Letters to the Editor

Stadium Blanket Coverage

Flag on the play: Enough already about the new stadium! In your August 16 paper, I had to read about it in Patricia Calhoun's column, and in Michael Roberts's media column, and even in Off Limits.

About the only place there wasn't a discussion of the new stadium was in the Sports column -- where it belongs, if it belongs anywhere at all. (Good piece in the August 9 issue by Bill Gallo, "Bronco A-Go Go," on the Broncos' chances, by the way.)

Surely there must be some other news out there. Can we read about it, please?

Daniel Peterson
via the Internet

Up Chuck: The Denver Post -- like fish wrap, it smells. No matter how you slice it, Post editors can't defend the journalistically indefensible choice to call the new stadium -- oops, I'd better not say it -- anything but Mile High. There are certainly things in this town far more important and worthy of outrage than the name of a stadium. But no wonder: These are the same bright boys who print Chuck Green columns.

Had a vivid dream the other night where I told Chuck Green what a joke he is. He was furious. We did a lot of scowling and shouting at each other. I was really proud of myself and then woke up disappointed to realize it was just brain chemistry. Recall the Green column about how he forgot to write his column? I'm still laughing.

I think we should call him Chuckles, because he's such a fun guy. I think the Post should call him Chuckles. I mean, what's in a name? We could dress him up like the Planters Peanut and put him in a circus parade ahead of the elephants. Maybe, as with Chuckles the Clown on the old Mary Tyler Moore Show, one of the elephants will seize Chuckles and squeeze him to death.

"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants," Chuckles.

Mark Roberts

Selling out, moving out: Westword just cowtowned its own self in the biggest cowtown of them all, with Michael Roberts's bit on the Denver Post's resistance to taking to print the insult to the taxpayers of metro Denver: "Invesco Field at Mile High."

You've also succeeded in confirming my exodus from Denver, as the city has culturally begun its decline into simply an idyllic city to do business in with a populace who cares nothing for anything but their respective parts in those businesses. To write of generalizations, such as the age-old fear of every proud Denverite that we do, indeed, live in a cowtown, does no service to those in Denver who feel that the corporatization of virtually everything isn't going to happen in this city! What we've paid for! And what we're proud of!

Cowtown talk aside, there are political undercurrents in every community, everywhere. Indeed, the numbers and weight of those undercurrents grow as that community grows in population. To sum up to an entire metropolis of two million bodies that it will have, or now has finally, arrived upon the coveted cosmopolitan, urbane status once those very bodies have completely embraced the corporate takeover of everything dear to their community is unadulterated, corporate-sponsored, sellout claptrap.

Westword has sadly begun its decline, simultaneously with so many other once- liberal independent weeklies nationwide, as it's consolidated into its own corporatistically incredulous New Times. That the Denver Post, in this case, is the party far and above more independent than my once beloved Westword is a case in point of why progressives are far better off moving somewhere else, somewhere less corporately constricted. As if such a place exists!

Thank God in Seattle there is The Stranger!

Jeremy Keller
Seattle \

Checkmate, Please!

You must pay the rent: Speaking as a former employee and longtime patron of St. Mark's, I agree heartily with Eric Alstad's banning of chess (Jonathan Shikes's "Endgame," August 16). When I used to hang out there, it was the chess-playing homeless fellows who harassed me more than anyone else for cigarettes, change, etc. When I worked there, they would have the gall to request one of the house chess sets without even planning to purchase anything. If I relented when they promised to come up and buy something later, I'd inevitably be chasing them down, wasting my time bugging them to buy something while they acted like they were pulling something over on me. And as most of them were smokers, when they finally left, I had to deal with overflowing ashtrays filled with hours' worth of cigarette butts.

I'm sorry that the many bad eggs have ruined it for the few who respected the rules, but St. Mark's is, in general, a very tolerant place. I spent hours there as a student, studying, hanging out, etc., sometimes nursing the same oversized cup of coffee for hours, but I bought something, I didn't harass the employees or the other patrons, and I picked up after myself. A business is based on exchange: The owner provides a service and a space in which to enjoy that service, and you pay for that. By using the space without paying for it, the chess players were not keeping up their part of the exchange, and the owner should have had no obligation to put up with them.  

A coffeehouse is not a public park. You would not walk into a restaurant and expect to even be seated if you were not planning on buying something. Why should anything different be expected from a coffeehouse? Think of it as paying a bit of rent for the space your ass is taking up.

Michelle Baldwin Denver

Ban on the run: Good story, bad research. Chess has not been banned from Rock Bottom or Pablo's. Did Jonathan Shikes think to maybe check on that before Westword printed it?

