Longform

PEOPLE & PLACES

part 1 of 2

Best Guess for When Denver International Airport Will Open
November 23, 1994
It's easy--just take the number of Wellington Webb's buddies who got fat airport contracts, divide by the number of cracks in the runways, multiply by Federico Pena's shoe size, add Dan Caplis's legal bill and you arrive here. Added bonus: The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year and will ensure maximum chaos, a prerequisite for all things DIA-related.

Readers' choice: Never

Best Use for DIA Until Then
Thrill rides on the baggage system
Those high-tech carts zip along elevated tracks so rapidly that they look like the mining cars in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Helmets and knee pads are recommended: Like the suitcases this technological marvel was designed for, you run the risk of being hurled to the cement floor at any time. And then there's the chance that the crew at Dateline NBC or some other bunch of buttinskis may have stashed a spy camera in the adjoining seat. But hey, it's all part of the attraction. The system may turn luggage into coleslaw, but it looks like a hell of a ride.

Readers' choice: Homeless shelter

Best Way to Pay for DIA
Project DEBTOR (Decisions Enabling Bond Termination or Retirement)
Step one: Transfer plutonium, pondcrete, etc., from Rocky Flats to airport site. Step two: Pack in suitcases and insert into BAE baggage system. Step three: Discover that substances have disappeared without a trace en route to terminal. Step four: Bill feds $3.7 billion for waste disposal services. Step five: Declare victory.

Readers' choice: Garnish Federico Pena's wages

Best Song About DIA
Pam Clifton
Penned for a Historic Denver benefit, actress/singer Pam Clifton's ode is sung to the tune of "Camelot":

Who cares if they say the runways are all cracking
We know that we're not going to have to pay,
'Cause we have got that Silverado backing...
At DIA.
Pretend you're flying in from Cincinnati,
You need a place close by at which to stay.
Just bring a tent, you'll find there's lots of camping
Near DIA.
(at) DIA...DIA...
We know the place will be run fair.
(spoken) Why?
('Cause at) DIA...DIA...
All the mayor's friends work there.
You need a plane in order just to get there,
The thought of taking luggage is absurd.
But we will find a way,
To open it some day.
The city will be better off when it has DIA.
(at) DIA...DIA...
There's no one there to waste your time
(spoken) Why?
('Cause at) DIA...DIA...
They only service one airline.

Best Hotel at DIA
N/A

Best Joke About DIA
Governor Roy Romer
The guv drew guffaws at the Denver Metro Chamber Business-to-Business Expo by claiming that he and Mayor Wellington Webb were "going into business together to produce a new line of lightweight, carry-on luggage." Excuse the DIA bondholders if they forgot to laugh.

Best Joke at DIA
Gary Sweeney
Local artist Gary Sweeney didn't have any inside information--honest--when he designed his $100,000 artwork, "America, Why I Love Her," to grace the new airport's baggage area. But he didn't need any: He was drawing not only on his artistic experience but also on his alternative career as a Continental baggage handler. The resulting piece includes a pair of wall-size puzzle maps of the United States, noting assorted amusements and attractions around the country. Denver, however, is marked with a star and the words: "You Are Here but Your Luggage is in Pittsburgh/Spokane." Airport authorities didn't appreciate the humor--and that was before BAE's baggage system was blamed for the most recent DIA delay. Art imitates life.

Best Airport
World Indoor Airport
Metropolitan State College

For the time being, you'll have better luck using your imagination at this high-tech aerospace training lab than you will using the runways at DIA. The computerized facility at Metro is easy to get to, noiseless, doesn't cost millions, and everything works. Usually. Student pilots have been known to crash, but they always walk away from accidents without a hair out of place. Virtual reality is a wonderful thing.

Best DIA Grounds Crew
Boyer vs. Boyer
When Bill Boyer began training his sons Dennis and Sam in the finer points of the roasting biz, perhaps he dreamed they'd take over the firm one day. But the boys' vision was different from their father's--since they split with Dad in 1985, their Brothers Gourmet Coffees, Inc., has grown to become the second largest retailer of fancy javas in the nation, clocking in only behind the ubiquitous Starbucks. The family schism will take on a new dimension this year: Father and sons will go head-to-head with competing coffee shops at Denver International Airport. May the best cup win.

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