Sumo Softy

Jeff Yang's article on the sumo competition in Atlantic City inaccurately reflects sumo wrestler Emanuel "Manny" Yarbrough's career in Ultimate Fighting ["Size Matters," December 22].

The 720-pounder's record in the octagon is an unimpressive 0-1, and the "200-pound karate champion," who Yang says lost to Yarbrough and "shattered his wrist attempting to knock him over," actually defeated him. He broke his hand striking help less Manny in the head.

Yarbrough never "made a mockery out of smaller opponents," as Yang states. In fact, Manny's size and strength couldn't help him beat a since-forgotten amateur fighter. This, as well as the results of the sumo contest at Atlantic City, show that technique can prevail over brute size and strength, even in the apparently chaotic realm of ritualized sport combat.

Doug Sparks

600 Sexy Pounds

In Jeff Yang's article "Size Matters," Manny Yarbrough is quoted saying, "I'm the sexiest man in the world, over 600 pounds."

Let me say that, without a doubt, that statement is untrue, because I know the sexiest man over 600 pounds: It is me, the Gentle Giant, Michael Munford. I am also a sumo and I train with Manny at the same dojo.

Michael Munford
Plainfield, New Jersey

Cutting Remarks

I was appalled that Hillary Rosner, in her Choices review of the wine bar and cafe 'Ino ["Liquid City," December 15], maligned a dog grooming shop that had previously been located on the site, and has been in operation for more than 30 years.

The Poodle Cut was forced out of its longtime location by a landlord who wanted to substantially increase its rent. It is still a thriving business, and is now located directly across the street from 'Ino.

Ms. Rosner's comment that the old place was "grungy" and her insinuation that it used to smell are inaccurate. Hurrah for the pets—and poo on restaurants and bars.

Bob Barkan

Psycho Sexual

In Jockbeat [December 22], Frank Ruscitti reports that after learning that musician Gary Glitter was about to go on trial for producing and possessing child pornography and may also face charges of child molestation, he spread the news to various sports teams that play Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2," and was gratified when one of them pledged to stop playing the record.

Wouldn't it have been better to wait for a guilty verdict before joining the art police? There's an overwhelming case to be made for the pretrial quarantine of a person accused of such crimes, but why lock up his music?

The lyrics of "Rock and Roll Part 2" (what there are of them) are in nocuous. Is Ruscitti saying that 1950s alarmists were right when they maintained that rock and roll's beat alone will turn you psycho?

Dale Thomajan

Totally NORML

Cynthia Cotts, in an item titled "Joint Effort" [Press Clips, December 15], characterized a victory party for medical marijuana supporters as a "left-wing gathering."

Ending marijuana prohibition isn't the bailiwick of left-wing or liberal organizations. It's the "right" thing to do.

Walter F. Wouk, President
Capital Region NORML
Howes Cave, New York

Tic Talk

Re Sharon Lerner's HMO Watch column headlined "Ticked Off" [December 22]: My heart goes out to Michael Egan, the Lyme disease patient whose battle to get insurance coverage was discussed in the piece.

I know how he feels because I also suffer from Lyme disease. It took a year before I was diagnosed with this horrible disease. I was then told that I had been treated enough for Lyme disease and that I probably had multiple sclerosis.

Then I was told I had a virus. A neurologist prescribed an antidepressant. Finally I found a doctor who said, "Yes, you do have Lyme dis ease," and I started treatment.

A year later, my doctor re quested IV antibiotic therapy since I was still very sick. My insurance company denied my treatment, stating that there was not enough evidence to support a diagnosis of Lyme disease. My only choice was to stay on oral antibiotics and add weekly Bicillin injections. I am seeing some improvement, but still have days when I can't function.

Lyme disease patients all over the country are experiencing misdiagnosis and inadequate treatment. Health insurance companies must be held liable for denial of treatment when a doctor orders therapy.

Karen Crown
Swedesboro, New Jersey

Talk Is Cheap

In response to Sharon Lerner's HMO Watch column titled "Ticked Off": If anyone believes that Michael Egan's struggle with his insurance company over Lyme disease treatment is an isolated occurrence, let me point out that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar stories nationwide.  

The medical community has failed to take an objective look at Lyme disease. Partly, this is fueled by the financial support given to academic "Lyme experts" who sell insurance companies their "expert testimony" in cases such as Egan's. The last thing the insurance companies want is scientific proof that the long-term antibiotic therapy Egan was pursuing works.

There are many of us who have successfully treated Lyme disease with long-term antibiotics, proving that they do work and that chronic Lyme is a curable disease. Because some insurance companies refuse to pay for this treatment, only patients with extensive savings or a house to mortgage can benefit from long-term antibiotic therapies.

Insurance reform and academic honesty are the ultimate cures for Lyme disease and other chronic debilitating conditions.

