Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and in honor of this I am featuring a photograph of my father Nelson and my Uncle Jack (my mother Mary's brother), probably taken in the Philippines toward the end of World War II. My father, a dentist, was drafted in his mid-thirties and was sent to Okinawa.  My Uncle Jack, however, tried to enlist and was rejected because of a hernia.  He actually had an operation so that he would be accepted into the air force, and after training here in Denver at Lowry Air Force Base (now a trendy housing development), he spent the war slogging through the Pacific.  In New Guinea he contracted malaria, and his health suffered for the rest of his life.  He felt he had to fight for our country after Pearl Harbor, and wound up paying for that the rest of his life.  One of America's unsung heros.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Zoo In December

This past Sunday I spent part of the morning at the Denver Zoo.  It was a very pleasant fall day - temperatures were in the mid-50s - with just enough chill in the air that the animals wanted to stay in the warmth of the sunshine. In other words, perfect conditions for animal portraits.  Plus, most of animals actually seemed to want to pose for the camera, as opposed to some people I shall not name, like my sister Susan.

As Simon and Garfunkel once sang, it was all happening at the Denver Zoo Sunday morning.  However, the temperature is predicted to dip below zero for the first time in two years in the next 24 hours, and up to five inches of snow is predicted, so I think that for at least the next week or two our animal friends will be more in the mood for hibernating  than posing. And who can blame them?  I myself am sorely tempted to go hibernate in South Florida for a while. To hell with Winter Wonderlands.  But that's just me.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Something New At The Zoo

I went to the Denver Zoo Sunday morning to take a few photographs and was told by one of the attendants that a baby zebra was born the previous night, and to be sure to check it out.  That is exactly what I did, and I was surprised to see the newborn was up and about, walking around the compound with it's mother.  And I was also amazed at the size of this baby zebra, which is less that 24 hours old. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, you see very few zebras, not to mention horses, being born.  The mother must have been pretty crabby carrying that thing around.

In addition to zoo staff and patrons, the teenage lions just across the way from the zebra compound were also very interested in the new baby giraffe.  I am not sure how they knew a baby giraffe had been born, but they did.  All eyes were focused on the zebra compound. Not even the child in the photograph on the right could distract this particular lion.  Obviously instinct takes over.  Do the lions realize that a vulnerable - and tasty - creature is in range, or do they just want to play?  An if they just want to play, I'll bet they play rough.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Parade Of Lights

This past Friday and Saturday The Parade of Lights took place in downtown Denver.  The parade starts at 8:00 in the evening and 6:00 on Saturday, and features floats, marching bands, mounted horses, etc, all lite up with colored lights.  The participants include businesses, schools, charitable organizations, and even city departments.  For example, the sanitation department featured a dump truck covered with Christmas lights, and Denver Water featured a dancing, colorfully lite toilet.  Yes! Really!  But despite the dancing toilet, it is always a lot of fun, except,  of course, for the fact it is always held when the temperature is well below freezing.

This parade is wildly popular in Denver, and to get a good view you have to arrive very early.  I found a spot behind an older couple, sitting in chairs, about an hour before the parade began, and passed the time people-watching.  Crowds lined each side of the street and were so thick that people trying to cross the street couldn't get through to the other side, and immediately became part of the parade.  And as you would expect, there were a huge number of children in the crowd, their parents holding them up so they could see all the action.  That is why I picked an elderly couple to stand in front of - no blocked views once the parade began, which is usually what happens.  In any case, the parade lasted about 45 minutes or so, and the crowd quickly dispersed afterwards, with all the children no doubt dropping off to sleep that night with visions of colorfully lighted, dancing toilets in their heads.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dinner At 730 South

I had dinner with my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore co-worker Wally (in the photo on the left) and my friend Mark, who works at DU's library (on the right), last night at 730 South.  This is a popular and rather upscale restaurant in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood of Denver, just a few blocks east of Washington Park.  Although it is upscale, they have a great happy hour in the bar area, with $3.00 beers and $5.00 entrees.  You almost can't afford not to go there.  In any case, Wally told us about his and his wife Linda's trip to San Francisco and stay at a bed and breakfast while visiting their son Peter (a high tech guy, nach), while Mark regaled us with tales of his trip to the UK.  Mark's brother Mike - who works at Denver's Botanical Gardens - attended a conference in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Mark went along for the ride. Mark's brother is obsessed with plants, while Mark is obsessed with soccer, and so to me it seems like it was a botanical garden and soccer stadium tour, but that's just me.  Neither of these trips could possibly compare with getting a condo ready to rent in South Florida, of course.  Now that's pure fun.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Burgers, Beer, & Politics At Old Chicago

I got together with my friend Stuart at the Old Chicago on South Colorado Boulevard here in Denver for burgers, beers, and a healthy dose of political talk last night.  As expected, Stuart is still stunned by the surprising victory of Donald Trump, and worried about what the future will bring.  As for me, nothing is a surprise, and I am expecting nothing less than 4 years of politics as usual.  A few scandals, another major recession / depression, and I suspect a Democrat will be in the Oval Office in 4 years.  The problem, of course, is getting through the next 4 years.  With only one year until filing for social security, I am of course very sensitive to the stability of that particular program.  My recurring nightmare is Donald Trump saying that people who depend on social security are losers, and unilaterally disbanding the program.  But that can't happen, right?  Right?  Right?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"The Boss" Appears At The Tattered Cover

Bruce Springsteen made an appearance at the Tattered Cover Bookstore here in Denver yesterday afternoon, drawing well over 1000 fans who had come to buy his new book, Born to Run, and to pose for photographs with him.  It was a very strictly managed event, and I was not able to get close enough to get a good photograph.  Even if I had wanted to buy a book, thus being able to meet him up close, all 1050 tickets to the event sold out within 15 minutes of going on sale.  Fans started to line up at 8:30 A.M, almost three and a half hours before the event was scheduled to begin.  I decided to take a photograph of the spot where Springsteen would be greeting his fans, and lo and behold the ghost of a young Bruce Springsteen appeared in the lens...

Later in the day, I was able to take a photograph of the older Bruce, posing with his fans, from a great distance away.  There were three bodyguards on either side of him, and three Denver police officers wandering the building, too.  If I tried to get any closer, I would have been toast. Springsteen is 67 years old now (even older than me, if you can believe it), but still goes on tour.  And I must say, he doesn't look too bad either, especially compared to rock stars like Mick Jagger.  On the other hand, the Portrait of Dorian Gray, in in all it's macabre horror, looks better than Mick Jagger these days, so I guess that is not much of a compliment.  In any case, glad you stopped by, Bruce.  Thanks for the memories!