It disgusts me that only one side was portrayed in your article. It's a free country, last time I checked...no trendy cafe or bistro should have the right to control who does what across the street from their joint. I find it hard to believe that all these people have had these problems with these kids. I have been downtown for two years, walking down 16th Street almost every day, and I have never seen, heard or experienced anything like what was printed in your article.

Name withheld on request

Madan Chairwoman
I read Kyle Wagner's article on Vesta Dipping Grill ("Have a Nice Trip," October 30), and I am a bit confused. I was under the impression that her article was a critique on food, not interior design. There is much more to Vesta than the chairs. I have been a regular at Vesta since it opened, and I have seen one person trip. I have sat in the chairs, and no one has ever tripped over my chair, possibly because I make it a point to keep my chair as much out of the walk space as possible rather than making people walk around me.

Perhaps you should go again for a drink and, rather than focusing on the chairs, focus on what customers are saying and the looks on their faces.

Erica Ollesh
via the Internet

In Heinlein Sight
Peter Rainier's review of Paul Verhoeven's film version of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers ("Future Shock Troops," November 6) falls into the trap almost all other film critics are currently in concerning this flick.

Rainier, like everyone else, alludes to the "authoritarian" and "militaristic" style and orientation of Heinlein and his works. (At least he does not label "Troopers" as fascistic, like most of the other critics.) The problem with that is that it does not take into account Heinlein himself. He was a hard-core Libertarian and many of his books reflected his individualist and liberty orientation. As a German-American, he was personally offended by the Nazis and set them as the lowest villains in many of his books.

Verhoeven himself was a child in Holland during the Nazi occupation and his Soldier of Orange, with the young Rutger Hauer, was a tribute to the suffering of the occupied people (under Nazis) and the glory of the Resistance against them.

Max Winkler-Wang
via the Internet

Starship Troopers is based on a book by late sci-fi author Robert Heinlein that was published in 1959. It's a first-person perspective on how a young man joins the Mobile Infantry (aka marines) and fights against an alien race known as "the bugs." Much of the book focuses on moral and social issues, and the war is merely a backdrop. It is very thought-provoking and does not include any of the "gung-ho" mentality that so many young people today take concerning most issues military. After all, 1959 was not that much removed from the horrible realities of WWII and Korea.

The movie, of course, throws most of this into the toilet and takes on a disturbing Rambo-esque quality. Now our hero is a gung-ho type, and the bugs become the focus so they can be the victims or perpetrators of gruesome special effects including decapitations, eviscerations and brain suckings. However, all this is forgivable except for one thing:

They left out the power armor.
You see, power armor is what makes the Mobile Infantry mobile. It is a self-contained suit that weighs around 2,000 pounds and magnifies human abilities to superhuman status. When you run, you do so at about 35 miles an hour. You can lift up a car, etc., etc. The power armor allows for one individual carrying a massive array of weapons to do what would have taken 100 non-armored men with a normal weapon load. With today's effects and computer graphics, there was no excuse for leaving out this ingredient from the movie. The suit represented the isolation of the human from the alien, magnifying any reflections made by the character in the book. Making the movie without power armor is akin to a film about the Titanic sans the Titanic. Or how about this: It would be like shooting a Star Trek film without the Enterprise.

Instead, there are now hundreds of extras running around in what looks like gray spandex with rubber tires for chest pieces. I have dubbed the film "Spandex Troopers."

Sacha Gerrish
via the Internet

Romp and Circumstance
Art is difficult; criticism is easy. Jim Lillie's "review" of Servant of Two Masters ("Something Old," October 16) demonstrates this in spades. Yes, the classics are an acquired taste; and Jim, if your attention span can't cope with Shakespeare or Verdi, maybe you should be reviewing Beavis and Butthead. But how you could confuse Servant of Two Masters with some dusty, impenetrable warhorse is a real puzzle.

The fact that children in the audience were rapt, then laughing riotously, should tell any casual observer that this theatrical confection was not only accessible, it was downright "in your face." The only people not laughing were pretending to be sophisticated, confused by the silly, obvious, unstuffy humor. If you like to laugh, and like talent and energy, and don't want to have to take a class to have a good time, see Servant. Don't let the grouchy typings of some dullard discourage you from a delightful romp in the Renaissance hay.

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