Topic of Cancer
Regarding Michelle Dally Johnston's "Critical Conditions," in the January 3 issue:

Whatever happened to taking one's word, especially a friend's word, as justification for assurance of almost anything? Personal existence, in this case.

I try and live my life by my word. When I say I will do something to, or for, anyone, I do my damnedest to hold to those previous words. Sometimes it's hard for me to follow my verbal agreement, but I guess you could call it honor or personal pride. In return, I like to see others uphold their word and thus gain my respect. This usually leads to friendships. In Megan Jones's case, it seems that she was given word that she was covered for a surgery that was pertinent to her life. This "yes, you are covered" came from a highly influential person in her situation: an insurance agent/close friend.

She was later told she would not be covered due to a pre-existing-condition clause in her insurance form that was not even in there when she filled it out. "Computer error," the company calls it. Now, whose fault is that? Not hers. Now she needs more treatment but faces a possibly impermeable financial barrier. I talked to her son after I read the article, and he told me, "It was just like she was getting a death sentence." That sucks. When did insurance companies take over the role of a court of law?

Megan Jones was given the runaround, and since her agent/so-called friend Mr. Cushner said she was covered, then he should stick to his word and cover her himself, if need be. He might not be able to take trips to SilverCreek for a few years, but more important, he would be saving both face and the life of a so-called friend of his. And a friend of mine, who is loved by many.

Bill Lamm
Highlands Ranch

Get a Life
I would like to thank Steve Jackson for his January 3 story concerning Ken Scott, "Suffer the Children." I was featured in Mr. Jackson's last article regarding the abortion protesters in the area around 20th and Vine, and as was noted in that story, the protesters are not pro-life when it comes to me or my neighbors. Tragically, it appears that this disregard for the life of the already-born extends to their own children.

My neighbors and I have had to put up with the ravings of these lunatics for years. I am frequently told by people standing in my own front yard that I deserve to die from the AIDS that I am currently fighting. Given such a mindset, I suppose it was to be expected that these people are not fit to be parents. How sad it is, then, that these are the very people trying to convince women to proceed with unwanted pregnancies to bring ever more unwanted children into this world.

I, and I believe all of my neighbors, wish Mr. Scott's children well and hope that they are able to lead happy and fulfilling lives despite their unfortunate parentage.

Luther Symons

Mile High Hype
I am writing to protest the damaging and very incorrect quotations attributed to me by Stuart Steers in the December 20 "Bowlen for Dollars."

I did not say the costs of repairing Mile High Stadium "have been wildly overestimated." I would never use the word "wildly." But more to the point, I have not studied the cost comparisons and so could not make a judgment as to how they compare with reality. They are probably conservative (on the high side) because that is the nature of such studies: to include every reasonably expected future cost, even though in reality the money may never be spent.

And I certainly never said LONCO was "the least qualified of the five firms that applied for the Mile High consulting job..." I don't even know who the five firms were, so it would obviously be difficult for me to make such a judgment. Our firm did not apply for the contract to perform the study. LONCO is one of the top engineering consulting firms in the Denver area, and it has a strong reputation. I emphasized this repeatedly to Mr. Steers, but it was obvious he had his own agenda, and this was not one of them. Such careless journalism is not in anyone's best interest.

Don T. Pyle
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates
Wheat Ridge

Editor's note: Westword stands by the story.

The Iceman Cometh
How soon they forget.
Naturally, the Colorado Avalanche are making hockey history in Denver by exciting fans and stealing Patrick Roy from Montreal, but how could Bill Gallo recap the year in sports ("The Balls and Strikes of '95," December 27) without the slightest mention of the IHL's Turner Cup champion Denver Grizzlies? The Grizzlies paved the way for the Avalanche by bringing hockey out of hibernation and giving this city a championship by dominating their league like no other Denver sports team before. On top of that, the organization pushed all the right buttons, with a great name, a striking logo and sharp uniforms, and by making games a complete entertainment experience (are you listening, Comsat?). And before anyone dismisses the IHL as "minor-league," remember that the league is stocked with many NHL veterans and that Coach Butch Goring could and should be coaching in the NHL. The difference between the IHL and the NHL is slight and cannot be compared to the gap between minor- and major-league baseball. So let's give the Grizzlies their due and honor them for the title they brought to Denver in 1995. The Avalanche may soon bring the Stanley Cup to Colorado, but Comsat would not have bought the team had the Denver Grizzlies not broken the ice.

