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El día de. . . Quién?

In reference to "Death to Halloween" (Karen Shugart, Oct. 26), the author implies that Dia de los Muertos may overtake Halloween as the celebrated holiday for All Saints or All Hallows Eve. Before that could happen, Americans of native birth and ancestry would need to pay more attention to their own family history and ancestors. It has been my experience that many Americans younger than age 30 would be hard-pressed to tell what their grandmothers' maiden names are let alone able to name all eight great-grandparents including the maiden names of the four great grandmothers! Pathetic!

-- Richard Sisson, Charlotte

El día de Los Heart Cutters?

While I respect everyone's cultures and traditions, it seems odd when you say El Dia De Los Muertos is religious. While some parts are, like the images of Jesus and his mother Mary, there are also some customs that go against Christianity and Catholicism entirely. Building altars to the dead, having an Aztec do a "soul cleansing" and putting your alcohol near the religious pictures is very disturbing. Let's not forget the Aztecs are the one who sacrificed thousands every year at the top of their pyramid by cutting out peoples' hearts with them still alive. I definitely don't want a "soul cleansing" from some descendent of heart cutters celebrating to pagan gods.

-- Kenny Houck, Pineville

Just Don't Whip Us

I am Madame D. I noticed in your article "Charlotte Just Needs to Lighten Up" ("Urban Explorer," by Sam Boykin, Oct. 26) there is a misstatement and would like it to be cleared up. I am a professional dominatrix, with nine years experience, in Charlotte. I performed "The Zipper" on stage on Ray White that night. He didn't and couldn't have performed it on himself. It was my duct tape, my staple gun, my idea and my skill shown on that stage in Jeff's Bucket Shop. Please give credit where credit is due.

"In keeping with the self-mutilation theme, 28-year-old Ray White slapped a 10-inch piece of masking tape on his arm and stapled it about six times. He then ripped the tape from his arm, which pulled the staples back out again. The crowd cheered as blood flowed, and White looked triumphant."

Sorry, but the statement above just isn't true. Have a look at Maxim magazine's website in January and you can watch the video replay. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please keep the edgy articles coming.

-- Madame D, Charlotte

Creative Education

As a parent, I'm fed up with the false choices being offered by school board members. We are being told that our choices are either a continuing spike in taxes or a worsening problem with overcrowding.

Hogwash. The problem with overcrowding is not due to a lack of resources but rather a lack of courage and creativity. Surprising as it may sound, this problem can be solved fairly easily, without the need for more facilities or higher taxes.

We have all the facilities we need! The problem is that it takes courage to think outside the box and utilize new paradigms. Let me explain:

We need an entirely new school schedule, split into two or more equal time periods. The first school shift would begin at 7:30am and end at 12:30pm. The other shift would begin at 1pm and end at 6pm. Each student would attend just one of these shifts, thereby doubling the available classroom space.

The beauty of this approach is obvious. Without any new building programs or taxes, we would double our classroom capacity. And the benefits wouldn't end there.

The school day would be shortened from seven hours to five hours for each student. Five hours of instructional time is plenty, since students can't absorb more than that anyway. Perhaps students would have to do more work outside of the classroom, but that's a good thing anyway.

There is only one credible objection that can be made to this plan: Since students aren't in school for as many hours, parents would have more responsibility for the whereabouts of their children. Although this is true, it points to a fundamental flaw in the present system: For many parents it has become more of a babysitting and childcare program than an educational one.

It's time to boldly confront this misguided mindset, letting parents know that it's their responsibility to care for their children. The schools would provide five hours a day of concentrated instruction. Period. Nothing more. No frills.

-- Jim Buchan, Matthews

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