Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Successful Interview!

Bri, a senior at the University of Denver and a student employee at the DU Bookstore, had an interview for a position teaching English in Korea yesterday, and she told fellow staff members at the Bookstore that the interview went very well. I asked Bri if she speaks Korean, and she told me she can count to 10 and say goodbye.  However, she also told me that schools prefer that you not speak Korean, so that students are forced to speak only English in class.  Bri would prefer to live in a city like Seoul, but will accept a position anywhere in the country.  My only piece of advice to is to avoid the DMZ.  If you can look out your window and see North Korea, you do not have a good assignment.  Best of luck to you, Bri!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Churchill At The Broadmoor?

No, he was never there, although if he had been, Wally (pictured above) would have written a lofty tome about the subject.  Wally - my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore and a loyal Churchill fan - recently spent a few days at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs and thinks it would be a perfect location for next year's International Churchill Conference.  This year's conference will be held in Washington, DC, which in my opinion has been overrated for years.  With a Colorado location for the conference, participants could finally have a frank discussion about Ward Churchill, the infamous former University of Colorado professor - just where does he fit into the Churchill family tree?  Plus, there could be lots of laid back, Colorado style events, such as the "Running of the Churchills."  Hey Blog Readers! Contact to demand the Broadmoor be considered.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Marty's Website Is Here At Last!

Marty - the DU Bookstore's Textbook Manager - has launched his new web site ( at last!  The site promotes his guitar lessons, his services as a guitarist, and the services of the two bands he plays with:  Flock of Beagles and Mad Cowabunga.  The site looks really good, but I have to say I was disappointed about several things. First of all, Marty states under the services tab that he no longer teaches scuba, a popular pastime here in Colorado.  Secondly, both of his bands have dropped "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" from their set lists.  Talk about disappointment!  In any case, good luck with the new web site Marty.  Perhaps you can add back that old Four Lads tune later.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Fuzzy Kind Of Day

Tony - the DU Bookstore's Copy Center Manager - let me take his photograph today, but when I looked  at it, it seemed a little fuzzy.  I am using my old digital point and shoot camera this week while I have my other camera repaired, so image quality has been a bit of an issue.  Later on I took a second photograph that looked much sharper, although Tony told me that he did indeed feel a little fuzzy today, and so a fuzzy photograph of him made perfect sense. A mood detecting camera!  What a breakthrough!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Stock Show Redux

I attended the National Western Stock Show here in Denver today for the second time in two weeks, this time with my friend Stuart (in the photograph above on the right). After being criticized last week for getting too close to a cow's face while taking a photo, I was hoping to redeem myself by taking a more humane type of cow photograph, hopefully with Stuart posing with his arm around the cow's neck.  It would have been a very warm and fuzzy portrait.  However, by today all those sensitive cow owners had already shipped their cows to the slaughterhouse, so I had to settle for a portrait of Stuart with a horse, and unfortunately Stuart wouldn't even get in the stall with him (or her, as the case might be).  Oh well, wait until next year, as they are always saying about the Chicago Cubs.  

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Speak Of The Devil...

Yesterday's Blog was about Valarie's daughter Cheyanne, who is serving in the Peace Corps in Mozambique.  Tonight I went out to dinner and a movie with Valarie to celebrate my 60th birthday.  Valarie tells me that Cheyanne is really enjoying her time there, and that they hope to get together in India this December for a wedding in the resort town of Madikeri Coorg.  However, Valarie is worried about the travel arrangements, and wants a travel agent to coordinate the trip.  Nonsense Valarie!  I am there for you.  I love making travel plans.  I live for it.  People (and by that I mean Valarie) often refuse my help because they know I am a bargain type traveler (a cheapskate), but actually I look for both quality and value. Don't worry Valarie!  I will get you there at a rock bottom price, and probably back again, too.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Meanwhile, Back In Mozambique

My friend Valarie's daughter Cheyanne - third from the right in the photograph above - is working as a teacher with the Peace Corps in Mozambique. I mentioned this last week to Sonny, who worked at the DU Bookstore as a cashier during our rush period and who is getting a degree in international studies at the University of Denver. Sonny recently returned from Lesotho, where he was a Peace Corps worker for the past two years.  Sonny told me that Mozambique was the dream assignment in Africa, with its beautiful beaches and resorts. And as a matter of fact, Cheyanne mentions in her Blog ( that she spent Christmas on the beach with friends and had a great time.  It was all very touristy and modern and fun there, but heading back to her post in the Homoine District she was immediately plunged back into Third World reality.  Cheyanne really seems to thrive on this.  If it was me, I would still be back at the beach.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Catching Up With Roddy

