Speed Demons

Letters to the Editor

Hit or meth: Regarding David Holthouse's "Confessions of an Ephedrine Eater," in the April 24 issue:

Ephedrine is the key ingredient in meth. I used to take it all the time before I had kids. It has some really nasty adverse effects. Sure, it is great to get you up and going when you need to be. It also causes delusions, hallucinations, medical problems and so on. Now I take Metaboless and no, not for weight loss alone -- I also take it for the up effect, as well as drinking two to three pots of coffee.

Holthouse should have said that this drug taken in excess is very dangerous to your physical and mental condition, and that it tends to make you very cranky and very irritable. Although I do not believe it should be illegal (nor should marijuana be), it should be clearly stated that it may cause many problems and that it is very addictive.

Thank you for your time. I just wanted to state the facts, good and bad.

Sara Loe

Nowhere Man

Mince meet: Regarding Jason Sheehan's "Going Nowhere," in the April 17 issue, and subsequent letters:

Is Jason Whoever trying to review food or impress us with his wannabe interpretations of his surroundings? Let me not mince words: This guy is no writer. See, writers are entertaining. Jason is boring. Writers get to the point. Jason is no better than the wind he wastes our time with while describing, ahhh, a restaurant! What does the weather have to do with Rhumba? And, if you want to get technical, what does old steel look like? I grew up where steel comes from so I can tell you: rust, and absolutely not a cloudy sky.

I resent having to read meaningless descriptions of meaningless things when all I need to know is: How's the food, service and ambience at Rhumba? I don't care about his girlfriend or their relationship. I don't care what he thinks he knows about the restaurant business. If he wants to get poetic, tell him to purchase a journal. But when he's writing to an audience, I feel he needs to be informed that his audience is not captive. Here's a hint: inform, then shut up!

Finally, for the record, I have restaurant experience and the true test of a cook's knowledge has nothing to do with rice. After reading Jason Whoever's drivel I went to Rhumba and, lo and behold, the food, service and atmosphere rocked! My girlfriend (who you don't need to know a damn thing about to get my meaning) and I had a blast.

Mr. Editor, my advice to you as a reader who currently is questioning the worth of your publication: a) buy Jason Whoever a copy of William Zinsner's On Writing Well, b) fire Jason Whoever, and c) hire a real writer with an actual point to make, not one with a pseudo-agenda to impress us with all he shouldn't be telling us.

Wesley Picotte
via the Internet

Bring out your best: Simply stated, Jason Sheehan exemplifies ALL that journalism should be. A true Best of Denver.

Dave Maxon
Kansas City

Editor's note: According to the James Beard Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering the practice and appreciation of the culinary arts, Jason Sheehan is not just the Best of Denver, he's the best newspaper restaurant reviewer in the country. At a May 2 awards ceremony in New York City for winners of the 2003 James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards, Sheehan -- who joined Westword last July -- took first place in the Newspaper Restaurant Review or Critique category, winning out over critics from daily and weekly newspapers across the United States and Canada. To read Sheehan's winning reviews -- "Life on the Line," his piece on Clair de Lune that first appeared on November 21, 2002, as well as "Deli Dally," from October 10, and the August 29 "Man With a Plan" -- visit www.westword.com.

Breeding Is Fundamental

Can't stand the heat? I enjoy reading your publication when I eat out in various places. However, I notice that you seem to be very biased and unenlightened in your approach to certain issues.

I don't know who this Patricia Calhoun is, but she really showed her ignorance in her April 24 commentary, "It Takes a Pillage," when she wrote that "Foss's 'Coming American' is a disappearing breed, and good riddance." Any rancher or anyone who deals with animal husbandry knows what happens when you put young, breeding-age males with young, breeding-age females. If Ms. Calhoun should by chance observe the behavior of young canine males and young female canines who are in heat, she would certainly get some clue of the compelling nature of testosterone and estrogen in the perpetuation of their species. The whole Rocky Mountain oyster industry owes its existence to ranchers' use of the calming practice of making steers out of bull bovines. Then, too, those engaged in renting horses to would-be cowboys know the benefits of stallions turned into geldings. It seems that ivory-tower urbanite crusaders ignore the Bible's description of the need for the perpetuation of the species when it's faced with the problem of death. Estrogen to make mothers and testosterone to make fathers clearly explain things as they really are in the animal kingdom. Moses was either awfully intelligent or aware of the behavior of sheep or inspired when he wrote of the mother of all living that "your desire would be to the man," in Genesis chapter three.

Isn't it interesting that it is the females who are the leaders want to be with the males in sports, education, industry and in the military schools and other organizations? Then throw the "reasoning" compromisor of alcohol into the mix -- that's really the cause of the so-called scandal at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. I am amazed at the young female's naiveté of testosterone that makes men "testy" and makes bulls in the animal kingdom. What a mess one young naval officer made of the Navy when she could not see why "Tail Hook Society" was the name a group of young Navy officers wanted for their convention in Las Vegas. Tail, Hook(ers) and Las Vegas seem to go together. If I was a young naval officer, her refusal to accept her senior officer's counsel to not go would seem to indicate that she must have "wanted" more male attention.

