Hundred-year fires, 200-year droughts, the worst economy in a decade and the collapse of all of Colorado's pro-sports franchises (as well as the semi-pro Nuggets): This past year was an all-consuming pain, a bonfire of the vanities, an Elvis-sized inferno that belongs on the ash heap of memory.
But before you join us in tossing 2002 in the trash, take a few minutes to recall the miserable year that was. The only tears in your eyes will be from the smoke.
1. Last April, the Denver vital-records office reported the astonishing news that:
A. More triplets had been born the previous month than at any time since July 1983, nine months after a massive blizzard.
B. Several people had fatally overdosed on cherry wine made from fruit collected along Cherry Creek.
C. The name "Elmer" was the least-popular name for baby boys.
D. More than 2,000 blank birth and death certificates had been stolen.
2. Seven fourth-grade boys in the Cherry Creek School District got detention for:
A. Taunting another team for being from less-affluent Lakewood.
B. Using their fingers as imaginary weapons against aliens, thus violating zero-tolerance policy.
C. Giving the collective finger to the assistant principal.
D. Stealing all of the Little Debbie snacks from a school vending machine.
3. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, responding to the wildfires in June, ordered:
A. An extra press run of Smokey Bear Hates Crispy Critters comic books for schoolchildren.
B. Several thousand Interior staffers to report for fire duty across the United States.
C. Specially tailored fireproof suits for herself and her top aides.
D. A DVD of Bambi, the Disney classic about a deer who survives a woodsy inferno.
4. Gary Hart was given big props by Playboy magazine this year for:
A. Still being able to attract cool chicks.
B. Volunteering to ride with Westy the Cat and the Kittredge fire-rescue squad in the July Fourth parade.
C. Predicting that America was vulnerable to terrorists.
D. Having the guts to wear mutton-chop sideburns in a contemporary world.
5. Luke Helder's outlaw public art project included:
A. Making Colorado a corner of a giant smiley face of exploded mailboxes.
B. Making a mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe out of Coors Light bottle caps.
C. Making a scale model of the Capitol dome out of Rocky Ford cantaloupes.
D. Making a likeness of President Bush out of fifty tiki torches arranged on the ground.
6. After renegade Catholics completed a 46-mile pilgrimage to the Mother Cabrini Shrine near Golden, they:
A. Joined hands and sang a dozen verses of "Kumbaya."
B. Hopped on a charter bus and headed to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
C. Gathered for dinner at the Outback Steakhouse, courtesy of an anonymous donor.
D. Contacted the Fazzoli Foot Clinic, where a dozen of them received care for blisters.
7. Which two authors were cited by police when they sought Tattered Cover sales receipts following a meth-lab bust?
A. Jack B. Nimble.
B. Timothy Leary.
C. Uncle Fester.
D. J.K. Rowling.
8. Westy, the plucky feline who used up eight of his lives in 2001, suffered this setback in 2002:
A. He was admitted for emergency surgery following an acute hairball attack.
B. The man who administered his $65,000 care fund was found to have embezzled most of the dough.
C. House Bill 1116, which would have given teeth to animal-cruelty penalties, was killed in committee.
D. His prosthetic right paw became detached; fortunately, a team of CSU vets was able to secure a new one.
9. A fourteen-year-old Pennsylvania boy believes he became ill after security personnel at the Aspen airport:
A. Held a scanning wand too close to his ears, causing tinnitus.
B. Ordered him to cinch his belt too tight around his mid-section.
C. Frisked him so aggressively that he was bruised.
D. Made him drink from a bottle of stream water he'd collected, leading to giardia.
10. Nature photographer and eco-booster John Fielder did this for the first time in 2002:
A. Snapped a photo of the Siberian lynx, proving beyond a doubt that the animal had not vanished from Colorado.
B. Sued the U.S. Olympic Committee for copyright infringement when they used a shot of Mt. Evans without his permission.
