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Charlie Brennan On Trial February 6, 2009

Posted by Mystery Lady in Uncategorized.

Never let it be said that I was a woman who interfered with a malevolent man kicking his own ass.

When Rocky Mountain News reporter Charlie Brennan wrote me over one hundred letters in what, I believe, was an attempt to seduce me into giving him vicious gossip for his Swift-boating of Ward Churchill back in 2005, I did not interfere. I patiently let him pour his sleazy heart out for five months and then forwarded the letters for publication on the Internet. Charlie was immediately fired from the Churchill story for bias. He kicked his own ass and I did not interfere.

When Charlie left the now-bankrupt Rocky Mountain News for Fox 31 News, I knew his oily quackery would be broadcast for all to see and shake their heads at in embarrassed wonder. Night after night he kicks his own stumbling, discombobulated ass like a bucking bronco on crack. I did not interfere. The Week In Politics With Charlie Brennan was finally canceled and every month sees Charlie with less and less airtime.

And in Civil Court in Denver County on Thursday, Charlie Brennan pled guilty to Interference with a police officer (case #08GS089868), a charge he incurred at the 3200 block of N. Downing Street June 20, 2008 while covering the shooting of a little girl named Sierra Moore. According to the police sergeant who ticketed him that night, Charlie “deliberately and intentionally yanked up the crime scene tape to cross the crime scene.”

The police officer said this to the prosecuting attorney – and Charlie’s lawyer Craig Skinner – before the trial began Thursday, as Skinner attempted to hustle the city into a less embarrassing judgment than the SCRAM bracelet and house detention Brennan might have faced. Craig Skinner is one of Colorado’s most prominent DUI attorneys and previously has been the legal counsel for Charlie when he faced losing his drivers license over too many traffic violation points (case #B480680). Skinner is also the attorney of record for Charlie’s daughter, who in 2004 faced a domestic violence/misdemeanor violent crime charge (#04M510 – dismissed) and has been sentenced by the Boulder County court to a Level I Alcohol Eval and Treatment program for reckless driving (06T4857)*. Needless to say, Charlie is as much a menace behind the wheel as he is everywhere else. Apparently, it’s a family tradition.

Initially refusing to give his consent to the plea bargain, the police sergeant pointed out that Charlie did not just “put a little bit of a toe across the line. I had to chase him down to ticket him.”

“And he still won’t take responsibility!” the policeman exclaimed in frustration at the bargaining.

Later during the court trial, after Charlie pled guilty and Judge Breese gave him a deferred judgment for one year plus sixteen hours of community service, the prosecuting attorney read the charges again for the record.

She said, “At the 3200 block of North Downing Street, the Defendant deliberately entered a sixty foot section of the crime scene. When a policeman came after the defendant to ticket him Charlie Brennan said ‘I know, I know but I am working for Fox News and I wanted to get to the other side.’”

That Charlie would have such arrogant disregard for the inviolability of a crime scene – especially when the crime has been committed against an eight-year old African-American girl – does not surprise me. What did surprise me was Craig Skinner’s almost desperate pleading with the city and then the judge to have the trial heard in judge’s chambers. The prosecuting attorney was asked by the police why such an unusual request for a hearing in chambers was made. She answered “Because Brennan thinks he’s special.”

Apparently no one else did. The request was denied.

I am still in shock that Charlie and his attorney would imagine my reporting such a threat that they needed to go hide in the judge’s chamber, especially with a judge who the defendant already had been told did not like his attitude. But then again, Charlie has a great deal of trouble controlling his temper, or comporting himself with any class. I would know. After the previous Diversion hearing on December 17, 2008, Charlie spied this reporter outside the court room and came barreling over to stand uncomfortably close to me and demanded that I give him my name. For almost four years and over one hundred letters now, I have steadfastly refused to do so. This enraged Charlie further and he bellowed to his lawyer “THAT’S HER!!!”

Charles was feeling very brave – with his wife not present.

Mr. Skinner and I sized each other up as Charlie jammed an accusatory finger dangerously close to the side of my face. I guess he was trying to be intimidating, but I am not scared off by puff bullies. Of Mr. Skinner I can only say this: he seemed as wearied by Charlie as I am, and I had the impression that the expression on his face meant “We are the only two adults standing here, aren’t we?” Yes, Craig. We are. And you need to get your client on a leash before he does something even more stupid. You know I won’t interfere if he chooses to kick his own ass, right?

The come-apart Charlie had that day in December really was quite strange, especially after he had deliberately chosen to sit right next to me for almost thirty minutes while waiting for the Diversion hearing to begin. We said not a word to each other. Charlie did a crossword puzzle and I wrote in my reporter’s notebook. Wearing a tweed coat and green tie, he stank of a grandfatherly, drugstore cologne that struck me as far too geriatric, even if I did put ten premature years on his face.

Our coming together again in a court room was an anniversary of sorts; it was almost four years to the month that he sat next to me during the Columbus Day parade trials that saw over 280 protestors acquitted of any wrongdoing for blocking the 2004 parade. My impressions of his demeanor became an important part of our long correspondence. Ever the hungry narcissist, he ate it up and The Brennan Files website is the result.

When the court finally called Charlie’s name to begin the Diversion hearing, he stood and crossed in front of me. As he did so, Brennan turned to look down at me as I gazed calmly and deeply up into his eyes. I almost wish I had not. Never have I seen a man look at me with eyes that wounded, conveying all at once great sorrow, great anger, and a desperate plea for help. It looked as if his very soul had been torn to ribbons and was bleeding profusely.

Well cry me a river! I mean, gee Charlie, what did you think was going to happen? You know I cannot interfere if you choose to kick your own ass. These are your consequences. I’ve done nothing wrong. And if you are going to look at me that way, don’t you think your wife, who has attended none of these trials, ought to know? I do.

Someday I will share here on this website the ten, previously unpublished letters that started this long, ugly journey with Charlie. Let it be said for now that in these letters rage’oholic Charlie lost his temper when I dared to challenge the racist motivation behind his first round of Ward Churchill stories. That brief correspondence quickly spiraled into Charlie becoming completely unhinged, and he ended it with an angry and arrogant “I hope you can find some other way to amuse yourself.”

Well, Charles. I did.

And as the judge warned you today, if you cannot control yourself for the next year and stay out of trouble with the law, you could be facing some serious jail time. The judge claimed that he would remove your guilty plea and expunge the record if you behave. I doubt seriously that you will be able to control your juvenile behavior for three hundred sixty five days, and I fully expect to see you in court again soon soon. If not, well, the record of your guilt will remain here for all to read for a very long time.

Oh yes Mr. Brennan, you will kick your own ass again. And I will not interfere.

You can count on it.

*Court Records for the Brennan crime family can be found here by entering the case numbers from the story: Denver County Court Cases and Boulder County Public Reports.


Welcome to The Brennan Files July 22, 2007

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To read from start to finish the letters former Rocky Mountain News reporter Charlie Brennan sent to me in the Summer/Fall of 2005, scroll down to the very bottom of the page.

Comments are welcome.  Be sure to fill in the email section, even if it’s a made up address.

Rocky Mountain News Insider Report July 20, 2007

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The person who sent these emails once worked with Charlie Brennan at the Rocky Mountain News. To respect the contributor’s request to remain anonymous, any revealing information has been removed. The Try Works site that once contained The Brennan Files has been taken down from the internet.

April 16, 2006

Hi there _____. Many moons ago I worked at the RMN with Charlie Brennan. Last week a friend emailed me a link to Try Works and while surfing about I saw the Brennan Files. Whoa!

So I shared the link with a two other former RMN reporters, and now we beg your indulgence in answering a few indiscreet questions:

what’ve you heard about how he learned of his unmasking…his reaction…wife’s reaction (ouch)…how did it impact his newsroom standing etc.? Did he ever confront Mystery Lady?

Any juice appreciated.



April 17, 2006

The RMN is similar to other newsrooms I’ve worked in – pretty typical highs and lows. __________________ Do know that most of the journalists I respect are gone in the wake of the JOA [Joint Operating Agreement]. I – and the journalists I respect – consider John Temple an amazingly bland mediocrity.

As for Brennan, I never worked on a story with him….ran in different circles…..didn’t pay him much attention….had a slightly negative impression because his desk backed up on the printer cubicle, and he pinned up all these sleazy girls-in-bikinis postcards. Just seemed unprofessional and distasteful. He was polite….seemed to work hard….seemed to care about his work/stories….but just didn’t interest me, professionally or personally.

It was strange reading his emails. I was actually embarrassed for him…kept wincing, then shaking my head in disgust – found myself thinking of how I’d feel if I read that on line and I was his WIFE. Ugh.

The only Brennan juice I can offer is that his dream goddess was – as indicated by many pictures on the printer cubicle wall – get ready….drumroll…..Winona Ryder! That stuck in my head. Had to see the bikini postcards and Winona worship stuff every time I went to the printer to get my printout…someone finally complained that it was sexist/offensive, and he had to take it all down.

April 17, 2006

Feel free to post my tidbit anonymously. Brennan was just another coworker to me except for the postcards and winona shrine. Struck me as macho-offensive and childish; I mean, he had to be approaching 40 at the time, which is middle-aged for gawd’s sake. _____ [I’ve] worked with white males almost exclusively….and his demeanor/persona/behavior wasn’t that unusual, sadly.

And knowing how competitive and snarky a big metro newsroom can be….well, if the Try Works stuff is widely known in the newsroom and among the local journalism groups, you can be sure that Brennan has been/is being made to suffer most painfully.

November 7, 2005 March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 18:12:11 -0700

Hi there – Is there anything I might say that would induce you to keep what has passed between us private? I was very impressed with you – the person who I saw in your mail – and never figured you for someone who would turn a private correspondence into something else. But of course, I never really knew you. Here’s hoping I didn’t sorely misjudge, and you’ll consider leaving what was intended to private, private.

Best, CB

October 28, 2005 Re: March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 14:57:41 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re:

I’m thinking, I’m thinking, I’m thinking.

Wanna read. Wanna give you what you’ve asked for.

Am wondering what a person of true integrity would do.

Thinking, thinking, thinking.

Wishing, wanting, thinking, wanting and wishing.

And hoping you’re having some fun, whateber it is that you’re doing today, tomorrow, the next day.

We actually have a public gig coming up…..

What’s your number again?

I listened to the more recent of the two Shivaree albums yesterday, driving back from Glenwood. Love the song “Mexican Boyfriend.” Had never discernd what the first line was, before: “I wore the dress that you like, almost every day..” Haunting.

I love a good haunting. You know that.

Thrills, Chas.

October 27, 2005 Re: Charmless March 10, 2007

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Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2005 11:56:26 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Charmless

NO! Never, ever, the dreaded Lucky Charm!!!

I’ve never chocula’d, myself. That’s a line I’ve never allowed myself to cross.

October 26, 2005 Re: Obits March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 16:21:50 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Obits

Dear Emily Caroline —

The answer is: we used to have someone who was a full-time obits writer. Now, they pass them around, on a loose rotation. Consequently, most of us find ourselves having to write one every few months. I actually really enjoy them. Because, for many, many people, it is one of the few times, maybe the only time, they’re going to get their name in the paper. And, for many, the last time. For that reason, I take it as a very important task, and I try to make them as good as I can, given whatever the constraints might be in each case (length, the achievements of the person in question – or lack thereof). I consider it one of the greatest responsibilities one can have in our biz. You want to make it good, and you don’t want to make errors.

The greatest thing about the H. Inn Expresses is that the breakfast spread has both Fruit Loops and Frosted Flakes.

Fording the River Styx, Journalistically, Chick

October 26, 2005 Re: Not only but also March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 10:22:21 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Not only but also

Okay, okay, okay.


From a sunny Grand Junction, where I just had a nice run, as the sun was coming up over the cliffs in the distant east.

She doesn’t have a swashbuckling name. It’s Pam. And she’s married. To a friend of mine. And is probably 55.

And I have the afflication of finding numerous people, male and female, swashbuckling.

As I’m sure I would find you.

And, what I would give to see that defiant, on-fire-bankig letter you wrote over the weekend.

I need to take a sip of my hot tea.


You shouldn’t send me that swashbuckling weekend letter if you would then find yourself morally bound to write Erin an apology. I would forego seeing that letter, in order to forego the apology.

But I’d love to see that letter.

I was feeling so good about having four new songs going at once, that I really have taken my time with them. “Book of Days” was the first finished, and was finished back in early August. I only just this week got around to completing “What Bothers Me The Most is that it Bothers Me At All.” Next to be wrapped, soon, will be “Wrong Adrress.” The fourth doesn’t even have a name, yet. And, last night, in the comfort of my Holiday Inn Express, I started a fifth.

The autumn, she is good.

As are you.


October 24, 2005 Re: Not only but also March 10, 2007

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Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 19:17:29 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Not only but also


I probably shouldn’t be reading stuff like this (your note, below).

A woman on whose radar screen I thought I barely registered recently said I had a “swashbuckling” way about me. I’m still wishing I didn’t know that, because it was someone I found very…well, swashbuckling, herself.

Certain kinds of geekiness, in a woman, drive me wild.

I need to go read a phone book for a while, or something similar, to regain my perspective.

Head digging, Chick

October 21, 2005 RE: Something I forgot to ask March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Something I forgot to ask
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 16:53:42 -0600

Dear E.C.

The names have been several, none of them great, the two getting the most play are/were The Frans (named for the husband of a female member, who served as our sound man) and the Pasty White Boy Soul Choir.

And yes, the weather has been gorgeous. Even today. The dark. The wet. Love it, all.


October 21, 2005 Re: March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 17:57:23 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re:

Thank you, and no, they didn’t savage the piece too horribly. I had been expecting the worst. Many of the reporters here the darkly fatalistic rule of not looking, or at least saying that they never look, at their story after they’ve turned it in, and it appears in print. Too often, many of us feel, our greatest “genius,” or striving for it, ends up thwarted, teisted, slashed, spurned, or foiled. Too often.

But then again, we’re probably all just deluded elitists with overblown senses of our own talent.

