Land sakes: Surely no one is surprised at the content of "Grazin' Hell," Alan Prendergast's article in the April 7 issue. It's all too drearily familiar in today's political climate. The very word "public" puts an institution in the crosshairs of the current batch of conservative politicians and talking heads. Public lands, public libraries, public schools, public television, public parks, public health: all quaint and obsolete concepts, like the Geneva Convention.
Right-wingers won't be satisfied until America is one huge gated community, where they can be spared the necessity of mingling with the rest of us or contributing one penny of tax money toward our well-being. And if they can turn a profit at the same time by selling what used to belong to all of us to their campaign contributors, it's merely another sign of God's favor.
The last resort: Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Skier, Beware," in the April 7 issue:
First, let me state that I've been involved with the ski industry for the past ten years, and although I don't agree with many of the special concessions granted to the industry's major operators, it's utterly ridiculous that Westword devoted an entire page in an attempt to garner sympathy for a reckless, novice skier. It's shocking how often resorts (and others in this society, for that matter) must defend themselves against individuals who refuse to accept personal responsibility.
Julia Parsons alleges to have fallen on the Lionshead Bridge, which is conceivably the flattest section of the mountain. She acknowledges it wasn't the result of a collision, so her "accident" can only have happened as the result of three things: excessive speed, extreme carelessness or being extraordinarily unaware. In any case, it's clearly a skier's responsibility to remain in control at all times while engaged in this completely voluntary activity. I suggest this particular skier save the attorney fees and purchase a package of ski lessons.
Nowhere in the article does Eric Dexheimer identify witnesses or cite a ski-patrol report, which is pretty standard procedure in the case of on-mountain incidents, to substantiate Parsons's claim. For all we know, Parsons could've slipped in the parking lot. How can we ascribe any credibility to a grown woman who readily admits she was negligent in reviewing the language in a contract (yes, the waiver is a contract) before signing her name? This is a particularly frightening admission, considering the plaintiff's chosen profession.
C'mon, Westword: Devote a little less ink to careless and irresponsible litigants, and more time to actual sports on the Sports page.
The cost of business: I understand that you would want to keep your business from being bombarded with lawsuits from every wannabe Bill Johnson who ever fell down your slope. But don't be stupid about it. Vail could have gotten off with only paying $2,000 -- but now it will lose much more. After reading this story, my family -- mother, father, myself, my wife and our two children -- will not be going to Vail for our planned ski trip. We intended to make it a two-week outing, and at one point during the trip, my brother who lives in Denver was going to join us with his family for at least a weekend. Not now. What if one of my small kids inadvertently got caught in a bear trap that Vail put out? Vail would not be held responsible, and I'd be stuck with a one-legged kid and a huge medical bill. No, thanks.
Vail, you would have made way more money off of my family than you would have had to pay in hush money. Your huge ego keeps you from understanding the cost of doing business.
via the Internet
A glass act: Thank you, thank you, thank you for Bill Gallo's "Diamond in the Rough," on the cover of the March 31 issue. If the owners of the Colorado Rockies hadn't been so cheap, we could have had a baseball team that was a real gem. Instead, we have a national embarrassment.
Homer on the range: I hope Bill Gallo was at the opening-day game at Coors Field and saw that fantastic bottom-of-the-ninth win. Instead of "rock bottom," I predict the Rockies will be at the top of their game this year. And when they finish the season leading the league, I hope Westword will devote as many words to praising the team.
Best intentions: Kudos to Michael Roberts for his April 7 "Hard Corps," which promotes another media organization and picks up on the most important topic of our era: Africa and its orphans!
This is the topic our grandchildren are going to be asking us about, and most people do not have any awareness or interest in learning about it. I thank you for the education and giving publicity to News Corps International. It just proves your paper makes choices that are best for all.
Awareness is a powerful beginning.
