Are You Cracked?

Letters to the Editor

I'll connect you now: David Holthouse's "Call Me," in the January 1 issue, was a fun read. I really, really liked it. It gave context to the agitated junkie who always seems to be screaming into thin air via the pay phone at 11th Avenue and Grant Street when I'm out for a late-evening stroll. There's something poignant and even weirdly peaceful about it: That particular phone is more or less in the wide open amid a couple of parking lots. And usually, no one else is around at that hour. It's like whoever's on the phone is some post-apocalyptic Omega Man standing at the last portal to civilization.

I wonder if others will write with their own pay-phone snapshots. Fodder for a followup? Anyway, Holthouse has a great eye for interesting, oddball stories.

Dan Njegomir
via the Internet

Phone home: What was that I-am-a-pay-phone piece of crap from Holthouse? Is he on crack?

Terry Hamilton

Gas Pains

Mourning becomes electric: Let me add my vote to those impressed by Alan Prendergast's "Raiding the Roan," in the January 1 issue. With such serious issues out there affecting this state, people should be writing letters to Governor Owens, not writing Westword about a cat cover that was obviously a joke.

Cecilia Frank
via the Internet

All's well that ends with a well: Alan Prendergast's well-researched "Raiding the Roan" was marred by the facile analysis of Wilderness Society economist Peter Morton. Demand for natural gas has steadily grown over the last decade, flattening out recently due to price-driven "demand destruction" in the industrial sector, especially chemical and fertilizer companies that use gas as a feedstock. No one should be sanguine about the loss of thousands of American jobs. Nor can the price run-up be ascribed to a lack of storage fields. The problem has been the inability to fill current storage capacity. This is due to the 1- to 2-percent annual decline in domestic gas production since 2000 and to the dramatic increase in gas-fired electrical generation. Gas that used to go into storage in the summer is now fueling turbines to serve air-conditioning loads. Shutting off development on the Roan Plateau would mean locking away enough gas to heat 2.5 million homes for a quarter-century.

But Morton and his ilk don't want to stop there. At a congressional field hearing in Golden last summer, Morton refused to identify a single new, significant gas play on federal lands that he would support. But he listed Montana's Rocky Mountain Front; Wyoming's Jack Morrow Hills and Red Desert; Colorado's Roan Plateau, Vermillion Basin and HD Mountains; Utah's Book Cliffs; and New Mexico's Otero Mesa as areas that should be off-limits. To paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirksen, "a TCF here, a TCF there, pretty soon you're talking about real gas."

This isn't a matter of industry profits versus the environment. The Roan's resources belong to all Americans; elevating environmental preservation über alles means higher prices for energy consumers, job losses and low-income distress. That's the real tradeoff.

Ken Wonstolen
Colorado Oil & Gas Association

Poetry in Emotion

Love it or leave it: Food is an emotional thing. In fact, all things that sustain life are. Clothes, houses and cars are all things that inspire emotion far beyond their intrinsic worth. Love does weird things to a person, yet when something is loved, that is when it becomes special. Jason Sheehan loves food -- and anyone arguing against that is breathing through his bellybutton. Reading Sheehan's reviews, I see someone fighting a one-man battle to force restaurants to love it or leave it.

For the letter writers who complain that Sheehan is foul-mouthed, my only response is this: So were Joyce and Hemingway. I will continue to read Westword on a weekly basis as long as Jason Sheehan writes reviews.

"What we get out of any one thing someone else put in."

Thomas Delaney

Speaking of putting in: I must say that I was disappointed to see another reference to Sean Yontz at Vega in the December 25 "Season's Eatings." I can count ad nauseam the many references Jason Sheehan has made to Yontz's restaurant over the past year, while ignoring other, finer restaurants that cook with much more flavor and soul. Why doesn't he spend his time reviewing restaurants like Aix instead of Vega and the overladen chile crap that Sean serves?

It makes me wonder if Sheehan may have an issue often referred to in the great cooking text written by Anthony Bourdain; to be specific, I wonder if Sheehan is perhaps "taking it in the twins" from Sean.

In any case, I generally enjoy Sheehan's column.

Ed Degan
via the Internet

Who's the real fun-sucker? As a customer of Little Ollie's and the girlfriend of the regular bartender, I was surprised at what seemed to be a personal attack on the fill-in bartender ("Remember Yen?" January 8). Since when does a food critic criticize someone's personal appearance? Sheehan refers to his "big hands" and "big, dumb smile." The personal criticism seems unnecessary and is definitely offensive. Would he refer to his waitress as "fat"? I sure hope not. And I also hope that a waiter at another restaurant does not have to worry about a food critic wanting to "trip him" as he passes. That could get dangerous.

