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Letters to the Editor 

Week of Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Deadhead Be Not Proud

IHOP the Grateful Dead: I read Dan Strachota's article "Dead Like Me" [The Dustbin, Dec. 14] in an IHOP on Saturday morning while waiting for my food to arrive. I was sitting by myself and laughing out loud. People stared at me. I didn't care. I thought, "If he can wear a wool Dalai Lama hat and sandals for a day and write about it, I can look like a crazy single person at IHOP."

I saw the Dead 25 times, and loved them, though sometimes I would look around and feel a bit sheepish about spinning in public. And I do agree that "New Potato Caboose" is a bizarre name for a song.

Great article.

Christina Ferguson
San Francisco

Tour de Fraud

Doping and duping: I was incredibly disappointed and dismayed with the article that appeared in SF Weekly by Matt Smith titled "Legal Complications on Steroids" [Dec. 7]. Matt Smith called me last week when he learned that I was leaving my current employer, Tailwind Sports. He declared his purpose of wanting to speak with me was to learn of the history of Tailwind and some facts on the S.F. Grand Prix, an event that Tailwind helped found. Smith expressed it was a story of great local interest.

As our conversation continued, Smith did ask a few questions regarding some of the accusations aimed at Lance Armstrong. However, never once did Smith imply or even hint that the focus and/or emphasis of the article was to be about those allegations.

To see the article's headline and support headline was upsetting. Then, to litter the piece with a handful of "what if" scenarios is, in my opinion, flat-out poor journalism. To begin with, Smith's likening my role at Tailwind as a "valet" was insulting, and I believe he knew that. Smith continued to list several dreamlike scenarios in the piece and even went on to ask an interview subject to "... consider an imagined scenario in which a team member was found to have improperly used drugs, the team organization knew about it, then hid it from its government sponsor."

How about I write an article that creates the possible scenario that Smith is a drug addict because he was seen in a bar, a pedophile because he was seen with children, or something else damaging? The bottom line is this -- Armstrong has never failed a doping test, period. He has gone to great lengths to proclaim his innocence, more than any other athlete in the world that has faced similar accusations. To dream of possible scenarios and then base a two-page article on them is preposterous, irresponsible, and damaging.

After speaking to Smith, I assumed what was to follow would be an article on a San Francisco-based company that helped create sports history. Instead, it turned into a damaging, insulting, and misleading mishmash of facts and nonfacts.

Dan Osipow
San Francisco

Sweating Bouncer

Geek love: Dear Katy St. Clair:

My billions of DNA molecules like Bruce Hornsby, and they like you a lot, too.

Should you ever find yourself at the Campbell Community Center on a Thursday evening, you are most welcome to attend the chess lecture where my billions of molecules are at their very rock-starriest.

Frisco Del Rosario
San Mateo

Our Fair Fernet

Hipsters rush in where Italians fear to tread: The hip Fernet-drinking crowd might be interested in my family's experience with the foul-tasting concoction ["The Myth of Fernet," Dec. 7]. Both my parents were Italian immigrants who arrived in San Francisco in the first quarter of the 20th century. We had an ancient bottle of Fernet in our liquor cabinet for as long as I could remember. We finally threw it out when my father died, in 1966. In any case, its use in my family was exclusively medicinal, specifically to induce vomiting as a treatment for an upset stomach. I was never subjected to the cure, but my older sister claims that she had only to smell the cork (I think it was corked, not screw-capped in those days) to head for the bathroom. I never saw anyone drink from that bottle who didn't have to.

Don Andreini
San Francisco


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