"The Hunt for Green," Alan Prendergast, April 26
Thank you for the informative article about Waste Management. We've been wondering how that system works. Our church got a dumpster for recycling paper from whichever company was doing it at the time; we could fill the dumpster in about two weeks, but as apartment-dwelling neighbors began using it, we went to weekly pickup. We received a nominal payment based on weight.
We recently realized we had not received a check for some time. Our dumpster was now part of Waste Management and a receptacle for single-stream materials. When we called, we were told we would no longer be paid, as there was no way to gauge the weight of a mixed pile. That was okay, the money was negligible, we were committed to recycling as part of a larger commitment to eco-stewardship. We've changed all the lights in the building, replaced our heating system with one that doubled the efficiency, and we are exploring placing solar panels on our roof. All of that is a substantial financial commitment in addition to the theological/philosophical part.
After telling us we would not be paid for pickups, we were told that they might start charging us $35 to $50 a month for pickups. The person we deal with directly said he would try to forestall that as we are a church. Paying would raise significant challenges for us. I understand the attraction for Waste Management to make money at both ends of this process, but if I understand this article, the city is already paying them for picking up. We've seen a real desire on the part of apartment dwellers to participate. Charging businesses and apartment houses would be a dis-incentive, as it would be a burden for nonprofits and churches.
Pastor John F. Backe
Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Denver
"Faith, Hope...and Charity," Luke Turf, April 19
I was very touched by the story of this family. I gig here in town with the Jakarta Band. We were talking about trying to do something to help this woman and her children. We would like to put on a benefit for the family, but I'm writing to make sure I'm not treading where I'm not wanted. I know some folks will not take charity. But if possible, we would like to do something. I will speak to other musicians in the Denver area and come up with something. Please let me know.
You have a great and blessed day.
Editor's note: The response to Charity's story has been overwhelming, with many people wanting to help the family. Reporter Luke Turf is forwarding any such offers to Lisa Norwood; e-mail him at email@example.com.
"Square to Be Hip," Adam Cayton-Holland, April 19
I must say, Adam Cayton-Holland's line about the cock of a Mexican busboy was priceless! In response to that column, my new word for "hipster" is BRITENDER -- aka Brit-pop posers.
"Pretty Ain't Enough," Jason Sheehan, April 26
I have become accustomed to Jason Sheehan's rants over the years. I have always enjoyed them, even if I disagreed with his position. So you can imagine my disappointment when Jason didn't unload on La Sandía. Some of the issues that Jason has raised with people and places in the past didn't warrant the rant that was issued; this time, however, he had a bright green light to unload on La Sandía. And he flaked, completely. A dollar for ice, lime and salt? If that doesn't warrant the full Sheehan brunt, what the f* does?
This city's love affair with Richard Sandoval is beyond me. No matter how one tries to dress up a plate o' Mexican grub at Tamayo (or anywhere, for that matter), it's still just a plate o' Mexican peasant food. I love Mexican food, don't get me wrong, but I have never had a plate of Mexican food that justified an $18 to $25 price tag. Has anyone in this town actually gone to a Mexican market and shopped for authentic Mexican ingredients? I have one word for everyone: cheap. Shop for these ingredients yourself, and then justify the prices charged for "Modern Mexican Cuisine." The only thing modern about all of this nonsense is that there are people in this modern world dumb enough, or egotistical enough, to shell out twenty bucks for an enchilada plate -- or pay a buck for a michelada setup.
"Ridiculous"? That's putting it mildly. It's not that I live to read Jason tearing some place down, but if any place deserved the wrath o' Sheehan, wow, this was it. Hope he isn't gettin' soft on me.
