The never-ending story: I was really impressed by Patricia Calhoun's "A Piece of the Action," in the May 12 issue. I can't believe what happened to Quincy Shannon, and I hope he is acquitted of all charges. Unless being a young black man automatically makes you guilty in this town -- as it apparently seemed to do last summer.
I appreciate everything Westword does, but I especially enjoy it when you tell the story behind the story. And what a story this was!
Photo finish: If Patricia Calhoun thinks holding a camera is some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card, she is sadly mistaken. If Quincy Shannon didn't want to be mistaken for a rioter, he should have gone in the other direction. Fast.
Editor's note: Not that sadly mistaken. Before Quincy Shannon's trial even began on May 17, the judge dismissed the charges. For details, see this week's Calhoun.
Getting grilled: After reading Alan Prendergast's "Bringing Down the Brotherhood," in the May 5 issue, I give our prison system -- like many aspects of our justice system -- a vote of little confidence. It always seems to come down to the same factor: those in positions of leadership, who probably shouldn't be leading anything more important than the burger assembly line at Wendy's.
That's shoe business: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "If the Shoe Fits," in the May 12 issue:
It creeps me out to think that when my daughter and I are enjoying ourselves at places such as the Wizard's Chest, a stalker/rapist is also there, buying wigs for his various fetishes. I realize that all kinds of people exist everywhere, yet the way that David Christensen's case was handled sounds like another "botched" police case where title supersedes anything else, including truth and integrity.
Too, too bad, because everyone loses in these cases. Imagine an America based on truth, mutual respect, love, beauty and wisdom.
Ruth Suli Urman
If it doesn't fit, you must acquit: This is the second time I have been confused for the Christensen in Alan Prendergast's "If the Shoe Fits." I served time at the Sterling Correctional Facility, and in September 2002, I was incorrectly identified by a laundry clerk there as the Christensen of an earlier Prendergast article. It wasn't a lot of fun dealing with that reputation until it was cleared up, which nearly came to violence. Now I've again been mistaken for that Christensen, who I would believe is still in prison, while I'm out on parole.
For the record, my name is James Christensen, not David. My middle name starts with an E, not a D. I was never a prison guard, or any other law-enforcement agent. I do not have any fetishes that I know of, for children's shoes or anyone else's. I threatened my wife's divorce lawyer and got six years in prison for it, but I never raped anyone, and I'm not a child molester.
The shoe doesn't fit, and this is the second time I've had to try the damn thing on. I would appreciate it if you would help me clear up this little mistaken identity.
James (not David) Christensen
Capitalist tool: A couple of months ago I grimaced quietly when Off Limits wrote about the oh-so-quotable Congressman Tom Tancredo. But that section's latest jocular puff piece on Tancredo, in the May 12 issue, was just too much for me to stomach. Tancredo is such a phony tool! He should be sent packing back to his illegal-immigrant-built Littleton rec room. But don't count on it anytime soon: The guy's a master at product placement.
Ironically, on the same page as your shallow blurb on Tancredo, you ran an interview with another Republican congressman, Joel Hefley, who in terms of integrity, ethics and responsibility is about as far removed from Tom Tancredo as one can get. Whether you agree or disagree with Hefley on the issues, if and when something ever gets done to truly stop illegal immigration in our country, it will be due to the efforts of mature, thoughtful public servants like him -- not self-promoting lightweights and gadflies like Tancredo. Talk is cheap. Integrity is overrated. Sound bites are everything. That -- and not any real, lasting reforms to stop illegal immigration -- will be the sad legacy of Tom Tancredo.
There are some real nuts out there -- "Tancraniacs," as Tom's own staffer calls them -- and I don't want my family to pay for my freedom of expression, so please withhold my name.
Name withheld on request
What's old is new again: Why is Tom Tancredo making such a fuss over the not-so-new news about illegals working in this country and having fake documents to get a job? This has been going on for years. Back in the mid-1980s, I worked for the driver's license department. On one occasion, many of us were asked if we would like to work overtime issuing ID cards and driver's licenses to several thousand illegals (at our Lady of Guadalupe). I'm not sure who made the decision to do this, but the fact remains, it was done. So get over it, Tom.
via the Internet
Hacked off: Regarding the May 5 Off Limits:
I wonder: If a right-wing website was shut down by hackers with poor English skills, would the site administrators a) run whining to the media about it, and b) would reporters at Westword do anything other than have a good belly laugh over it?
As anyone who regularly visits political discussion forums on the Internet can attest, sites of this sort on both sides of the widening abyss are under constant attack from (usually) bright, bored and mildly felonious kids out to engage in the 2005 equivalent of pulling a fire alarm at school in my day. Hackers obstruct, damage and even destroy virtually thousands of websites of every description every day, and I'm gonna guess that Westword could scare up one or two staffers who know this. So why is it news when it happens to the obscure -- but far left-wing -- Colorado Independent (guffaw!) Media Center's site?
Say, a dog bit me last week. Stop the presses!
Cowboy up: As an ex-pat New Yorker with an absurd jones for Southern food, I can relate to Jason Sheehan's odd love of barbecue ("Believe It," May 12). I lived in North Carolina for a number of years, and this is what I blame my love of smoked meat and sweet tea on. (At least I have an excuse, dude.)
Anyway, I tried Big Papa's this Saturday. Ouch -- my stomach is still complaining about the massive stretch job. I loved all their sauces, but, like Jason, missed the Carolina vinegar. The pulled pork was divine. I liked the hot links. The brisket was just okay in my book, though my dining companion liked it. And by the way, what is the point of lean ribs vs. St. Louis style? Hello, I'm here to eat BBQ, not lose weight.
Thanks to Jason for writing. That's what this town needs, more meat! Honestly, I moved here from back East thinking I could find steak and BBQ on every corner. Isn't this cowboy country?
Carolina on my mind: Thank you, Jesus! Okay, this time Jason Sheehan got me with tears in my eyes. Finally, someone who knows North Carolina's secret! My mother was from a small town called Mebane, on the Piedmont, and every summer we'd go for about six weeks. That was where I really learned to eat! The land where lunch is dinner and dinner is supper, and there ain't no such critter as "lunch" 'round here, son. That's fer them damn Yanks up North! We'd spend two weeks on the coast outside of Wilmington and eat the best barbecue I've had in my life -- sweet, sour and hot! I've made the sauce for friends, and until they try it on good pulled pork, they just don't understand.
Thanks for the memory. Man, Jason is f-ing amazing!
Take a Q: Great one on Big Papa's. We're happy that they have opened one in Ken Caryl, not too far from us. Every week it seems like we find another barbecue place. I have eaten Q in at least 40 of the 46 states I have been to, and more than a few other countries. On road trips, I have stopped at five or six places in one day just to try a sandwich.
Reading Jason's review, I thought, this guy is a Yankee and he likes Q this much? He shoulda been from the South. My first restaurant memories were barbecue joints. Then I turned the page and read the first line of Bite Me and started laughing.
Many people don't understand when I tell them that barbecue is one of my four basic food groups, but I think Jason would.
via the Internet
Feat of clay: With "Firing Line," in the April 28 issue, Michael Paglia has again shown us his brilliance and keen sensitivity. His article on pottery legend James McKinnell was wonderful. Paglia understands the true importance of art and the need to honor those artists who have given so much to American culture.
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Paglia is a Denver icon.
All fired up: Thank you so much for the nice article on the McKinnells. Both Jim and Nan have given so much of themselves to so many people that I am glad to see the community recognition. Jim's passing gives all of us in the Colorado ceramic-arts community reason to pause for reflection and thanks.