As for the issue of St. Mark's, they clearly had a problem -- but their solution was laughable. Sure, a few of the people were problems for business, but chess was hardly related to it. I can think of several people who frequent St. Mark's who are exactly like the problem chess players yet have never played a game. The problem lies in the owner giving the employees free rein over how the business is run. Next thing you know, they get spoiled and start demanding things that would normally be out of the question. I've been to that coffee shop countless times and have not seen the owner once. All the reasons he gave you for banning chess players is just what is relayed to him by bitchy employees. If banning chess really solved the problem, why is he letting the players back in now? Kind of makes me wonder what is really going on.

I've stopped going to St. Marxist. When the owner finally decides to start running the business again like a professional, then maybe I will return. But banning the entire game based on five or six problem people is like not reading a newspaper because of five or six bad stories.

Matt Baldwin
via the Internet

Board games: Certainly, the "disenfranchised" chess players add to the diversity of characters in the coffeehouse; however, it is a coffeehouse, a business. Businesses have employees who have customers who in turn all take care of each other. If the customers are stinky, gross, unruly and broke, obviously they do not care enough about themselves, let alone anyone they plop themselves in front of or next to, to be in a place as nice as St. Mark's.

As a server at another Capitol Hill haunt, I understand both sides of the situation. Some of my chess-player regulars have become good friends. I don't mind that I am occasionally missing that tip, because they more than make up for it with their good humor and overall consideration for others. When the cafe is incredibly busy, as it often is, they are considerate enough to walk over to the wait station and refill their own coffee, or to go to the bar to request a soda refill. We ask customers to leave if they are offensive in any way. And yes, it can be offensive if the unpaying customer is occupying a space that could be more appropriately occupied by a paying customer.

Both St. Mark's coffeehouses are excellent places to enjoy a better-than-average atmosphere and coffee (and tea and pastries). Eric Alstad is a very hardworking man -- he never slows down! -- but he is friendly and professional and has every right to use his discretion about the kind of folks he deems appropriate for his businesses.

Erica Fair
via the Internet

The Too-Big Family of Man

It takes two: I absolutely agree with Michael S. Jones, whose letter in the last issue about Alan Prendergast's August 9 "Scenes From a Sprawl" said that too many people are having too many babies, straining society's capacity to provide adequate, affordable housing without creating sprawl, environmental degradation and displacement of other species. I do, however, object to his sexist assertion that women who "can't keep their knees together" are the only ones responsible for this glut of people, traffic problems, subdivisions and shopping malls.

I don't know of any women who have cloned themselves or produced babies without the participation of a man. There may be a few cases where a man might not know he was actually impregnating a woman, but most men are fully aware (unless they've had a vasectomy or regularly use a condom) that when they take part in the sex act, a child could very well result. Maybe men should just keep their pants zipped, Michael.  

Our society, unfortunately, still gives people a big "thumbs up" for producing large families. Ever watch Oprah and other talk shows that feature families of six, eight or ten kids? The moms invariably get a standing ovation. Every irresponsible family that, using fertility drugs, produces quintuplets (or more) gets free diapers, baby food and other amenities, including regular TV coverage for the rest of their lives, it seems.

Our government gives parents too many tax credits (the more kids, the more credits); too many churches (especially Catholic, Mormon and other fundamentalist institutions) urge their followers to keep producing offspring (apparently God doesn't give a damn about overpopulation of the Earth); and we're allowing into our country too many legal and illegal immigrants (many of whom don't take advantage of readily available and inexpensive birth-control methods offered here).

So until all people of all races and religions, both men and women, realize that their third, fourth or fifth child is contributing to our planet's many problems related to overpopulation, the situation will only get worse.

Carol Carpenter

Oh, baby, oh, baby: The women who are having all the babies are probably not the women who are reading Michael Jones's diatribe in Westword. Check the demographics. Also, check the stats on the influx of grownups from other states in recent years -- all full-blown consumers. They create a need for sprawl more than all the new natives we keep churning out.

Jim Bernath

Mirror, mirror: In his recent and (decidedly misogynistic) commentary, reader Michael S. Jones seeks to straighten us all out on growth and urban sprawl. He lays the blame for the imminent extinction of our species on vacuous, insecure females and their hordes of progeny: "Goddamn babies," he repeatedly cries!

Sorry, Hoss, but your lofty logic and offensive invective are just garden-variety American piggishness, quoted chapter and verse.