Over and out, C

October 21, 2005 Re: I Owe Erin an Apology March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 17:16:10 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: I Owe Erin an Apology

Yikes. No, you don’t owe her an apology. We owe it to each other to cool down, in all this.

I had some crazy dreams last night, too. You were not in them, however.


I need to be living in integrity.


October 19, 2005 March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 19:39:09 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com

I’ve never done this before. Here’s my story for tomorrow’s paper – not yet edited. You can read this. And then see how much of it actually makes it into print, tomorrow. I expect it will be a shell of its current form, badly ravaged and truncated. But, this is the way it would run if I had my druthers. Please don’t disseminate it further. My boss would kill me. At least fire me.

Best wishes and other things, CB

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — There were tears on both sides of the aisle Wednesday in a Garfield County courtroom where 14-year-old Eric Stoneman was bound over for trial on first-degree murder and eight other charges in the shooting death of a playmate, Taylor DeMarco.
The families of both youngsters filled the first rows of the courtroom, Stoneman’s on the right side, directly behind the defense table, where he was sandwiched between his two public defenders, and DeMarco’s family on the left, perched behind Assistant District Attorney Vincent Felletter.
Four law enforcement witnesses testified. But the main event started when they were through, coming in the often contradictory testimony from the lone eyewitness to the July 20 tragedy, the 13-year-old boy from Parachute in whose home Taylor DeMarco was shot and killed at the age of 9.
Among the surprises offered by the 13-year-old was his disclosure that he never actually saw the shooting that had been preceeded by day-long bickering between the three youngsters, who all lived and sometimes played together in their neighborhood of trailer homes on Battlement Mesa.
He was looking down when the .22 caliber handgun went off, said the 13-year-old, who occasionally had to be coaxed to range much beyond barely audible monosyllables.
“There have been at least six statements (from the teen) prior to today’s testimony. Today would be the seventh rendition of history, and they vary,” said District Judge Thomas W. Ossola, who is retired but was hearing the case for an absent judge.
“If we just focus on his testimony under oath (Wednesday), there are aspects of that testimony which are favorable for the prosecution…and there are aspects of that testimony which are favorable to the defense.”
But the rules of evidence at preliminary hearings call for an evaluation of evidence that is most favorable to the prosecution, and it was on those grounds that Stoneman was bound over for trial. Public defender Greg Greer immediately entered a plea of not guilty on all counts, and Stoneman was ordered to return to court Nov. 3 for setting of a trial date.
District Attorney Colleen Truden — who is facing a recall vote Dec. 13 — last month filed the case against Stoneman as an aduilt, meaning he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole, if convicted of the first-degree murder charge.
The case has been an emotional one since its inception, with the young victim’s father, Bill DeMarco, having to be restrained from attacking Stoneman at his first court appearance, Juily 21.
It nearly got ugly again, Wednesday.
During the second morning break in the hearing, Bill DeMarco made a threatening remark in Stoneman’s direction.
Several times during morning court recesses, Stoneman had been turning and exchanging words and gestures with his family members. A few times, he could be seen laughing quietly, or smiling. That grated on the nerves of DeMarco’s family.
“I don’t think you have a whole lot to smile about,” Bill DeMarco suddenly said in Stoneman’s direction during the second break of the morning court session, with the judge not at the bench and out of the courtroom. “I’ll wipe it off his goddamn face.”
Before that second remark was made, armed sheriff’s deputies were already positioning themselves between Bill DeMarco and the defense table where Stoneman sat, 12 feet away. At a July 21 court appearance, deputies twice had to restrain Bill DeMarco from assaulting Stoneman. Those attending subsequent hearings in the case have had to pass through metal detectors.
A short time later, prosecutor Felletter asked to speak with Bill DeMarco outside the courtrtoom. When they returned from the hallway, Bill DeMarco sat back down in his seat for a brief moment, then said, “I’m leaving.” He grabbed a wallet-sized color photograph of his smiling blond son, from where it had been propped on the railing in front of him.
Out in the corridor, as he boarded an elevator, Bill DeMarco said, “”There ain’t one guy there who can stop me…I don’t think I can trust myself.”
The preliminary hearing was originally expected only to last through the morning. The prosecution had no intention of calling its one eye-witness to the shooting, the 13-year-old.
Therefore, the public defenders representing Stoneman subpoenaed the 13-year-old so that they could present him as their own witness. Felletter argued at the start of today’s session that the 13-year-old’s subpoena should be quashed, on various grounds — including the potential trauma of having to recount that day’s tragic events. He lost that motion.
The teen testified for about 50 minutes, as his own frather watched from the back of the room. The public defender’s questions for him on direct examination were relatively few. But when Felletter launched into his cross-examination, enough contradictions between the boy’s accumulated statements were revealed that things became testy.
For example, he had previously told investigators that Stoneman had discouraged him from callilng 911, after DeMarco was shot. Wednesday, however, the boy said “No, that’s not true,” and that he had told police that fabrication back when he was “still scared.”
Felletter appeared unconvinced.
“You’re not just trying to protect your friend who’s facing some serious charges?”
“Of course not,” Felletter said, with apparent sarcasm.
Court reports had previously revealed that prior to the shooting, Stoneman had passed the gun to Taylor DeMarco, received it back, and pointed it at his own head, just prior to the shooting of DeMarco. Wednesday, the 13-year-old said Stoneman had also stuck it in his own mouth, and additionally pointed it briefly at the 13-year-old, moments before DeMarco was shot.
Fear at being meanced that way, the 13-year-old said, caused him to glance down for a moment.
“I looked up when I heard it” go off, the teen said, saying “there was smoke everywhere. I thought he (Taylor DeMarco) got shot in the hand” because of blood he saw, there.
DeMarco ran, first to a gate out front of the 13-year-old’s home, then came back toward the trailer, collapsing on its front steps. That’s where depuities found him, with no signs of life, when they arrived a short time later.
Family members of both the victim and the defendant didn’t speak to reporters after the hearing. But at the noon break, Stoneman’s father, said he felt the tesimony of the first deputies to the scene painted a clear picture of something far short of first-degree murder.
“The testimony from the officers all said the same thing. It was an accident,” Parks said. “Kids playing with a gun.”
And Stoneman’s mother, Valorie (cq) Stoneman, said those who saw any smiling or laughing from her son — who was attired in an open-necked button-down shirt, khaki trousers and sneakers — shouldn’t have presumed any lack of respect on his part, for the gravity of the situation in which he found himself.
“He was trying to get me to stop crying,” she said.

October 17, 2005 Re: Going through the changes March 10, 2007

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Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 19:29:46 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Going through the changes

Okay, my fine not-so-Luddite friend.

In part II of the dream, my wife was calling you on the phone, to demand an apology, from you.

And, as she’s doing so, I’m thinking, it’s not YOU from whom she deserves an apology. It would be me, who owes her one. I wake up before I “get around” to issuing said apology.

I think my wife is the greatest, I love her dearly, I have never strayed, don’t want to, and can’t imagine how I ever could. But believe me, she would consider the level of intimacy that this correspondence has already, and repeatedly, brushed up against to be unacceptable.

For which, I am fully and completely responsible. You don’t owe anybody any kind of apology.

I have to examine my own behavior, and conduct.

I think I might have told you, my first marriage ended after 10 years, because I found out my daughter’s mother (who my wife and I hosted for dinner, along with my daughter, two weeks ago when she was here for a visit – that’s how chummy we all are, now) was having an affair, and had been doing so for a year. It’s for that reason, among others, I just couldn’t do that to my life partner.

But, again, she wouldn’t be amused with this correspondence. Enough so, I keep thinking I should stop. Or at least, make it be what it started out as – all business.

But, the personality that comes through in your writing is just so damn interesting and, yes, seductive.

In moral limbo, Charlie

October 17, 2005 Re: Change in Routine March 10, 2007

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Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2005 13:58:54 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Change in Routine

I think this is a novel idea – or, perhaps novelette idea – and the fact that I’m only seeing it now, Monday noon, when you sent it on Friday, may be a bit of an answer, itself. It is true that, oddly, perhaps, I rarely am on-line over the weekend. That’s probably because basically live on line Mon-through-Friday, one of the things that makes a weekend feel like a weekend to me is that I don’t spend much time on the Internet, Saturday and Sunday. But, I don’t want to commit to not writing you on Tuesday or Wednesday. Or, for that matter, to writing to you on Wednesday or Thursday.

I am more comfortable with the notion of letting it happen, as it happens. And, not happen as it doesn’t happen. Letting it flow as it flows. Or doesn’t.

That’s my instinct, on this one.

October 16, 2005 RE: Cooking March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Cooking
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2005 10:06:02 -0600

Greetings, once again, earthling – I was sick Thursday night an Friday -sick enough that I had to leave work early, Friday. That’s a rarity for me. I think I once went something like five or six years without having to miss a day due to illness. (There were a handful of days that I reported myself as “ill,” just to get a mental health day. But, rarely sidelinedby actual

I’ll have a story in the paper on Monday that should be, I think, actually worth reading.

Yea and verily, cooking for one, kinda hard – but I love to cook. I’m one of those guys who cook. Having been a single parent at one point for about nine years, I didn’t really have an alternative. But, I’m a big foodie. Food. Very important to me.

Running, now, and again. Must go. Saw “A History of Violence” yesterday. Oneof my favorite directors, the ever creepy David Cronenberg.

True creepiness, in a film, nis something I quite enjoy.

Make me squirm. That’s my plea.

OUT (love and peace)

October 13, 2005 RE: dream state March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: dream state
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 13:01:31 -0600

Dear E.,. We met at a concert, a concert by some kind of contemporary outfit. Already, as it’s fading, I am unsure whether I went there knowing that you would be there, or whether finding you there was a happy accident. You were in the back row, of a set of bleachers. We made eye contact. You were beautiful. Did I say that, before? We ended up leaving togehter, when it was over, and talked as we walked away from the venue.

But then, I ended up going to the car, and driving away with Mark Brown, who is this paper’s music crtitic, and one of my best, oldest friends, here. Mark drove me home. But, after her dropped me off, and before I returned to my house (and, it wasn’t really, my real house), I had been left, by you, with a platter of meat, of some kind. Cooked rare. With a pocket of fat, in the middle. I trimmed around the fat, and then dug in to the warm, rare – almost bloody – steak. By then it was nearly dawn. And I went home.

The dream actually goes on, from there.

In fact, all the above was so fascinating to me, that after I’d woken up, I meditated on it as I fell back asleep early this morning, and actually dreamed a sequel chapter to the above. But, I’ve given you the best parts of it.

And there you have it. Or, part of it. Most of it.

October 13, 2005 dream state March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: dream state
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 10:52:45 -0600

I have been a horrible correspondent of late,and I don’t know that that will ever improve. I’m trying to do too many things at once, in this life.

But I wanted to tell you that I dreamed about you last night. I dreamed about meeting you for the first time. And it was enchanting, and magical, and fun, and good.

I wanted to let you know that.

And I had dinner Tuesday night with Ward’s first wife, and the sister of his third wife. THAT was interesting.

AND. I saw on the Pirate Ballerina web site recently, which I only look at when someone calls my attention to something on it, where some poster hazarded the guess that poster “Shawn” was actually me.

That is so humorous, and strange, to me. That on a web site that I rarely look at, people I don’t know, are theorizing that I’m posting on it, under a pseudonym. Wow.

Life is strange and getting stranger.


October 10, 2005 RE: New Sensation March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: New Sensation
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 15:58:36 -0600

Dear – That was very kind of you to send a picture – and, adequately ambiguous, as I can’t really and truly, yet, still, tell what you look like. It’s sort of like getting a rough outline, the details still to come.

You’ll be horrified to know that I do not have the capabilities to send you a picture, by computer. I’ve never sent a photographic image, by e-mail. There are a number of reasons for this, and one of them is that the picture taking in my family is still all done on film, not digitally.

So, short of sending you a hard-copy print to your postal address, I don’t think I’d be able to help you out.

And, don’t you know what I look like? You do, you do!.

I’ll tell you something that really compounded my frustration and general disspiritedness , this a.m. I was supposed to fly back from S.F., this morning. But a well meaning friend of mine called me yesterday while I was still out there, and told me there was a winter storm warning, calling for 8-to-18 inches of snow. Based on that, and that alone, I changed my flight and flew back last night, to beat the storm and avoid having to spend today hanging out at SFO, looking at flight-cancelled notices on all the video screens. So, at a cost of an additional $246, on top of my original ticket price, I flew home last night. And, of course, this storm hasn’t affected DIA at all. So, I spent an extra $246, cutting my time short in S.F., for nothing.

I have it as a philosophy to not dwell on things that are done with, and can’t be changed. This would be one of those things. But, I’m still angry about it.

October 10, 2005 RE: Directions March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Directions
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2005 10:12:20 -0600

Greetings. I am back from San Francisco, for a trip that was rather unproductive and filled with frustrations. But life deals us the hand(s) that it will, and the strong must carry on, no? Seems as if it was a successful day for everyone, Saturday? Was Ward there? I heard second hand that he was, but the Post’s story made no mention of him – unless I read the story too quickly.

I need to start a new chapter of my life.


Tomorrow, at the latest,


October 6, 2005 Re: Cheeky March 10, 2007

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Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 15:02:55 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Cheeky

I really enoyed this note, for some reason – written Monday, I see, I fina;;y had a chance to open it, such now.

Which way is the woodshed?

And, I’d love to play chess or scrabble, and, too, also, had enough Monopoly in a past incarnation.

If you knew what I was being asked to do today here, you’d wonder what I did wrong.

Soldiering through, CB

October 6, 2005 14:54:29 Re: You’ve Got Trouble March 10, 2007

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Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 14:54:29 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: You’ve Got Trouble

Thank you for this. I don’t yet do muysic over the Internet, so it will be a while, I fear, before I chase this down. But I have noted it in my book of things to watch out for. I’ll hear it, sooner than later.

Wishing you a wonderful and enriching weekend, CB

October 6, 2005 14:53:07 Re: You’ve Got Trouble March 10, 2007

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Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2005 14:53:07 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: You’ve Got Trouble

Thank you, for more “Trouble”, I don’t (yet) do the music-by-way-of-the-Internet thing, so it might be a while before I hunt this down. But I will keep it in my back pocket.

