To the Editor:
Bringing the thoroughly eccentric into daylight is a tricky thing ["Two to Tango," May 2].
Somehow you made tango seem like a normal activity, while keeping its veil of intrigue and artistry intact.
A deft touch.
-- Scott McLane
God bless Johnny
God bless Johnny
To the Editor:
I am and have always been a fan of Johnny Smith.
From the first time I heard him on record at age 12, I wanted to play like he did. A tremendous musician and guitarist, but also a great and gentle man. I met him in 1968, I think it was, at the recording studio in New York City. He was recording with Hank Jones on piano and I think it was George Devivier on bass.
Johnny was recording his comeback album and by wonderful chance my friend and I were on leave from the Air Force and my friend's father somehow got us invited to the recording session. It was great and thrilling to say the least, at last meeting my hero and guitar idol.
We got to meet him and talk to him during one of his breaks. I was so tongue-tied, I could barely think straight and I wanted to strike up a conversation with him, so I asked him some dumb question about whether he liked playing the classic guitar more than the electric jazz guitar and he said, "Well, I make my living by the electric guitar but I really like flying the best." He is also apparently a pilot.
Funny how you remember things like that. Anyway, it was one of the biggest thrills of my life and I thought I'd share it with you.
For myself and so many other guitarists out there, I want to thank you, Johnny, for all the great music you have made and for holding your family in such high esteem. God Bless You.
-- Al DeMarco
Editor's note: Reporter Bob Campbell's story about retired jazz great Johnny Smith, who is alive and well in Colorado Springs, appeared in the March 15, 2001 Independent and still draws raves from all over. The piece can be read online at
Warnings and joys
To the Editor:
An open letter to Kathryn Eastburn:
Thank you for continuing to write your Domestic Bliss and occasional other pieces, especially reviews. The May 2 issue was sterling in both areas.
Yes, ignorance is more dangerous than knowledge in areas of sex and plastic; moreover, misinformation is our due if we don't dig hard for the real thing. My gosh, how many girls go through the unnecessary agony you described from when your breasts budded?
How many boys go through a similar worry from their own early pubescent experiences? We hear jokes, nervousness and shame, rather than information and healthy celebration.
Also in the issue, the story about documentarian Judith Helfand, as she encountered others' lies, shame, sickness and death as she tried to find out whether, and how, the world's very popular plastics are poisonous! Thank you for bringing us her poignant tale, too, of how "Ignorance is piss."
Thank you for your domestic warnings, as well as joys.
-- MiRobin Webster
The silver lining
To the Editor:
An open letter to John Hazlehurst:
Thanks for your many great columns over the years. I particularly agree with your positions on the Pikes Peak Highway and the Fine Arts Center among other things.
Your recent water columns were informative but perhaps don't go far enough. I have changed my thinking on the desirability of rain and dread a premature end of the drought. The drought is potentially the only thing that can save this city. I will welcome rain only after the developers have left town.
Meanwhile, as I write this, it is lightly raining and the city has its median sprinklers going, at least on Willamette. Should I write them to complain about their stupidity or thank them for hastening the time when Phase 3 (halting new water taps) is implemented?
Thanks, I feel better now.
-- Bruce Hamilton
Editor's note: To alert the City to water being wasted, please call 649-0073
Failure to perform
To the Editor:
Many states now have major problems with their budgets. None of the incumbent governors and legislators have taken any responsibility for their failure to do their jobs. In many instances they have spent and wasted money with no regard for the consequences.
The reality of this, is in the real world you and I would be terminated from our job for failure to perform. The American people can resolve this problem by voting these politicians out of office. Most have been in office for years and have forgotten why they were put there.
This would send a message to each and every politician on the local, state and national level that they have been elected by the people to work for the people and that performance will be dealt with and that they are not there for a lifetime career of looking out for themselves.
The only way an incumbent politician can understand reality is to send them home for good.
-- Vernon Hill
Atlantic Beach, NC
Too many people
To the Editor,
When God created the heavens and the Earth, He/She never intended that humans would eventually breed and multiply to the degree that they would destroy Planet Eden and thus commit collective suicide; yet that is what is happening.
How could the most intelligent life form on the planet behave in such an insanely stupid manner? Why would humans wish to bring billions of infants into a hopelessly overpopulated world where hundreds of millions of them will be unwanted, unloved, abused and hopeless, yet live long enough to give birth to the next generation of miserable humanity?
Do you suppose that God will honor those arrogant world leaders who have made virtual sex-slaves and forced breeders out of over a billion women by denying them access to family planning help and information?
We pretend to be compassionate people and have opened our doors to millions of immigrants from countries that are tragically overpopulated now and yet are doing little, if anything, to curb their birthrates. By allowing America to become the sponge that soaks up the teeming masses resulting from over-breeding, we are rapidly relegating America to Third World status and we are only prolonging the inevitable day of reckoning for the so-called "developing" nations.
There are too many people for Planet Eden to provide for on a sustainable basis. Americans alone are consuming much of the remaining resources of the planet. What if every human in Asia, Africa and Latin America lived as we do? The plunder would intensify. Our already toxic air would kill millions, the last fishes in the sea would be mined, the great whales would either starve or be eaten, our last God-created forests would disappear in a decade along with our remaining topsoil.
Failing to act to save Planet Eden from imminent destruction by aiding and abetting the continued mindless breeding of too many people to create more consumers and thus more profits for mega-corporations is a crime against humanity, a crime against nature and a crime against God.
-- George H. Russell
Stop the abuse
To the Editor:
I am saddened to hear that the Ringling Brothers' Circus will be coming to Colorado Springs in October.
As a child, I loved going to circuses and viewing the amazing tricks the animals perform. Little did I, until recently, know (as many still don't) that circus animals are tortured on a daily basis.
Undercover footage taken by the ASPCA and the USDA has found that elephants are beaten with hooks attached to the end of long poles, chained for hours at a time with no supervision or care, and transported from city to city in crowded, overheated train cars which literally bake the animals alive. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has recorded ringmasters shouting to the elephant trainers, "Hit them! Hit them! Harder, harder! Do you hear those screams? That means you're getting to 'em!" This is not only cruel, but it's a far cry from the actual living environment of any of the animals used in circuses.
I am not suggesting that all circuses engage in this disgusting behavior. But the Ringling Brothers' Circus most certainly does.
People attend circuses (mainly) because they love animals. Little do most know that those animals are not performing out of affection and loyalty to their "masters," but out of the tremendous fear of what will happen to them if they don't submissively respond to orders.
I am aware that a common criticism would be to say that if such evidence was really available, then the cruelty would no longer exist. Unfortunately, this is not true. The Endangered Species Act clearly states that elephants (and the other animals employed in circus acts) should not be treated this way. Yet these things continue, and the ruthless criminals are still profiting.
We can end these atrocities. We can write to legislators and urge them to take action; and we can boycott circuses who put these horrendous practices into use. This way, we will ensure that circus animals are no longer tortured and forced to perform under such extreme conditions.
I encourage readers to take action and educate others about the crimes committed against elephants and other circus animal performers.
-- Jessica McDorman