It's all downhill from here: Regarding Jared Jacang Maher's "Vail at the Crossroads," in the May 4 issue:
I am a 35-year resident of Colorado and was at one time a frequent Vail visitor. However, I stopped skiing and visiting there years ago after tiring of the inflated, dated and myopic view from the town's Bavarian towers. Last summer I returned to attend a wedding and was appalled at how passé and rundown most of the Village is. I am not sure what Vail can do to bring itself into the 21st century while still managing to charm the moneyed masses, but Peter Knobel's vision for Crossroads is a good start. With his smarts, money and East Coast moxie, maybe he can surgically remove the cataracts from the eyes of Vail's "old-timers" so they can recognize that Vail is becoming an overpriced has-been.
Saddle sore: Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Critical Mess," in the May 4 issue:
I've been riding a bike as an adult (sort of) for fifteen years now, taking advantage of the metro area's once-lame-but-now-pretty-damned-impressive urban path and trail systems. And even though I'm old enough to know better, I sometimes do some pretty stupid things in the saddle. Yeah, that usually results in my vacating said saddle at speed. Yet, in all that time and with all that stupidity, I've never gotten a ticket.
Only someone without much critical mass between their ears can't see Critical Mass for what it is: a mob of attention-whore anarcho-punks out to cause as much trouble as they can. If you ride in an urban area, you get it. Critical Mass members don't run this little dog-and-pony show on Sunday, do they? They're even worse than the arrogant packs of skinny-tire trust-fund yuppies who fill the streets of Boulder every day. It's clear the only reason they do this downtown in the middle of the work week is to cause as much disruption as possible, despite the sloe-eyed, dreadlocked claims to the contrary from their non-leaders.
Road kill: Until recently, I had great empathy for bicyclists in the city. In my car, I always drove extra carefully around them, gave them right of way and waited patiently if they blocked or slowed my passage. During the sixteen months I've lived in Denver, my attitude toward bicyclists has changed completely.
Why? Two reasons. I have on numerous occasions been treated rudely by bicyclists. And more important, I'm afraid of hitting them with my car. When I'm out walking, I am frequently sideswiped by bicyclists on the sidewalk. Once a bicyclist yelled "On your left" about two seconds before running into me. What are so many bicyclists doing on the sidewalks, anyway? And why am I the one expected to move?
I have no sympathy for the Critical Mass folks. Some bicyclists and most bike messengers break traffic laws on a constant basis. I've never seen the police do anything about it. So now the police enforce the law, and Critical Mass is crying about it. I've always thought bike messengers are pretentious in their own special way. But now there's a new level of pretense -- a very organized entity that calls itself an "unorganized coincidence," one that is at pains to appear anarchic as they flagrantly break our laws.
Team USA: I've lost much of my interest in sports, but I thoroughly enjoyed Adam Cayton-Holland's article on La Liga Latina de Béisbol, "A League of Their Own," in the April 27 issue. The more I learn about the ways in which Latinos enrich the United States, the more figures like Tom Tancredo appear, well, just kind of pathetic. Instead of skulking around the border with their guns and binoculars looking for "invaders," Tancredo and the Minutemen should take their families to a game between the Yaquis and the Tarahumaras. The mariachi music, the ice cream and taco vendors, and the beautiful brown people living the faith-and-family values that so many politicians preach -- it all could be a healing experience for those who currently live in fear of the Latino Manifest Destiny. It would be fun to see immigrant-bashers, after a few cervezas, leading fans in the wave and blubbering apologies for all of their unkind attitudes.
Who knows? Maybe some undocumented Latinos would let bygones be bygones and agree to do some more work on Tancredo's home.
The old ballgame: I just wanted to let you know that "A League of Their Own" was a great piece of writing, and one of the best pieces I have read in a while. I have a couple of friends in La Liga Latina de Béisbol; I had no idea the league had been around for such a long period of time. It's amazing how something like baseball can bring so many people together. This makes me wish I had taken the opportunity to play baseball in college, but I turned it down to go to school at Metro. Adam Cayton-Holland was able to take me back to the times when I played every day, and the only thing that mattered in life was baseball.
I have never been to one of these games, but I am thinking about attending the next game at Ruby Hill. Once again, a great piece -- and hopefully, as the season ends, we may see a follow-up article!
Hidden treasures: I just wanted to tell you that Luke Turf's "Taking the Shot," in the April 27 issue, was a great story! It's about time someone gives credit to other players on the team. As a Nuggets fan, I feel that some of the players are underrated. A majority of the people/fans don't realize the important roles that these other guys play. Going to the game, you see mostly Melo and Camby jerseys, but what about Andre Miller? Or DerMarr Johnson, for that matter? Don't get me wrong: Melo and Camby are great players, and I like them. But I would also like to see everyone give these other players the same credit that they do the "superstars."
I love how you chose to do a story on someone other than Melo. DerMarr does seem chilled! I've always pictured him that way, too. Keep up the fantastic work!
Radio daze: Thanks to Michael Roberts for the illuminating May 4 Message on local radio. At least, I think that thanks are in order. Did he just say that Denver radio sucks?
I turn fifty this year, so I guess that puts me in a desirable demographic. I just don't feel that "local" radio stations are particularly pandering to me for my money. Maybe I'm something of a special case, being a musician and therefore listening to "local" programming with a more critical ear. I don't listen to KYGO or Willie. I play country music, and I don't like being force-fed the crap that comes out of Nashville. It's just not country. I don't listen to KBCO anymore, and KBCO was one of the reasons that I chose to relocate to Denver. As soon as I moved here, they were bought up and bought again. I no longer recognize this station as viable or relevant in any way. But that's a different rant. Simply put, Denver radio sucks.
