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"Sympathy for the Devils," October 31

Cable's a mule for NFL kingpins, sports junkies: You nailed it in saying there really aren't any good guys in the fight between cable TV and the networks owned by the NFL and the Big Ten. The basic cable tier is already loaded with channels that half the customers never watch, yet pay for anyway.

In its lust for extra revenue, the Big Ten added an 11th school (Penn State), but still calls itself the Big Ten. Now these math-challenged educators think they can be broadcast moguls as well. Better invest in an abacus, Big Ten.

The NFL, a cartel akin to OPEC with its "personal seat license" power play, has the gall to call cable TV a monopoly. It takes one to know one. The NFL team owners certainly know monopoly tactics, forcing season-ticket holders to buy exhibition-game tickets — at regular-season prices.

Cable TV gets away with forcing customers to foot the bill for networks they don't watch, rather than letting them buy only the channels they want. When Microsoft "bundled" unwanted products with its operating system, it was cited for antitrust violations. Evidently, cable has better lobbyists.

At last, cable operators are giving customers a free-market choice by offering to put the Big Ten and NFL networks on an extra pay tier. But the Big Ten and NFL don't want to win over individual customers with persuasive marketing. They'd rather shove their overpriced products into every home.

This extra pay tier is the ideal solution for their target audience. The intense sports junkies are like crack whores who get beaten and robbed repeatedly by their pimps, yet keep coming back for more abuse. Their sports-at-any-cost attitude has given us PSLs and skyrocketing ticket prices. If they're gullible enough to buy PSLs, they'll surely pay extra to watch endless reruns of the NFL and Big Ten. Give them what they deserve, but don't force every cable customer to subsidize the junkies' addictions.

Brian Gomez
Cleveland

"The Ten Worst Jobs in Cleveland," November 7

Epistled Off
Scene irreverent? Parish the thought! Gus Garcia-Roberts' deep-seated hatred of Roman Catholicism is evident in his comments about Bishop Lennon. Words do not exist that can adequately describe what he — and your magazine — wrote regarding Bishop Lennon.

There are 800,000-plus members of the Diocese of Cleveland. No doubt some of these Catholics may make the decisions to spend advertising dollars for their businesses. Be certain many will take pause when it comes time to invest dollars with a publication that trashes their spiritual leader.

You will never print this letter. That's okay. There is real strong evidence in the scriptures of what you are doing.

If you had to sell papers, I could understand the shock journalism. Your rag is free. "Catching more bees with honey" is a philosophy that is not in your wheelhouse.

Michael Luczak
Cleveland

"Theater by the Numbers," October 31

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much
Cast member puts reviewer over a Barrel: To say that "Roll Out the Barrel sounds strikingly similar to every polka tune ever written" is like saying that Shakespeare used clichés in his writing. "The Beer Barrel Polka" is one of the best-known polkas of all time, originating in 1927 and enjoying worldwide popularity during World War II. Perhaps that's why so many of the older audience members so readily sing along, dance, and leave the theater with a little more spring in their step.

Lissy Gulick
Cleveland Heights

"Jesus for Sale," October 31

Sanctimonious Snake Oil:
Humbard? Humbug? Same difference:This was a great article. I grew up in Akron, and the Humbards lived near us. Charlie Humbard was one of my brother's best friends. He always had some good stories about Maude Aimee. Her kids treated her badly, and she treated them the same. I knew about most of the things in this article, and also about Ernest Angley — what a joke. We went to his church once as kids and started laughing at his behavior. They took us to the front of the church and made everyone pray for our "lost souls." We couldn't wait to get out of there. I loved to watch him on TV, making a fool of himself. How come he couldn't save his wife from getting cancer?

Nancy Collier
Oakley, California

"Best of the Boss," October 31

Reasons to Believe:
Springsteen fan is reborn to burn: Wow. As a longtime Springsteen nut, I must say you have accomplished the unaccomplishable. This really should be Bruce's greatest-hits record, and the liner notes therein. I gotta go find somebody with a disc-burner and get to work.

Brian Lisik
Akron

"Diva-Come-Lately," August 15

Princess Diana
Genuflecting required, ring-kissing optional: Get your facts straight, and stop representing your opinion as more than that. You Diana Ross haters are the same people who demean the accomplishments of anyone who is successful. At least she still gets a lot of press, unlike her contemporaries such as Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin.

People like you should address Diana as "Miss Ross" — and do it on your knees, as a sign of respect for a great singer and a true American success story. By the way, stay in Cleveland: That poignantly represents your skill for journalistic critical acclaim.

Allan Breitenbach
Philadelphia

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