Pocket Change
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Growing Pains," in the January 2 issue:
You know, there are a lot of people deliberately paying less than $7,000 for lumpy, bumpy blue sex toys at adult stores. Glen has with him at all times something that most people have to keep in a drawer at home!

The whole sordid affair clearly shows that the penis is still the most important organism in the universe; it clearly shows the extreme obsession most men have relative to their pocket toy. How sad.

Dana Cole

The Shock of the Newt
I want to congratulate Patricia Calhoun for keeping her eye on the ball with her January 2 column, "Happy Newt Year." For a supposedly "progressive" state, Colorado has a lot to answer for--everything from unrestricted growth to Amendment 2 to aiding Gingrich's ethics violations.

Jody Wheeler

Dearest Pat: Your mindless slobber against the GOP is tiresome. At least Colorado is not responsible for Slick Willie!

Get a life!
Ted Bryant
via the Internet

Happy de-Newt Year! Some more from Gingrich in his foxhole-by-the-henhouse, reported in the newspaper Roll Call:

"Nobody fully understands this, but if you think of the 'Contract With America,' it was, in fact, a training implementation document masquerading as a public relations device." It guaranteed, Gingrich continued, "that from Election Day through early April, the House Republican Party would have to behave in a deviant manner from what it would normally be expected to do. The theory is that if you could get them through the first 100 days being deviant, that the deviancy would become normal."

It has. And the "House Ethics Committee" that is now winking at him before slapping his wrist has become oxymoronic.

Evan Ravitz

Princess and the Peabrains
Regarding Kenny Be's "Predictions for 1997," the January 2 Worst-Case Scenario:

What gives with the cartoon effigies of Patricia Calhoun? The Rocky Mountain News once had a photo that depicted Patricia sturdy as TV's Xena: Warrior Princess, albeit a bit fatigued.

How about an honest photo of our caring lady of the press? Please?
Rolf Norstog

A Room With a Review
While visiting my family here for the holidays, I picked up Westword, something I do whenever I am in town. Your December 26 Year in Review issue was proof that Westword remains one of the best alternative news and arts weeklies in the U.S. By providing your readers with important, non-glossy information with a dash of irony and wit thrown in, you manage to entertain while you inform.

I always despair at the changes I see in the metro area each time I return--scores of new shopping complexes and seemingly unregulated urban growth, to name but a few--but I am happy to say that Westword remains unchanged. Westword may occasionally be overly sarcastic and hypercritical, but special sections like the Year in Review and the Best of Denver are unmatched by any comparable publication I've read. Please keep up the good work, both for current residents and people like me.

Jonathan Make
Portland, Oregon

It was with considerable delight that I read the reiteration of my assessment of "columnists" Chuck Green and Vincent Carroll in your December 26 Year in Review issue. I apply the term "columnists" loosely to these two individuals, since "propagandists" would be a far more apt description. Columnists generally rely on some basis of fact upon which to anchor their opinions, but in the case of Carroll and Green, fiction substitutes in pursuit of their moronic ideologies.

And speaking of fiction, I must comment on one of Anglo Denver's most enduring myths, my alleged heist of the Denver Zoo. Twenty-seven years after the supposed event, it is somewhat picayune for Westword and the two major dailies to persist in purveying this gross distortion. So before Westword continues to parrot the dailies, journalistic ethics compel me to set the record straight.

I was never found guilty by a jury of robbing the Denver Zoo. Why did a jury fail to return a guilty verdict? To begin, the state's chief witnesses were the actual robber and his fourteen-year-old girlfriend, a drug-addicted runaway from New Mexico. In exchange for their testimony, the zealous assistant district attorney, Bill Buckley, himself convicted a few short years ago of shoplifting in Arapahoe County, saw a political opportunity to fell one of Denver's more radical black activists.

So Buckley agreed to drop charges against the positively identified robber in exchange for him implicating me, who was never at the zoo when the event occurred. The runaway claimed she overheard me suggest that Albert, the robber, knock over the zoo. It is possibly true that she overheard these remarks, as well as my suggestion that he consider the U.S. Mint, the First National Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank and other prominent targets. In a revolutionary context, any of these institutions were suitable targets--but not for me.