C. Abandoned his longstanding practice of employing a 4x5-format camera in favor of digital equipment.
D. Opened a 2,200-square-foot fine-art gallery in Cherry Creek.
11. Following his déjà-vu victory over Tom Strickland, Senator Wayne Allard celebrated by:
A. Stocking up on 37-cent postage stamps.
B. Visiting the Loveland Target store with his wife, Joan.
C. Making the rounds at the CSU vet school to prove he's still got the touch.
D. Making derisive phone calls to pollsters who had predicted an easy Strickland victory.
12. Rockies outfielder Larry Walker, having nixed a deal to the contending Diamondbacks, promised to:
A. Start shaving.
B. Start behaving.
C. Start trying.
D. Play hockey in the off-season.
13. This year, Colorado zoomed to the number-three spot nationally in what category?
A. The percentage of the state's budget that needs trimming in order to balance deficits.
B. The number of native-born Texans residing outside of their home state.
C. The amount of money spent per capita on pro-sports events.
D. The volume of treated sewage pumped into the drinking water.
14. Estes Industries of Penrose was cited for this achievement in November:
A. Inventing a program that allows Sims fans to project holograms of their favorite characters.
B. Manufacturing a dangerous rocket toy whose parts could break off (the company subsequently recalled 140,000 toys).
C. Marketing a dog-collar walkie-talkie that enables pet owners to summon their stray pets.
D. Creating a successful bio-mechanical hybrid by "implanting" solar cells in pine-tree saplings to stimulate growth.
15.The state finally settled on an official mineral. The winner is:
16. As decided by the Colorado Legislature, this change will take place next July 1 in Pueblo:
A. The University of Southern Colorado will formally be known as Colorado State University-Pueblo.
B. All corn dogs served at the State Fair will undergo random taste tests to weed out "Larrys," or green hot dogs.
C. Anyone seeking to march in the annual Columbus Day parade will have to sign a waiver promising not to sue the city in case of a protester attack.
D. The use of unicycles will be banned.
17. Under a state law pushed by businesses that took effect on August 7, it is now legal to do this along Colorado's roads:
A. Stage choreographed displays to promote local fundraisers, such as benefit car washes.
B. Use lasers to light up the evening sky for promotion.
C. Erect Trivision billboards, which can change to reveal up to three messages in the blink of an eye.
D. Unleash ultrasonic frequencies to attract the attention of dogs traveling in the back of cars and pickup trucks.
18. Stressed Coloradans surpassed what mark this year?
A. The high-water mark for beer consumption, topping 42 gallons per adult.
B. The record for bankruptcy filings, eclipsing the 1997 mark of 19,075.
C. The number of miles driven during errands, with more than 1,233 per vehicle.
D. The amount of time logged on the Internet, a national-high average of 998 hours per household.
19. While not overseeing the fraying of once-mighty Qwest, Phil Anschutz started a new career as:
A. Race-car driver, piloting his rocket-powered "At the Speed of Light" cruiser to second place at Watkins Glen.
B. Voiceover for No-No, a cartoon character in a half-hour Christmas special, The Really Little Angel, aired on PAX-TV.
C. Movie mogul, with the release of Joshua, a feature film from Epiphany Films about a very good carpenter.
D. Pitchman for his exclusive line of executive cosmetics, Top Dog, which also makes hair coloring for the salt-and-pepper set.
20. When asked whether he was concerned that racist groups might be among those buying "Fightin' Whites" T-shirts, Solomon Little Owl replied that he wasn't concerned because:
A. The shirts were designed to shrink, causing discomfort.
B. A curse had been woven into some of the fabrics.
C. His group has their money.
D. He believes that they will come to see the error of their ways.
21. Which was not part of ten-year-old King Oyo's tour of the Denver area last April?
A. An interview with CBS's Bryant Gumble.
B. A photo session with Mayor Wellington Webb.
C. A settling of the books for ChristAid Inc., a once financially troubled nonprofit that sponsored the boy sovereign's trip.
