Monday, January 31, 2011


Anna is a work study student at the DU Bookstore. She also works weekends at a pizza restaurant at 32nd & Lowell, in Denver's Highlands neighborhood. Most importantly, she is an official follower of my blog. Anna was ill today, and went home early. But she still let me take her photograph before she went home. What a Trooper!

Sunday, January 30, 2011


It was inevitable, I guess. Yesterday, less than two weeks after my birthday, I received an offer to join AARP. As if to emphasize the point, dozens of "Senior Ride" buses were parked in front of my condo today. It turns out the senior buses were there to take Denver's older citizens to a Chinese New Year celebration at the Ritchie Center across the street (it is the year of the Bunny Rabbit), but you cannot deny the symbolism. My only comfort is that my friend Valarie and my sister Susan are both older than I am, and always will be. It is the little things that make us happiest in life.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Okay Fine!

My sister Susan and brother-in-law George came down to Denver to celebrate both Susan and my birthdays this afternoon. We were going to take in a few art galleries and then have dinner at a local restaurant, but since Susan wasn't feeling well, we opted to bring in pizzas instead. Of course, after Susan guzzled three of my XXX beers, she seemed to make a miraculous recovery. The healing power of beer, I guess. In any case, I showed Susan my new 10 volume, 1943 set of the Book of Knowledge, and she said it was the wrong edition from the one she remembered. The books she remembered from her childhood were much older, used by our mother and our two uncles before she inherited them. And they had drawings and illustrations, not photographs, in them. Okay fine. Personally, I like the photographs. And then she tried to sneak away with one of the Salgado books Valarie gave me for my birthday. Talk about nerve.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Book of Knowledge

When my sister was a child, my parents bought her a 20 volume encyclopedia set called "The Book of Knowledge." It had a profound impact upon her life - it stimulated her thirst for reading and was the source for all her research on school projects. I remember looking at the set once in a while in our basement, but never was so enthralled as Susan was. And so I was surprised that I spent almost $100 on a reprint of the series, a 10 volume set that reproduced the original 20 volumes. After looking at the entry for Chicago, my home town, I was glad I did. I looked up Chicago, and it discussed the city in all it's 1940's glory, back when my parents' were young and my sister was a toddler. It is a great comfort being able to go back to those innocent times whenever I want. Hell, it might even have been worth $200 to buy the set. And that is saying something for a notorious cheapskate.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

All Business!

Marty, the Textbook and General Merchandise Manager for the DU Bookstore, is all business as he supervises the semi-annual inventory. I remember Marty last June, before he took the job - lighthearted, happy-go-lucky, laughing every minute, no responsibilities except to order textbooks that no one will buy. Marty is now older and much wiser. Welcome to the club, Marty!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inventory Time!

It is the most magical time of the year! Inventory time! Today we inventoried the stockroom, and tomorrow we will have an outside company inventory the sales floor. The stockroom inventory started at 9:00 A.M. and finished around 5:00, much later than usual. Periodically, Marty, the Textbook and General Merchandise Manager, would go around and wake up the older workers, getting them back to work again. Next time we might have to put more of our young work study students on the job. At least they can stay awake for most of the day.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Charlie's New Grandchild!

Charlie's daughter gave birth to Autumn last week, his second grandchild. This is a wonderful thing. After President Sarah Palin take office in two years, and those anti-business child labor laws are repealed, we will have Charlie's two grandchildren, Brittney's two kids, and Noah's two children working in the DU Bookstore's stockroom 10 hours a day, eliminating the need to hire temporary help to receive textbooks. This will greatly improve our bottom line. The DU Bookstore, thinking outside of the box, to serve you better!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Trish Must Pay!

