The wheel thing: Thanks so much for Julie Jargon's in-depth and thorough article on Pastor Gary Davis and Church in the Wind ("Heaven on Wheels," November 7). It is refreshing to see motorcyclists portrayed in a positive manner instead of as loud, helmetless burdens to society or gun-firing gangs fighting each other over turf battles. Sure, those factions exist within our ranks, if one categorizes and stereotypes. But so, too, can inner-city-gang generalizations be made with Honda Acura owners who have lowered and customized cars. This seldom seems to be a popular media story line, and that's as it should be.
But, alas, the media hangs on to an image -- the bad-boy persona -- that even many bikers encourage so they can be weekend warriors. This image started in Laconia, New Hampshire, where, in the '60s, Hells Angels were credited with burning a car at a motorcycle rally -- yet no Angels were present. And in Hollister, California, a rally overwhelmed a small town, and Life magazine emblazoned an image in the public eye so threatening that an enterprising movie team made a movie with Marlon Brando, The Wild One, to capture the fear and loathing bikers have been labeled with ever since.
Yet as your article revealed, when it comes to helping those less fortunate, especially those among our ranks whom society too often turns from, there is a solidarity, a unity of purpose among even the baddest of the bad. Harley-Davidson, its dealerships and HOG-affiliate members regularly turn in millions of dollars to Jerry Lewis's fight against Muscular Dystrophy. Nearly every riding organization I have known does at least one charity benefit fundraiser each year -- which is as it should be, for who among us does not know someone within our own circle to whom life has dealt an unfair blow? Perhaps riding a scooter among cell-phone-wielding SUV drivers teaches us to recognize more going on around us. I mean that in the larger sense, too: to be more aware of the circle of life around us.
David Przygocki, director
High Country HOG Chapter 422
They haven't got a prayer: After reading "Heaven on Wheels," I had to write and let you know how I feel. One of the reasons so many bikers and other criminals turn to the church is that they know if they convince fellow church members they have changed their ways, they will be forgiven for crimes they have committed but may not have been caught committing. I know a large number of ex-convicts who have no intention of changing their ways; they only get smarter in the way they commit their crimes.
This includes using the church for whatever means benefit their current criminal activities. They feel very smart since they're getting away with crimes that are being blamed on others. Innocent people are being watched and being suspected of criminal activity because these so-called reformed criminals are getting back at people they feel are to blame for their problems -- prison, felonies and other punishments they bear.
What a scary world we live in when we believe the criminals and disregard the innocent just because they go to church.
Name withheld on request
The heal thing: I read Julie Jargon's "Heaven on Wheels," eagerly anticipating some good testimonies of what God has done in helping people who turn to Him. I was pleased at the loving acceptance so many of the people are finding in Jesus. However, the article is an unfinished story. The reader is left with disappointment in the plight of the woman, Peggy Papineau, who has turned to Jesus for salvation but is afflicted with a blood disease. The Gospel tells us how Jesus came full of grace and truth, how He reached out to the sinners and preached forgiveness, how He healed all who had diseases and illnesses, how He gave His life so that all who believe would live.
The grace and truth is that Jesus is willing that Peggy Papineau be cleansed and healed. Jesus said, "Believe, only believe." In the book of John, the last words Jesus spoke on the cross were: "It is finished." Jesus has healed me of many afflictions. God bless you, Peggy.
Wind energy: I just want to say "great job" on the Church in the Wind story. My wife and I met pastor Gary Davis about three years ago when we joined Riverside Baptist Church, and he's become one of our favorite people. Julie Jargon did an excellent job of telling his story. I work for the state office of Colorado's Southern Baptist churches, and I'm always looking for great stories from our churches -- skier ministries or cowboy churches. One of the great aspects of my job is meeting unique people with colorful stories. And you've met one of our more colorful people, Gary Davis. Thanks for an insightful, well-written story. I'm glad you thought his story was worth telling and shared it so wonderfully on the pages of Westword.
We're not in Kansas anymore: Regarding Robin Chotzinoff's "Suite Dreams," in the November 14 issue:
Is Karen Harris looking for Mamie's pink toilet seat in the right Abilene? It seems amazing that Ike memorabilia would be located in two cities named Abilene, especially when the Eisenhower Center, housing his boyhood home and presidential museum, are located in Abilene, Kansas.
Also, a note to Harris about catching more flies with honey than vinegar: Some of us actually like that '50s stuff, so maybe making nice about the pink and gray accessories, the ugly drapes and the "modern" furniture would have better results! By the way, we have a couple of Russel Wright-designed lawn chairs....
P.S.: On one of Ike's summer visits, in 1953, I think, my unidentified picture appeared on page one of the Rocky Mountain News as I waved -- along with a throng -- as Ike's motorcade passed by. It was a big thrill!
A sporting chance: Thanks for Michael Roberts's November 14 "Trading Places." He is to be commended for reporting a story about a real hero in a day and time when articles about negative situations frequently garner more attention than such a positive, uplifting story.
Best of the West: I produced the newscast when Steve Cyphers was anchoring sports in Syracuse, and it is without hyperbole that I say he was the best sports anchor, best writer and best person it was my pleasure to work with.
He was so highly regarded at WTVH that when the news director's position became vacant, many of us lobbied for Steve to put his name in for the job -- a very rare thing, indeed, for a sports anchor to leap to the top spot in news. He would have been terrific.
