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Crazy coincidences

It is quite the trend in my life to have a startling amount of coincidences happen in one brief moment, and the last issue of the Independent added itself to the list of terrible ironies I deal with daily.

1. I recently changed my voter affiliation to Democrat, much the same as John Hazlehurst discusses in his weekly column (The Outsider).

2. Two of my good friends were featured in the IQ column.

3. These two friends and I attended Palmer High School, same as Simon Sue (News).

4. I am very, very vegan (Easy being vegan).

5. I freestyle rap/when I'm not too involved/slappin away cloudz/cuz I'm so damn tall (Bang Und Strum).

6. I am a recently (enough) graduated high-school student, who, by the way of financial burden, is going in the opposite direction of a college education (Eating at Mom's: Tuition jumps amid sagging economy).

And as exciting as these likenesses are, the real reason I wrote this is to address a few points that needed clarification.

Veganism is a very healthy diet that will indeed reshape your body; however, I believe that one should not go vegan to "lose 20 pounds." Veganism was not created to make you more beautiful. You are already beautiful.

The most important part of this letter is about the difference in one's life it makes not going the way of college. I am 20, live on my own and work 40 hours a week. It's safe to assume that I do regret not living in dorms, living it up and getting the finest education money can buy, but I think it's imperative for people to know that life does exist outside of college for young people. We still have potentials for happiness and it is rude to think that we will go through life without acquiring more knowledge and intellect. College is not necessary or imperative. It is routine. It is a habit.

-- Bryan Clopton

Colorado Springs

Stress relief

Good God Almighty, college must've changed!

Number 3 of your things to do "On the Cheap" (Student Survival Guide, Aug. 28--Sept. 3) tells today's students where to get a discount on "spa services" to relax after a tough exam or stressful collegiate week.

Spa services? Man, back in the day (when Neil Young's On the Beach was released ... the first time) post-test relaxation consisted of a nap on the couch at the dorm or 35-cent happy hour bottles of Falstaff at the bowling alley. I don't think a spa even existed within a hundred of miles of Wayne State.

P.S. Actually, there were additional activities whereby undergrad stress could be relieved, but given that times have changed, we'll just leave them rolled up in the past.

-- Mark Cunningham

Colorado Springs

Hate trash

Many of you may or may not be experiencing what Colorado Springs has with various hate groups (namely the National Alliance out of Hillsborough, W. Va.) distributing their "trash literature" on our lawns in the dark of night.

The following is a link to a petition to stop these people from spreading their racist propaganda:

Freedom of speech is one thing; having hate literature thrown on my lawn without my request is quite another. Please help stop these people from spreading their beliefs.

-- Chris Gorman

Colorado Springs

Feeling lovesick

Noel Black should be careful about what he writes. Loverboy's career ending in Cripple Creek? I'm no fan but these guys are still making a living playing a 25-year-old piece of crap. Give 'em credit. They may not be our cup of tea but John Scofield can't fill a room here.

And, if Loverboy is so bad, why's the Indy promoting them?

Again, be careful what you write; people might read it.

-- Mike Adams

Colorado Springs

Broken heart

To whomever wrote this about Loverboy: "So this is what the end of a career looks like," and "Don't all rush to www.ticketmaster at once!"

Just wait 20 years and see if the music you hold so superior is still around. Oh, and be prepared for 20-somethings to write stupid things about the bands you enjoyed because by then those bands will be just so pass.

Do us all a favor: Just report on which bands are playing where and keep your personal opinion about what music is worthy to yourself. There are probably some folks around who were 17 or 18 years old when Loverboy wasn't just a "band from the '80s" and would like to do some reminiscing without being poked fun at by pseudo music critics. I'll bet you $10 that Loverboy still actually play their own instruments and won't have added a DJ to "scratch."

-- Todd VanDerSchaegen

Colorado Springs
A nation bankrupt

Yesterday was the first time I had visited my neighborhood post office since the imposition of the new "no-take-a-number" system. To my surprise, the benches that had previously been provided for waiting patrons had been removed. I shared my surprise with a kind lady in line in front of me, "They've taken our benches." Quietly, she responded, "And, we're the ones paying their salaries." I asked her, "Can we blame John Ashcroft?" No comment, just a smile was my answer.

"There used to be an America," popped out of my mouth.

"I know," she said, "what am I to tell my grandchildren?"

