Nuts to That!
Talk about crazy!
I never thought I'd see the day when bleeding-heart liberal Patricia Calhoun would bleed for a Republican, much less Tom Tancredo ("Crazy for You," December 3). Coloradans should be proud of their new congressman, not just because he's man enough to admit his weakness, but because he will represent them well in Washington, D.C.

Stan Shubert
via the Internet

Just how effective can therapy be when the person being helped is a bloviating blowhard like Tom Tancredo? Perhaps a few more years on the couch would reveal to Tommy not only his faulty potty training but the reasons for his typically conservative streak of mean-spiritedness. In the meantime, the rest of us can ponder what it is about the conservative ideology that produces such renowned draft-dodgers as Tancredo, Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchanan, Gary Bauer and Rush Limbaugh.

Walter Hall
via the Internet

Giving Them the Bird
I never thought I would find myself fascinated by a story about the northern goshawk, but after consuming my Thanksgiving bird, I read through Gayle Worland's "A Bird in the Hand," in the November 26 issue, in one sitting. An excellent article, and more stuffed with information than my turkey!

Although I hope and pray this country keeps what little wilderness it has left--and if lawsuits are what it takes, so be it--I enjoyed learning about Richard Reynolds's research. It's good to know that some federal employees actually think about what they are doing and consider the consequences.

Susannah Raymond

I have known Dick Reynolds for 25 years. Anyone who doubts his sincerity with respect to doing what is right for goshawks or Western coniferous forests simply does not understand his lifelong commitment to conservation. Perhaps naysayers do not want to understand his mode of proceeding in a carefully reasoned way after the data is all collected and properly analyzed, especially if this scientific process slows the furtherance of their political agenda. In addition, the way that the Freedom of Information Act is being used to obtain scientific data from individual researchers before it is published in proper outlets gives those of us who do scientific research reason to pause before seeking or accepting federal funds.

Thomas A. Gavin
via the Internet

The Light Stuff
C.J. Janovy's December 3 "Slay Bells," on the Christmas lighting display at Denver's City and County Building, was great! She mentioned the U.S. Supreme Court. In a decision that civil-libertarian attorneys irreverently refer to as the "two-plastic-reindeer rule," the Court said if a nativity scene is surrounded by enough Santas, reindeer, snowflakes, lights, stars, etc., then the nativity scene gets smothered in so much secular stuff that it loses its religiosity. The nativity scene simply disappears into the background. In other words: the bigger, the more garish, the shlockier, the better. Denver's display wins hands-down on all fronts. I feel Kenny Be's accompanying cartoon captured the Court's intent perfectly.

I am a not-so-devout Jew, but if I were a devout Christian, I would consider such logic to be insulting, if not sinful. It is devout Christians who ought to be leading the charge to remove the nativity from Denver's display, letting Denver's display shine(?) in all of its overblown kitschy glory while keeping the real "reason for the season"--the incarnation--alive for the true believers to reflect upon and celebrate in their hearts, homes and churches.

Peter Gross

Motorcycle Mama
I certainly enjoyed reading Robin Chotzinoff's "The Beater Goes On," in the November 26 issue. The voice speaks loud and clear for so many of us wannabes. I own a couple of Honda-Davidsons myself.

Jerry Kunselman

Hey, Chotz! It's 5 p.m. here in Seattle, 42 degrees and drizzling. I just read your column, and I'm not surprised that the Californication of my old hometown has reached such a complete and perfect state. By the way...I'm about to head out on my 45-mile commute around the east side of Lake Washington. I'm out here every day on my '75 Kawasaki 900 Z1b. There are a few of us diehard beater mavens out here. Keep the faith. You'll find your next ride!

Robert Poulk
via the Internet

Duty and the Beast
As a member of the jury in the Robert Riggan trial, I read with great interest Steve Jackson's "Trial and Tribulations," in the November 19 and 26 issues. To quote Paul Harvey: "And now the rest of the story." This filled in the pieces of the puzzle that we were not given.

Regarding Ms. Cordova, I am pleased to read that she is trying to take back control of her life. While she perhaps does not feel like a hero, I would like to go on record stating that in my eyes, she is a hero. She came forward (honestly) when numerous individuals would not and those who did were less than honest.

Ms. Cordova was a very credible witness, surely more credible than the highly paid defense witnesses (Dr. Sperry, Mr. Beaver). It is a shame that there are not more honest people in the world like Ms. Cordova. Perhaps Mr. Clinton should take some lessons from her.

Mr. Jackson, I would like to thank you for writing this article. I know that the time and effort you spent on this was at times very heart-wrenching, as it was for all involved with this case (except, perhaps, Mr. Riggan). I would also like to thank the members of the prosecution, especially Ms. Easter and Mr. Hall, for their tireless efforts to bring this beast to justice.

