Letters to the Editor

His and Hearse

A tisket, a casket: I enjoyed Harrison Fletcher's October 12 "Death Takes a Holiday," on the goths with the hearses. It brought back a lot of memories for me. Around 25 years ago on the East Coast, a friend acquired a 1964 Caddy hearse. It was extremely rusty and didn't run real well, but the interior was beautiful, and for Deadheads like us it was a fun car. The casket rollers were removed, and Mike usually had a mattress back there. The hearse always attracted lots of attention -- not always the right kind. Once they went to the beach, and the motel they stayed at would not let them park it on their property. It seems that a hearse with Grateful Dead stickers may not have been the best thing for business.

The engine finally died, and the old thing went to the junkyard. I would love to get one of my own. A mid-1950s Caddy with a big block Chevy and overdrive (for reliability and better fuel efficiency) would be perfect. Once again, thanks for the memories, and best of luck to these young men and their great cars.

And an aside to Kenny Be: Thanks for your October 12 take on the "Golden Girl," Amy Van Dyken. Between her nasty comments and her expectorations in the pool, she qualifies as an unmitigated pig.

Pat Desrosiers

The Hits Keep Coming

Land sakes! Why is Michael Roberts picking on Clear Channel radio stations? Sure, some land was destroyed ("KBPI Wrecks the Rockies," October 5), but you gotta admit those KBPI jocks are wild! Besides, on its sister station, KHOW, area know-it-all Peter "I used to be pretty crazy myself" Boyles promised on the air to do whatever it takes to repair this disaster.

Many thanks, Peter. I mean, I assume that the area has been returned to its original beauty, since you never mentioned it again, and I know you would never be told to shut the fuck up by the nice folks you work for.

Tony Clapper

Willie or won't he? It's obvious that Michael Roberts doesn't listen to KBPI. I'm a constant listener, and the DJs' programming and the broadcasting are fine and within FCC regulations (they even have a disclaimer). So what if Willie B. wants to throw a chicken out of a third-story window? As far as I'm concerned, chickens should learn to fly anyway. And as far as the "mudding event" goes, the owner should have posted signs and taken other necessary precautions to keep people off the land. I'm sorry, but two big rocks aren't going to stop a Humvee. KBPI, Willie B. and the "Locker Room" cannot be blamed entirely for this or previous incidents. If people are dumb enough to follow a voice up into the mountains because that voice decided to share plans on the air, then that's their own fault. We also have to look at the utter stupidity of some of the KBPI listeners. Some of them will do almost anything just to see a concert.

Next time Roberts writes an article on KBPI, its DJs or affiliates, make sure he mentions all of the good they've done, too, like Willie B.'s raising somewhere around $20,000 for breast cancer.

Samantha Webb

Can you yahoo? Let me see if I've got this right: According to Michael Maloney's letter in the October 12 issue, because the Hendricks Mine damaged some land in the course of its mining activities, that land is forfeited in perpetuity and can't be restored. Any bunch of ORV-driving yahoos can drive right over the "No Trespassing" signs and tear it up all over again any time they feel like it. Or do they only get the land they can keep torn up more or less continuously? Either way, that covers a lot of land in Colorado.

Maloney must be right, of course, because he makes use of the truculent sarcasm and the obligatory word "whine" that are the hallmarks of the true know-it-alls who seem to make up about 99 per cent of the population these days. But why tell us? It's the courts and the legislature that will really think this is cute.

Earl Noe

Stiff competition: I want to thank Michael Roberts for bringing attention to the continuing ethical lapses over at KBPI and the rest of Clear Channel Broadcasting. But he left out my favorite story, which he reported back on April 29, 1999. After the Columbine shootings, Dusty Saunders of the Rocky Mountain News received an anonymous voice-mail message. It contained an edited, out-of-context comment about Columbine from the Howard Stern show, which aired on KXPK-FM/The Peak, a competitor and serious threat to every one of what were then Jacor's rock or talk morning shows. The question here: Who might have access to equipment that could record Howard Stern, and who would have a reason to anonymously alert Dusty? (Since Clear Channel, which owns every other radio station in the country, is in a position to do me great financial harm, please withhold my name, too.)  

