Dear Editor: I was appalled, flabbergasted, hornswoggled, and, yes, shocked—shocked!—to find that you, for the third week in a row, shanghaied your once-brilliant New Column! into the sordid service of shooting satire at Sarah Palin ["Democracy in Action with Sarah Palin!" Sept 18]. Gone, apparently, are those halcyon days when New Column! was devoted to the far nobler cause of celebrating the fathomless pathos of babies, croutons, and, last but not least, Seattle's city government. Just think, New Column! could have, during the past three weeks, been devoted to such potential parodies of Seattle City Council members past-and-present as "Scrapin' the Bong with Charlie Chong," "Fire Kerlikowske! by Tina Podlodowski," and "I'll Have the Frittata by Nick Licata." But. No. You've frittered away instead the good name of New Column! on the easiest snark-target in American politics since Dan "Potatoe" Quayle. What. A. Waste.
EDITOR: In this week's issue, you posted a New Column[!] by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart ["Cease and Desist, You Old Fart," Sept 18]. I'm probably being gullible, but I sincerely hope that they actually wrote that and it isn't just something you guys made up.
Dear Stranger: Not only are you hep enough to talk about Dumpster diving in your publication [2008 Back to School Guide, Sept 18], you're cool enough to know the exact locations of the best Dumpsters in Seattle and to publish them for all to read. I hope the cred you get from blowing these little Seattle secrets wide open is worth the damage this article will do to the community of folks who actually rely on these Dumpsters as a resource. Say hello to padlocks, heightened watchfulness on the part of nonempathetic staff, food mixed in with garbage, and other antidiver precautions that—as any seasoned diver will tell you—are the inevitable result of too many damn people knowing where Dumpsters full of goodies are. I don't want to discourage folks from diving—it's one of those things with awesome social and political implications that's also fun as hell—but Dumpster knowledge should be passed from person to person.
While we're at it, thanks for all your useful safe-sex tips for gay men and straight women. It's nice to know that if I'm a straight male, I don't need to think about protection at all... [and] that if I'm a girl looking for a random hookup with another girl I ALSO don't have to think about protection (i.e., rubber gloves, dental dams) because even though we're probably still exchanging all those bodily fluids, it's not really REAL sex. PSA: Don't actually use two condoms, ever. It causes friction so they're more likely to break or slip off.
EDITOR: I really liked your Back to School guide, but Seattle streets aren't as hard to figure out as you made them sound. "Avenues" run North-South. The direction letter (N, W, whatever) comes after the name. "Streets" run East-West. The direction letter comes before the name. So for example: University Way NE is an "Avenue" and runs North-South. NE 45th Street is a "Street" and runs East-West. Nobody but delivery drivers seems to know this. Go figure.
Dear Editor: "Everything You Need to Know About School" [2008 Back to School Guide, Sept 18] was cutesy at best and just plain wrong at worst (helium has two electrons, not eight). The only thing more ridiculously one-sided than the title and the photo for "Pit Bullies" [Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, Sept 18] was the article itself. Fortunately, you partially redeemed yourself with "Everything You Need to Know About Life," the section on drug use should be required reading for incoming freshmen.
Walter (chemistry professor, pit-bull lover, and firm supporter of the harm-reduction school of drug education)
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: In the 2008 Back to School Guide (Sept 18), helium was said to have eight outer electrons; it has two. In "Not with a Bang, but a Whimper" (Paul Constant, Sept 18), Hugo House was said to be affiliated with the Books to Prisoners program; it never was. Additionally, in "Invisible Army" (Dominic Holden, Sept 18), it was reported that Koohns Painting in Spokane had been convicted of employment fraud. That statement was based on inaccurate information from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industry; an L&I spokeswoman now says that Koohns Painting has not been convicted but arraigned on six counts of criminal misrepresentation of employee payroll. We regret our myriad errors.