More warmly than this seems, Chas.

October 6, 2005 RE: Checking In March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Checking In
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2005 12:31:01 -0600

Oh, yes, Emily C-

Opern, active – nopt as active or open as I would like. I was out in Glenwood Springs/Grand Junction Tuesday-Wednesday for work, and am with state legislators today, the former was interesting, the latter was (is) not, and I wish my time was being spent on other things. It’s glorious out, though, no?

Hope you stay safe and out of harm’s way this weekend. I know you will.

Someday, C

October 3, 2005 Re: Rumours March 10, 2007

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Date: Mon, 03 Oct 2005 20:17:40 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Rumours

Greetings, greetings – I am sitting here waiting for Hickenlooper’s response to the latest missive from Morris et al. I was aware of Ward’s leave-taking of the leadership council. He didn’t wish to pull them down with the wright of his baggage.

Wasn’t aware he was going to be in Venezuela. I wish him the best, with that venture.

And the fact that you don’t get Zippy causes me no trouble. The first step is to get out of the mode of thinking there’s something there to “get.” It’s the perspective of thew world through the (small) mind of a microcephalic (if I have the word right). It’s hard to imagine what that world might be like, but I take the comic strip as an imagining of that. I think the question is, does it speak to you, on any level. It sounds to me like the answer, for you, is no. That probaqbly says good things about your mental health. I sometimes wish it didn’t speak to me as clearly as it does.

Back to it!

October 3, 2005 March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 2005 10:46:52 -0600

Dear ECM —

Thank you, thank you, as always, for your compelling and resonant correspondence.

I need to own up to a couple of things. One, is that I didn’t think Mike Littwin’s column was as good, Saturday, as you did. I thought it was fine, but I’d expected more. Better.

And, the following is, really, seriously, sincerely, not to be connected to the previous statement. But. There was not a lot of what I said in my conversation with him, in that column. I’d love to take credit for some of the pithier lines. But I can’t. I’ll console myself, then, with the fact that he did write it after talking to me for an hour. So, at least I guess
perhaps I did help shape his thoughts.

In fact, worse still, I failed to point out, in that hour-long conversation with Mike, that on top of everything else, Hickenlooper misspelled Glenn’s name – spelling it “Glen” in the letter. Mike has confirmed for me this morning that, of course, if he had known that when he wrote that column, he would have enjoyed making good use of that.

I feel unclean. Small. That I have failed.

But, other than that, I had a great weekend, am looking forward to getting on a plane for S.F. on Friday afternonon, and not being at the parade on Saturday.

Does that make me a bad person?

In the bonds, CB

September 30, 2005 16:35:03 Re: Pirates Skull March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 16:35:03 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Pirates Skull

Missed you. Yes. I did.

September 30, 2005 16:34:46 Re: Pirates Skull March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 16:34:46 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Pirates Skull

And, yes, I did (miss you).

September 30, 2005 Re: Welcome, welcome March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2005 16:34:21 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Welcome, welcome


I listened some more to “Call My Name” this morning. What a wonderful song. I thank you, again, for reminding me of it.

You might have noticed a story in the Post today, that was not in ours. I had specifically called the mayor’s people mid-afternoon yesterday, to see if they were aware on any new developments. They e-mailed his retraction/apology to me yesterday ay 5:56, by which time I’d gone home. That’ll teach me, to try to get away with something less than a 10-hour day. That apology/retraction from Hick was in response to a letter issued earlier in the day from Glenn & Co., which they deliberately and calculatedly elected to prevent us from having. It looks as if we will not be the paper to be reading in the next week for both sides of the story, because one side has elected not to tell it to us. C’est la vie. I’m sure they’re all nice people.

As I write this, it’s my expectation that Mike Littwin is writing ahout this for tomorrow’s paper. I talked with Mike for about an hour. He’s very good at brainstorming with reporters who have been on a story, educating himself as fully as he can. I will be interested to see how much of me, and my remarks, I recognize when I read it, tomorrow. I’m happy to contribute, any way I can. When Mike left my desk, he took with him a list of phone numbers of anti-parade people. I told him they would likely all give him the cold shoulder, because he works for the Evil Empire on Colfax Avenue. Their loss – Mike is probably the most sympathetic to their (your?) cause in the Denver media. Whatever you think you know of Vince Carroll, picture Littwin at the other end of the spectrum, and that’ll give you an idea.

As for the family history – for the purposes of my story; the first dramatic event of on the timeline is the S.F. earthquake of 1906, which my paternal grandfather helped cover, as a cub newspaper reporter. He was born in Sacramento, raised in Oakland, and raised his own family – my dad and his two brothers – in S.F. Do you know about the rise and fall of early film comic Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle? My grandfather was part of his defense team (he put himself through law school at night, while working as a reporter by day, and eventually left journalism behind to make actual money, as a lawyer). And there’s more. He was the personal attorney to Joseph Strauss, architect/engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge. And there’s more….

I should be working, but I enjoyed thinking of you finding pirate skulls and stolen rubies, and imagine you were cleansed by the blessed sea air. Keep the smiles,


September 27, 2005 Re: Pirate Treasure March 10, 2007

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Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2005 17:49:53 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Pirate Treasure

Thank you, always, for your musings. You paint, as ever,a vivid picture.

For the first time in months, I will have something worthwhile in the newspaper tomorrow. We are doing little profiles of Katrina victims who are settling here in Colorado. For each, one of our more talented photographers has taken a nice portrait shot. And, for each, I am tasked with writing to bloc of copy that will run, with. They are formatted in style, and length, etc. So, I’m working – as ever – within tight constraints. It’s my challenge to try to bring some piece, or pieces, of their personality, and their individual ordeals, forward in a very short space. If you’re near the internet tomorrow, it might be worth looking at. It’s the first thing in about two months that I really have any pride of authorship, in.

But in my “off hours,” work is proceeding on the book that I am efforting, and I’ll be traveling, solo, to San Fran for four days next weekend, for research. One of many, many trips I’m going to have to make, for this.

Wishing for a pirate skull, or rubies from same.

Mind the sun, Charles

September 26, 2005 Re: Folly (?) Beach March 10, 2007

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Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 12:50:19 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Folly (?) Beach

Dear Bunny – Thanks for the note, and, from the ariel photo of Folly Beach, with these recent hurricanes in mind, it’s not too hard to imagine why it is so named. May the folly not have to be paid for, during your time there.

The Transform Columbus Day organization issued a press released today dismissing my story of saturday’s paper, saying I got played by someone with no legitimacy outside of city hall. I called Glenn Spagnuolo, whose name was on the release, and told him that if anyone with ties to that group had returned phone calls on the front end, that sure would have been helpful. But, with him saying that if I’d called him, he wouldn’t have wanted to talk to me anyway, I’m not sure where that leaves us.

Having already established with my editor that she felt it would be counterproductive for me to be the one covering the parade on Oct. 8, anyway, I’ll be in San Francisco that weekend, anyway.

Enjoy the surf, the coos, grin and squalking, CB

September 23, 2005 Re: All My Bad Boyz March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 18:35:21 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: All My Bad Boyz


On another note, it now appears (this could easily, quickly change), it appears the COlumbus Day story is running tomorrow. I turned it in at 40 inches, which, for us, is fairly long.

I was asked to make it shorter. I, wincing as I struck precious syllable after precious syllable, got it down to 32 inches. A lot of nuance, flavor, depth, etc., can die in just those 8 lost inches. So. If you see the story – if it runs (things can always change) – just know that it’s already about 20% less than I’d hoped it would be.

Remember. Runaway Bunny.

And, I never thought I’d see a LOL emanate from your end of this discussion.

And yet again I say:


September 23, 2005 March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 13:29:41 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com




September 23, 2005 RE: yer something else March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: yer something else
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 10:44:55 -0600

Greetings, back –

As I write this, it’s not yet decided whether I will be going to Texas or Louisiana. It’s going o depend on what the storm does, and what our National Guard are asked to do. So, here I sit in limbo.

“Dig Your Head” was something a small circle of my friends and I used to say to one another in college, as a greeting, or in parting, an all-purpose salutation. None of us were sure what it meant, either. Maybe it was the drugs.

Enjoy Carolina, one of the five or six states I’ve never set foot in (although I’ve been to North Carolina’s Outter Banks).

Glad you have “Goodnight Moon.” I remembered, after I gave you that other list, that my other favorite, to read my daughter when she was small, was by the same author, “Runaway Bunny.” Wonderful, wonderful book.

Travel safe, travel well, CHBIII

P.S> If youre looking on line, there may be a story by me in Saturday or Monday’s paper about Columbus Day. You can then write me and tell me everything I hyad wrong.

September 22, 2005 yer something else March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: yer something else
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 15:14:39 -0600

Dear ECM,

Following your message about not wanting to get together – or, was it being skeptical that it might really be happenable? – I was surprised and woderfully so, to get your message on the phone. It’s saved, for multiple listenings. Wherever ar you off to? As I write this, I may be off to Texas, with the Natural Guard, depending on how that storm plays out. And so I remain, as always, in flux.

Breathing, breathing, Charles

Travel safe, and dig your head.

September 21, 2005 Re: Kaiser Dylan March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 10:39:44 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Kaiser Dylan

In, out, in, out, Peace and Love –

You wrote me an amazing note last week – a long, long note, that I was not in position to do justice to – I don’t feel that I ever can do justice, with you, though I want to – and I made note to myself to come back to it, and read it in some quiet, focused moments. By the time I had some quiet, focused time, the message hd somehow been purged from my mailbox. If you have the ability to do this,. if you might look at your “sent” file for the past week, and re-send the longest thing you sent to me in the past week, I know that will be the right note. If you can’t, my loss.

I didn’t realize Dylan was now being used by Kaiser Permanente. I really can’t even process that, this early in the day. I am still busy trying to pretend I imagined that he sold himself, his name, to Victoria’s Secrets, or that one of his new albums was initialy sold exclusively at Starbucks. I’m still in mourning over the Beatles’ “Revolution” being sold to Nike years ago by Michael Jackson, who owns much of their catalogue. I’d like to think that if John Lennon was still alive, he wouldn’t be compromising himself this way.

I am in the process of TRYING to write a story about what is going to be happening at this year’s fast-approaching Columbus Day. My thesis, and I’d love to be steered away from it if it’s wrong – is that many of the people who have fallen into ranks behind Ward and Glenn these past years are wavering in their support, and that many have decided they’re not going to participate in whatever Glenn and Ward are conjuring up this year – in part, because of some of the allegations that have been made, and remain unresolved, concerning Ward (but not only because of that). I know there is a day-long event at Auraria on Oct. 1, Ending COlonial Legacies/Indigenous Visions for the Future, and that some people who have protested in the past are putting their energy into that, instead. If you believe this thesis to be wrong, and/or if there’s anyone you would want to steer me to who could enrich my perspective on what’s happening this year, I’m all ears.

And, if you want to come by tomorrow morning, for tour, chat, coffee, or confab about Columbus Day, etc., right now, my Thursday morning is wide open.

Coming into the light, Charles

September 20, 2005 Re: Wilder-ness Challenge March 10, 2007

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Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 10:41:28 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Wilder-ness Challenge

Oh, God. It’s gotta be worms. Always worms. Worms are magic.

And of course, it would be across a pool, before or after a set of riffles/rapids, if there are any. And/or, at a point where there might be a small tributary/creek entering the river.

Always, worms.


—–Original Message—–

From: E. C.
To: chickq@aol.com
Sent: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 09:17:29 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Wilder-ness Challenge

OK. You are stuck in the mountains for a few days – maybe you got lost or something. You have several hooks and a long length of rope for a trot line you can leave in the water overnight. Where in the water do you put it and with what do you bait the hooks?

She’s just gotta know.


September 16, 2005 RE: Payback March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Payback
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 16:39:47 -0600

Peace OUT is a wonderful signoff. I’m musicing with the Glick & Co. tonight, cold and all, (it has set in today, quickly), then hiking tomorrow in Wild Basin, Rcky Mtn Natl Park, with Erin and another couple (following breakfast with my mom and step-dad), and a movie tomorrow night, if I haven’t collapsed (from cold-related issues) by then.

I’m not familiar with the Booth Creek Trail. But, having been to Breckenridge and back mid-week, I can testify that the foliage is alive and kicking. You’re gonna love it. Last night, I dreamed that I was with my (long deceased) father and one of his (not deceased) younger brothers, who lives in Napa Valley, attending a Bob Dylan concert at a small club. Is that strange? (My father, in life, was NOT a Dylan fan. “He can’t play the harmonica! I can play twice as well as he can,” Dad would say).


September 16, 2005 Name Calling March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: Name Calling
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 13:56:51 -0600

Dear ECM

I started the day with doubles tennis in north Boulder, and listened to “Call My Name” four times in a row on the way to work. It’s a tremendous song; great lyrics, a masterful combination of love and politics in one tune, and I particularly love the texture he achieves with the four-or-five-part harmony on the chorus. True beauty. Thank you for steering me toward that. A gift.

Warmth in the near-autumn, CB

September 14, 2005 Re: A female dear March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2005 11:48:44 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: A female dear

Greetings, Earthling – Live, from Breckenridge, here I spent thenight, last night, for a non-event which is probably now on ou Web – a basketball player, in trouble.

Don’t know how to hunt, or want to know, but do fish, and in fact fished – and caught numerous trout – this past weekend on a one-night camp out way up the Poudre Valley, west of Fort Collins. Love fishng. Understand why hunters hunt, I guess, but would never want to do it, or be around when it’s bein done. There are limits to the amount of cruelty I’m wiling to witness or sanction.

And I don’t believe in the rapture. I don’ believe these are End Times which will be interruoted by, or culminate in, the transporting of pure souls to some eternal peace, somewhere beyond.

I just believe that we are not competent, on the whole, to nurture and protect the gift that we have been given, and that man, and woman, is quickly turning this potential heaven on earth into something else. And it isn’t pretty.

So, I look for the golden moments, the periodic brushes with grace, truth and beauty, that are there, from time to time, to savor, during this slow slip back into the dark ages.