The fact is (supported by the preponderance of scientific evidence) that life on our planet is imperiled primarily by conspicuous consumption, waste and the capricious use of natural resources, which so happens to place the burden squarely, though not so easily, on our shoulders.

Turn off your air conditioner, Michael, and sweat. Spend your vacation at home in the park. Don't fly off on some contrived adventure. Dump your land barge and carpool to work with fifty other people on the bus. Think more, eat less and abandon the holy tenet that for you, a Western consumer, the world exists as your personal, experiential plaything. Never get suckered when Dubya or any of his oil-patch trash handlers talk (misty-eyed!) about protecting your sacrosanct "American standard of living."

Look for the truth, Michael. You'll find it in the "goddamn" mirror.

Mark Oatis

Sister act: As a young child, I asked my parents a classic question: May I have another sister? I was four when my father first explained the concept of social responsibility to me: I could not have another sister because my parents were two people and therefore felt they shouldn't bring more than two people into this world. As a four-year-old, I understood that every action I take and choice I make has a profound impact on the world around me. Since that day, my father and I have had countless conversations about overpopulation, its causes and remedies, and the ramifications of breeding. As an adult and a woman, I have chosen not to have children, but rather to be a mother by other means someday.

That said, Michael S. Jones, you are an idiot. I find myself torn, agreeing with much of what you believe but shaking my head at the rest. Do you, in fact, see most mothers as uncourageous, spineless, mindless creatures who draw their only sense of value from their children? If so, I feel truly sorry for you. Most of the mothers I know are extraordinary, well-rounded people who think for themselves and have made huge sacrifices for their children in order to raise extraordinary, well-rounded people.

These women you blame, many of them women of strength and character, make choices that you and I disagree with. For you to berate women who choose to have more than two children, to view them as essentially worthless, will never help the problem. Have you ever thought about working with communities where large families are the norm, perhaps helping to distribute condoms or speaking about the impact large families can have? Has it occurred to you that one of the key contributors to large families is an education issue? Did you ever take a sex ed class, when they explained that conception requires the egg of a woman and the sperm of a man? Or do you sit on your high horse in Boulder, comfortable in the belief that you are not in any way responsible for the problems that you mention?  

You treat population growth as if it were some mythical beast visited upon the innocent citizenry by maniacal women. It is not. It is caused by biological imperatives and centuries-old belief structures that scream "Breed! Breed!" It is caused by a lack of availability of birth control. It is caused by a lack of education. It is caused by popes, spouses and cultures. It is caused by ignorance of social responsibility. It is, sometimes, caused by individuals (both men and women) for whom having babies is the only thing that makes them feel special. Do not remove yourself from the equation, for we are all a part of the circle of responsibility.

If the editors will allow me a moment of immaturity, let me say that were the world a fair and just place, you, Michael S. Jones, would never get laid.

Betty Aldworth

Don't Touch Up That Dial!

Radio daze: I just read Marty Jones's August 16 "Rock's in Their Genes," about the 3rd Degree CD-release party, and had a few thoughts. First, it's obvious that these guys have worked very hard to get their music careers going. Hats off, and good for them -- I hope they're successful in their endeavor. From the article, it seems that the main thrust of their CD is to get on the radio; again, I hope they're successful.

But for me, the drawback is that I haven't heard much profound, creative music on the radio in many years; in fact, the radio has never been known as a fountain of great art, especially in the past thirty years or so. I do try and listen to a variety of stations, and from what I hear (in a number of different styles, not just pop/rock), there's a certain blandness, a decidedly middle-of-the-road, don't-rock-the-boat sort of approach to the music that gets played on the air. Of course, it's not much different from the shows on TV or the majority of movies that get produced; maybe that has something to do with the increasingly corporate ownership of the media outlets. For those of us who want something a mite deeper, it's a bit frustrating. When I hear of a "radio-friendly" band these days, I pretty much assume that there's going to be very little emotional/spiritual depth and a general lack of creativity and individuality. That's really a drag ( I'd love to be proven wrong).

Isn't it ironic that Malcolm Bruce was involved in the recording of this album? His dad's band was one of my all-time favorites and, outside of "Sunshine of Your Love," received very little airplay in its day. Yet it's generally regarded as one of the most important rock bands of all time. Perhaps airplay translates into some sort of fame and fortune, but it often doesn't add up to the best in music. I would love to see young bands like the 3rd Degree take their talents and apply them to pushing the envelope a bit. There's all sorts of very commercial pop/rock bands today, and very few who are doing anything of much interest; I'd love to see that change. I haven't been musically challenged, or surprised, by anything on the radio since the late '60s, and that's a drag.

Neil Haverstick

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