Carolyn Cramoy
Westport, Connecticut

Seven Up

As the publisher of Seven Stories Press, I didn't mind Cynthia Cotts's reference to us as "lowly" [Press Clips, December 22]. I take it she means that for Carol Felsenthal to publish with us after being wined and dined by the conglomerate houses is a little like stepping out of a limousine and onto a bicycle. Esquire called us a "publisher of last resort," and I liked that so much we're putting it in our spring catalogue. When the status quo is stifling, an outsider can end up with the most prized role, and I think that is the case with us.

However, I do have one quibble with Cotts's piece. She assumes it is a given that Citizen Newhouse will be shunned by book review editors every where who will not want to risk of fending a person as powerful as Condé Nast's owner. We are finding that editors at nearly every major book review in the country are assigning Carol Felsenthal's book, and are doing so with vigor. That is to suggest that book editors are way ahead of book publishers on the First Amendment issues at stake here, a very hopeful sign.

Daniel Simon, Publisher
Seven Stories Press

Crying Shame

I commend Richard Goldstein for his thought-provoking article "The Hate That Makes Men Straight" [December 22]. As a counselor, I can understand a pack of young boys trying desperately not to "act like girls" because of a coach's admonition. I understand, too, the fear-streaked loneliness of a young boy who knows deep down that his feminine self is dominant.

Additionally, Goldstein's quote of psychoanalyst Nancy Chodorow—when "confronted with contradictions in yourself that you can't tolerate [you] project the bad out, and then you want to destroy it"—explains what probably caused the Matthew Shepard incident.

Janice Troyer
Leavenworth, Kansas

Rave Review

Richard Goldstein's "The Hate That Makes Men Straight" [December 22] was one of the best pieces I have ever read addressing homophobia and its consequences. Kudos to Goldstein for such a well-researched and highly literate article.

Mark L. Miller
Albuquerque, New Mexico


Re Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide [December 15]: Let me get this straight: Christgau gives Alanis Morissette's new CD, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, an A minus, and Bob Dylan's Live 1966 gets a B plus? Is Christgau being contrary, or does he need a long holiday without the CD player?

Steve Alleman
New Orleans, Louisiana

Capitol Punishment

Tom Carson, in his article "Saving Private Clinton" [December 29], did a fantastic job of summing up what's really happening in Washington—a witch-hunt run by political zealots with a flawed president dodging the assassin's bullets.

Americans love to support the underdog—especially if Big Brother is swinging the whip. Besides, it's a relief to have only one pseudo-demigod rather than a horde of self-righteous, right-wing Republicans wielding absolute power.

Bry Worthy
Millwood, New York

Gale Force

I strenuously object to Brian Parks's implication, in his brief review of Tilly Losch ["The Usual Suspect," December 22], that it was a staged piece without intellect or meaning.

The lack of ideas Parks sensed is the manifestation of new ideas he was blind to. Without narrative, director Michael Counts and the Gale Gates theater provided a commentary on modern images, the development of cinema, the interrelationship of art forms, and the notion that any form is confined by an ideology of representation.

Using a depth-of-field approach to bring a deeply cinematic dialectic of images into the realm of live performance, Counts achieved a Tarkovskyan emotional and visual tone that forces the audience to consider the spectacle before it.  

Counts transgresses the bound aries between art forms. He is not only a genius of stage design, he is a filmmaker without a camera and a painter without a canvas.

Craig O'Connor
Saratoga Springs, New York

Flying High

Re Kandia Crazy Horse's "Freebirds All: Southern Rock's Undying Appeal" [December 22]: It's great to read good things about the Black Crowes and Gov't Mule, not to mention the Derek Trucks Band and the Screamin' Cheetah Wheelies.

The Crowes are my generation's Rolling Stones. No doubt, rock and roll is alive and well.

Rolin McPhee
Hallsville, Texas

Life After 'Death'

Karl-Eric Reif's complaint about low scores in hockey this season and his descriptions of play as "sluggish" and "dismal" hit home for this longtime hockey nut ["The Death of Hockey," December 8].

However, a week after Reif's article, the New Jersey Devils went on a tear—scoring five goals or more in five straight games, and setting a new franchise record. They haven't been this much fun to watch since Claude Lemieux was called a "gutless puke" by Cam Neely during the 1995 playoffs.

Jeff Jotz
Jersey City, New Jersey


Dream Hampton's "Oh Gods" [December 15] speaks some truth about RZA being a bit tired and the Wu-Tang Clan having fallen off somewhat.

However, Wu-Tang remain elite in the rap industry. They emerged with their own style and standards in '93, which is what made them so appealing. Method Man and RZA's solo albums are not living up to Wu-standards, but they're still above main stream standards.

Reginald Altema
Livingston, New Jersey

Eur A Help

Elisabeth Vincentelli's "The New Euro" [November 24] pinned down for me the essence of what the band Stardust is about and explained what kind of music their hit tune "Music Sounds Better With You" is: "Eurodisco."

Miles Rohan
Nantucket, Massachusetts

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