In a class by itself
In the next two months, juniors and seniors in a civics class at Alta Vista High School in Mountain View, California, will get a chance to do something that Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter probably never will: interpret the evidence in the JonBenét Ramsey case and hold a trial.
"I had just finished reading Perfect Murder, Perfect Town [the JonBenét book by Lawrence Schiller] and was telling a student about it," writes Alta Vista teacher Jodi Disario in an e-mail to Westword. "He said, 'Mrs. D, wouldn't it be cool if we could research that and have a trial or something?' So I made it a six-week unit...We had just finished a unit on law and how branches of law enforcement have to work together to obtain justice. I thought the case would illustrate that nicely. The kids are REALLY getting into it."
And why not? Alta Vista is a "continuation" school for students who are socially maladjusted or have problems with the law, attendance and academics. Although they're on Christmas break right now, Disario says their assignment over the holidays is to gather information on the case using the Internet, newspapers and material that she has already provided. Perhaps Hunter should sit in.
The kids could also take a cue from Denver's own socially maladjusted and often-in-trouble-with-the-law JonBenét expert J.T. Colfax. Since he paid off his debt to society in the Boulder County jail -- he landed there after stealing Ramsey-related pages from a morgue book and setting a fire in the mailbox of the former Ramsey home in Boulder -- J.T. has kept busy stashing his performance art in nooks and crannies across the metro area.
His latest project focuses on millennium madness. Colfax claims to have hidden 6,000 little notes that mock Y2K hype -- "In the year 2020 there will be 20 year olds who are sick of hearing your Y2K memories," for example -- between the pages of books at the central branch of the Denver Public Library. The notes, which were stashed between August and November, "are intended to remind their finders...of their Y2K experience far after New Year's Eve," Colfax says. "Some of these won't be found for decades...and so I've continued the torture of Y2K far into the future even if I get killed in the Y2K riots, food shortages or hype-induced suicide."
Man of the hour
Still have questions about what to do when the clock strikes twelve? There's only one real answer, of course: the Venus Butterfly advanced sexual technique, as detailed by Bob Schwartz, Ph.D., whose book, The One Hour Orgasm: How to Learn the Amazing 'Venus Butterfly' Technique, is now in its third printing. The doctor and his wife, Leah Schwartz, Ph.D., will bang in the New Year in the Vail/Breckenridge area, where they will be holed up on a skiing vacation; the couple travels in a tour bus complete with a satellite, generator and bed.
"It makes the greatest Christmas present," says Dr. Bob, who isn't afraid to plug his book over and over and deeper and harder. "It's also perfect for New Year's. You should have canned goods and candles and matches, but if the lights go off, you should also have the book to practice the Venus Butterfly technique."
If you watched L.A. Law in the late 1980s and early 1990s, you may remember the Venus Butterfly: It was made famous by TV couple -- and real-life husband and wife -- Michael Tucker (who played Stuart Markowitz) and Jill Eikenberry (Ann Kelsey), who suggestively referred to it several times without elaborating on the full details of the procedure. In fact, one episode, which aired on November 21, 1986, was actually called "The Venus Butterfly."
But even that exposure wasn't enough to satisfy a country desperately in need of fulfillment, says Dr. Bob, whose three years of "research" into the sex lives of Americans consisted of taking calls during radio shows in major cities, including Denver.
"There has been a decline in the frequency of lovemaking, what we call the 'sexual drought,'" he says. "It started in the 1980s and has gotten worse, affecting 65 percent of couples in a monogamous relationship, whether they are married or not. We found that 70 percent of women in America were losing their sex drive or had lost it. If they are in the 'honeymoon period,' it's not bad. But after one or two children, they are worn out, they are exhausted, they have kids, they're working, running the house, cooking and cleaning, paying the bills. And at the end of the day, given the choice between sleep and sex, sleep was winning."
The other reasons why women are no longer interested in the old one-two? They're bored of their significant others' tired techniques and/or simply aren't being satisfied every time. As the good doctor puts it: "It's like going to a fancy restaurant and eating wonderful food, but your wife is standing outside with her nose pressed against the window. After a while, she's not wanting to have sex anymore."
And women in Colorado are just as deprived as women across the rest of the country. Unlike those women, though, we'll be lucky enough to have Dr. Bob in our midst for the next few weeks. And he's certain that the solution lies in the Venus Butterfly, which is supposed to result in a one-hour orgasm -- "When I say the title, most guys think dinner is included," Dr. Bob explains -- or, in the cases of some "trained professionals," the eleven-hour orgasm.
The 171-page paperback edition of his book, complete with picture and accompanying videos ("They're very explicit, but they're not pornography"), has "become the Poke-mama for Christmas," Dr. Bob adds. "One store in Richmond, Virginia, which is a very conservative town, sold 437 copies after our radio interview there."
There are only a few shopping days left to pick up your very own copy, a must-have as the new year rolls around. Y2K disaster or not, the Venus Butterfly is a helluva way to go.
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It makes a twisted kind of sense that Boulder poet Edward Dorn, who died December 10 at the age of seventy, received only a few lines' worth of wire-service obituary in the bumbling dailies. One persistent theme of Dorn's work is the way American politics and pop culture conspire to dehumanize the individual and court oblivion, burying the profound in a heap of triviality.
Dorn's writing is anything but trivial. Born in Illinois and schooled at Black Mountain College, the legendary artists' hothouse, Dorn came west as a young man and wandered the Rockies with one hand on the steering wheel and the other clutching a notebook. His post-Beat epic poem Gunslinger, which appeared in installments over two decades, is a riotous celebration of language and a brilliant collision of Western mythology with the counterculture: Stagecoach on acid. His later work was increasingly journalistic in tone ("I can tell the news a lot better than they can," he insisted), riffing off the day's events to denounce the greed of the Reagan era. He also savagely mocked the Californication of his adopted state, especially Boulder ("the small, consumerist space station of Balderdash"), where he headed the University of Colorado's creative writing program.
Battling cancer, Dorn made one of his last public appearances a few months ago for a benefit reading at the LoDo Tattered Cover. He began by observing that the success of the warehouse district had further displaced Denver's homeless. "This used to be their space," he said. "I think about them all the time." Then he read poems about Jamaica and Latin America, the Pope's 1993 visit to Denver ("The crowd is vast and young and unaborted and they're all pregnant") and genetic engineering, while the young crowd of former students and aspiring poets listened quietly for the cool words encasing the white heat of outrage and nodded knowingly: This gunslinger's aim is true.
If you have a tip, call Jonathan Shikes at 303-293-3555, send a fax to 303-296-5416, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.