Out of the blue: Regarding Julie Jargon's "Hide the Light," in the February 15 issue, I can testify that Curtis Park is not alone in being affected by the obnoxiously bright Qwest sign. Even with the shades drawn in my fourth-floor loft near Coors Field, my bedroom never nears darkness. It is filled every evening with a strange blue glow. The US West sign that preceded Qwest's was much dimmer and, while never completely gone, and thus not completely appreciated, its hazy glow gave the impression of candlelight. The Qwest sign, on the other hand, makes my lights-out, shades-drawn sleeping space reminiscent of an area awaiting an impending spaceship landing.
I will happily join those disturbed by the sign in Curtis Park in asking Qwest to turn off, or at least tone down, the light!
Dim bulbs: Must be a slow news week when the usually highly venerable and much respected Westword resorts to an article claiming opposition to an invasive, glowing, neon-blue sign hovering above Denver. What profound scale of opposition are we talking about here, Mr. Marsters? You petitioned an entire neighborhood nesting downtown and only received four responses. Actually, you received five, but one neighbor's "blue light" is blocked by another's house, so she really doesn't count -- she just wants to be counted as an individual. All of this justifies a campaign? I certainly feel the thorn in your side, for I don't feel too illuminated by that ominous blue Qwest sign blazing across the downtown skyline for all Coloradans to see. And I do agree with some of the things you had to say. But my advice to you is: Deal with it. Particularly when only a poker table full of residents feel your pain.
Which leads me to believe that Ms. Jargon, our trusty Westword reporter, most likely slumbers in the same neighborhood, or at least is not at peace with the sign, either. Well, well, well. Welcome to the concrete paradise, Mr. Marsters. Before you scour the neighborhood distributing bumper stickers and T-shirts, please expend your energy on more important issues defacing Denver than a brilliant blue sign.
I love Denver, Colorado. It is an exciting and ambitious metropolis in the great western Rockies. It has its problems as much as any other metropolis, but to weep about a blue sign appearing like a UFO out of the downtown skyline won't receive a pat on the back from me. By the way, birds fly into glass skyscrapers all the time. Blue light or no light, glass windows are hidden dangers for our flying friends.
I don't work for Qwest, nor do I support the avaricious advertising on its building, but I certainly can deal with the illumination making our night sky blue. I would rather attempt to clean up the air in Denver, although it may seem a hopeless and radical venture, than fight a light with all the bumper stickers and T-shirts and four neighbors in the world. By the way, I see the spooky blue light peering in my window every night, too. But at least I'm all smiles, 'cause I reside in a city I adore.
Qwest for ire: I have lived in disbelief of the gross indecency of these big blue Qwest signs since they went up. They significantly decrease the beauty of the skyline, as they are visible from every angle in this town, and they are a stamp of egotistical ideals on the part of Qwest. The company seems to be saying it owns this town, because it's the only one with huge, ugly, domineering signage in the whole of the Denver downtown landscape.
I have never lived in a city that allows such a misuse of power and such defacing of a communal view. It is unfortunate that people in Denver are still more concerned with how they look than how we look. There is a big difference, and unfortunately, Qwest does not get it. It is the equivalent of Excel Energy advertising on television -- like we have a choice? Just send us the bill and get out of our face!
Many thanks to Ted Marsters for being concerned with this issue.
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What operators! Thank you for "Swiss Miss," Juliet Wittman's story about the Saouma family, in the February 15 issue. I worked for the University of Colorado for four years, at the sports medicine clinic. The clinic was wonderful to work at, but the politics stank! It is bad enough that insurance companies make decisions that affect your health care, but this was reprehensible. I dealt with insurance companies on a daily basis, working on these kinds of problems (although on a smaller scale). I also dealt with CU's insurance (self-insurance) for years, and it was unbelievable how money was more important than the lives the plan was put in place to serve.
I could go on forever about many different things at CU's Health Sciences Center, but I am limited in my correspondence to you.
A current news report concerns the uninsured population -- referred to at UCHSC as the "indigent" population. My staffers would literally cry after getting off the phone with some people to whom they had to refuse care because it was not a life- or limb-threatening situation. Legally (as we were told by department administrators), we were not obligated to ever see these patients unless they could pay for service that day. That never happened, of course, and I still feel terrible for all those people who could not afford health insurance yet could not work due to a physical injury.
