Friday, November 30, 2012

A Visit From Chris

Chris, a former DU Bookstore employee, is living the good life working at University of Denver's Chemistry Department three days a week.  She stopped by the Bookstore today to say hello and catch up on what is happening at the store.  Chris mentioned that she went to her cousin's house for Thanksgiving Dinner this year, but will  be doing all the cooking on Christmas.  I told her that I will also be hosting a dinner on Christmas Day, and took the opportunity to ask if she thought it would be wise to cook a turkey I have had in my freezer since last Thanksgiving.  Chris advised me to be cautious and make sure I don't poison all my guests, at least not on Christmas Day.  Wise advice indeed.  On the other hand, the emergency rooms will surely be open Christmas Night - decisions, decisions...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Still Another Retraction!

Dee (pictured in the photograph above), works at the DU Bookstore during rush periods and is also a poet.  She stopped by the Bookstore today and stated emphatically that she is not a "Slam" poet and does not participate in Slam poetry contests.  Once again I have been misinformed and must print a retraction.  Like Noah, the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager, Dee prefers the old fashioned kind of poetry readings.  There goes the big poetry contest I had been planning for the Bookstore's Stockroom.  Perhaps we can still have some poetry readings, and then award a lifetime supply of out-of-print textbooks to both Dee and Noah.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The DU Bookstore Poetry Games

Noah, the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager (pictured above), is a poet in his spare time.  He has stated many times that he does not like the idea of "Slam Poetry," where contestants shout their poetry to each other and a winner is chosen from among the participants. Noah feels it is just an attempt to make poetry exciting, and he prefers the unexciting old fashioned kind of poetry readings. Another Bookstore employee, Dee, is also a poet, but takes part in Slam Poetry contests all the time here at the University of Denver.  I say let them face off in the DU Bookstore Stockroom, while everyone is checking in winter quarter textbooks.  Not only will it be an interesting contrast in styles, but it will make the day fly by.  The winner will receive a lifetime supply of out-of-print textbooks.  Let the contest begin!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Excitement Builds!

Everybody at the DU Bookstore is anxiously awaiting the debut of Marty's (the DU Bookstore Coursebook Manager's) new website,  I checked out the site today.  It says "Future home of something quite cool," and shows a closet with that loud shirt Marty always likes to wear.  The website will promote the two bands Marty plays guitar for and will also promote the music lessons he offers in the evenings and on weekends. I asked him the other day if he gives zither lessons, in addition to guitar. As everyone knows, zither music is coming back in a big way.  Marty told me yes - zither and scuba.  You don't think he was being sarcastic, do you?  I didn't even think Marty could swim.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mustard's Last Stand

I had dinner tonight at Mustard's Last Stand, located just down the street from the University of Denver.  The hamburgers and fries there are great.  Plus, the place has a Chicago theme, with Chi-town memorabilia on the walls and Cubs and White Sox baseball on the television during the summer.  And the best thing is, everyone there is still depressed about the Cub's miserable season.  Not only do you get a good meal, you get to experience a group therapy session to help deal with still another losing season. As they say in Chicago, wait until next year!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Leftover Turkey

Leftover turkey was on the menu today up in Fort Collins.  My sister Susan contemplates another 3 weeks of leftovers in the photograph above, while my brother-in-law George watches television, trying not to think about it.  And after the three weeks are up, we all can look forward to... More Turkey!  That is what is on the menu at my place on Christmas Day.  Not only is it delicious, but wouldn't "Leftover Turkey" make a great new name for Marty's - the DU Bookstore's Coursebook Manager's - band?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cruising For Carolers

I saw in the newspaper that the Third Annual Victorian Home Tour in the Upper Colfax neighborhood of Denver was taking place this Saturday, and decided to check it out.  The cost of the tour was FIFTEEN DOLLARS - not that I am cheap or anything - so I decided to just check out the neighborhood and see if I could get a photograph of The Original Dickens Carolers, who were scheduled to perform that afternoon in front of the Castle Marne Bed and Breakfast at 16th and Race Streets. In point of fact, I was very impressed with the neighborhood.  In a two block square area could be found the Castle Marne Bed and Breakfast, the Vine Street Brewpub, St. Mark's Coffee House, the Thin Man Pub, Pete's Kitchen, and the iconic Satire Lounge. Talk about a great neighborhood!  Plus, I actually did wind up seeing The Original Dickens Carolers, took their photograph, and saved fifteen bucks in the bargain.  Talk about a win-win situation!