Back in my car, now, back to Denver. The leaves up here are beautiful.


—–Original Message—–

To: chickq@aol.com
Sent: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 11:13:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Doe Rae Me

About those End Times:

Do you know how to fish? Or hunt? When you go camping or hiking in the mountains, do you notice where fresh water is? Could you take your family over the mountains like Captain Von Trapp? Will you sing any of those songs from the movie while you do?

What exactly are the End Times, anyway, in your mind? Will you be taken up in the Rapture or do you plan to stay here on Earth to see what happens next?

Curious… again. 🙂

September 13, 2005 Re: Friends’ Relief Efforts March 10, 2007

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Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 11:35:06 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Friends’ Relief Efforts

Hi again – Who is your friend who worked in the Denver AFSC office. We – my wife, moreso – were pretty tight with a couple women who used to work there.

We were not at Quaker meeting the past two Sundays, because this past Sunday we were camping in the upper Poudre Valley, and the prior Sunday we were in Telluride. So, right now, no I don’t know if the Boulder meeting or Denver AFSC is doing anything, but I’d be shocked if they were not.

Our company is matching employees’ Salvation Army and American Red Cross donations dollar for dollar, dso, to the extent that money can help the situation, I’ve taken advantage of that mechanism.

More, more, more, CB

September 13, 2005 Re: More love in the world March 10, 2007

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Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 11:25:23 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: More love in the world

Dear Emily Caroline,

It’s very hard for me to tackle the Katrina subject, and not feel as if I’m repeating what so many have said, far better than I would be able to. We have sent a couple of reporters down there, first Mike Littwin – a columnist, actually, not a reporter – and now my friend David Montero. David had gone to India following the trunami, so he is eminently qualified for this kind of duty. For me, I can’t get past the personal angle of having been there just three weeks earlier, and burying my father in law in an above-ground crypt which, being in the heart of the city, may or may not still be underwater. One of Erin’s uncles lost his house in SLidell, completely. Her now-widowed step-mother and her relatives have been in Houston since it happened, but their house in the werstern suburbs of N.O. is okay. SO, I’ve been processing it on more of a personal level – it is so strange for me, having been there just a few weeks before, not being a big fan of the place, but nonetheless immersed in it by virtue of marrying into a local family, and trying to understand or imagine what it’s like now. I haven’t elevated, or migrated, from that experienci ng of this drama to the more global considerations of governmental malfeasance or neglect or irresponsibility. I am not able to play the blame game, yet. As a venomous anti-Bush person, I haven’t yet been able to focus on why he is more to blame, or less to blame, than the mayor, the governor, the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker.

I do believe we’re living in the End TImes, and this is merely a good warm-up to the types of things we’ll be seeing more of, in our lifetimes.

I have much to say about Telluride, and it was all good. I’m going to have to save it for the next note.

And for my brother, who has saddled me with a degree of guilt by being a bigger fan of me than I am of him – he’s a very nice fellow, but unlike me in many ways and kind of, um, bores me – is doing fine, and hosted us quite well, through the festival, at which I saw many great movies. One of the best things I saw actually wasn’t on the program, and was a last-minute surprise addition – the 4-hour Martin Scorcese documentary about Bob Dylan, “No Direction Home.” Dylan has been a permanent record of my top-three musical pantheon since I was in juniopr high school, and I was well aware this documentary was in the works, to be shown on PBS later this month. To see it out there, in its world-large-screen premiere (it will be shown as part of the upcoming Denver Film Fest, as well), was a wonderful surprise. Adding to the fun was that the following night, at another movie (Philip Seymour Hoffman’s new one, “Capote,” the couple who sat down next to me was Peter Yarrow, of Peter Paul & Mary fame, and his ex-wife. (Yes, ex-wife). I intorduced myself, and was able to enjoy a nice 10-min. chat with him about Dylan, PP&M and other things, before our movie started. So, that was a kick. Looks like I told you a bit about Telluride in this note, after all.

The other two “big” movies – movies that many people will end up seeing, were “Walk the Line,” the Johnny Cash biopic with Joaquin Phoenix as the man in black, and “Brokeback Mountain,” Ang Lee’s story, set in Wyoming 1963, of two male cowboys in love (Jake Gyllenhall and Heath Ledger). Both were outstanding.

I must work,


—–Original Message—–

To: chickq@aol.com
Sent: Mon, 12 Sep 2005 10:55:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Well…first

…. what did you think about Katrina? And how was Telluride? Is your brother doing well?

Yeah, I could use some more love, too, love.

September 12, 2005 Re: Zippy’s Three Stones March 10, 2007

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Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2005 12:43:01 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Zippy’s Three Stones

Dear ECM/ Maybe there’s no need to have a last word.

On a work-related note, I have been looking at the COlo. AIM web site, the Four Winds Web site, not getting calls to Glenn Morris returned, and I am wondering if there is anything planned by way of a Columbus Day parade protest. Those aforementioned Web sites almost look like the Web sites themselves are, if not defunct, suffering from supreme neglect. They seem to speak to a degree of paralysis.

If you were me, and you were trying to determine what, if any, plans are being made for a protest, what would you do?

Turning to you in an hour of need,

Your friend, and I loved seeing a note from you end with the word love – there isn’t enough of it in the world,


—–Original Message—–

From: E. C.
To: chickq@aol.com
Sent: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 12:41:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Zippy’s Three Stones

I wonder if I will regret never getting the last word.

I wonder if I will die wondering?

Probably it does not matter. But at least I know what the three Zippy stones represent.

September 9, 2005 Re: Regrets March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 09 Sep 2005 15:27:59 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Regrets


I really, really agree about regrets. It almost doesn’t seem, on the face of it, a “healthy” world view. But, yes, regrets to me can be very sweet. And, have a long, rich shelflife.

I’d be sorry, to have no regrets. Wouldn’t you?

Again, C

September 7, 2005 RE: ? March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: ?
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 17:10:36 -0600

Hi, E.C.

No, I wasn’t seeking a repsonse. It was just an ‘I’m sorry,’ from me, to you.

Onward, upward.


September 7, 2005 RE: Back Safe, Indeed March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Back Safe, Indeed
Date: Wed, 7 Sep 2005 09:43:20 -0600

Yes, I don’t think so, either. But, as it happens, today, I’m not yet living with the dispossessed family. By noon, I might be. Or, I might never be. That’s the lovely thing about this job. So often, I don’t know what’s going to happen, until it’s happening. It makes planning a very difficult thing. I’m sorry for the back-and-forthing I’ve had to do with you. Life has too many regrets already, and this is one more.

Best, Chick

September 6, 2005 RE: Back Safe, Indeed March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Back Safe, Indeed
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 13:13:58 -0600

Cheers, back at you, and yes, back safely, late last night. The project I’d been working on for three weeks before I left has not run in the paper, and it seems like nothing that is not an evacuee story is going to run in this newspaper for a long time. I’m going to be spending most of the rest of the week living with a family of evacuees – if they’ll have me – so I just don’t know when this is ever going to happen. I’m sorry. Sometimes, it feels like us news people don’t get to have normal lives. But, it’s the life I chose, so, don’t read that a a complaint. I hope your holiday weekend was fruitful and fun and/or restful.

SOmeday, CB

September 2, 2005 Lost Again March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: Lost again
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 07:05:57 -0600

Dear Emily Caroline,

Thank you for your call. I have saved it, for repeated future listenings. What a voice.

Of course, it was the latest lost person in Rocky Mtn. Natl. Park that took me away. To give partial answer to a previous question, I have a good degree of autonomy in what I do in the paper – or, at least, a degree of autonomy. And, more often than not, I can tell you days in advance what I’ll be doing. But yesterday, I had just finished a longish project (the fruits of which will be in the paper on Saturday), and was suddenly available to my editors for whatever. It was my availability to them, that also made me available to you. Often, when I’m available to them, they don’t bother me. I was hoping yesterday would work out that way. Instead, I was told before leaving the office on Wednesday that I was needed in Estes.

That gentleman I wrote about for today’s paper seemed like a very interesting, wise, and humble(d) fellow. But, being there yesterday, writing about this person who is going to be just fine, with the backdrop in New Orleans in my mind, felt kind of strange – that what I was writing about was really, truly, trivial in the grand scheme of things. It was.

The cemetery where I helped entomb my father in law Aug. 10 is likely under water. I used to really, really not appreciate a lot bout New Orleans on our trips down there. And would say negative things about it. (I thought it brought out many of the worst aspects of humanity, particularly the humanity that would go there as tourists; also, there is a tremendous racial division, and my wife would be the first to say, having grown up there, that there’s much racism). Erin believes that I have the power to make things happen, by merely giving voice to them (it’s sort of an in-family joke, but she has made me realize, it happens a lot; I speak of something, and it comes to pass. A great, and scary power to have). And she’s wondering now if I brought this on New Orleans with some of my past commentary. I like to think not.

So, perhaps next week, for us. I am off to Telluride this morning, back late Monday night, back at work on Tuesday. We could say, I could say, tentatively, next Wednesday morning? And if not Wednesday, perhaps Thursday?

Regretful, again, about yesterday. And listening to your voice, C

August 31, 2005 Re: Katrina March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2005 14:55:10 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Katrina

Dear Ms. ECM,

I would never discourage anyone away from this business. It has offered me a ringside seat to many, many pivotal, compelling, scenes and scenarios in this world (little-known fact: I was an eyewitness to the launch and explosion of space shuttle Challenger – par example) Unless, a person wanted to make money (that’s a reference to print reporters. TV people make more). I know that’s not what motivates you. And, I have been able to provide for a family, through my work in this vineyard. Just. And, co-authoring the JonBnet Ramsey book a few years ago made me much better able to do so.

The only big warning I would issue is that I think hard-copy, tossed-in-your-driveway newspapers are going away. People’s search for information is going to lead them more, and more, and more, to their computers and tv screens, which will probably soon be fairly well merged. But, still. People will still be needed to gather the information, that ends up on those screens. Photographers will still be needed to capture the images. And so, the world will continue to need writers, reporters, photographers. It’s just that the venues, the outlets for our work product, will change and morph.

When I teach, I teach journalism. I’m not a good enough musician, in a classically-trained sense, to teach very far beyond the beginner level. I can DO, well beyond the beginner level (I better be able to; started the guitar when I was 9, the piano not long after), and I taught beginner-to-early intermediate guitar, on the side, when in college, but no, when I step into a colege classroom, it’s only for journalism.

If you were al Qaeda, and could launch a strike in the U.S. of some kind, wouldn’t right about now be a really good time to do it?

Still on for tomorrow, as of 12:40 p.m. Wednesday.

Hoping for the best, fearing the worst, Chas.

August 30, 2005 RE: Luddite Gals March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Luddite Gals
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 16:36:53 -0600

I don’t know quite how to respond to this, except to say that if I had the embarrassment gene in me, I might even be embarrassed.

I’ll say, thank you. Smiling.

August 30, 2005 RE: Got My Number March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Got My Number
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 14:30:07 -0600

Dear Emily Caroline Macon –

It’s almost difficult for me to say this, but the similarities you have with another significant woman in my life are many, almost startling, in number – right down to calling oneself a Luddite, and very speficially, the not having of a cell phone.

I’ve made note of that number, and will call it before 9:31 Thursday, if there’s a problem on my end. I’m hoping that will not be the case.

I may never leave this room again, CB

August 30, 2005 RE: Expectations March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Expectations
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 12:40:33 -0600

Yes, yes, indeed – 303-478-8759 is the cell.

You might want to give me a phone number I can call, myself, if at 9:16 or so I get bad news.

You’re not imposing on my time, at all. We’re each making gifts, one to the other, of our time and presence and energy.

I’ve got Musicology at home,

I’ll be prepping with “Call Me.”


August 30, 2005 RE: Yesterday’s note March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Yesterday’s note
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 09:04:19 -0600

Today, E., you should tell me what your expectation are for Thursday morning. I can tell you, for starters, you should expect – I hope this works, for your schedule – that I won’t be here, or availbable, before 9:45 a.m. I typically start my days at 8 a.m., but once a week, or, every once in a blue moon, twice a week, I play tennis in Boulder before coming in to work, and Thursday is going to be a tennis day. Therefore, I won’t really know for absolute sure that I’m clear for our meeting, until about 9:45 a.m. If I am, I could meet with you by 9:46 a.m. I’m sorry to have to introduce this much uncertainty into the situation. But, then, life is like that, isn’t it?

Anyway, as for your expectations: how long? I’m hoping, and preparing for, the notion of talking with you as long as you’d like, and giving you a tour. If the day is really as clear as I’m hoping it is, I should have at least a couple of hours. It could end up being less, but we’ll see.

I’m also trying to figure out who I’m going to tell my co-workers that you are. What should be our story?

Think of a good one, Charles

August 30, 2005 Yesterday’s note March 10, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: Yesterday’s note
Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 08:06:38 -0600

Dear EC/I wrote this yesterday. Decided not to send it. Decided this
morning to send it.

So, here it is.


The four songs. One, “Book of Days,” is finished, in my songbook, getting memorized, etc.

“The Thing That Bothers Me the Most Is, It Bothers Me At All,”
three-quarters finished.

“Wrong Address,” three-quarters finished.

The unnamed, fourth song, exists just as a musical idea at this point, still, but it’s one I like, I don’t know what it’s going to be “about,” lyrically, but I’m enjoying its hanging out there, waiting to have words put to it. Just as I’m enjoying having the other two songs 3/4-finished, and just waiting completion. I’m, almost there, with them. And savoring the final few steps.

My wife and I are huge, huge fans of the Weather Channel, seriously (moreso than any actual “shows,” on the TV). We love to watch the orange, yellow, green, blue blobs shift and morph and move across the radar-landscape. We develop whole fantasies about the various anchors and in-the-field correspondents. And, so, yes, Katrina has been big excitement for us, this weekend. We even discussed leaving the tv in the bedroom on, all night, Saturday, just to catch whatever updates we could, whenver one or the other of us would wake up during the night. But, we didn’t actually do that. With the recent death of Erin’s dad, and the rest of her immedaite family all also now being residents of Colorado, the only remaining family she has down there is her now-widowed step-mom, and people connected to her step-mom through her step-mom’s first marriage. So, no immediate close family down there, anymore.

