Denver is safe from nuclear attack, if not excessive boozing

If you're following the headlines, then you know that North Korea has been threatening the United States and South Korea with a nuclear attack for the past several weeks — and that some military experts believe that April 15 will be the day North Korea pulls the nuclear trigger, since that's the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the nation's founder. North Korea has recently ramped up the propaganda even further by releasing images of its leader, Kim Jong Un, in front of battle plans, along with a picture of potential targets, which has been reprinted around the world.

In "North Korea's Picture-Perfect Fury at the United States," Philip Bump of the Atlantic writes, "The black lines indicate presumed targets: DC, LA, Hawaii, somewhere in Texas. Those black lines are deeply optimistic, if not magical. If North Korea's rockets worked perfectly (they don't) the maximum presumed strike distance is about 6,000 miles. That's barely enough to reach the West Coast of the United States; it is by no means enough to reach beyond that...but that's clearly not the point of the image. The point is to excite North Koreans and intimidate Americans."

Though not people in Denver. One of the lines does appear to be aimed at L.A., while another heads farther west toward...Santa Fe? Or, possibly, Austin? But Colorado's Front Range — a regional transportation hub, technological center and home to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) — didn't make the cut. And that may be a crucial tactical mistake for North Korea, since NORAD, which is located at Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs, is the military division that watches for, and defends against, missile attacks from other countries.


North Korea

Denver has been making itself ready, nonetheless. Not the city, of course. We were too busy downing Jäger bombs and puking in LoDo alleys during the Colorado Rockies' first homestand of the season to be digging fallout shelters. No, we're talking about the U.S.S. Denver, a Navy warship that patrols the western Pacific. On Monday, the Navy released a statement from Sasebo, Japan, saying that Captain Kevin Lenox, the Denver's commanding officer, had "challenged the crew to go alcohol-free for one weekend" as part of April's Alcohol Awareness Month, and that the more than 250 sailors on board (about 70 percent of the crew) had done so April 5-7 as a way "to promote safe and healthy alternatives to over-indulging in alcohol. This didn't mean less liberty; instead, sailors found different activities to participate in that did not include alcohol," the Navy statement continued.

It added this quote from Seaman Tyler Rios: "I went to try out for the traveling softball team. Softball is something I really like to do anyway, so it was easy for me to make that substitution. Whenever you find an activity you really like, you can just roll with it."

The Denver's crew could probably use a drink, however, since the ship is the oldest active floating vessel in service, having been christened on January 23, 1965, by Ann Love, the wife of then-Colorado governor John Love.

Sadly, the Denver is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2014.


Stranger than fiction: The producers of a documentary about Science Fiction Land, a would-be Aurora theme park proposed in 1979, are looking for people who lived in Colorado then and remember the larger-than-life promises that it would be three times the size of Disneyland and feature a holographic zoo, a 1,000-lane bowling alley attended by robots, and security guards with jetpacks. The park was also to serve as the set of a flick called Lord of Light. Though plans for the park fell apart, the script for Lord of Light went on to play a starring role in the CIA rescue of six Americans from Iran — the story told in the Oscar-winning Ben Affleck movie Argo.

Now, New York-based producer and director Judd Ehrlich wants to tell the true story of the ill-fated Aurora theme park. His team is looking for people who lived in Colorado in 1979 and 1980 and remember the plans, who were connected with the Aurora City Council then or who attended a press conference about the park held on November 28, 1979.

Anyone with information can contact Brooklyn Film Networks at ruchi@bkfn.org.

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