After getting through all of Jason's prose comparing his childhood experience to a young boy's that night, I finally reached the review of the food. A review is in fact an opinion; therefore, I have no argument there. What does surprise me is that a food critic who despises chain restaurants has recently chosen established, independently owned restaurants and has done more than review their food. He has torn them apart.

After his review of Little Ollie's, Jason turns to Mao in Bite Me and denounces the variety of people there. Isn't that what makes a place interesting? He calls the families, singles and couples "fun-suckers" for coming to Cherry Creek for a good time. What makes a city great is having different neighborhoods with distinct personalities. How much fun would Denver be if we only had LoDo? We now have an ultra-hip restaurant in another area of town that has created a buzz. I know Denver is ready for something totally new. I guess our food critic isn't.

Anne Gillenwater

Mommy Dearest

Krystal true-blue persuasion: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "A Shaking Story," in the January 1 issue:

Shortly after graduating from high school, I began work at Wild Oats, where I became friends with Krystal Voss and, to an extent later, Damien. Though all of us did not share the same views, our tiny store truly became a close-knit family. Krystal looked over me with the vigilance of a mother hen. I went through a hard time with my fiancé at the time, and after one fight got so drunk that Krystal had to take me home. I threw up everywhere in her car and all over her apartment, but she never became frustrated or angry -- she patiently followed me around, caring for me. Does a person who would put up with a drunken adult covering her car and apartment with vomit sound like the sort of person who would beat a helpless, fussing infant? I eventually lost contact with Krystal, but she couldn't have changed that quickly from the person I had come to know as family.

This letter is for those readers who might be quick to come to conclusions: You cannot judge someone you don't know. Krystal and Damien have suffered a horrible loss and need support, not unfounded criticism.

Name withheld on request

Dumb Choices, Dumber Decisions

Hall of shame: I was interested in Julie Jargon's "Strike One, You're Out," in the December 18 issue, because I was civilian co-counsel in the Christina Fifer case with Captain Mike Freimann. The United States Air Force Academy is struggling right now to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it seems to get it wrong a lot!

Cadet Urton's case is just like Chris's. However, the administration chooses to push here, and we'll lose three young people as a result of dumb -- not criminal -- choices. And they will be branded criminals when it is done. That is a shame.

John C. Buckley III
Colorado Springs

Mixed messages: I have followed the Air Force Academy stories over the past year with great personal interest. As a woman, I am deeply offended by the way the academy has handled everything dealing with the rape charges.

And as Ryan Urton's aunt, I was truly shocked when I saw his name on my local news this morning. Ryan is one of the good kids; what does it say about our society as a whole when we throw away the best of the best and say it is okay to rape your classmates? I can't fathom what kind of a message this is sending our kids.

Karen Andrews
Eugene, Oregon

Editor's note: Air Force Academy Superintendent General John Rosa has recommended that Cadet David Ryan Urton be given a general discharge and serve two years' enlisted time. Urton's fate now rests with Air Force Secretary James Roche.

The Doctor Is Out

License to chill: I am ecstatic that Dr. Dicke's license has been revoked ("Doctor No," November 20). Several years ago, my ex-husband (we had been peaceably divorced for about eight years) took my then-ten-year-old son to Dr. Dicke. He was having behavioral problems. After approximately four sessions, I knew something was terribly wrong with Dr. Dicke's so-called "therapy" and wrote a letter to my ex-husband demanding that he terminate sessions with Dr. Dicke. He refused.

The situation escalated. I was suddenly subpoenaed to appear in court on child-abuse charges! I had only met with this doctor one time out of approximately 22 sessions and instantly knew he was a quack who was asking my son leading questions and harming him psychologically. My ex and Dr. Dicke appeared in court against me. After $4,000 in legal fees and five hours in court, I was found completely innocent (of course) on these charges. The judge also ruled that my son's therapy be terminated with Dr. Dicke and "reinstated with a professional decided upon by the court."

The whole experience left me so beaten down and shell-shocked that I never filed a grievance. I have never experienced such deep heartache and financial devastation. I never believed there is any justice in the world except for 1) the day the judge ripped Dr. Dicke a new one, and 2) the day his license was revoked. May he rot in hell.

Name withheld on request


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