Just spoke to my brother, who has arrived in Telluride in anticipation of the film festival this weekend, which he works each year (as I know I’ve mentioned). He said a tributee this year is going to be Charlotte Rampling, who my wife and I both love. That means, she (C.R.) will be there. And, probably her new movie – whatever it is – will be there. And there will be an evening devoted to her, where she – and her oeuvre – will be feted/honored. Can’t wait.

Must be back to work.

Still on track, for Thursday. Sadly, that could still change – up to Thursday morning. Hopefully, it won’t.

Stay cool, somehow CB

P.S. You might find a recording of “Yes, Yes, Yes,” with words, on the NRBQ album “NRBQ At Yankee Stadium” (which was not recorded at Yankee Stadium; but the cover art was shot there). You might find a recording of the instrumental version on the album of mostly jazz instrumentals, “Terrible,” by Terry Adams, the keyboard player of NRBQ. And, now, you know where the “q” in my e-mail address comes from.

I’m a big Prince fan – and, yes, it’s okay to call him Prince, again. I need to listen to the song “Call Me,” however, as I’m not as familiar with that song. Did you by any chance see him when he was here last year? (Or was it early this year?) Good show – as always…

August 29, 2005 Thursday March 10, 2007

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Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 18:19:25 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Thursday

Dear, Hi, Still on for Thursday. Still, it could change.

Thanks for your notes. I’m sorry I can’t reciprocate, on them. I really am.

Prince, who we can once again call Prince, is in my musical pantheon.

I can tell you that much.

August 26, 2005 17:45:58 Re: Work Life March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 17:45:58 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Work Life

There’s a song I love, called “Yes, Yes, Yes.” It exists in both instrumental and with-words versions.

Let’s think, tentatively, Thursday, here. If you can do that. Early in the day is always better than later.

And, I may find out, by Tuesday, or Wednesday, that Thursdsay won’t work. I could even find out on Thursday morning that Thursday won’t work. A very short version of an answer to one of your questions is that, with my seniority, and my track record and favorable in-house standing, I do have some degree of autonomy/ability to determine, myself, what I’m doing on a given day. That is, SOME degree. Many here have no ability to do that. A few have, like me, some ability. One or two have great/near-total ability to do so. I’m closer to that promised land than I used to me. I may never get all the way there.

More, soon,


August 26, 2005 Re: Work Life March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 13:06:45 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Work Life

Dear E.,.

There’s too much, here. Too much. I can’t begin to answer all these in an e-mail. Well, I could, but then I wouldn’t be getting anything done.

I want to answer them all. I’m flattered that you care, and desire the information.

We probably need to find a quiet place. You could come to the newspaper. There are quiet places, here. I could give you the tour.

Or, we could find a quiet place somewhere else.

I’m not going to have any time, really, until next Thursday – and then, Friday, I’m off to Telluride for the film festival, one of my family’s key annual rites.

Too much, not enough, too much, not enough,

And more, C

August 24, 2005 Re: Do not huff or pout March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 19:15:32 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Do not huff or pout

I would absolutely believe you have had many great conversations at Le Central; I almost proposed to my wife at Le Central. I just would not want to have to interview someone there – if I was recording the interview, I’d worry about interfering ambient noise, and if it wasn’t being taped, I’d still fear the distrsactions of food-bvearing wait staff coming and going. I should have suggested something else in the alternative, you’re right. Some quiet corner, somewhere. And, don’t be hurt about contributing to my sense of conflict. I’m a choosy, selective person, and am not easily interested and diverted by new people who come along, particularly in the way that you come along. Feel good about it. You really, really, stirred my interest. I think that’s a good thing.

A very good thing, C

—–Original Message—–
From: E. C.
To: chickq@aol.com
Sent: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 14:08:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: And Another Thing

It hurt my pride when you asked if you thought I could do an interview at Le Central but then did not make a suggestion for someplace better. Some of the best conversations I have ever had, I had in that joint.

And, and, and. It hurts me to think that I am the reason you are feeling sick, wrong, conflicted, confused, etc.

So I am going off in a huff to pout. So be on the lookout for a 583 pound pouting woman who has a hairy chin, yellow teeth, bad breath, bad wig, and an eye patch.

And if in a courtroom, you see such a woman matching that description, do not, I repeat, do not sit next to her!


August 24, 2005 Re: Yes March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 19:07:32 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Yes

Yes, the Caplis/Silverman thing. I know that this newspaper editorialized early on that Ward should be fired. But, that’s the handiwork of Vince Carroll, who did not dicuss that with me prior to writing that, and to this day, has not asked me my thoughts. And I know David Lane is sophisticated enough that he understands that. And I know that David has told Ward the same thing. And if either one were to ask me, they might be very surprised as to what I think CU should do – or, more accurately, not do. But in the case of Caplis and Silverman, they said on day one-and-a-half, “Fire Him!” and “We will not rest until he is gone!” And, for that, they get this exclusive access. You may well be right, about keeping your enemies close.

It has also occurred to me that David obviously understands that if he goes on the radio live, he is not going to be edited, and all of what he has to say will get heard. When someone gives an interview to a newspaper reporter, we cannot, due to space constraints, print everything they say, and therefore, we have to be selective. We try to be selective in a fair way, giving adequate representation of the important points the interview subject has made – but we just don’t print everything they say – sometimes, far from it. I think that might be a factor, as well.

Seeing a few leaves start to turn, Chick

August 23, 2005 Re: Zippy March 10, 2007

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Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 14:14:05 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Zippy

Hi, again – I don’t think I’m suffering PTSD, but recongize that I would not be the first to be suffering from something like that, but deny that that’s the case. My life felt pretty well integrated, until this dialogue began – and I felt pulled further and further toward what sounded- sounds – like a deep, thoughtful, warm and enlightened woman. But, as noted, I’m (already) partnered with one, which left me wondering, daily, hourly, what I was doing with this e-mail dalliance. And really, the only way I canceled on Le Central for Mon or Tuesday is that yesterday I had to pinch-hit-teach at a class over at Metro, for a friend of mine, and be on the road for Glenwood Springs (again) by late afternoon, with much to do in between (include watch for, wait for, seek, try to pry loose) the CU decision on Ward, which of course, was disclosed 15 minutes after I got in the rental car, by David Lane, on a radio show whose hosts have p[roclaimed it as their mission to put him out of work (I’m accordingly somewhat mystified by the level of cooperation Lane continues to extend those guys). And, today, the other day you proposed, I’m just in Glenwood Springs, not in Denver. So Le Central was just not do-able, either day that you suggested.

But. All that having been said, I think your suggestion as to how we proceed form here is spot-on, as the Brits would say. I endorse your plan 100 percent. Surprise me sometime, out there in the slipstream.

(I coulda talked to you about Iraqi sandstorms without traumatizing myself; really, I could have. But, I think it’s best we go forward in the way you laid out).

In the bonds, C

August 22, 2005 Zippy March 10, 2007

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Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 15:36:42 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Zippy

Today – Monday – offers a fairly profound Zippy – profound for those who live in the Denver metro area, as it features one of our more interesting (new) local icons.

I’m going to be performing music soon in a public venue in Denver. I want to tell you when and where. But my wife is going to be there. And so I would have to tell you to pretend that you don’t know me. ANd that’s just sick, and wrong, isn’t it?

That’s the problem.

And, as previously noted, I do have other female friends, friends my wife knows about, and is okay with.

She would not be okay with the kind of relationship that has developed between us.

So, I am filled with conflicted feelings and confusion, about this.

And, I’m sorry.

Wishing I could give you more, but not seeing how I could or can –


August 19, 2005 Re: Reservations March 10, 2007

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Date: Fri, 19 Aug 2005 15:52:30 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Reservations

Hello, E – I have been having difficulty in the last few days in making all the pieces of my life fall together. I feel as if there are a lot of dangling threads, rather than a fabric that neatly holds together. Yes, I’m familiar with Le Central, and I am no fan of Racine’s (a number of negative associations from past history, plus I’ve always been underwhelmed by their food). I had no idea that Le Central is open for lunch.

However, I’m going to be in Denver most likely only a half day on Monday (am teaching a class at Metro that morning, filling in for a friend of mine whose class it actually is), then back up to Glenwood Springs Monday night, remaining there all day Tuesday, and not coming back until Tuesday night or Wednesday afternoon.

Could you really do an interview in the setting of Le Central?

Experiencing a biorhythmic lull, and hoping to pull out of it soon.

So, no, make no reservations yet.

And, yes, the full moon has a hold on me, Charles

August 17, 2005 Re: Big Fish, The Question March 10, 2007

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Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 12:32:20 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Big Fish, The Question

Dear Emily Caroline,

The biggest question my protagonist wants answered is, who’s my protagonist?

That’s not as deliberately evasive response as it might seem. My protagonist is either my grandfather, a man who was died before I was born, or it’s me – or it’s both.

Weekends are probably not the best time for us to get together, at least from my perspective, but I would also not rule that out. My preference would be a weekday, in Denver. What is your standard putting-bread-on-the-table gig, and where do you do it?

And, do you have a romantic partner? Have you ever been married?

And, did you get to the end of “Big Fish?”

I am packing back up and leaving the mountains, headed back down to Denver. Did I mention that I might be going to Atlanta soon? Or, perhaps, not. Keep this under your hat(s), but I believe Patsy Ramsey may only have days, hours, to live. How the media responds to her passing, how the Rocky Mountain News responds, will be interesting.

Feeling the changes, Chas.

August 15, 2005 Re: Yes, yes, yes March 6, 2007

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Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 16:34:41 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Yes, yes, yes

Hello, Emily – Do I call you, Emily? Emily Caroline?

The answer is yes, I would be happy to do an interview with you, on that subject. And yes, that sandstorm was about the worst weather phenomenon I’ve ever suffered through. Exacerbated as it was, of course, by the circumstances (bad people rumored to be afoot in the near-but-unseen-distance prepared to, hoping to, kill us all).

It seems to be an appropriate way for us to meet. You say this is for the story you are writing. Do you mean, this is for your novel?

And, we’ll talk about October. I called Glenn Morris a week ago to chat with him about the fact that the city seemed to not respond the way he might have hoped to his guidelines issued in the wake of the charges being dismissed in Jan., as to what the city should now do, to avoid continued problems around this issue. He has not returned my call. I don’t know if he ever will. I may be in a position where I can’t be the one covering this for the paper, after all. Ward won’t talk to me anymore, and if Glenn won’t either, then the Rocky Mountain News may have to find someone else to carry this ball.

I was confiding to a friend about you recently, and that friend immediately raised the question about whether you might be a “plant,” of sorts, an agent, working at Ward’s behalf, to expose me in some hideous way. That thought, of course, was at the forefront of my mind – two months ago, or so. It is no longer something I consider to be a remote possibility. The level of our discussions is at a stage where I just don’t think anyone could share what you have shared, reveal what you have revealed, and have this all be part of something that is going to end up being a Westword cover story. Tell me I’m not wrong.

I may never leave this room again, Charles

P.S. The other key children’s book for me, not from my childhood but from having been a parent, is “The Runaway Bunny,” by the same author as that of “Goodnight Moon.”

August 14, 2005 Re: Just passing through March 6, 2007

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Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2005 18:13:18 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Just passing through

D.E., I spent Thursday and Friday in Glenwood Springs (residing those nights at a hotel in Eagle, which carries sentimental value – ha ha – carrying over from my Kobe Bryant days. Then, Saturday morning, ran a half-marathon from Georgetown to Idaho Springs, with a running pal of mine, then home. Monday, back to Glenwood/Eagle.

The book. I can’t say much until I get further – but it’s a historical fiction, fictionalized history, about the man for whom I’m named. As a reporter, he covered the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Then, as an attorney, he: defended one of the men charged in the Preparedness Day bombings of 1916, still the worst terrorist event in Calif. history; defended actor-turned alleged rapist/murderer “Fatty” Arbuckle, the O.J. Simpson of his day, if you will, then served as personal attorney to Joseph Young, the man who designed and directed construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. I hope to do far more than recount what the first Charlie Brennan did, around each of those events. I intend to weave his story with my own. Did you see the movie of two years ago, “Big Fish”? I was not inspired to, and would want to avoid, echoing that kind of tale. But, I’m realizing it’s almost that kind of feel I’d be happy to end up with.

Oh, and I know I would never be sorry. On one level, anyway.

Blinded by the light, Charlie

August 12, 2005 Re: The power of 3 March 6, 2007

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Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 21:19:17 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: The power of 3


It’s hard for me to write. We’ve got trouble, indeed.

Much I want to say. Much I think I should say, equally much that I am sure I shouldn’t say.

But, yes, the magic of the number three is something I live with. You likely don’t read many newspaper comics. Nor do I. I read two, Doonesbury and Zippy the Pinhead, which runs in our paper but not many other “mainstream” metro dailies. Zippy, in case you’re not among the initiates, is about, in fact, a pinhead, microencephalic might – MIGHT – be the clinical name, and it’s drawn by a cartoonist who emerged from the “underground,” a true subversive who somehow infiltrated the “straight” syndicated cartooning world, which our paper has almost dropped a few times, but then yielded in the face of passionate protest by a small cadre of passionate acolytes. Anyway. Zippy periodically is found musing on a pile of three large stones, found randomly appearing from time to time on his landscape. It’s one of my favorite recurring schticks in the Zippy universe – what is the deeper meaning of that trio of rocks?

We could say the three books are the book you’re writing, the book I’m writing (my San Francisco story) and the third is the book we’re writing. How does it end? Where did it start? Who will get us out of our little black mess?

Ac-cent-tchuate the Pos-i-tive, Chas.

August 11, 2005 Re: Dreams March 6, 2007

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Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 23:07:48 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Dreams

Dear Paleface

Okay, live from Eagle, Co., where the window is open wide to let in as much of the cool Western Slope night air as possible – but with the fan running, anyway, decadantly, because I love a little soft white noise at night, here is late night’s dream.

