Free love: These days, people are ungrateful for just about everything, and I've pretty much learned to accept it by now. But sometimes, like when there is blatant disrespect for a free newspaper (as in last week's Letters column), I just have to say something. Westword may be full of opinions, but I, for one, know that if I don't agree, I don't have to read it. After all, isn't freedom part of what the so-called "justified war" with Iraq was all about?
But that's another subject. The lesson that people just refuse to learn is this: Be grateful for your freedom to not have to read other people's opinions, and to not have to agree with them. But overall, be grateful that someone is willing to put out a completely free newspaper so that people can disagree on whatever they want.
Who sounds unbalanced? Regarding the letter writer asking for "fair and balanced" in the August 5 issue, Westword has been a liberal rag for years. As with many in government, the Fourth Estate is often composed of those who burned bras, draft cards and the American flag back in the '60s and still feel the same today. Hypocrisy, lies and ad hominem attacks go hand in hand with this, as facts don't support most liberal positions.
You write articles about corruption in this town but support and vote for the party that maintains our own Tammany Hall of the Rockies. You rightly decry the sex scandals at the Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado, but take lots of advertising money from Susie Wong's Backrub Palace and Full Service House of Prostitution, which engages in the worst sort of exploitation of female illegal aliens. Like John Kerry, you want it both ways. Unlike Kerry supporters, we're smart enough to see through it.
This leads me to Patricia Calhoun's August 5 column on Yaller Dawg, who, like most leftie radicals, is too "yaller" to use his name. I must refute his "credo" since -- surprise -- he's wrong about all of it. On health coverage for all: Socialized medicine has huge problems, including immense taxation leading to businesses dying or leaving and double-digit unemployment, as in Germany and other Second World European countries. Regarding soft money, better talk to the Democrats first; the party would dry up and blow away without it. The tax cuts have enabled businesses to grow and hire people. They weren't for "the rich" -- this is a lie. John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush all realized that tax cuts work every time. On gun control: This is being able to hit one's target. Seriously, the Second Amendment protects the rest. It goes away, and the rest will follow.
Actually, if I was as wrong as Yaller Dawg is, I wouldn't want to use my name, either! I'm right, though, so I remain...
Schell game: There's something a little sad about the efforts of JM Schell, your regular right-wing letter writer. After all of those hours spent crafting third-rate imitations of William F. Buckley ("...dank alleyway of their dogma") crossed with the down-in-the-gutter nastiness of Ann Coulter, surely there must be a place for JM at the Independence Institute -- or at the Tom DeLay Society.
His August 5 letter revealed, with no real reference point, a fixation with the scatological that may say more about JM's own persona than about any of his/her straw-man evil liberals. "Pedophiliac...Democratic mutual masturbation...fresh tube of KY at an S&M convention" -- now, that's sticking to a theme, however pointless. We can only wait for next week's Westword to find out if JM will trot out tortured Olympic metaphors to throttle more teachers and Democrats. Together with Mallard Fillmore, JM proves once again that "conservative humor" is an oxymoron.
More on morons: Regarding Michael Roberts's "For Better or Curse," in the August 5 issue:
I'm no prude, but one afternoon a few years ago, I was listening to KS-107.5 with my then-eleven-year-old daughter. It was her new favorite station. A song came on whose chorus featured repeated use of the line "Don't fuck with me." This is the chorus, mind you -- the part that's repeated several times and then over and over at the end. Yes, I turned off the radio. Then I exchanged a couple of e-mails with the program director of the station (these guys never make themselves available by telephone to the average listener).
My point to him: Wasn't there perhaps a better song to be playing at three in the afternoon, when their audience is mainly young kids just coming home from school? His response (and this is as near a quote as I can remember): "I'm just the program director. It's not my job to determine what the kids today are listening to." He also explained that their target audience was not children (yet at the time, they were heavily promoting an upcoming Barney or Disney stage show). He also gave me the old standby B.S. about the Who's use of the F-word and how the previous generation's parents were offended by blah blah blah...
There are too many things wrong with the radio/music industry, and moron program directors are just one of them.
