The hard cell: Adam Cayton-Holland's "Rae of Sunshine," in the March 9 issue, was a great story -- and this from a small-time news editor. Not just a good scenario, but well-executed storytelling and cutting-edge journalism. I was particularly impressed with how much of the story Adam was able to draw out, with so many resources clearly keeping their mouths shut.
Peter John Stone, news editor
High Country Trader
Rae of hope: I have enjoyed many of Adam Cayton-Holland's articles, and "Rae of Sunshine" was great. The Emily situation has been an interesting and haunting one for me; her death could easily have been avoided. I have had several scenarios with Denver sheriffs and the jail system, and I guarantee you that their overtly insouciant attitude at the jail is what allowed Emily to expire.
The problem is that it all happened in their domain, so no one can refute them and they can say whatever they want. C'mon -- literally, twelve to fourteen hours of Emily stating that she can't feel her legs and feet, when she's unable to get up and get some food when the sheriffs go around from cell to cell passing it out. Many complaints to several individuals yielded no action whatsoever until Emily was motionless and cold. Denver Health and the Denver City Jail nurse need to be held accountable for this. But I am a pragmatist, and I know no one will end up paying.
I had seen Emily at Herman's but never really met her. Still, I am haunted by her, a girl who was my niece's age. My niece, who is airheaded and could have easily been in the same situation, forgetting to pay traffic fines and the like. My niece, who, if she is ever incarcerated and complains of pain or no feeling in her legs, will end up the same way. It is hard for me to have faith in mankind when this type of thing occurs.
Remembering Emily: I'm one of Emily Rice's aunts. Thank you for "Rae of Sunshine"; it really captured Emily's personality. (I'd never heard the pen-in-the-crack story before -- ha!)
Thanks again for reminding me what a great kid Emily was, and for getting her story out there. I hope you'll keep up with it, because I think it's going to be big. Somebody -- several somebodies -- dropped the ball big time. Nobody should suffer what she did.
New York, New York
Crime and punishment: Seriously, why do you keep the moronic Adam Cayton-Holland on your payroll? His Not So Funny columns read like a sharp stick in the eye. What this dickhead does to the English language should be a hate crime.
"Rae of Sunshine" boils down to nothing more than I read in the Denver Post's police-blotter report. Nothing new, interesting or infuriating.
The more the merrier: Regarding Dave Herrera's "Fray Time," in the March 9 issue:
Good man, Dave, write till it bleeds -- or frays, as the case may be. I think you should hammer home the success these lads are having and growing into. I, for one, would love to see Westword do for the Fray what good old Hotpress did for U2. Make your readers care for them, paint them as the right guys for the right job. I think you've been bitten by the Fray bug. Be objective, but make it sound like a conquest, because it just might happen. That would be cool.
Good read, nice one.
The same old song: We've Herrera'd it all before.
It is exciting to see Denver acts like Dressy Bessy and the Fray help destroy Denver's image as a cowtown. Denver music deserves the attention. But it is heartbreaking to see the March 9 Westword dedicating both the cover article and Beatdown to a single band.
A year ago, Dave Herrera quoted himself describing the Fray's music, and how his article helped draw attention from the major labels. If he truly has that influence, he needs to share it with hundreds of other great Denver acts. When bands like Red Cloud West and the Tarmints break, we can all look back fondly on how we used to read about them in the Denver Post.
We, the people: As a newcomer to Colorado, I really enjoyed Patricia Calhoun's "Flats, Busted," in the March 9 issue -- although reading it was a little like watching a really scary horror movie. How could the government let this happen? Why were the neighbors living around the plant lied to? How could the lawsuit take sixteen years? Will that area ever be safe? Will I have two heads after walking in Colorado's newest nature preserve?
And finally, why does the government -- which means we, the people -- have to pay for the company's dirty work? Is there any way that they can be made to pay the final amount?
The rest is history: Well, you did it again! "Flats, Busted" outdid all of your competitors. Of course, Patricia Calhoun has a greater understanding of the background and history of Rocky Flats than do other reporters. She also has the knack of writing about a very complex issue in terms that others can understand.
Thank you so much for this important and fine article.
The business of love: I was really interested in some of the comments that Jerry Bergthold made in his letter published last week in response to Luke Turf's "From Denver, With Love," in the March 2 issue. He feels that it's impossible for an American man to find a suitable American woman to marry because American women only want a guy with a lot of money. I've heard a lot of guys make similar complaints, and for a long time it puzzled me, because while there's no denying that women like that are out there, I wasn't one of them, and I knew lots of other women who weren't, either. After much observation and thought over the years, I've come to the conclusion that this problem all comes down to what you're looking for.
The fact is, if you're pursuing the kind of woman who looks on beauty as her obligation, who looks like she spends a lot of time and energy on hair, makeup, wardrobe and figure, who views her beauty and body as commodities, then don't be surprised when she treats you like a commodity as well. Spa and salon treatments, lingerie and health clubs are not free services, and neither will be the woman who depends on them to "catch a man." Likewise, if you're only interested in pursuing traditionally socialized women who have little interest in being independent, then don't be surprised when you discover how big an issue your money is to her. When you pursue a woman because of how successful you hope she'll make you look and feel, then don't be surprised when her hopes of you turn out to be exactly that superficial.
A never-married American woman, now forty, I greatly value my independence and rarely feel any particularly pressing urge to wed. But on the occasions when I do think about it, I don't think about how much money a potential mate should make. I think about warmth, love, partnership. And I know lots and lots of other American women who are just like me. The bottom line is that men and women all over the world see and treat each other as status items, and they somehow manage to call that love. It's not love; it's commerce. I think we should all strive for something warmer.
