Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ana Silvia And Joe Come To Dinner!

I invited Ana Silvia and her husband Joe to dinner last night at my condo, located just across the street from the University of Denver.  I served them my famous homemade sausage and pepperoni pizza, which tastes almost exactly like the thin crust pizza made at Anthony's Pizza, located just down the street.  It was a great success, and was followed by my homemade 3-layer coconut cake, which for some reason reminded everyone of Pepperidge Farm.  I'm afraid I can no longer hide my culinary genius.  Perhaps a career as a cookbook author is in my future.  "The Wiseass Chef Cooks Italian" might be only the first of many volumes.  In any case, Happy Easter Everyone!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dee Announces A Spirituals Project Concert!

Dee stopped by the DU Bookstore yesterday to pick up some flyers advertising the Spirituals Project Choir's Spring Concert.  As frequent Blog readers know, Dee is the Program Administrator for the Spirituals Project (  The concert - There IS A Balm In Gilead - will take place April 6th at the Parker Arts and Cultural Center.  Parker, Colorado, by the way,  is really far out, man, and I am not using the 1960s expression for cool.  It seems to me that Parker must be located very close to the Kansas border, although they claim to be a Denver suburb.  In any case, the Spirituals Project Choir is really excellent, so it will be well worth the drive to hear them.  Be sure to pack a lunch for the trip.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Still Fuzzy After All These Years?

The last photograph I took of Tony, the DU Bookstore's Copy Center Manager, was with the first digital camera I ever owned.  I had dropped my Cannon G9 on the sidewalk while taking photographs in Denver's Santa Fe Arts District, and it didn't react well to the shock.  While it was being repaired, I used my old camera.  Tony claims the photograph I took of him with that camera made him look "fuzzy." I took the above photograph yesterday afternoon using the newly repaired G9.  My personal opinion is that Tony still looks fuzzy, and probably always will.  What can I say?  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Meeting Of Churchillian Proportions

Wally, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, was called away from work last week to an emergency meeting of the Rocky Mountain Churchillians (  The organization needed to finalize arrangements to bring Cita Stelzer, author of "Dinner With Churchill," to Denver to speak at one of their special events.  Rumor has it that Mrs. Stelzer's next book will be titled "Churchill Cooks Italian."  This could become an entire series of cookbooks. I asked Wally if there would be an open bar at the event, but evidently the organization has decided not to institute that crowd-pleasing policy.  Then I say forget about it!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

California Dreamin'

Darrel, the former Accounts Payable Supervisor of the DU Bookstore and the current Budget Manager of the University of Denver's Chemistry Department, stopped into the Bookstore yesterday to make a purchase and say hello.  Darrel and his wife Linda just got back from a week's vacation at the beach in Oceanside, California.  Darrel says they had a great time, and could see themselves spending the winters out there in another few years.  I can see them now, grabbing their surfboards and running into the ocean when the cry of "Surf's Up" echos across the beach.  Which reminds me - when is Tristy, the former DU Bookstore Director and current Director of the Cal State Long Beach Bookstore, going to send us her surfing photographs to post on this Blog?  America Is Waiting!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Revenge Of The Proletariat

A local Denver television station has a weekly Thursday night feature on restaurant health inspections, which informs the public about which restaurants have been cited for health code violations and which restaurants have passed with flying colors.  In a recent episode, none other than the Denver Country Club, an exclusive haven here in the Mile High City, was cited for numerous violations.  Management responded that all problems have been fixed, and everything is now back to normal in the land of the rich and famous.  However, guys, if I were you, I would pick something up on the way in at the restaurant portrayed in that same episode as the cleanest place in town - McDonald's.  Bon Appetit!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Living The Good Life In Mozambique

Today is the first day of the Spring Quarter here at the University of Denver, and the DU Bookstore is packed with students buying their textbooks and supplies.  Meanwhile, Cheyanne - the daughter of Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - is living the good life as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique.  Cheyanne (in the photo above on the left) and her roommate (on the right) actually have a maid (second from left), which is a very good thing, not only for the obvious reasons, but because it provides jobs and income for the local population.  Last weekend Cheyanne and her roommate took their maid Lina and Lina's two children to the beach. Although the beach is only an hour and a half away, neither of Lina's children have ever seen the ocean because the bus fare is too expensive.  Not only did Cheyanne and her roommate take them all to the beach, but they also bought them some of the best ice cream in Mozambique.  Way to go guys!  Be sure to check out Cheyanne's Blog and her really great photographs at

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Beautiful Junk!