D. A Littleton reception during which congregants dressed up in African-style tunics to charm the tiny royal.
22. After being eased out as city manager of Glendale, Veggo Larsen was allowed to do what?
A. Retain his VIP pass to Shotgun Willie's.
B. Drive a donated fire truck from the city down to Mexico.
C. Keep a set of Big Bertha golf clubs that the city council had awarded him a month earlier as employee of the year.
D. Attend a municipal-government conference in Kauai dedicated to "The Benefits of Stability in Local Government."
23. Rangeview High School grad Timé Sumeo could have best prepared for his role in Cirque du Soleil's Alegría by:
A. Working out with the pom-pom squad, since his role demanded that he toss midgets in the air.
B. Smoking off-campus, because he did a turn as a fire-eater.
C. Making sandwiches at Subway so that he could learn to juggle multiple items, including bottles of salad dressing.
D. Skating along a half-pipe to hone his ability to skitter across a wire hung sixty feet above the crowd.
24. While addressing Congress, Wayne Allard, Colorado's junior senator, reached for a literary allusion and came up with:
A. To sleep, perchance to scheme.
B. No state is an island.
C. If the shoe fits, it probably won't after a while.
D. Two roads diverged in the woods, and so did I.
25. Several hundred pounds of ConAgra beef, supposedly recalled because of E. coli contamination, instead were:
A. Used as landfill in Adams County.
B. Fashioned into several standing sculptures at Pirate titled "Ground Down, Parts Uno, Dos and Tres."
C. Mistakenly frozen and shipped to missionaries in Kenya.
D. Served to inmates at the Buena Vista Correctional Complex as part of a yummy meatloaf.
26. Cops monitoring the Hells Angels' USA Run in Gunnison admired:
A. The wide variety of spellings of "hell" on participants' arms.
B. The sophistication of high-tech communication and surveillance equipment that the gang brought with them.
C. The bikers' generosity in donating to a fund for Buzzard, a three-limbed Alsatian injured in a motorcycle crash.
D. The bikers' ability to heave large metal kegs through plate-glass windows.
27. Water shortages became so acute last summer that all of these happened except for which one?
A. More than 5,300 Evergreen residents were forced to restrict watering for three days.
B. Interest was rekindled in the "Big Straw" plan designed to siphon unused water from the Colorado River, although its creator dismissed its effectiveness.
C. A Denver Water employee was issued a warning for watering without a nozzle.
D. All proceeds from the copyrighted term "xeriscape" were funneled to pay for watering Denver golf-course greens.
28. One special clause in Broncos kicker Jason Elam's new $1.465 million contract allows him:
A. To bring his personal pedicurist into the locker room.
B. To avoid being designated a transition or franchise player after this season.
C. To skip pre-game chapel services.
D. To keep an "Elam Big-Foot" action figure taped to his locker.
29. Despite continued woes throughout the year, United Airlines did claim one shining moment in 2002:
A. It finished first for on-time arrivals in July, edging out already bankrupt US Airways by one-tenth of a percent.
B. The airline's flight attendants were named "best dressed" by Service Wear Monthly, a trade publication.
C. The company won the coveted Prix de Aerolinea for cuisine, given by a consortium of flying foodies.
D. Reported the fewest fatalities among pets flying in cargo.
30. Speaking of being number one, Colorado was tops in this during 2002:
A. Snowboard-related injuries.
B. Likelihood of residents using the term "dude" conversationally.
C. Percentage decrease in the number of jobs (a 2.2 percent decline).
D. Microbrew startups.
31. Breckenridge Ski Resort used which of these slogans in an ill-fated ad campaign?
A. We'll whip your ski-bunny booty.
B. Each night, a new chance to earn your balls back.
C. Work it by day; work it harder by night.
D. Snow, blow, enjoy the show.
32. Jefferson County's attempt to fight wildfires included which of these strategies?
A. Deputizing a "Pee-Wee Squirt Gun" patrol, so that kids could carry squirt guns in case of emergency.
B. Releasing several hundred black squirrels, whose behavior could alert observers to smoke.
C. Introducing a jingle-writing contest, with the winners posted Burma Shave-style along roadways.
D. Setting up a giant, county-wide phone tree by which neighbors could alert one another to possible fires.
33. At the April 13 Rapids game at Invesco Field, the first 6,000 fans got:
A. To race across the field, screaming GOOOOAAAAL.
B. Chorizo tacos.
C. Buckets of Tide detergent.
D. A Carlos Valderrama bobblehead doll, complete with blond 'fro.
34. Which of these statements is not true?
A. Colorado's hunting season for coyotes is year-round.
B. There's a one-week window to hunt moose with a muzzle-loading rifle.
C. Antelope bucks may be killed by arrow for one week longer than female antelopes.
D. Mountain lions may be brought down with slingshots in the spring.
35. Touring for the first time in ten years, rocker Peter Gabriel did all but one of these at the Pepsi Center:
A. Walked upside down while suspended from a metal ring (as did his daughter).
B. Bounced energetically -- like a hamster -- in a twelve-foot plastic ball.
C. Sprayed himself, and several bandmembers, with Silly String.
D. Rode a spiffy steel bicycle in circles while singing through a remote headphone.
36. Tom Strickland, during his second unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate, was quoted as saying all but one of these:
