Though you want to appear black-friendly, I bet you don't live in any hood. You're living among those detestable but covert rednecks who should escort you to the nearest hood.
Sabine Simmons, Manhattan
Where There Is No Vision, the People Pleurish Regarding the Mungo Jerry song "In the Summertime": I was always under the impression that the lyric Christopher Caldwell cites ("Pleurish the Thought," 5/17) as "In the summertime, when the weather is high, You can shesh right up and pleurish the sky" reads, "In the summertime, when the weather is high, You can just rise up and touch the sky."
Of course, I could be entirely wrong. If I am correct, I hope I haven't ruined any illusions.
In any case, Christopher Caldwell (as well as MUGGER and New York Press in general) über alles. Best read on the Internet.
Thomas R. Hall, Beverly, MA
It's a Grassroots Thing MUGGER: Assuming that you're not just joking about running for Senate ("e-MUGGER," 5/19), you'd have my vote and a lot of others besides.
Still, you have to consider a few things. You've been incredibly honest and up front about yourself and your life in your columns over the last decade, and those same columns will be pored over for dirt by the Clinton smear machine. You've seen what they do to people who oppose them, or even just happen to be in the way of their ambitions (remember Billy Ray Dale?). You might want to spend a few days in the archives and ask yourself if you can take seeing this line or that taken out of context and blown up on the front pages of their servile press allies.
On the other hand, you're the genuine article, a self-made man, a crusading journalist and publisher with a real commitment to free-speech issues. You've actually made a fortune without the use of a spouse's political connections. That will make for some terrific campaign spots. It will be very interesting to see Hillary's goons try to portray you as a privileged Republican who is out of touch with the people (although you might want to tone down the restaurant reviews for a while...). If you're serious about this, you've got my support. Let me know where to make out the check for the campaign.
Mike Harris, Los Angeles
I Ching Congratulations to Russ Smith for his correct prediction, reiterated in a number of his recent columns, that Mayor Rudy Giuliani would not run for the U.S. Senate.
May I assume, therefore, that there was no big money riding on this one?
Barry Popik, Manhattan
Never Forget Taki, you fucking Nazi piece of shit. Only someone who crawled out from under a slimy rock would ask for a marina to be named after a Nazi ("Top Drawer," 5/17). I guess our consolation is that when you die (soon, I hope) you'll be in hell with your Nazi officer friends.
Shimon Ben Yosef, Queens
Chuck and MUGGER, Perfect Together MUGGER is going to run for Senate against Hillary Clinton ("e-MUGGER," 5/19)?
MUGGER, you have balls. You have to dig up that old photo New York Press ran of Hillary as the Wicked Witch of the West and James Carville as a winged monkey for your campaign ads. Now get out there and kick her sorry, shameless ass.
Frank Turk, Pittsburgh
If You're Ever In Town, Bob... So Alan Cabal ("Hazy Daze of Summer," 5/17) considers that a good time? Get drunk, fight with your companion, get into drugs, spend all of your money and forget both who you are and where you've been? People like that, drunken sailor, give misbehavior a bad name. There are many who get their fun in a similar manner, but only juveniles brag about it.
Bob Jacobs, Coudersport, PA
It Was...Carbone Please summarily shoot whoever wrote your 5/17 editorial, "This Summer, We Can Hear the Drumming." It made me miss New York City more than ever. Goddamn, what I wouldn't do to be sitting in d.b.a. right now on my "lunch break," speed-drinking some Caffrey's.
Re: The Red Sox. What really gives me confidence that this could be the year is that during this recent six-game winning streak, the team ERA has been about a run and a half, and we're scoring big runs without Nomar and Carl Everett. MUGGER, I hope you're spending at least part of your Memorial Day weekend out at Yankee Stadium watching a Red Sox sweep!
When MUGGER erroneously reported that Talk wasn't publishing anymore (5/10), that was an intentional mistake, right? I hope so.
Josh Tate, Los Angeles
A New Ephebe MUGGER: I came across your column only a few weeks ago from a link on the Web.
The first article I read was one in which you compared Al Gore to a drunk wandering the country (5/3), a comparison that had me laughing out loud. I passed your column along to my boss as well as my father, both of whom enjoyed it immensely.
I am a 23-year-old graduate of the University of Virginia. I majored in government, but am now working in the banking industry in New York City. I have always had, and still do have, political aspirations, but my true passion is for the news, and particularly political news. Each time I have managed to read your column, it has given me a much-needed political fix and a brief departure from sales and trading.
On that note, you talk at length about the bias that is so evident in The New York Times. I subscribe to the Times, primarily for the depth of coverage it offers. But I inevitably get angry every morning after I read the latest liberal jab, usually found on the front page.
