Suddenly, it was Groundhog Day. Sunday evening, ABC ran the very same Who Wants to Be a Millionaire that it had shown last Monday night, just twelve hours before the world exploded. Intended as a kickoff to Monday Night Football, whose first match of the season featured the Broncos and the Giants (Denver's Channel 7 ran the show after the game), this Millionaire brought together ten sports superstars, including Carl Lewis, Charles Barkley, Steve Young, Johnny Bench and yes, our own John Elway, a Stanford grad who looked like a sure bet.
Instead, Lewis displayed his lightning speed once again, beating the nine other athletes to the hot seat for the first round. Before the hour was over, fellow quarterback Young -- who had to retire because he received one too many blows to the head, mind you -- and tennis star Martina Navratilova had also won thousands for charity.
Elway didn't even make the cut.
But by the next morning, September 11, people had bigger things to worry about than the Broncos' first game (they won) in their new stadium (remember all the fuss about that?). Even Ed McCaffrey's leg -- broken into bits on-camera -- disappeared from the headlines, only to resurface in Adam Schefter's Sunday sports column that described McCaffrey watching the World Trade Center burn on TV from his hospital bed.
And on Monday, Denver started to pick up the pieces. There's that special legislative session starting on Thursday, after all, although the rhetoric is bound to be a little cooler than it was this past May. (Partisan politics seem so undignified when terrorism has ground growth to a halt, anyway.) There's the upcoming Columbus Day parade and the attendant protests. (The Four Directions March on Saturday, October 6, is looking like a more viable alternative every day. "We're open-armed, for all Americans," says organizer Leroy Lemos.)
And that night, ABC even moved Millionaire along, airing the second installment of the sports-stars game after a major tape delay. Baseball great Johnny Bench, much mocked seven days earlier, made it into the hot seat, as did Laini Ali, daughter of The Greatest. Elway, though, was still on the bench, watching from the sidelines.
In Denver these days, who isn't?The charmer's almanac: Winter is on its way, and with it comes the flu season. Luckily for us, there's a doctor in the house. Tom Noel, aka Dr. Colorado, is delivering a healthy dose of both facts and fun in his 26th book in 26 years, Colorado Almanac: Facts About Colorado With Nuggets of Knowledge From Dr. Colorado. The nutshell guide to the highest state covers just about everything, from hotels and brewpubs to libraries and museums, from the latest census numbers concerning those who are living to the boneyards where the state's forefathers are buried.
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The book even includes an entry on Colorado's eight nudist colonies, although Noel's publisher, WestWinds Press/Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company, discarded as "tasteless" the good doctor's description of these resorts as "places where people go to air their differences." In fact, WestWinds, which is based in Portland, Oregon, and has issued a series of Almanac books for different states, disagreed with the colorful, if occasionally roguish, University of Colorado at Denver history professor on a variety of issues, including the title. "It was going to be called The Wit and Wisdom of Dr. Colorado, but they said there wasn't any," Noel notes. "So now it's Nuggets of Knowledge."
WestWinds' most egregious change, however, concerned Pikes Peak. "I called it America's best-known mountain. But somehow it got changed to Colorado's best-known mountain. It's amazing what those editors can do," Noel says, musing about WestWinds' location in the Pacific Northwest. "They found it hard to swallow that Pikes Peak was more well known than Mount Rainier. I did point out that 'America the Beautiful' was written on Pikes Peak and not Mount Rainier." But his argument held no sway.
Apparently, even a doctor can't fix a publisher's most unkind cuts.