A. "I can take a blow. I can deliver one."
B. "I'm like the Terrell Davis of politics. Banged up, but willing to go."
C. "I'm pretty much a soft touch."
D. "I've been in the trenches."
37. On December 6, Av Patrick Roy notched which of the following achievements?
A. He set a personal best by splitting four goalie sticks, two of them in the crucial third period.
B. The seventh anniversary of his trade from the Montreal Canadiens.
C. His 500th career game in which he gave up one goal or less.
D. A departure from his signature floppy hairstyle to a more contemporary GQ look.
38. The day after a Denver officer discovered another cache of so-called "spy files" in September, DPD chief Gerry Whitman:
A. Appeared at a press conference with the FBI's top counter-intelligence agent from Quantico, promising a purge.
B. Appeared with other law-enforcement types in the "Donut Duel," pitting Krispy Kreme goo against LaMar's.
C. Appeared to have permanently lost the feeling in his lower jaw, so tightly was it clenched.
D. Appeared in a live broadcast with Geraldo, defending the city's handling of the mess, first exposed by the ACLU in March.
39. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, in its drive to embrace the 21st century, has one of these exhibitions planned:
A. Sunken Treasures of NASA: A soggy look at space stuff that went down, not up.
B. A stationary Lewis & Floorwax exhibit.
C. A touring Lewis and Clark exhibit, timed for several years after the bicentenniary of the explorers' start.
D. An animatronic Jane Goodall character introducing "It's a Goodall World, After All."
40. Accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui asked that his trial be moved to Denver because of all of these reasons except one:
A. "The presence of the highest maximum security jail in the U.S."
B. "Denver, Colorado, is recognized in the general public as a safe, secure location."
C. "The spirit of freedom, like an eagle, begun by the great musical man John Denver."
D. "The high altitude and fresh air will bring back some sense of security (maybe)."
41. Anti-bilingualists Ron Unz and Rita Montero were quoted as using all but one of these words to label Amendment 31 foes:
42. Faced with pressures to trim the city budget, Mayor Webb moved to chop this group:
A. Parks and Rec's "Touch-Up" squad, a team of trained ceramists who fix cracked statuary ($67,480 in savings).
B. Department of Revenue Squeegee Unit, which wipes graffiti off of parking meters ($49,010).
C. The city attorney's Asset Recovery Unit, which collects bad debts ($810,500).
D. DPD's Bronco Cheerleader Protection Squad, the special detail assigned keep the rah-rahs risk-free ($290,340).
43. The University of Northern Colorado surrendered this after 88 years:
A. The original libretto to Cole Porter's jazz-age hit "You Put the Bang in My Bangle, You Make the Dang in My Dangle."
B. A Tlingit totem pole claimed by the tribe from Sitka, Alaska.
C. The list of names of a "secret society" involved in a series of melon raids on nearby farms that ended in several injuries.
D. The bear claws of the original "Teddy" bear, beloved school mascot, for display at CSU.
44. The planned $24.8 million restoration of the 137,760 acres destroyed in the Hayman Fire includes everything but:
A. Planes spraying 23 million pounds of seed and mulch across the area.
B. Computer-monitoring systems throughout charred parts of various counties.
C. A "Ready Squirrel" alert system, with heat-sensing monitors shaped like animals designed to flash red.
D. All-terrain vehicles dragging soil- busting rakes.
45. Although less than a quarter through the 2002-03 season, the Nuggets had set all but one of these @*#&^! records:
A. Fewest points in the first quarter of any NBA game, ever (3).
B. Fewest vowels in a starting lineup (two I's, an A and 5 E's).
C. Second-fewest points in an NBA game, ever (53).
D. Second-fewest points in any NBA quarter, ever (3).
46. Brian Tellinghuisen became the first person in Denver history to:
A. Move into the first housing unit at Stapleton, starting a migration that will grow to 30,000 people.
B. Generate enough solar and wind power at his Congress Park residence that the city paid him $3,433 for power.
C. Summit the highest peaks on all seven continents.
D. Use all RTD lines successfully in a single day.
47. In his final state-of-the city message, Mayor Webb promised to end his tenure in office by:
A. Kicking and screaming.
B. Making one final swing through the Far East, in hopes of landing a major trade deal (and a job).
C. Finishing his autobiography, which has the working title Big Foot: One Mayor's Strides in Making an Impression.
D. Walking the city's neighborhoods for 21 days -- as he did before his surprise upset in 1991 -- but this time, thanking residents.