The collusion between the FCC and the cult of corporate personality have led radio to this precipice overlooking a cultural and financial abyss. The government agency that oversees broadcasting is more concerned with the so-called obscenities on the air than with the obscenities in the boardroom. I can't believe that the bottom-line bean counters at Clear Channel can't figure out that eight stations in one market putting out the same drivel eight different ways adds up to a dissolution of resources.
Instead of blaming Generation X for not having any money, why can't the corporate radio conglomerates blame themselves for fucking up radio as we knew it?
K-Mart special: In Kenny Be's May 4 Worst-Case Scenario "Colorado Law-ttery" cartoon, I believe the person pictured in the "Bank Robber Bankroll" ticket is Kenyon Martin at the Nuggets cashier window on his way to go fishing for the summer.
Funny choice of words: I am completely shocked and disgusted that Adam Cayton-Holland would reference children with special needs in such a callous and cruel way in the April 27 What's So Funny? My oldest son is one of those "retarded toddlers" that he wrote about. If he was trying to be funny, he has failed miserably; indeed, he has totally alienated all parents of special-needs children.
Clearly, Adam has never known a child with a disability; otherwise, he would not have written what he did. I would like him to come to the hospital for my child's fourth open-heart surgery and see how brave and wise these "retarded" children are.
Please refrain from using such hurtful and ignorant phrases in your paper.
Drug bust: Leave it to Westword to publish Alan Prendergast's fine "Hiding in Plain Sight," in the April 13 issue, only to follow it up with a mournful, ill-informed conspiracy theorist's letter from Christian Peper. Harris was prescribed Luvox for anger management, and a small amount was found upon autopsy. Witnesses suggested he stopped taking it suddenly before Columbine, which could definitely induce negative side effects, especially if he was substituting it with Jack Daniel's. But even if Luvox did account for Harris's mania, then what for Klebold's?
SSRIs are not "the true cause of Columbine" any more than bullets, guns or bad parents are. Every innocent person at Columbine was killed by two very ambitious, hell-bent psychopaths who gleefully tossed aside what consciences they may have once had. The "Luvox made 'em do it" is great for lawsuits, and the pharmaceutical conspiracy theory is right up Oliver Stone's plot-deprived alley. Send it to him.
Big tab, big top: I read with interest Amber Taufen's "Pitching a Tent," in the April 27 issue, inviting women to unite at Stephanie Beacher's version of Anita Diamant's red tent. Come on, Ms. Beacher, 'fess up: You didn't actually read the book, did you? I mean, her red tent was a sanctuary for women to escape to once a month from the men who bought and sold them, where they could retreat into each others' company to laugh at their shared husband and find comfort in their seclusion. There they overcame jealousy and personal disappointment. They birthed each other's babies and shared ways to stop more from coming. Anita's red tent had a bloodied straw floor.
Ms. Beacher's attempt to re-create the experience of sisterhood manifests itself in what is no more than a temporary day spa in downtown Boulder. A place where women can feed their vanity and self-indulgence. Where they feel entitled to be rubbed and massaged by subservient strangers and drop $75 for the privilege. Is this how modern American women connect? With a facial, a foot bath and a massage? Sadly, I think it is, and sadder still is the realization that after 2,000 years, women are now more isolated from each other and their bodies more objectified.
Ms. Beacher, I suggest that if you truly want to connect with your suffering sisters in a tenderly loving way, you stack up that pile of U.S. bills (I assume you didn't take the credit-card reader into such a sacred place) and deliver your stash to the nearest Planned Parenthood facility or your local shelter for homeless and abused women.
The flight stuff: Regarding Robert Wilonsky's "Fear of Flying," in the April 27 issue:
United 93 is a wonderful portrait of courage. But in the context of America's current foreign policy, it comes off as a familiar bit of wound-licking. Every nation has a tale of the day the world did them dirt, and United 93 is America's.
But what's more remarkable is that, when people abroad see the Michael Moore movie Fahrenheit 9/11, viewers are surprised that a person is allowed to do that in America, allowed to be so critical of a sitting president. It's an unintended effect, because by being so harsh, the movie ends up giving every American something to be proud of, proving to the world that America is still somewhat free. This is why, with the world being convinced that our president means to destroy Islam, no one's come over here and blown us off the map. Face it: We're an open society. They could do it any time they wanted.
So, really, it's not the chest-thumping "These colors don't run" that has kept us relatively safe since 9/11. It's that this guy out of nowhere gets to film our president's most embarrassing moments, make it into a movie and inspire debate. That's why angry fanatics stay their sarin gas and their bombs. Not because we "have the terrorists on the run." Obviously, we don't. Bush gave up trying to capture bin Laden years ago. We're safe only because even angry people still admire something about this place.
Hope it stays that way, don't you?
via the Internet
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Hit or miss: Every Thursday, when Westword updates on the Internet, I dash right over and check out Jason Sheehan's restaurant reviews. I read his reviews when I worked in a restaurant in Denver, and I keep reading them now, even though I moved away two years ago.
His reviews point out places that I only wish I could find out here. Without his Sushi Den review, I never would have taken my friends there when I was back home for Christmas and never would have seen the expression on their faces when they tried the toro for the first time. I keep bugging my boyfriend to come back to Denver with me so we can go to Chedd's and have custom-made grilled cheese sandwiches.
Jason Sheehan is a fantastic writer, and I wish that I still lived in Denver sometimes, because then I could eat at all these great places, too. His reviews make me homesick for all the things I never tried when I was there and all the things I miss by being here.
Mary Van Tyne
San Diego, California