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Black Friday Kind Of Birthday

I went up to Fort Collins this afternoon to celebrate Thanksgiving with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George.  Since today is George's birthday, we decided to celebrate both events at the same time.  When I first met him, George was 10 years older than  me.  Now he tells me that he is actually 10 years younger than I am.  Susan says this has something to do with Quantum Physics and Einstein's Theory of Relativity.  Isn't science wonderful?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Broadway Danny Rose Kind Of Thanksgiving

My sister Susan and brother-in-law George decided to postpone Thanksgiving until Friday, so today I was on my own.  I decided to celebrate the day with a "Broadway Danny Rose" kind of Thanksgiving.  In that 1980s era Woody Allen movie, Danny Rose would entertain his show business clients each Thanksgiving with individual frozen turkey dinners, which they all agreed was just as good as the real thing.  And in point of fact, my dinner tonight did indeed taste just as good as a regular Thanksgiving Day meal.  On the other hand, I am also a dedicated Maxwell House instant coffee drinker, and I firmly believe that instant coffee is just as good, if not better, than a cup of Starbucks. Deal with it, all you gourmets out there.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cheryl Stops By

Cheryl, the Budget Coordinator for the Office of Teaching and Learning at the University of Denver and who also works at the DU Bookstore during rush periods, stopped by the Bookstore today to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  When I first asked Cheryl this afternoon if I could take her photograph for my Blog, she said no.  However, after I broke down into tears and started sobbing she changed her mind and agreed to let me take the photo.  Never let humiliation get in the way of getting the job done, I always say.  It is a hard truth, but one every Blogger must learn.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Damn Yankees

John, who works at the DU Bookstore and is also a University of Denver student, is flying home to Atlanta tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with his family.  John and I got into a conversation this afternoon about the relative busyness of Atlanta's Hartsfield airport versus Chicago's O'Hare (my former hometown airport).  I mentioned that Chicago got its start as a railroad hub, and John mentioned that Atlanta was a railroad hub too, until Illinois' General Grant destroyed the place.  I pointed out that it was actually General Sherman (another Illinois native) who put the torch to the place, but John didn't seem to think that was an important detail.  One Illinois Yankee is the same as any other, I guess.  You don't think Atlantans are still bitter after all these years, do you?

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Glasses For Noah

I noticed today that Noah, the Stockroom Manager of the DU Bookstore, was wearing new eyeglasses.  A few weeks ago, he told me that he fell asleep on a couch while reading, and broke his previous pair. He finally replaced the broken glasses last week. When I asked if I could take his photograph to commemorate this event, he asked me if this was truly blog worthy material. Are you crazy, Noah?  We bloggers are desperate for things to write about.  New eyeglasses are a tremendous thing to report on.  For me, even the heartbreak of psoriasis is a big scoop.  Congrats on the new look, Noah!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Lost Masterpiece - Recovered!

I finally got my Canon camera back this week.  I had left it in my friend Valarie's car last Sunday, and she brought it back to me this past Thursday.  Thank goodness for that, since I had taken an irreplaceable photograph (from left to right) of Valarie, Chris, Jim, Linda, and Darrel just after we had seen the documentary film "Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters" on the last day of the Denver Film Festival.  As faithful blog readers know, Valarie, Chris, Darrel, and I all used to work together at the DU Bookstore.  The movie was great, as was the dinner afterwards at Maggiano's Little Italy.  What a tragedy it would have been to have lost this wonderful "moment in time."  Thanks for finding my camera, Valarie!  The art world salutes you!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The End Of The Fall Quarter

Yesterday was the last day of the fall quarter here at the University of Denver.  I had expected that most DU students would be home studying for their finals, which will be taking place this Saturday through Tuesday.  Instead, they all seemed to be at Jordan's Irish Pub, kitty-corner from the DU campus, mellowing out before taking their big exams.  That was my plan last night, and I'm not even taking any classes.  See you next January DU students!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Valarie Returns To The DU Bookstore!

Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the University of Denver Bookstore, returned to the store for a visit yesterday after two and a half years.  I must say she was very impressed with the store's new look.  After a major remodeling - new carpet, new fixtures, the works - Valarie thinks the store looks great.  She was especially impressed with the store's general book section and how well the Bookstore is being merchandised.  However, she flat out refused to help with the semi-annual inventory taking place this Sunday. I guess nostalgia can take you only so far.  Go figure.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Churchill Dinner Is This Saturday!