Please continue to write the truth and I (as well as anyone I can convince) will continue reading.
Bragg Van Antwerp, Manhattan
Let's Hear It For the Boys What are you guys down there, perverts or retired priests? The use of sexually explicit pictures and advertisements in New York Press is really absurd. You should be arrested for a quality-of-life crime, since our adulterer Mayor has made such violations top priority.
The portion of your newspaper in question would be more profitable as a separate New York Press XXX paper, to be sold on its own. Your publication, as it currently exists, shouldn't be in any place where children can pick it up on the way home from school.
I hope that you consider my idea at your next corporate meeting. You would make a profit from it, and you'd do something for New York City.
Darryl Taylor, Brooklyn
Attn: Help Wanted Desk After finally coming to the conclusion a couple months back that New York Press just isn't what it used to be, I decided to break my self-imposed hiatus and pick up your 5/17 "Summer Guide." Well, it seems I haven't been missing much. The issue is a bust. Just plain boring. And no M. Wartella cover? Too bad. They made the special issues special. Here's hoping New York Press someday somehow gets its groove back.
Mark D. Nelson, Roosevelt Island
Wow, Thanks MUGGER: Great 5/17 story about your Uncle Pete?you should write a novel about your family history. I'll bet it would be every bit as entertaining and interesting as Neil Simon's plays.
James Schenk, Brooklyn
Soup Bones I was surprised that MUGGER showed even lukewarm sympathy for the Democratic Mom March (5/17). Considering that it was organized by liars, and that the statistics that fatheads like Rosie O'Donnell quoted were lies?taken at face value (of course) by liberals in the press like Cokie Roberts?there was not much grounds for sympathy.
As far as I'm concerned, the timing of the march defeated its whole purpose. Whatever sympathy I might have had for gun control evaporated on April 22, when the Clinton administration delivered a more candid message about its idea of the proper role of guns in U.S. society; namely, that guns are to be reserved for the executive branch for use on innocent citizens whenever it pleases it. The march was just for show; the Elian raid showed the real face of the people behind it.
One of the first things that popped into my head after seeing the picture of the goon with the machine gun screaming, "Give me the fucking boy or I'll shoot you," was, "Join the NRA." Of course the Clintons want guns kept out of the hands of citizens. That would only cause problems when they come to break down your door. It's all of a piece with their paternalistic, socialist view of government.
I wonder to what extent the Elian raid has stiffened opposition to gun control. To my way of thinking it made its point much more effectively than Charlton Heston ever could. I wonder if the NRA is grateful.
Joe Rodrigue, New Haven
Girlfriend in a Coma MUGGER: Well sure, you're right about Rudolph Giuliani ("e-MUGGER," 5/12), but when you use him to bash Bill Clinton over the head?okay, why not??it's worth pointing out that you're referring to the wrong girlfriend. In fact, Rudy did receive the warm embrace of a younger fawning staff member, and, unlike Monica, she got a job she was in no way qualified for, not to mention a nice fluffy golden parachute after she fucked it up. I couldn't care less about either, but when one decides to editorialize about the muck, it helps to be accurate.
Harley Peyton, Santa Monica
Not for Any Pryce Once again, I'm writing to tell you that Jim Knipfel is the best writer in your paper, and one of the best writers whose work I've read in a long, long time. Don't let him go!
Barbara Pryce, Manhattan
Our Humble Gift to NYC MUGGER: Car 54 is on Channel 70, Metro (5/10). There are two episodes?7 p.m. to 8 p.m.?though at times that schedule is overtaken by sports programming.
Thank you for the gift of New York Press.
The episodes of Car 54 have genuine merit.
Name Withheld, Manhattan
Down Pat MUGGER: Yours is one of my absolute favorite columns to read and it always make me thankful that I am now out of the impact zone of The New York Times.
We escaped from Rhode Island, and everything you can do to expose Rep. Patrick Kennedy (5/10) as the vacant union shill and useless genetic debris that he is undoubtedly earns you points in heaven. Keep up the great work.
Paul Spivey, Brooklyn
Pissant Canto In his 5/17 column, MUGGER writes of Cardinal O' Connor: "...the recently departed holy man was probably playing poker with Dick Young, Babe Ruth, Roy Cohn and Ezra Pound, having the time of his afterlife."
I don't think so. The Cardinal and the Babe for sure. Dick Young, maybe. He was a pretty good taker back then.
Pound? Being of the Hebrew persuasion, I hope he roasts for eternity. As for Cohn, if there is a hell, that son of a bitch is doing really hard time.