I volunteered to help out at the "Beautiful Junk" sale yesterday at the Jefferson County Fair Grounds in Golden, Colorado.  The event was sponsored by The Action Center, the non-profit organization my friend Valarie - the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - works for.  Afterwards, we had dinner at Hops, one of my favorite restaurants.  As the photograph above shows, Valarie is still very enthusiastic about having her photograph taken for this Blog.  At least this time she didn't try to take a swing at me.  My incredible charm must finally be having an effect.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

David And Pat Are Back!

David (in the photograph on the left) and Pat (on the right) are back working at the DU Bookstore, helping us out during the start of the spring quarter.  The last time I spoke with Pat, she, her husband Bryan, and their kids were all going to the Denver Broncos - Baltimore Colts playoff game the next day.  I asked her how it went, and she said everyone had a great time up until the last few plays of the game, when the Broncos collapsed.  It was so depressing that she and Bryan briefly discussed getting rid of their season tickets.  That was of course just an initial reaction.  Pat is now very much looking forward to next season and says  "just wait until next year."  I hate to tell you this, Pat, but that is exactly what Cubs fans have been saying for over 100 years now.  Welcome aboard guys!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Back In The Groove!

Joe is back working at the DU Bookstore, taking a break from his day job as an artist and instructor at the Art Students League of Denver to help us prepare for the start of the spring quarter. Joe is unpacking shipments like mad and getting those textbooks out on the shelves as fast as he can.  And when you think about it, unpacking and shelving textbooks is a form of art.  Okay, maybe if you think about it really hard.  It is so difficult being a visionary.  In any case, like our friend and former co-worker Carol, Joe will be exhibiting his work at the Downtown Denver Arts Festival on Memorial Day Weekend and at the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market this June.  Check out his website at

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Band, Marty, The Band!

Marty - the Textbook Manager for the DU Bookstore - and his band had a very successful gig at the Bannock Street Garage a few weeks ago.  The place was so crowded, you could hardly move.  I did an informal survey, and found out that 55% of the people there learned about the event from THIS BLOG, 30% were friends and relatives of the band members, and 15% were unconscious. The band was originally called Rampage, changed their name to Mad Cowabunga, then changed it to Supergeezer, and then changed it back to Mad Cowabunga.  But that's not the point.  The point is, whatever their name, they have lined up TWO MORE GIGS.  As the major source of information for the band's fans, I am pleased to announce that they will be at the Platte River Bar and Grill ( on Thursday night, April 25th and on Saturday night, June 8th.  The April 25th date will be a benefit concert for Runyon Elementary School hosted by none other than CBS4 meteorologist Dave Aguilera.  Be there or be square, as we hipsters used to say.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Carol's Last Day!

Yesterday was Carol's last day at the DU Bookstore.  Carol, my friend, co-worker, and fellow radical, is leaving her merchandising position at the store and plans to spend a lot more time on her artwork.  As regular Blog readers know, Carol is a gifted artist, and has exhibited her work all over Denver.  She plans on taking part in both the Downtown Denver Arts Festival on Memorial Day Weekend and the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market this June. Carol is a great person and talented merchandiser and we will all miss her.  Be sure to check out her web site at  Good luck to you Carol!  My only piece of advise now that you have all this free time on your hands - don't take any Carnival cruises.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rental Return Madness

Yesterday was the deadline for winter quarter rental returns, and the DU Bookstore received back approximately 4 million textbooks (a rough estimate).  Emilie (in the above photograph on the left) and Matt (on the right) took it all in stride.  Emile is a recent University of Denver graduate of the Korbel School of International Studies and Matt will be graduating from DU this June with a degree in Computer Science and Digital Media Studies, so processing a few million returns is nothing for them.  Next up -  putting those few million textbooks on the shelves for next quarter.  Get cracking guys!