What indeed? Our fathers inherited a war, nobly fought, nobly won. We inherited a middle class, a frost-free refrigerator, I Love Lucy, a chance at a college education, an opportunity for work not performed on an assembly line, a fair wage, one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind, and a land, clean and bright.

What shall be our legacy to our kids? The promise of perpetual summer vacations (gun included at no charge) in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran or North Korea; a world where America is feared, but not respected; possibly a world where they never leave home, never try their wings, never make the next big breakthrough in science or medicine, never attempt anything new because there are no jobs, only debt. Will we bequeath a nation bankrupt morally, spiritually, financially, a friendless nation always on alert and always vulnerable because we frittered away our national goodwill?

Every day, another job is lost, another bankruptcy filed, another mortgage foreclosed, another entry is made in the overdue column, and every day one more tiny piece of our humanity is compromised. We respond with only death-camp-like silence.

This may be our lasting legacy: not the greatest generation, but the silent generation. Let's hope not. Perhaps if we speak out, a bench will reappear in our post office.

-- Susan Jefferson

Colorado Springs

Rules of the road

Please print this letter for the safety of bicyclists everywhere!

To the man who almost ran me over today:

For many reasons, I ride my bicycle everywhere I possibly can, including to the three elementary schools where I teach band and orchestra to fourth- and fifth-graders. I was following all the "rules of the road" when you honked, cut me off, and gave me the one-finger salute. By law, I obey all the same traffic laws as you do (or should), which means we share our roads.

I spend less money on my car, including gas, auto insurance, and wear-and-tear costs. In turn, my body and the air we all breathe are in better shape because of it. Sometimes, I can even get around town as fast on my bicycle as in my car! The overall stress in my life has decreased dramatically in the last few months since I started riding my bike this much, with the exception of drivers like you who do not understand. Here's a formula to think about:

Fabulous purple mountain bike, loaded: $1,200

Trailer for bike-commuting to work and errands: $275

Bicycle clothes, gear, and helmet: $450

Saying "wheeeeeee!" and being happy: Priceless.

-- Robbie Hobein

Colorado Springs

West Nile Virus park

Whew ... thank goodness! For a moment I thought city management was planning on building a reservoir and a nice park for the east side residents at Tutt and Constitution. What a disaster that would have been with all those kids playing and laughing with delight, couples strolling around the lake, fishermen pulling in the day's catch, Frisbee throwing, picnics ... despicable!

Instead our leaders got wise and built my kind of place ... choked with weeds ... a breeding ground for mosquitoes ... surrounded by a tall cyclone fence. Now that's more like it ... much better use for all that land they spent taxpayer money purchasing. I'm so glad our elected officials have erected this eyesore for the citizens of this community.

-- Mark Wood

Colorado Springs

Then and now

While watching many of the televised stories commemorating the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington, I was struck by how little had changed in the state of Alabama since that seminal event.

In 1963 Gov. George Wallace stood on the steps of the University of Alabama, vowing that the federal government would never force him to open up his state for "special rights" for African-Americans. He was greeted with great enthusiasm throughout the South (and, indeed, much of the North). Remember the argument he and his fellow segregationists used in 1963: Nonwhites had equal rights in the South, but these rights were separate and subordinate to those of white Alabama. Wallace was able to portray a massively bigoted majority as the deprived minority, oppressed by the federal government. And, after all (the segregationists argued), America was a white country.

Fast-forward 40 years. Chief Justice Ray Moore stands on the steps of the courthouse, vowing that the federal government will never force him to deny that the basis for our constitution and judicial system is the Ten Commandments. He is greeted with great enthusiasm throughout the country. Their argument: Those who do not follow the path of Christian fundamentalism have equal rights in this country, but those rights must be subordinated to those of conservative Christianity. He and his followers are able to portray a rigidly close-minded majority as a deprived minority, oppressed by the federal government. And, after all (the fundamentalists argue) America is a Christian country.

As the events of 1963 and the subsequent changes in the law and society illuminated, piety and populism do not trump the constitutional foundation that makes this country exceptional. The true patriot in 1963, as the world now knows, was not George Wallace but Martin Luther King Jr. History will show a similar distinction between Ray Moore and those constitutionalists mounting the challenge under the umbrella of the ACLU.

-- Christopher V. Hill

Colorado Springs

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