To the Editor: That's it--I've had it up to here with the lousy media and its lousy, lazy film critics. I don't want to hear any more about Ewan McGregor bitching or Liam Neeson bellyaching ["You'll See It Anyway," Jamie Hook & Matt Stroebel, May 20]. I don't want to hear about camp, I don't want to hear about comic relief, and I don't want to hear about cinematic cheese.I don't want to hear about Jamaican speech patterns, French accents, or Jar Jar's bellbottoms. I don't want to hear about incompetent direction or lax editing. I don't want to hear about the kid not being able to act, the kid hamming it up, the kid being too cute, or the kid not being sinister enough. I don't want to hear about too little background detail, too much background detail, guys in rubber suits versus digital animation, or Darth Maul's oral hygiene. I don't want to hear about repetition from previous movies, unresolved plot lines, or no plot at all. I don't want to hear about confusing or extraneous politics. I don't want to hear about rip-offs from Kabuki, geisha, Christian, or sports fan face-painter traditions.

And I definitely, totally, absolutely do not want to hear any crap about this not measuring up to the previous films. Twenty-two years ago, Star Wars established itself as the Cadillac of science fiction franchises. Now, The Phantom Menace joins the fold, in any and all respects: the peer of its brothers. This IS Star Wars. Warts, cheese, and all--no more, no less.

Matt Frise, via e-mail



To the Editor: Mercer Island has at least 11 parks, Medina has three, Hunts Point has one, and Bellevue has 22. I'm guessing that some of your readers would like to live in Hunts Point but can't afford it. It might be that the only readers who can afford to live in Hunts Point are the ones who sleep under a tree.But in the Seattle Metro area, only the city of Seattle complains about people sleeping in parks ["A Risky Tweak," Ben Jacklet, May 20]. Why is that? Does Medina like homeless people sleeping in its parks? Does the U.S. Postal Service refuse to deliver SSI checks to Hunts Point? I don't think so. Has Mercer Island found an RCW to keep the bums out? Is there a law that the SPD doesn't know about? I don't think so.

It must be that Seattle wants the bums, winos, and generic homeless people, and these other jurisdictions don't. These other jurisdictions must be bussing their winos to Seattle. I'm sure the SPD isn't transporting their bums and winos to Mercer Island. In the bad old days, there were occasional stories about prostitutes and dopers being given a ride to the top of Snoqualmie Pass. No more! Not since the grand jury investigation.

In the bad old days, the cops ran the city, and it was safe to walk downtown at midnight. Now the SPD is squeaky clean, and it ain't safe at noon. I retired from the SPD a few years ago, and was always amazed by the recent numbers of prostitutes, dope salesmen, and their customers with Mercer Island addresses. It must be that Seattle wants the county's bums, winos, dopers, prostitutes, and crazies. I can think of two reasons. First, welfare is Seattle's only growth industry. Second, I have never met a prostitute, dope salesman, wino, crazy, or welfare person who claimed to vote Republican.

Therefore, it is two-faced and hypocritical for Sidran or anyone else in Seattle's city government to complain about homeless people, dopers, winos, prostitutes, or jazz clubs. The SPD could clean them out of the city in six months if given the okay. At least the old-timers could have.

Bill Wald , via e-mail



To The Editor: Thanks for writing about I-46 ["Speechless in Seattle," Josh Feit, May 20]. Mr. Feit claims that "amending the poster ban is a straightforward free speech issue that mainstream folks are likely to get behind." Well, I think Mr. Feit would be very surprised to learn how many Seattleites have swallowed the city's line of bullshit about the poster ban as a safety issue rather than the truth--that it is a blatant violation of our free speech rights. No, the problem is not a lack of commitment on our part, but rather a combination of apathy, misinformation, and indoctrination that makes it difficult for small grassroots organizations to make a wave in a sea of political mediocrity. If people want to change this law, they need to get up off of their asses and change it--and that includes Mr. Feit! If Mr. Feit had given contact information for those who do want to get involved with I-46, I would have taken his article as healthy criticism. BethAnn Fell

I-46 volunteer, Seattle

P.S. How dare you refer to Eat The State as a "lefty rag"! It's the only paper in town that actually tells it like it is.


To the Editor: I have to confess my sadness as I receive the news that the Velvet Elvis is closing its doors at the end of June. In the two years I have lived in Seattle, the V.E. is the only all-ages venue that I have truly looked forward to attending shows at. I give some props to the Off-Ramp, though I have yet to visit it in its "born-again" all-ages status. I assume it is still as dank as ever, but at least it's historical, and not as competitive for the kids' buck as DV8 and RKCNDY.I don't see bands like Fugazi, Stiff Little Fingers, or NoMeansNo anymore because these shows (at DV8 and RKCNDY) are so excruciatingly oversold, in venues with shitty ventilation and barely finished interiors (and my GOD, the TOILETS! Oi!). Despite the seemingly common conception among the bigger all-ages club owners, the lack of a bar does not mean the space must be devoid of any notable number of furnishings or other effects. Air hockey? Foosball? A bit of edible food, especially in light of the common "no ins/outs" policies? At RKCNDY, do they mop the darkly painted, barely lit floors with margarine? How many people slip on those slick stairs during a night of sweaty rockin'?

With door prices commonly at $8 to $10 and room for 500 to 600 skinny, sardine-packed kids, you would think the benefactors of the all-ages scene could put a little more back into their establishments. With the closing of the Velvet Elvis, one of the last vestiges of intimacy in Seattle's poorly established all-ages culture will be sadly lost and dearly missed.

Jef Hoskins, Seattle



To the Editor: [Re: "McDermott's Moolah," Josh Feit, May 20] A note to all congested consumers who crave Claritin: It is readily available over the counter (and for one-fourth the U.S. price) in Canada. So if you're peeved at the pusillanimous pandering of Congressman Jim, relief is just a two-hour drive away. The gigantic Kmart-type store just north of the Sumas border crossing is highly recommended.

Sniffles the Clown, via e-mail



To the Editor: I loved The Stranger's "Seattle's Erotic Landmarks" [Ellen Forney, May 20] because the "Gas Flame" sign was noticed. For the past 20 years, I have called it the "flaming vulva."

Douglas Mays, Face the Music Productions, Seattle



To the Editor: Samantha Shapiro's recent story on unions leaves the reader with the impression that labor organizations haven't responded to the issues facing high-tech workers ["Temporary Victory: Where Was Organized Labor?" May 27]. This is not true. It took everybody--lawyers, members of Congress, unions--a while to discover what the temp industry was up to in Washington, D.C. last year with their stealth legislation to legalize "permatemps." The AFL-CIO worked hard with our law firm to kill HR 1891 by marshaling its locals around the country. The pressure against this legislation in Congress could not have happened without the unions' efforts. Importantly, a WashTech member was one of the first to draw attention to the bill last year. As for WashTech's lobbying last summer, at the time it was an all-volunteer organization and could only spend a limited amount of time lobbying in Washington, D.C. against HR 1891. Now that WashTech is organized, it is a strong supporter of efforts to stop corporations like Microsoft from mislabeling employees as "permatemps" to deny them benefits.

Local unions have also been very helpful in working with our firm to help convince local governments to settle "permatemp" cases involving government workers. (Yes, government employers have been doing just what Microsoft does.) It will take a joint effort by unions and advocacy groups, as well as litigation to force employers to treat all workers with dignity.

David F. Stobaugh, Attorney at Law, Seattle