Rocky Mountain highballs: What can I say? Patricia Calhoun's "Conspiracy Nuts," her July 4 column "in search of the lost boys of summer," was just about the funniest thing I've read in months. In a PC world where everything seems so dire at times, I can always count on Westword to provide that unique, untamed, no-smoke-and-mirrors-and-other-assorted-bullshit perspective on real-life, local scenarios.
Simply put: You rock! I loved this article. Sure, it didn't provide me with a more heightened sense of awareness on the state of the globe. Sure, it didn't uncover some insidious corporate and/or political and/or religious scandal. But it sure did give me a good laugh, and for that I thank you. You took what many would consider to be a very "sensitive" situation and reported on it factually and, more importantly, with humor.
I'm most appreciative of how you exposed John Temple for the idiot (some would argue that "liar" might be a more appropriate term) that he truly is (he must be a fool if he thinks we're buying that "shadow" story). I don't care what his Rocky Mountain News poll shows (hell, based on recent events, he probably wouldn't even recognize his own pole if it appeared on the front page of a major, local publication). And what's up with him showing these supposed "proof-pics" to his eleven-year-old kid? What would be her point of reference when it comes to identifying a grown man's right nut? Oh, well. No matter.
Anyway, sincere thanks for a wonderful article. Keep up the excellent work.
Name withheld on request
The ball's in his court: Patricia Calhoun may have thought her "Conspiracy Nuts" was humorous; I found it sophomoric. With all that's going on in the world, surely she has bigger concerns than men's genitalia showing when they wear shorts.
Will she give equal time to the topic of women in shorts?
via the Internet
The thigh's the limit: It seems that women are going out of their way to complain about the "lost boys of summer," a euphemism for testicles visible through leg openings in men's shorts. In fact, it does take some effort to notice these exposed "ham and eggs"; one has to be purposefully looking to spot such an exposure. The photograph of Mr. Fred Finlay on the cover of the News is proof of this. Somebody had to be looking extremely closely to spot what might, maybe possibly, be an exposure of a scrotum.
On the other hand, us guys love to see the sights offered by young women in their prime. What man doesn't delight in seeing the bottom portion of a young girl's buttocks slightly exposed beneath a pair of short shorts? And what man does not enjoy seeing a glimpse of a lovely pair of firm young breasts partly exposed by summer outfits? But then there are the women who cannot seem to acknowledge that they are past their prime. You've seen them: cellulite-laden thighs exposed by far too short shorts, and breasts that would hang straight down were it not for the rigid support of a brassiere.
Give us a break, ladies: If you're over 25, look in the mirror before you put on an outfit designed for fit and trim high school girls. Spare us the sight. After all, we don't have to purposefully look up the legs of your shorts to be turned off; the blubberous thighs are there for all to see.
Kenneth C. Beaudrie
Fit to be tried: You managed to serve up most of them in Eric Dexheimer's July 4 "No Sweat," so let's take a big, sloppy bite out of a couple of myths about fat, fitness and kids.
First of all, current "expert" opinions on what makes a person overweight are generalized and/or politicized to the point of uselessness. For example, by most such scales, as a six-foot-tall (adult) male, my optimal "healthy" weight is about 175-180 lbs. But by the time you reach your early twenties, you have all the muscle you is gonna get, and sans Schwarzeneggerian drugs, you can only bulk up so far; genetics is genetics. So the only way I can go over about 165 is to adopt a strict Bud and Ding Dongs diet and pack on the fat -- oops, I mean "love handles."
Another chunky myth is that our kids are gonna do what they're gonna do -- and eat what they are gonna eat -- and we, as mere parents, are powerless to do anything about it. Onion sauce, I say! The two primary causes of fat kids are Mom and Dad. Parents who allow their kids to plant themselves in front of a screen and stuff their faces with fatty, high-carb and sugary snacks get fat kids. If you supersize your kids at McDucks and The Bell five times a week, your son is gonna be "husky." If you have a very progressive "open pantry" policy in your home, your daughters will pay double fares on certain airlines. Some parents, it's true, want fat boys so Dad can relive his own gridiron glory days through his obese son. Most parents of fat kids, however, are just plain ignorant of what causes fat kids and/or are too lazy to do anything about it.
Finally, let's render the idea that we can de-fat kids with various government-sponsored programs. My kids are thin, energetic as starving shrews and almost never get to eat in front of the tube, but they always get to watch Dad exercise like a gerbil on meth -- and eat like one, too. Yet I can't get them to walk around the block without twenty feet of chain and a mule, and if I so much as whisper the word "carrot" to them, I find social services banging at the door to investigate child abuse. So what makes the Colorado Governor's Council for Physical Fitness think they can get the kind of lazy, ignorant parents who plop an eight-year-old in front of MTV with a Supergrab of Doritos (and think "exercise" is what they get running to the 'loo to drain off that Suitcase of Classic Coke) to go through the effort it will take to get their kid out on the track? Fat chance.