Doctoring the news: It strikes me as incredibly crass that just over a month after Hunter S. Thompson's suicide, Michael Roberts would attempt to exploit the Good Doctor by writing an article about the "repercussions" of his suicide as reported by the media ("Death Wish," March 31). Does Roberts really believe that stories about Thompson's suicide will incite his loyal fans to take their own lives? Please. That's like saying Marilyn Manson records will cause teenagers to worship the devil and go on suicidal killing sprees. Roberts ought to know better.
More surprising, though, is Roberts's cheap shot at Thompson's status as a renowned author, which Roberts thinks is "funny" because, in his opinion, Thompson "played the same literary note for three decades." It's surprising because, to paraphrase the Good Doctor, Roberts is a low-rent hack who feeds off of giants like Thompson for his copy because he's neither original nor driven enough to come up with something on his own, let alone approach the brilliance of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Hunter S. Thompson had more creativity in one of his fingers than Michael Roberts has in his entire being. And yes, Michael, that would be Thompson's middle finger.
Covering the kiddies: It's snowing something horrible outside, so I have nothing to do but harass my local paper. Here are some facts on "Just the 'Fax," in the April 7 Off Limits section. Colfax crawls have been held by the most dedicated (or inebriated) bar-hoppers for at least a decade. My wingmen and I participated in one on January 15 that started at the famed PS Lounge and included 27 bars along our beloved boulevard. This is all recorded on tape, so if you're interested, I can send you a copy to show you how a real crawl is done, or you can just keep covering the lightweights.
Win, place, no-show: Thanks for listing the places not to go. Also where all the drunk assholes hang out.
Name withheld on request
Bottle cry: Here's a failed Drunk of the Week suggestion:
Recently my buddy Damon says, "Dude, I'm freakin' going blind." He says, "The other day I passed by this place that said, 'Opening soon -- Saloon!' I was so happy: a new place to drink in the neighborhood! I passed by there a few weeks later and it said 'Open for Business.' Cool!" So he gathered up about ten friends, and they all made their way to the new neighborhood saloon. They got there, and it's a damn salon.
Needless to say, his friends were pissed.
A real drag: This letter is in response to Bo Turney's letter in the March 31 issue about the Best Illegal Drag-Racing Venue. Street racing is unsafe! Not only are the streets for public use, but they were never designed to handle high rates of speed. The lanes are too narrow, and most of the streets in the Denver area are "crowned," so the center of the road surface is higher than the shoulders. To top all that, the streets here are always in some sort of disarray from leftover sand from the winter, potholes, uneven surfaces, recessed manhole covers. The list goes on and on.
There are a few ways kids and adults can race in Colorado in a "safer" environment. For starters, there is the Sports Car Club of America, a national racing organization. Kids can join the SCCA and race on the weekends on the cheap. There is also Bandimere Speedway, which has events for street cars. It would also be a great idea for Denver officials to get in line with San Diego and other major U.S. cities and have a race night held in a big parking lot with a controlled environment.
Remember, racing even under ideal conditions is not safe, and with street racing, it's not a question of if someone will get killed, but when -- and how many people they'll take with them.
Love story: Jason Sheehan's "Fantasy Land," in the April 7 issue, was his best piece ever. It's so wonderful to witness him in love. Really, his piece was as inspiring as the total Frasca experience. All he needs is love.
Well done, and write on, brother!
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Giving Sheehan the bird: Jason Sheehan's venomous Sparrow review ("Cry Fowl," March 17) goes way beyond objective journalism. I am not a food critic, but like Sheehan, I have tastebuds and can render an opinion. The eight or so meals I have had there have been outstanding and, as Sheehan acknowledges, I am not the only one: "Sparrow's fans post raves and gushing crush notes on all the foodie message boards."
Sheehan's pathology surfaces loudly when he states that those seemingly "rational and right-thinking people" now can't be his friends, since "they love the place beyond reason." Something smells here, and it's not food. The March 17 issue is the last copy of Westword I will read until Jason Sheehan is either fired or seeks professional help.