Off Limits

Future shlock
Once upon a time, Denver was so trendy that the think tank that would go on to name Colorado a "bellwether" state was actually based here. But when John Naisbitt's Megatrends made the bigtime in the early '80s, he moved his office to Telluride (with a satellite in D.C.), the better to think high-minded thoughts. The sort of thoughts that marked Naisbitt's Megatrends 2000 (co-written with Patricia Aburdene), a 1990 update billed as "an invaluable guide into the next century."

But only if you want to see just how clueless our thinking was back then.

While the 338-page book (not including the index and endnotes) hit the mark with its prediction of a global economic boom and came close by forecasting a religious revival, the 1990s weren't exactly the decade for women leaders that Megatrends 2000 envisioned, and we're still waiting for that artistic renaissance.

More significant, however, is what Naisbitt -- who came down off the mountaintop to provide expert commentary on the topic of Y2K hype for the Rocky Mountain News -- failed to mention. Among the missed Megatrends, circa 1990: Not only is the Internet not rated as one of the ten new directions, it's not even listed in the index. Nor is the World Wide Web -- and forget e-mail, e-commerce and e-IPOs. High technology is nothing more than a magazine, and as for plain old Technology, its five citations are sandwiched in the index between Taxes (value-added) and Lito Tejada-Flores (a desktop publisher in Telluride). Computers fare a little better, although they're primarily mentioned as ways to push bio-technology and fashion.

Oh, yes -- and as a way to help individuals gain power, which is one of Naisbitt's ten predicted developments. "Unlike a widespread Orwellian-instructed view that computers would tighten the control of the state over individuals," he notes, "we have learned that computers strengthen the power of individuals and weaken the power of the state." Particularly if those individuals want to do some online shopping.

Anyone want to guess what a copy of Megatrends 2000 will get on eBay?

A wrong makes a right hook
A better place to pick up a copy of Megatrends 2000 is probably Ichabod's Books on South Broadway, where owner Kathi Gomendi might also give you an earful, free of charge. Gomendi is feeling a little bruised this week after Denver police set her up and knocked her out with a two-year fencing investigation. On December 23, Gomendi pleaded guilty to accepting stolen books and agreed to pay back $150,000 to other bookstores. Then on Thursday, KMGH/ Channel 7 landed one below the belt when it uninvited her to a banquet honoring the station's 7Everyday Heroes.

Gomendi received the designation in early 1999 for her work with Grant Avenue Streetreach, a volunteer group that feeds between 500 and 1,000 homeless people every week. The award is presented every Friday "to Coloradans who initiate solutions, motivate others, represent or serve working families, and work on a nonprofit basis." Although the award itself was not revoked, Channel 7 community affairs director Jeffrey Hirota says the station has "a function where we were going to honor all the people from the year, and we asked her not to come. It was a difficult decision to make. We didn't see any reason to un-recognize her for the work, but to grant her further recognition in regard to her current situation didn't seem appropriate, either."

Luckily for Gomendi, there is a doctor in the family who is used to healing black-and-blue marks: Ferdie Pacheco, widely known as the "fight doctor" after having served as Muhammad Ali's physician for fifteen years, is Gomendi's brother-in-law. The doctor, who is now a TV boxing commentator, is married to Gomendi's sister, a flamenco dancer who goes by the name Luisita Sevilla Pacheco but whom Gomendi simply calls "Karen." The Pachecos came to Denver recently to sign copies of the just-published Christmas Eve Cookbook With Tales of Nochebuena and Chanuka, which the couple co-authored. Ferdie himself has written five other books and has become a respected painter.

When he heard about the charges against his sister-in-law, Pacheco penned letters to both Denver daily newspapers defending Gomendi and her husband, David.

For her part, Gomendi says, "Every time [Pacheco] comes to Denver, he spends hours and hours in here. He's very much a book person. He's an incredible individual, and I appreciate his support. I guess you could say he's in my corner."

If you have a tip, call Jonathan Shikes at 303-293-3555, send a fax to 303-296-5416, or e-mail [email protected].