Mind over matter: I just wanted to thank you for Alan Prendergast's wonderful article "Hidden Damage," in the June 27 issue. He did a beautiful job of storytelling, including a complete (not romanticized) picture of Ms. McClelland and her dedicated attorneys and their courageous fight for dignity and justice. I was near tears at the end of this remarkable story.
I do hope you will keep your readers informed about the ultimate outcome of this case after the appeals process has run its course.
Arthur C. Jones
Shrink to fit: I wonder if the "name withheld psychiatrist" -- the would-be brain-injury "expert" whose July 4 letter insinuates that because Sunserea McClelland left high school early (the story doesn't say a thing about her "flunking out," as the letter writer falsely contends) and was married and divorced with two kids by the age of 21, that means she has "significant emotional problems" -- was part of the Snake Farm, oops, I mean, State Farm insurance "dream team" (more like a nightmare) of doctors? Probably not, but I wouldn't be surprised. The similar sort of garbage pushed by Snake Farm and its venal "team" is probably a big reason they lost the case. Not very bright if you think about it.
Congratulations to Greg Gold and Tom Metier for not being intimidated by the bully tactics of Snake Farm and its "I'm coming after you personally!" lawyer John Rodman, and for representing their client in a exemplary fashion.
Brain drain: I also got a head injury in a car crash; it has been frustrating as heck. I used to be a capable, multitasking maniac, doing many things at once and doing them well. Now I can barely type 45 wpm (I used to type 80-100 wpm). My husband is kind, understanding, patient.
I also have manic depression and sometimes it feels like I am the only person suffering from such brain problems. However, with meds, a good doctor, great husband and faith, I am getting better. I may never be back to the wild, active, high-achieving person I was, but life can be good.
Ms. McClelland sounds like a great person, and I wish her the best of luck. Thank you so much for the story.
Silent knight: Alan Prendergast's story was well-written. It is sad that I encounter this every day of my life. I am a "neurolawyer"; for over twenty years I have represented traumatic-brain-injury survivors. They are the silent epidemic. Good job!
Stephen M. Smith
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Worth the read: I'd like to compliment Alan Prendergast on a wonderfully written article. It's rare to find a piece of journalism these days that is truly worth reading; this one was. It was simple but eloquent; it was emotional, but not maudlin. It was detailed, but not dry.
This is easily one of the best stories I have read in years.
The good doctor: Dr. Frederick Miller reminds me of a greedy vulture who seeks to devour the injured. He is also used by the Colorado Department of Corrections. It is a disgrace that he makes a living doing the dirty work for the shameless. It would be interesting to know the amount of "expert witness" work he does, and for whom.
Snake oil: Driving two kids around in an Eclipse? Sunserea McClelland should have been arrested for child neglect.
State Farm is a snake farm. My in-laws were killed by a driver who fell asleep. It took the driver's company, Snake Farm, nine months to pay the policy limit for the elder of the two, since the company tried to say that the older you are, the less we should have to pay. If the driver had not died, we would have gone for more.
And State Farm was the victims' insurer, too!
Trial by ire: Thanks for a terrific article exposing what is going on in literally thousands of cases every day across the country. In my experience as a trial attorney, most journalists just don't get it when it comes to civil-justice issues, and it was refreshing to know that at last one writer understands exactly what's going on.
San Jose, California
There auto be a law: Thank you, Alan Prendergast, for a well-written, informative piece. Your presentation reminds me that not all lawyers are "bad guys" preying on the rest of us. Mr. Gold, Mr. Metier and other law professionals with their standards do not receive enough positive feedback for their heroic efforts.
As for State Farm, I'm hoping your article will prompt hordes of their existing policyholders to find insurance coverage elsewhere.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bland ambition: The problem with the editorial pages is not duplication; it's dullness (Michael Roberts's "The Times of Our Life," July 4).
Who cares if the Post and the News carry duplicate columns? Neither paper has the balls to print truly interesting, thought-provoking commentary; look beyond the superficial differences between the columnists, and you'll see nothing that can't be labeled mainstream. Standard opinions, conventionally expressed, with little (if any) original thought or analysis -- that's the damn problem. And most of them don't write well, either.
I exempt Ed Quillen; he's the only one worth reading.
A matter of Coors: Cheers to Michael Roberts's June 27 Message, "A Brewing Disagreement," about the continuing Coors controversy. Solidarity to the National Lawyers Guild for keeping this issue before the public. Shame on the wishy-washy apologists who continue to try to make a distinction between the Coors company and the Coors family. The distinction is nonexistent. They are one and the same, folks. Even a Coors spokesperson confirmed in Roberts's article that 100 percent of the company's voting stock is held by Coors family members.