This whole female crusade ignores that we have always had "career women." Look at all the nuns, etc., who have given their lives to service in the past centuries. The real losers in all this nonsense seem to be the children, who need constant loving guidance and constant vigilant care. How many young males ask the question, "Mother, where were you when I needed your help and wisdom when I made those foolish choices that led me to a life of bad choices that landed me in this trouble?" as they sit in their grown-up "time outs" in whatever correctional system residence? Ms. Calhoun, let me give you another quotation that you may never have read: "The greatest want of the world is men who are as true to duty as the needle is to the pole. Who in their inmost souls" will do what is right. Why is it that women in their desire to gain self-worth seek to destroy men's desire for self-worth? All I can say as one who grew up on a dairy is that I am just plain disgusted as I read your rantings and ravings about us "evil" men. Why do you think that our "ancient" fathers tried to keep young females and males apart in their breeding ages? Think, woman, think. Do you think they did it to "deny" those young ladies something good, or maybe to protect them?

Name withheld on request

The light stuff: There is nothing funny about the scandalous way the Air Force Academy has been treating its female cadets, and I am shocked that Patricia Calhoun would try to make light of the situation in "It Takes a Pillage."

The Air Force Academy does not need a new slogan; it needs a top-to-bottom housecleaning. And Ms. Calhoun needs to be assigned to a remedial course in feminism.

Judith Speers

What Happened?

Listing to the write: Even though Westword is a great source for finding out what has happened in Denver, it is also a great source for what will happen. Your calendar listings (and Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario and Hip Tip) are the main reason I pick up the paper each week. The new format of writing descriptions about only certain events, instead of listing everything, is a paltry substitute. Please bring back the listings.

Sandy Toland

Room to groove: Thanks so much for the wonderful article about Speaking of Dance and our tenth-anniversary season. I really appreciate Susan Froyd taking the time to talk with me and also her careful and thoughtful (and fun!) writing. Many people saw the article and enjoyed it. I think it helped our attendance as well -- we were nearly sold out on Saturday night!

The new format looks good; there's more room to read about more activities. And, alas for Susan, more room to write about more activities every week!

Deborah Reshotko

Format follows function:I have been a reader of your paper for years, and I am writing to beg you to please, please please bring back your old event calendar format!

I will dispense with delicacy and just tell you I hate the new format. I have been thumbing through the last two issues in a near panic looking for Literary Events, Call for Entries, Auditions, Openings -- and they are gone! The new departments -- Urban Experience, Sports/Outdoors, Kid Stuff, See/Be Seen, Performance -- are okay, but as a replacement for the old format, they are useless fluffy crap that is taking up twice the space and relaying a tenth of the information.

I beg you to please reconsider. I depended on those departments to hook me into what was happening all around the metro area. Because of those departments, over the years I have taken gardening classes, attended a David Sedaris reading, entered writing contests, hung out at art shows, gone to numerous theatrical events...the list goes on and on. It was the only place that small venues could get the word out about unique events.

Please reconsider. I feel all cast adrift without the listings. Hell, I'll even write the damn things; I am that desperate to get them back.

Cyd Davies
via the Internet

Editor's note: Good news, Cyd -- you never lost those listings. They're as comprehensive as ever (719 entries for last week alone), categorized according to your favorite departments (as well as a few new ones), and all available all the time online, and in type that's bigger than six point, too. We've moved the Yellow Pages-like listings to the Web in order to free up space in the print version of Westword for a more informative, and informed, guide to worthy events -- a mini Best of Denver every week.

No Ifs, Ands or Butts

Man with a ban: Regarding Jason Sheehan's Bite Me, in the May 1 issue:

I, for one, am in favor of a total smoking ban. From a health perspective, I understand Sheehan's point about alcohol. However, for many people this is a stupid argument, as sitting next to a drinker does not drive us out of bars with burning eyes or leave a foul stench on our clothes the next day.

Like many people, I could give a fuck if you want to smoke. As for it being unfair to make you smoke outside, why does your right to smoke supercede my right to enjoy a night out? And as to the argument that a ban would hurt business, I would say that for every smoker who got in his car and drove to Lakewood or Aurora to smoke, at least one person like me would go out or stay out longer than we would otherwise in Denver because we can't stand to be around the smoke. Keep our tax dollars at home.

Just as you don't see why everyone in a bar or restaurant shouldn't tolerate a small minority's smoke, I do not see why that small minority can't go outside for a few minutes to have a smoke. When I lived in Boulder, I went out and stayed out a lot longer than I do now that I live in Denver. Your smoke sucks! If you want to smoke and spoil my night, then let me know where you are drinking, because I like to puke in bars, and I'll puke next to you and get some on you, and then you'll get an idea of how non-smokers feel.

Dave Rich

Vice is nice: I think that in twenty or thirty years -- hopefully less -- we will look back on this smoker witch-hunt the way we view the Prohibition years now: as a misguided, prejudicial, control-freak approach to a non-issue.