Saunders, of course, raged about the comment in his column without having actually heard the unedited broadcast. And because the comment appeared in the newspaper, this opened the door for every soon-to-be Clear Channel DJ and talk-show host in the area to go on the air and rail against Stern, initiating a massive public campaign to remove their competition from the airwaves. Columbine was a horrible tragedy, but for Clear Channel to exploit those deaths to eliminate a competitor is despicable.

Name withheld on request

Bernie, Baby, Burn

Can you repeat that? I saw "The Missing Linc," Michael Roberts's October 12 article on Bernie Lincicome's arrival at the Rocky Mountain News. As a lifelong Chicagoan and graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism (I'm a freelance writer for a local daily in the Chicago area), I've been reading Lincicome since his first days at the Tribune with a sports fan's fervor and a journalist's eye.

Lincicome is not only witty, but he's frequently repetitive. He is infatuated with the words "cipher" (which Roberts quoted in the Helton reference) and "footwipe." He uses these over and over in his columns. I read the guy every day he was in the Trib, and I had to shake my head at how much he loved those two words. It's like he can't think of anything else. He enjoys ripping on anyone, no matter how much they contribute or succeed. Sometimes he's rather pathetic. Actually, I believe he was mentioned in Sports Illustrated once in reference to a question at a press conference or column he wrote (it was a few years back) as being insensitive and tasteless (my paraphrasing).

He's also rather tedious, especially when he's sent on the road to a different country. His Olympics coverage at the Tribune consisted mainly of going to the host country and finding out how bad, inedible or uncomfortable things were compared to America. Then he wrote a column about it. It got old really quick. It's his only shtick. I'd like to read the September 15 column on the Olympics that Roberts said was "nutty"; I doubt that it would surprise me, though.

Tim Cochrane
Chicago, IL

Show Some Support

Team effort: Regarding Karen Bowers's October 5 "Suicide Watch," about Dick Berger and the Living Support Network:

I was a part of the SDA crisis line in the early days, when we had a back-up relationship with committees and educational guest speakers who did an excellent job of networking and providing crucial liaisons regarding resources for many of our desperate callers. The volunteers I screened were compassionate and focused; some found their volunteer experience to be a catalyst in their deciding on therapy for a career. We needed more professionalism and standardized response; when Chip Frye came aboard, I thought it would be a good chance to get LIS'N AAS-accredited. Imagine what a team we could have been with the core group of bright, sensitive and fully trained staffers. We did propose this to Dick Berger, who declined our efforts. My staff and I resigned in the early '90s because of the direction in which the hotline was headed. Dick Berger does have his heart in the right place, and there is much good to say for someone who has "been there" to help others -- but until suicide hotlines are manned responsibly and without self-interest, what the caller gets is Russian roulette.

Reyan Bensason

Heal thyself: Karen Bowers's revelations about Dick Berger's practice of attempting to assist suicidal people was quite disturbing but not surprising. Why? Because only the relatively few who deal with suicidal/morbidly depressed people really understand and comprehend the devastating, mind-boggling dysfunction. Whether we are trained through the traditional medical model, the psychological paradigm or experience, the global perspective of the ailment is rarely understood.

However, I would like to offer some suggestions to folks who lead lives that seem to take the serpentine path over the great chasm of the deep, dark abyss. You need to proceed along this tightrope of life with a balancing pole of coping skills. Along with the pole, one must have a thick and close net below that consists of support systems. If one leaves it up to the system alone, the outcomes can be devastating, regardless of the amount of appropriate psychotropic medications and/or psychotherapy. Be patient with the process -- it is like being at Terrapin Station for a time.  

J. Matthew Dietz

Next Round

Very hard time: From Harrison Fletcher's "Hard Time," in the October 5 issue: "We have gangbangers here and people in for very violent crimes who can take advantage of someone who is weakened physically or mentally."

The saying is true: "What goes around comes around!"

Name withheld on request

Blowing Hot and Cold

Rocky steady: I read Eileen Welsome's "A Cure for the Common Cold Warrior," in the September 28 issue, with concentrated interest. She presented excellent investigative journalism reporting.

Estelle Jones Langston

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