Choice cuts: Here's hoping...for choice schools. In his July 29 Worst-Case Scenario, Kenny Be's hilarious "Pick of the Litter" cartoons on "choice schools" make a serious point. Too much choice could lead to absurdity in education. There is a need for recognizing common ground and improving our public education. As a Christian Scientist, I can find the humor in the cartoon about the Christian Scientist Academy. Substituting prayer for sound education would be wholly inappropriate. Yet prayer can be of great assistance in opening one's thought to infinite possibilities and an appreciation of the humility needed to understand how much we all have to learn about our world and universe. The Founder of the Christian Science Church has written in her major work, Science and Health, "Through astronomy, natural history, chemistry, music, mathematics, thought passes naturally from effect back to cause. Academics of the right sort are requisite."
Pray as you go: Kenny Be's characterizations of potential charter schools are very funny. His work describes the desperate brainstorming that must be going on among groups of parents, educators and community leaders. His imagined "Hope Quest Christian Scientist Academy" depicts a common misunderstanding regarding prayer, however. Writing on prayer, Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, stated: "Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of mathematics to solve the problem? The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution." How interesting that her words so neatly describe the same ridiculous position that Kenny characterizes in his cartoon -- the man kneeling at his desk, clasping a closed math book and praying that the principles of mathematics may appear. To understand the principles of math, we have to study them ourselves.
His satire has an underlying hope that the educators, community leaders and parents of our students can meet the demands on education. There is hope that after separating the ridiculous ideas and adding levity to brainstorming sessions, the sincere thinkers will design choice schools from genuine, principled solutions.
Californicating Boulder: I was born in Boulder. I was raised in Boulder. And unlike the seemingly never-ending stream of twits who are writing to complain about Jason Sheehan's review of the Kitchen ("Boulder Blahs," July 15), I can see Boulder and the new Boulderites for what they really are: a group of sycophantic elitists who are so out of touch with reality that when something impinges on their perfect little world, they freak out.
News flash: Sipping a soy-milk latte on your way to Whole Foods in your Volvo makes you neither globally aware nor enlightened. You are just another self-important moron who should never have left California in the first place. It's time to face the fact that this isn't California and never will be.
I wonder how many of you actually read the review of the Kitchen. Did you miss the line "Still, I'll be back in the Kitchen one day soon. This place has too much potential, too much ambition, not to give it another try"? Sheehan didn't slam the restaurant; he gave it a fair review. That means pointing out its flaws and its graces, which he did.
Being in Boulder doesn't somehow magically make the food better. Hopefully, when Sheehan visits again, the Kitchen will have gotten its act together. If not, they deserve the scorching they receive.
One rotten apple: Jason Sheehan, I don't have time for eloquence or kindness right now, but then again, neither did you when you wrote your review of the Kitchen.
Dude...are you a meatball? I'm a native New Yorker, too, and can spot a wannabe cool sump miles away. This phenomenon first came to light for me when I lived in Philadelphia for two years when I was 22. People from New York who can't make it in New York move to other places and cities that, like Philly or Denver to a degree, suffer from an inferiority complex to the Big Apple. There, these second-rate has-beens prey on all those naive enough to listen to their contrived, ascerbic "NYC" wit, "candor" and opinions.
Your review of the Kitchen is so bad, I can't believe you left the house after writing that loquacious piece of nada. It was unkind, uninformed, unjustly diminishing and made me wonder exactly how many Escalade-driving trust-fund sillies you have ever met. Not an example of your best work, I hope.
Were you by chance stoned when you wrote it? Have your superiors admonished you? I hope so, because it sucked...bad.
The Aussie truth: Just a few comments on Nancy Levine's wonderfully cliche-filled mention of my Outback in the July 29 Drink of the Week. While her disdain of chain restaurants is apparent, I would have thought that as a writer she would not have to sink to sneering comments about our guests. The rugged individualism she thinks the Outback lacks is alive in the employees who work hard to make it a great place to eat, and also in the guests we serve, many whom I know very well. Because they enjoy our store so much, they come back again and again. Outback employs several thousand people and keeps them buying the products your newspaper advertises to survive.
So what does Levine do? Her yuppie drivel of comments suggests she never picks up a dictionary, let alone a thesaurus. The Wallaby Darned may not be the greatest drink; however, we are much more than a fruit slushy concoction. Had she taken a minute, she would have discovered Australian wines that aren't readily located in her local liquor stores. All of our food is prepared fresh daily, not Nobel Sysco-delivered. Judging by this article, the catchphrases on the menu should have made her feel at home, since there is nothing original in her article. Here's something to repress: our address, because none of us care if Levine ever comes back.
