Today's music comes up short
Some time ago, I saw a program on PBS. It was an old program, probably recorded in the '60s. It featured a Vegas act with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and a very young Johnny Carson. They sang, danced and told a few jokes. I really enjoyed it, and I came to realize that what I enjoyed most was the band. They had a real band with instruments and everything. And — I looked twice — no guitars. The music was hummable and the lyrics intelligible.
Being somewhat restricted by health, I watch the "Leno" show most nights. Each night, he has a new famous band, which consists of two or three guitars, a drum set and, if they're really big, a keyboard in the corner. The music is always the same. The vocalist puts the mic in his mouth and begins to jump, shake, snarl and whine. When done, all clap and ooh and aah.
I'm an old man, but let me tell you a secret ... this is not music. I was brought up during the Big Band era; transitioned with some resistance to good rock and roll and, via my wife, learned to enjoy the classics.
My advice to the young — dig out some old recordings of Artie Shaw, Ted Lewis, Simon and Garfunkle, The Eagles, The Beatles — for heaven sake — and top it off with Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto.
They made music.
RONALD F. DAILEY,
Assist Vietnam veterans first
As a Vietnam veteran with three tours of duty from 1965 to 1967 and an Agent Orange cancer survivor, I find it very difficult to believe that the United States is spending millions of dollars to help Communist-held South Vietnam clean the De Nang International Airport.
The U.S. military sprayed up to 12 million gallons of the defoliant onto Vietnam's jungles over a 10-year period during the Vietnam War, according to Reuters. Now the United States is providing $41 million to reduce contamination levels in 73,000 cubic meters of soil. The contaminated soil and sediment will be excavated and heated in a pile structure to a high temperature to destroy the chemical. There are thousands of Vietnam veterans fighting for benefits for Agent Orange related diseases and being turned down, including me. Many of these vets are dying before their cases are settled.
The good news is the Communist government holding South Vietnam is building a power station to support the project. Are we paying for that too?
THE REV. JOHN ELDER,
Enjoyed meeting local residents
I wanted to tell you of the fine young men living in your town. I had the pleasure of visiting with them. They were quiet, respectful, polite. They stopped to have lunch at the Cracker Barrel in Junction City. They were part of a boxing club on their way home from Kansas City. I really enjoyed their visit.