Little Grouse on the Prairie
High school is indeed hell, as Patricia Calhoun points out in her May 20 column, "Pomp and Circumstances." Although nothing excuses the shootings at Columbine, I am sure that that high school, like Kiowa High School and all other high schools, had no shortage of petty decisions by bureaucrats and petty behavior by students that could serve to unbalance emotionally unstable teenagers (which means most of them). I hope we learn from all these lessons, both little and large, to be kinder and think about our actions.
To the two mothers in Kiowa who have nothing better to do than squabble over which one of their daughters should be the "real" valedictorian: The young woman who was supposed to be valedictorian at Columbine High is dead. I wonder what her mother is doing these days.
The Hard Sell
Why did you title your May 13 special report "This State for Sale"? It has already been sold to the same people who have ruined so many other "nice" places. You mentioned something about the "big" money from Bill Owens's opponents, e.g., "big labor." Get real--there is no big labor. The "privatize everything" folks convinced the gullible of "big, bad labor, government, teachers' unions, etc.," and now there is nothing that serves as a barrier to the right wing.
Westword was so outraged about former governor Roy Romer's affair. Why did you make such a big deal about Romer's so-called lie about his private life instead of focusing on the lies that most politicians tell that truly have an adverse impact on the entire state? I wonder how you feel about the addition of your new mediocre governor and the morons in the Colorado Legislature to complement your pathetic U.S. senators. But I guess an elected official's private life is more important than having some intelligent politicians around.
Ironically, when I lived in Colorado, we felt so superior to the folks who lived in "evil" California. Now California seems to have learned from its mistakes; it has thrown its rascals out and is cleaning up its act. Poor, poor Colorado. So much promise, now a state in regression, bought and sold by the highest bidders: Coors, the gun lobby and land developers. I weep for you.
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Westword is obviously an extremely liberal paper, which I generally don't have a problem with, but you're also obviously very one-sided in your thinking. In "This State for Sale," several comments about Governor Owens are quite ironic, because you couldn't have found a governor who was more special-interest-oriented than Romer, and he didn't have any loyalty to the people whatsoever.
The bottom line is this: We have a conservative governor now, and he doesn't spend the people's money--meaning mine, because I'm upper-middle-class and pay a shitload of taxes--and he doesn't waltz to the same tune as Romer, who would sell his ass to anybody for a nickel. It's not quite the same at all. Certainly all of the politicians have special-interest groups that back them--but nothing like Romer. And you never used to talk about Romer in a negative way. So that tells me something--you were obviously pro-Romer and extremely liberal. So what else is new?
Oil and gas are essential to today's modern lifestyle. It is impossible to live or work in the six-county metroplex without a car. RTD is very slow and untimely; RTD routes are a conspiracy to prevent the common use of mass transit.
I cannot blame Governor Owens for loving his car, his country, his living or his family. But I hate air pollution, and I firmly believe that Owens could be part of the solution, if we encourage him. The almighty American dollar is more to blame than Bill Owens. Materialism and power corrupt even babies, not to mention politicians.
Wild in the Streets
I enjoyed Gayle Worland's "The Wild Life," in the May 20 issue, very much. As a conservation ranger in Georgia, I see the same problems: budget cutbacks, political interference and court apathy. It would really be nice if other news-media outlets would take up the gauntlet on behalf of wildlife and the "Thin Green Line" that consists of all wildlife officers, both state and federal, who work as a team to protect these natural resources.
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As a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent, I, too, feel that we are forgotten. We need the support of many to make some in this agency realize that the special agents who risk their lives daily need to be appreciated and funded properly. Thanks for your efforts.
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Excellent article by Gayle Worland. I would be interested in two things she did not elaborate on or cover. First, she implies that it takes congressional interest to get anything done, as only refuges or particular critters get attention. Why doesn't the agency management itself take care of business? They need to be told to support their enforcement unit--what kind of managers are these?
Second, attorney Anderson points out that these are some of the best federal agents in the country. Why are they paid less than every other federal agent? FBI, DEA, EPA, etc., all routinely get GS-13 grades, are much less self-sufficient and are supported by a big-agency infrastructure. Seems these guys and gals should get at least as much, but they stop 'em at GS-12.
