Touched by and Angle
Patricia Calhoun's "An Unhealthy Situation," in the October 8 issue, hit the nail on the head. How can organizations work effectively to help victims if the organizations can't work together? Thanks for bringing this to the public's attention. I hope you plan to continue coverage of Denver Health's plans to get more "in touch" with community groups. It couldn't be less in touch with them than it is right now.
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This Buddha's for You
Thank you for Tony Perez-Giese's story on Buddhist meditation in prison ("Buddha Behind Bars," October 8). I have never been in jail for more than 24 hours, but I quickly came to believe that it is hell, for both inmates and jailers. I think that reality is different there. The terrain of hell becomes familiar for the Buddhist practitioner, who will sooner or later enter hell in his/her personal journey. The nature of Buddhist meditation will eventually lead him to surrender to every fear he has. I think that if I were not Buddhist and could not be exposed to Buddhism and I were in jail, I would certainly try to invent it. It amazes me that far more prisoners in modern lock-down prisons don't seek the Buddhadharma.
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Someone on news:alt.religion.buddhism. tibetan pointed me to Tony Perez-Giese's "Buddha Behind Bars." It's great, very interesting and inspiring. Thanks!
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That Does Not Compute
Regarding Chris LaMorte's "Time's Up!," in the October 8 issue:
I have been on the receiving end of the rather brusque cease-and-desist for using the Denver Public Library computers for e-mail. I was told by two librarians that "the terminals are not for two-way communication." I tried to point out that all Web pages are a form of "two-way communication." Because it is so new, librarians and administrators with little knowledge of what they are dealing with are having to patch together policy about what is a new form of communication. Limited resources have caused them to cobble together a policy based on old (and good) ideals against restricting content, but one that errs on the side of limiting usefulness to their customers. I believe Andrew Carnegie and others who founded the public library idea would be aghast. After my encounter with the policy, my brother said, "Forget it. That's why I don't go to the library anymore--it's not of any use to me."
The library must get a fresh eye about Internet use--and e-mail is a part of this--if it is to remain relevant in a changing world.
Scott Bear Don't Walk
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Playing the Grace Card
Regarding Ward Harkavy's "Fact or Friction?" in the October 1 issue:
It is my suspicion that anyone tempted to believe claims of conversion by "ex-gays" need merely insist on evidence of heterosexual arousal to know such claims of conversion are flaccid.
To Jesse "Let's have some consistency, people (I'm addressing the gay community here)" Davis, regarding his October 8 letter:
I don't know why I'm always surprised that right-wing twits like you present your argument, then present the obvious and logical opposing argument to your drivel, such as "You'll probably say I'm a bigot"--as if pointing out the obvious ahead of time diffuses it. In your case, you point out that some people will say that the gay person was "really gay all along." Well, duh.
I don't know of any straights who just decided they were going to be gay. People who live in the closet are doing just that. They don't think that they're straight; they're just afraid of coming out and facing a world of bigotry. Who can blame them? Did you read the news this week?
If gay men and women decide to go back in the closet for whatever reason, that is their choice, and they are free to make it. But regarding the conversion of John Paulk: The only conversion I see is the means by which he grovels for attention and approval--from drag to prostitution to Bible-waving.
It was surprising to find my name and the name of our organization, Where Grace Abounds, in a Westword feature. Several years ago, Ward Harkavy interviewed some of our staff and leadership people and told me, "What you are doing just isn't controversial enough to be newsworthy." Apparently, what someone else says we are doing is worthy of attention. I am disappointed that we were not contacted to respond to the comments made about us.
I found Ward's article interesting and true to what I know of the experiences of many "ex-ex-gays." I know that people have been hurt by their experiences with individual Christians, churches and organizations that have misused the Bible to condemn homosexuals; I have agonized with several g/l/b/t men and women over these abusive episodes. Acting as a representative of the Body of Christ, I have often asked forgiveness for these sins against them.
Thus my disappointment with the article. Where Grace Abounds exists to help, not hinder, a person's search for resolution of deeply personal and painful conflicts. We do not believe that gay men change their sexual orientation through "teaching its gay boys the manly art of basketball." Nor do we believe that lesbians are "changed" through "instructions on how to apply lipstick and makeup." And I was horrified to find myself characterized as having advised a gay man to deal with fantasies by "thinking of sex with a woman." What nonsense!
WGA works with men and women, both homosexual and heterosexual, who want help working through conflicting thoughts and feelings surrounding unwanted sexual feelings and/or behavior. We offer services to those who want them, requiring no one to adopt our beliefs; neither do we condemn anyone for choices they make that might be contrary to our convictions. We have no political motivations.
Mary Heathman, director
Where Grace Abounds
Ward Harkavy responds: I never told Heathman, "What you are doing just isn't controversial enough to be newsworthy." After extensive conversations with her and her clients several years ago, I found Where Grace Abounds neither interesting enough nor significant enough to stand alone as a story. In light of John Paulk's publicity campaign this past summer and the response to it by survivors of "ex-gay" brainwashing, however, Where Grace Abounds was worthy of mention. I stand by my characterizations of Heathman's ministry.