What is the point of history if not to learn from it? I was appalled on a trip two years ago that the airports in Washington, D.C., ban smoking everywhere. Don't the rule-makers realize that this is yet another expression of our American "superiority," and a real turn-off to international visitors entering the "land of the free"?

I also find it interesting that many of the same people who want to outlaw smoking have no concerns about the health effects of their SUV air pollution (responsible for a good deal of Denver's brown cloud), and would shudder at the thought of taking the bus or buying a more environmentally friendly vehicle. That's not the American way, is it? If poor people with little political clout were the ones driving the SUVs, we would have created a proposal to ban them years ago.

It would be nice if we could ban everything we don't like, or everything that might pose some minor health threat in the future. It might be even nicer if we could all live in our own plastic bubbles and avoid having to deal with anything unpleasant. But that's not the way of a civilized society, is it?

Name withheld on request

She'll drink to that: First, kudos to Welly and Happy, although a statewide ban would be better.

Second, why is this so hard for Jason Sheehan to understand? I (and most people, I presume) don't give a rat's ass about the health of smokers. They can do anything they want to their bodies: It's a free country. But when their habit compromises my health, well, then, we have a problem. I should not be forced to inhale their disgusting, poisonous secondhand smoke at a restaurant just because they can't wait an hour or two to smoke outside, or in their car, or at their home.

Third, I love Sheehan's analogy to drinkers, and I agree. Smoking, just like drinking alcohol, should be perfectly legal. If an adult wants to smoke and drink till he's dead, hey, have at it. But as soon as that drunk endangers my life -- i.e., gets behind the steering wheel of a car -- he's doing something illegal. So when a smoker endangers the life or health of a non-smoker by forcing us to inhale right alongside him or her, it should become a criminal act. Yeah, I like it, I like it.

Smoking bans are a concept whose time has come. And non-smokers will be loath to ever return to the bad old days when every plane, restaurant, theater and office place was filled with a poisonous blue haze.

Sue Priest

Eat their words: For all the restaurant owners who are so concerned about the smoking customers they will lose, they should think about the non-smoking customers who have stayed away from their establishments because they are too smoky. If the smoking-ban is approved, the once-smoky establishments may see an increase in non-smoking customers who were previously turned off by their restaurants.

Toni Adelsheimer
via the Internet

In harm's way: When you or I or that guy over there drink, we're harming no one but ourselves. We have that right. When you smoke in my face, you're harming me. And you don't have that right.

Get it?

Steve Read
via the Internet

It's a drag: Why is everyone so interested in policing everyone else? People who don't want to be around smoke don't have to go to restaurants that allow smoking. People who don't want to work around smoke don't have to work at restaurants that allow smoking. Let the marketplace decide -- not the anti-smoking nazis.

Jay Ramirez

Up in smoke: If this were to go up to a popular vote, there is no doubt that the majority of Denverites would vote in favor of not having to breathe inconsiderate smokers' secondhand smoke while trying to enjoy a meal. I defend the smokers' right to kill themselves if that is their desire, but I don't think they have the right to take me out with them.

On a lesser level than life and death, smokers stink -- and when I'm in a bar or restaurant where they are smoking, I stink, too. Wearing a sweater or jacket more than once after being subjected to their blue cloud is unthinkable. So not only are smokers endangering their health and mine, they are lining the pockets of my dry cleaner.

No smoking -- now! If they can do it in New York and San Francisco, we can, and should, do it in Denver. Go, Happy and Wellington.

Dave Tyner

Out of Lefty Field

X marks the spat: Regarding Gregory Weinkauf's "Violent Femmes," in the May 1 issue:

"Kicking things off, a blue-skinned teleporting demon crashes the White House, intent on stabbing the president (ah, to dream)." Say what? Hey, Weinkauf, all I really wanted to know was whether or not X-Men 2 was worth seeing.

Can't you people even keep your lefty bullshit out of the film reviews?

Kevin Davis

Crack Investigators

Bridging the credibility gap: Okay, we may not all be in agreement as to what constitutes the Best of Denver selections every year; however, when Westword names the Millennium Bridge as the Best Addition to the Denver Skyline, I have to wonder: Just whose ass are we kissing? That bridge is the ugliest piece of hack scenery yet to land in any town, and at the low, low price of $9 million -- what a bargain! I'm so glad we have a "ship's mast" sitting in the middle of a city built on the prairie, land-locked for life unless someone decides to dig out Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Every word written about the bridge is like cheesy stream of consciousness after the writer obviously hit the crack pipe. The bridge is ugly, no matter how you slice it, light it up or whatever. It certainly does not bear any resemblance to a ship, although one could argue that maybe the "ship" part sank and left only a crooked mast. Finally, the damn thing is crooked! Not the mast, but the actual bridge does not sit level across the horizon -- it's tilted. Don't believe it? Go take a look for yourself. Why the hell is Westword so excited about it?

Lay off the crack, man.

Devon Kurzweil


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