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The gift of tin

Congratulations on your "Tinth Anniversary!" I'm glad to "sea" the Independent using homophones (words/metaphors that sound alike, but are spelled differently): "Tinman," ("Tenman"). Mr. "Tinman," (on last week's cover) even has "tin" teeth! Very clever of you!

I use homophones in my poetry all the time (trying to deconstruct language). But, the Bush administration probably isn't going to allow them being "litter-alists" and all!

Wishing you continuing success!

-- F.A.H. Dalrymple

Manitou Springs

Editor's note: Tin is the material that traditionally marks 10th anniversaries.

Just getting started

The 10th anniversary edition was I think the best issue in 10 years ... how fitting. And your collection of imbeciles, losers, neurotics, gun nuts, homophobes, misanthropes, publicity hounds and small-time crooks ("Don't blame us, you voted for them") was a stunner. Thanks for all you do for all of us. Really. Thanks. Keep it coming.

-- Larimore ("Nick") Nicholl

Via the Internet

Story-rich town

Thank you for making me laugh this morning. Again -- thank you. Colorado Springs has always been such a rich environment for humor.

-- Alison Whiteman

Tacoma, Wash.

Wasson, class of 1984

Getting a fair shake

I couldn't make your downtown get-together celebrating the Indy's 10th but I sure want to congratulate the whole staff for 10 years of much-needed, local journalistic excellence!!! And thanks for always giving me more than a fair shake in my letter to the editor endeavor from the beginning ... now, lets head for 20!!!

-- Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

DeGette for Congress

Eric Schlosser's remarks in last week's issue ["Time for an Intervention"] are fantastic.

Sign me up.

I have given a hundred bucks to only two candidates in my life (John Hazlehurst and Tim Oliver), but I sure would like for Cara DeGette to be the third.

Furthermore, I am already registered. Do you think we could get you a primary victory? Let us try.

-- Dale L. Kemmerer, M.D.

Colorado Springs

Luckiest man alive

Great biography of Johnny Smith, one of my all-time great guitar heroes ["Johnny Smith -- alive and well in Colorado Springs," reprinted in part in last week's issue.] I met Johnny Smith at his music store in Colorado Springs in 1964. Johnny Smith was so down to earth. I was in awe.

I went to see Johnny Smith play with his quartet at Shanners on 16th Street in Denver. I saw and heard the guitar great three times at Shanners. Great music to say the least.

I have been lucky enough to see and meet many great jazz guitarists. Lloyd Hunnecut in Panama City, Florida, and Bobby Ward in Saint Louis, and of course Johnny Smith in Colorado Springs. I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have met Johnny Smith and heard him play in person.

-- Robert Lee Johnson

Via the Internet

Editor's note: All of last week's 10 featured cover stories can be read in full online at

www.csindy.com.

Desert dysentery

I am honored, I think, to have been asked to write down some of my thoughts about the 10th anniversary of this weekly alternative newspaper. To say the least, I commend the staff for giving me the leeway to express my innermost, visceral feelings about their paper.

How do I feel about this local paper and the fact that they've been in existence for ten years? I have some good news and bad news.

The good news is that this paper has kept Mylanta, Tums, Zantac, Pepcid and Tagamet in business for me and many conservatives. The bad news for them is that if tobacco companies can be sued by smokers now with lung cancer; maybe I can sue the Independent for the stomach ulcers I've received while reading their acid-producing articles.

The good news is that this paper has helped keep me in business concerning my "family values" organization and my monthly newsletter. The bad news for me is that by continually mentioning your newspaper, I have given you free advertisement and exposure -- which is good news for you. Doh!

The bad news is all the hate mail, hate phone calls, and hate e-mails I receive from "tolerant" liberals after writing a letter to the editor of the Independent. The good news is that I'm learning a new vocabulary from the left different from my church upbringing. ("Be careful little ears what you hear!")

Seriously, no really, seriously, I don't have any beef with the Independent in terms of their alternative ideas, progressive thoughts, liberal leanings or leftist revisionism. This is the nature of the beast and I expect this philosophy. My main area of concern as a religious conservative reader is, and always has been, the sexual content of the back page advertisements. But, this is another issue to be tackled on another day. So, until then, happy anniversary and may 1,000 camels greet you with desert dysentery. No, seriously!

