A big brown cloud was 2002,
A stinky year for all but a few.
Yet things look no better for 2003,
Making us wish to cower or flee.
Before you learn how bad it is,
Resolve to take this cheering quiz.
1. The Denver Public Library, in its quest to remain the big cheese, did this on January 1:
A. After a customer sprained an ankle on a loose step, put all bookmobiles on blocks pending a safety overhaul.
B. Ordered all employees to wear buttons saying "Ask Me. I Know Stuff."
C. Began piping in soft background music designed to "help patrons concentrate" while reading, according to one DPL official.
D. Doubled the daily fine charged on each item from a dime to twenty cents.
2. In a move to cement his status as contender for the Broncos' number-one QB slot, Steve Beuerlein did what during the season finale?
A. Ran once for zero yards.
B. Refrained from overindulging in Gatorade during the win.
C. Told a post-game interviewer that when he retired, he wanted to "be like Mike. Shanahan, that is."
D. Called his agent with several minutes left on the game clock to discuss a new contract.
3. To promote a less projectile-riddled New Year's Eve, Denver police cautioned that those who discharge firearms in the city at midnight should be aware of all but which of these?
A. A bullet returning to the ground from the sky can reach a velocity of 140 mph.
B. The speed of light is a constant, regardless of its source.
C. The second offense for violating Section 38-121 of the city code (no firearms fired) is a $750 fine plus jail time.
D. A bullet can stay aloft for more than thirty seconds.
4. Neil Diamond, who crooned in the new year at the Pepsi Center, can claim all but one of these accomplishments:
A. His treacly "America" has been adopted as a feel-good post-9/11 anthem.
B. He churned out (and left stomachs churning with) a 38-song-long string of Top 40 hits.
C. He dedicated his song "Cracklin' Rosie" to onetime Denverite Roseanne Barr.
D. He penned "I'm a Believer" for the Monkees.
5. The heart-tugging saga of little Oscar Hernandez, a boy in need of a bone-marrow transplant, includes this painful development:
A. His parents feel stung by criticism that they turned down an offer to have the operation performed for free in Oakland, California.
B. The family issued a statement thanking Representative Tom Tancredo for his help, then blasted the Republican's immigration stance.
C. An anonymous donor called talk-show host Peter Boyles to complain that an offer to donate a year's worth of Slurpees was rejected.
D. In an unfortunate mixup, hand-lettered get-well cards from kids at Parmalee Gifted School were thrown in the trash.
6. In a move that will allow many to breathe easier, Xcel Energy will:
A. Provide up to 48 hours' notice of rolling blackouts this summer.
B. Increase monthly bills starting in January to pay for a voluntary smog-reduction program.
C. Offer rebates on used batteries from Game Boys mailed in by school kids.
D. Experiment with combining solar- and wind-powered energy generated by kites hovering near Lookout Mountain.
1. D. For the first time in twenty years, the DPL has upped the daily fines. Although the highest fine that can be charged for one overdue item remains $10, scofflaws who've checked out the maximum 300 items could wind up owing the library a whopping $3,000.
2. A. Fleet Steve is no ground hog.
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3. B. Einstein worried about light, but Newton fretted about bodies in motion -- such as spent bullets. One returning to earth at 140 miles an hour could put quite a dent in a New Year's Eve party hat.
4. C. There's no Barr to his talents.
5. A. Critics have sniped that free would be better than the proposed $314,000 that Children's Hospital of Denver will charge.
6. B. Xcel bills will rise an average of 91 cents per household per month for smog relief.