Steve Jackson's article on Delia Armstrong-Busby ("Practice What You Teach," November 30) is a dismal commentary on American society. We have many problems, but our biggest is the seeming necessity to destroy anyone with the ability and guts to attempt to solve a problem. This case has nothing to do with race. In our society, anyone in a public position willing to act on an idea to change the status quo is fair game for lesser people.
I compliment Westword's comprehensive treatment of this kind of subject. However, your articles are too long to have much impact. Preceding the text with a short synopsis would attract more readers and provide the base needed for other media to recognize and more widely publicize such a case.
I just finished reading the Delia Armstrong-Busby article. That is the best of Westword yet! Believe me, that's what it's all about.
Thank God I voted for Romer. What you wrote about is the same thing that's going on in Denver and the surrounding areas. Keep up the good articles on the school system. Maybe if this had been written earlier, Evie Dennis might still be with us and maybe Manual's Linda Transou might not have had to go through what she went through.
Name withheld on request
Denver Public Schools should hire Delia Armstrong-Busby. She and Ruben Perez are exactly the kind of people DPS needs if we are going to save our schools.
Congrats to Kenny Be for his December 7 Worst-Case Scenario, "Suspension Nominations." But he forgot an obvious candidate for Perez-ization. How about suspending Denver International Airport--forever? Ellie McCoy
The recent suspension of Ruben Perez is appalling at best. I could not think of a better or more fitting thing to do than to make the students responsible for their behavior. All too often, people, students, employees, employers, adults and children make constant excuses for their behavior. Instead of taking the responsibility to say, "What can I do to make this situation better?" they are allowed to make excuses. Parents often are too quick to put the blame on the school system and teachers. They need to understand that, ultimately, the responsibility needs to be put where it belongs. The sooner students and their parents learn that the excuses they use for inappropriate behavior will only exacerbate that behavior in the future, the better off their children's lives will be. These excuses can only cause more problems for themselves and their children with potential employers.
The school system was designed to educate. Inappropriate behavior makes learning difficult for other students who really do want to learn, and it makes teaching very trying. I believe we need to ponder the future of teaching as a profession. Are the ever-increasing disciplinary problems that teachers are facing today going to adversely affect future career decisions? Will we have enough competent teachers to teach our future generations?
Mr. Perez was on the right track to bring to light the problem that many of our teachers and schools are facing.
Of Nice and Men Regarding M.C. Moewe's "New Kids on the Block," in the November 30 issue:
I'd like to inform the very intelligent (that's sarcasm) police officers you interviewed in your article on teen squatters that when kids are "quoting the law," they are simply keeping the brownshirts in check, as opposed to not showing "respect." This is a classic case of a uniform boosting an officer's ego so high that the cop himself loses his respect for the law. If a homeless teen can baffle and aggravate a police officer with his or her knowledge of the law, isn't it time we took a second look at who we allow to walk around with guns? As for the comment about acting as primates: Primates are exactly what we are. How should we act? Like mollusks?
McLean "Mack" Schneider
You can call them "homeless youth." But they still look like old-fashioned juvenile delinquents to me. Throw the bums out!
Rosh to Judgment
Regarding Kenny Be's Worst Case Scenario and Hip Tip in the November 30 issue:
I read your paper, and I saw two comics that I found to be very offensive. I am Jewish, and the innuendos toward the Jewish religion were totally uncalled for. I feel that if you and your crew of artists and writers are going to draw or write about religions or races, you should consider how people will be affected by your actions. Thank you.
Recently, my daughter brought me Patricia Calhoun's November 23 article, "The Power of Babble."
Did that piece ever do my 73-year-old heart good!
I've been seeing the dangerous power of Limbaugh and all the little "`baughs" for a number of years. Right after hearing of the White House shooting, I said to my husband, "Boy, if that guy Duran isn't a dittohead listener, I'll eat my shirt!" I don't often have to eat my shirt and, of course, I didn't in this case.