Someday, I hope the health-care system will help all in this country. Someday. I can dream.
Name withheld on request
Out for blood: The best word to describe the University of Colorado and Dr. Sbarbaro's refusal of Rhea Saouma's life-or-death need for a kidney transplant while in Switzerland: sbarbarous!
Of course, this word could also be applied to CU's treatment of women sexually harassed by administrators, sweatshop workers making CU sweatshirts, whistleblowers on hazardous working conditions, workers injured on the job, med students protesting the "dog labs," those accused of drug use, etc., etc.
Here in Boulder, it is obvious that CU is just the largest and most money- and bloodthirsty corporation around.
Growing respect: After reading Robin Chotzinoff's comprehensive writeup of her captivating and hilarious visit to Garden City, Colorado ("The Plot Thickens," February 8), I'll put forth the notion that she join Cheever, Welty, Dos Passos, Steinbeck, Wilder and Inge as a master of American local color.
Garden City, as Chotz reports it, is a microcosm of the endearingly eccentric and enthusiastically nutty collection that makes up rural Colorado. To live out where some of us off-center types do, you have to be plenty cracked but not so much so that you shatter. While reading about Garden City, tears came to my eyes as I recognized so much of my own loves and likes, behaviors and obsessions. If there weren't places like dear old "Boozeville," Colorado would be devoid of that "color" that's implicit in our state's name.
I salute Garden City and her residents for simply living fully and being who they are, and Chotz/Westword for not only giving us a fine piece, but also for giving us fine literature.
Hog heaven: Regarding Michael Paglia's "Slights of Hand" in the February 15 issue:
Richard Serra studied with Al Held at Yale University, where he got his MFA in painting, but upon graduation, he went to Spoleto, Italy, and corralled and cordoned off some pigs at the art museum, putting on rubber boots like the kind used by ranchers and wading into the pig feces to make drawings on the museum's white marble floors. Of course, he gained some international notoriety from that performance sculpture. When he returned to Yale for a class reunion, Held snubbed him and became very hostile, telling him he'd dragged Yale's reputation through pig shit.
Then Serra did a performance piece at the University of California at San Diego that consisted of throwing adobe bricks down the stairs of the John Muir campus museum. The piece was titled "Talus," so Serra wanted us to get a chainsaw and sledgehammer to knock down the white support beams that progressed from the staircase piled with adobe bricks. In New York City, Serra placed a circle of channel steel in the street on 182nd and Webster. Some riggers misread his blueprints at the Walker Art Institute, and one of his steel pieces fell and killed a loyal comrade. Another one of his monumental steel sculptures, "Moe," was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum; when I ran down the circular ramp, it appeared to spin in a circle like a child's pinwheel at a county fair.
Serra was my teacher in college, and I worked with him in California and New York. His way of working and thinking has motivated me in all that I have tried to do. For a Colorado native like me, it's rare to find heroes to admire and look up to. Serra's work has always inspired me and my generation to create and prevail. We are fortunate to see his work in Denver. He is the fullest embodiment of what an artist or poet can be.
All bets are off: Bill Gallo's "Hurray for Hay-Burners," in the February 8 issue, was excellent and pretty much right on the mark. Bill either truly knows what he is talking about, or he meticulously researched this.
But because everyone is a critic, I would like to point out one error. Bill's piece defines the "takeout" as the percentage racetracks get from money bet to cover their expenses. This is simply not true. An important distinction needs to be made between money bet and money won. The "takeout" is only paid by the winners, not by everyone who places a bet.
If you are a chronic loser, you shouldn't worry about how much the "takeout" is, because you aren't paying it. If you win, then perhaps this indicates that you know what you are doing, and you should factor the "takeout" into your determination of whether or not an entrant represents "fair value" for your money.
John F. Lynch III
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Jello pudding: Hang on a minute! I thought Jello Biafra's "real" name was "Boucher," not "Boucheau," as reported by reader Patrick D'Annunzio in the February 8 issue.
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Please stop the presses until this important cultural minutia is resolved.
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Editor's note: You're correct. And now that Jello's true name has been resolved, start the presses!