Some non-white members of the jury thought it ludicrous that I, who merely discussed such possibilities, would be on trial while the actual perpetrator had been granted immunity in exchange for incriminating me. Having failed to win a guilty verdict, Buckley vowed he would go to trial again and again until he had exhausted my family's financial resources.

Not willing to let my mother pay such a price for Buckley's grandiose ambitions, I pled guilty to a lesser charge and received the horrendous punishment of ninety days' work release at the Denver County Jail. For ninety days, Monday through Saturday, I drove from my home on Table Mesa in Boulder to the jail, arriving at 11 p.m., and I would depart at 6 a.m. the following morning. Quite a punishment for such a dangerous criminal, wouldn't you say?

So, no, I was never "busted for holding up the Denver Zoo," as Westword mimicked. I was charged, a jury failed to convict, I pled to conspiracy, and I spent the next ninety days driving leisurely back and forth from Boulder to Denver. The actual robber walked away scot-free, his runaway girlfriend was returned to New Mexico, where she turned to prostitution as a career, and the local media has had fun with this story for more than a quarter-century. Have fun if you will (I like a good story as much as the next guy), but please, don't abandon truth altogether.

Clarke R. Watson

We Put Out
Happy New Year! If I ever need to find out what's going on in Denver, I don't pick up the Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post or any other such thing. My compliments to all the people in Westword's employ, including the researchers, writers and graphic designers who must put in lots of hours to put out the most informative, well-designed paper in Colorado. And this is free! Amazing.

Rob Tschudi
via the Internet

Don't Be an Asatru
In Stuart Steers's "Ire of Newt," December 19, Auraria College Republicans president James Martinez says that "the foundation of our country is morality. If our founding fathers came back today, they'd flip out."

Given his defense of the conservative Christian force in the Republican party, I am forced to wonder which founding fathers Mr. Martinez is speaking of. "Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law" (Thomas Jefferson, February 10, 1814). "The Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion" (George Washington, 1796).

Joe Helfrich

In their January 2 letter, J. Frederick Loucks-Schultz and Margvegr Kindred objected to my criticism of Asatru based on what they termed "one recent convert's throwaway line." Since Mr. Bull had characterized his explanation as "one of the essences of Norse religion," I did indeed take it at face value. However, Loucks-Schultz and Kindred's presumably more serious comment that "we tend not to focus much on 'forgiveness'" offers little to change my opinion. It still appears to me that Asatruism is a fad, consciously designed for persons who feel a spiritual void but have no stomach for conventional religions that demand sacrifice, change and commitment. In a year or two, most of the Asatruists will be pursuing other interests.

Though I may be "intellectual lazy," I did look elsewhere for information on Asatru. There is no Asatru in Hinnell's Dictionary of Religions, though Odin, Thor and Freyja are discussed. Asatru is not found in Gaskell's Dictionary of All Scriptures and Myths, William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience, Frazer's The Golden Bough or even Robert Graves's The White Goddess. The index to the Encyclopaedia Britannica somehow fails to mention Asatru, though again, there is material on the Norse (listed under Germanic) religious practices such as votive offerings and the well-known ship funerals.

Loucks-Schultz and Kindred also wonder if my "sixth- and seventh-century ancestors" were Christian. I do not know, but I can say this--after the Romans left, Christianity was kept alive in Britain by the monks at Iona, Lindesfarne and other sanctuaries. These holy places were repeatedly sacked by the Norse from the eighth through the tenth centuries. This may be the "influence" Loucks-Schultz and Kindred mean; it was by no means a welcome one.

Timothy Buchanan

Music to Their Ears
I just want to thank you very much for Michael Roberts's interview with the Maids of Gravity ("The Gravity of the Situation," December 12). They are an incredible band, with lots of creativity and a definite future. I had the opportunity and good luck to meet Ed and Quasar at their show in San Francisco, and frankly, I fell in love with the band! I hope more information gets out about them, because they definitely have something good to give to the world.

Aaron Trotter
via the Internet

Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number. Write to:

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Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail to: editorial@westword.com


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