By the way, the article touches upon those U.S. attorneys who support the work of FWS agents, often in the face of ridicule. It ain't just the DOJ specialists, but a few "local" assistant U.S. attorneys who earn the gold star, too.
J. Antonio Montana
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When Worse Comes to Worse
I think Kenny Be's May 20 cartoon, "President Clinton's Trip to Columbine," is in terrible taste, and he should be ashamed of himself. I also am disgusted with your newspaper for persisting in running Jesus of the Week. I think that's in even worse taste. You people need to re-examine some of your editorial policies that would permit such low standards.
I'm a confirmed non-theist--Jesus has never played any role in my personal life--and I'd like to agree with those who have said Jesus of the Week needs to go. It is plainly, unapologetically bigoted and thereby flatly unethical. (Ever heard of ethics? Sometimes they mean you can't do just what you feel like.) The suggestion that the comic doesn't mock Christianity boggles my mind. What doublethink! In the May 13 issue, using the word "afterbirth" in connection with Salt Lake City doesn't mock Mormons--yeah, right. Time to grow up, kids.
In his May 13 letter, Lee Whitfield complains that Jesus "didn't lift a finger" during the bloodbath at Columbine, an indication that he unjustly and unlovingly allows violence in the world. Nor, might I add, did he lift a finger as Mr. Whitfield typed and sent his letter to Westword, an indication that he unjustly and unlovingly allows people to make fools of themselves. Jesus, this free-will thing has gone way too far.
Let's do the Time Warp again!
What decade is this, anyway? I laughed my butt off over Justin Berton's May 20 "Theater of the Absurd," about the Rocky Horror Picture Show convention's problems with the Landmark Hotel. What a town we live in! What a time we live in!
Kudos to Mark Tomaino! It's about time someone stood up and defended the religious minorities in this country from the alienation created by the placement of Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms. Who are they to demand that the occupants paying to stay in their residence sleep next to a book of "their" beliefs? How could a Jew or a Muslim, or even a Scientologist, be expected to stay in a hotel so obviously opposed to their way of life? Next thing they will be telling us is that all children will be reciting "Hail Mary" in class and the other religions should just pretend that they are worshiping their own god!
In the wake of the Columbine tragedy, I believed that tolerance for those who are "different" would increase, but I see now that this is not possible. This group of young people, who were bringing commerce to this town with their tourism, are being made fun of for their ability to have fun slightly outside of the norm, with a movie that celebrates their differences. Shouldn't we all be doing that?
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The Gay Avenger
As a member of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's (GLAAD) Media Monitoring & Response Team, I write to detail serious objections to Patricia Calhoun's April 29 "Opportunism Knocks."
Clearly, there has been no end of spin put on the Columbine massacre--and you may well be entitled to express anger toward those who would turn this tragedy into a platform for special interests. However, your inclusion of a "New York-based gay publicist" into your list of targets was uncalled for. Not only do you fail to identify your source, but you use a quote and a paraphrase that appear to have been taken out of context. Your apparent animus toward the source casts serious doubt onto the contextual accuracy and authenticity of the quoted matter.
Given the framing of your commentary, your inclusion of this individual also functions (whether intended or not) as a thinly veiled swipe at the lesbian and gay community. To imply that the lesbian and gay community is spinning the Columbine tragedy--especially in light of such shoddy journalistic process--is quite offensive.
We at GLAAD, the nation's lesbian and gay media advocacy organization, promote fair, accurate and inclusive representation of individuals and events in all media as a means of combating all forms of discrimination based upon sexual orientation or identity. Accurate and fair depictions of lesbians and gay men are crucial to the elimination of homophobia.
Please commit yourself and Westword to the publication of quality articles and columns covering political and social issues affecting the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Sean D. Lund
GLAAD Media Monitoring & Response Team
Prepare to Meat Your Maker
I feel compelled to comment about Reverend Harris, mentioned in T.R. Witcher's "A Hard Shot to the Ribs," in the April 22 issue. Please quote me.