Trish works part-time at the DU Bookstore as a cashier. Today she was ringing on her register and the printer broke. Due to a new cost-cutting measure, we have canceled all of our maintenance contracts and are having the employees who broke the equipment pay for the repair. We have to meet the bottom line somehow. Don't worry - I'm sure IBM will let Trish put it on her card.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Gift With Strings Attached

For my birthday, my friend Valarie gave me two books by Sebastiao Salgado, my favorite photographer. It was a very generous gift. We had a long discussion over dinner last night, including the importance of having a will. After she gave me the books, she insisted that I bequest the books to her in my will, to make sure that she would eventually get them back. Nothing unusual about that. At least she didn't make me sign anything. Valarie, for you, I will even include my two W. Eugene Smith books.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Colfax Avenue, Fedoras, and Dinner With Valarie

It was a busy day today. First it was breakfast with Darrel, and afterwards we explored Colfax Avenue, his favorite street (top photo). Then it was off to the DU Bookstore to deal with an emergency computer problem, and discovering that fedoras are finally making a comeback with the younger set (as shown by Robert in the middle photo). After a quick dose of culture at the Denver Art Museum, it was time to have dinner with Valarie (bottom photo) and catch up with what was happening with her. After visiting over dinner for an hour or so, Valarie began to find it disconcerting that the Maitre D' kept standing next to our table, arms folded, tapping his foot. I told Val this meant nothing, but she insisted on finishing our visit at the bar instead. A sensitive soul, Valarie is.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Cultural Event!

I went to a slide show/lecture tonight by Joe Abelino and Blaine Harrington titled "Unifying the World Through Color" at the John Fielder Art Gallery. The photographs were really good, especially the people pictures. The gallery was packed, but I was able to elbow my way into a place where I could see the screen. Harrington's photographs were supersaturated - but in a pleasing way. While I was there, I ran into a former DU employee - Mary Metros - who along with the former head of Human Resources at DU - Patricia Whitehouse - now works at Gannet Broadcasting/9 News. So there is life after DU! That has got me thinking outside the box - maybe they can me a job as the weekend sports anchor. Perfect!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Every afternoon around 2:00 P.M, the textbook office leaves the DU Bookstore, sits down in front of the store, and does some "brainstorming." Sometimes, Darrel, the Accounts Payable Supervisor (pictured on the left), joins them. Often, on Fridays, they brainstorm the entire day. Thank God we have such dedicated employees, working hard to keep the store competitive and profitable.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ken from Bar Charts

Ken is the Denver representative of Bar Charts, a publishing company specializing in laminated "cheat sheets" on a number of subjects. He was the rep when I was the trade book buyer at the DU Bookstore, before I was "promoted" to Finance Manager. As I recall, I was something like 12 years old. This was during the Reagan Administration, when it was legal to allow anyone over the age of 5 to work not more than 80 hours a week. Those were the good old days, when America was truly competitive. Hopefully, in another couple of years, President Sarah Palin can return us to those glory days,

unfettered by government regulation.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Noah is one of the most faithful readers of my blog. He starts every day reading my words of wisdom. Noah is the Stockroom Coordinator at the DU Bookstore, and as you may remember, pioneered the idea of turning off the heat in the stockroom to make the employees work faster. Now that the outside temperatures have risen, the number of frostbite cases among stockroom employees has drastically declined, so all is good. I was planning to include Noah in my photography project, featuring him reading his poetry at Stella's Cafe on Pearl Street. Unfortunately, Noah tells me that now that he has two young children, he never leaves his home. He goes directly to work in the morning, and then home every night. His ambition is to one day visit the neighborhood Safeway store again. Everybody has to have a dream. Go for it, Noah!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Weekend Photo Project

I had Monday - Martin Luther King Day - off, so I worked on a couple of photo projects for several of my friends. Estella, who helped care for my mother before she passed away, asked me to make some copies of photographs of herself and her mother, and of her entire family, to give to relatives when she goes to Arizona to visit her family at the end of the month. Ana Silvia asked me to make another copy of a photo of her mother at age 19 (the photograph above) to send to her father. Ana Silvia's mother was the sister of my brother-in-law George's mother. George's mother grew up in Honduras, while his father was a Swede raised on the south side of Chicago. My sister says she never knows who will be getting up in the morning - "Jolly Don Jorge or a broody Swede." It is a multicultural experience ever day for her!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Thin Man

