A sorry development: I was disgusted by everything I read in Alan Prendergast's October 3 "Viva Las Villa!" Even if all of the developers at the Parade of Homes were on the up and up, the excessive displays -- too much living space, too much water, too much sprawl -- would be horrifying. But with his behavior, Paul Lambert is the living embodiment of why the word "developer" has become an abomination to the people who care about Colorado.
Home wasn't built in a day: Paul Lambert does build great homes, but after you buy one, he's gone. He has hired Pro-Home as a go-between for him and the buyer. Their job is to tell the buyer where they're wrong and protect Lambert from any expenses of having to fix anything that is wrong -- and rightfully his to fix.
Pro-Home is a joke, and any builder who uses them is not a builder you want to do business with. It is one lie after another. Lambert wears you out so much that we just went and got everything fixed to avoid a year of arguing. He really doesn't care what the buyer is dissatisfied with. Our oven and microwave are inferior to the one in the model home, and he refuses to fix the problem, instead telling us that in the contract, it only states that he is furnishing a microwave and an oven. I think the buyer would assume the appliances in the model would be the same, but shame on me for being so stupid. We did business with a guy who doesn't really care. As the saying goes, "Buyer beware." Even if you get it in writing, Lambert will wear you out.
He has two homes next to us that have been on the market for over a year, and every time a potential buyer asks about our thoughts, guess what we tell them?
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Siding special: I had to hold my sides while reading "Viva Las Villa!" What a great article!
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Wop! There it is: As a person of Italian ancestry, I found Stuart Steers's "The Watermelon King," in the October 10 issue, to be of great interest. It was not until I moved to Colorado from the Northeast a few years ago that I was aware of the Italian immigrant community that existed in Colorado at the turn of the last century. I also found "Columbus Day Forecast: Stormy," the article on the Columbus Day controversy, to be informative and evenhanded.
One slight quibble I had with that article was over the word "wop." The "without papers" origin is an urban myth. The word actually derives from the Naples dialect word guappo (pronounced "gwappo"), which roughly translates to "thug" or "bully." Most collegiate dictionaries have this etymology listed, as does the book Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States, by Bill Bryson. It is thought that non-Italians picked up this word in much the same way as other non-English words enter the language.
Again, I found both articles to be informative and interesting.
The white stuff: You know, regarding the Columbus Day controversy, it's actually pretty simple if you think about it. Italians, Irish, English, Germans, French or whoever all came to this land from somewhere else. Then, over a period of a couple hundred years, these foreign groups proceeded to take the land from its rightful inhabitants in a most dishonorable fashion. The result is called the United States of America. And it's all historical fact: Read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown, to see the gory details for yourself.
"America" is built on the backs of many ancient nations, and the fact that we've been here a few hundred years doesn't change that reality. We rightfully "own" this land as much as the Dutch owned South Africa, or the British owned India, or the French owned Algeria. The Euros have a nasty habit of going around the world and assuming they have the right to take whatever they want. Not so. Thus, to celebrate Columbus, who the Indians see as the man who got the whole colonial ball rolling, is not only a slap in the face to their whole culture, but a tacit approval of the mentality that thinks it's okay for white guys to dominate whoever they want in the name of "civilization."
I think this way of thinking is deeply sick and should stop now.
A slave to facts: I am not of Italian background and do not go to parades. Since it is so easy to point a finger and not take responsibility or share blame, Columbus is the scapegoat for slavery and disease in the New World.
The Aztec, Mayan, Toltec and Inca Indians all had slaves who were used to build lavish temples -- so slavery was already here. As Spain conquered Mexico and South America with ruthless and barbaric conquistadors like Cortez and Pizarro, thousands of Indians were killed and tortured to submit. I notice there is no mention of these conquistadors by the anti-Columbus Day factions.
Which institution benefited from the enslavement of Indians? Which institution used Indian slave labor for 300 years to build ever-larger temples called cathedrals? Which institution used force, not love and acceptance, to make the Indians worship a new god and savior and give up their "pagan pantheistic" religion? Which church condoned slavery from the 1400s to 1823? Hint: Its headquarters are in Rome.
If you look at the great Mexican muralist Diego Rivera's work, you can see Cortez and Catholic priests kissing the cross as a new church is built by Indian and Mexican slaves toiling in the hot sun for the glory of "their" new Christian god, which helped to enslave them. Yet their descendants worship the same religion that helped enslave their ancestors.
