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No. of Recommendations: 14
Hey CaveGirl:

Speaking from the perspective of a guy who has nearly four decades under his Lakewoodian belt, who lives one mile from his boyhood home, whose mom still lives where she did in 1962, and whose dad lives only a few blocks away in a home he bought in 1974, here's what's changed and here's what's the same:

1. They put an embarrassingly ugly addition onto my elementary school.

2. They planted grass at my elementary school. (Rocks were good enough for us.)

3. They built approximately 30 office buildings in the field where I used to ride my bike on Union Blvd.

4. They put up thousands and thousands of beige houses on little tiny lots all over everywhere and then they found people who aren't from around these parts to rush out and order up a mortgage they can barely afford so they spend their lives squabbling with their spouses about how they really can't afford new shoes or popcorn at the movies ... BUT, they have a big beige house which is really handy for dinner parties you have for the fellahs at the office twice a year.

5. The vast majority of local restaurants still suck, but a sea of national franchise restaurants have shown up, and at least they're consistent.

6. Downtown Denver no longer rolls up the carpet and locks down at 5 p.m. These days, if you want to smoke cigarettes and drink foolishly expensive drinks, you have lots of options downtown. If you're not into drinking and smoking as a lifestyle, then fundamentally, Denver still rolls up the carpet at 5 p.m.

7. Downtown Golden is still a disappointment, but there's an outstanding restaurant in the remodeled hotel that offers BBQ ribs and a tortilla soup that makes you ripple with joy.

8. Republicans and Christians are still running the place.

9. My family continues to identify the ethnic heritage of everyone who isn't lily white that they meet. Of course, my family never ventures east of Wadsworth, so meeting people who aren't lily white is still a noteworthy event.

10. Public transportation is actually pretty good now, but anybody with any self respect still drives a car they have on lease for about $480 per month.

11. Westword remains as cumbersome as ever. (They still think they're cutting edge.) But now the writers have lots of places to smoke and drink downtown, so they've stopped calling Denver a "cow town."

12. The poor people still live where the poor people have always lived, only their houses will bring $250 per square foot. People from California usually buy these houses and paint the trim purple and install lots of hardwood inside.

13. The Broncos suck (post-Elway change), the Nuggets suck (no change), the Rockies will probably suck again (money doesn't change everything), and the Avalanche rock (except Patrick Roy is getting old). The local media attempt to lead every broadcast with Bronco news. (This probably hasn't really changed since my childhood.)

14. The Post bought out the News and they're calling it a merger. They're advertising that they're still "competing." They sent out a little flyer to all the businesses promising that they're not "gouging" us. You can pretty much guess when any company advertises that they're going to treat you right, that they're going to screw you.

15. Speaking of getting screwed, United Airlines has a major hub here. They advertise that they're working hard to make us happy too.

16. Boulder still has a reputation for hippies, but they're Republican trust fund babies in disguise. Despite this and the astonishing real estate prices, it's still a wonderful place.

17. Rumor has it that Fort Collins is cool now, but gad, I don't know why you'd ever want to find out.

18. People continue to go skiing on weekends. The traffic jam actually starts in Utah. Central City used to be abandoned; then they put in gambling; now it's abandoned again. Blackhawk has great big cement structures with acres of slot machines waiting to take your money. They'll even bus you in. It's just lovely.

19. We riot when we win. We riot when we lose. We buy stadiums for millionaires in an attempt to make them billionaires.

20. We're still looking for Jon Benet's killer and apparently the Jefferson County Sheriff is still trying to cover his tracks two years after Columbine. Us Jeffco types lined up in droves to re-elect him last fall.

21. And the weather is still fabulous here, the climate is as close to perfect as you can get, there really aren't a lot of bugs here, the views are beautiful, the smog isn't as bad as it used to be, jobs are easy to find and pay OK, it's pretty safe here still, and people are overall pretty friendly.

That's what's changed, and what's stayed the same.
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