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Off Limits

Things to Do in Denver When You're As Good As Dead

Life on the road can be rough. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn, of "Walking in Memphis" fame, understands that all too well.

After an August 7 gig at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where he co-headlined with songstress Suzanne Vega, Cohn and his road manager, Tom Dube, headed downtown to the Hotel Monaco. Near the intersection of 14th and Stout streets, a man fleeing RTD security officers attempted to commandeer their van, and when he was unable to open a locked door, he fired one shot through the van's windshield, grazing Dube's chin and smacking Cohn in the temple. Police eventually arrested Joseph Yacteen, 26, in connection with the shooting and carjacking attempt. Meanwhile, Cohn and Dube were treated and released from Denver Health Medical Center. ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas, Cohn's wife, who regularly filled in for World News Tonight host Peter Jennings during his losing battle with lung cancer, flew to Denver to be with her husband.

Cohn is expected to make a full recovery -- but will Denver recover from its latest bout of unwelcome publicity? To commemorate the infamous occasion, Off Limits has done a little surgery on the lyrics to "Walking in Memphis." Can another Grammy be far behind?

"Driving in Denver"

Put on my waffle-stompers
And I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of Purple Mountains
In the middle of the pouring rain
Big Head Todd -- won't you look down over me
Yeah, I got a first-class ticket
But I'm as black and blue as a boy can be

'Cause I went driving in Denver
And I stopped at 14th and Stout
I went driving in Denver
But does anyone know what this is about?

Saw the ghost of John Denver
At the Botanic Gardens show
Followed him to downtown Denver
Seemed like he knew where to go
Now, security was chasing a carjacker
They followed where he led
But did they know he was on the run
And packing a gun
Ready to shoot me in the head?

(Chorus)
'Cause I went driving in Denver
Shouldn't have stopped at 14th and Stout
I went driving in Denver
But should I have taken a different route?

They had me lying on the operating table
Sucking oxygen and Mile High air
And Elizabeth was glad to see me
Didn't think I had a prayer
But, boy, I had a prayer in Denver

I want to go back to the Gardens
It'll be worth the stress
'Cause surviving a bullet to the temple
Brings in a lot of good press
And I'll do a little number
I'll sing with all my might
And if anyone asks, "Are you a Christian child?"
I'll say, 'Ma'am, I am tonight."

(Chorus)
'Cause I went driving in Denver
I ain't going back to 14th and Stout
I went driving in Denver
How long before I can get out?

Scene and herd: Last weekend, Tom Tancredo returned to the Sixth Congressional District to do some home repairs (he was spotted at an Ace Hardware -- what, no illegal immigrants available to do that remodeling job?) and ride his Harley down the main drag in Kiowa for the Elbert County Fair.


On the Record

Since calling on Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to apologize for his comments likening stem-cell research to Nazi experiments, ProgressNow.org's Michael Huttner has been inundated with e-mails. Almost 800 a day since Dobson gave Huttner's personal e-mail address to his listeners rather than the requested mea culpa. "YOU'RE NAZZI's. we the public will kick your ASSES at the polls NEXT ELECTION. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!" wrote Paul Fairbetter of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in one of thirteen messages he sent to Huttner last Sunday. Fairbetter and friends were so persuasive that Huttner forwarded the threats to the FBI. Between e-mail attacks, Huttner (once a Westword intern) spoke with Off Limits about what it's like to take on the Chosen One.

Q: How long is this battle going to go on between you and Dobson?

A: This is just the beginning of a serious, ongoing campaign by ProgressNow to hold Dobson accountable for his extreme rhetoric and tactics. We're actually planning to roll out a more formal campaign in the fall, with a whole new website that will be a political website. We've just been a 501(c)3, but now we'll be a 501(c)4, which will give us more flexibility to hold Dobson and candidates for office accountable.

Q: What about Ward Churchill's Nazi references?

A: We didn't get into that, in part because we didn't know anything about him. But we know Dobson, who he is and his kind of political power.

Q: Is there ever an appropriate time to use an analogy to Nazis?

A: Dobson should just make his arguments on the merits rather than making an analogy that is offensive and inflammatory. It's not just on stem-cell research. He has a history of using the Holocaust for his personal political gain.

 
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