Big Bang Theory

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Marvin couldn't quite pull off the victory, though, a disappointment that soured the people and the mules of the Fourth District on politics in general. Maybe Larimer County Democratic Party activist Anthony Clinton Brown had the right idea: Simply drop out and create a parallel political universe. Brown made national news when he faked a political action committee called Club 96, even going to the trouble of filing documents with the Federal Election Commission, printing up lists of contributors and listing hundreds of donations that had never been made. The first clue for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, which exposed the elaborate fraud: The officers of the PAC were listed as Zachery Ty Bryan, Taran Noah Smith and Jonathan Taylor Thomas--also known as the child stars of the television sitcom Home Improvement.

The town of Indian Hills went all out for National Pig Day on March 1, sponsoring an ice cream social for Winston, an 800-pound hog who slurped down cake and ice cream fed to him by local children. Denver was also in a party mood, as the city proved when it dusted off its sombrero, pulled on its party pantalones and got ready to rumba on Cinco de Mayo. The fiesta peaked when low-riders engaged Denver police in a Mexican hat dance along Federal Boulevard. After neighbors complained about the noise and traffic congestion, la policia joined the party with batons at the ready, apparently hoping to bust a few pinatas. In the end, the Sharks and the Jets decided not to let Officer Krupke play, but that didn't stop the media from turning the off-off-Broadway production into a national melodrama. The local TV stations called it a "near riot," NBC's Today show upgraded the scuffle to a "riot" and CNN trumpeted it as a full-fledged "race riot." You can't buy that kind of publicity!

The media also kept a close eye on the Million Man March scheduled for Mile High Stadium, but only reporters with 20/20 vision were able to find it. Originally scheduled at the 70,000-seat Mile High Stadium and then moved to the 11,000-seat Denver Coliseum, the march wound up being held in a former airport terminal on Syracuse Street after organizers sold just sixteen tickets. Organizers Alvertis Simmons and Jamal Muhammad (Jamal X to you) described it as "a learning process." Unfortunately, Simmons, who did double duty as a neighborhood watchman for Mayor Webb, didn't seem to learn much about the use of city funds. In May his cell phone was permanently confiscated after administration officials learned he had made more than $7,600 worth of personal calls since January 1995.

Jamal X also had plenty to say, though just how much wasn't clear until February, when he delivered a motivational speech at Montbello High School. Appearing before an audience of about 200 male students, the X-man noted matter-of-factly that white people "ate their dead" back when black people were building the Egyptian pyramids and were "basically gang-banging" back when Africans were doing geometry. The nutty professor didn't quite figure all the angles, though--after word of his impromptu history lesson got out, district officials balked at any further "Youth Wants to Know" lectures.

The Fourth of July came early this year, or at least it felt that way when the fireworks started over the May grocery strike by King Soopers and Safeway workers. Miffed over plans to shop out more of their duties, the green-around-the-gills grocers took to the streets, leaving replacement workers to man the checkout stands. The stores quickly disintegrated into chaos, and things sometimes weren't much more organized out in the parking lot. Two female picketers in north Denver were supermartyred when a 55-year-old motorist fell asleep at the wheel and plowed into a picket line; several days later in Fort Collins, another motorist clashed with a picketer over the throwing of a milkshake. By June 26 the stores and strikers cut a deal, ensuring flocks of holiday shoppers full access to Independence Day barbecue supplies.

Patriotic citizens may have felt a little let down, though, when actor Christopher Reeve came to town in November to speak with patients at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital. As moving as Reeve's appearance was, it conclusively debunked a report in the Boulder newspaper The Onion that he had been installed atop the Washington Monument as a national inspirational symbol.

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