The man who would be King: As an American Indian and a Chicana, I am very disturbed by some of the comments in Stuart Steers's Columbus Day article. First, how could someone compare the murderer Christopher Columbus to a man who believed in peace, Martin Luther King Jr.? You can't! Columbus was a man full of greed. He was in search of gold. He was no great navigator; he was just a man who became lost at sea and happened to land on an island he had no idea existed! He didn't discover anything! He was an evil man who raped and murdered my ancestors. Age or gender didn't bother him. He killed more indigenous people than Hitler killed Jews. And this man has his own holiday! This is an insult to my people! This day known as Columbus Day is only a constant reminder of the oppression we have suffered and are still suffering today!
Why would any person of Italian descent want to celebrate this man who represents only murder and genocide? He is no hero! He didn't discover anything! This land was already occupied by indigenous people! We lived in peace and harmony for thousands of years before he came along and destroyed it.
To have a holiday such as Columbus Day is equal only to having an Adolf Hitler Day. They both represent the same value: genocide. The only difference between the two is that Hitler never succeeded in wiping out the Jews. Columbus wiped out many indigenous populations! So before any more comparisons are made between Christopher Columbus and Martin Luther King Jr., take a look at their accomplishments. Martin Luther King Jr. was never a murderer; he didn't commit any crimes against humanity. He was a man of great honor, and he deserves his holiday. If it wasn't for him, all people of color would still have no rights! If it wasn't for him, Colin Powell would not be where he is today. There would be no shows like Oprah or Montel Williams. Christopher Columbus did none of the above, like Martin Luther King Jr. He did the opposite. He was not a man of peace and great honor. He was taken back to Spain in chains because of the crimes he had committed toward indigenous peoples.
So with that in mind, we are not protesting this "holiday" because "we are mad that Columbus came to our land" (that can't be fixed), but we are protesting what he stands for. He deserves neither praise nor honor.
Can't we all just get along? I recognize that Native Americans have suffered horribly since Europeans came to this land. But many of the people who came here left behind countries where they, too, were persecuted. And in many cases, they were not welcomed here with open arms. If the Irish are allowed to celebrate their heritage with St. Patrick's Day -- and I don't see anyone protesting that parade -- the Italians should be able to celebrate their heritage, too.
The beast of Denver: I wholeheartedly agree with Michael Roberts's take on KCFR in the October 10 Message. I did not hear the so-called "Potato Ball" incident, but had I, I would have been furious and amused -- amused by KCFR's seeming utter incompetence. And I certainly would not have been surprised. For I, too, have heard many such cases of "oops" from announcers who seemed to be talking live, relaying that some story would be coming up "in the next hour" -- when that story had just completed. If I were one of KCFR's announcers, I would be furious at these gaffes, for they would be making me look like an idiot.
KCFR's problems aren't all technical ones, of course. And I would be very saddened if it used its contributors' charitable donations to buy more public-radio stations, such as the (currently) superb KRCC in Colorado Springs. Perhaps those thinking of donating to KCFR should stop and contemplate whether donating would actually be a good thing...or perhaps simply a means to feed the beast that seeks to fill every minute of airtime (even time that used to be filled with news) with endless lists of corporate contributors.
War and piece: The September 26 "The City" cartoon reminded me of a few more quotes, including another from Shakespeare: "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
And my favorite: "Patriotism means being loyal to your country all the time and to its government when it deserves it." -- Mark Twain
And just for good measure: "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." -- Herman Goering
And this: "The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, (and) more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces, as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe...corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed." -- Abraham Lincoln
Thank you for a great paper.
Choice meet: A few weeks ago, I submitted a letter defending the writing style of then-new food critic Jason Sheehan. I still defend his choice in words, but now I have a bone to pick with him about another choice -- his choice in the restaurants he critiques.
I used to look forward to opening up to the Cafe section to read a review of a restaurant I might actually go to and read about food I might actually eat. I'm not looking for a review of mainstream crappy restaurants like the Macaroni Grill or Chevy's, but it's like he's gone to the opposite end of the spectrum. It seems as if he tries to find the most hole-in-the-wall-ass establishments he can find in some attempt to prove his superior knowledge and tastes in food. But there are too many good restaurants in Denver that people (including myself) will actually go to.
Jason, keep up the good writing, but slow down the reviews of Ma & Pa's Outback Sugarshack and Grill/Laundromat.
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Boo who! Michael Roberts's "A Different Qwest," in the October 3 issue, was a great story. But as Kelly David's youngest sister, I must say he failed to mention how his family uses his music. It's so creepy that his nephews (my boys) blast his music out the windows on Halloween night as part of our "haunted house" theme.
Scares the neighborhood kids so much they don't even want to trick or treat at our house!
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