Letters to the Editor

That's a Wrap!

Stuff it: Okay, it's official. Westword has become the hardest-hitting, in-your-face reporting magazine on the face of the planet.

I mean, who could possibly disagree? With cover stories as hard-hitting as Adam Cayton-Holland's "Word of Mouth," in the January 27 issue, we can be sure Westword is dedicating all its resources to making sure Denverites are well informed about the dark underbelly of society.

I am also thrilled that this is the second article about burritos to grace the cover of Westword in the past year. It is difficult to overcompensate for the lack of good burrito coverage we've had in recent years, and Westword's efforts to compensate warm my heart, all wrapped up in a warm tortilla and smothered with chile. What is wrong with you people?

There are wonderful and horrible things happening in Denver right now. I truly don't care if the burrito lady can sell to Wellington Webb but can't seem to break the seal with Hickenlooper.

This story was sort of like a printed version of what every news channel in Denver does at the end of its broadcast -- you know, where they have to end with the dumbest story of the night, about a five-year-old boy who is selling newspapers for charity? Or the kids who all give the stupid thumbs-up sign?

Westword, we all know you're not that soft; that's why we read your usually wonderful paper. Please don't give us the Channel 4 sendoff -- we can stay up till 10:28 if we really want that.

Seth Fraser

Stay off the sauce: I have always been grateful for the burrito people who come to my office. On some mornings, my bacon, egg and cheese burrito -- with a big dose of hot sauce -- is the only thing that keeps me going. I didn't realize how lucky I am to live in Denver, where hangover cures come to my door!

Thanks to Adam Cayton-Holland for a great story. I like What's So Funny, too, but I can't read it when I'm hung over, because my head hurts when I laugh.

Joe Ramirez

Free Speech Impediments

Blowhard job: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Dan's Plan," in the February 3 issue:

If Dan Caplis can pretend to be a legitimate radio talk-show host, why can't Ward Churchill pretend to be an authority on Indians? As far as I'm concerned, they're both blowhard poseurs.

Rita Hamilton

Lefty turn: The idea that Mr. Caplis grew up under the roof with a cop who was a lefty is so absurd to believe. If you were anything but a Democrat in Chicago, you didn't work. He knows that. Since when are law-and-order guys liberal? Coupled with the fact that Caplis is a hard-nosed Catholic with the views of Attila the Hun. Give me some wiggle room.

P.S.: Aimee Sporer and Dan Caplis would have trouble getting out of town on Colfax with a map.

Adam Holman

Shoot to chill: The beauty of freedom of speech is that it allows wackos on both sides of the political fence to publicly voice their "outrageous and insupportable" views, as Governor Owens calls them. That is the essence of the freedom, democracy and liberty that President Bush states the U.S. wishes to spread around the world. If we feel that Ward Churchill should be fired, then Lieutenant General James Mattis should also be fired for his inflammatory remark that "it's fun to shoot people."

Maybe the Marines could use that in their next recruitment commercial.

Perry Martinez

Little Mouse on the Prairie

Space case: David Holthouse's "Building a Better Mousetrap," published in the January 20 Westword, misses the mark. The real story is that the Front Range is in a losing battle as far as intact wildlife habitat is concerned. We are witness to shopping centers, houses, hotels and streets being built on top of the last remaining bits of open space. The open space that isn't slated for development is often converted into green-grass parks and playing fields instead of left as a wild island in the urban landscape. The real story is about the balance of wildlife for its own sake, losing to human encroachment.

Protecting the Preble's jumping mouse isn't impossible. All that is necessary is for development to avoid streams and wetlands. Taking such measures would also mean better developments, cleaner water and a little more of the prairie intact. Instead, the case seems to be developers salivating at the chance to build in any open place. One of the casualties of this trend in plowing land under for concrete is the Preble's mouse. I want there to be places for my children's children to have the option of finding intrigue and inspiration on the prairie, and in the small forgotten creatures like a rare mouse that took eons to fill the niche that it occupies.

Naomi Yoder

Mystery data: I enjoyed reading David Holthouse's "Building a Better Mousetrap" and was very interested by Rob Ramey. One of the scientific tenets some "environmentalists" forget in the heat of their agendas is to ask, "Where are the data?"

