Q: What do you get when you combine The Broadmoor resort with the Gazette newspaper?
A: The same lousy towels, seven days a week.
On a more positive note, when publisher Steve Pope and editor Jeff Thomas conduct another mass firing of dedicated employees with families to feed, they and the Gazette management team can celebrate in The Broadmoor's 18 terrific restaurants, cafés and bars instead of at an expensive downtown restaurant, The Famous, where they relaxed after the most recent layoffs in January.
The rumor of the possible Broadmoor/Gazette link has been bouncing around, to use the old expression, "like frightened children off City Councilman Tim Leigh's bumper." The buyer would be the Oklahoma Publishing Co., which is owned by the Gaylord family out of Oklahoma City — the family conglomerate that also owns The Broadmoor and, more ironically, formerly operated the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper.
I first heard the whispers about the Gazette while dining at The Broadmoor's Penrose Room a while back. I was so surprised I spit a $64 strawberry across the room and then blew $37 worth of iced tea out of my nose. (You should have seen the judgmental glances from other diners. Like they'd never seen anyone use a shrimp cocktail fork to dig a lemon wedge out of a nostril. The snooty bastards.)
The Gazette (proud motto: "All the News the Denver Post Saw Fit To Print Two Days Ago") is definitely for sale, as is the rest of its parent company, Freedom Communications. And the Oklahoma group, as we hear it, might (or might not) be interested.
There'd be many mutual benefits. For starters, the pesky wildfowl problems (i.e. poop) around the resort's big pond could be solved by eliminating the feathered flock. And the Gazette could hand out tasty Canada goose sandwiches to its remaining three newsroom employees.
Culinary note: Chefs say the only thing tougher than trying to eat improperly cooked goose is trying to read a Barry Noreen column in the Gazette. (That was just a joke. I believe Barry is a friend and I also believe he has a fine sense of humor, although we're about to find out for sure.)
With the same owners, the resort and the "newspaper" could even interchange management. This would allow publisher Pope to conduct layoffs among the diverse Broadmoor staff — giving him the chance to pretend to be sad and weepy in as many as nine languages. (Polish: "Boo-hooski.")
And editor Thomas could spend each day writing rambling and incoherent memos to a larger staff. I'd love to see his first note to the housekeepers: 16 charts, 12 color graphs, 22 pages of text and a 40-minute Power Point presentation about better ways to plump a pillow.
As for current Gazette editorial writer Wayne "9mm Is More Than Just a Bullet Size" Laugesen, who pens thoughtful pieces about how America can solve its rampant gun crime problem by making sure everyone packs a loaded handgun, well, I'm thinking he'd make a terrific Broadmoor security chief.
Oh sure, there might be some uncomfortable moments as Laugesen settles in. But in all fairness, I ask this question: Who among us hasn't seen a hotel room-service worker creeping down the hallway carrying a Glock .357 semi-auto handgun, shot the guy in self-defense, and then felt a bit sheepish when it turned out the "gun" was actually a bagel and cream cheese on a small plate?
And until the wildfowl elimination program at the hotel pond kicks in, Gazette Side Streets columnist Bill Vogrin could break up the monotony of those fascinating barking-dog columns with an occasional piece about quacking ducks.
But the best part of combining the Gazette and the resort would be a chance for Broadmoor president Steve Bartolin to become a publisher and to create a world-class newspaper, just as he has done with the hotel and its magnificent golf courses.
At the very least, if Bartolin was in charge, the Gazette's "park" — a dried-out patch of grass where employees sometimes have lunch — would have a slightly different look. I'm thinking a meadow in Scotland. Or a rice paddy.