-- Tom Pedigo

State Director

American Family Association of Colorado

Into the 21st century

Every urban area in the United States needs an alternative newspaper. The fact that Colorado Springs can boast a free weekly publication decidedly alleviates the city's somewhat tarnished national image as "ground zero" for social intolerance, religious bigotry, fundamentalist hypocrisy and anti-intellectual pursuits.

Whether residents agree with the contents of the Independent or chastise the writers and contributors, no one can, in good conscience, demand the censorship of its pages.

The fact that it has continued to circulate for 10 years speaks for the people who have supported the Independent. Now that we have embarked into the 21st century, there appears to be hope for greater tolerance and acceptance of diverse points of view and alternative lifestyles. The local neo-fascists and ultra right-wing elements must come to realize that theirs is not the only voice to be heard in the Pikes Peak region.

Amazingly, there are still individuals and organizations whose goal it remains to silence those with differing beliefs and opinions. Take, for example, the "grim reaper" who denounces the Independent so vociferously on a strategic street corner each year during Pride Fest. Here is a person who relies on his right to free speech while demanding the denial of that right to others with whom he disagrees.

On a more personal note, I would especially like to commend the Indy for its numerous letters to the editor. This forum of readers' opinions is always the first section I read. If any portion of the paper could be expanded, this is definitely the one. It is heartening to know there are so many intelligent and articulate writers in the area.

In addition, the Independent reports on a variety of news of extreme importance that the mainstream media neglect to cover. The very best example of this is the article about Bush's plan to provide every Iraqi citizen with complete health insurance coverage, while at the same time countless millions of Americans must do without.

An informed public is only as educated as those in charge of disbursing the information. I hope I will be reading the Independent for another 10 years.

-- Joseph Pennock

Victor

Drinking the good stuff

It might be the thin air here at the top of Crystal Park that does not allow me to follow this fuzzy logic, but more likely it's something in the water in Colorado Springs that prevents the folks down there from seeing the forest for the trees.

All of a sudden, a majority of people seem to have a problem with shotguns being carried into city council meetings openly. And what are they going to do about it?

They will only allow concealed weapons to be carried into such meetings and other public spaces. I don't know about you, but I'd rather know what kind of armor the Manson look-alike across the aisle is carrying around with him (or her).

Obviously, some of the guys in the state Legislature are drinking the same water, as they passed a state law that forbids municipalities to prohibit the carrying of such concealed weapons, and the governor, who must be using the same fountain, signed it. However, not all hope is lost, as the city of Denver filed a lawsuit to challenge this brilliant example of legislative nonsense. Might they be drinking Perrier???

-- Peter Brebach

Manitou Springs

Potty-mouth politician

Re: The July 31 cover story, "Internal disorder": Would the good conservative burghers of Colorado Springs who elected Ms. Radford to the City Council relish her potty-mouth as much as I, who did not vote for her (and never would)?

Perhaps she has been "down with" with either youth culture or sailors ("turd," "sucked," "pissed off"), in order to court future voters with such "salty" talk.

-- David Boxwell

Colorado Springs

Bring her home

An open letter to Gov. Bill Owens:

Please return my wife Specialist Elizabeth Wisdorf of the 220th Military Police Company of Denver, Colo. Never was it suggested when she enlisted in the Colorado National Guard that she would have to participate in such activities as stealing from and demoralizing another country's population.

Never in all of the recruiter's sales pitch did they mention the invigorating opportunity to participate in the morally devoid acts of a witch-hunt-style war. So, you can imagine her excitement when she found out that she was being deployed to Iraq on an "Easter egg" hunt.

Sure, we considered all of the options. We could have moved to another country. We could have decided to get pregnant. She could have claimed a religious objectification, simply have refused to go, and let the military take legal action against her. She did none of those things. She, unlike our own president, found it ethically and legally too hard to back out of her contractual commitment to the National Guard.

While we considered following in our great leader George Bush's footsteps, having gone absent without leave from May 1, 1972, to April 30, 1973, from the Texas Air National Guard, we instead opted to take the more honorable path of living up to her agreement. Some people still respect that a signature carries personal value. So, as you can see, this leaves us in a bit of a bind. We would like to continue living our lives. However, there doesn't seem to be any exit strategy in the administration's plans to facilitate the possibility for our "pursuit of happiness."

So how about this: I will buy the plane ticket for her return. You can then make the call, or whatever needs to be done, to let the right people know she will be leaving. Then, you'll have me off your back and you can go back to destroying documents, or designing bills to ruin our lives, or whatever it is you do with your day.

-- Ryan Spradlin

Colorado Springs

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