Loren Hettinger
via the Internet

Editor's note: On January 28, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced that her department has formally proposed removing the Preble's jumping mouse from endangered-species protection, based largely on research conducted by Denver Museum of Nature & Science biologist Rob Ramey. In updating work done five decades earlier by Arizona wildlife biologist Philip Krutzsch, Ramey and his team determined that the Preble's mouse was not a genetically distinct subspecies, as it had been classified since 1954. "Many of the expert reviewers thought this study's conclusions were wrong," says Erin Robertson, staff biologist with the Denver-based Center for Native Ecosystems. "It is premature to be talking about removing protection." Even so, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started the "delisting" process last month; until a final determination is made in 2006, the Preble's mouse will continue to be protected under the Endangered Species Act -- and its habitat tightly restricted from development.

"Building a Better Mousetrap," originally published in the January 20 issue, is now archived at It was David Holthouse's last feature for Westword.

Knuckle Sandwich

Ani gravity: Hey, Jason Heller! You must have had your head too far up your ass when you were listening to Ani DiFranco's Knuckle Down, and this interfered with your reception (Playlist, January 27). This is an excellent album, one I'd rank as her best since Dilate.

I get a kick out of you music critics, people who lack any type of creative ability taking potshots at a creative genius like Ani DiFranco, who has accomplished more in her 34 years than you could ever hope to in ten lifetimes. So what if she's been nominated for a Grammy! It just goes to show that there are some people out there (not including you) who recognize true talent.

Chart-riding? When was the last time you heard an Ani DiFranco song on the radio other than that wretched cover of "32 Flavors" by Alana Davis? Swiping shamelessly? Why would anyone want to swipe from Tom Waits, who always sounds to me like some unintelligible drunk bum? Have you ever seen her perform live? Her acoustic-guitar style is amazing, and the connection she makes with her fans is something I've never seen with any other artist -- ever. You have to see it to truly appreciate it.

Get off your ass and get to a show instead of sitting in your office painting with your broad brush. Ani DiFranco is an incredibly gifted singer-songwriter. I think you owe it to her and yourself to perform a little more research before you "review" someone's work. Your review really pissed me off!

Richard Bom
via the Internet

Mission Aborted

The truth hurts: Kenny Be's January 27 Worst-Case Scenario, "EmbryObituaries & Immemorials," was one of the most brilliant things I have ever seen -- concise, irrefutable. To heap further praise upon it would ruin the sparse beauty of Be's creation.

I'm sure you'll get a lot of angry letters from the anti-abortion crowd. I guess I can't blame them; it must hurt to get sucker-punched with the truth like that. Of course, not being able to think rationally or recognize sense when they see it, they just know they are hurt and will no doubt lash out at Westword with the stuttering incoherence that is their trademark.

Todd Linn

The Hate State, Redux

Inflame throwers: I have to comment on Mike Triplett's laughable letter last week, in which he referred to Neil Haverstick as a "hate-filled inflamer" from Lakewood. I am also a Lakewood resident and even know Neil, although I haven't talked to him in probably well over a decade. Somehow, Mike Triplett got things all mixed up in his non-hate-filled little brain when he read what Neil wrote. I believe Neil's point was that "Tom Tom" Tancredo is once again making a buffoon of himself in his typically xenophobic, racist manner. "Dumb Dumb" and "Dik Dik" are both pretty good replacements for his first name, as Neil suggested, but "Ass Ass" and "Knob Knob" probably fit Tommy T's persona better, even though they don't roll off the tongue quite as well (no pun intended).

However, of all the inaccurate, adolescent remarks made by Triplett -- which would take more words to tear apart than such gibberish is worth -- my favorite was this one: "So instead of sitting on the sidelines pointing your inflammatory finger of hatred [Oh, my! Not the inflammatory finger of hatred!], why don't you run against Mr. Tancredo in the next election?" To follow this bizarre sense of logic to the next step, I thought up a couple more nonsensical statements that he can use in the future to impress everyone with his amazing reasoning skills:

1) To a weeping mother who lost her family in a plane crash because of pilot error: "So instead of sitting around pointing your lonely finger of sorrow, why don't you go take flying lessons and become a commercial pilot?"

2) To a middle-aged football fan who is upset because his favorite team lost a playoff game because of a bad pass: "So instead of sitting around pointing your beer-drenched finger of armchair, why don't you give up your career, which you use to support your family, and train full-time to be an NFL quarterback?"

Sam Coffman

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Buzz off: One of my favorite places in Cherry Creek was the now-defunct barber shop next to the Cherry Cricket (Bite Me, February 3). Both barbers called themselves John. One was a native, the other from Morocco. Morocco John always greeted his clients as holy men and made them feel they had come to a special place of the human psyche. The $12 buzz cut done in under ten minutes was refreshing in the pretentious hair-salon atmosphere of Cherry Creek.

John and John, I miss you. I hope you are doing well, wherever you have landed.

Marc Halpern

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