Randy Bowman
via the Internet

I happen to know Joanne Cordova personally. I am very disappointed that you would waste the readers' time or your own on a worthless human being like Joanne Cordova. She owes society a long-overdue apology for the misery she has put everyone she has come in contact with through. I did not feel the least bit of sympathy for the woman, and I feel your article was slanted to give her some.

Name withheld on request

I am so proud of Jo Cordova, my cousin, for the tremendous courage she showed by letting her story be told. Additionally, I want to say that I feel a certain degree of guilt over what has happened to Jo and her beautiful children, both of whom have always been the center of her life. Although it may not appear that Jo considered her children when she made the choices she did, I am here to say that the circumstances surrounding Jo's path in life could, in fact, have happened to any one of us. There but for the grace of God go I. Jo comes from a very loving and close family. For years now, her parents, brother, sisters and the rest of us have worried and prayed for Jo. Speaking for myself, I had no idea to what extent Jo's troubles had escalated. Being a very private, independent and proud person, she did a superior job of keeping her troubles hidden.

My heart hurts when I think perhaps if I had made it a point to insist on knowing what was wrong, I might have been able to influence her in a positive way--though I doubt I would have been much of a role model at the time. That Jo is intelligent has never been in question. She excelled at everything she involved herself in; this is why I know she will make it back and be a better person for it. It's time things turn around for this very worthwhile person.

Please, anyone who reads this, know that this can happen to you, your loved ones, anyone. Some people cannot escape the horrible trap crack cocaine and other drugs set. Jo is not trash. She comes from an upper-middle-class family that loves her very much. I love her very much. She is a good person.

Connie Carpenter
via the Internet

Editor's note: For the latest on Robert Riggan's fate, see page 12.

The Lot Sickens
Bravo to Patricia Calhoun, for noting the passing of another one of Denver's small treasures ("Thank God for Small Flavors," November 26). Places like La Casa de Manuel are what give a city its uniqueness, a special feeling that all the Wolfgang Pucks and Virgin Records cannot provide. Denver would do well to remember the old line: "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." And isn't there something about parking lots in that song?

Samantha Waters
via the Internet

According to Calhoun, on 16th Street, parking is good: "...a city that considers the disappearance of the last surface parking lot along the Sixteenth Street Mall a mark of progress."

But it's bad on Larimer Street: "It should make a swell parking lot."
There must be something I don't understand there, but I'm damned if I can understand it.

Steve Read
via the Internet

Getting to the Art of the Matter
I would like to offer a few comments and a little clarity regarding Michael Paglia's Art Beat of November 19, which described in somewhat dramatic detail "the violence that marred" a recent opening at Pirate. This letter is not about chivalry. It is instead about something as fundamental as truth and honesty in journalism.

I attended the opening. I arrived shortly after the incident and talked to people who had witnessed it. Like all great fish stories, this one seems to grow bigger and more vicious with each passing day. Mr. Paglia's article was overstated and uninformed. No one has evidently bothered to get Ms. Jones's side of the story. And although Mr. Stockman is more established and a perennial favorite of Mr. Paglia, that certainly doesn't make him more credible.

One has to wonder--was the exhibit worthy of this much attention without the "sucker punch" story? The incident at Pirate was in truth more prosaic than Mr. Paglia's account. Mr. Stockman and Ms. Jones exchanged words, and when Stockman took her violently by the arm and tried to throw her out of the building, Ms. Jones protected herself by pulling free and throwing a pitcher of beer at him. She did not appear to intend to cut him, but rather to soak him with beer. She did not then "flee," but rather gathered her things and (almost) quietly left.

It seems that Mr. Paglia may have been more interested in entertaining his readers than in presenting the facts of the story accurately and objectively. His readers, I would think, have the right to expect more.

Randy Hughes

Michael Paglia responds: Hughes is right about a couple of things. I am a fan of Bill Stockman's work, but I also crowned Cameron Jones Best Emerging Artist in 1997. Like mine, Hughes's account of the recent episode of "reception rage" at Pirate is based on the reports of witnesses, but it might be relevant to point out that the chivalrous Hughes is the ex-boyfriend of Cameron Jones.

Made in America
In the November 11 Mouthing Off, I was glad to see Kyle Wagner specify the chicken breasts needed to prepare the recipe--and I got quite a laugh when she brought up the Shrimp Shrimp served by most authentic Italian restaurants.

In the same issue, there was a letter from Ronda Lietz. This was not her first letter, and much as I agree with her about Pat "the Loser" Bowlen, I have to wonder where she studied geography.

She throws around the words "America" and "American" as if there were a country named America. There is no country named America. There is a country named the United States of America, but as the name implies, it is of America. And what is it of?

America is the continental mass occupying the western hemisphere of our planet. Everyone from Canada to Argentina is an American. Even that dickhead Bowlen. I think Ronda Lietz is confusing the permanent land mass called America with the temporary political subdivision of that permanent land mass named the United States of America. The French would never assume that they were the only country in Europe and act like the other countries on their continent were inconsequential.

Under this premise, the majority of American citizens speak Spanish.
James Ludlow

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