Wally, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, reminded me today that the Rocky Mountain Churchillians will be hosting their annual Churchill dinner this Saturday night, and Wally has good news!  The dinner will be held inside the Park Hill Golf Course clubhouse, instead of out on the fairway as originally planned.  That might have been a pretty nippy affair this time of year.  I can't remember the main speaker's name - I think it was Who something.  Perhaps Dr. Who! In any case, he will be speaking about all things Churchill (Winston, not Ward), and there is still time to join the Rocky Mountain Churchillians and attend the festivities.  The website is  Still no word on the open bar, however.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

That Old Positive Spirit

Tony, the Quick Copy Center Manager at the DU Bookstore, tells me things are going well for him, and that he has nothing at all to complain about.  He also adds that life is too short to be unhappy.  That's the spirit, Tony! You aren't going to catch him worrying about the end of the world, which according to the Mayan calendar takes place next month. C'est la guerre, as they say.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Exciting News!

Marty, the Course Materials Manager at the DU Bookstore, is only a few days away from having his own web site.  Marty, as faithful readers know, is a musician when he is not working at the Bookstore.  On this new web site, he will be promoting the several bands to which he belongs, and their availability for weddings, parties, bar mitzvahs, cruise ship gigs, etc.  Marty will also be promoting his music lessons.  Marty teaches guitar, banjo, the mandolin, the ukulele, and possibly even the zither - and as everyone knows, zither music is making a big comeback.  All will be revealed at Marty's big grand opening party for his web site, which I am sure will have an open bar. Stay tuned for details!

Monday, November 12, 2012

5 Days Till Freedom

John, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, will be taking his chemistry final this coming Saturday, and will have 8 weeks of freedom before starting classes again in January in pursuit of his teaching certificate.  John is contemplating taking 3 classes during the winter term, in addition to working at the Bookstore.  I did that myself once when pursing an MBA at the University of Denver.  That was over 20 years ago, of course.  My analyst tells me I should be fully recovered from that experience in just a few more years.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Homelessness In Denver

I went to see a film about photographer Gregory Crewdson tonight with Darrel and his wife Linda, Chris and her husband Jim, and my friend Valarie.  Darrel, Chris, Valarie and I all used to work together at the DU Bookstore.  This was the last night of the Denver Film Festival, and the documentary about Crewdson was excellent.  Afterwards, we had dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy.  During the course of the evening I took what I feel were the finest photographs of my life, but when I got home, my camera was missing.  I drove back to the place where I thought I had lost it, but nothing had been turned in.  I also retraced my steps along the street where I had walked earlier.  As I passed what I thought was an elderly woman wearing a flimsy blanket, she asked me for money.  It was a cold, windy evening, but I had no money to give her.  I apologized and walked on.  After I got into my car, I felt I had to pull up and ask if I could drive her somewhere.  I offered to take her to a shelter, but she said they were all full, and she was turned away.  She did not want to go to a police station, either.  She told me, in an Eastern European accent, that she was homeless.  Her fiancee has thrown her out, and she was pregnant.  To me she looked at least 70.  She said she could get a room nearby if she had $10, so I went across the street  to a 7-11 and got $20 out of the machine to give to her.  If she was acting, she was very, very good, and definitely deserved the $20, but I don't think she was. What kind of a country do we live in when people have to wander the streets in 20 degree temperatures all night, with no help available whatsoever?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chicagoan By Birth, Outlaw By Choice***

              *** With apologies to David Letterman, who probably stole the line from someone else.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tis The Season

"Tis the Season to be Jolly," but exactly what season?  It is getting hard to tell what holiday is being celebrated these days.  The day after Halloween, most of the malls and department stores started promoting the upcoming holiday, but what holiday do they mean - Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, certainly not Christmas?  Evidently they do mean Christmas.  Next year the holiday decorations will probably go up right after the 4th of July.  It might be a good idea to beat the crowds and start shopping around Memorial Day, just to be safe. I'm certainly glad we have finally won the battle against the commercialization of Christmas. Way to go!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hail To The Chief!

My friend Stuart and I toasted the re-election of Barack Obama tonight with burgers and beers at the Teller House Taproom in beautiful, exotic Lakewood, Colorado.  I myself celebrated with Great Divide Brewery's Rumble IPA, which seemed appropriate given the tone of this year's Presidential Campaign. Stuart feels that Lakewood exudes a  certain European ambiance   I'm not so sure about that.  I was just happy to get out of town before they rolled up the sidewalks for the night.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wally Runs Into Michelle!

