Saturday, November 17, 2018
I brought a pizza over to my friend Mark's house last night and we watched a soccer match between Leeds and Wigan (And yes - Wigan is indeed a town). Mark was told by a friend of his who lives in Leeds that Leeds played very well that day, and Mark recorded the game to watch later. I assume by "playing well" that his friend meant they actually won the game, which they did. Mark has a lot of friends in and around Leeds, has visited there a number of times, and plans to go back again soon. And as I have mentioned several times before, Lonely Planet named Leeds the 5th best travel destination in Europe last year. I also have to mention that Lonely Planet is ceasing publication of it's travel magazine as of this month. I wonder why?
Friday, November 16, 2018
As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, through pure good luck I was able to buy a condo very close to Washington Park, which is one of the best neighborhoods in not only Denver but the entire country. The houses bordering the east side of Washington Park have a spectacular view of not only the park, but the mountains beyond, and there are many very nice homes that line this street, such as the one in the photograph on the left. I often walk the three or four blocks from my condo across the street from the University of Denver to the park and past these homes. And back in the 1980s, when I was still married to my then wife Lisa, we thought of actually buying a place on this exclusive street.
It was not too long after we were married - probably around 1983, 84, or 85, and we were looking to buy a house in the area. We were currently living in an apartment complex called the Woodwinds, the site of which is now a Light Rail Station just 2 doors down from where I now live. We used to take long walks in the park and noticed that there was a small home for sale right on the park, looking west toward the mountains. We checked the place out, and found out it was for sale for $279,000. But back then, there was no way we could afford it, so we just forgot about it. A couple of years later we got divorced, and so I am sure it would have gotten pretty complicated if we had purchased it. In any case, I recalled all this after walking past what I think was that house, seen on the far left in the photo on the right. If we bought it, we would have made a small fortune, but on the bright side, I have missed 35 years of lawn work. A fair trade-off in my book.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
I am very lucky to live so close to Denver's Washington Park. People come from miles around to walk around this beautiful area, and since I am just a few blocks away, I can walk there any time as I want. I recently did just that, and took the photographs seen in above collage. The only reason I can afford to live in this neighborhood is because my apartment building, directly across from the University of Denver, went condo in 1999, and I was given the choice of being evicted or buying a condo in the building. I decided to buy, and with the huge run up in the cost of both rents and real estate here recently, I have never regretted it. It was all luck and no foresight. Perhaps being lucky is indeed better than being smart.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
I took a long walk through the neighborhood around my condo last week, and decided to head over to Denver's South Pearl Street to see what changes have taken place since I last visited. Like Old South Gaylord Street, located on the opposite side of Washington Park, Pearl Street has a combination of businesses and residences, and is a pretty fun place to walk around. The street originally had a lot of modest turn-of-the-century homes like the one in the photograph on the left, but these are quickly being replaced by new apartment buildings and duplexes, in addition to a slew of new restaurants and businesses.
One of the things I noticed on this walk was an airplane fuselage sitting on the patio of a corner coffee shop, which to me seems a bit on the strange side. I assume this was not the location where the plane crashed - certainly this would have made the local paper - and so it must have been brought here on purpose. But why not the whole plane, not just a part of it? That is a question I will probably ponder for the rest of my life. But it does show that there is always something to catch your eye in this neighborhood.
While the south end of Pearl Street is mainly residential, the upper end of the street has a lot of restaurants and shops, including Stella's, one of Denver's most popular coffee shops / hipster hangouts, and Kaos, my favorite pizza place / beer garden. Unfortunately, it has been a few years since I was last here, but I am glad to see it is still going strong. It is a real pleasure to get a happy hour beer here and then sit down and watch the locals parade up and down the street. I would suggest this place as a happy hour destination for some of the old DU Bookstore gang, but I'm afraid it might be a little too late in the year for this, unless of course global warming gives us a few more days in the 70s. One can only hope.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
My friend Mark, who works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (the library) has frequently asked me what my favorite car is, and now I think I have finally found it. It is a Plymouth, no less - a 1932 Plymouth. I saw it at the Forney Museum of Transportation last week, and I must say I am impressed. I never thought I cared much for Plymouths, but I was wrong. This car speaks to my inner sporty self. It is like something they would have driven in Bringing up Baby or Topper. Both of those movies starred Cary Grant, by the way, whom I have been told I closely resemble (see above photo if you don't believe me). It is well known that cars depreciate tremendously every year - especially Plymouths - and so I am sure I can pick up one of these babies for a song. It might need a new paint job from Maaco, of course, but then let the good times roll.
Monday, November 12, 2018
I just finished reading Dead Man Running, the newest mystery novel by Steve Hamilton. This is the latest book in the Alex McKnight series, and has been a long time coming. Hamilton made his reputation on this series about a private detective living in the Upper Michigan Peninsula town of Paradise, but then decided to start a new series featuring a character blackmailed into becoming a hit man. I have found this new series to be a pretty depressing read, and am glad Hamilton has returned, at least for now, to a new Alex McKnight adventure. This time McKnight is summoned by the FBI to Phoenix, where a captured serial killer has stated that he will only speak to McKnight. It is no surprise that this killer escapes police custody, and it is McKnight who must find him and bring him to justice. This is a very exciting, very absorbing story and I can heartily recommend it. Pick it up at your local bookstore today.
Sunday, November 11, 2018
Today is Veteran's Day, known as Remembrance Day in the UK and as Armistice Day in France, and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. This is the war in which 19th century officers led charges against 20th century machine guns. The war wiped out an entire generation of men in Great Britain, not to mention the rest of Europe. It was called the "War to End All Wars," but a mere 20 years later the world was once again at war, which is where my father Nelson (seen in the photograph on the left with my mother Mary and sister Susan) comes in. He was a dentist in his mid-thirties when he got the surprise of his life and received a telegram telling him he had been drafted. This photo was taken the time my mother and sister took the train from Chicago to visit him while he was training near Abilene, Texas, not too long before he shipped out to Okinawa. Dad was never too crazy about being a dentist, and my mother thinks he secretly enjoyed his time in the army. I know for a fact he never missed an episode of MASH, and once told me that show was exactly what it was like back in his unit on Okinawa. Go figure. Happy Veteran's Day everyone.