 22­28] stuck a red-hot coat hanger through my concave chest. While I am just a 33-year-old kid who knew of Bessy only through The Decline of Western Civilization (thank you, Penelope), it scares me to think that one of the few people who actually influenced me in the haze of 14-year-old confusion and hormones is now dead.

I wonder if A&E is planning to run anything. Thank God you did.

--Howie Beazell

Long Beach




Regarding Ben Ehrenreich's "Wilderness, Inc." [October 29­November 4]. The fact is that, unless revenues are raised right now through this kind of program, the staff in the Angeles Forest will be overwhelmed. I would like to see opponents of the pass focus their energies, and demonstrate the determination to persuade the public and key members of Congress to restore or increase the money necessary to protect the forest. That will take a genuine commitment and heroic effort, more than constantly whining about additional fees, or trying to undermine people on the frontlines who are desperately looking for creative ways to preserve what is left. Step up or shut up.

--David Bloome

Los Angeles



Anyone who fails to acknowledge the negative impact a fee for outdoor recreation has on the working poor possesses insufficient empathy for a career as a public servant or as an activist. People with lower incomes have as much claim on our public lands as do the financially secure.

Above all, it frightens me that anyone would mistake a pleasant day outdoors for a consumer product.

--Tracy Royce

Toluca Lake



In "Old-School Ghoul" [October 29­November 4], Skylaire Alfvegren writes that Bobby Pickett's "Monster Mash" is the only song in history to hit the Top 100 on three separate occasions. There is actually a long Billboard history of seasonal favorites returning year after year. The Harry Simeone Chorale's "Little Drummer Boy" hit the charts for five straight appearances between 1958 and 1962. The mighty Chipmunks also pulled the five-fecta over the same period, with "The Chipmunk Song." The redoubtable rodents also made the Top 100 three times with their version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," a song that had previously charted six times for Gene Autry.

But the king is still Bing Crosby, whose "White Christmas" hit No. 1 three times, while separately charting in 1942, 1944, 1945 and 1947­62. Der Bingle's chart dominance over Pickett's Halloween classic offers conclusive musical proof that orange juice is stronger than blood.

--Des Devlin

New York



Due to an editing error, in last week's Calendar section televangelist and exec producer Paul Crouch was identified as "director" of the movie The Omega Code.


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