Regarding your November 23 issue:
It's okay to let a letter-writer display our common error regarding those old Latin-word-based plurals: "The media is...the media needs...the media makes...the media brings...the media is scared."
But your proofreader needs to be strict in dealing with Patricia Calhoun's fine copy.
Good friends: "The media are," not "the media is." Thanks!
Just a few questions regarding the Backbeat section of your publication, which I read regularly. In the interview with the Moon Doggies ("Doggie Style," in the December 7 issue), Brad Jones hails the group as "Denver's premier instrumental surf trio" and further states that they have a "full-tilt live show." I can't dispute this, since I have never seen the Moon Doggies perform. But tell me this: How do bandmembers get this sort of applause and a half-page worth of press for playing only three shows in two years (when did Brad say he had seen them?) and displaying a total lack of commitment to their band?
This isn't the first time I've seen bands of this ilk featured in Backbeat. If you are covering local music, usually it's describing some lazy-ass bunch of art-whores (preferably from Boulder) who don't seem to care about what they are doing or why.
I must confess, I'm a statistic here in Denver, and that taints my approach to all this. I recently moved here from (oh shit, here it comes) L.A. However, I've got nothing particularly good or bad to say about Denver--or Colorado, for that matter. It's just here. Just like your local bands. Just here.
I've worked hard for the past five years to create and perform my own musical vision with other musicians who share their ideas, talent, integrity, and commitment with equal intensity. Being influenced by somewhat more obscure acts such as Loop, Spacemen 3 and Barry Adamson, this hasn't been an easy task. But I never expected it to be.
Apparently you folks do things a little differently out here.
Format Follows Function
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Stairway to Hell," in the December 7 issue:
Michael, I have a very big surprise for you. Now that you've noticed that certain stations keep playing the same "classic" rock songs over and over--turn your radio dial. There are stations that play the same "oldies" from even farther back over and over. And there are stations that play the same jazz tunes, some from over seventy years ago, over and over. And get this (whoa--big scoop here, dude, get your pencil ready): There are actually stations that are perpetuating the same boring tunes from the likes of Bach, Beethoven, etc,. that have been heard for, like, over 200 years! And these, too, are called "classic" music. I'm sure that you can make the conspiracy connection here re: Depends manufacturers.
I listen to (and enjoy) quite a variety of music. I'm sure that you wouldn't appreciate being accused of listening to, say, Kenny G. But whether it's Kenny G or Pearl Jam or whoever, the thing that really bugs me about the more contemporary stations is this: They play the same songs over and over! I thought that was called format, and I didn't realize the evilness of it.
Two things in particular prompted me to write this letter. One is your inclusion of the entire newspaper in your mindless ramblings. You say "our theory" is that "many classic-rock DJs are incontinent," and you link this to song length. Is this really the position of Westword as a whole? Michael, I'd love to be around should you ever explain this theory in person to Lewis and Floorwax. I have a feeling that their friend, Officer Bull Schmidt, might be able to clarify some of your incredibly witty thoughts.
The second thing is this: Granted, these stations do play some songs to death, and granted, some of these songs seem of questionable quality to me, too. But why do you feel that you need to downgrade or make fun of some of the most talented people in the past twenty years in the field of rock--apparently your career field of choice? Where is your band playing? You may say that it really was a humor piece, that it was all in fun. Then why wasn't it funny? There is an old saying that those who can't do, teach. And those who can't teach, criticize. Where does that leave people who are unfunny, ineffectual, unimportant critics? Hey! Maybe you could start a radio station that only plays more modern music. What a hip concept!
Enjoyed your listing of the most overplayed classic-rock songs, though you picked the wrong winner for Number 12, Bob Seger. Hands down it should have been "Old Time Rock & Roll." Won't someone please put the damn thing back on the shelf, lock the cabinet door and send the key to Tibet?
At the first note, I flip the station off for three minutes and twelve seconds.