Sex marks the spat: I don't normally write letters to newspapers, but after reading a couple of letters that your readers sent in response to Luke Turf's article about men looking for overseas mates, I just had to. I am a 33-year-old professional male who has seen good times and bad times. Unfortunately (or maybe not), I don't fit into the stereotype that 75 to 85 percent of American women have for the "good man." Luckily, I have a wonderful and beautiful girlfriend who accepts me for what I am, good and bad, and I don't have to worry about it anymore, but I feel really bad for all the nice guys out there. Women only want a hard-bodied, bad-boy type if he has the money to go with it, or they want a subservient guy who doesn't bitch too much when they cheat on him here and there. Even the rich, bad-boy types have to follow certain sets of rules, because the girls will remind them there is always some other boy toy to play with. If a woman loses her job, everyone tells her, "Don't worry, you'll find another and you've got your guy to take care of you until then." If a guy loses his job, he'd better find another one quick, because even other guys will talk shit about him if he doesn't.
Like I said, I have a great career and a wonderful girlfriend, so this is not coming from "some loser who can't get a girl." My girl speaks up for herself, has her own career and doesn't need anything from me. She doesn't expect me to kiss her ass, though, and I treat her with the same respect. The sex is great, we fight here and there like everyone else, but the main thing is we're great friends. This is not Us against Them. We're all on the same team; we should all play by the same rules and take the same shit that everybody else does.
It's your life. If someone tries to keep you from living your life, find a way to knock them down. If you need help, ask -- but remember, there just might be somebody on what you call "the other team" who could help you better if you didn't alienate them by segregating yourself into some "rights" group. Listen, children are being raped in Sudan and infected with the AIDS virus, there are men and women in cells at Guantanamo who are being force-fed because they went on a hunger strike to get a court appearance. Those are human-rights issues; that some guy at work told you you have a nice ass doesn't cut it.
Lout on the town: Holy cow! Thank goodness the sainted men of America can go seeking women elsewhere. Lord knows they carry none of the blame for American women's opinions of them. After all, what 58-year-old lout doesn't deserve a twenty-something supermodel?
Can it: I thought Luke Turf's story did a great job of subtly portraying some men's crippling misunderstanding of women. However, after the outpouring of support for these guys in letters to the editor, I felt compelled to write. Thai brides? Are you kidding me? If that's the answer, what's the question? Is it why are American women so mean? Or is it really why are some American men so pathetic? Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, fellas. Hey, maybe there's an untapped cache of Egyptian women we can exploit. Oh, wait...Egyptian men already have those on lockdown.
I think guys who are contemplating getting themselves nice, subservient foreign wives should ask themselves some questions regarding why American women don't like them. First, are you really a good catch? Would you be attracted to your counterpart in a woman? A forty- to fifty-ish, overweight, socially awkward, excessively hairy, emotionally crippled man-hater? If I had to be involved with that kind of woman, I can tell you the number one thing I would be looking for: money. And lots of it. And second, I would hope she lived in close proximity to a liquor store. Of course Thai women are going to think you're great; they don't speak English and think $5 is a lot of money. If you're going for a Thai girl, why stop there? I have heard some aborigines worship soda cans that they find. Stock up on Coca-Cola and let the wild lovin' begin, my friends. Look, we all want to date someone who looks like one of the Desperate Housewives, but maybe we should realize that one of the Golden Girls is more realistic for some of us. I know that American women can be a huge pain in the ass, trust me. But what you should remember is that a lot of men are insufferable, misogynistic assholes. If you decide to go ahead with your plan, just remember that one day your Thai bride is going to escape from the cupboard you plan to lock her in. She is going to meet a guy who loves women and who treats them like people. Then you really are going to be stuck with one of the aborigines. At least they don't know how to use a doorknob.
April glowers: I have followed Cherry Bomb Suicide for many years now, and, overall, Rick Skidmore's March 9 Playlist review was pretty good. However, he misspelled the name of the lead singer. Her name is April Park, not April Parks. To take shots at someone and not spell her name correctly, well, that's not too cool in my book.
I agree that she does have some similarity to Gwen, but one mention of it would have been enough. Skidmore constantly goes back to the comparison; he must have run out of ideas. I don't think the band sounds anything like No Doubt as far as its music is concerned.
Personally, I feel that the piece wasn't fair to April or the band. But that's just my opinion. I'll bet the author leaves Skidmores in his shorts.
In a lather: In her February 16 "Hair Apparent," Laura Bond wrote about the Emily Griffith Opportunity Salon. This article was rife with misinformation. My daughter, who graduated from Overland High School, goes there; most of the girls there were recruited at their high schools. There are no Ethiopian immigrants.
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As the mother of a very upset daughter, I have to say that Laura really upset a bunch of young girls who still have big dreams and stars in their eyes. Yes, you have some older people there, and I am sure some welfare people there. God knows Denver likes its welfare people. We sure give them more than we do nice, middle-class, hardworking families.
I have paid plenty for her to go there. We are a middle-class family, so of course she can't get a PELL grant, and they don't have loans like regular colleges. So for those of us -- and there are plenty -- who pay every penny for our children to go there, we are as disappointed as our children regarding this article.
Please have your reporters actually do their jobs and go in and verify. I know I would like an apology given to all the kids who are busting their butts there for these outright lies.