New and unimproved: I could not agree more with Jason Sheehan's "Cornered," in the November 10 issue. I practically grew up in Johnson's Corner. My stepmother was a baker there, baking those wonderful cinnamon rolls for fifteen years, all through the '80s and into the early '90s. My brother was a grease monkey when they actually had a garage attached to the south side of the old building. He met his wife there; she was a fry cook who ran the flat top right behind the opening in the wall, in full view of all the patrons of the old Johnson's Corner. The new kitchen is way in the back of the new building, hidden from everybody.
My dad was a cop in the nearby town of Johnstown. When he was not on patrol, he was at Johnson's, drinking coffee and smoking Winstons in those old booths that got sent to the scrap heap. And me, I was by my dad's side in those same old booths, eating a cinnamon roll or cheeseburger deluxe. I probably spent three years of my life sitting in those booths.
I stopped in about a week before the grand reopening and, like Jason, I was sick. The first thing I told my wife was, "They ruined it." All that history just thrown away, replaced by just another cookie-cutter generic truck stop that could be in Anytown, Anystate, USA. As for me, I'll take the worn-out booths, squeaky worn-down floors and cranky, gum-smacking waitresses who call you "Sweetie" and "Darlin'" over the new, "improved" Johnson's Corner any day of the week.
You're not alone: Jason Sheehan is right. It's sad to lose the roadkill-grill ambience that Johnson's Corner once had. However, the chicken-fried steak is still among the best in the state. And you can't really blame them for modernizing. Yes, it will take another thirty years for the wear and tear to give the place atmosphere, but the locals won't have to wait forever for a booth on Easter Sunday and Mother's Day, and I don't think that the truckers really care. So that just leaves Jason and me.
Nice buns: Jason Sheehan's review of Forbidden City ("The Man With the Golden Bun," November 17) was foody brilliance. In a time when most of our news comes straight off the AP wire without so much as a spellcheck, this man at Bite Me World HQ may be the last investigative journalist we have.
Sure, Denver will always be considered a second-rate city by those who have never been west of Weehawken. And yes, admit it, people: The main problem around here is that the pizza sucks. But Denver is my home, and it's all we've got, and I love her to death.
So, Mr. Sheehan, please keep eating and writing here. Otherwise, I'll have to wipe my funky Jewish ass with the paper instead of reading it.
No friend of mine: I have been reading Westword for the past couple of years, and I have came to the conclusion that Jason Sheehan follows the same group of chefs and owners from place to place. It seems as though he has some kind of friendship with these chefs to keep their names in the paper. Having being a chef of thirty years and having seen the menus and the food that these restaurants serve, it is no wonder that they do not last. They are trying things that have been tried in other cities and failed. Where is the creativity with the chefs in this town? How about a challenge to all restaurants to think outside the box -- like I do?
Cristin Marie Witt
Smoke signals: Whatever one thinks of SAFER's campaign tactics -- and they were controversial even among those who favor an end to marijuana prohibition -- the simple fact is that Mason Tvert's message was true ("Going to Pot," November 24). By any objective standard, marijuana is safer than alcohol.
Toxicity? Alcohol overdoses kill Americans every year, while no fatal marijuana overdose has ever been documented. Addiction? Of those who ever take a drink, 15 percent get hooked on booze, compared to 9 percent for marijuana. Violence? Alcohol is well-documented to be a major cause of aggression and violence, while marijuana almost universally reduces aggression in users. Just ask any cop if he'd rather arrest a drunk or someone who's high on marijuana.
Denver voters did the right thing.
Marijuana Policy Project
Sisterhood: Regarding Luke Turf's "Baby Girl Grows Up," in the November 17 issue:
I just wanted to say how proud I am of Baby Girl, and I hope she stays sober for a very long time. I miss her and wish the best for her and her baby boy!
I hope to see her again one day and be sisters again. I miss the old days when we would just have fun and no trouble (well, a little). Again, I have respect for her cleaning herself up, especially for family.
Keep your head up, Baby Girl. I love ya! God bless.
In the hot seat: I noted some of the letters regarding coal-fired power plants in the November 3 issue, responding to Alan Prendergast's October 27 "Carbon Loading," and thought that I, as a technician, should weigh in. There is advanced technology in this field, and these are not your grandfather's coal plants.
I took a VIP tour of the Coors Brewery in Golden some years ago and looked at the furnace in the brew house. It is seven stories high and burns pulverized coal injected into a firebox similar to an oil burner. It is super-efficient and emits almost no pollution, except some heat. This location, right in Golden, would surely result in action were it like Public Service's smokestacks were a generation ago.
We have enough coal in this country to last a thousand years, and it would be a shame if ignorance and demagoguery prevented its use. Wind is also fine, but it can't be used on a massive scale. Maintenance costs make wind the most expensive way to produce electricity. The tree-huggers who say "wind good, coal bad," need to educate themselves regarding all our alternatives.