Letters to the Business Editor: 11/11/03

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Worst comic strip ...

This guy has the worst comic strip I have ever seen ("Syndicated Cartoonist Apologizes for Suggesting Pittsburgh Literally Stinks," Nov. 4). They recently put it in the St. Pete Times. I have read it one time, and find it mindless and in no way humorous.

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I grew up in "the Burgh" and wouldn't trade it for Boston if they gave me the city. And, there is certainly nothing here in Florida that even comes close. People come here to die.

GARY RYAN
Largo, Fla. (formerly of Penn Hills)


... enough Jersey jokes ...

What a bunch of hypocrites. If I had a dime for every mean-spirited joke or comment I have heard from native Pittsburghers about Cleveland, West Virginia, Philadelphia or New Jersey I'd be a wealthy man. I moved here from the Jersey Shore in 1980 and had to put up with one stupid Jersey joke after another. But God help anyone who cracks a joke about this dying town.

MICHAEL C. QUINN
Cheswick


... almost heaven ...

My sister decided to interpret the strip in question as a comment on the wonderful aromas emanating from the Strip District.

One of my favorite "Pittsburgh" strips is an old Calvin and Hobbes. They're lying on a hill, looking at the sky. Calvin: "Where do you suppose we go when we die?

Hobbes: "Pittsburgh? Pause. Calvin: If we're good or if we're bad?

JENNI ELION
Raleigh, N.C.


... smelly one is Tacoma ...

I've never visited Pittsburgh, and I did get a big laugh out of the particular "Get Fuzzy" strip. All the same, though, I'm glad you cleared the air (so to speak). I do hope to visit some day. We used to have in-laws there and my minister tells me its one of the nicest places he's ever lived in.

Actually, I would have picked Tacoma, Wash., for the smell. Although I haven't been there in 16 years, I was there for ROTC summer camp in the late '70s and frequently visited on business in the early '80s. Tacoma had (has?) pulp mills on one side of the harbor, producing what natives referred to as 'the Tacoma Aroma.' Sad, too, as many fine restaurants dotted the other side of the harbor. But what the heck, it rained too often to eat outside anyway.

Maybe you need to run a "smellier than Pittsburgh" contest. Fort Worth, Texas, especially north of the stockyards, comes to mind as an entry.

THAD HUMPHRIES
Warrenton, Va.


... smug, not smog ...

I do not accept Darby Conley's apology for this remark about Pittsburgh. His many excuses for the remark were he should have known better -- but didn't, or didn't much care -- and wanted to tease a friend at our city's expense, to the whole world. He also wanted to test how many people from Pittsburgh would comment and then, what, dismiss the comments by saying he didn't mean anything by it?

He also said, "I thought most people nowadays knew that Pittsburgh wasn't like that anymore." So it would be funny to fuel the fire to those as ignorant as Conley? He also didn't think people would take it that seriously, or he doesn't take the reputation of Pittsburgh that seriously, and he "didn't mean anything by it," meaning he must be accustomed to being irresponsible for his own actions.

It sounds like this person has no business writing a cartoon strip that reaches millions of people if he spews inaccurate, hurtful information which he views as "teasing." Conley is smug and pompous to have submitted a cartoon that was so negative and to be so surprised that people cared. When a cartoonist such as he crosess the line and doesn't even know it, his cartoon strip should be taken over by someone who actually writes something that is worth reading.

LOUISE WIEGAND
Ross


... allegory of the smoke ...

As a Pittsburgh native residing in Tucson, Ariz., I enjoyed Dan Fitzpatrick's column about the recent "Get Fuzzy" cartoon strip. However, as a fan of the cartoon strip, I saw things just a little differently.

While initially offended by the smell slur about my old hometown, I was OK with it when it dawned on me that the strip's author may have been trying to be allegorical. He might have been symbolically referring to the Steelers, and who could disagree with him about that smell? Rest assured though, the many Steelers fans here in Tucson are keeping the faith.

RICHARD SYMCHAK
Tucson, Ariz.


... city smells great!

I was in Pittsburgh for the 1,000th game of Steelers, and I could realize that your city is great, it's really beautiful and smells great!

The people from Pittsburgh are very warm and gentle, so I cannot understand why a cartoonist makes jokes about something he doesn't know. I could realize during my trip that the city has a special smell -- there you can smell the autumn, the leaves, the trees, everything. I cannot put in words the experience.

I can say that Pittsburgh is a great place for tourism with all the museums, buildings and beautiful parks, and, of course, the great Steelers, although right now they don't have a good season. Congratulations. You have really a beautiful city. After my trip consider me, besides a Steelers fan, a Pittsburgh city fan!

ROMAN TIENDA MARTINEZ
Mexico City


Yule music exits fast ...

I enjoy holiday music on the radio. What has bothered me for years is why radio stations quit playing holiday music immediately after Dec. 25. Don't these idiots know that the holiday season really extends into the new year, particularly for those of the Orthodox faith.

Holiday music enhances the holiday spirit leading up to Christmas, which is the peak of the season. It always seems that the holiday season comes so fast and passes so quickly. I would like additional time to savor the holiday. However, they cut off the music on Dec. 26 faster than a guillotine does its job to the condemned. I would like a gradual transition out of the holiday, not an abrupt, go-cold-turkey until next year. I am in favor of radio stations gradually phasing out the holiday music after Dec. 25. Just a thought.

JOSEPH LUCAS
Shaler


... and can spur anxiety

As a consumer, I would go along with the rule of thumb by which one of our local radio disc jockeys abide. He advocates no Christmas music until we're in the double digit days of December, i.e. Dec. 10th as a start.

As a retailer, I would need harder evidence of increased sales activity, and it seems to be the economy that determines whether retailers have a "good" Christmas selling season more than when they start playing the music. I say go early with the decorations if you must, after Thanksgiving (let's not meld the holidays together), but hold off on the music. Too much Christmas music too soon causes me bouts of anxiety and depression.

THOMAS BRZOZA
Laurelton, Union County



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