Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Ready, Aim, Fire

"It's not exactly a secret that Bill Ritter's people and John Hickenlooper's people aren't always filled with love toward one another. But maybe it truly was a coincidence that the inaugural 21-gun salute was fired toward city hall." That's the word on the front page — the front page! — of today's Denver Post.

But from where I stood during yesterday's inaugural — way behind the VIP seats, behind even the cheap seats, near a bunch of legislative aides and lobbyists yakking on their cell phones through the ceremony, at the top of the steps directly above the cannon, and with a very nice view of the podium under a cameraman's crotch — it was easy to see where the cannon was pointing: at the Denver Newspaper Agency building, home to the Post and the Rocky Mountain News.

Still, it would have been fine by me if the cannon had taken out the time-stands-still garish holiday lights on the Denver City and County Building (above). How can Colorado look to the future, as Ritter advised, if we're still displaying Christmas wreathes on January 9?

As for that "21-gun salute," it was actually nineteen shots. The News had the count right (but missed the fact that the gun was aimed at its offices), offering this explanation: a 19-gun salute is protocol for governors, while 21-gun salutes are reserved for presidents.

A better explanation: The gun was hired as many times as Bill Ritter hauled out that overused "Colorado promise" line. -- Patricia Calhoun

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun