Backward, march! Here's a prediction for 1995: Denver will get some new prognosticators. Since psychic Lou Wright got mired in future shlock a few years back--money and marital problems, in particular--the town's been shy a seer or two. As a result, on New Year's Eve the Denver Post resorted to running a Gannett wire-service piece listing ins and outs for 1995. Among the usual suspects (In: E-mail. Out: U.S. mail), the story noted that Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson is out, by his own choice, and Jeff Shesol is in.
In, that is, everywhere but his hometown: Denver. Shesol, who created the cartoon Thatch back in high school (he's a 1987 graduate of Overland), hit it big while still at Brown University, when his strip and its Politically Correct Person rated stories in People, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and, yes, even the Post. The 25-year-old Shesol now lives in Washington, D.C., where he's writing a book on the bitter relationship between Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy. In his free time, he continues to draw Thatch, which currently chronicles the antics of up-and-coming college grads in D.C. In October the strip was picked up by Creators Syndicate (which notes that Shesol is the only Rhodes scholar in history to become a syndicated cartoonist) and began appearing in papers across the country--except Denver. Although the Post has owned the rights to Thatch since fall, the paper didn't run what it had earlier hailed as the country's "in" cartoon until Monday.
But then, this town can be shortsighted. When Channel 7 decided to devote its New Year's edition of Crossroads to what's hot and what's not, it scrambled to find a cultural trends expert after learning that the Rocky Mountain News's Bill Husted and James Meadow were both on vacation. Hey, they're swell guys, but they're a few dull decades past the cutting edge.
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Denver's ruling leader in futures commodities remains Kim Long, whose annual American Forecaster was released last week (among his picks for 1995: gourmet pickles). But the real sign of the times is the Forecaster's format: Formerly published as a book, it's now available only on floppy disc.
Shake, rattle and rollover: The amazing Criswell was off the mark by only five and a half years--and a few points on the Richter scale--in predicting the Christmas earthquake that shook Denver. Back in the Sixties, the popular psychic (and narrator of Plan 9 From Outer Space) included this in his Criswell Predicts From Now to the Year 2000: "I predict that a large city in Colorado will be the victim of a strange and terrible pressure from outer space, which will cause all solids to turn into a jelly-like mass. I predict that this pressure will not affect any other part of the world but will be pinpointed at one particular city. I predict that without warning buildings will collapse to the ground in near silence trapping thousands in the rubble. I predict that a state of emergency will be declared and federal aid will be granted but as rescue units approach the city they will lose all semblance of solidity and be rendered helpless. The people who attempt to escape in wild panic will be unable to move through the gummy streets...
"I predict that scientists from all over the world will be called upon to help but no one will be able to offer relief for they will not be able to conquer this terrible force, this mysterious force from outer space. Gradually, as conditions ease, survivors will be evacuated and this will become a dead city and will never again be reborn. I predict this unfortunate community will be a victim of elements beyond our control and will always be remembered until the end of time. I predict the name of the city will be Denver, Colorado. The date: June 9, 1989."
Hey! Wasn't that when DIA was supposed to open?