Re: “Tapping the Source” [August 8–14]. Joe Donnelly’s piece on surfing is a rare gem of writing, far above the usual fare I read in magazines and newspapers these days. I am not a surfer (stuck in the waterless confines of Northern Virginia, sigh), but after reading this gem I feel like I should drop everything and head west to the Pacific. Such a pleasure. If we could all write like Joe, we’d be more than halfway to actually communicating with each other.

—Michael Ganley Arlington, Virginia


I just wanted to comment on Joe Donnelly’s “Tapping the Source.” First of all, real surfers don’t live in Los Feliz. Second of all, the story was a non-story. So a kook goes surfing with a couple of big-time surfers. And? Well, yes, it’s lucky to be a journalist that has these sorts of connections, but this guy doesn’t seem qualified to write a cover story about surfing. Sorry. But it’s true.

—Olivia Mandel Santa Monica


It was refreshing to read an intelligently written article about the quest of surfers old and new. Having been anticipating the release of Step Into Liquid for the past few weeks, I must admit I cringed when I saw it was the cover story. I avoided reading the article for two days, certain it would be a whitewash of true surfing and wrought with stereotypic surf lingo no surfer I know (old or new) actually uses. Instead, the story was presented with an insightful, intelligent view of the surfer’s search for soul.

Being from central Ohio, I too grew up miles from any surfable waves. I moved to California to go to college, bought a board and learned to surf. While I’m not worth photographing just yet, I remain captivated by the dedication of beginners and pros alike, and the mystical qualities inherent to the search for surf. Presently, my buddy Albert and I can be seen kookin’ it up at Bay Street, Sunset and, occasionally, County Line. We may not be much to look at, but like Donnelly, we continue our biweekly search for the next stoke. Thank you, Mr. Donnelly, for putting into print what I’ve tried to explain to countless non-surfing friends.

—Jeremy J. Trimble Los Angeles


Hey Joe, keep your whining to yourself about how the Pittsburgh within you keeps you from Nirvana. Growing up with 40 percent unemployment as the breeding ground’s no picnic, but if you had to run away and go dream in Southern California, to go find your bliss on a private beach owned and defended by the ruling class, maybe you should rethink some of the lessons you left behind.

—David Conrad Mar Vista


Nikki Finke’s “Barbarian at the Gate” [August 15–21] had a nice premise — that there’s a silver lining for liberals in Schwarzenegger’s campaign because Hollywood-bashing Republicans will have to cool it somewhat. But her premise is based on a fundamental flaw — the unfortunate assumption that Republicans or right-wingers possess an ounce of principled or consistent thought or will somehow be in any way deterred from hucking the closest rhetorical shitball they can find lying around at any Hollywood type who dares point out that King George and his court of Dr. Strangelove rejects are little more than blithering, oil-addled chimps. It doesn’t matter and won’t matter a whit to these people that their smarmy musings on the academic shortcomings of the Sean Penns and Susan Sarandons of the world smack of hypocrisy while they spend their time pimping the very essence of Hollywood vapidity for leader of the world’s fifth largest economy.

—D. Jay Ritt Pasadena


As a longtime animal-rights activist, I was moved to tears by Belinda Cooper’s heartbreaking report on “The Stray Cats of Tbilisi” [August 1–7]. The struggles of people like Gia Akhvlediani and Lexo Khubulava are truly inspiring and heartwarming. But they need our help! Going to the Web site www.animalrights.ge to send a donation to the cat shelter, I wondered if any international humane organizations have taken on the plight of the animals in Georgia and other former Soviet nations? The help of those of us in more affluent nations could really make a difference in the lives of these people and their animals.

—Lynn Stevenson Manhattan Beach


Thanks for the excellent article on how tragedy filters down to even the domestic animals, those companions so many of us value. Georgia’s efforts are understandable and not unique. For years, Israel’s only policy for dealing with feral cat colonies was mass poisoning. As in Georgia, Israel — recovering from war, trying to build an economy — had no tradition of family pets; it took years before the development of the Cat Welfare Society of Israel made the fledgling society able to have enough acceptance to go to local communities with their active programs to TNR (trap, neuter, return). People like Gia Akhvlediani, with his 30 cats to feed, are just the beginning of solving the problem humanely. And yes, caring for animals is part of creating a ‰ society which has respect for the rights of all.

—Ms. Marty Rauch Los Angeles


Generally, the Weekly does a marvelous job of featuring local personalities and places in a way that makes you put down the paper for a second and think, “Aw shucks, there’s more depth to this place and its many characters than people give credit for.” This, unfortunately, was not the case in Seven McDonald’s unbelievably pointless article that for whatever reason chose to highlight the difficult struggle of three of the most vapid trust-fund brats in Burbank [“Cool Times,” August 1–7]. I always said that when the L.A. Weekly turned into Entertainment Weekly, it would be time to go. Let’s hope al Qaeda has the Toluca Hills Oakwood apartment complex on their short list. If you need me, I’ll be in Wyoming.

By the way, if “Cool Times” was a joke, it was very, very funny.

—J. Cole Silver Lake


Marc Cooper’s press-release-packaged-as-commentary about Arianna Huffington [“It’s the Governor, Dahling,” August 1–7] demonstrates that his journalism ethics are comparable to Dick Cheney’s political ethics. The “sprawling Brentwood home” that Cooper describes in his press release is the same home where Arianna hosted a publicity party for Cooper’s book Pinochet and Me. Cooper’s failure to disclose this and other information about his relationship with Arianna is about as forgivable as Cheney’s failure to disclose the names of the energy-industry executives who helped him draft the Bush administration’s energy policy. The main difference between Cheney and Cooper is that the vice president is a multimillion-dollar hustler; Cooper is a nickel-and-dimer.

—Lawrence Soley Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Alan Rich is wonderful, the best classical et al. music reviewer we’ve had in L.A. in 20 years. We’re in desperate need here. For God’s sake, don’t ever let him go.

—Angela and Richard Mankiewicz Los Angeles


Well, here we are in election hell with several unbearable candidates. But, who has the power, intelligence, charisma and lifestyle to be governor of this state — and needs a job? Bill Clinton! I can only encourage Bill to buy a small apartment in Lodi and come out here to save us from ourselves.

Rich Bergman Pasadena



A news item (Citysweep, August 15–21) stated that Eric Garcetti served as campaign manager in the re-election campaign of his father, District Attorney Gil Garcetti, in 2000. The son’s campaign-manager stint came in his father’s election four years earlier.

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