Back to you, Hazlehurst 

Ranger Rich

Esteemed Indy colleague John Hazlehurst wrote a passionate blog last week extolling the virtues of Doug Bruce. He told us the anti-tax fraud just, well, saw the world differently: He was "Douglas the Lion-Hearted, leading his motley legions against the ruthless amoral minions of a corrupt state."

At that point I began speaking Latin backwards and the word "HELP" appeared in angry red welts across my chest.

Anyway, today, I offer an insightful rebuttal to Mr. Hazlehurst's thoughtful Bruce-worshipping love letter, with a nod to Dan Aykroyd on Saturday Night Live. Here goes:

John, you ignorant slut.

If Doug Bruce actually bought season tickets to the Colorado Springs Symphony, as you say in your blog at csindy.com, he was doing it so he could belittle the oboe player. Or loosen the strings on the cello. Or glue shut the spit valve on all the trumpets.

You wrote that when you were a real estate salesman Doug moved here from California and he was in the market for rental properties. But in your first conversation, he told you "he didn't need my (or anybody's) advice on what to buy, where to look, how much to pay or how to obtain financing," and that he had no intention of paying you (or anybody) the customary real estate commission.

I think I speak for the group here when I say, "OK, at least we're talking about the same Doug Bruce."

You then wrote, "For the next 25 years we clashed repeatedly, driven by opposing beliefs and mutual personal distaste."

And, of course, the way Doug would try to butt you with the small red horns that had grown on his head.

Later in the piece you say that Doug "saw governments as bloated kleptocracies run by self-serving incompetents interested only in feathering their own nests."

To which I say: I do not know what "kleptocracies" are, but given the way you dabbled in real estate, I assume it's like a septic tank.

I asked former Mayor Lionel Rivera what Doug might have meant when he said politicians are "self-serving incompetents interested only in feathering their own nests," and Lionel laughed so hard he coughed up a worm. Then he dropped the bundle of twigs and grass he was carrying in his toes.

You bring us to the recent tax charges against Bruce, saying: "Such was his contempt for government ... that he didn't even bother to get an attorney when indicted on multiple counts of evading state taxes."

Not to contradict you, John, but rumor has it that he did indeed try to get a lawyer. In fact, he tried to hire the very best lawyer in all of Colorado. Unfortunately, personal injury lawyer Frank "The Strong Arm" Azar was busy that week teaching his clients how to limp and moan.

From your blog: "At some point, he'll have to do a John Gotti who, when sentenced to prison, took off his Bruno Magli's, slipped on a pair of running shoes, rose and said, 'Ready for Freddie.'"

I don't know what "Ready for Freddie means," but I will say this: If Freddie is Doug's cellmate, well, I don't think he'll ever be entirely ready for Freddie.

As for the John Gotti thing, is he the guy who cut off the horse's head in The Godfather and put it in someone's bed? Maybe that was Vito Corleone. (I also mix up Mayor Steve Bach with late actor Walter Matthau — even though only one of them still colors his hair.)

Anyway, I was with you for a few paragraphs, but here's where your blog went soft, John: "Not so many years ago, the prospect of the Dougster in an orange jumpsuit would have delighted me. No more. When you grow older, you begin to treasure your enemies as well as your friends."

To be honest, I can't see that happening to me. For example, I still hide in Ted Haggard's shrubs, trying to get a photo of him in a frilly prom gown. (Update: So far the best I have is a blurry snapshot of Pastor Ted in a pair of custom-made pantyhose that has a fly in the front.)

You wrote: "As Richard Skorman once told me, the trick to working with people whom you dislike is to concentrate on something you like about them ..."

I gave that a shot and have come up with this: Doug Bruce ... man, does that guy look like Newt Gingrich, or I am just nuts?


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