Paul R. Sandquist
With the point that all of these songs have been played to death, I agree. With the point that most of the songs (I said most, not all) aren't worth a shit to begin with, I again agree.
But from a listener point of view, let's compare that "classic-rock" station to something more modern--like, for instance, Denver's "newest FM station."
On any given day--and I am forced to listen to this station most of the time due to a lack of suitable alternatives in a work situation--you will be forced to hear a minimum of one or two songs (sometimes more) by such astoundingly talented artists as Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Sheryl Crow, REM and Counting Crows, not to mention that downright painful version of "Landslide" by Smashing Pumpkins. Believe me, repeated listenings of this garbage is far more annoying and vomit-inducing than "Aqualung" will ever be.
Michael Roberts, you seem to think you know more than you really do!
1. Doctors proved after Jimi Hendrix's death that he was not a smack (heroin) addict.
2. Jimi did not choke on his own vomit.
3. "Fire" (the song) still is hot stuff.
I can't believe Westword put you on this Backbeat story. Unreal. You don't know one thing about Jimi Hendrix, and your "Stairway to Hell" writeup shows your ignorance.
If I was black (I'm not), this would be racism. I hope Jesse Jackson doesn't see this.
P.S. Led Zeppelin's drummer and Bow Scott from AC/DC are the people who choked on the vomit, you knucklehead! What a joke. Maybe you're the smack addict, Westword.
I would like to add my comments to your list of the most overplayed classic-rock songs of all time. You know, you are right, Mr. Roberts. But let's look at it in another way instead of just making fun of all these songs. Even though there are more musicians in the world than ever before, let's face it: The general population doesn't know the first thing about music. All listeners want to hear is something they have heard many times before. They don't know any better. How many readers out there are musicians who write music (like me) and try to play songs for people who don't want to hear them because they have never heard them before? People don't stop to think that every classic hit was a new song before it got played on the radio the first time.
Most people don't want to walk into a record store and buy something they have never heard before, which is pretty sad. You can pick up some great, exciting music that way and still listen to your classic-rock hits. But if people will not open their minds to other types of music, the general population still wins. Radio stations continue to play these songs again and again because it is what the general listening public requests. If they didn't play the stuff, the radio stations would be out of business, right?
One last thing, Mr. Roberts. It is not true that Jimi Hendrix is the only African-American who made the classic-rock grade. It has been a while, but look at the Supremes, the Platters--all of these black groups. I am sure many white people bought many of these records. As for today's music, maybe the blacks aren't having hits because white people just don't relate to rap music.
Straying From the Truth
In response to Wesley Barnes's November 30 letter regarding Michael Roberts's story about the Tennessee Boys, "Rockabilly, European-Style," in the November 16 issue:
1.) Since we don't know what Mr. Barnes looks like, we won't go to his level of insults as he compares the Tennessee Boys to the Chipmunks and the Bay City Rollers. Frankly, anyone with a real interest in music would probably just not have the time to address such trivial things.
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2.) Mr. Barnes compares the Tennessee Boys to the Stray Cats. This really hurts Mr. Barnes's credibility. Anyone who knows what real rockabilly is would know not to bring up the Stray Cats in this case, because the Stray Cats are not a rockabilly band. (So there is no confusion, let me make clear that I personally like the Stray Cats.)
3.) Regarding the language barrier: Yes, the Tennessee Boys do have slight accents. But I personally know the boys, and I know they began singing as children with old American records. Since the singing voice is different than the speaking voice, why is it so hard to believe that they can sound so authentic? As a matter of fact, one night Pedro and I even laughed that he had trouble singing with a Portuguese accent.
4.) Instead of making prejudgments, Mr. Barnes should maybe go see the Boys live. If he does not like the band after that, cool. But at least he would know that this is a real rockabilly band. That is, if he knows anything about rockabilly (that Stray Cats comparison really makes me wonder).
Little Roy Williamson