"Fat Chance," Michael Roberts, January 24
How much did Michael Karolchyk pay you for your cover photo?
Your story on his Anti-Gym brings to mind two old chestnuts: "I don't care what they say, as long as they spell my name right," and "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people."
Yet hidden behind this huckster's hateful marketing gimmicks are some basic truths. We Americans are becoming fatter and fatter as we succumb to super-sized menus, processed foods and sedentary lifestyles. We can profoundly improve our health and happiness by two simple steps: eating better and exercising more.
In contrast to Karolchyk's crass approach, Oprah Winfrey and People magazine run inspiring stories on morbidly obese people who, through sheer willpower, reduce their food intake and increase their activity, losing hundreds of pounds. We should all follow their heroic examples.
Don't be suckered by hype, whether it's to eat junk or to join a ridiculous gym. We can instead drastically improve our health by simple, low-cost, gradual steps: Eat more fruit and vegetables. Walk more. Buy some cheap dumbbells and learn a few strength-training routines. All the support we need is online and in our communities — for free.
Worst-Case Scenario, Kenny Be, January 24
I have read a lot of letters about Representative Douglas Bruce, and now Kenny Be gets into the act, and I am infuriated! Not at Bruce, but at the jerks who are attacking him. I have grown so sick and tired of the protocol, the decorum, the syrupy niceness that goes on under the Capitol dome while supposedly doing the people's business that I welcome the brutally frank "kick in the door" (or the photographer) attitude that Bruce brings to the legislature. That cameraman was told by Bruce not to do something, he did it anyway, and he got a little pop for it. Was he injured for life? No, so get over it, Colorado!
Years ago, Doug Bruce told the state not to spend all our money. We agreed, and passed TABOR. Since then, an assortment of governments decided to do what they pleased with our money, and found ways to circumvent TABOR. I think they could use a little kick in the knee, too, with a stern warning to not do it again. You don't like Doug Bruce in the House? Fine — I think he'd be better in the governor's office!
"Donkey Business," Michael Roberts, January 24
Our mascot is a donkey or burro, not a mule, which is half horse! I know, because I wrote the resolution that Coloradans voted on to make the state mascot a donkey or burro, like those used in the mines to help extract gold and silver, like the one the Virgin Mary rode to the stable to give birth to the baby Jesus. They most likely came to America from Mexico. The animal you have shown with the article about the Democratic mascot is a mule, not a donkey or burro. You should get it right!
Richard A. Payne
"The Main Chance," Jason Sheehan, January 17
I'm one of those people who endorse Ali Baba Grill at every opportunity. Actually, I only tell good people about the place. For the masses, I prefer to keep this pearl a secret.
How many days have I come back from the hills to an amazing meal at Ali Baba? Countless. Here's my two cents on what to order: the king combo and any of the fruit milks, especially banana. The king combo gives you a little of everything — no, a lot of everything. And it's delicious. Honestly, I think it's the best restaurant in Golden.
This food critic may think he knows about food, but his review of Ali Baba Grill showed how little Jason Sheehan knows about how to write properly. One paragraph was one run-on sentence with 169 words; I don't think that would get a good grade in any English class. Second, obviously the foods offered at this restaurant are loved by very many people who are more than willing to travel far to get there — even with gas prices as they are. And third, maybe that coffee urn came from Cost Plus, but the exquisite decor (that I know was imported special) in the upper room makes most of us diners feel like we have traveled out of the country for a relaxing mini-vacation.
I have a suggestion for the reviewer. He needs to go back to college and take some writing classes. To me, a writer who writes a sentence of 169 words invalidates his review and shows that he is not a professional.
The Beatdown, Dave Herrera, January 17
"Farts of Palm." There. The joke's been made, don't make it anymore. Though I honestly might respect Nathan & Stephen a little more if that were actually the band's new name, because Hearts of Palm is just that bad. Let us leave aside for a moment that it's incredibly lame for a band to steal its name from the title of an album or, worse still, a book, and focus instead on the simple fact that anyone who's listened to Nathan & Stephen's music knows, deep down in their pericardium, that this name does not fit the sound at all. Hell, even my friend Mike, who approves of everything any band ever does, thought this was a terrible name.
But this decision isn't what worries me. No, I've spent most of my life watching bands I love make bad decisions. What worries me is that every music writer in this town is lined up to collectively give head to Nathan & Stephen. Couple that with the overwhelmingly self-congratulatory nature of the Denver pop-music scene, and this debacle of a name change might actually go unchallenged. This is where my fear lies — that this town won't raise a single voice to discourage a travesty of nomenclature.
I love this band. I love every member in this band, even when they're bad friends or they act like pompous assholes. I love every song this band writes, and I am physically unable to not smile every time I see it perform. But love is not silent and love is not still and love will not let me support such an awful, awful decision. And though I doubt there are, I hope there are other people in this town who love this band in the same way I do.
"The Candidate," January 17
I read Naomi Zeveloff's article about my son, Muhammad Ali Hasan. Although there were many factual inaccuracies about my family and me, I felt it important to point out three in particular.
First, the article incorrectly stated that my husband, Dr. Malik Hasan, and other executives made a decision to sell QualMed. This is simply untrue. Foundation Health Systems, the parent company of QualMed, decided to withdraw its insurance operations from Colorado; it did not sell QualMed. Further, my husband had already retired from the company, and he had no involvement with the decision to withdraw from Colorado. In fact, although Dr. Hasan was retired and had no say in the decision, when he learned that Foundation Health Systems was terminating its Colorado operations, he took the initiative to persuade company management to extend greater benefits to Pueblo employees than contractually required. At his insistence and persistence, Foundation Health Systems gave Pueblo employees over $20 million in severance and extended health-insurance benefits anywhere from three to fifteen months (depending on the employee's length of service with the company). Naturally, I was sad to see the Pueblo division closed, but it was a decision out of our hands, one solely belonging to a publicly traded company that we were no longer involved with. I believe that my family's record of service to Pueblo, including the work and business of QualMed, is clear and very enthusiastic. Any suggestion or implication that Dr. Hasan wanted to abandon Pueblo or hurt Puebloans, or that he was involved in the selling of QualMed, is incorrect and actually scurrilous.
Second, although the article repeatedly mentioned "servants," I do not have any "servants." I do have staff members, and if someone characterizes them as "servants," such characterization is demeaning to them and to my family. They are very valued members of our household. Your writer's use of the term was wholly her own.
Third, the description of my voice's "thick Pakistani accent" was, quite honestly, news to me and to people who know me.
The whole article is either inaccurate or, when based on facts, those facts have been distorted or spun in a manner to present an untrue picture fitting with the writer's preconceived notions. This distortion or spin has resulted in an article that, rather than being objective, is actually a caricature at best. It is inconsistent with the best standards of journalism. Frankly, I am disappointed that your writer would abuse our friendliness and hospitality to write a vicious article. I sincerely regret extending those courtesies to her.
Mrs. Seeme Hasan
Las Vegas, Nevada
"TV or Not TV," Juliet Wittman, January 24
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Juliet Wittman's review of the Denver Center production of Our House should have been headlined "Spoiler Alert." She revealed so much of the story that any sense of suspense or intrigue for the theater-goer is eliminated.