I was on a long run – I have recurring running dreams, finally, as a result of running as much as I do in waking life – and you knew that I was going to be passing through a certain point, and had told me that you were going to be waiting for me there.

I thought I should not see you, but ran to that point anyway – and that point turned out to be an old two-story home, the rooms of each floor being more or less railroad style, one leading to the next, leading to the next. I ran in on one level of the house, kept running, and ran back out the other level (can’t remember if I ran in on the first level, and out on the second, or the reverse). When I reached the end of the corridor by which I was leaving, I caught a glimpse of you. Tall, slim, and black, and, as noted before, attractive. You were holding three books that you wanted to put in my hands, as a loan or a gift. It was important to me, you said, that I see the books.

I never stopped running. I kept going, and never saw what the books were. But I was intrigued with you, and the books, and wonder, still, what they were. And, why were you black?

It’s not often that I have dreams that seem to carry such obvious symbolism. Too obvious, I suspect, in this case. I have a good friend who is a lawyer, and even a bit conservative in some respects (despite being a former rock and roll musician) who goes to a dream analyst on a regular basis. She tells him Everything means something, in a dream. And, that all dreams have significance. I’m not in that camp. But, this dream. THIS dreram. It’s staying with me.

Reeling in the years, Charlie

August 11, 2005 RE: Loss March 6, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Loss
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 12:45:25 -0600

Hello, back, C – I am allowed to have other female friends, and do.

It’s the way you and I have evolved, how it has evolved, that makes this situation different.

I am off to Glenwood Springs, now, for several days.

Yikes, again.

Breathless, Chick

August 11, 2005 RE: March 6, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE:
Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 09:11:09 -0600

Yikes. Your empathy/sympathy is appreciated, and I’m sure genuine, but I could never, ever, ever, tell her. Which is why this is all a problem.

Yikes. And Gee.

—–Original Message—–

From: E. C.
Sent: Monday, August 08, 2005 10:59 AM
To: Brennan, Charlie

Please tell Erin I am so sorry to hear of her loss.

Safe Journey,

August 11, 2005 Re: (no subject) March 6, 2007

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Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 10:29:54 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: (no subject)

Dear E., Back form New Orleans, where I helped bury my father in law.

Do you believe that all dreams mean something, that some dreams mean something, or that no dreams mean anything. I’m in the some dreams mean something category.

I had a dream about you last night that definitely meant something. It’s the first time I’ve dreamed about you. It was a doozy.

I’ll tell you about it. Really.

But, back at work for the first time since Friday, first time in the office – due to lost (now dead) ranger – since last Wednesday. So, there are many, many things to catch up on.

And, I haven’t revealed this before, but I sit right next – RIGHT next – to an editor. That makes her, management. As in, a superior. And, we can read everything on one another’s screens with no effort at all. So, there’s a limitation to the amount of privacy I have, here. That contributes, sometimes, to the brevity of my messages.

But, I want to tell you about this dream.

For one thing, you were a black woman, in it. An attractive black woman.

And, I have not very clear memories of my favorite books when I was small – but they would have included The House at Pooh Corner – any Pooh/A.A. Milne. I have clearer memories of those I read for my daughter, when she was little. And my favorite of those was always, ironically, “Goodnight Moon.”

Running, running, Charles

—–Original Message—–
From: E. C.
To: chickq@aol.com
Sent: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 07:32:39 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: (no subject)

How are you doing over there, Chick?
I hope all is well.


August 11, 2005 Re: Born Naked March 6, 2007

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Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 10:22:18 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Born Naked

Both lines are going to end up being used.

—–Original Message—–
From: E. C.
To: chickq@aol.com
Sent: Sat, 6 Aug 2005 10:30:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Born Naked


Dazed, stunned, dizzy, and breathless are good; confused is not. Tell me what needs clarification and I will dust off my crystal ball.

Worry not. The answers are coming.

Hoping rescue soon for the park ranger,

P.S. I like the line “Born naked / We clothe ourselves in memory” best. But both, of course, are still gorgeous.

August 8, 2005 March 6, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 10:51:22 -0600

Sorry for a communication shutdown. I was in Rocky Mountain National
Park Thrs/Fri for the missing ranger, climbing Pike’s Peak Sat/Sun., and on
the way to New Orleans later today for the funeral of my wife’s dad – not
wholly unexpected. So, that’s what I’ve been up to..

Someday, CB

August 5, 2005 Born Naked March 6, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: Born Naked
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2005 08:06:16 -0600

Each of us, born naked
We wrap our bones in memory

I was in the process of writing to you yesterday morning, responding to
your wonderful messages – I am excited about your novel, and I don’t even
know you; but I know your writing – when I was dispatched to Rocky Mountain
National Park, on the missing ranger story, and that is where I am headed

But I’m carrying your words with me.

Wishing more, and dazed&confused,


August 3, 2005 Re: Two more quick answers March 6, 2007

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Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 15:48:17 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Two more quick answers

The October question: asked, because, I will probably have the primary role for the paper, writing about whatever happens. If you and I are going to be friends- I feel like we are friends – this could probably severely test that. I can’t compromise myself professionally, by opening up all these personal doors to someone who might be in the thick of things, as a “newsmaker.” We can talk about this.

And yes, words are coming for that song that started while on vacation. Actually, two songs started on that trip. Two more have started, since returning, including a brand new one that will have the longest title of any song I’ve written: “What Bothers Me The Most is the Fact That It Bothers Me At All.” So, I currently have four songs going, in various states of completion. That’s never happened before, in 40 years of writing songs.

What, doi you suppose, is behind that?

Tuning, C

August 3, 2005 Re: The Volcanics March 6, 2007

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Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 15:40:59 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: The Volcanics

Dear E – Again, as always, particularly, too much to say. Not going to do it now. Too much.

Any day that I saw you at all was circled in red.

I like that line, a lot. The yearning expressed.

The one asnwer I’ll fork over right now is that one of my ex-wives would say wonderful things, the other would say, probably, bad things.

The first, to whom I was married for 10 years, is the mother of my daughter, and we are still great friends (so much so that I have had Thanksgiving with her (new) family a couple times since our divorce, and she invited my wife and I to spend Christmas with them this year in Conn. (We won’t be doing so, but the thought was nice). I initiated that divorce after finding out she’d been carrying on an affair for the last year of our marriage. Despite that, I have forgiven her, and my like for her as a human being, combined with our shared interest in our daughter having two parents who are still pals and don’t fight, has kept us close. So, that’s the first wife. We love each other. Like each other. And have new lives wholly independent of one another – but united in our caring about our daughter (who’s 22, now, and lives here in the Boulder area).

The second wife, I was with for 17 months, from the day we met to the day she pulled out of my driveway for the last time. I initiated that divorce, too, after realizing a few months into our marriage that she was not a very nice person, and I didn’ love her. She was very happy with me, couldn’t believe I wanted out, was hurt, etc., and so, would probably say bad things if contacted. But, it’s mutual. She was a wild woman, but a wild woman with not much integrity and a dark soul. Why was I with her in the first place? Well, it was a long time ago, she seemed a bit dangerous – which I found sexy – and I still had some growing up to do of my own.

Thank you for the Oregon travelogue. I need to review it, with map in hand. And/but Powell’s, yea and verily, is great.

More, Charles

August 2, 2005 Re: Confessions Vol VI, No. 487 March 6, 2007

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Date: Tue, 02 Aug 2005 14:28:43 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Confessions Vol VI, No. 487

Dear E., Have you ever seen the bumpersticker, “Don’t Die Wondering”? A nice sentiment to embrace.

I liked your coming on strong. It’s one of your (many) appealing qualities. But I found myself becoming uncomfortable with how much I didn’t know about you.

And, the flirting felt…fun. And, yet, I’m someone who in my life, including three marriages, has never been unfaithful. I believe I’m physically incapable of that. And to find myself flirting with someone who might be 5 feet tall, or six feet tall, or 100 pounds or 300 pounds, who might…be anyone I pass on the street, felt too strange.

But your mind and your heart are very attractive.

I wish to place no boundaries on you. Life is too filled with boundaries, already.

Wondering, wondering, and wishing you good things.

– C

August 1, 2005 Confession March 6, 2007

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Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 10:43:09 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Confession

Dear E., In case you were wondering, yes, I do miss our contact. I do. There was something of value every time I opened one of your mails. I’m thanking you, still.

– In the shallows, C

July 26, 2005 Re: And sprints March 6, 2007

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Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2005 10:18:28 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: And sprints

Dear E.,

I wrote you a long note on Sunday morning – and then because my Internet connection fizzled as I neared the end of the note, the note did not get sent, nor was it saved.

I have not written since, because I am thinking about what is going on, between us. I am married. I have never met you. So what am I doing, opening up all these doors, to someone I don’t even know?

You’re a compelling writer. And, I can tell, there is a rich, unusual mind and heart, behind those words. But what does that mean in my life, or to my life?

I don’t know the answer.

“Goodnight Moon” appears on Shivaree’s first album, “I Ought To Give You Shot in the Head for Making Me Live in This Dump.” The second, more recent album is “We’re Got Trouble.” Threy are forming the soundtracks to my life, right now.

It followed me home, Charles

July 23, 2005 Re: And a Happy Belated Full Moon, to you March 6, 2007

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Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2005 13:36:56 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: And a Happy Belated Full Moon, to you


Yes, that was the reference. I didn’t know that song was in the Kill Bill soundtrack, having taken a pass on both KBs Vol I and II. It’s by a “group” called Shivaree, which is really a female vocalist, Ambrosia Parsely (real name), whose voice transports me. I can’t hear it enough. I discovered her (them) on the weekend I was with Ward in San Fran. It was the best thing that happened to me, that weekend. There is an underlying sinisterness (is that a word?) or menace, in many of the lyrics to many Shivaree songs, that somehow speaks to me, right now. Loudly.

Must run (to Denver movie shorts festival): More, soonsoon.

Going through re-entry, Chick

July 22, 2005 Re: FRIDAY March 6, 2007

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Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 09:52:17 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: FRIDAY

Dear E., it is 6:30 a.m., the house is quiet, but for the lapping of the water in the canal outside the windows of my friend’s home here, just south of San Fran., so for the first time in quite a while I have the luxury of being able to read your words, and respond – although there is the remaining issue that I am still adjusting to the keyboard of his computer, forcing me to write more slowly, and spend more time correcting typos, and such.

Yes, I recognize that something would need to be very extreme and unusual, to strike you as such. So here is your answer, and , while it is still a bit extreme, it’s not that unusual anymore. It’s running marathons. I didn’t start running until I was 40,and did so primarily to try to keep from being/getting (too) pudgy. I’ve run 13 of them in the past 8 years, from London to Maui, and will be running my 14th and maybe last, this fall, either in Burlington, Vt., or Cape Cod. So, there it is. (As for sky-diving, or anything remotely close to that, I don’t like even thinking about those types of activities, much less do them. I don’t get it. I’d box, before jump out of a plane).

Here’s a question for you. What do you expect your role/posture will be this year as the anti-Columbus Day parade business starts heating up? I expect I’m going to be the newspaper’s main writer on that, this time around, and as mentioned in a previous correspondence, I expect that this year it’s going to get very crazy and strange. Do you expect to be in the middle of it, somehow? And if so, in what capacity. Your answer on this one is important, to me.

Our vacation was wonderful in every way – one of the key things, for both of us, each of us being cool weather fans, was avoiding heat. And for 11 consecutive days, we saw literaly not one cloud -and yet, because we were right along the coast each of those days, in northern Cali. and Oregon, we never were exposed to a temperature of more than 75 degrees – and often, noticably cooler than that (that streak ended on Tuesday, when we swung inland into Ore., and zoomed back down into Cali. by route 5). This, at a time that I understand temperatures were a bit higher, in the Denver area. My wife and I both consider anything more than 75 to be hot – the kind of hot that we’d rather not have to be around for. We never got to Eugene, although that had originally been on the itinerary. We did make it to Ashland, the first time, for me. Really, really liked it.

Dan Glick, by the way, is “available” (more or less). I thought “Powder Burn” was pretty good. Not great. Have you read his second book, “Monkey Dancing”? That book, I was less impressed with, although the idea behind it had tremendous potential. It also had a working title which, because it worked on three different levels, would have been far better: “Before It’s Gone.” I was very disappointed when he changed the title – particularly to what he changed it to.

Being a huge movie fan, one of the few drawbacks to our trip was that we saw not one movie. I’m looking forward to catching up – want to see “Me and You and Everyone We Know” (if I have the title right), “Heights,” “My Summer of Love,” and a number of others. Did you see “Mysterious Skin” which was in Denver recently? Outstanding. Haunting .

One more highlight from vacation is that I have two new songs well on the way to completion. One, titled “Book of Days,” has the refrain: “Each of us born naked/we clothe ourselves in memory.”

That’s what I know, Charles

July 22, 2005 Re: eYES III March 6, 2007

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Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 00:57:59 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: eYES III


Rats. Really, rats. I am at a computer for the first time in days and days and days. Back at the South Bay-area home of my old friends from college. I have three mails from you. And my friend, Steve, won’t stop talking and talking and talking. To me. I love him. He is giving us room and shelter. So I can’t even read what you’ve written. I want to communicate with you. He’s not giving me the chance. I’m on the plane, tomorrow. Regular life resumes, Friday. I’ll be in touch. Soon.

I want to be in touch. With you. .



July 17, 2005 Re: Brown eyes March 6, 2007

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Date: Sun, 17 Jul 2005 18:10:11 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Brown eyes


Oh my god. Oh my god. I don’t say that lightly.


I attend the Telluride Film Festival every year – or have, for the past
four in a row. That’s because my brother, my big (and only) brother,
works it, every year, as a projectionist. Although he lives in Maine
(having left Telluride for Maine some 20 years ago), they fly him in
every year, put him up in a nice condo for 10 days – a condo large
enough to accomodate members of his family, along with his kid brother
and spouse – and pay him to show many of the movies.

