From the week of November 12, 2009

You can write your reviews to be accessible to the general public, or write them to be meaningful to the academic reader. If a writer is really talented, then they can get both — but as it stands, Hoberman's choice of language in this article accomplishes neither.

On the other hand, I greatly enjoyed Ella Taylor's review of the new CGI A Christmas Carol in the same issue. However, I disagree with the author on one point: She states that director Robert Zemeckis "hasn't told a decent story since 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit." Ms. Taylor, do you include Zemeckis's 2000 Cast Away with Tom Hanks in that statement? I'd say it's a film with a wonderfully subtle yet powerful story, one that's rich in nuance and skillfully immersive. Even if you don't love the film like I do, you have to at least admit that the story is "decent" or better, right?

Ian Helm


"The Quality of Mercy," Alan Prendergast, October 22

Remorse and Responsibility

The article about clemency that referenced me made good points, but I doubt people will listen until taxes are raised or bridges fall on their loved ones because repair money had to go to keeping people in cages.

I would like to point out one thing that has changed in the eleven years since Alan Prendergast interviewed me: I am not without remorse. Really, I never was considering my complete emotional breakdown when I first saw my brother later in the day that I so foolishly and selfishly hurt so many people. He interviewed a very damaged and insecure 21-year-old who was not strong enough to face the realization that he so needlessly hurt many people. The pain of that reality was too much to deal with, especially since I was still trying to fit into a dangerous world of miscreants where any sign of vulnerability signals predators to attack.

I have grown much over the years, and in the course of my journey to manhood, I found the strength to face my actions and their consequences without rationalizing away my responsibility. It is not easy to own up to being the one responsible for such horrendous pain; it is much easier to blame everyone else. But personal responsibility is important to me, and with that goes sorrow for the effect my actions had on others.

Jacob Ind

Cañon City

"Higher Law," Patricia Calhoun, October 29

Higher and Higher

Good article. Here is my deal: I am a chiropractor in Wheat Ridge, where my partner, Dr. Ron Malpiede, and I have been in the building for fifteen-plus years. A marijuana dispensary moved next to our office earlier this year, and it has been a nightmare. We have allopathic medical offices in the building as well as holistic, and we have had massive patient complaints of the very pungent marijuana scent. The entire building is infested with the smell, and most of the time it smells like skunk. We have complained to every possible person we can, including the state, city, police, etc.; nobody has been able to help us. The building management put in air sanitizers and said they had installed air filters; however, the scent has actually gotten worse.

We don't know where to go, what to do. There are shady, drug dealer-looking people at our building every day. Our building was broken into recently, which had never before happened. I have lost at least nine patients (that I know of) due to the smell and unprofessional environment we are in now. Do you have any advice or good news about our future with regard to this matter? We have a striving practice in a poor economic situation. We are not opposed to the legalization of marijuana, just this location for distribution.

Dr. Erica L. Cwalina

Wheat Ridge

"Calhoun Columns Take First," October 22

Who's on First?

I want to congratulate Patricia Calhoun on winning first place in the prestigious Clarion Awards for her phenomenal columns. A journalist of her caliber truly deserves this recognition. Not only is her writing unique in style, but in content as well. I love it!

She has really put herself and Westword on the map.

Rosemary McManis


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