Although Roberts did a good job of naming various conservative groups with which Coors family members are allied, there was one he left out. The Advocate newspaper reported six months ago that Peter Coors serves on the board of the Denver council of the Boy Scouts of America (a group notorious for its "no gays" policy), which got nearly $150,000 in donations from Coors last year.
Today's organized conservative movement would not exist if it weren't for Joe Coors, who came along in the 1960s and gave lots of funding to give conservatism an organized voice. When Coors family members continue nowadays to donate money to conservative causes, are the wishy-washy defenders of Coors really naive enough to think that Coors so-called "personal" money fell from the sky and not did not originate with the company?
When Coors donates to Latino and gay causes and simultaneously donates to anti-Latino and anti-gay causes, what kind of schizophrenic message is that? Moreover, I am disturbed by the prostitute mentality of those who take Coors money and run, then say, "We don't care where our money comes from."
Chicano activists were the first to boycott Coors. Despite some modern-day Hispanics who take Coors money, many of us Chicano/a activists do not forget, do not forgive and continue to boycott.
All in the family: I was happy to see the truth come out about Coors's continuing suppression of gays and lesbians. Yes, Coors has LAGER (the gay employees' group), but Ms. Valdez didn't claim PACE, an employees' group that Coors started to offset LAGER. She didn't mention the thousands of dollars this group funnels to anti-gay politicians' election campaigns, such as that of state senator Marilyn Musgrave of northeast Colorado, who has pushed for banning gay marriages.
What Roberts's article proved is that Out Front, like many gays and the Tavern Guild, has sold out to the rhetoric that the Coors Brewing Company is shelling out, trying to distance itself from the family. Out Front refused to print the National Lawyers Guild ad, saying it was too controversial. The Coors ads are controversial because they appear in a gay paper -- and I don't see Out Front turning them away! Yes, Coors gives a few thousand to gay events, trying to buy our loyalty, but then it gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-gay causes. There isn't even a balance here! And I will not separate the family from the business. They are one and the same as long as the family owns 100 percent of the voting stock!
Gays and lesbians should band together and boycott Out Front, the new conservative paper in Denver, and continue boycotting Coors. Show them that we will not have our rights taken away. Our (my) freedom of speech and press has been compromised by the very paper that states it is here as a voice to our community. Now we know what community it is for: big money and, especially, Coors's. It is no wonder Out Front was dropped as the Denver Pride Committee's chosen "voice" and replaced by Diverse City.
Thank you, Westword; again, you enlighten us. However, let's not forget to mention Coors's terrible environmental record!
Put it in mothballs: Having been a fervent fan of Cirque du Soleil since Quidam came to Denver, I was sadly disappointed at the quality of Alegría. Juliet Wittman obviously has not seen Eau, Mystiere, Quidam or Dralion, or she would have had less difficulty writing an honest review of this production ("Circus Reinvented," June 20). She did find some words, however, and would have been better off leaving out all those "dizzy adjectives."
I honestly thought this must be a "training ground" for performers. Where is my "night moth" flying on ethereal wings of silk that lift him up and down, round and round, caught now and again in the lights of the night? Was that metallic insect in Alegría supposed to do or be something? Where is something equivalent to the strength, beauty and logistics of movement of the two powerful men who showed their grace and talent, slowly moving into unbelievable configurations using only each other's bodies as fulcrums? Was the dismal, roaring "wild man" supposed to be the replacement for that display of true talent? Send him back to Barnum & Bailey, where he belongs, along with the stupid honking clown used as "filler." The "band" was a joke: canned music with a few clowns.
For someone who has seen the best, this was a feeble attempt at "awesome" and made me weep with disappointment. My friends, to whom I had sung the praises of past Cirque du Soleil productions, looked at me, smiled and said, "This was nice!" I tried to explain how magnificent the others were; however, as you can guess, never again will I sing Cirque's praises with joy and delight.
One of the real beauties of life, the Cirque du Soleil that thrilled the hearts of so many, has been lost. It, too, has compromised its integrity. What a pity!
Kathryn Marie Keator
In the center ring: My friends and I are still in awe after seeing Alegría. What a breathtaking performance, what gracefulness and talent. It is difficult to describe the show with mere words.
With all of the alleged animal abuse and premature animal deaths, I wonder why someone would pay to see majestic animals like elephants and tigers perform unnatural and silly tricks in other productions. Cirque du Soleil, I will be back. Again and again.
World traveler: Thank you for Julie Dunn's "Strange New World," in the July 4 issue, a wonderful introduction to the life story of David Touff. Dancing on Quicksand is one of those books that grips your soul and gives character to every precious moment. Your overview was both emotionally moving and rationally understanding, on a subject -- Alzheimer's -- of which we all need to be more aware.
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Bottom feeders: Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "The Big Cheese," in the June 6 issue, here's another possible name for Wellington Webb's documentary:
"Denver the World-Class City But the Broncos Are Back at the Bottom of the League."