I had lunch this afternoon with Roddy, the University of Denver's Photography Professor.  Roddy  recently returned from teaching a DU photography class that visited both London and Paris, and needless to say, it was a huge success.  Roddy was also able to visit his native Scotland and attend a huge gala at his alma mater.  I told Roddy all about my recent adventures in Fort Collins, but they seem to pale a bit in comparison.  Not that Fort Collins isn't a world class city, of course.  Especially if you have a fascination with livestock.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Backroom Book Review

Noah is currently reading and enjoying the Great Gatsby, the classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and tells me he feels a close connection with the title character, Jay Gatsby. Or at least as close a connection as someone living in North Denver with a wife, two kids, and a job at the DU Bookstore can feel to that mysterious millionaire playboy.  I hate to admit this, but I myself feel a close connection with Ebeneezer Scrooge.  As a matter of fact, three ghosts keep visiting me every Christmas Eve, but instead of changing my stingy spirit, I have always wound up breaking theirs.  Sad but true, old sport.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Marty Sticks To His Timetable

Marty, as regular Blog readers know, is the DU Bookstore's Textbook Manager and is putting together his own web site ( to promote his music lessons and the services of the bands for whom he plays guitar.   I last checked with Marty in December, and he told me his web site would be up and running by the end of the year.  As of today, Marty's site is still not yet up and running, but everyone will be happy to know that his timetable has not changed.  He still maintains that his website will be up by the end of the year.  Way to go Marty!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King Day

Today is Martin Luther King Day, an official holiday at the DU Bookstore and therefore a welcome day off for the staff.  This is traditionally the day I take down my Christmas tree each year.  I usually put my tree up on the 23rd or 24th of December - just before my annual Christmas dinner - so that my guests don't think (or confirm) that I am some sort of Scrooge. Once the tree is up, it makes the apartment so cheerful, I want to keep it up for a while.  However, by January 20th or 21st, if you don't take the tree down, people begin to suspect you are crazy, and often cross to the opposite side of the street when you pass.  Actually, people tend to do that now, but no matter.  The important thing is that the tree is down and spring is in sight!  Let's play ball!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reality Check

I attended the National Western Stock Show here in Denver this afternoon for my annual reality check, which is the sad realization that the food we eat does not just magically appear, wrapped in plastic, in the meat section of the grocery store.  It comes from animals like the one in the photograph above, who is giving me what seems like an accusatory look.  A woman standing behind me, possibly the owner, was complaining loudly to her friend about how close I was to the animal's face with my camera, and how people would never do that to someone's baby.  If you think the cow finds that traumatic, just wait until you sell it to the slaughterhouse.  Talk about trauma.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Painting The Town Red!

My sister Susan and brother-in-law George (pictured above) and I celebrated Susan and my birthdays up in Fort Collins tonight.  We decided to do a brew pub tour, and started the evening at Equinox Brewing.  The place was packed to the rafters, and Susan and George did not want to stand while having a beer (they are old), and so we walked through Old Town Fort Collins up to Pateros Creek Brewing Company.  The bartender claimed they were sold out of their famed Sleeping Elephant Ale for the season, although Susan suspected they were probably stashing a few kegs in back for the staff.  We settled for the Outpost and Old Town Ales, which were both very good indeed.  Afterwards, Susan and George decided they were tired of bar hopping (did I mention that they are old?), and we headed off for Mexican food at the El Monte Grill.  A great way to start my 60th year!  My God, my 60th?  There must be some mistake.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane

My friend Stuart (pictured above) and I had pizza and beer last night at the Old Chicago Restaurant on South Colorado Boulevard here in Denver.  Over dinner, we reminisced about how we used to come here when it was a restaurant and bar called Fenway Park.  I believe the owners were trying to target all the Boston Red Sox baseball fans living here in Denver.  Not a good business strategy.  Those 5 guys - plus Stuart and I - were the only customers the place ever got.  Eventually Old Chicago took over the location, and the place has been jammed with ex-Chicagoans ever since.  It is especially lively when the White Sox (from the city's South Side) play the North Side Cubs.  Emotions are highly charged, fists fly, and Old Style beer flows freely.  Then everybody settles down, gets into a reflective mood, and we all start to ask the bigger questions in life, such as "why the hell did we ever drink Old Style back there?"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ashley Visits!

Ashley  - a work study student at the DU Bookstore for 4 years while she was an undergraduate - stopped by the Bookstore this morning to say hello.  She will receive her Master's Degree in Developmental Cell Biology this spring from the University of Denver and hopes to pursue a career in the field of clinical psychology.  When she was an undergraduate, I advised her to go to Guadalajara, Mexico to pursue a medical degree, but she opted on the side of survival instead and didn't take my advice.  She is obviously one smart girl.      

