"Mr. Wizard," Jason Sheehan, October 25
If any restaurant reviewer is up to the task of appraising Westminster's astounding O's Steak & Seafood restaurant and its chef, Ian Kleinman, it's your Jason Sheehan. Few, if any, critics have his mix of relevant traits: experience, fair-mindedness, honesty and the culinary expertise to cope with the challenge of Kleinman's magic in his kitchen working with liquid nitrogen. And the verbal mastery to eloquently express his findings.
I don't know who is the greater alchemist in his profession — Kleinman or Sheehan — in creating his respective golden product. Molecular gastronomy, Sheehan explains, is "a science-driven reimagining of cuisine that includes everything from the use of immersion blenders and thermal circulators to atom-up revising of the laws of cookery." Such wizardry is planned with Kleinman's rare know-how, discipline and the boldness to experiment enough to give you a tableside sorbet of Colorado peaches made with liquid nitrogen and the combination of other ingredients unlikely to be found elsewhere.
Everyone should read (or reread) Sheehan's review in last week's issue. They will be entertained and informed. He is extremely literate. He is serious. He is funny. He writes with ease. He writes like someone talking quietly in a corner or over a cup of coffee, unhurried, without stress. Another example from a review of another restaurant, a year or so ago: "All of you health nuts are going to feel pretty stupid someday, lying there in your hospital bed dying of nothing in particular. All of you joggers, you twig-and-berry vegans, you juicers, you fasters and no-fat, meatless and sugar-free fanatics — you are going to die, too. And when the Grim Reaper sneaks up on you 198 years from now and your friends find you at the kitchen table face-down in your Grape Nuts, they'll ask, 'How did that happen? He looked so healthy.'"
Sheehan is good. Very good. But maybe you know that already.
"Stick It," Michael Roberts, October 25
I enjoyed the Message about the stickers put on the fronts of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. When I pick up the two papers in my yard each morning, I rip off the stickers and rip out the inserts, classified section, kids' section, high-school sports section and other dross, and stuff it all back in the plastic bag and toss it into my dumpster. As long as I can rip the stickers off and they don't destroy the reading material underneath, I could not care less. There are several more ominous sins being committed by Denver's dailies, and they're why newspapers are failing. They include:
1. The obnoxious, creeping ads that obliterate the news on the front of each paper's website.
2. The on-time delivery of both papers that has become increasingly dicey in recent weeks. It's bad enough that the papers have only 6 a.m. guaranteed weekday delivery, but the 7 a.m. on weekends is inexcusable. Even worse is the 8 to 9 a.m. delivery to boxes outside breakfast restaurants. When my home-delivered copy gets there before I leave home — an increasingly less likely occurrence — I take it to the restaurant, and the other diners descend on me like vultures, because no copies have been delivered to the paper box outside. Almost everyone I encounter is like me: If they miss reading the paper at breakfast, it goes unread that day. This may sound trivial, but it's crucial in why newspapers are dropping like a rock.
3. I don't miss the long-winded, emotional drivel of Diane Carman or Jim Spencer. They mainly carry the water of the unions they belong to and are incapable of objective thought. David Harsanyi is not conservative enough for my tastes, but at least his columns are grounded in fact and are very concise.
And, of course, they still don't carry "Funky Winkerbean" on Sunday — but at least Lisa died during the week.
"Taking It to the Streets," Jared Jacang Maher, October 25
The Glenns are so '90s. Westword, why would you give Recreate '68 any attention at all — much less the cover of your (sometimes) fine paper? You are just playing into their hands. To make sure that we don't have to hear their tired old protests during the 2008 convention, I'm willing to take up a collection to send the Glenns on a nice, one-way trip to Disneyland next summer.
Your Denver protester story is funnier than hell. It's a perfect testament to the notion that idiot liberals never realize which side of their bread is buttered. Since l968, we've had nearly forty years of out-of-control socialism that was demanded by the libs of the 1968 convention. Today's government handouts are so completely high that the 1968 libs would've scoffed out loud if they had been told how high they would be forty years later. Every single aspect of government handouts has skyrocketed since 1968, and still the Maxist-socialist greedy moron wants more. But that's what spoiled children do: always want more while slapping the hand that feeds them.
