Sin and Tonic

Letters to the Editor

Join the club: Thank you! David Holthouse's "Sip of Fools," in the July 18 issue, finally speaks the truth about GHB and its effects. I've been to Amsterdam and have seen a lot of the "partying" that goes on there. It's an outrage that the owners would put someone's life in jeopardy to save their run-down club.

I have worked in and enjoyed the club scene for years, and I know it is not the policy to let people who have overdosed be carried off by friends who most likely have taken drugs themselves. Most club owners and employees know that the customers are what makes the party, so they show respect and make that 911 call for them -- but I guess we all know now that Amsterdam won't. Maybe they should rethink their promotional tactics!

Name withheld on request

Minor League

Declaration of independents: After reading Patricia Calhoun's "Minor Irritants," in the July 18 issue, I wonder what Allison Maynard is doing running for Colorado attorney general. She should be running for president!

Until we have real campaign finance reform, we will continue to have the scandals that seem to get worse by the day. In politics, business as usual is a dirty business indeed.

Judy Hanover

Losers, weepers: I find it hard to believe that Patricia Calhoun could not find anything more important in the political arena to write about than one woman's shameless bid to grab free publicity with groundless accusations about our current attorney general. We want to read about candidates who have a chance, not losers who will just be bigger losers in November.

Ronnie Black
via the Internet

It's my party...Thank you so much for the nice articles you have written regarding small parties, including my favorite, the Libertarian Party, in Patricia Calhoun's July 18 "The Life of the Party."

Sorry -- I may be a little biased, since I'm running for House District 29. Since we Libs don't really have much money, not accepting money from any big companies and all, it's nice to have some "free" advertising. Thank you for showing news, and not just looking for the groundbreaking news, but the real news!

Hans Romer

Leggo My Ego

The importance of being Jason: Ever since I first picked up your newspaper six years ago, I have looked forward to the restaurant reviews. They are the first thing I turn to. Kyle Wagner knew food and had a readable, fun -- if sometimes brutal -- style. I was really disappointed when I turned to the July 18 restaurant review and found a new name. I apparently caught Jason Sheehan's maiden effort and, hopefully, his swan song. The review was appalling.

I had trouble wading through the psycho-babble and figuring out if the food at Venice was good or not. Sheehan made it sound like the restaurant was a find, then said the food was not good, not bad. It is not clear through the whining, but I take it his companion never showed up the second night, as he reviewed only one entree. This column is not supposed to be about Jason, but about food.

And the "bike" scenario -- was the "delete" key broken on the editor's typewriter? It is beyond good taste. I only hope that you see fit to print the letters that are sure to pour in from the Anti-Defamation League.

Then we get treated to Bite Me and Sheehan's CV. Who cares? Does he tell us where he was chef? No -- but we do know that he doesn't like celery. I know I was waiting for this tidbit of information with bated breath.

In a field like restaurant reviewing, where a review can make or break a restaurant, it is important to have someone who is less involved with his ego -- as in, "That's enough about me, let's talk about you, what did you think of me?" -- and truly knowledgeable about food and service and who uses some objective criteria. Yes, I know taste is subjective -- but there are some things in food that are a given. That's why you can get universal agreement about really good and really bad restaurants; it is those in the middle that are more affected by subjectivity.

I hope the guy does not have a contract with the newspaper. I would love to know how he got the job. Was there a shortage of applicants? Here's hoping next time I pick up Westword, there will be a different byline on the Cafe column.

Billie Frank
Fort Collins

Bio feedback: I just wanted to send a quick note (from a steady reader of the Cafe section) to say thanks for Jason Sheehan's bio in the Bite Me column. I feel like the more I know about where a critic is coming from, the better I can appreciate (and choose to agree with or ignore) his criticisms.

Best of luck to Jason and his stomach! Looking forward to his columns.

Rob Palmer
via the Internet

Can We Be Frank?

He never sausage a thing: As a dot-commer who has been laid off for nearly a year, I was insulted by Marty Jones's "And the Wiener Is...," in the July 18 issue.

I, along with twenty others, lost my job last August, when our Denver-based Internet company was sold off. The divestiture was business, and I am not writing to cry over it.

What I am writing about is interviewee Coe Meyer's absolutely insulting comment: "I've had so much fun watching all these Internet people go up the wire and come back down again."

I was impressed by the profits Meyer claims his franchisees can make. It's a hell of a lot more than we made. And while we had air-conditioning and (gasp) a foosball table, we did not "go to work every day and stand there for eight hours." No, it was more like twelve hours a day.

We worked hard and produced a good product. How dare Meyer be so disrespectful? I would never disparage nor wish hard times on a hot-dog vendor. Just don't expect me to buy a dog if the "Woody's Chicago Style" logo is on the umbrella.

Does Meyer think hardworking and ambitious people enjoy unemployment? Does he think watching an industry implode from the inside is fun? His hateful and sadistic comment smacks of anti-intellectualism and reverse snobbery. What a pathetic card to play.

Shame on you, Meyer.