Josh Graham

Looking Backward
Looking through Westword's '95 Year in Review, I got a sense that the December 27 issue was somehow "thin." Then it hit me. A review of the visual arts was missing (okay, movies); and a review of drama and theater was missing. Admittedly, this was a down year for the arts in Denver, but some good things happened and interesting things didn't happen. While the varied and exciting century-old modernist art sat in stasis spellbound, the co-op galleries again failed to come up with an answer to the question "alternative to what?" The Mayor's Commission on Art, Culture and Film decided to demolish (deacquisition) the "Magic Cube" of Colorado resident Dean Fleming. That same commission, in collusion with the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Library Commission, then decided to bring to Denver an $800,000 piece of junk by Mark di Suervo of New York. This is a religious work dedicated to Lao Tse, father of Taoism. Hello! Is anyone on the job? I am concerned.

Harry Lyrico

Looks like Michael Paglia didn't enjoy 1995 all that much ("Lost and Found," January 3). Here's hoping he enjoys the new year more--and takes a second look at Coors Field. I think it's a classic ballpark.

Jerry Montoya

For the Record
I must admit I always find myself quite amused reading any article by Westword's music critic, Michael Roberts. Not so much for any literary prowess he may possess or insightful observations he may have, but rather for the utterly transparent and simplistic way in which he writes. I got a particular kick out of Roberts's "Music by Famous People," in the December 20 issue, in which he rifled through 21 album reviews with the subtlety of an Oliver Stone film and the grace of a Tonya Harding figure-skating routine. Most entertaining were his opening sentences regarding Bruce Springsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad. Roberts writes how he "didn't like Nebraska much" back in 1982, but, like Springsteen, he didn't much like Reaganism, either. Now, now--who are we kidding here? How old was Michael in 1982--thirteen? I seriously doubt that back then he had much of an opinion on either Bruce Springsteen or Ronald Reagan.

In fact, Michael seems far too self-consumed to worry himself with such petty concerns as presidential politics. I mean, come on--who's got time for such menial issues as welfare reform when Monkey Siren has a new EP out? Is it any coincidence Roberts gives The Ghost of Tom Joad a positive review at a time when Springsteen's popularity is down, while he gave Nebraska--done at a time when Springsteen was quite the mainstream, commercial draw--a posthumous, negative review? Equally predictable were Roberts's enthusiastic response to Ornette Coleman's newest release and his negative response toward the Red Hot Chili Peppers' latest album. In the review of the latter, he states how the Peppers' 1991 Blood Sugar Sex Magik was easily their worst album, which means Michael is now in complete agreement with Rolling Stone, which gave a similar review. Perhaps Michael subconsciously dreams of writing for America's most commercial music magazine. However, does anyone doubt that if One Hot Minute was done by a local, Denver-based band, he'd be gushing all over it?

It's not that I always disagree with Roberts, and I respect that he has a job to do and is entitled to his own opinions. But his articles seem to be driven not by legitimate contemplation of the music and performers he is writing about, but rather by thoughts on how he will be perceived by his readers. Although he may not have grand literary style or an abundance of knowledge, Roberts does seem to have pettiness down to a science. That may not qualify him for a job as a music critic, but it does seem to make him well-qualified for a career in politics. However, maybe it is I who am misguided. To loosely paraphrase from Roberts's review of The Bridge, by Ace of Base, maybe by the year 2015 perspective on his writing will be different. Maybe he'll get his dream Rolling Stone article and actually become a big fish in a small pond. Maybe people will start to take his articles more seriously than the ads for phone sex and escort services. Then again, probably not.

Douglas Dickstein


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