Frank Rich picks Modern Drunkard magazine back up off the floor

"Never apologize, never explain."

That quote from Hunter S. Thompson is how Frank Rich, publisher/editor of Denver-based Modern Drunkard magazine, begins the "Mea Culpa" that opens the new issue — the first issue in almost two years. "It's been a long time," he admits. "It was a long break, a little longer than I expected."

Or, as he writes in his poetic editor's column, full of angry sea imagery, "It was a dark time, my fellow drunks, a dark and terrible time." The magazine survived, though, and while "it may have a superficial resemblance to that same insanely unsafe ship we steamed out of port with last time, I can assure you this one is watertight, expertly crewed and equipped with fresh maps. Why, it's practically unsinkable."

Volume 6, number 56, is also 64 colorful pages filled with even more colorful prose in such stories as "Let's Get Bombed! Boozing in the atomic age" and "The Founding Drunkards: They also declared independence from sobriety." Over 10,000 free copies have been distributed around town, with an additional 3,000 going to distributors for sale around the country and another 3,000 going to subscribers — those very people who, irritated that they had not seen a copy in many months, started sending increasingly angry e-mail missives to Rich about their missing magazines, and it was "the hoarse cursing and shouting from those passengers that encouraged me to swim toward the lifeboat, counterintuitive as that may seem," he writes.

And Rich is back in control of his ship, steering toward an every-other-month publication schedule even as he finishes up two books — one a work of supernatural fiction set in the '30s, the other the long-promised sequel to his book The Modern Drunkard, which will focus on more adventures with alcohol. The original has already gone through five editions in Germany, where it was the "number-one drinking book for three years straight," he says. And then, if the ship is on course, he may bring back the Modern Drunkard convention, which was first held in Denver, then in Las Vegas.

After that debauchery, it's a miracle that Modern Drunkard resurfaced at all. But it has, surprising Rich almost as much as everyone else, and just in time, now that the Colorado Legislature is awash in beer and medical marijuana bills. Vice is nice, but liquor is quicker. "So let's raise our glasses," his printed apologia concludes, "and lift our eyes toward the almost blindingly bright horizon, shall we?"

We'll drink to that.


Scene and herd: With just over six weeks before ballots are due back in Denver, the ten official mayoral candidates (and two now resorting to write-in campaigns) are doing their best to distinguish themselves from each other. Denver City Councilwoman Carol Boigon was the first to take to the airwaves — and the air, actually — with an ad that paid homage to John Hickenlooper's infamous skydive on behalf of Ref C. Boigon, who's shown inside and outside a little executive plane in the ad, never takes a plunge — but then, we don't see her slogan taking off, either. "She'll do what it takes to make Denver soar," the commercial promises.

Just don't make Denver sore.

Night, night: Politics, as the old saying goes, makes strange bedfellows. Unlike Denver mayoral candidate James Mejia, however, those bedfellows usually aren't there in the morning, showering and sitting down to pancakes.

But Mejia, who was the first candidate to officially jump into the race to replace John Hickenlooper, is also the first face a lot of Denver residents have seen in the morning — at least since mid-February or so, when he started sleeping over at people's houses in different Denver neighborhoods as part of the At Home With James Mejia initiative. "It's not a stunt," insists Mejia campaign manager Berrick Abramson. "It's a genuine attempt to experience Denver through the eyes of people across the city." And while Mejia runs a serious risk of cold showers, runny eggs and, frankly, bedbugs, he plans to continue sleeping in basements, spare rooms and on couches up until the May election.

Want to host a Mejia overnight? You'll need to either host a meet-and-greet at your house that night or take him out to a neighborhood restaurant or bar for glad-handing — but you'll still have him to yourself in the wee hours. Some suggested activities:

Stay up all night watching the first four Harry Potter movies back to back.

Mad Libs. Nintendo DS. Fatbooth. Repeat.

TP someone's house. Watch out, Chris Romer!

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