Gregory Thilmont

In the Pink

Rose-colored asses: I'm writing in response to John La Briola's July 11 "Pink-ronicity." In it, he accurately identifies the alleged synchronous moments shared by The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. But wouldn't those "synchroncities" occur between just about any musical film and any musical recording? Try, say, Mary Poppins with Michael Jackson's Thriller. Was this "Pink-Oz" coincidence simply a marketing ploy on the parts of the label and production company to massage promotions for remastered releases? Where did the knowledge of this "coincidence" originate? That's one of the questions left unanswered.

Another unanswered question concerns the problem with the differences in length between the two pieces. And here I have a solution. Following the alleged "Pink-Oz" mythos, what's the most logical next step to take? Why, put on the next chronological Pink Floyd record, of course! Where Dark Side leaves off with Dorothy listening to the Tin Man's heartbeat, the listener should then skip the majority of side one of Wish You Were Here, cueing up to track two, "Welcome to the Machine." The "synchronicities" magically appear once again. And by the time the Oz crew reaches the Emerald City, the Floyd boys are singing "Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts VI-IX)."

What next? Why, Animals! Eyes and ears transfixed in wonderment as "Pigs on the Wing" syncs up with the flying monkeys ripping the stuffing out of the Scarecrow and kidnapping Dorothy. And then "Dogs" comes in as Toto escapes the witch's castle to find the rest of the crew and leads them back to Dorothy's rescue. Dorothy's fantastic trip home is completed with "Pigs on the Wing 2: Joy."

Don't believe it? This weekend, go home, dust off your bong and see/hear for yourself.

Brian Comerford
via the Internet

Renaissance Man

Just the 'fax: Concerning the July 18 Backwash comparing the Squire to Sancho's and Dulcinea's 100th Monkey, it's all about the music. I've been a Capitol Hill resident for some years and walk past the Squire several times a week, but it was only after reading your article that, in hindsight, I remembered a sign about "new owners," or something like that. To my knowledge, there's no live music, so there's been no reason for me to set foot inside.

On the topic of "new blood" in these New Colfax establishments, Sancho's and Dulcinea's 100th Monkey will be successful for simple reasons: The changes are from the inside out, not superficial cosmetic changes. Once again, it's all about the music. The leftover regulars from the old Golden Nugget and Music Box can be counted on one hand. It's not unusal to see someone from the old days, or at least appearing to be such a person, stop cold in his steps, look around and then leave. While riding bus #15 (East Colfax), I overheard a woman complaining that "the Music Box has turned into a damned jazz bar." She got off the the bus and went to Harry's. Others from the old days are probably going to Harry's, the Roslyn Grill, etc.

Here are some predictions on what effect Dulcinea's 100th Monkey will have on the local jazz scene: It will only get better. Dulcinea's is the alternative to the alternative. The options for jazz gigs are limited: The leading jazz bar won't allow "new music" after the bebop era, while other so-called jazz bars have DJs on weekends. I expect more and more musicians to check out Dulcinea's, especially when school starts this fall. Dulcinea's will also be a place where musicians from both the University of Denver and Auraria will gather. Heretofore, I've seen very little of that happening. I am of the belief that a town's music scene is influenced by the local music schools. The most obvious example is Berklee College of Music in Boston; to a lesser degree, Greeley and Fort Collins are other examples.

Jazz on Colfax is going to be a fun ride. Instead of Harlem, are you ready for the Colfax Renaissance?

Darnell Holland

A Family Affair

Peeling off layers: Thank you for Julie Jargon's "Divorced From Reality," her July 11 article on Colorado Family Court reform. I attended one of the public forums held by the Family Court Commission; I was one of two parents at the forum who had experienced the Colorado family courts. Others present were individuals who worked with the family courts. A followup to the article could be the roles "child advocates" serve in family court. These roles add a second layer within the family courts that has little accountability.

Child-advocate roles include: special advocate, CASA, child representative, child advocate, custody evaluator (now more commonly referred to as parenting-time evaluator or parenting-plan coordinator or shared-parenting coordinator) and parent coordinator. Not all of the roles are in Colorado law. The parent-coordinator role is not in law, but some courts have appointed parent coordinators. Some special advocates have parents sign a parent-coordinator agreement.

Policies or guidelines exist or are being developed for persons serving in some of the child-advocate roles. Policies and plans are not measurable or enforceable and do not guarantee consistent standards of practice. Inconsistencies in processes and practices exist among roles and among those serving as child advocates.

Followup as to the outcome of the children served by the child advocates is not required. A consistent set of parent-education guidelines explaining rights and responsibilities and defining terms or processes associated with a child-advocate role do not exist. The attorney general's office has no set of checks and balances regarding child advocate roles.

Parents have the right to switch attorneys, dentists or doctors if they feel they are not serving their family's best interests or cannot work with them. Parents do not have the right to select a different child advocate. A parent can request that the courts remove the child advocate, but the courts seldom do. The assumption is that the child advocate is right, the parent is wrong. Professional oversight is lacking.

School is to a child much like a job is to an adult, yet interfacing with schools in the child-advocate process is optional. Classroom teachers report horror stories as to the difficulty of trying to help children achieve academically when a hotel-like parenting plan had been developed by the child advocate for parents who have different discipline philosophies, and when communication between parents is strained or non-existent.

Tens of thousands of dollars of family financial resources and state resources are spent on child-advocate and litigation processes in Colorado family courts -- yet there is little accountability or followup on the outcomes of the children.

Please consider reporting further on this.

Name withheld on request


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