Unsafe at any speed: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "A Really Big Shoe," in the October 13 issue:
We have seen the future, and it's cheap, ugly, and insanely popular -- but there was one adjective missing from the cover headline: "dangerous."
I was a reluctant fan of Crocs. But after I got my feet into the comfort of a lime-green pair, I bought them for everyone I knew. They were comfortable and suited our active, family lifestyle. Until last Sunday, I couldn't say enough good about them.
But then, coming out of the rain, I entered Target wearing my Crocs. When the doors opened automatically, I found myself skating across the floor and engaging in involuntary gymnastic moves that could have earned me a leading role in an action flick. When the party was over, I was splayed out like a filet, moaning in pain and on my back.
Take a pair of Crocs, add a little water to the bottoms, find yourself a nice smooth surface like, say, the floor of Target, a garage or ceramic tile and -- look out -- the orthopedic surgeons will have their way with you. It's a deadly combination, and one I feel that everyone should know about. Given these conditions, there is a sudden and unexpected loss of traction that takes even the most athletic and nimble by surprise. For now, everyone in my house is banned from wearing their Crocs until further notice.
By the way, my two kids -- both wearing their Crocs -- also fell just moments after my tumble in Target. Fortunately, they weren't hurt.
Crocs can be very dangerous, as there is a false sense of security that accompanies the pliable, rubbery shoes. I hope that my warning will spare a few broken hips and visits to the emergency room. I would also like to hear what the Crocs company might say to you in response, since they haven't replied to me.
Footing the bill: Thanks for Alan Prendergast's article about the latest craze in Colorado -- Crocs, those goofy-looking clouds of foam rubber. When my mother sported a pair earlier in the spring, I think I pointed and laughed. I thought they were ridiculous and ugly.
I caved and sheepishly shelled out $30 for the most obnoxious pair of shoes I own. I proudly shlep all over this city in bright orange shoes and tell anyone who will listen how comfortable they are. I agree they are not as beautiful as Manolo Blahniks, but they're affordable, and I can walk around all day in them without breaking my neck.
Please ask the Shoe Goddess to share with us if she finds cowboy boots as comfortable as Crocs (and preferably not tangerine orange).
History's half-life: I wanted to give Patricia Calhoun kudos on her "Truth Decay," in the October 13 issue. I do not know how she took fifty years of history and put it all into that piece and made it actually work. She's top-notch.
I now finally have an idea of what went on there, and I've never gotten that before, because, much like the case itself, most of the press has been so convoluted you can't tell which way is up.
To tell the truth: Patricia Calhoun's article on Rocky Flats was simply superb. Please, please, please follow up on this subject and continue to tell it like it is.
Apocalypse now: Just this morning on truthout.com, I read "Islamic terrorists attack in southern Russia," "Iraq," "2 million people homeless in post-earthquake Pakistan," "Katrina aftermath," plus "Bird flu in Turkey" and possibly in my turkey this Thanksgiving holiday (insert your own non-funny joke here). I am concurrently depressed and vigorously fascinated. The other night while drinking, I accidentally poured Jäger into my wine glass of Shiraz, swirled it around and drank it down. I did this twice and have coined it the "Shagerzz."
But this letter is meant to thank Adam Cayton-Holland and What's So Funny for the spoonful of sugar they provide me weekly, especially with last week's issue. A devout reader, I save the articles as part of my own disaster kit. Thank you, Westword.
Circus jerks: Chains, chains and more chains. When will this continuous torture end for circus elephants? Adam Cayton-Holland's excellent column in the October 6 issue brought this realization home to me once again, and, hopefully, to the general public as well.
It's so frustrating that nothing is being done to stop this cruel, inhumane treatment of these majestic animals. Will a solution ever be found?
Hisses for my president: Regarding Bill Gallo's "War of the Words," in the October 6 issue:
Boycotting Columbus Day makes about as much sense as an inflatable dartboard. Indeed, Columbus took part in some malicious actions that had a malignant impact on American Indians. But these actions are no more severe than, say, the actions of some, if not all, of our American presidents. Should we boycott President's Day, too? After all, Truman dropped two atomic bombs that burned and killed thousands and thousands and thousands of civilians. Remember Nixon? By the way, Jefferson Davis was an American president.