I'm lovin' it — as I'm telling you now like I told you then, I'll be on the sidelines with a grin.
For all you DNC fans, here are some excerpts from a book titled The Conspiracy, published in 1969. Enjoy, kids:
Congressman Roudebush of Indiana stated: "These people that these bills will affect are anti-Americans. They burn the American flag. They want to help our enemies." From Congressman Sikes of Florida: "Those who incite to violence should be punished whether or not freedom of speech is impaired."
The late Abbie Hoffman replied: "Any means — any means necessary. That's a phrase of great interest to commissions on violence...a means of raising their revolutionary consciousness...you ought to think about changing...society...to the extent that you're willing to risk your life. If the Democratic Convention had been held in New York, I think the city would have given us $200,000 and gotten the Beatles to come over and play in the park, and everything would have been groovy. That's what I told the Chicago officials to do.... I think I could say from experience that the amount of violence is inverse to the number of people I planned to pull Hubert Humphrey's pants down...up on the podium."
Get out the vote!
There were misstatements and inaccuracies in Jared Jacang Maher's story last week. Here are some of them.
The Recreate '68 name was explained to Jared; the group is named after the year, not an event (it is not called Recreate Chicago 68). The headline on the web version of the story — "Chicago in 1968 was a place of violence and chaos. Some activists would like to re-create those good old days" — is misleading and inflammatory; in the press conference and in other public forums, R-68 has made it clear that we are trying to avoid what happened in Chicago. What R-68 wants to re-create is the spirit of mass political participation that marked that year, when millions of people believed their participation in the political process could make a real difference and acted on that belief — a spirit that has been lost in the last forty years. R-68 has adopted a non-violence statement and has at every opportunity mentioned non-violence. R-68 did not commandeer website names; they were bought and paid for over the natural course of events, and the total price was $126.
No one who is in Transform Columbus Day, Recreate '68 or affiliated with Woodbine is affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front. Because that organization has been labeled "terrorist" by the government, this is a very threatening statement.
As for Colorado AIM, it is the largest single and most active AIM chapter in the country, not a tiny and disavowed splinter group. Barbara and Mark Cohen individually have large spy files, not "one" of the most massive spy files. Massive is the AIM file, which was over 1,500 pages.
Barbara and Mark Cohen
Editor's note: The Cohens are correct; the total amount for those websites was $126. And while last week Glenn Spagnuolo told Jared Jacang Maher that R-68 was still considering drafting a non-violence statement, Mark Cohen provided such a statement to Westword. At Spagnuolo's request, Westword withheld the name of the group training at Woodbine that has had connections to the Earth Liberation Front; it was neither R-68 nor Colorado AIM, as Jared's story makes clear. Neither Glenn Morris nor Glenn Spagnuolo has responded to Jared's calls since that story was published, although there's been a lively discussion of the piece on the web (join in here). And for the record, Spagnuolo told Jared he was born in Queens, not the Bronx. We apologize for the errors.
Playlist, Michael Roberts, October 18
I wanted to let you know I was disgusted with Michael Roberts's review of Kid Rock's new CD, Rock N Roll Jesus. Since it debuted at number one in Billboard in its first week, obviously Roberts is slightly out of touch or out of brains. Bob Ritchie is a lyrical genius as well as amazing in combining his own music with flashes of past hits to give the listener a feeling of nostalgia while being wowed by the new music. Anyone who cannot feel this is sad, in my opinion. And why does an album have to be one genre? Open up your narrow little mind and enjoy the music.
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"Chain Reaction," Adam Cayton-Holland, October 11
I was a part of "Chain Reaction" and am the DPBMA president, and I have always looked upon my nineteen-plus years of employment as a messenger as both a blessing and a curse. While it is true that it's great being employed doing something you love, I have also sacrificed a lot to have that. Financial security is something that most messengers know little about, and being taken advantage of by industry as a form of labor and being unable to handle one's financial responsibilities is understood across the board. I am not rich, but my life is, and that has been worth a lot to me. While I am very proud of my trade, it doesn't mean I'm not respectful of others. Messengering has been a tool, not a toy in my life, and I don't hate on interest in our world. I just want it to be known that I respect all who are passionate about something and feel kinship with those who get paid to do the wild thing, whatever that is to you. Picture me rollin'...and thanks for your time.