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From the week of April 15, 2004

Which is more misleading: people mistakenly believing that there are two competing organizations, or people being misled into believing that they are two separate entities? In future writings, please consider italicizing that entire phrase.

What if it turned out that Coke and Pepsi were owned by the same entity? What would that do to "the cola wars"? What if it turned out that Republicans and Democrats were owned by the same entity? What would that do to our constitutional republic?

Thank you for your writing, your understanding and your cooperation.

Name withheld on request


No More Pukes!

The bum's rush:After reading Patricia Calhoun's "High Noon" story on panhandlers on the 16th Street Mall, I can only assume it was part of your April Fools' issue. I live on 16th at Stout, and I'd be happy to introduce her to any number of obnoxious, aggressive, annoying and potentially dangerous bums. Sorry to break this to all the liberals, but they're not characters, not travelers, not free spirits. They're just bums. The same faces every day, the same doorways every day, the same story every day about Western Union money all set to arrive, the hotel room they only need another four dollars for, the job waiting in the Springs if they can only get the bus fare, etc. I've been pitched by a guy as I walk to Subway and pitched again by the same guy five minutes later as I walk home. That's tenacity.

As for the crowd of young tweakers in training at McDonald's, they're bothering almost everyone who walks that stretch of 16th with screamed obscenities, trash, fighting and general disruption.

Of course those stores sell cheesy tourist souvenirs -- they sell them to cheesy tourists, naturally -- but I'd take the carved bear toilet-paper dispenser over the guy puking in a trash can at noon anyday.

William Johnston
Denver


Sex Marks the Spat

Focus on your own family: Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Sex and This City," in the April 1 issue:

I'd just like to say that I think Shawn Mitchell is one of the biggest hypocrites I've ever had the displeasure of coming across. To try to legislate the schools into what they can or can't teach about sexuality, all the while allowing his own children to participate in the classes, shows what a buffoon he really is, and a grade-AAA hypocrite. There should definitely be a certain IQ level that people have to have in order to become elected officials.

Brian Ellis
Denver


What the Hell?

Dismember the Alamo:Regarding Robert Wilonsky's "Messin' With Texas," his review of The Alamoin the April 8 issue:

Please fire Wilonsky. It seems that he almost cannot write a review of a movie without giving away the ending. Short of firing him, please edit his reviews so that movie-goers will be allowed the pleasure of learning a movie's twists in the theater. Short of editing his work, please direct Wilonsky to proof his own work before submitting it. Quote: "...truth really be told, there is nothing new in this version." Quote: "Every film made about the fall of the Alamo ends with the slaughter.... Not this time.... An Alamo with a happy ending -- now, that's revolutionary."

Is the market for movie critics really that slim? If so, get this guy under a tighter grip, and give us some reviews that follow a few basic guidelines.

John Ferguson
Houston, Texas

The devil made him do it:Robert Wilonsky's review of Hellboy ("What the Devil?" April 1) would have been more appropriately titled "I Hate Comic Books." True, the movie-going public has been inundated with comic-book movies of late (and most of them less than, uh, amazing), and even I -- a huge comic geek -- am growing tired of them. But Wilonsky's assaults on the medium were unjust and uncalled-for. The sheer abundance of creativity and imagination found in comic books is staggering; it's no wonder that an idea-bankrupt Hollywood is continuously dipping into it (not that del Toro is a Hollywood director, by any means).

I think the Hellboy review is way off, but even so, a film-review column is nowhere to register your dislike for a completely different art form and its community.

Brendan Smiley
Highlands Ranch


Prints Charming

Dark victory:Regarding Michael Paglia's "Land Minds," in the April 1 issue:

I just wanted to point out that the very creative anecdote about Ron's black fingernails was entertaining but quite incorrect! The dark, stained fingernails were in fact caused by Amidol, a particular kind of developer that Ron used without gloves, as revealed by those dark nails. This was the badge of a true traditionalist photographer, someone who knew the ancient secrets of our dark trade and could still use them. He was one of the few old souls left with a direct connection to the roots of photography. Or, as the kids say, he was "old-school."

I first met Ron when I was a student at the University of Colorado at Denver in the early '90s. (He'd taught for the Community College of Denver since it began as Denver Community College in the '70s.) After grad school, I returned to work with him as an instructor at CCD, where I was lucky to have his humor and insight. He once told me, in his deliberate way of speaking, "It is important...not to be...confused for a student!" His wry smile finished the thought.

Lincoln Phillips
Denver

Michael Paglia replies: My apologies for repeating the black fingernail story, which I'd heard a decade ago. I only included it in my homage to Ron Wohlauer, a great photographer, because it seemed to illustrate his dedication to his art.

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