And then we have this current ogre. Each one of these crazy bastards -- with their political muscle, egos and personal agendas -- have murdered, infected and displaced far more innocent people than some Italian navigator. Blaming Columbus for the execution of American Indians is like blaming submarines for winning WWII. We all know that Columbus did not "discover" America. And those elementary-school teachers that are still singing that song should be heavily taxed, if not jailed. Columbus serves simply as a representation of gringo expansion to the "New World."
If bored organizations need something to complain about, let's make a "I Have Nothing to Do But Bitch and Moan Day." Hell, we can make it on my birthday, December 11, and I'll bellyache about getting older.
Home turf: I would just like to remind our Italian brothers and citizens that Columbus did not discover America; he discovered there was an America. Columbus landed on some Caribbean island. Further, the criteria for an American hero is first to be an American. Columbus was an Italian emissary for the Spanish crown; therefore, he is a European hero.
Cesar Chavez was an American hero who stood up for a segment of the American population that was exploited, but he wasn't Italian. I guess that is why he is not noted by most Americans and Italian-Americans. Why should we celebrate European heroes?
By the way, Cinco de Mayo is a cultural celebration, and Benito Juarez and the Mexican Revolution are not crammed down our throats. Actually, I call it Corona day, since the yuppies discovered a reason to celebrate that awful-tasting beer that needs a lemon -- and Cinco de Mayo filled that requirement.
Yes, Europe had the guns, steel and disease to conquer the Americas, but that does not negate the fact that while the American civilizations were at their apex of glory, Europe was in the dark ages. Please: Columbus did not come with good intentions; it was all about the money.
I have no problem with celebrating European heroes in Europe, and suggest that our Italian brothers go to Italy to celebrate their history. Culturally, we can celebrate our heritages in an American context. And I will continue to celebrate our Americanism.
Mike Melendez Jr.
Mane man: Regarding Jessica Centers's "Beating a Dead Horse," in September 29 issue:
Slowly but surely, people are finding out the real truth about Bill Stiffler. Unfortunately, most people don't realize just how bad this guy really is. Yes, he is a crooked horse dealer who laughs about how he found a way to buy horses for $100 and sell them for $2,000 to $3,000 to people who get caught up emotionally in his story, and on top of it do all his dirty work to take care of the horses.
I know this firsthand because I owned the property on South University in Greenwood Village where he started his "horse rescue" fiasco. I witnessed all the bad things that other people did, and a lot more. Getting involved with Bill Stiffler is like getting cancer. It's very hard to get rid of -- and even if you do, you are always afraid it will return.
It would take volumes to describe the nightmares I have experienced as a result of his anger and resentment toward me for firing him from my employ. Let it suffice to say that he has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage personally and in my business. Hopefully, people who have experienced bad things with him will begin to step out and talk; otherwise, he will continue to do what he does until someone really gets hurt.
It takes two: Regarding Dan Savage's September 29 column, "Tradition!"
Whenever the conversation gets down to brass tacks about gay marriage, the first thing out of opponents' mouths has been, "If we allow that, then people are going to marry animals" -- and the exchange is over. Proponents just don't understand that statement!
Walk with me a bit, because I figured it out. To a right-winger, marriage is about having one type of superior, all-knowing male benevolence assisted by a further higher power of masculine all-knowing benevolence, being joined until death to govern the actions of them both, especially over women.
To a gay-rights activist, marriage is about two human adults, including heterosexuals, being joined together in equality until death for the further well-being of them both.
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What about the right-wingers? Who are they going to marry if the second idea progresses? Dominance over another adult human being is now discouraged, sothey will ask to marry animals. Probably not the ones we eat; eating is dominance enough.
And what would be the answer? Just say this, and it will make them have the same confused look on their faces that the idea of marrying the horse gives us: "Don't worry. We won't let you!"