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dee Pays A Visit To the DU Bookstore

Dee, who often helps out the DU Bookstore during rush periods, stopped by the Bookstore today to pick up some supplies for The Spirituals Project (, an organization located on the University of Denver campus and whose mission is the promotion of spirituals through both concerts and education.  Dee has worked enthusiastically for The Spirituals Project for a number of years now.  Dee is also - along with Noah - one of the two unofficial DU Bookstore poets.  When are we going to get an epic poem about the Bookstore, guys?  You could give Alfred Lord Tennyson a good run for his money with a subject like that.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Noah Hangs Tough!

The DU Bookstore's stockroom is a bit on the chilly side these days, since the heating system back there is on the fritz and Denver is currently experiencing a deep freeze.  While waiting for the heat to be restored, most of the staff members back there are wearing parkas as they work, but not Noah (pictured above pretending he is freezing). Noah often wears short sleeve shirts back there, and would wear shorts too if he could.  He finds the cold refreshing, and says it reminds him of his childhood home, which was always kept cold enough to hang meat.  Way to tough it out, Noah!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Living the Dream

Joe - pictured above - has been working here at the DU Bookstore the past few weeks during the store's "rush" period (the start of the winter quarter).  Joe tells me he is "living the dream, although not necessarily his dream."  In addition to working at the Bookstore, Joe is also a monotype artist and an instructor at the Art Students League of Denver.  In addition to exhibiting his work at the Zip 37 Gallery here in Denver, he will be having two shows at Denver's Redline Gallery this February.  Not a bad dream to be living, no matter whose it is.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

No Hard Feelings!

I visited the Denver Art Museum this afternoon (I am now a member of the DAM, I'll have you know) and spent quite a while looking at the museum's Western and Native American Art.  I especially enjoyed the works by the younger Native American artists.  A lot of it is fun, but with a serious underlying message.  I know the white man stole your land, massacred your people, forced you onto reservations, and destroyed your culture, but surely you're not going to hold that against us, are you?  After all, look at all the great art it inspired.  No need to thank us, of course. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Two Masterpieces Lost Forever!

I took photographs yesterday of Joe and Pat, both of whom work at the DU Bookstore during "rush" periods, but  I'll be damned if I didn't accidentally delete them.  What a disaster!  Hopefully Joe will let me retake his photograph next week, but Pat won't be working at the Bookstore again until March, so it will be a long wait before I can retake that particular photo.  Pat was going with her husband and children to the Denver Broncos playoff game today, so I suppose if I was a truly dedicated photographer I would have called and arranged to meet them outside the stadium to take their photograph.  However, since it was 8 degrees outside, I thought to myself "maybe not."  I turned on the game to see how the Broncos were doing, and it looked to me like the fans were a little bit chilly (see above).  Not only did they have to sit for 4 or 5 hours in 8 degree weather and withstand bitterly cold winds, but after all that, the Broncos lost the game.  Better you than me, Pat!  See you in March!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Debra & Ceci Pay A Visit

Debra (in the photograph on the left) and Ceci (on the right) stopped by the DU Bookstore this morning to make a purchase.  They both work for the University of Denver's Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, and as faithful Blog readers will recall, Ceci was until recently a DU Bookstore employee.  Debra let me know that it was OK for Ceci to make purchases using the department's charge card.  It's a good thing she told me, too.  Otherwise I would have called Campus Security immediately.  Nothing personal, Ceci.  We still would have visited you in the slammer.  Schedules permitting, of course.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

John "Bowls Over" The Bookstore

John - a University of Denver student as well as a Customer Service Associate at the DU Bookstore - has started wearing a bowler hat to work these days.  I asked him why he decided to start wearing a bowler, and he replied that it just seemed like the right thing to do.  And as a matter of fact, it turns out that the bowler hat was once the most popular hat out here in the American West, far more so than the standard cowboy hat or sombrero.  It was popular because it would not blow off in strong winds or when you stuck your head out of speeding trains.  Bat Masterson, Butch Cassidy, and Billy the Kid are just three examples of devoted bowler hat wearers.  I suspect John is just channeling his inner cowboy. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A Suggestion For Wally

As faithful Blog readers know, Wally - my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore - would like to move to Halifax, Nova Scotia when he retires, but his wife Linda is not too enthused about the idea.  Linda seems to think it might be a bit nippy up there, and is also not crazy about Wally's plan to sit and read by the fireplace in their seaside cottage while Linda runs around town buying groceries and running errands.  I suggested to Wally today that he surprise Linda with a trip to Halifax this February.  It is a beautiful time of year to visit. Wally and Linda could even attend the Hypothermia Half Marathon ("see your breath as you attempt to catch it") taking place there Sunday, February 10th. I guarantee that Linda will be left speechless after an event like that.      

