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The After-Party 

Letters published September 8, 2004

The After-Party
Tradition doesn't pay the bills:
I read Chris Maag's article "Growing Up Fast" [August 18] with great interest. The beautiful cultural and family traditions such as the quinceañera are some of the most valuable things we pass on to our children. However, I was also saddened by the extent that some families will go in order to throw these lavish parties.

Maag describes "poor Latino families" who save for years or who sell their house in order to pay for the quinceañera. Is this really the message we want to send our children? In a time when Latinos have the lowest high school graduation rates in the country, it does not make sense to place such a high priority on this single goal. A much wiser decision would be to use that money to ensure that our children have a meaningful education.

In just three short years, when this smart and capable girl is ready to go to college, or in seven years, when she will begin medical school to become a psychiatrist, will she have the money to fulfill her dream? Will her grades be enough for her to earn a scholarship or will she have to scrape by on student loans and part-time jobs? Will her padrinos be just as eager to finance her education?

Jorge Serna, Ph.D.
Cleveland

Is that all there is? "She wears a calm expression and a little smile. She does not look afraid." How could you end such an interesting article that way? I was very disappointed with the ending. I was so wrapped up reading this particular article that I had to be reminded when I got to my stop on the bus. I sincerely hope you don't end all articles like this. If you do, I won't be reading anymore.

Phillis Tolson-Williams
East Cleveland

The Slow Death of Divorce
Courts break your will, then your bank:
Just wanted to compliment you on an article well written ["Feed the Machine," August 18]. I am a very close friend of Bonnie Warner's, and the divorce has definitely taken a toll on her. She is mentally and physically exhausted. I only hope that something good will come of this article. Maybe others have fought a losing battle with Judge Celebrezze and the legal system. Thanks for speaking out on her behalf.

Laurey Medvick
Fairview Park

Mounting casualties: The article by Pete Kotz entitled "Feed the Machine" struck a nerve. From 2001 until 2003, my brother and ex-sister-in-law were engaged in a very insidious divorce in Maryland. Just as in Ms. Warner's case, we also witnessed themes such as mutual restraining orders, accusations of assault, contempt of court, and gross impropriety. To top that off, there were three young children involved who neither asked for the destruction of their family nor wished to be used as pawns.

It was a rude awakening to the legal system. As a family, we were naive in the belief that if one's case had merit, justice would prevail. Instead we found that the courts are set up to do as little as possible. The true game is that if parties can financially drain the resources of their opponent in a ruthless and efficient manner, they will prevail regardless of the merits of their case.

My heart goes out to Ms. Warner. I pray for the day when she can climb out of the nightmare and rebuild her life.

David Tuwiner
Bowie, Maryland

Search for the Cure
After further review, where's the review?
I anxiously opened your July 11 issue, looking for the review of the Curiosa festival. I flipped through and saw a picture of Robert Smith, but -- to my dismay -- it was flanked by text regarding personnel changes in local bands. While I support the local music scene, the fact that there was no review was shocking. It was a huge event with a legendary band and several lesser-known up-and-comers, and all it got was a picture. That's just weak, especially given the presence of Scene's giveaway booth at the festival. I expect more from Scene. Even the Free Times reviewed it.

Mickey Thompson
Cleveland

Dream This, Freeman
Cheesy metalheads need love too:
Phil Freeman's article on Dream Theater is highly offensive [Nightwatch, August 18]. Having an opinion is one thing, but to say, "Of course, no one with functioning ears or brain can withstand more than 40 minutes of them" is offensive. If he doesn't like them, that's fine. But don't put down the people who do like them. Their music is better than any of the mindless crap on mainstream radio. Maybe next time Phil should choose his words a little more carefully. He's entitled to his opinion, but he could be a little nicer to their fans.

Brian Koker
Avondale, Arizona

The nightmare rages on: I can understand someone not liking a band because you don't like their music. But I think it is very unprofessional to cut down their entire fan base by saying that "Of course, no one with functioning ears or brain can withstand more than 40 minutes of them."

You need to grow up and be a man. It's OK not to like something, but really childish to cut down other people because they like what you don't.

Glen Brooks
Mesquite, Texas

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