So. Last year, my favorite movie there, by far, was “Yes.” I have been
waiting for it to come out in local theaters since last Labor Day
weekend (that’s when T’ride festival is always held), to see it again,
and take my wife to see it (she was with me at T’ride, but didn’t get
to “Yes.” We don’t see all the same films, and it’s impossible to get
to them all, in a weekend. I didn’t see the end coming, in “Yes,” and
thought it was a marvelously redeeming, life-afirming movie. And I
believe I’m not the only one whose favorite character was the maid.

There were a numbver of movies coming into the indie theaters, just as
we were leaving for vacation, that I wanted to see – and that was at
the top of the list, even though I’ve already seen it.

Erin and I were just talking today, about it only being another six
weeks ’til the T’ride Fest, ’05 edition. I cannot wait. But, must.

Two of my sister’s three kids attended U. of Edinburgh, which gave me
an excuse to visit Edinburgh in about ’96. The city left me as close as
I get to speechless, such ancient, raw, naked beauty. I want to get
back there, sooner rather than later. All three of my sister’s “kids”
(they’re all in their 20s) now live in the states, having dual
citizenship, by virtue of their mother’s dual citizenship (did I tell
you, my sister never left England, when the rest of our family moved
back here, after our two-year soujourn?) So, that gives me a ready
excuse, and place to stay, when I want to go back. (She lives in a
bucolic little village near Oxford, called Hambleden, which is, I’m
told where they filmed “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (a movie I never

Writing to you from a little coffee shoppe in Bandon, Ore. So, where
should I observe a moment of silent tribute to you, as I’m traveling
around this state?

(And yes, that flag will be needed one more time, in your lifetime. I
believe we’re living in the End Times. Really).

Smelling the sea, Chas.

July 15, 2005 Re: The sea inside March 6, 2007

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Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 18:32:38 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: The sea inside

Dear E., If you had received the note that bounced back, the only news in it would have been the bulletin that I have two new songs underway. That’s one thing that happens, when I’m on vacation. Strangely, one of them is titled “Wrong Address.” And that was before I had a note to you routed back to me from, wouldn’t you know it, a wrong address. The second song doesn’t nhave a title, yet. I know its energy, however. It’s energy is going to be that of the pounding surf, lit dull orange, by the sun setting behind it. Something will lead me to the words that I need.

This is coming to you live from Crescent City, Ca., where laundry is being done, before we head north into Oregon, where we’ll be camping tonight, by the beach.

Where do you hail from, In Oregon? This, among the many things you haven’t told me.

The many, many things.

Waves upon waves upon waves, Charles

P.S. What mvoie did you see with the brown eyes?

P.P.S. Don’t get me going, on movies, okay?

July 15, 2005 Re: Brown eyes March 6, 2007

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Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 18:26:37 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Brown eyes

Dear Emily Caroline,

Events have conspired to keep me away from the Internet, almost entirely, for the last five days. They don’t have it, at camp sites, beaches, trails overllooking the ocean, and such, which is where I’ve spent most of my time this week. I was on a computer briefly in Arcata, Ca., yesterday, and sent you a brief one about how badly I wanted to be writing you – and it bounced back to me. Perhaps you have changed your address?

I had this old note from you in my mailbox, and have just clicked on reply, so, if I click on send, now, that should tell me whether you’ve migrated, again, to another cyber-landing place.




July 11, 2005 Hitting the road, hardnosing the highway March 6, 2007

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Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 10:10:40 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Hitting the road, hardnosing the highway

Dear Emily Caroline

A delightful and wonderful surprise to find two missives from you. Snow Me, Don’t Tell Me was my favorie alternate title. My favorite of a strong group. You have a touch. Touches.

Am completing 48 hours in the San Francisco area, staying with my best friend from college, a man whose last name starts with a Z, my only friend with a name that starts with Z, and in every way is what you might expect from someone with a name beginning with Z. People, as you might expect, call him ‘Z’ – but I do not, as I know him too well for that, and call him instead “Steve,” as that is his name. He and his wife coincidentally moved here just three weeks ago from Sartoga Springs, N.Y., and nevertheless have been wonderful hosts to Erin and me, in our favorite U.S. city. Saw the S.F. Mime Troupe (political theater; not really mimes) in a park in Berkeley, yesterday. Don’t get me going about S.F. – my family has a long and rich history here, that includes my grandfather – for whom I’m named – being a star reporter covering the 1906 Earthquake for the Oakland Tribune, then, 25 years later, after becoming an attorney, serving as personal counsel to the man who designed, and oversaw construction, of the Golden Gate Bridge.

And serving as part of the defense team in the third trial of Fatty Arbuckle. Do you know about Fatty Arbuckle?

Today, it is off, by car, up the coast, my favortite coast, the most enchanted part of this country, in my view. Camping, tonight, by the sea, north of Bodega Bay.

I would like to bring you rain, fog, and mist.

Dan Glick has the most remarkable blue eyes. Stunning, really.

Do you know the song “Snow in San Anselmo”? One of the lesser known from the Van Morrison canon. Track one from the 1973 album “Hardnose the Highway.” Magical, is all.

Feeling it, Charles

July 7, 2005 Synchronicity March 5, 2007

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Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2005 19:45:00 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Synchronicity

Dear Emily Caroline,

I did not know the Kenny Rogers song. I’m not well versed on Kenny Rogers, at all. But I read the lyrics. Twice. And have filed them away. (really. My file is getting tihck).

My day has been given over to the London disaster. My sister still lives in England – has, for 37 years, now – but is safely outside the city, in the bucolic countryside. However, eight days ago, she tells me in an e-mail, she was right where the bus-bomb went off, today. Life, and death, is really all about the timing, isn’t it?

My family, to answer a recent question of yours, was in London because the advertising agency my father worked for sent him over there to start their London office. (he had a brief career n journalism himself, as a young man, then went for the bigger bucks, in advertising). An impressionable teen-ager at the time, who believed that the Beatles (not yet broken-up) were divine avatars, I couldn’t have been happier about our move. I still value those two years as among the most valuable experience of my life. (and I did get a two-week trip to Ireland, in the bargain).

Did I tell you I was going to Oregon (which I am, but not until later in my vacation)? If I didn’t, should I also leave it to you to figure out what the H stands for?

Reference the word in the subject heading of this e-mail: There is greater synchronicity, between us, than you might suspect. And maybe, more than I might suspect?

And if I walk to the window in the newsroom, can I see you?

July 7, 2005 Re: Snow March 5, 2007

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Date: Thu, 07 Jul 2005 11:36:42 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: Re: Snow

Ay yi yi – the footprints in the snow. I have a lot to say to you.

But this can’t wait.

The footprints in the snow story, my footprints in the snow story, was right when I wrote it, and it’s still right.

(But I know this one is going to haunt me for the rest of my days).

What I reported is that one thing that led police to suspect the Ramseys was that THEY (the police) NOTED a lack of footprints. I never reported that there WERE no footprints. (I knew that there were footprints, at least a few hours after the crime, because, unlike Dan, I was standing outside of the house that night (as they removed her body) and saw the many, many footprints (of police, at that point) in the snow, in the front yard).

What Dan later established, and I have never contested, is that there was little-to-no snow on the west, southwest and west sides of the house. He’s right. I’m right. We’re both right. There WAS snow on the east and north sides (where of course there was less exposure to the sun), and little or no snow in other parts of the property.


One could debate all day whether the police were right, or wrong, to attach significance to an “absence of footprints” when in fact there was something short of 100% snowcover. But, the fact is, they DID attach significance to that (as confirmed later when a search warrant was unsealed), and that’s what I was reporting, that this was a factor in shaping their thinking.

(Dan and I, despite our ongoing musical collaborations, have found that we’re best off not talking about the case very much at all. We’ve moved on….)

I’m shocked – shocked! – to hear that you have me going to Oregon on Saturday. I’m going there eventually – but not Saturday. And I don’t recall telling you what my plans were. So, I’m wondering exactly how you know as much as you do.

How unsurprised am I to hear that you have lived in Oregon? Very unsurprised. Where did you live, there?

Increasingly amazed, with you – Chick

July 6, 2005 But it’s true March 5, 2007

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Date: Wed, 06 Jul 2005 12:27:58 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com
Subject: But it’s true

Dear Emily Caroline – You painted a beautiful picture of your time by the falls. I felt like I was there, with you. And it felt nice. You write wonderfully, and I feel challenged to answer you in ways that I can’t, now. I am in my last few days of work before going on a two week vacation, and feel a need to accomplish something of merit, before I go.

I think one reason I sent you that song shred was to open for you a door to another part of me, a part I felt you probably didn’t suspect was there – to help show you that I have several dimensions, dimensions that you might not have had a clue about. I majored in music, in college, and yes, have written a good number of songs, that I sing. Tonight I’m performing for a Quaker arts group. Tomorrow night, I’m getting together with a group of musicians I have played with regularly, over the years.

Short story (and then I must, must, really, get to work): One night in early 1997, I was on the set of the Larry King Live show – or, on a set in Denver which had been set up for a live feed to the King show – to talk about the JonBenet Ramsey case, along with another journalist I’d just met, Dan Glick, then of Newsweek magazine. Dan and I were ready to go, our ear pieces in place so we could hear the show, our hair brushed, our ties on, and Larry ended up using the whole hour to talk to onetime Atlanta Olypmic bombing suspect Richard Jewell. That gave Dan and I an hour to talk between ourselves, get to know one another, and find out that we were (and remain) almost neighbors, and that we both played the guitar (I also play piano). We really hit it off. Dan and I ended up being on the Larry King show many times, for the Ramsey case – but more importantly, much more importantly, we have become musical partners, and we have added and subtracted various other musicians over the years, but the common thread has always been that we are together in music. That’s the best legacy of the Ramsey case, for me. So it is with Dan, and three other musicians, that I’ll be playing in Denver, tomorrow night. In a private home.

So. Music is absolutely as big a part of my life as my journalism. I’d say bigger, but for the fact that it’s from journalism that I earn a living.

Red shoes, red shoes, red shoes,

In harmony – C

Is your name Emily Caroline McShane?

And, yes, London has a lot to do with the werewolf fetish.

July 5, 2005 The Shoes March 5, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: The Shoes
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 10:47:45 -0600

Dear EC

I am very appreciative of your communications. I wonder, wonder, wonder, who you are. I feel like know a lot about you, and yet, I really know very little. You know a lot about me, and still, very little. Some of the things you know about me, I suspect, are dead-on. Others, no. Seeing me by the water, as you do, cuts close enough to my core that I’m spooked. When I finished reading your longest note of the weekend, my stomach was flipping over and over. Unsettling.

But not the docksiders. Your capacity for observation, and your skill with words, is remarkable – he remarked. But not the docksiders. I was probably wearing what I’m wearing now, what I wear on most work days, and what one of my colleagues noticed Ward also wears. The imprint on the sole says “GBX.” They’re brushed suede clogg-ish shoes, except there is a bit of a lip at the heel, to keep them from inadvertantly sliding off, as genuine clogs would have a tendancy to do.

Be still, she says. Be still. I’ve been trying all my life to learn to be still. I can’t do it. There’s something pumping its way through my body, all the time, that makes it hard. But I do have a level of emotional calm and serenity that you might not suspect, just looking at me.

Boxing has never appealed to me on any level, but your boxing does. It has an appeal that I am no going to put into words, here. I hope you’re still doing it. I have a physical pursuit that you would probably not know about, which to some people, would seem equally extreme or unusual.

And, yes, Ward has brought up the Irish thing numerous times, in several different venues. And, it is true that I’m Irish on my (long-since departed) father’s side. But, I’ve never volunteered anything to Ward about my heritage, in coversation or in writing, nor have I mentioned it to anyone in the course of working on this story. While the Irish heritage was always played up by my father, and his two surviving brothers, I’ve never strongly felt it, on a cellular level. Particularly around St. Patrick’s Day, all the imagery associated with that, and the green beer, and the public drunkeness (I don’t drink), it leaves me cold.

Also, the lines I sent you earlier, from both this e-mail address and my personal e-mail address, are the bridge to a song I wrote last year. I was singing it yesterday, at a party, and thought, as I sang it, that if there was anything I should be saying to you right now, those were the words I’d like to say.

I’m glad they’re out there. I’m glad you’re out there.

Flipping, Chas.

July 5, 2005 11:43:55 March 5, 2007

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Date: Tue, 05 Jul 2005 11:43:55 -0400
From: chickq@aol.com

The flesh is so weak
And our hunger so strong
We pass through so quickly
And echo
So long

July 5, 2005 8:21:07 March 5, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2005 08:21:07 -0600

The flesh is so weak
But the hunger so strong
We pass through so quickly
And echo
So long

June 29, 2005 RE: The Horror March 4, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
To: Mystery Lady
Subject: RE: The horror
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005


I spoke yesterday afternoon to a class of Native American “Upward Bound” students at CU. It was easily the most difficult public speaking gig I’ve ever done. I had gone into this with the belief that they were recently graduated high school seniors being prepped for the college experience. Turns out they were recently graduated 11th graders, being prepped for….I’m not sure. A number of them were from reservations. I have never felt such an overwhelming sense of not being able to connect with a group of people. Upon arriving home, my wife explained to me that eye contact is no something that a lot of Indians don’t do. Wish I’d known that going in. I wouldn’t have felt so uncomfortable. It was a small classroom, a bit of a computer lab. They each had computer monitors at their desks. It took strategic positioning for me to even be able to have a shot at seeing the faces of the people I was addressing. A number of them had their eyes closed. One spent the 90 min. with his face down on his desk. I hope he was all right. I never saw his face. I haven’t had a drink for 12 years. I haven’t had the sense of “needing” a drink for quite a while. But I had that feeling yesterday. The just-shoot-me-now feeling. I’m glad that, invited to come talk to them and try to get them excited about what I do for a living, that I said yes. I believe in saying yes. (watch for a movie opening this weekend (or next) called “Yes.” It was the best thing I saw last year at the Telluride Film Festival). But I’m not happy about the results, this time. And Ward Churchill’s name never came up. I’m rather sure they have no idea who he is.

Sittin’ and thinkin’ – what’s your whole, real name? Where are you being paroled from, July 2? Have you completed one novel? Are you contemplating, or even writing, a second?

And, moreover and also, did you find the red leather shoes? I’ve thought of littel else.