Monday, March 18, 2013

What's New In Mozambique?

Cheyanne (on the right in the photograph above with her friend Lidya) is a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique and the daughter of Valarie, my friend and former co-worker at the DU Bookstore.  Cheyanne, after months of waiting, has finally started teaching English to future elementary school teachers.  I think at first she was a bit frustrated by the bureaucracy and inefficiency rampant in the country, but now that she is actually teaching, she is beginning to really enjoy the experience.  She has noted in her Blog what a contrast it is between college students in Mozambique and in America.  The students in Mozambique realize what a great opportunity they are being given and work extremely hard.  Plus, they are all very much motivated by the desire to help their country become a better place. Meanwhile, here at the University of Denver, it is all about spring break. As humorist Dave Barry often remarks, I know I am generalizing, but I don't care.  Be sure to read Cheyanne's fascinating Blog at

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday Afternoon With Robin and Caitie

I went to the "Summit for Peace" with my friend Robin (in the photograph above on the right) and her daughter Caitie (on the right) yesterday afternoon at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.  The keynote speaker was Frank DeAngelis, Principal of Columbine High School, site of the tragic shooting of 12 students and a teacher 13 years ago.  DeAngelis made an impassioned speech to both educate and create a dialogue with young people to prevent future tragedies.  Afterwards we had an early dinner at Gunther Toody's and talked about old times.  Robin, my friend Stuart, my ex-wife Lisa and I all worked together at Hatch's Bookstore in the early 1980s.  Those were fun times back then, and from today's perspective much simpler times.  On the other hand, Denver was truly a cow town back then, and the sidewalks were rolled up promptly at 8:00 P.M. each night until most of the population of California moved here and brought their boutiques, fern bars, and trendy cafes with them.  At least these California refugees have been good for something.    

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Congratulations To John!

John, my friend and colleague at the DU Bookstore, was accepted this week into the Teacher's Residency Program at the University of Denver's Mortgridge College of Education, a major step in his quest to become a high school science teacher.  I took a photograph of him to mark the occasion, but due to operator error, the first two photographs made it look like he had jaundice.  I mentioned this to John, who remarked that jaundice was often suffered by sailors, pirates, and others taking long sea voyages without access to fresh fruits and vegetables. I imagine people taking Carnival cruises must often suffer from this too, but that is not the point!   The point is that John is on his way to becoming a science teacher!  Good going guy!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Another Thursday Night, Another Old Chicago

For the second Thursday night in a row, my friend Stuart and I had pizza and beers at an Old Chicago, this time in exotic Lakewood, Colorado.  As I mentioned in a post last week, Stuart is from the North Side of Chicago, home of the Chicago Cubs, where baseball is played in a park with vines on the red brick walls and the fans focus on the ambiance.  I myself am from the South Side of Chicago, home of the Chicago White Sox, where the simple, honest, hardworking South Side fans hang on every play, and both players and fans - as humorist Jean Shepherd once remarked - have often never even seen a leaf in years.  I asked Stuart if he wanted to place a small bet on which team would finish this season with the best record, but he quickly declined.  Cub fans are very passionate about their team, but after last year's 101 losses, are evidently pretty realistic about their chances, too.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

One Of Us

I went to the Tattered Cover last night to hear mystery writer C.J. Box (seen in the photograph above) speak and sign copies of his latest Joe Pickett novel Breaking Point. This is the 13th book in the series featuring Pickett, a game warden in Wyoming. Most of the audience appeared to consist of ex-Wyomingians who now live here in Denver. In my opinion, that tells you everything you need to know about Wyoming, although Box still lives there with his family just outside of Cheyenne. In any case, he gave a very good talk.  Not only that, it turns out that he is a University of Denver graduate.  My alma mater!  Best of all, he has a character in several of his books named Cody Hoyt.  What's not to like?  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Redline Gallery Celebrates The Month Of Photography

