ADRIAN RYAN: I think you're way out of line for being so damn nasty about Richard Reid ["The Queen of Cable," April 11]. He's got his shtick. The channel seems to like him. The viewers haven't yet staged a revolt. What gives you any right to go rooting around in search of "dirt" regarding his private life?

So he doesn't want to agree to an interview with you in which he will be asked indiscreet questions that could negatively affect his career. Can you blame him? What obligation does he have to engage in a debate with you about his gayness (or not)? Because he, in your opinion, talks "light" when delivering movie reviews and interviewing celebrities? If your gripe is with NorthWest Cable News' "exploitation" of gay culture, then write an article about NWCN. If Reid feels exploited, he has given no indication of that yet.

Get a life.

Richard Eric, via e-mail


EDITORS: I worked at NWCN a few years ago as a temp. Since my duties consisted mostly of light secretarial nonsense, I had plenty of time to observe the newscasters there, including Richard Reid. The newscasters at NWCN were some of the gosh-darn nicest folk with which I've worked in a corporate setting, and Richard Reid seemed, more than anything, like a harmless flirt and charmer.

While Reid's television persona, as Adrian Ryan points out, is coded as "queer," I wonder whether this persona isn't also part of another tradition: the "entertainment news fag"--a giddy, over-the top male reporter who is all catty and gushy. I agree with Ryan's call for more openly queer television characters, and share his suspicion over using such characters to draw viewers and increase ratings. However, in demanding that Reid position himself as a poster boy or representative of queerness, Ryan is also demanding that Reid perform the public act of "outing" himself, an action which, as much as Ryan (or we) might not like, is ultimately Reid's decision.

Shelley Price, via e-mail


EDITOR: In response to Pat Kearney's article ["Guitar Wars," April 18], the reason I don't shop at American Music is not because Guitar Center has a better selection and cheaper prices, it's because the people who work at American Music have been unforgivably rude to me every time I have gone in there.

I went in there about a month ago looking for a vocal processor, and they were very condescending and sarcastic. I tried out a couple of acoustic guitars and the staff members took it upon themselves to make sarcastic comments about the songs I chose to play. Maybe they thought I couldn't hear them from where I was, maybe they didn't care, but I decided I would never shop there again.

I buy stuff from Guitar Center, I buy stuff from the Trading Musician--I go where they help me when I need help and treat me like a human being. I don't think it makes sense to favor American Music just because it seems to share The Stranger's pretentious hipster attitude. I also think it's a little telling how much print you gave to the American Music people--and VERY telling how detailed you describe the [owner's] daughter--versus the six or seven lines you gave to Guitar Center to tell its side of things. You're not fooling anyone.

Christina, via e-mail


EDITOR: As one of the largest and most established music stores in town, the owners of American Music had a large local market in the palms of their hands, and squandered it with a combination of overexpansion and service that ranged from indifferent to ignorant to aggressively snotty.

I made my first purchase at American Music in 1980, and I ran into the same unpleasant customer experience that exists there today. I shopped there on and off over the years for the same reasons that people are now heading to Guitar Center--convenience, inventory (for a while), and price. Like many other musicians, I viewed quality-oriented shops like the Seattle Drum Shop on Aurora or bargain- oriented stores like the Trading Musician as welcome alternatives to the irritation that went along with shopping at American Music.

Placing the blame for American Music's current financial troubles on Guitar Center is an over-simplification--AM profited from the local music boom in the early '90s as musicians and wannabe rock stars from all over the country moved to Seattle to be just like Soundgarden or Mudhoney. Assuming that their customer base would remain loyal and intact, American Music's owners unsuccessfully attempted the same sort of expansion that Guitar Center has more successfully executed. Painting AM as a tiny local store crushed by the big guys from California is superficial--the Aldriches made some fundamental business mistakes that have made them vulnerable, like overextending their business and disregarding the importance of customer loyalty and repeat business.

Ed, via e-mail


AMY: Thank you for your article on the meeting between citizens, council members, and police about the upcoming protest ["Peace Talks," April 18].

Ann Donovan has worked tirelessly (and mostly anonymously) on issues concerning the residents of Capitol Hill for years. I am not surprised to hear she initiated this unprecedented meeting. My only question: When will Ms. Donovan run for city council?

Jodi James, via e-mail