June 27, 2005 RE: Fascism March 4, 2007

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From: Brennan, Charlie <brennanc@rockymountainnews.com>
Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 7:18 PM
Subject: RE: Fascism

Dearest E,

Between Jonah and the Whale and the White Professor You Like, you have given me far more to contemplate than I have given you. There seems to be an imabalance there. I’d like to be able to rectify that. I lack enough contemplative time, in my day to day life. Maybe that will change. I hope that will change.

I am now, again, running out the door.

Head buzzing, swimming

Spining, C

June 24, 2005 RE: About Those Dreams March 4, 2007

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From: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: RE: About Those Dreams
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2005

Okay, Ms. E., here’s Tuesday night’s Ward dream. I’m at my computer, and I get an e-mail from Ward and Natsui. They’re in either Arizona or New Mexico at an Indian reservation, spending a week working with kids on the reservation, guiding them in doing art projects, and such, and they’re sending me some samples of the work the kids are doing. I think to myself, well that’s different, and certainly shows him in a different light. (In “real life,” my wife is planning to go with a 16-year-old niece of hers to Pine Ridge Reservation in S.D., which our Quaker Meeting has an relationship with, in August, to spend a week working there on whatever needs worked on). Accordingly, in the dream, I’m thinking, Gosh, maybe I should e-amil Ward back and tell him thanks for the note, and tell him, funny, my wife is going to be doing something quite similar, later this summer at Pine Ridge (Erin, in “real life,” had lived and taught for two years at the Hopi Reservation in Ariz., in the ’80s). But I woke up, before resolving this in my mind.

So, there’s one dream.

And yes, in some dreams, he is eyeing me with wariness seasoned with a degree of contempt.

But, I’m two nights running now, without seeing him in my dreams. That’s a
good thing.

Do you know a woman named ______?

And, from whom/where/what will you be paroled on July 2? It seems that if we are to meet sooner rather than later, it should be in the window of time from July 5 to July 8, as I’ll be gone on the 9th. If we are to meet.

And if the door with many mansions analogy was not already taken, I’d feel comfortable applying it to you. With basements and attics rich in hidden treasures.


June 23, 2005 RE: Jonah in the Belly of the Dumpster March 4, 2007

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From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Jonah in the Belly of the Dumpster
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 12:36:19 -0600

Dear Quickly,

The explanation for the werewolf on my desk would include my passion for the 1983 (or so) film, “American Werewolf in London,” and the fact that I lived in London ages 13-to-15, and, and…and. And it even has a Ramsey case connection (it was handmade by one of the more interesting peripheral characters from the Ramsey saga).

I had the good luck to be 50 feet from an ambulance, when I got hit with the pepper spray. Blinded, hyperventilating but barely able to breathe (a bad combination), I was taken to the emergency room at the Denver Health Med. Center – my first ever ride in an ambulance. The newspaper ended up filing a complaint with the Denver Police Dept. Surprisingly, an internal investigation by the cops cleared the cops of any wrongdoing or mishandling of the siuation.

Dancing in my mind, and what’s your name?


June 21, 2005 RE: About that Name March 4, 2007

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From: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: RE: About that Name
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2005

Dearest Emily Caroline,

I suspected your name wasn’t Erin Sarreau. As I write, this morning, I realize I still don’t know what your real name is. What’s your real name?

Do you believe we live in a fascist state?

I once caught a full blast of pepper spray – not tear gas, and I know you know the difference; tear gas is child’s play, I believe, compared to pepper spray – in the face from a Denver cop, while covering post-Bronco-Super Bowl “reverie” in the LoDo. Pepper spray and such is hardly reserved for anti-war activists. Football fans get it, too. And the ink-stained wretches charged with writing about the happy – and disorderly – football fans.

Do you listen to music?


June 20, 2005 RE: Erin’s_Arreau Flies to Elusive Target March 4, 2007

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From: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: RE: Erin’s_Arreau Flies to Elusive Target
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 14:34:34 -0600

Yes, and ah, the “Blood and Sand” piece. That was an interesting one. My only complaints with that piece, well one complaint was my wife’s (named, er, Erin) – I told Roberts that her response when I hung up the phone after telling my editor I’d accept the assignment, was “Gee, I don’t know if that’s a decision you get to make by yourself!” Erin claims she has never used the word “Gee,” in her life.

My only complaint was, he quoted me as saying that I compared myself to “one of” the girls in “Blair Witch Project,” who had the tearful penultimate monologue, in which she says, lighting her face from below with her flashlight, “I was very naive…” There was only one girl in “Blair Witch.” So I know I didn’t say to Roberts that it was “one of” the “girls,” plural.

Not a great movie, in my opinion, but a great scene.

People at the two Denver daily newspapers are never excited to hear that Westword is writing about them, because if Westword can find something bad to say about us, they will. I had colleagues asking me how much I’d paid him to write such a not-nasty piece.

Sh-boom, sh-boom, Chas.

June 20, 2005 RE: Fear No Medium March 4, 2007

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From: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: RE: Fear No Medium
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005

Dearest Her/She –

Yes, really a werewolf. It was wearing wrap-around shades long before the Churchill saga erupted. But now, as of recently, stuck in its forehead is an “I AM WARD CHURCHILL” button.

Todd Heisler and Bill Johnson were in the same unfortunate humvee. I am sure, I know, there’s no question in my mind, that it was (co)incidental that they were two journalists. Journalists who report outside the Green Zone are getting killed just like shoemakers, candlemakers, and everyone else who ventures outside the Green Zone. What a horror show.

I’ll need elaboration/clarification on the left-right top-bottom distinction.

And, Iraq dreams are down to about one a month, now. Ward Churchill dreams are clicking along at about one a week, now. (had one last night). He has infected my head.

Can wait until the first week of July, for you. I’m headed to Northern California/Oregon coasts the middle two weeks of July.

Instruments: guitar, piano, voice.

To work! (and trying not to melt. I do not thrive in hot weather).

In the bonds,

June 15, 2005 RE: Less elusive? March 4, 2007

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From: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: RE: Less elusive?
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 13:43:54 -0600

Dear Erin,

And in the spirit of repsonsiveness and follow-through:

What’s Vince Carroll really like? Hard for me to say; running the commentary pages as he does, he works across the elevators from our part of the world, in an office I can’t see from my workspace, and there are days, even weeks – probably more weeks, than days, come to think of it – that I never see him. I know he is conservative. Everyone who reads him knows that. He is also getting thinner, seemingly, all the time. Those who don’t like him may be glad to know he appears in danger of just wasting away completely. And, most importantly, from my perspective, he doesn’t dictate what I do. Not even close. It might be closer to the other way around, in that he and his commentary department colleagues opine in reaction to the news that we write. We don’t write news to fit their opinions. I know Ward Churchill believes otherwise. But, I can honestly say he has never told me, or even suggested to me, something I might write. That’s one of the basic laws of the universe I work in. And, as a screaming leftwing liberal – really, honest, I am – I’d be the first to howl, if I thought this were being violated.

And, yes, Todd Heisler is an outstanding photographer. He, as you may have read, got blown out of a humvee during his last stint in Iraq. As someone who was over there, I feel like it’s such a tremendous gift that we didn’t lose him, that day. Or on any day during any one of the three trips he has made to Iraq. I know there are those who would say he is earning “little Eichmann” stripes by glorifying the U.S. military effort over there. I know Todd pretty well, even shared a hotel room with him in Kuwait City for several nights before we went off to our respective units in March ’03, but I don’t know his politics. I suspect he’s a liberal, at heart, but suspect that even more deeply, he believes his job is to reflect the truth of what is in front of him and his camera.

And, you and I both know, the captured image of what is on one side of a lens still does not always reveal the “truth” of what is being shown within the frame.

Back to work,

June 15, 2005 RE: Flies to Elusive Target March 4, 2007

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From: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: RE: Flies to Elusive Target
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 09:27:04 -0600

Dear Erin

You ascribe to be a level of cleverness that might, sadly, overreach what is really there. My suggestion for a face to face was motivated more from a feeling of frustration that there is an eloquence and an intellect – and fun! – reflected in your notes that I just don’t feel able to match in this medium, because here I am, at my desk in this cavernous room that looks, still, to my tastes, too much like an insurance office (I try to counter that to the extent that workplace environemtnal etiquette permits with items like the unsettlingly lifelike werewolf mask, at my desk), and there is just always, it seems, more work to be done.

No, we are not through with Mr. Churchill. We’re taking a breather. The faculty committee is due to be finished with the “inquiry phase” of their proceedings next week. At that time, they decide to go to the “full investigatin” stage – or not. So we’ll be revisiting this in a significant way as early as next week. And, I feel, I’m not going to be free of him for a long time.

Tell me a specific, dangling question I have failed to answer, and I will answer it. Tell me two, and I’ll answer two.

You were aware I was, am, are, a pacifist? Were you aware I am a Quaker? Did you know I majored in music?

I am expecting and believing that you know far more than you’ve told me.

And I’m okay with that. I think.

Newsroom tours are available. From me.


June 14, 2005 RE: Mysterious March 4, 2007

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From: Brennan, Charlie <brennanc@rockymountainnews.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2005 2:47 PM
Subject: RE: Mysterious

You have my attention.

Thatr’s a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because I want to know more – about you. Bad, because I’m supposed to be doing some (non-Churchillian, if you can believe that) journalism, in compensation for the money they’re paying me.

I love a mystery, and you are presenting me with one or two. Or three.

We should probably hand a lunch or a coffee or something.

And, I love a good jury selection, and like you, found it to be one of the more interesting aspects of that trial, and quite enjoy it in any trial. I was covering the Kobe Bryant case for this paper, and was very, very disappointed when it went away right when it was on the verge of beginning, after a 14-month warm-up.

I’ve been summoned.

More mystery, Chas.

June 13, 2005 RE: Reasons for Dialogue March 4, 2007

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From: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: RE: Reasons for Dialogue
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2005

But, but…..How did you know I was 50!

When I said I thought I knew Glenn better than Ward, until all this started, all I meant was that now I have come to know Ward much better than I ever knew Glenn, just by virtue of having covered the developments of the past few months.

What do you make of the silence from Glenn, for the most part, since Ward’s situation exploded?

And now, of course, I’m trying to remember faces from the Columbus Day Trial, trying to remember who might have been sneaking a peak at my chicken-scratched jury selection notes.

For whom were you chronicling that affair?

And how did you know I was 50?

Color me intrigued,

June 8, 2005 RE: Graham, Columbus Day March 4, 2007

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From: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: RE: Graham, Columbus Day
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 2005

Hello again, Erin –

Thanks for the continued dialogue.

My previous note wasn’t meant to suggest that I felt Ward had “stood me up.” I was the first print reporter to whom he granted a long, sit-down, one-on-one interview when this all first broke loose, back in the first week of February. (I think that’s one reason he is so tough on me, now; I think he feels like he gave me something, afforded me some great honor and privilege, and that I have subsequently betrayed him by daring to write negative things). And I hadn’t even told him I was going to be in San Fran, hadn’t sought an appointment with him there, or anything. My previous note had only been intended to point out that I left the March 25 San Fran. speech when I did, only because he had started 45. min. late, forcing me – handicapped by the one-hour time difference – to leave before he was finished, to get a cab back to my hotel and start writing.

Interview me? I’m flattered that you would think that I have secrets to reveal on tenaciousness and such. What would the interview be for? Something for publication, or more just in a spirit of personal curiosity? I’m not saying no. But greater clarification as to what this would be in aid of, would be appreciated.

I do think that those of us in our business owe it to “our public” to have ahealthy level of transparency about what we do, why we do it, how we do it, and what we are motivated by. Not all of my colleagues feel that way.

And, I tend to lean in your direction in your prediction of what Columbus Day will be this year. But I think it could still turn into a dog and pony show. I think all of Churchill’s travails could mobilize greater numbers, and passion, on both sides.

– Standing by,

June 7, 2005 RE: Your Take On SF March 4, 2007

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From: Brennan, Charlie <brennanc@rockymountainnews.com>
Sent: Tuesday, June 7, 2005 4:42 PM
Subject: RE: Your Take On SF

Hi, Erin – Is Erin your name?
I appreciate your follow-up note. Yes, I know Glenn Morris pretty well; I knew him better than I knew Ward, until this all started. Together, they are quite a pair. And, I’ve already been thinking that this year’s Columbus Day protest should be particularly interesting.

I know the second suspect in the Anna Mae case is under arrest in Canada and, I thought, fighting extradition. When and if he comes south and there is a trial, that could be an interesting one to cover.

Best, Charlie

June 5, 2005 RE: Happy Belated 50th Birthday!! March 4, 2007

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This is the letter sent June 5, 2005 that started the correspondence.

To: brennanc@rockymountainnews.com
Subject: Happy Belated 50th Birthday!!

Charlie: Hope to see you in Salida this weekend so I can wish you Happy 50th in person! That is, if you DON’T LET THE WARDSTER RUN YOU OUT OF THE ROOM like he did in SF.

Stand strong, man! Or you get fifty lashes with a wet herring!

the ghost of jon benet

Charlie’s reply –

From: “Brennan, Charlie”
Subject: RE: Happy Belated 50th Birthday!!

Hi, and thanks for the birthday greeting, although I don’t know who you are.

And, as for my being “run out of the room” in S.F., the reason I left when I did was that he started about 45 minutes late – I’ve never once seen him start on time – and, with Denver being one hour ahead of S.F., I had to get back to my hotel to write, in order to make my deadline. That’s why I left when I did. If he’d had the courtesy not to keep his audience waiting 45 minutes, I would have been able to stay until the end.


Hello! It’s ChickieWorld! March 4, 2007

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Pic = Former Rocky Mountain News reporter Charlie Brennan, the author of the letters to the mystery woman behind this blog. Brennan now works for Fox 31 News in Denver, Colorado.

His bio at the Fox 31 website makes no mention of his Ward Churchill series for the Rocky titled “The Churchill Files.”

Brennan was dismissed (for bias) by the Rocky Mountain News from the Churchill coverage immediately after these letters were published on the Internet in November 2005.  


Charlie Brennan