My friend Stuart and I went to the stock show today, and afterwards stopped at the Vine Street Pub for dinner. After we ordered beers, Stuart fortunately noticed on the menu that they DO NOT TAKE CREDIT CARDS! What? Unheard of! We were able to pool together enough cash to pay for the beers - fortunately it was happy hour - and headed somewhere more civilized. First, though, we went next door to one of Denver's trendiest bars, The Thin Man, to have a look. Out in front is a tree with table lamps hanging from the branches, and inside the walls are covered with holy paintings and crosses. The table lamps hanging from trees I understand, but not the Catholic memorabilia. The place does not look like a nun bar to me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Joe and Ana Silvia

I gave my friends Joe and Ana Silvia a tour of the University of Denver Campus today. They were very impressed with both the buildings and the landscaping. They were especially impressed with all the copper on so many of the buildings. Copper is visible all over campus, except of course on the building the Bookstore is housed in. No tower either, unlike so many of the buildings on campus. I am sure that is not meant to be a slight by the administration against the Bookstore. In point of fact, they even agreed to keep the heat on in the building the week after Christmas, when the rest of the university was closed. Of course, we each had to chip in 10 bucks, but fair is fair. They really do love us.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Portrait of Wally

I took a portrait of Wally today for the "Blurb Book" that will be the final project for the class I am taking with Roddy, the photography professor at the University of Denver. Wally give me his best "bulldog" look, imitating his hero, Winston Churchill. While I was taking his photograph, Wally told me the details of Churchill's most famous portrait. Karsh, the photographer, could not get the image he wanted. Then, suddenly, he pulled the cigar right out of Churchill's mouth, went back to his camera, and took the most famous portrait ever made of Churchill, getting the exact expression he wanted. That is one great example of thinking outside of the box.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Dave B. is the DU Bookstore's Marketing Coordinator. He is in charge of all the promotions at the Bookstore. So I asked him if he was getting some kind of kickback for promoting the new movie "Rite" at the store. He said he had nothing to do with it, and that it was the Director of the DU Bookstore, Tristy, who arranged all of this. I have to wonder if she didn't invest Bookstore funds in this movie, in order to recoup the revenue lost from declining textbook sales. But movies are as risky a business as bookstores these days. So my other question is, will I get a part in the next movie?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Joe Has Returned!

Joe is back to fill in for Noah, who is on parental leave after the birth of his second child. As far as I can tell, Noah has been on parental leave for most of the decade, but maybe that is just my imagination. In any case, I asked Joe if will be modifying Noah's strategy of having no heat in the stockroom, in hopes of making the staff work faster. Joe says that if there is a lot of work to be done, he will keep the heat off - even in below zero conditions. However, if progress is being made by the staff, he might reward them by turning the heat back on - at least a little. Joe has a solid future in management, as far as I am concerned.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Work Study Students Are Back!

After a long holiday break, the DU Bookstore's Work Study Students are back. They do a great job in helping to keep the store running. They are full of energy, enthusiam, and cheerfulness. Jamie, pictured above, is just one example. This is in contrast to our more senior staff members, by which I mean Wally. Wally has been demanding that the Bookstore allow afternoon naps for the staff. It is not like he is waiting for our decision, of course. We often have to wake him up in his chair at the information desk. Time to order those tasers.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hat Week Extended By Popular Demand!

