Noises Off

I read the short POV article about how sounds contribute to the scariness of horror movies with interest (“Things That Go Bump in the Night,” October). The sounds of movies of this genre have always freaked me out more than the images; I can’t stand to be within earshot of such sounds even if I am not engaged in the movie. On my eastbound transatlantic flight, I decided to see if, protected by this intellectual knowledge about sounds gained from reading the article, I could watch a scary flick. I got through the first sounds of creaky hinges and blowing winds in The Conjuring 2 OK, but when it got to the deep rumbling sound and dissonant music, I had to give up. The new information did not rescue me from the eerie effectiveness of the soundtrack. I switched to something more cheery on the movie menu.
Lloyd Brimhall
Tempe, AZ

Recharging Your Batteries

I read your August article “Parks and Recreation” on my way from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco for our daughter’s wedding. I was delighted that the article mentioned John Muir and actor/historian Lee Stetson, who portrays Muir today through his performances and recordings. My husband and I enjoyed listening to one of Lee’s CDs, on which he portrayed Muir, as we drove through Yosemite National Park a few years ago.
Muir’s Alaskan journals enriched a trip exploring that majestic state. On this most recent trip, our daughter married in a grove of towering redwoods in the Muir Woods. Thanks to Muir and those he inspired, our national parks and forests continue to be a treasure for all. In my wedding reading, I drew on Muir’s spirit with this quote of his: “Everybody needs beauty … places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”
Suzanne Kindervatter
Washington, D.C.
Managing Editor Travis Kinsey Responds: Suzanne, our national parks are one of this country’s most valuable assets, and it’s experiences like yours that remind us that they serve not only as vacation spots but also places to recharge our souls and remind us what’s really important in life.

Masked Mischief

“Lucha Loco” in your January issue was a fascinating story that gave us a view of another culture from 35,000 feet. It rose to the occasion with insight, humor and pathos, weaving a story that was both entertaining and enlightening — enlightening in that donning a (wrestling) mask that transforms your personality is a neat metaphor for what we do in everyday life. Honestly, it made me want to fly down to Mexico to experience not only the wrestling environment but also what it represents: a different culture that offers a new perspective. And that’s worth wrestling for.
Robby Lee Feldman
Nashville, Tennessee
Managing Editor Travis Kinsey Responds: I have to be honest with you, Robby: I don’t wrestle. I don’t even watch wrestling. But between this column in the January issue and our cover story on WWE that ran last month, and now your enthusiasm for what Joe Murray saw in Mexico, I am seriously considering it. I just have to come up with a cool wrestling name to use in the ring. Any ideas?

Full Circle

As a lifelong fan of the Rocky series (I was 3 years old when the first one came out), I was enormously pleased to see Sly Stallone grace the cover of your November issue. It was great to see a bio piece treated with the depth and richness you brought to it. Your inclusion of the “old man Rocky” painting and the observation that Stallone is just one year younger than Burgess Meredith was when the original film came out makes the franchise seem somehow more complete and satisfying. Creed was a fitting chapter in the saga and Stallone’s best performance to date. Well done, to them and to you.
Dan Domberg
Belvidere, Illinois
Senior Editor Eric Celeste Responds: You picked up on the one detail from the story — about Stallone’s age relative to Burgess Meredith’s age in the first film — that shocked me the most. It makes me feel like an old man. But it also causes me to reflect on Stallone’s long, fascinating career, which the story detailed so expertly. Thanks, Dan, for reading it and for confirming what we thought: Stallone has created a character we will always care about.

Go Cubs Go!

I was happy to read “Chicago’s Hope” by Derrick Goold in the May issue. My husband grew up a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, so I became one by marriage. Despite all the Cubs disappointments during our 27 years of marriage, the one thing I have learned from him is that Cubs fans are eternal optimists. They always hope for the best season, and when it doesn’t happen, there’s always the promise of next year. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had that same sense of hope and optimism? My dream is that one day, I can see my husband beam with pride when the Cubs win a World Series. Thanks to Derrick for the column.
Peggy Combs
Fort Knox, Kentucky

Managing editor Travis Kinsey responds: As a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan, Peggy, I completely understand — and sympathize with — you and your husband’s loyalty when it comes to the Cubbies. Since the Cubs and the ­Indians are currently suffering through a collective 174 years of championship futility, what do you say to an Indians/Cubs World Series this year? Someone would have to win.

No Moment Lost

I was captivated and enamored by Adam Pitluk’s April column, “This Train is Never Going Back.” It was masterfully written and places the reader inside the room where Howard Stern was ­interviewing Neil Young. Never once did Pitluk mention the title of the article in the article, but one could not miss the central message to “capture the moment all of the time, every time.” This column has really energized me to act now. Over the years, I have lost some important opportunities. I left them to memory and then could not recall them. So whatever your occupation, get a note pad and record important ideas. Every idea has its genesis in something. The story behind your idea is important for later. If it is recorded, you will capture the moment that compelled its creation.
Rev. Dr. Cortroy Jarvis, Antigua, West Indies

EDITOR ADAM PITLUK responds: This is one of the best letters I have received in the seven years I’ve been editor, Rev. Jarvis. You completely “got” what I was trying to do, and you so eloquently emphasized and intelligently expanded upon the touchpoints. I want to sincerely thank you for your letter, and blessings to you for all the good work you do.

Family Fortune

It was interesting to learn that Blake Lively’s parents would “read” her fortune-cookie fortunes as “long, complex, beautiful fairy tales … ­amazing promises of great adventures” (“The Age of Lively,” April). I also found it interesting that Lively first auditioned because her brother believed in her talent so much so that he tricked her into it. One rarely hears about such healthy family relationships in Hollywood. Kudos to writer Todd Aaron Jensen for digging out these stories. His profile inspired me to be more creative with my own daughter.
Sandra Glahn, Mesquite, Texas

Associate editor Christiana Nielson responds: I agree, Sandra: Todd did a great job finding these anecdotes, and they really show Lively’s upbringing and character.

Grand Adventures

I was thoroughly entertained by the article “Beetle Juiced” in the April issue. I rafted the Grand Canyon in 2011, and writer Daniel Asa Rose reminded me of so many unique and thrilling experiences. The beauty of the canyon is awe-inspiring. Rafting through the narrow sections and looking up at the massive cliffs while the guides navigate the rapids is thrilling. When the view opens up and the river widens and becomes calm, it gives you time for reflection on the vast beauty of the canyon. The bright stars in the night sky are the last things I would see before falling asleep. After reading your article, I am ready to raft the canyon again.
Helen King, Staunton, Illinois

PHOTO EDITOR DAVID HALLORAN responds: Like you, Helen, I am ready to pack up and head to the river after reading about Daniel’s voyage. I’ve always wanted to go, and his enthralling story made me more eager than ever.

Play Ball!

Your fun article on baseball ­superstitions (“Very Superstitious,” April) brought back so many memories, as I am a former college (at St. John’s ­University) and minor league player. In my junior year, I had a break between classes and attended daily mass. All of a sudden, my performance was reaching new heights, including leading the team in hitting with a batting average higher than .400\. I started to invite fellow players and friends to join me. Before you knew it, our team won the conference title, the regionals and a trip to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Although we didn’t win the title, it made a believer of me and many of my closest friends.
Sebby Borriello, Pipesville, Pennsylvania

Managing editor Travis Kinsey responds: I’m not one to question what works, but I am one to go to a baseball game (or 10). Thanks for the note, Sebby.