Dave Bullard, vice-president/managing editor
First place finish: Outstanding story on one of the most outstanding men in journalism. I'm a sports writer in Louisville, Kentucky, and I'd wondered why I hadn't run into Steve on the road in a while. Now I know: He's in a better place. He's as genuine as they come. Congratulations to him, and thanks for the story.
via the Internet
Slow burn: I know Daddy Bruce's heart is in the right place. He's a nice guy who means no harm. Though the presentation leaves a bit to be desired (served up in a styrofoam box with a slice of white bread), I suppose his food is okay. All that being said, I feel compelled to respond to Marty Jones's adoring "Who's Your Daddy?" in the November 7 issue.
I've lived near Daddy Bruce's restaurant for a little over a year now and am thankfully moving out. Boulder being overwhelmingly white and health-conscious, I was at first excited to be living in a neighborhood with an old-fashioned rib joint. But after moving in, I very quickly realized that Daddy Bruce's altruistic urges bring some fairly sketchy characters to the neighborhood. Daddy Bruce feeds homeless people and allows them to sleep at his restaurant, in the basement and behind his dumpster. In the parlance of a twelve-stepper, Daddy Bruce is an enabler. With no worries about where they'll sleep or what they'll eat, these homeless people are able to devote all of their resources and energy to obtaining and consuming alcohol.
In the time I've lived across the street, I've observed men urinating and vomiting in the open. Drug use and drinking are open and pervasive. I regularly have to clean empty beer bottles out of my yard. I've had to disassemble a shanty that one guy built on our property. My wife can't walk out our front door without being leered at by homeless men. I recently had to stop a guy from renting out my yard for parking during University of Colorado football games.
I'm sure that I simply sound like just another whiny Boulderite NIMBY, and I guess to an extent that's what I am. One of the reasons I'm so resentful of Daddy Bruce is that I've lost quite a bit of sympathy for the plight of some of my fellow humans. It's hard to feel sorry for an alcoholic who doesn't have the slightest interest in a cure for his disease. As I said, I know he wants to help, but Daddy Bruce is not helping these folks.
My issues with Daddy Bruce are solved: I'm moving out of his neighborhood. I just thought that any Westword readers thinking about supporting Daddy Bruce deserved to get the whole story. Hopefully, next time Marty Jones will dig a little deeper rather than simply reiterate popular mythology.
Safety first: Like Joy Frankel, who wrote a letter in your November 14 issue, I, too, am outraged by the fact that there is a shooting range at Cherry Creek State Park -- because it's one of only a few left in this area where there once were many. Obviously, Frankel has never visited the shooting range; if she had, she would know the safety precautions this range has put into place.
Where is her outrage regarding cell-phone use while driving and putting on makeup behind the wheel of the latest craze of must-have-to-keep-up-with-the-Joneses, extremely oversized semi-truck size of an SUV speeding along at 20 to 30 mph over the speed limit in clearly stopped traffic? Not to mention the environmental impact of said vehicle. Did I hear her complain about the recent child abuse in which a baby boy was burned and beaten to death by his father and mother? Where was she when the recent pet mutilations occurred in this city? The list is endless.
Joy, give me a break. Maybe you should move to the city called "a vacuum."
Oh, shoot! I find it interesting that Joy Frankel's family's "favorite way to spend summer days is visiting Cherry Creek State Park," yet she never knew that a privately operated public range is located in the park. Either she is clueless about the park, or the letter is from an anti-gun crank. I suspect the latter.
In reference to our new lieutenant governor's remarks about state help to establish more public ranges (Patricia Calhoun's "Calamity Jane," November 7), federal funds are available for construction. Colorado has to furnish the land for new ranges.
Mean, media, mode: Ms. Frankel, the shooting facility is not a "private" shooting range; it is a public range that is privately managed and is open to the public seven days a week. There are tens of thousands of legitimate gun owners in this state who are hunters or competitive shooters, or who enjoy informal target shooting and need a place to shoot. The gun owners of this state also pay taxes and are just as entitled to use state land as you are.
And concerning the editor's note, what is your point, Ms. Calhoun? Someone used poor judgment and injured themselves at the shooting range. Apparently you're trying to portray all shooters as a danger to the public. I found your comment mean-spirited and vindictive.
Critical mass: In her November 7 letter, Jennifer in Fort Collins condemns conservatives and Republicans for being closed-minded, not liberal and modern as she claims to be. She also claims Republicans don't care about the "mass majority" of people. (If that be the case, how could a Republican ever be elected to anything?) In making her points, Jennifer uses stereotypes, racial slurs ("redneck") and sweeping, derogatory generalizations about people who disagree with her and folks in the South, the Midwest and Colorado. Pardon my potentially unconstitutional, politically incorrect wish, but God save us from open-minded, liberal and modern thinkers such as Jennifer.
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Male call: Juliet Wittman's critique of The Full Monty ("Bare Necessities," October 31) made me reflect upon the criticism women have directed at female stripping for many years -- how it demeans and degrades women and that the men supporting this activity are misogynist pigs. How different things are when it is the men who are doing the stripping. In the previous week's calendar, Susan Froyd referred to The Full Monty as "a sweet working-class story" based on a "feel-good" film. Would she have used the same sentimental descriptions if the story were about six out-of-work women who started stripping at the suggestion of a woman who was about to lose visitation rights with her daughter for not keeping up with her child-support payments?
Role reversals are fine for making a point, provided they are complete role reversals; however, this theater production is nothing more than women having their cake and eating it, too. They want to see the guys get naked, but they don't want to be labeled misandrist pigs who demean and degrade men. Sorry, gals, but you can't have it both ways!
Name withheld on request