It wasn't that funny in 1873, when Alfred Packer killed and ate his fellow prospectors after they became stranded in a snowstorm near Lake City. But, as they say, pain plus time equals humor. Today, Alfred (the historically accurate spelling) Packer is a macabre local celebrity, remembered in song and film and at the Alferd G. Packer Memorial Grill in Boulder. His actual gravesite is in the Littleton Cemetery, where teens regularly stole it in the 1960s and '70s. Eventually, the U.S. Department of Defense got tired of replacing the marble marker (since Packer was a veteran, the agency paid for it), so the cemetery encased the marker in cement. The current stone is chipped from the last time someone tried to take it, but the cemetery has one remaining replacement, just in case anyone decides to resurrect this prank.

Best Guess for When Marijuana Will Be Completely Legal in Colorado

2014

Californians will vote on whether to make marijuana legal this fall, and Mason Tvert has plans to bring the issue to Colorado voters next year. But with upsets predicted at the ballot box in November, Cali's unlikely to legalize marijuana this round, and Colorado can count on at least two more election cycles before voters surrender to the inevitable. We're betting on pot to become legal in 2014.

Lisa Hidalgo is a Colorado native who grew up watching Mike Nelson, the veteran weathercaster at Channel 7, so she knows which way the wind is blowing in this state. She's easy on the eyes, but goes easy on the cute happy talk that so often can get in the way of delivering a straightforward weather report. In fact, she presents the news the way we imagine the cool girl in college would do it: breezy.

Having public artworks replace private cars could be the perfect example of Mayor John Hickenlooper's plan to transform Denver from an outpost of the automotive age into the very model of a creative-class city. The empty parking lots of this shuttered John Elway Ford dealership are separated from the City Park neighborhood to the north by an aging wooden security fence hung with lively works of contemporary art. The artwork east of Gar­field Street consists of colorful constructions that handily show what a good artist can do with leftover mate­rials and scraps of time; the pieces hanging on the fence east of Jackson Street are assembled from repurposed wooden screen doors and discarded housewares. This gallery is open at all hours; art lovers are encouraged to bring their own wine and cheese.

Best Addition to the National Register of Historic Places

Bastien's Restaurant

Bastien's Restaurant
Mark Antonation

It's easy to think of Bastien's as a time machine perpetually dialed to 1958. That was the year Bastien's opened, and it's been run by the same family for the past five decades — which means it hasn't been subjected to the regular remod­eling that comes with new owners trying to hook trendy prima diners. From the outside, the folded-plate roof and neon-embellished sign reflects Denver architect Bernard N. Cahlander Jr.'s interpretation of the Googie movement of Southern California coffee-shop design. And now those touches have landed the building on the National Register of Historic Places. Once the very definition of contemporary, the sunken circular bay, the hemispherical skylight and the metal screens seem as quaint as the tufted ottomans in a Victorian mansion — and they're just as important to preserve.

Who knew marketing geeks could be so much fun? The Denver Egotist blog bills itself as a one-stop shop for news and job opportunities relating to Denver's advertising and marketing scene. But the people behind it — Denver Egotist doesn't reveal the names of those involved — don't mind getting down and dirty when the need arises. Take the Great Chipotle War of 2009. Last year, when the local burrito-chain-done-good unveiled a new "Low Roller" menu and marketing campaign and did away with its long-cherished, big-ass foil-wrapped burrito ads, the Egotists took it personally. That's why they launched a counter-offensive on Cheapotle.com, a site full of hypothetical ads with slogans like "Bring back the ads with balls" and "Your new ad campaign is made with 100 percent chicken shit." Who knows? Maybe Cheapotle was one of the reasons Chipotle soon toned down its "Low Roller" campaign. After all, hell hath no fury like an ad guy scorned.

How tweet it is! Since December, it's been illegal to use a cell phone to text or send e-mail while driving — and for drivers under eighteen, it's now illegal to use a cell phone at all while driving. "Today drivers will have to start breaking a bad habit," said Governor Bill Ritter. Now, about using that cell phone while on a bicycle...

When Stacey Donaldson came to Channel 31 six years ago, her naughty-librarian look immediately won fans. And those fans are still crying over Donaldson's ouster from Channel 4, where she moved to the morning show three years ago — before being let loose in February. Despite her minxish looks, Donaldson offered up her weather report with a minimum of shtick.

Perched in a quiet garden above the chaotic exchange where Federal Boulevard and West Sixth Avenue meet I-25, the Mother of Our Lord has the mother of all views. The small statue stands with bowed head beneath a stately pine tree in a grotto near the rectory of the Presentation of Our Lady Catholic School and parish. Though she is slightly turned away from the photogenic view of the city, she does look over the busy exchange, a position that may help in the speedier delivery of prayers for commuters negotiating the tangle of roadways.

Like a suitcase stored between vacations, the A.E. Meek Trunk and Baggage Company Building sits empty, waiting for its next big adventure. And like an antique steamer trunk, the structure is decorated with stylish graphics commemorating its passage through time. The storefront sign replicates the century-old script originally used by the suitcase seller, while the alley sign is a genuine vintage metal-and-neon masterpiece of a now-lost Denver. Although the neon has been pulled off, the original paint and deco-moderne styling still shine, illuminating how the color and fashion trends of a bygone era have come almost full circle. The next time you visit downtown to see the sights, take a side trip through the alley between Stout and California streets to view a true treasure.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of