B. W. Buckalter
After reading Jason Sheehan's review of La Sandía, I can't help but feel it was a bit unfair. It was very apparent that Mr. Sheehan is not a fan of Richard Sandoval. Regardless of his personal feelings for the man, the review of the actual restaurant (food, drinks, service) was so minute compared to the bashing of Richard Sandoval's business decisions. And as far as his assumptions as to how the chile poblano potatoes are prepared, that's irrelevant to the flavor, which he did not mention. Same goes for the shrimp quesadilla -- how did it taste? And what about the cocktails? Did he really review a Pacífico beer? I can't believe that the editor would allow such a personally biased review to be printed.
Perhaps Mr. Sheehan should go back to working in the kitchen rather than claiming to be a "restaurant critic" and assuming all over the place...all over one man's success. Name withheld on request
You go, Nick DeCiccio. What a great letter in the April 26 issue about Jason Sheehan. Maybe you should take over for Jason, because although I like, even love, his writing, I wish I could say as much for his taste in food. Still, I keep trying the restaurants from his favorable reviews. Alas, with limited success.
Playlist, Tuyet Nguyen, April 19
Regarding the review of Thank God for Astronauts' new album, Bring Us Meat, I can only say that the next time you set out to review a record grounded in genres or styles not recently featured on TRL, you should assign it to someone who actually has a halfway decent frame of reference.
I don't know anyone who would even begin to make comparisons of this band to Sunny Day Real Estate or the Shins. Obviously, through their history on Best Friends -- who have truly been best friends to the twee set -- someone who's never bothered to listen to the band might make such poor assumptions. However, anyone who a) has heard Bring Us Meat all the way through, and b) has any sense of historical power pop that goes beyond last Tuesday would much more accurately draw comparisons between this record and, say, Bandwagonesque-era Teenage Fanclub, perhaps the Grip Weeds, and even Big Star songwriting (if not tone).
I don't bring this up to quibble with facts, but rather to point out that the reviewer really has no bloody basis on which to ascribe such venal commentary as "banal sing-along ditties" or "impressively bland," or even "mostly mediocre attempt at cutesy-yet-earnestly-indie pop." If your diet is a steady stream of My Chemical Romance, Lily Allen and Maroon 5, you're just...not...going... to...understand. (As an aside, I'm not here to dis Tuyet, who once wrote a not-unfavorable review of a former twee band of my own.) Power pop, in its purest form, isn't trying to break new ground, but rather to construct catchy, well-crafted, memorable pop in a guitar-rock construct. I'm not suggesting the reviewer needs to be deeply ensconced in everything in the canon. But when listening to Bring Us Meat, if you can't recognize sonic nods to bands as prominent as Teenage Fanclub, Material Issue or even the Knack, then you are wholly unqualified to judge such a record on its own merits.
While one may quibble with where the new Thank God for Astronauts record stands among its true peers -- both stylistic peers in its genre, as well as Denver bands generally -- I don't think there's any doubt that songs such as "Ghetto Flame," "Daggers in the Street" and "Danica" make for most pleasant listening at any time, and perhaps even have strong radio potential.
"Sound Check," Michael Roberts, April 26
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Michael Roberts's latest Message column provided some great insights into how Clear Channel is dealing -- or not -- with the issue of how its conservative talk-show hosts use the public airwaves. It's quite telling that even in speaking with a journalist, Mike Rosen and "Gunny" Bob Newman couldn't resist a little inaccurate spin about the critiques of their shows by Colorado Media Matters. While those two would like you to think that we differ with them mainly on points of ideology, the vast bulk of our research focuses on fact-based misinformation, not conservative vs. progressive interpretation. That is, we've documented the numerous times that Rosen, Newman, Peter Boyles and Dan Caplis have used factually inaccurate assertions to support their points of view. In many cases (with Boyles by far the worst offender), they do it repeatedly, using the same falsehoods over and over again even after we've sent them the facts showing that they are spouting inaccurate information. We don't call that "misleading," as Rosen would like people to believe; we call that "lying."
Clearly they don't like the fact that unlike in past years, someone on a regular basis is catching them in the act of lying to their listeners.
Bill Menezes, editorial director
Colorado Media Matters