P.S.: Glad she liked the martini. I made it.
Man tan: As the former Head of Research and a person of Irish-American descent, I feel obligated to enlighten Todd Linn, whose letter about Drunk of the Week appeared in the July 29 issue. It should surprise no one who read his profanity-laced tirade, but he clearly did not do his research before he spouted off at the mouth. Quoting directly from the Guinness website, I offer the following:
"What is a Black & Tan? The answer depends on who you ask. The all-Guinness Black & Tan is Harp's Lager and Guinness. (Harp's is brewed by Guinness at Dundalk.) Many consider the classic Black & Tan to be Bass Pale Ale and Guinness. (To some Irish, they appreciate the fact that the Irish comes out on top!) A half-and-half is often just another name for a Black & Tan. However, in many North American Irish pubs, the Bass/Guinness combination is called a Black & Tan, while the Harp/Guinness combination is called a Half-and-Half."
In short, I wouldn't take the word of Linn's cousin who works in the bar across the street from his trailer park as the truth without researching its veracity (even if she is cute). By the way, if Linn is looking for work, I bet he would fit in well down here selling used Camaros.
Collateral damage: Regarding Bill Gallo's "Cruise in Neutral," his August 5 review of Collateral:
Bill, you'll just have to put the Thunderbird away next time. Michael Mann celebrates downtown L.A., not actors or stories. Tom Cruise is there for the box office. As action flicks go, this is a good one -- not the caliber of Michael Moore, of course, but still a good one.
All will be revealed: Regarding "Naked Emotion," her August 5 review of The Tricky Part:
It's disappointing that Juliet Wittman equates this beautifully staged production with a televised celebrity interview and a private therapy session. Neither celebrity nor subject matter is responsible for the success of Mr. Moran's show. It's the way he tells the story -- the disarmingly casual first address to the audience, the text's deep yet witty examinations of religion, betrayal, identity and redemption, the nuanced staging and the performer's considerable skill -- that makes it art. Uncomfortable details are revealed, but it's arguable that the success of theater (of all art) relies on what it can reveal. If art were only ever comfortable, then it would lose its potency, its ability to hold the mirror up to nature. It's a brave choice to reveal something so devastating. I can't imagine that choice was made easily or was motivated by self-pity. It's Mr. Moran's dedication to the art of theater and storytelling that make his show so effectively moving.
It's been said that all you need for theater is an audience, an actor and a story, and all must do their part. Examining uncomfortable truths is a task all three participants should be prepared to do.
Darren R. Schroader
Dope opera: In Juliet Wittman's "A Simple Tale, Well-Told," her review of The Juggler of Notre Dame in the August 5 issue, the headline writers mistakenly put Opera Colorado as the presenting company, when it is a Central City Opera production. Please alert them that there are two opera companies in Denver.
Editor's note: Actually, there are more than two opera companies in Denver. Passaggio Opera Company, for example, had its first performance this past spring ("Aria Ready?," May 20). Still, that doesn't excuse our dope-opera of an error. Our apologies to opera fans everywhere.
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Get vocal, locals: It warmed my lobes to read Dave Herrera's comments in the July 8 Beatdown about the Colorado Rockies, and I think he is dead-on with regard to the music. When I formed the Colorado Music Association five years ago, a big item on a short list of goals was to get local music presented at local sports events, especially those staged in the venues gifted to the ungrateful moguls by the not-always-willing taxpayers. Those fruitless efforts were, of course, under the prior administration, so perhaps the scenario may be more hopeful now. It seems simple and logical: Local fans hear local music. I would even be personally willing to arrange all of the licensing, and the stadiums could save themselves ASCAP and BMI fees. This seems to me to be exactly the type of issue that is easily embraced by the cities we think of as great music centers. While I generally disdain Texas, for example, I've wondered if their governor's Office of Music even has a little homegrown something playing during those frequent executions they so enjoy.
Anything I might be able to do to incite interest and action in this regard (not executions, just sports events), I would eagerly undertake with great pleasure. Potential disciples, please step to the plate!
Rock on, Herrera!