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Mailbag: Player banged out a path for women

November 28, 2011

I got a kick out of Joanna Clay's article regarding the newly turned 99-year-old woman who once played the drums during the second World War ("Still jazzing it up," Nov. 27). Marie Kolasinski, 90, threw a birthday party for her cousin Viola Smith, the birthday girl, at Piecemakers Country Store in Costa Mesa.

Smith said she pretty much had the field to herself during the war years, due to very few women with the ability to handle the sticks on a drum. I don't remember ever seeing a female drummer in any of the more-modern bands, unless of course it was an all-girl band. And speaking of all-girl bands, Viola did join up with Phil Spitalny's all-female orchestra in the mid-1940s. I find this ironic and coincidental, due to having been told as a child whether it's true or not, that Spitalny was a 32nd cousin of mine.

I guess I will never know now, but no matter, because even if it's true, Viola would most likely be the only person living that could say she made music with a distant relative of mine. That aside, I say happy birthday to Viola, and for her next birthday as well because the big 100 will be something to really hoot and holler about. And maybe if her friends egg her on, she could play something on her drums to alert whoever may be listening that there is still life here on this planet with Viola making the sounds to be heard.

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Bill Spitalnick

Newport Beach

* 'Occupy' coverage was faulty

It has recently come to my attention that your paper is faulty in it's coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement ("Occupiers protest at John Wayne Airport," Nov. 17). The Daily Pilot utterly failed to tell the whole truth in its reporting of the "Occupy" protest. The way the story is presented leaves the reader missing the true story: More than 60 mature, non-scruffy, non-lay-about citizens showing their support for the so-called 99% by standing in the cold and inhaling vehicle exhaust for one and a half, and holding signs such as "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

Another part of the true story is that there were only two counter-protesters, and that they held a frivolous sign. Their message amounted to "Stop being lay-abouts, and you can join the 1%." This is insulting, when it's well known that, thanks to the Great Recession, there is only one job for every four applicants. This amounts to giggling, "Let them eat cake."

Yet, the Pilot spent fully a third of the story on the two counter-protesters. And it chose to illustrate the event with just one photo that showed two things: an easy-to-read shot of the counter-protesters' sign and an impossible to read shot of a protester's sign.

The individual facts the Pilot presented are true, but the way they are presented twists the truth into something that is not true. Had the Pilot told the true story, it would have said, unequivocally, that a significant number of responsible citizens showed their commitment to gaining fairness for Americans who aren't wealthy and powerful.

David Gold

Costa Mesa

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