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "The Spin Crowd," in the October 1 issue:
In February of 1997, four things were already clear: John and Patsy were responsible for the death of JonBenet; because he is a superior attorney, Hal Haddon would totally overwhelm Alex Hunter; the Boulder police thoroughly botched the first 72 hours of investigation, making a solid case impossible; because of items two and three, there will never be a conviction. But Peter Boyles, Chuck Green, the Globe, etc. (and Calhoun has been a part of it), have made a living off the case since then, because the public loves gossip, particularly gossip about sex crimes. And prurient gossip is virtually all that has been developed since February 1997.
So at least one public need has been satisfied. And it is the only public need which will be.
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Juliet Wittman's September 24 story about Alex Hunter, "He Aims to Plea," left out the cases of over-prosecution and refusal to plea-bargain. This could very well work to get some poor slob fried. You need to show both sides of the Boulder politics-as-usual criminal-justice system to punctuate how very dangerous it is.
It's as if you media folks have learned nothing from the Richard Jewell thing. Prosecutors and cops use the media--and vice versa--this way all the time. When a defendant is portrayed as a Jeffrey Dahmer while his actual criminality is much more marginal, he will receive no justice. Richard Jewell was probably innocent. That was noteworthy. But when a man does twenty years and deserves only ten, he has lost just as much of his life unjustly as a man who did ten and deserved zero.
I waited to write this until after I saw the letters on your story. Just like Geraldo Rivera, you really got the peanut gallery riled up. Let's all watch the Daily Camera. Some nobody, probably sitting in Boulder County Jail right now, is about to become the next Jeffrey Dahmer. Don't worry, he won't get a plea bargain. If he does, the DA will offer forty years.
Overzealous prosecutions occur all the time. In the country that holds itself to be the world's showcase of freedom, we are instead the most incarcerated country on earth. It is about time for you media folks to recognize your part in this tragedy.
Regarding the October 8 Off Limits:
How dare you make fun of other media people for being pro-stadium, when Westword's naysayers are just as obviously against it? Pat Bowlen gave this town a Super Bowl victory. What has Westword done for Denver?
Funding for a new stadium should be voluntary. But if Pat Bowlen is set on tapping into the public's money to swell his wealth, why not have a football-throwing contest? Cost: $2. The goal: to hurl the needle nose of the ball into a fur-clad replica of Bowlen. At 25 yards' distance, strike him between the eyes and win entry into a statewide competition. The winner could receive a day in a luxury booth. Whether one hit or missed the target, a neon display could show Bowlen sprinting to make a bank deposit--winking and laughing maniacally while shielding his checkbook from view, symbolic of his refusal to open his financial books.
With such an approach, Bowlen might even get stadium-tax opponents to shell out money to fire a few spirals at him.
Soy Far, Soy Good
With all the fuss about soybeans in the accompanying Mouthing Off, Kyle Wagner should have tried the tofu bowl at Taki's Golden Bowl ("Soy Long," October 8). Of all the Japanese fast food places, Taki's serves the only veggie bowl with tofu. It's nicely steamed, not fried, and accompanied by a little bit of several steamed vegetables. Of course, it is served on a pile of white rice and covered with the ubiquitous teriyaki sauce. However, it beats greasy tempura or mystery meat by a mile. I've driven across town more than once to satisfy a Taki craving.
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Kyle Wagner doesn't know good Japanese food from a Big Mac, and she must have been in a particularly foul mood the day that Taki's Golden Bowl was reviewed. How else could this immensely popular and wonderful island of healthy and delicious Japanese food receive such a mean-spirited review? Who should we believe--a usually astute food critic on a bum trip, or the thousands of rabid Taki fans who jam the place every day for a couple of hours at lunch?
Here's a hint, Kyle: If you want the good food at Taki's, don't order the sukiyaki or the beef or chicken bowls. Taki puts as much good food (rice and fresh veggies) into these as he figures the Americanized palates of his new customers can stand, but basically, these offerings are for folks after the sugar-salt-deep-fry hit, with just a nod toward Japanese cuisine. It hits the spot for lots of folks, but don't complain that it's Americanized if you order that stuff. The real stuff is on the specials board. Taki's fish is the best in the city; ask him when he's getting his fresh whole fish in. Watching him fillet a yellowfin or snapper is an artistic experience; he's really skilled at authentic Japanese cooking.
And try the veggie-tofu bowl the next time you're in. Bland it's not; incredibly complex, healthy and flavorful would be some words you'd use in a review. Another visit, with an accurate writeup on this great place, would be pretty easy penance, Kyle. Or just use this one, no charge.
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Children of the Korn
I picked up the October 1 Westword the other day and looked at the Backbeat section. I was pretty excited when I saw Sean McDonald's review of the new Korn CD, Follow the Leader, but when I read it, I got real pissed off. First off, I just didn't plain like the review, but that's his opinion, so I won't go off on that.
Second (and this is when I got really pissed) is when McDonald said that Korn had accepted homosexuality since their first CD with their song "Faget." Now, if Sean McDonald had ever actually listened to the song and what Jon was trying to say, he would realize it was about how he got made fun of in school and was called a faggot. Jonathan Davis never once said in that song "I think it's okay to be a queer." Not once. It makes me mad that he said they did. Sean doesn't even know what he's talking about.
Another thing is what was said about Korn songs having thirty-second intros to all their songs. So? So do a lot of other bands. In their category of music, most bands have intros that long. If they did a short song with no intro at all, McDonald would be complaining about it, too.
Don't write a review if you don't know what you're talking about. That's ridiculous.
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