Mind boggling

By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  September 13, 2006

Worcester’s Scott Zoback questioned the fate of these legally purchased needles after their use. He is right: that question has not been addressed by the pols or by advocates for over-the-counter needle sales. Supporters of the new law going into effect in less than a month obviously think there’s no debate and no need for one. Why else would they stoop to defacing copies of the magazine?

I wholly support the free-needle-exchange program. I think it works. We have a public-health crisis on our hands. However, in the free-exchange program the emphasis is on “exchange.” What will happen after users use their drugstore-bought needles? Will they bring them to a safe collection place or throw them away anywhere? Hopefully we won’t be seeing more dirty needles on sidewalks or in gutters. Hopefully, users will be more responsible than that, but can we really trust drug abusers to do the right thing? Some will, but some won’t care at all. September 18 is closing in fast. Think about it.

Sal Giarratani
North Quincy

A trip to Paris
I dare the Boston Phoenix to publish this letter in praise of unashamed and unafraid writer Sharon Steel’s rave review of Paris Hilton’s debut album, Paris, and the paper’s up-front declaration that she’s “America’s Next Musical Genius.”

To accusations she’s just part of “the star-maker machinery behind the popular song,” even genius Joni Mitchell admitted as much. Paris had a lot of help with her album, but she put in the hours and she made the ultimate decisions. In answer to Steel’s question about who made the wise decision to release “Stars Are Blind” as the first single for sweet summertime, the answer is that it was Paris, against the wishes of main producer Scott Starch, and she was right.

As to the end results, Paris delivers. Her album hit the streets one week before that of the most widely acknowledged musical genius in rock history: Bob Dylan. His latest album, Modern Times, has received the expected five-star reviews from the usual suspects. The first rock show I ever saw was Bob Dylan and The Band at the Boston Garden some 30 years ago, and he’s been the most inspirational figure in my life, along with The Clash’s Joe Strummer. But there is nothing catchy or cool or genius about Modern Times. It is the sound of wheezing by the graveyard, a stink bomb blowing wind. Meanwhile I’ve listened to Paris’s album more than 20 times; each time she black-buckles me in for a sizzling pop roller-coaster ride on the most fun album of the year. She out-sings Dylan, her musicians outplay his, and the songs slay his. Compared with the old master’s never-ending tour of decline, Paris’s fresh beats are indeed genius.

Michael Burwell

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