Off Limits

"The next time you're waiting on the concourse at Denver International Airport, you may want to avoid a new paperback named Decree," this very column warned on September 16, 1999.

At the time, even Decree's Colorado author, G.H. Spaulding, agreed. Westword was "absolutely right," he noted, "for those who are easily frightened, that is. Because the novel features a terrorist attack on DIA, people who are a little squeamish should read it at home, at work -- anyplace but the airport."

Where, by the way, the book wasn't even stocked.

But the self-published thriller is still available at the Tattered Cover, as Spaulding's publicist recently reminded us in a release noting the mainstream media's failure to recognize Decree's importance, pushing its farsighted plot and promoting its naval-aviator author's "unique insight into the Arab mind."

That's just one of dozens of terrorism tie-ins to recently hit the Off Limits desk. Everyone from feng shui experts to grief counselors are touting their services, offering to help newspaper readers better understand what happened to the national psyche on September 11 -- and, in the process, maybe sell a few business sessions or books. Nothing like taking advantage of adversity.

Other missives are much more transparent. In a recent letter to Rudolph Giuliani, mayor of New York City (population 8 million), Kathryn Eccker, mayor of Black Hawk (population 118), noted that as a token of support, her town was sending a check for $50,000. "We ask that you use this money in some fashion for the many rescue workers in your city," she wrote. "It may only be enough to provide a cup of coffee and a sandwich to a crew of rescue workers."

Yes, those New York prices can be rough, but Black Hawk can afford them. One of three Colorado towns to introduce limited-stakes gaming on October 1, 1991, Black Hawk today is the big winner of the trio, collecting close to half a billion dollars annually in gross gambling revenues.

So, Rudy, feel free to throw in a few Danishes with that order. And, as Eccker concluded, "We now await the day when we can all join together and sing 'New York, New York' in peace and joy once more."

Unless, of course, you're listening to a station owned by Clear Channel, which has included that song on its politically incorrect hit list.

Score! After three weeks on the sidelines, John Elway finally made it to the hot seat on the long-delayed final episode of the sports-superstars edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which aired October 1 on Channel 7, trailing the newscast that followed Monday Night Football. But apparently Elway, a Stanford grad, hadn't been doing much to improve his mind during the time-out.

By the $64,000 question, he'd used up all three of his lifelines -- including a call to his agent. So when asked to name the sport in which a player stands behind a line called "oche," Elway walked away with the cash rather than toss a dart at the proper answer. Which, of course, was "Darts."


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