EDITORS: I can't believe that as a Stranger guinea pig, I had my entire pelvic region waxed ["The Wax Never Lies," Rachel Kessler, Feb 15] and plucked into a ridiculous exclamation point, and then spent a chilly hour standing naked on a cliff being photographed, only to find that what should have been an award-winning crotch shot was covered by a charmingly illustrated tree. This censor-object loomed larger than a bikini! Never again!

Waxed and Vexed "Miriam," via e-mail


THE STRANGER: That's it. I've had it. Maybe I'm getting too old, or maybe your paper has become awful so slowly that I didn't notice it at first (no, to be honest, I--and everyone else, let's face it--have known this for some time). For God's sake, look at your last two covers! They're absolute shit! A little girl kneeling in front of a urinal [Feb 8, illustration by Ming Ong], and a woman stripped and collapsed on the ground [Feb 22, "Bride Undone," photographed by Amy Died]?! What the hell is wrong with you? This is total garbage.... Sayonara, Stranger.

Dave Valencia, Seattle


EDITOR: I'll never know why The Stranger has a grudge against Rep. Ed Murray, but that was a cheap shot Matthew Preusch took at Murray [In Other News, Feb 22]--and Preusch didn't even bother finding out exactly what Murray is supporting before blasting him.

First, [House Bill 1973] does not "freeze" the minimum wage at $6.72 for waiters. It allows restaurants to pay directly tipped employees a "tip wage" of 75 percent of the state minimum wage OR $6.72--whichever is GREATER. What kind of "freeze" is that? Second, only restaurants that qualify can pay the wage--a restaurant would qualify ONLY if it shows the Department of Labor and Industries that, on average, all of its tipped employees make AT LEAST the minimum wage in TIPS ALONE! This proposal takes nothing away from tipped employees, who are generally the highest paid workers [in restaurants], and it reduces costs for restaurants. The employees who qualify will STILL BE GUARANTEED A WAGE OF ALMOST $14 AN HOUR. Representatives Murray and [Sharon Tomiko] Santos are doing exactly what they were elected to do: work to find solutions for everyone. Why don't you give Murray a break?

Tony Gilkinson, Seattle

JOSH FEIT, NEWS EDITOR, RESPONDS: One of the costs of doing business is paying employees the minimum wage. No business deserves a 75-percent option. Murray and Santos supported this legislation, and we simply reported it.


DEAR EDITOR: This letter is in response to Kathleen Wilson's last column [It's My Party, Feb 22]. The Capitol Hill Block Party has always been a neighborhood celebration featuring local bands, businesses, and people of all ages. The attendance at last year's Block Party could have been better, but hundreds of people showed up and had a good time, and a sizable donation was made to Home Alive. Perhaps if The Stranger had honored their promise to be the media sponsor instead of backing out eight weeks before the event--refusing to even return a phone call or e-mail, despite a signed contract--more of Kathleen's drunken friends would have showed up. In fact, The Stranger would not allow Block Party organizers to even PURCHASE an ad in the paper for the event. From the description in Kathleen's column, this year's Block Party sounds like it's going to be Bumbershoot Jr., not a neighborhood celebration.

Beth and Cari, the Organizers of Last Year's "Ill-Suffered Fiasco"

TIM KECK, STRANGER PUBLISHER, RESPONDS: Beth and Cari, while I appreciate your testimonial to the strength of Stranger advertising, I must disagree with your claim that The Stranger broke an agreement--written or otherwise--with you. We did not. When the coordination duties of last year's Block Party transferred from the able hands of Thirsty Girl Promotions to your organization, we simply chose not to be a sponsor.


EDITORS: The only thing I'll miss about the Afghan Whigs will be Kathleen Wilson's periodical reminders to this starstruck town about what an asshole Greg Dulli truly is. I shared a house in Cincinnati temporarily with the Afghan Whigs' original drummer, Steve Earle. Greg was an abrasive dick every time I saw him, both on and off the stage. It never surprised me that Steve finally had enough of that diva, and bowed out gracefully. Hopefully, with the demise of the Afghan Whigs, we'll no longer need to hear of Greg Dulli.

S. S. Stansbury, Seattle


GOOD EDITORS: I came across an absurd bit of information that your fisheries editor missed. Grant Cogswell's bit on the benefit for Klallam cultural programs [Stranger Suggests, Feb 22] states that the coho that ran in the Elwha River once reached 200 pounds. The earliest European mention of salmon on the Elwha River is Manuel Quimper's mention of several 100-pound fish he purchased in mid-1790. In 1930, the Washington Department of Fisheries found several king salmon in the river that were also estimated to weigh about 100 pounds. While Quimper's party didn't clarify the species, they were undoubtedly king salmon rather than the somewhat diminutive coho--and none of them were anywhere NEAR 200 pounds.

Patricio Gomez, via e-mail


EDITORS: I wasn't surprised at all when Eminem got all those Grammy nominations; and Elton John, as we all know, is a celebrity hag. [But] I did wonder about David Schmader ["The Fag and the Führer," Feb 22]... and then I remembered that The Stranger has plenty of readers (and writers) who would gladly pay for a little verbal abuse, some slapping around, and a nice painful rape. But a person's kink should be their own business, and I hate proselytizing. I just wish the smugly hip would stop yapping about ART when what we're really talking about is a corporate business product, calculated purely to make gobs of money for shareholders and suits in corner offices.

There was a time when art was an antidote to human stupidity, greed, and ugliness. The worse thing about this century so far is the inability of young news writers, especially those who think they are "alternative," to be able to tell [those things] apart.

James Freudiger, via e-mail


DEAR EDITOR: David Schmader's [article] about Eminem and Elton John singing together [at the Grammy Awards] is both interesting and thought-provoking. I always enjoy reading what Schmader has to write. Unfortunately, like GLAAD, NOW, and the other organizations that protested the Grammy Awards, Schmader misses the big picture.

The simple truth is that no matter how much he rails against "the Establishment," Eminem is its bitch. The sad thing is, the Eminem controversy is a sign of how much racism has not changed over the years. Black rappers who are far more talented and just as "vile" don't warrant the major attention, unless they are stars in other venues. Eminem is not the voice of Suburban White Rage. Eminem is the voice of Suburban White Mild Indignation. Eminem is a ridiculous figure. I pity the stupid kid who thinks Eminem is a rebel. If GLAAD realized that, then they would see how misguided their own campaign of hate has been.

Lev Stone, via e-mail


EDITORS: I'm writing in regard to the article about the Washington State Department of Health's recent blast of anti-smoking ads on TV ["Smoke Screen," Ric Kasini Kadour, Feb 15]. Put simply, they work! They worked for me, and they're working for my friends. I spent $500 on a nicotine patch last year without success--but the minute I saw someone squeeze gunk out of that 32-year-old's aorta [in an anti-smoking commercial], I quit. I would hate to see a great campaign that's grossing so many of us out [and convincing us to] quit lose funds. I say give 'em all the money we can spare! Now I get to watch the ads and smile instead of cringe. Thanks a million, Department of Health!!!

Danna Daily, Redmond