I just wanted to wish Peter Byrne good luck on his book ("Later Alligators," the Byrne Report, Oct. 31) and finally let him know that I consider him one of the finest investigative reporters in what is left of this good old U.S.A. I have been a fan of Byrne's for a long time, and he is the main reason why I seek out the Bohemian. I will miss Byrne and will look forward to his book. He's a gutsy genius! Stay in touch. Thanks to him for all his efforts.
Dennis Sala , Santa Rosa
State of Journalism, wot-wot
Just wanted you to know how much Peter Byrne will be missed. I'm only sorry I didn't write before, now that he's taking a leave. We'll just wish him well, look forward to a fascinating book and await his return.
The state of journalism in this country has degraded to the point where very few are actually practicing the real craft. And Mr. Byrne is one of the few really good ones out there. I've saved many of his articles because they are just so damn good.
Thanks for giving him a home in your publication.
Ann Kennedy , Santa Rosa
Free to Be You and Me
Very intrigued by Peter Byrne's assignment by the American Institute of Physics to write a bio of Hugh Everett, the "many worlds" theorist whose ideas, with impeccable mathematical support, have seemingly solved physics' quantum indeterminacy problem. I'm no physicist or mathematician, but would view with glee any well-founded theory that (a) supported Einstein's dogged assertion that nothing in the cosmos behaves randomly and (b) puts all those "free will" folks—including many Heisenberg-enthralled physicists—down several pegs. It may well turn out that the teeny tiny quanta don't actually run around randomly, "freely," after all, ho ho, but live and have their being in an orderly way, even as you and I.
(Strange that randomness should be pointed to as proof of freedom of will. Would we want to live in a truly "free" universe? I think not. I think what each of us wants is freedom for me to do as I desire or "will," but everybody else had better behave as I expect them to lest their freedom impinge upon mine. In other words, a standard infantile fantasy.)
Constant reader Don Macqueen, Santa Rosa
Dissing Day of the Dead?
The current focus on the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead is curious ("Skeleton Crew," Oct.24). Several years back, I was fortunate to witness this holiday in Tzintzuntzan Michoacan and I was deeply moved by the ritual. The North Bay version of this ancient celebration accentuates the most superficial aspects (sugar skulls, storytelling, etc.) while ignoring the central ritual. The whole point of the holiday is to spend the whole night around the graves of your ancestors. The cemeteries in Mexico are lit up with candles, and the graves are covered with marigolds. People sing and chant, eat and drink, socialize and commune with their ancestors' spirits. Perhaps our culture's fear of death influences the skewing of this holiday.
Andrew Haynes, Petaluma