Andy Stone: A Stone’s Throw |

Andy Stone: A Stone’s Throw

Andy Stone
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

This week, a special “Hell Freezes Over” column featuring: 1. a repetition of the correction I ran in last week’s column; 2. my agreeing with a local conservative columnist; and, 3. my attacking a national liberal spokesman.

Yup, sounds like hell freezing over. So …

I want to emphasize the correction that in last week’s column, in which I noted and apologized for a mistake I’d made the week before. I’m concerned that people might not have read the correction because it ran at the end of the column and lots of people get bored, distracted or annoyed and give up before they get that far.

So now I will try again, more prominently: My April 17 column criticized the City Council for not passing an emergency ordinance to block what I called a “greed rush” by developers. It contained an embarrassingly stupid error. Councilman Torre’s proposed emergency ordinance would have limited building heights but would not have prevented three-story buildings. Other proposals, with more strict height limits, would do that. I knew better. I should have written better. Sorry. (But the rest of the column was right on.)

OK. That wasn’t hard.

Next …

A precipitous drop in temperature has snuffed out the flames of hell, and the molten brimstone is rapidly congealing.

I can’t help myself: I have to agree with the April 19 column by The Aspen Times’ usually egregiously wrongheaded Charlie Leonard.

He argued that the planned expansion of the Aspen airport terminal will create an expensive monstrosity.

Let me elaborate: It will be a bloated, unnecessary monument to ego and waste.

Leonard cited a lot of numbers, but please allow me to take a different tack:

Consider the terminal at the Eagle County Regional Airport. No insult to the fine people of Eagle and Vail, but that terminal is a bizarre, souless, empty, echoing waste of space. You walk twice as far as you need to in order to get nowhere at all.

It feels like a 50-horse barn built by a guy with one horse and an oversized impression of his own importance: all hat, no cattle, as I believe my Texan friends like to say.

That terminal is 80,000 square feet. That’s the same size as the proposed new Aspen edifice.

Now, I don’t want to cast any improper aspersions, but as near as I can figure out, the manager of the Eagle County airport when that absurdly oversized terminal was being planned and built was a man named Jim Elwood.

Elwood is now the manager of the Aspen airport.

Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

And – while we’re talking about things getting bigger than they ought to be out there at the airport – let’s note that Elwood seems to be eager to allow the big new Gulfstream 650 into our little (but soon to be bloated?) airport.

The airport regulations do not allow planes with a wingspan bigger than 95 feet.

The Gulfstream 650’s wings span 99 feet, 7 inches from tip to tip.

Case closed? Not quite.

Elwood apparently is eager to see whether the Federal Aviation Administration can be persuaded to rule that those 99-foot wings can fit through our 95-foot door. (Somehow, the last few feet on the wings aren’t “wings.”)

Here’s my suggestion: Set up a couple of concrete pylons 97 feet apart (to give a little wiggle room), and require all jets using the airport to taxi between those pylons.

Now then … how’s that Gulfstream working for you?

And finally …

Ice-skate rentals – including our special cloven-hoof model – are now available at Beelzebub’s Frozen Brimstone Rental Center.

I have been stewing about this for a while, and that stew finally boiled over during the (totally legitimate) outcry about the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.

My disgust is over the treatment of the despicable Rev. Al Sharpton as a legitimate and respectable liberal commentator and spokesman.

The vile Sharpton has his own show on MSNBC (which fact ought to shame every other person appearing on that cable network), and now, in the Florida case, he has thrust himself into the limelight – like scum (or a month-old corpse) bobbing to the surface of a stagnant pond.

The basic point is simple: Sharpton should never be allowed to show his face – much less speak – without a chorus of voices shouting “Tawana Brawley!” over and over again until he slinks away in shame (except, of course, that he’s shameless).

It’s a rough story to sum up, but let me try:

In November 1987, in upstate New York, a 15-year-old black girl – Tawana Brawley – disappeared for several days and then showed up, smeared with dog feces, with assorted slurs written on her body. She claimed to have been kidnapped, held prisoner and raped for four days by a group of white men, at least one of whom was wearing a badge.

The more she elaborated on her story, the more it became painfully clear to anyone willing to see the truth that, for whatever sad reason, she was lying. The whole thing was an obvious invention.

But Sharpton – seeing TV cameras and microphones – jumped in as her spokesman. He not only amplified her lies; he helped her expand them. Eventually they accused a local prosecutor of having been part of the rape crew.

In the end, the pathetic, self-evident truths were pretty much proven. Brawley had lied, and Sharpton almost certainly had known she was lying – but had kept on yelling anyway, ruining lives and stirring up hatred.

It was a disgrace.

And the thought that this despicable man would be considered a valid TV host and a respectable spokesman for anyone or anything is a disgusting outrage.

Now then, strap on your skates, and let’s go!

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