Wally, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore (pictured above in a rather pensive mood) ran into Michelle R, a former Bookstore employee, at the Vine Street Pub the other night.  Wally tells me that Michelle is looking good and doing very well, working as a librarian after graduating from the University of Denver.  I'm glad to hear that Michelle is doing so well, but the mention of the Vine Street Pub sends shivers up my spine.  I went in there once with my friend Stuart for burgers and beers, and after ordering drinks, we suddenly realized that they didn't take credit cards.  It was a desperate few minutes until we came up with enough money to pay for 2 beers and slink out.  We missed an evening of doing dishes by inches.  Don't get me wrong - the Vine Street Pub has great food and a wonderful selection of beers - just remember to bring your checkbook.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Australian Connection

Noah - the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager - and his wife have two children, named Adelaide and Sydney.  Curiously, these are the names of two well-known cities in Australia.  I asked Noah about this, and he claims it is just a coincidence, and that he didn't even think about it until he looked closely at the "World Map" shower curtain in his bathroom.  A shower curtain map with Australia on it?  Ah ha!  Another clue!  I suspect Noah and his wife have some sort of subliminal obsession about Australia, which will become clearer once little Darwin and little Melbourne (Mel for short) are born. In fact, I predict that one day Noah and his family will move to Australia, if they can find a city one of the kids isn't named after.  Perhaps Brisbane!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bay Of All Saints

I went downtown to the Denver Pavilions yesterday afternoon to see the documentary film "Bay of All Saints," which is being shown in conjunction with the Denver International Film Festival.  The film was directed, filmed and edited by Annie Eastman, a local documentary film maker. The film follows the lives of three families living in a stilt community over a bay in Bahia, Brazil.  Watching these people live in shacks over a garbage filled bay, constantly dealing with flooding, rats, and the daily struggle to survive definitely puts the mundane problems most of us face here in the United States into perspective.  It even makes me want to donate to the fund set up to help educate the children featured in this film, which is saying something, considering my status as Denver's biggest cheapskate.  A second showing of the film will take place Wednesday at the Denver Film Center on Colfax.  Catch it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Toulouse-Lautrec Lives!

I went to the Denver Art Museum (The DAM) yesterday afternoon for First Saturday and was surprised to see that Toulouse-Lautrec was there greeting visitors.  I had thought he was long gone, but there he was, right at the entrance, giving a cheerful "Bonjour" to everyone.  On the other hand, I really shouldn't have been so surprised.  If William Manchester can complete the third volume of his Churchill trilogy 5 years after his death, why can't Toulouse-Lautrec show up once a month to greet visitors at the Denver Art Museum?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Denver Arts For The Cheapskate Week

Today starts Denver Arts Week, and in conjunction with that most of Denver's museums had free admission tonight between 5:00 and 10:00 P.M.  A free shuttle bus between sights was even provided.  I myself visited the Denver Art Museum, the Clifford Still, Colorado History, and Denver Firefighters Museums, as well as Denver's Museum of Contemporary Art.  All went well until I reached the MCA, which had an admission charge of one cent.  Naturally I did not have a single cent on me.  After about five minutes of fruitless searching, one of the cashiers offered to pay my way in.  Thanks Guy!  And thanks MCA!  I am after all one of Denver's biggest cheapskates.  What did you expect?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dia de los Muertos

Today is Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a Mexican National Holiday.  Today is also All Souls Day, a Roman Catholic Holy Day. Both of these celebrations are dedicated to remembering friends, family, and loved ones who have passed on. This is a truly significant day that hardly anyone pays attention to anymore.  However, the older I get, the more and more I feel the need to celebrate this day, and honor all of those who have played such a significant part in our lives and have passed on. It is time for all of us to start thinking about what is really important in this life.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Last Lion

Wally, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, is currently reading The Last Lion, the final volume of William Manchester's trilogy on the life of Winston Churchill.  Considering that Manchester has been dead for almost 5 years now, you can imagine the effort it must have taken for him to get this project finished.  Talk about dedication!  In any case, Wally highly recommends this book.  In addition, he wants to remind Blog Readers that the Rocky Mountain Churchillians will be having their annual dinner at the Park Hill Golf Course on November 17th.  Sounds a little chilly to me, but what do I know?  Google Rocky Mountain Churchillians to join up and attend.