Reverend Harris is slimy, lying, slithering, calculating and greedy. My opinion of him was formed after living behind his church for five years. He was, hands down, the worst neighbor I have had in my life. Thank God I moved far away, because I would have liked to have burned his church to the ground, with him inside (oh, well, another missed opportunity). However, knowing Reverend Harris, I'm sure he'll piss off somebody a hell of a lot badder than myself.
You need a new reviewer for your little company. John La Briola is a woman-hater, as far as I'm concerned--another man just jealous of the talents of Ann and Nancy Wilson (Playlist, May 13). It sounds like he likes them only if they can provide a hard-on for him. What a shame.
And Live at McCabes Guitar Shop--what a great CD by Nancy! John is apparently jealous that he is not some big hotshot director and still just some guy reviewing CDs. Wake up, everyone: Nancy's music is soooo good. Try listening.
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I just read John La Briola's overdue review of Nancy Wilson's solo effort and was left wondering where the review begins and his need to let us read of his seemingly Viagra-charged fantasies of the Wilson sisters ends? I have been a huge Ann and Nancy fan since their beginnings with Heart and even suffered through the big hair and overproduced output of the Eighties. Live at McCabes has barely left my car stereo since it came out. This is the finest material Nancy has ever written. It is far from "repackaged table scraps." Only a handful of these tunes were ever recorded before by Nancy!
As for Ann, she is not sitting at home quilting--both she and Nancy are soon to start a summer tour. They both also have been quite active in recording and touring for the past few years with their other group, The Lovemongers (they played the Church nightclub in December 1997). If John La Briola's Heart quotient were as high as his libido, he would be well aware that he need only put on their CD The Road Home and go to track thirteen if he really needs so desperately to hear "Barracuda" unplugged.
Even it up, John.
Someone please give John La Briola some Ritalin, stat! The hyperactivity and hyphenated-dynamism of his sentences make my pupils shimmy like pachinko balls. Sure, goofing on the Wilson sisters is fun, a rite of passage, even, for pop-music crits. Hell, Robert Christgau's been doing it since--I don't know--he had long hair and still subscribed to Creem. But to waste a dozen or so column inches on an overly arch (so many parentheses!) turkey shoot--a snit fit better suited for some kid's Xeroxed 'zine--is really a shame.
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A Mickey Mouse Review
Sometimes a reviewer is so busy being smart that he misses the entire point of a show. Such is the case with Jim Lillie's insipid review of Kingdom ("A Day at the Scheme Park," May 20). When Lillie talks about thin characters, etc., he misses the playwright's brilliant treatment of the subject (Disney) as a perverse twist on the typical Disney formula. Hellesen has loaded his play with Disney stock characters to make the play more ironic. That the reviewer is unable to understand the irony is unfortunate for him, the play and, especially, your readers.
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As the World Turns
Regarding Kyle Wagner's "Global Warning," in the May 13 issue:
My future wife and I stopped by Cafe Odyssey about two weeks ago. After eating at the Hard Rock Cafe, we'd decided Cafe Odyssey looked interesting and wanted to take some relatives there for a Saturday-night dinner. I inquired about reservations and was immediately told that they had no openings that evening and that I might check back in the "wee" hours, but she didn't expect I would be able to get into their supremely demanded resturant. I never even got to tell this maven of epicurean delights that the reservation I desired was for two weeks down the road. I felt insulted and abused.
My future wife and I make a decent living and can go anywhere we desire in this city or any other city, for that matter. After this brief encounter from a "punk and puke" who earns $6 an hour, we now know this restaurant shall never see a penny from our family. When these rude people are out in the street wondering what happened to their "great" place of work, I hope they don't re-enter the hospitality field, since they have not a clue as to what the word "hospitality" means.
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ABBA Dabba Do
A hearty thanks to Michael Roberts for undertaking the April 15 "ABBA Experiment" so the rest of us don't have to! I could truly feel his pain, however, as his article sent me into a tizzy of 1970s flashbacks in which I recalled having to listen to my mom's ABBA albums. (Oy vey--the Captain & Tennille can't be too far behind, can they?) Thankfully, I've been able to purge the horror of the ABBA recollection with a nice healthy dose of Mike Ness and Social Distortion and continue about my day.
A suggestion for you, though, Mike: Next time, take on a more (mentally) healthy experiment, like trying to eat fifty eggs.
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