Hat week has been extended by popular demand. Pictured above are Charlie, on the left, in his always fashionable black beret, and Brian, on the right, pushing the envelope on the definition of "hat." Charlie is retired from a successful career at Gates Rubber, while Brian sells real estate, which makes him just slightly less popular than a used car salesman.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Classic Unabomber Look

Hat week at the DU Bookstore concludes with the classic "Unabomber" look. Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, grew up in Evergreen Park, Illinois, just a few miles from where I grew up in Brainerd, on the south side of Chicago. Back there we all used to dress like this, and no one thought anything about it. Now, whenever I go into a liquor store to pick up a couple of 6 packs, and I turn around, I am usually looking at the Denver SWAT team. It almost makes you want to switch to club soda.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Straight Out of Dr. Zhivago!

Robyn is very proud of her fur hat. It is the same style hat the Russian royal family and the aristocracy wore when riding horse drawn sleighs to the many parties and balls around St. Petersburg - at least until the Bolsheviks shot them all. I wonder what they did with all those hats? Perhaps Robyn is wearing one! On a different subject, due to an unfortunate spelling error at the hospital, Robyn spells her name "Robyn" instead of "Robin." If she changed her name now, the TSA would never let her on another airplane flight. In previous blogs, I referred to her as Robin, so I heartily apologize to her for the error.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Classic Hat Week Look!

Marty is the General Merchandise and Textbook Manager for the University of Denver Bookstore. He is pictured above wearing his beloved Do-rag (DU-rag?). He wears it all the time at the Bookstore. During the first week of classes, he spent a lot of time on the sales floor, and I want to state right off that I think there is no validity to the claim some people are making that this is the reason why textbook sales at the store have dropped so precipitously.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Roddy Steps Up!

This is "Hat Week" at the DU Bookstore. Robyn promised she would come to work today wearing her fabulous fur hat. However, she showed up today without it. She said she forgot. FORGOT? During HAT WEEK? In any case, Roddy stepped up and let me take his photograph before class. What a trooper!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Beanie with a Bill!

Matthew, a DU Bookstore work study employee, wears a hat all the time. Today he is wearing a "Beanie with a Bill," much more stylish than the beanies worn in the movie Animal House so many years ago. Matthew works in the stockroom of the DU Bookstore, and you really need a hat, as well as an overcoat and scarf, back there. As I have mentioned before, Noah - the Stockroom Coordinator - keeps the back room at a steady 33 degrees, just warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing. He believes that people will work faster when they are in danger of freezing to death. I think Noah has a great future as a corporate executive.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hat Week Continues at the DU Bookstore!

It is Day 2 of Hat Week at the DU Bookstore. Wally, unlike Dee, prefers comfort and warmth over style in his hat-wear. He refers to this hat as an "Elmer Fudd" style cap. I have no problem with it, although a lot of customers seem taken aback that he insists on wearing this particular hat in the store while he is working.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's Hat Week at the DU Bookstore!

Today is the first day of classes at the DU Bookstore, but more importantly, it is Hat Week at the DU Bookstore. Dee, pictured above, is going with the classic bowler, always the top choice of the fashion conscience. However, Dee claims she is just having a bad hair day.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Return of Mike

Tomorrow is the first day of winter quarter classes at DU, and our regular group of temporary employees, such as Mike (pictured above), are back to help with the rush period. The rest of the time, Mike works "pro bono" as a legal assistant for a prisoner's rights organization. If you think you recognize his face from a photograph on the Colorado Department of Corrections web site - in the middle of a group of convicts - that is the reason why. At least, that's what he tells me.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Memory Lane

I was invited to New Year's Day dinner with my friends Ana Silvia, Joe, and Stella tonight -people who would not be able to refuse my taking their picture. I'll be damned if I didn't forget my camera. In any case, I gave Ana Silvia some retouched 8X10 black and white photographs of her mother and her favorite aunt. I decided to retouch a few photographs of my own, too, including the rather staged photograph of my sister and mother pictured above. I especially remember my sister suggesting I take a photograph of the two of them pointing at the "penguins." I mentioned that we were at least several thousand miles away from the natural habitat of penguins and that I suspected these were pelicans. "You know what I mean," said the south side Chicago native. We didn't get to the zoo much back then.