48. Visitors from as far away as Singapore and France headed to Denver in June for:
A. The inaugural meeting of the International Society of Nude Paragliders.
B. The 22nd annual National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention.
C. The Soldier of Fortune Cyberwar Expo and Explosition.
D. The reunion of the 1945 national champion Fruita pep squad.
49. Bob Beauprez, who eked out victory in the new 7th Congressional District, credited all but which of these for his strength of character?
A. His Belgian grandfather.
B. His habit of brushing his teeth for exactly three minutes, three times a day.
C. His upbringing on a Boulder dairy farm.
D. His "Colorado common sense."
50. Governor Owens, sounding the alarm for the national media that "all Colorado is on fire," went on to say that the state was experiencing conditions like:
A. The end of the world.
B. The Dresden firebombings in World War II.
C. Nuclear winter.
D. Victory celebrations at the University of Colorado, only across the state.
1. D. The certificates were swiped.
2. B. The digits did the kids in.
3. B. Staffers turned into smoke-eaters in what was termed a "normal" practice for the department.
4. C. In his heart, Gary knew that we were bomber bait.
5. A. The 21-year-old Minnesotan planted one of his pipe bombs here as part of a cross-country design that backfired.
6. C. A donor treated the pilgrims to an Outback dinner.
7. B, D. Nimble and Fester were the authors deemed suspicious by the cops.
8. C. The bill was viewed as too tough on animal abusers. Meow!
9. D. Security made him chug the brackish water, a practice now discontinued.
10. D. Captain Viewshed opened his first store. All nature, all the time.
11. B. Senator re-elect Allard was seen at Target. Let the economic recovery begin!
12. C. The underachieving outfielder promises to turn over a new maple leaf.
13. A. According to one study, Colorado has the third-largest budget deficit to overcome. (Alaska and Nevada are the only states with gloomier financial news.)
14. B. The well-known hobby manufacturer misfired with one of its rockets.
15. C. Rhodochrosite, a reddish rock that doesn't rhyme with "Owensium."
16. A. Hail, fighting CSU-Pueblo.
17. C. What with cell phones and stray elk, who'll notice the Trivision boards, anyway?
18. B. Gimme a "B," Alex, for "bankruptcy."
19. C. His Qwest continued with Joshua, which earned $1.5 million at the box office and is now out on DVD.
20. C. Quoth the wise Owl: We have their money.
21. C. The wee king didn't tackle the books -- which were a mess, according to one accountant.
22. B. From fired to fire truck, Veggo saw it all.
23. B. Smoking, since Sumeo twirled fire in the show.
24. B. No state is an island. Uh, Senator, except maybe Hawaii.
25. D. Meatloaf surprise! Yo, you on death row -- second helpings?
26. B. The high-tech equipment was the envy of the law.
27. D. No xeriscape revenues trickled down.
28. B. Elam can't be declared a transition player, which means he can hotfoot it elsewhere.
29. A. Remember those golden days of July when UAL was on time and in its prime?
30. C. Colorado led in job loss. Whoo-hoo! More room for the rest of us.
31. B. Breckenridge wanted to give balls back, but the campaign was quickly cut off.
32. C. Jingle-writing soon flamed out.
33. D. Bobblehead Carlos was the supposed draw.
34. D. No zinging with slingshots, please. Leave the cougars in trees.
35. C. No tiny bubbles for this artist.
36. B. No Terrell reference (at least publicly) for this former gritty gridder.
37. B. It was the seventh anniversary of the trade, marked by a game against Roy's former team.
38. B. Cops. Donuts. You do the math.
39. C. Lewis and Clark are coming. So is the real Jane Goodall, not the robot.
40. C. Even Moussaoui isn't so out of touch that he'd invoke Mr. Rocky Mountain High.
41. A. "Locos." English only, please.
42. C. The city trimmed the Asset squad. Go figure.
43. B. The totem pole has returned to its homeland.
44. C. No Ready Squirrel alert.
45. B. Tracking the spelling of this team's roster has been outsourced to Merriam-Webster's.
46. A. Tellinghuisen became the city's first urban-suburbanite when he moved to Stapleton.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
47. D. He's walking, yeah-yeah-yeah. He's talking, hey-hey-hey. But not about what he's doing after he leaves office in July.
48. B. Barbies turned this town into the valley of the dolls.
49. B. Oh, those pearly whites.
50. D. Nuclear winter analogy: a surefire way to boost tourism. Thanks, Bill!