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mozambique Update

Cheyanne, the daughter of Valarie, my friend and former co-worker at the DU Bookstore, is currently working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique.  She also has a great Blog documenting her experiences there, which can be found at  Recently she wrote about an assignment to kill, clean and cook a chicken (see Cheyanne's photograph above), which was given to better understand the local culture.  Cheyanne was unable to carry this out.  For this I blame the mother.  Valarie and Cheyanne lived in the foothills of Colorado for years, but did Valarie EVEN ONCE teach Cheyanne the art of killing, cleaning, and cooking a chicken, a skill that Cheyanne might some day desperately need?  SHE DID NOT!  How incredibly disappointing.  What more can I possibly say?

Monday, January 7, 2013

The First Day Of Classes!

Today was the first day of the Winter Quarter here at the University of Denver, and the staff of the DU Bookstore was in a festive (of a sort) mood. The day was pretty hectic, but all the students were in good humor, happy to be back at school.  Time to get back to their studies and to the serious business of partying. Welcome Back DU Students!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy Epiphany Everyone!

Today is Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night, the last day of Christmas.  Christians around the world celebrate Epiphany as the day the Three Wise Men reached Bethlehem and presented the Christ Child with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (of course, these days the gifts would be more like smartphones, i-pads, and play stations, but no matter).  This is also the day when most people ask themselves that heart-wrenching question: should we take the Christmas tree down today?  As for me, I just put the damn thing up December 23rd, so I have no intention of taking it down yet.  Perhaps next weekend.  Of course, on the other hand, the week after that is the three day Martin Luther King Day weekend, so perhaps that would be the best day to take down the tree.  And for that matter, I will have a lot of free time Memorial Day weekend, too.  Decisions, decisions.  In any case, Happy Twelfth Night To One And All!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Positive Sign For The Economy

I visited Doug - the DU Bookstore's Textbook Coordinator - this afternoon at the Wizard's Chest, a local institution located in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver.  Doug has worked there every Saturday as the resident magician for as long as I can remember.  While waiting for Doug to finish up with a customer, I couldn't help but notice a display of rubber chickens by his counter.  I'm not sure what the purpose of a rubber chicken is, but Doug tells me they are selling very well.  I believe it was the famous economist John Maynard Keynes who said that once rubber chickens start selling, the economy is on the mend.  Let The Good Times Roll.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Back From Jackson Hole

John, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, returned today from a family vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Contrary to rumors, John was not attacked up there by a bull moose.  The bull moose was, in point of fact, attacking a fence, which he (the moose) had taken a strong dislike to.  However, John and his family were at one point surrounded by a herd of bison, which evidently is a constant problem in Wyoming.  That must make commuting up there pure hell.  Welcome back to the land of streets and sidewalks, John!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ceci Moves On

Ceci, Coursebooks Team Lead at the DU Bookstore, is leaving her post at the Bookstore to accept a position with the University of Denver's School of Real Estate and Construction Management.  Ceci graciously agreed to be photographed today for this Blog, and didn't even blink an eye when I said I would drop by her new department every month to take more Blog photos.  I'm sure she won't mind, but I still have no intention of announcing my visits in advance.  After all, I'm not crazy - at least not that crazy.  Good Luck Ceci!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Going To The Dogs

I had dinner New Years Day with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George. This means I also spent the day with their pesky - I mean perky - dogs Thigle (pictured above) and Blackberry.  These dogs are the children Susan and George never had, and are of course spoiled rotten.  They wear Santa Caps during the Christmas season, bunny ears on Easter, and are fed scraps from the dinner table.  At least they aren't sitting at the table while we eat, but I'm afraid that might be coming.  Could you pass the gravy, Thigle?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I went downtown New Year's Eve to see the 9:00 P.M. fireworks on the 16th Street Mall here in Denver.  It was a brisk 4 degrees by the time 9 o'clock rolled around.  After the show, being the party animal I am, I headed directly to the light-rail station down the block, which was of course closed.  I had to walk to the convention center, where lines were set up based on which train you wanted to board.  It was so damn cold I don't see how anyone could have survived until the midnight fireworks show.  A man in line in front of me, seeing me shake uncontrollably, offered me his hot chocolate, which I was tempted to take, but I took off running instead when a different line started boarding a train.  I made it before it pulled out.  The train was nice and warm.  It seems to me it would far more enjoyable riding the light-rail up and down the line than standing out there in the cold.  That's why they call me "Mr.Fun."