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Here's the way it works: As the results show, the placebo patients who cheerfully "recovered" without any actual knee surgery held generally the same kind of optimistic, positive beliefs and hopes about the upcoming surgery. First was their complete faith, or belief, in their doctors' competence and ability to "heal" them. Second was their lack of fear or doubt about the outcome of the surgery; there was no distrust of their physicians, nurses or medical science. They felt sure that everything was going to be all right and so it was.

E.J. Oakley

Happy's Kids

In your Sept. 25 issue you included Happy the Artist as one of the people newcomers need to be aware of [Inside Richmond]. Though I could question your assessment of his character, it is about the naming of his children that I would like to address.

First, I played the greater part in naming the kids, therefore I assume that it is to me that you would assign the term "certifiable." Second, you listed five children; Happy and I had six children together. Third, if you are going to list my children's names you should be accurate in your reporting. Following are the correct names of our children: Happyanne All The Saints, Chances R Good Brother, Keegan Of Laughter, Amazing Grace, Maximum Jazz and Oceans Miracle.

These are their names and therefore a part of their identity. I find it insensitive of you to use them as part of your description of Happy as "certifiable." They love the uniqueness of their names and are proud that their parents thought "outside the box," unlike most.

By the way, the child you left out, Chances, you inadvertently included in a photo on page 26 — that's him at Video Fan.

Therese Hak-Kuhn

Smoked Out

I read your article on cigarette smuggling ["Dangerous Draw," News & Features, Sept. 25] with great interest, not so much for the subject of smuggling, but for the commentary on tax and pricing.

I find it incredible that this state, with the lowest cigarette tax in the country, cannot see the logic of increasing the cigarette tax to bring us up to at least the 50th percentile. Meanwhile, our elected officials are scratching their heads trying to balance the budget, and laying off state employees! I loved the comment from Sen. Stolle: "I just don't detect any sentiment in the Senate for raising the cigarette tax right now." Evidently there has been no such sentiment for 42 years! Now, why might that be?

It's a shame that Virginia refuses to consider this option even at a time when its budget is in such need. Not only is the revenue needed, but the low tax is now encouraging criminal activity in the form of cigarette smuggling. I hardly think a small increase in the tax on cigarettes is going to impact consumption significantly. I have heard the argument that it would hurt Virginia tobacco farmers. I would like someone to explain just exactly how that would happen.

I don't claim to be an expert on the politics and economics of tobacco, but I hardly think anyone in the tobacco business will be harmed financially by a small cigarette tax increase. I've seen taxes increase on everything from gasoline to telephone service. Why not tobacco?

Craig Rupert

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