Readers' choice: 2001

This year, the FBI released the 33-page file it had compiled on John Denver, which included reports of death threats made to the entertainer, as well as references to possible drug use. "It was alleged Denver was pretty well strung out on cocaine," said one entry linking the Mafia with a benefit concert that Denver had headlined in Colorado. Far out!

This year, the FBI released the 33-page file it had compiled on John Denver, which included reports of death threats made to the entertainer, as well as references to possible drug use. "It was alleged Denver was pretty well strung out on cocaine," said one entry linking the Mafia with a benefit concert that Denver had headlined in Colorado. Far out!

Since the opening of Denver International Airport, which he considered a boondoggle, Amole, the veteran columnist for the Rocky Mountain News, has spent much of his time penning nostalgic offerings for the over-eighty set. But just prior to the first day of school at Columbine High School following the shootings there the previous April, Amole got back to current events with a vengeance. His piece, "Let Columbine Open Media-Free," was practically the only call for restraint in the coverage of that event, and it rang even truer because of its appearance on the same page as a couple of articles that exemplified the exploitation he decried. Welcome back to today, Gene. Hope you stick around for a while.

Since the opening of Denver International Airport, which he considered a boondoggle, Amole, the veteran columnist for the Rocky Mountain News, has spent much of his time penning nostalgic offerings for the over-eighty set. But just prior to the first day of school at Columbine High School following the shootings there the previous April, Amole got back to current events with a vengeance. His piece, "Let Columbine Open Media-Free," was practically the only call for restraint in the coverage of that event, and it rang even truer because of its appearance on the same page as a couple of articles that exemplified the exploitation he decried. Welcome back to today, Gene. Hope you stick around for a while.

In September, The Onion, a national publication that makes up funny news (as opposed to those publications that would be better off making up funny news), produced a story in which fictional Columbine High halfback Jason LeClaire stated, "We have begun the long road to healing. We're bouncing back, more committed than ever to ostracizing those who are different." Kellie Nelson, his just-as-imaginary girlfriend, added, "A school where the jocks cannot freely exclude math geeks, drama fags, goths and other inferiors without fearing for their lives is not the kind of school I want to go to." Unfortunately, this generous slab of hilarity was omitted from The Onion's Denver/Boulder edition for fear some locals wouldn't be all that amused. The only way Coloradans could see it was by visiting the paper's Web site, www.theonion.com.

In September, The Onion, a national publication that makes up funny news (as opposed to those publications that would be better off making up funny news), produced a story in which fictional Columbine High halfback Jason LeClaire stated, "We have begun the long road to healing. We're bouncing back, more committed than ever to ostracizing those who are different." Kellie Nelson, his just-as-imaginary girlfriend, added, "A school where the jocks cannot freely exclude math geeks, drama fags, goths and other inferiors without fearing for their lives is not the kind of school I want to go to." Unfortunately, this generous slab of hilarity was omitted from The Onion's Denver/Boulder edition for fear some locals wouldn't be all that amused. The only way Coloradans could see it was by visiting the paper's Web site, www.theonion.com.

Even people who loathe John and Patsy Ramsey (and there are loads of them) would have to admit that the couple conducted a hugely effective publicity tour to hype The Death of Innocence, their we-didn't-kill-our-daughter-JonBenét epic. From artful buildup (newspapers printed stories about the book's publisher keeping the tome under armed guard prior to its release) to media payoff (much-ballyhooed interviews with Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, et al.), the blitz was a work of advertising-age art.

Even people who loathe John and Patsy Ramsey (and there are loads of them) would have to admit that the couple conducted a hugely effective publicity tour to hype The Death of Innocence, their we-didn't-kill-our-daughter-JonBenét epic. From artful buildup (newspapers printed stories about the book's publisher keeping the tome under armed guard prior to its release) to media payoff (much-ballyhooed interviews with Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, et al.), the blitz was a work of advertising-age art.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Ramseys' successful PR gambit, the pair made gaffe after high-profile gaffe, leading to the most entertaining flameout of the year. To recap: After John and Patsy's off-the-cuff offer to take lie-detector tests was accepted by the Boulder Police Department, they imposed a myriad of conditions in an apparent effort to weasel out of doing so, only to subsequently stage a news conference announcing that they'd passed their own tests, paid for by them and conducted in secret. That was followed by a bizarre faceoff on Larry King Live with Boulder detective-turned-author Steve Thomas and the Ramseys' decision to post on their Web site, www.ramseyfamily.com, a composite sketch of a possible slayer based on the imaginings of the late Dorothy Allison, a psychic.

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