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Best of Urban Living: Uniquely us 


Best Tourists
The Texas Seven

It was just like a Hollywood movie. Seven escaped fugitives, accused of killing a cop, end up renting out a spot in an RV park up near Woodland Park, passing themselves off as traveling missionaries for several weeks. They spend their days seeing the sites and their nights boogying down at the American Beach Club in Colorado Springs -- when they aren't in Bible class. The vacation ends when the sheriff's office is tipped off that the boys are right under their noses; they descend on the trailer and capture four of 'em. A fifth commits suicide, and the last two escape -- at least for another day. Discovered holed up in a Holiday Inn off Interstate 25, the last two fugitives agree to come out only if they each get five minutes of TV air time on their station of choice, KKTV Channel 11. Anchor Eric Singer is brought in to smoke 'em out, asking them on-air softball questions about what color they had dyed their hair. (Answer: "A kind of sandy-bond red color with real dark roots.") -- cd


Best Gazette Correction

On Aug. 12 Gazette readers were greeted with a business story that was so garbled that we thought those G-heads had finally lost their collective mind. The story, headlined "The Powers that Be," was ostensibly about the growth of new businesses along Powers Boulevard and the kings who would control it. The mistakes began immediately: "Businesses not near an frump might struggle," we were told. (Did they mean off-ramp?)

The grocery store Safeway appeared as "Safely," Walgreen's pharmacy became "Walgren's" and Woodmen, Drennan and Platte roads were listed as "Wooden," "Droning" and "Plate."

The famous Colorado Springs Briargate subdivision was renamed "Prorogate," and reporter Rich Laden informed us in his predictably dry way, "Essentially, the state must get the beds' OK on how the upgrades and construction might impact nearby areas." (Did he mean feds?)

The topper was the reference to the fattest development cats in town, "Narrowed Development Group," er, make that Nor'wood, whose vice president "Fred Vetch" was quoted extensively.

That's Veitch to the rest of us, Rich.

The next day, the paper blamed the snafu on a deranged computer spell check and the corrected story was reprinted in its entirety. -- cd


Best Place to Smile on Your Brother
The Utopia Caf
117 E. Bijou St., 633-1080

Thanks to the outdoor speakers, you don't even have to go inside the joint to get a good dose of free love. But once inside Utopia Café, you'll find yourself in a mellow atmosphere adorned with Jerry Garcia artwork, tie-dye, smiling suns and a menu featuring such dishes as the Grilled Cheese Incident and the See Me, Philly Me sandwich. Utopia's full bar adds cred to Saturday nights, when a sound system is set up in the front and everything from improvisational blues to traditional folk is performed, usually without a cover. The big booths and barstools allow patrons to lounge for hours without hassle, and John, the owner, is exceptionally kind and generous. If you need a bit of peace, Utopia Caf is the place. -- ks


Best Tree

Ever look at those sepia-toned photographs of Colorado Springs, circa 1870? A few forlorn buildings, a donkey or two, some scruffy guys in derby hats, and not a single tree. We live in a man-made oasis. Except for the cottonwoods along Monument Creek, every tree in our city is there because someone planted it, cared for it, and passed it on to future generations. So among all of our century-old maples, elms, mountain ashes and blue spruces, is there a best tree? Dunno, but here's a candidate: Before a modest cottage in the 2100 block of West Bijou stands a noble Eastern Oak, offering shade to an entire neighborhood, shelter to dozens of birds and small animals, and delight to passers-by. -- jh


Best Place to Work
Readers' Poll WinnerHome!

On the plus side: working in your jammies; nobody monitors your potty or cigarette breaks; you can adjust your undergarments at will; you can scratch any itch; you can get to know your mail person, your UPS person and the Schwann's guy on a first-name basis; you can take breaks to breastfeed, change a diaper or kiss a boo-boo without feeling guilty; nobody cares how you smell/look/dress; you're free to do your best work while jamming to polka tunes at 3 a.m.; you can be home when the cable guy, meter reader, telephone guy or any other repair person makes an appearance; when appliances break, explode or spew water, you don't have to wait till 5 p.m. to make your discovery; you can walk the dog or pet the cat at will; your kids don't call the baby sitter Mommy or Daddy; you save a fortune by not eating out for lunch. On the minus side: There's nobody to admire your new shoes. -- mbp


Best Porn Site Accessed by a City Computer
easypic.com

When Councilman Charles Wingate was accused of using his city computer to access porn sites, the Independent requested a list of the porn sites so visited. It was a long list; indeed, to visit and evaluate each site would have taken a disproportionate amount of staff time. We know we're being arbitrary, but we'll go with easypic.com, a vast free site incorporating literally hundreds of thousands of images for every (and we mean every) conceivable taste. Good for sexual compulsives, better still for keeping city employees off the street. -- jh


Best Thing Colorado Springs Could Do Without
Readers' Poll WinnerReligious fanatics

If you've found God, then bully for you. But please have the decency to realize that some of us haven't found God because we aren't looking. There's nothing wrong with sincere religious belief, but if you're using extreme religion as your pulpit for spewing out your narrow-minded fear of anyone who doesn't exactly resemble you and yours, then it isn't really religion. It's bigotry, ignorance, small-mindedness or even feeble-mindedness, parading as devotion and piety. We could all get by with fewer flat-footed, fearful, homophobic, misogynist, antagonistic zealots who want nothing more than to boss the rest of us around. Bugger off. -- mbp


Best Place to Socialize Your Dog
Palmer Park
City park extending northwest from the corner of Academy Boulevard and Maizeland Road

If you take the entrance to Palmer Park off Maizeland, and you drive on past the turnoff for the playground and picnic pavilion, you'll come to a fenced-in field. You've reached the dog park. This is space of the dogs, by the dogs and for the dogs. Let 'em run, let 'em romp, let 'em sniff each other's rumps. Anything goes, except fighting and fornicating (unless Fido brought condoms). And so everyone can be a good dog owner, plastic bags are provided for poop removal. -- mbp


Best Stained Glass
First Baptist Church
317 E. Kiowa St., 632-6603

"Best" could also be translated to "most intricate" in this scenario. The 113-or-so-year-old brick church is most glorious at night, when the light from within illuminates the colorful glass in the chapel windows, halls and bell tower. Tiny white flowers grow at the feet of the religious figures, each minute piece of color carefully set in lead. One could spend hours -- days even -- gazing at the enormous amounts of glass and still not see it all. It's an awe-inspiring tribute to taking one's time in our slap-it-up urban-scape. -- ks


Thing Colorado Springs Needs Most
Readers' Poll WinnerBetter Streets and Roads

The people have spoken. We want you to fix our city streets so we don't have to continually replace our tires, shocks and struts. We want better roads so when we drive to work, school, day care and social events each day and night we don't fear for our safety. Each spring, after the snow melts, please don't just temporarily fill the potholes with tar until next year when it has to be done again. Solutions can be long-term. Solutions can solve problems. -- cs

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