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But even if the Denver Post regains the position it briefly held, its decision-makers would do well to remember that the newspaper war may be over, but the fight to produce a world-class publication is not yet won. Size matters, but it isn't everything.

A Colorado life: Just when you think you've got Rocky Mountain News columnist Gene Amole pegged, he surprises you. For instance, those who see him as a simple nostalgist were likely floored by September 10's "WWII Had Its Share of Bad Boys and Brothers," in which he juxtaposed the rosy-colored Hollywood nobility of programs like HBO's Band of Brothers with wartime memories of a grunt who forced a German girl to perform oral sex on him in front of her parents.

Amole, 78, was just as clear-eyed and candid on October 27, when he revealed on the News's front page that he is dying and will stop penning a regular column in favor of diary entries detailing his final months, weeks, days. "I am not retiring, just taking on a new assignment," he wrote -- and if the articles to come are anything like his most recent one, they'll be terrific. What a classy way to go out.

Unit of measure: On October 29, the day after Arizona Diamondbacks hurler Randy Johnson threw a three-hit shutout in game two of the World Series, most newspapers in the country made use of Johnson's colorful nickname, the Big Unit: Witness the Associated Press's "Big Unit Big Problem for Yankees." But not the Denver Post, which has a policy against referring to Johnson as a unit, big or otherwise.

Why? Post sports editor Kevin Dale was on vacation and unavailable for comment, but insiders say the phrase has been nixed because it "sounds dirty." By those standards, writers should stop scribbling about the pitcher entirely. After all, he is a six-foot, ten-inch Johnson.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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