Mort Weintraub, Larchmont, NY
Kevin Reads a Lot of Hegel I just wanted to compliment Ron Mwangaguhunga on his excellent "Whatever Happened to the Great Books?" article ("Opinion," 4/12). I think that today's generation of college graduates is losing out on a great opportunity for intellectual and philosophical maturing, because they're taught not the classics, but instead a drivel of political correctness.
Kevin Southwick, Houston
That's Bad? Taki: You haven't seen anything ("Top Drawer," 5/10) until you've seen fat high school girls come to Mass in strapless sundresses, their bosoms falling out with every genuflect.
This is what they think of as "dressing up."
The other option is jeans. Hard to decide which I hate most.
Jae L. Berry, Marion, IN
Stalin Friday Casual As usual, Taki in his 5/10 essay begins to make a valid point?airports do look like locker rooms these days?and then lets his political and social prejudices lead him to absurd conclusions. Pinochet's "beautiful white military uniform" was the salvation of Chile, no less! I suppose Leonid Brezhnev, not often seen in public wearing sweater and jeans (unlike that peanut farmer), was another guardian of civility?
I used to think Taki was a pathetic old fart. Now I'm convinced he is plain dumb.
Oren Tatcher, Manhattan
Toga Party If Taki had appeared in mufti on a Saturday night at the captain's table (his customary seat), I assume he would have been quite properly blackballed. It was of course Sunday nights that was black-tieless (and the first and last nights out). But perhaps the Greeks do things differently.
Rex Nichols, Manhattan
Joysticks Please praise Taki for his incisive 5/10 comment about Bill Clinton's casual approach to everything in the Oval Office. By contrast, the Great Communicator never entered the Oval Office without being clad in a suit or sportcoat. Ronald Reagan's respect for the dignity and history of his executive workstation never allowed him to dress otherwise. Clinton, of course, has viewed the office as a PlayStation.
Darrell Holmquist, New Lenox, IL
Strong Suit I concur on Taki's point in his 5/10 piece "A Dressing Down." To me, it's no more difficult to wear a proper suit than to wear pressed khaki pants. I find it altogether confusing that people will go to such great lengths and expense to look mediocre.
That said, you could say of FDR and JFK that they certainly were accommodating of the informal acronyms for their names. As for T.R., he came up with the awkward "Mr. President" for "your Excellency," and "White House" for the "Executive Mansion." Did you deliberately choose populists for these examples?
John Wilkins, Oakland
Berlin, Ja! At the risk of appearing totally dense, I have to ask about the headline that accompanied my short letter in the 5/17 New York Press. In the letter, I favorably compared Christopher Caldwell to P.J. O'Rourke. The headline was "P.J. and B.J." Okay, P.J. I get?I mention him in the letter. But B.J.?
Eric Berlin, Maplewood, NJ
Masters of Irony What an illuminating piece ("Opinion," 5/10) by Lucian K. Truscott IV!
Like most of the people I knew in the 1960s and 1970s, I marched against the Vietnam War, harangued my elders and wrote angry pieces. But in the last few years I have had second thoughts about the millions who tried to flee after the Hanoi victory and those who suffered death and worse when we abandoned them. (I note, by the way, that none of John McCain's ol' buddies from the Straight Talk Express chose to discourse on his recent remark that the wrong side won that war.)
Thanks to Truscott, however, I no longer need feel guilty. My error (and, I guess, McCain's) was thinking the Vietnam War was about them. As Truscott makes perfectly clear, it was about us?the smart, idealistic kids who confounded the ogres in Darien, Grosse Pointe and Shaker Heights, and the women who "started to win the war between the sexes during the Vietnam War."
The Vietnamese were just the eggs we had to break to make our omelet. Thanks, guys!
Howard Kissel, Manhattan
For Both of Us MUGGER and Taki: Your diatribes against Clinton are alienating for those of us who do not see that the President is an immoral, perverted, selfish, unethical, contemptible, slimy, scumbag liar. I am bored by your infantile tantrums of gratuitous namecalling, by this intellectual laziness. Why don't you raise the bar a little? Make a list of all the things Clinton has done wrong during his two terms, as if we'd never heard of the man. I'll wager that you won't be able to articulate your hatred for Clinton in any reasonable manner, because your hatred?like all hatred?is unreasonable.
I'll state outright that I'm hardly a fawning fan of Bill Clinton, particularly where foreign policy is concerned. I saw no reason to murder countless Yugoslav civilians, and I see no reason to continue killing Iraqis. The Cuban embargo still has me baffled, and I think the Palestinians should have had a state by now. But Clinton might've had some help with all this. Instead, he spent his entire term fending off political enemies who were looking to spear him on anything they could find.
Why should he have had to do this? Millions of dollars went to fuel murky intimations of corruption and insidious political intrigue: Filegate, Travelgate, Vince Foster, Whitewater, ad infinitum. How much of our money did Congress spend lying about their "morally upright" motivations in order to guarantee that Clinton would be asked about his penis under oath? Honestly, I think less of Clinton for apologizing. I think he might've have had a more constructive and lasting "legacy" if he'd flicked off the entire nation and then left. Maybe with just a little more shame and humiliation we the people, puritans and libertines alike, would've worked harder to oust the congressmen who flatly ignored our wishes and persisted with their drooling over semen-covered slides.
We might have even turned the country back into a functional democracy (the kind of democracy where people vote). You might continue to circumvent more pithy and researched articles by sputtering away like so many leftist demagogues or right-wing radio talk-show hosts, but ultimately you and your groupies will get sick of licking each other when you finally realize there's nothing substantive to dine upon.
Bill Come Do MUGGER: I wouldn't be too sure about Rudy Giuliani withdrawing (5/17). If he does, it will probably be because his prostate cancer is a lot worse than he's letting on or initially knew, and not because of his own bimbo eruptions. In fact, I heard of a poll today that showed that he neither gained sympathy from his health problems nor gained animosity from his domestic ones. Looks like there is simply a huge number of New Yorkers (fewer than in other states to be sure, but still substantial enough) who absolutely hate Hillary's guts.
As for Bill Weld, he doesn't have to log time in New York in order to run, any more than Hillary does. The only residence requirement is specified in the U.S. Constitution, and that is that the person elected must be a resident of the state at the time of election. The state of New York cannot add any further qualification to that.
Nevertheless, the question remains why would you recommend him anyway. The guy is just as big a shitbag as Hillary is, as evidenced by his temper tantrum when big bad Jesse Helms wouldn't let him be ambassador to Mexico.
Howard Hirsch, Carson City, NV
Hard Right Turn MUGGER: I love your weekly column and find you truly insightful. But do you really think, as you've been saying for a while, that Tom Ridge is right for George W. Bush?
I think it's smart for W. to publicly consider and speak favorably of some pro-choice Republican as a potential veep. But to actually name one would be a mistake. First, it will highlight the difference on the ticket and make abortion, as well as division within the GOP, a front-and-center issue. Second, it will definitely depress the hard right turnout W. needs to win, and the GOP needs to hold Congress.
Keep up the great work!
Jeff Heinzmann, Indianapolis
Foul Polls MUGGER: I disagree with your 5/17 comment that "The era of franchise players...is over." Even though I think free agency and greed have destroyed professional sports, baseball franchise players have stayed put, for the most part.
Tony Gwynn, the best hitter of my generation, has played an entire career in San Diego. Mark Grace even turned down the opportunity to be traded to Atlanta, in order to stay in Chicago. Hell, Ray Bourque, always the best player on a team that couldn't get close to the Stanley Cup, bolted Boston for Colorado and a chance to hoist the trophy. And if you don't think Mark Grace is a franchise payer, read what Tony Gwynn has to say about him; he calls him one of the best hitters in baseball.
The contract Bernie Williams signed in 1998 made him a Yankee for life, and Derek Jeter is likely to follow. Houston traded away Mike Hampton and your boy Carl Everett so they can sign their franchise player, Jeff Bagwell, and make him an Astro for life. In Atlanta, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz have pitched only for the Braves, and together with ex-Cub Greg Maddux have been Atlanta's franchise. In Cincinnati, Barry Larkin won MVPs and a World Series, and still is the captain of that team, a team that's returning to greatness.
Lastly, look at Eric Karros, who won Rookie of the Year with the Dodgers and has sat back and watched as other "franchise" players like Kirk Gibson, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Ramon Martinez and Raul Mondesi come and go.
I'm not one to stick up for Al Gore or anyone connected to him, but I have to question why you call Donna Brazile "brain-dead." Is it because of her statement last winter about the "white guys"? If it is, it's quite a stretch. Brazile, regardless of the fact that she associated herself with a phony like Gore, is still a brilliant political field strategist. She, as much as anyone except Newt, is responsible for the Democratic gains since the revolution. Remember all those picks you got wrong in 1998? Fong in California, D'Amato? Those were field wins. Those were Donna. It sucks that she's decided to align herself with evil. But, like Lee Atwater, whose politics I didn't agree with, she's brilliant at what she does.
It's all inside baseball now. Don't get fooled by polls. Polls now are only for fundraising purposes, and neither Gore nor Bush has to worry about cash. Do you actually think that the current poll numbers reflect what's going to happen in November?
Gregory Joseph, MAnhattan