Natalie Cole
I haven't even opened the magazine, but there on the cover is Natalie Cole being hailed for fighting her way back from drugs and a self-destructive life. Too often the media hail stories like hers. It seems that if such people don't wind up dead they become admirable. But with the talent and financial ability to lead worthy lives, they appear to waste the gifts given to them. When so many in this world don't have the choices they do, it is unforgivable to label these people heroic.
Bernice Stoloff, Cherry Valley, Calif.

Once upon a time there was a (rock, music or television) star who was strung out on drugs and almost ruined her life but now wants to tell all about it and get rid of her guilt. C'mon, folks, this fairy tale's getting really old. When are we going to stop making heroes of the fallen? They are human. No better, no worse.
Mike Chapped, Huntsville, Ala.

You call another story about a celebrity who turned to drugs "wrenching"? Try "retching"!
Kathy Popp, Whidbey Island, Wash.

In June 1975 Natalie Cole worked for me in a club named Buddy's Place in New York City. Buddy Rich's was the in-house band; Natalie was the opening act for Arthur Prysock and had signed with us just before the release of "This Will Be." At the signing in April she was almost unknown, but by the time she opened every New York newspaper and magazine was there to cover her coming-out party. She was one of the sweetest, nicest people I had met in the business, and I felt bad about how her life went after that. I am really happy to see she has rid herself of the demons fame brought her and returned to the person I met in 1975. Stay that way, Natalie! You deserve happiness!
Marty Ross, via e-mail

Thank you so much for the article on Natalie Cole and her journey through drugs and alcohol into learning who she is. It reinforces that early molestation can lead to a life of low self-esteem and self-hatred. I applaud her for her sobriety today and her honesty.
Ellen English, Randolph, N.J.

Now that is a testimony! I truly applaud Ms. Cole, first for her struggle, her humility, her recovery and her testament to God for His saving grace and mercy. It shows a true depth of courage to put your life on paper for others to view. God is not through with you yet, Ms. Cole, as you stated. This article has done what you hoped and has at least helped me.
Patti A. Jordan, Fayetteville, N.C.

I find it laughable that Natalie Cole would write that her friend Whitney Houston called Natalie's husband, André, "Tick-Tick-Boom." Do you think Natalie calls Houston's husband, Bobby, "Ka-Boom!"?
Billie Crenshaw, Arlington, Texas

Who cares? Why should we glamorize a person like Natalie Cole who has every opportunity and still throws it away?
Carla Schmidt, West Orange, N.J.

Rob Thomas
Thanks for your article on Rob Thomas, lead singer of Matchbox Twenty. It is refreshing to see that some rock stars do remain grounded, even though he had a tough life growing up. It is so cool to see someone of his status talking about how great marriage is. That's uncommon these days!
Beth Loewen, Kenosha, Wis.

Rob Thomas should not be humiliated by Leonardo DiCaprio giving him the cold shoulder. Thomas has more talent and character than DiCaprio will ever hope to have.
Mary Mattheiss, Pensacola, Fla.

Tucker Carlson
Certainly no comment of mine will change the mind of an avowed conservative such as Tucker Carlson, but I find his attitude toward such government "nannyisms" as seat-belt laws very disturbing. These laws have saved hundreds of lives. I have seen firsthand the carnage that occurs when a human is thrown from an automobile or has his chest crushed by the steering column all because he did not wear a seat belt. It would be a tragedy if this father of three beautiful kids were to die because of his obstinate attitude. I hope his kids wear seat belts even if he does not.
Lisa Hebert, M.D., Hartland, Wis.

If Tucker Carlson is childish enough to remove the safety features from his vehicles—if he is stubborn enough to put his own life at risk to make a point that could easily be made in a multitude of other ways—that's fine with me. But I just hope Mr. Carlson realizes he is not only gambling with his own safety but also with that of his wife, his children and anyone else unfortunate enough to ride with him. Air bags are installed for a purpose: to save lives. They are not there to allow Big Brother to watch over us and strip away our personal freedom.
Megan Rocker, Madison, Wis.

Tucker Carlson is so right! I'm 70 years old and wonder how I ever raised 12 healthy children without air bags, helmets, seat belts or car seats. The one thing I was forced to do when my children were young was to set my clocks up an hour every spring. Has a politician ever tried to put a child to bed and heard "but it's still daytime!"? I still hate it after all these years. So, Tucker, how can we make them leave our clocks alone?
Amelia Lyons, Houston

Tina Sinatra
When I first learned of Tina Sinatra's "tell-all" book, I was dismayed at the notion of yet another celebrity offspring hosting a whine-and-sleaze party. However, in reading Ms. Sinatra's heartfelt anecdotes about her legendary father and coping with the trauma of his divorces, she has revealed herself as both a loving daughter and compelling raconteur.
Hal Lifson, Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Will someone please tell those whimpering Sinatra daughters to be silent. Most unfulfilled women dislike their stepmothers mainly because their fathers have chosen a romantic interest that excludes them. Frank Sinatra seems to have had many good years with Barbara Sinatra—or was he forced to stay with her?
Phyllis Bronson, via e-mail

Martha Brown
It is truly unfortunate that Martha Brown died, but let's not blame her electric company for her death. As an employee of a public utility, I can tell you that there are guidelines when it comes to termination of service. Customers have many notices pertaining to shutoff and opportunities to make payment arrangements in order to avoid it. Mrs. Brown owed $1,600, I wonder when her last payment was made or even if she made any effort to pay.
Christine Damery, via e-mail

It is incredible that you could cut off the electricity to anyone's home while knowing a life was dependent on an oxygen machine! There are no "justifiable" circumstances for this atrocity. You morons! I'm one of those silent people who prefers to keep my opinions to myself, but this was too much—even for me!
Judith L Jasenosky, Gresham, Ore.

Scoop
I personally do not understand why, after 29 years of a wonderful marriage, it would be so important for Paul McCartney to have romance back in his life. After his wife died, all that could be heard was how much he loved her and would miss her. Isn't two years later kind of soon to be so in love? I would hate to see my father, who has been married to my mother for 30 years, find it so easy to be in love again.
Beth Centers, Houston

Martha Williams
Thank you for an uplifting story about somebody from the projects who is not whining about how life is beating them down. [Williams] is definitely one who sees the glass as half full with possibilities. She saw a need for storage and filled it. Good for her!
Marilyn Bozeman, Chicago

Mailbag
I cannot believe Julia S. Brinegar could suggest that Prince William betrayed his mother by his acceptance of Camilla Parker Bowles. First of all, unless she knows him personally, I would suggest that she find out all the facts. In the real world, children are not usually permitted to choose their parents' mates. Perhaps Prince William chooses to be cordial for the sake of maintaining a relationship with his only living parent. You should not expect a young man to abandon his father simply because his father has made some bad choices.
Laurie Washington, Wilmington, Del.

In your sanctimonious world, Ms. Brinegar, there must be no room for compassion. If you suffer from severe headaches, my advice to you is loosen the halo—it's way too tight.
Elizabeth Jenkins, Penticton, B.C.