Last Sunday I stopped by the Redline Gallery, located on Arapaho Street just north of downtown Denver, to take a look at Redline's Month of Photography exhibit. The stated intention of the show, titled "The Reality of Fiction," is to attempt to separate the real from the fake.  The exhibit has gotten rave reviews, one of which was featured on the front page of the Denver Post's Sunday Arts Section.  It appears to me that an underlying theme of the show, as with the photography exhibit at Metro State's Center for the Visual Arts,  is weirdness.  As far as I can tell, weirdness is "in" this year.  Perfect!  I'll fit right right in!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dreaming Of India

My friend Valarie, former Operations Manager of the University of Denver Bookstore, treated me to dinner and a talk by Vicente and Marta Fox - former President and First Lady of Mexico - last night at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  It was a truly enjoyable evening, and afterwards we had a beer across the street at the "Corner Office" and talked about plans for her trip to India.  Valarie and her daughter Cheyanne (currently working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique) will be attending a wedding in Madikeri, India and then plan on touring the country.  Valarie is a bit apprehensive about traveling to a country with such a different culture, but since her daughter Cheyanne plans to arrive in the country a week early, Valarie has nothing to worry about.  In a week's time Cheyanne will have easily adapted to India's culture, and will be the perfect guide.  I can see the two of them now, wearing their saris, sitting on the rooftops of trains as they travel the country. Have fun guys!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Beer And Pizza With Wally And Linda

I had beer and pizza with my friend and DU Bookstore co-worker Wally and his wife Linda this past Saturday night.  We went to the Bonnie Brae Tavern, a local landmark that has been in business here in Denver for over 50 year. During dinner, someone stepped up to the microphone and announced that there were several all-stars from the University of Denver having dinner there tonight.  Wally and I both stood up to thank our hosts and wave to the crowd, but it turns out they were actually acknowledging several young gymnasts instead. Oh sure, still no recognition from the beer and pizza crowd.  Life is so unfair.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Band Formerly Known As Mad Cowabunga

Marty - the DU Bookstore's Textbook Manager, seen in the photograph above playing the guitar - and his fellow band-mates played at the Bannock Street Garage last night to a packed house. Despite the cold and snow, my fellow Bookstore employee Wally, his wife Linda, and I drove down to Denver's Golden Triangle neighborhood to hear them.  The band played mainly 80s era rock, and I must say, it was a little on the loud side.  Wally requested a few Lawrence Welk tunes, and I requested "Istanbul, not Constantinople," but the band decided to stick with their regular set.  Now just because the three of us were a little older than the rest of the crowd - by about 35 years or so, I have to admit - that was no reason not to play our requests.  If they did, perhaps it would start a big Lawrence Welk revival among Denver's twenty-somethings. Break out the accordions, guys!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Baseball And Old Chicago

I had burgers and beers with my friend Stuart (in photograph above) at Old Chicago here in Denver the other night.  The place has lots of Chicago memorabilia to remind us of our old hometown.  Stuart comes from the North Side, home of the Chicago Cubs, while I come from the South Side, home of the Chicago White Sox.  Talk inevitably turned to baseball and spring training.  Stuart told me that last year was just a rebuilding year for the Cubs (they lost 101 games).  He also told me that this year the Cubs could very well take it all and wind up in the World Series.  I love this time of year!  If you are going to place a substantial bet with a Cubs fan, be sure to do it before the regular season begins and reality slowly sinks in.  Let's play ball!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Return Of Joe

Joe, both an artist and an art instructor at the Art Students League of Denver, has returned to the DU Bookstore to help us get next quarter's textbooks on the shelves.  Joe says he is very excited to be back, although upon further reflection, he says it seems like he never left.  Joe is a very talented Monotype artist and exhibits his work at the Zip 37 Gallery here in Denver, among other venues.  Be sure to check out his artwork, opinions, and philosophy of life at Squishtoid? Yes, but check it out anyway.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

An Update From Noah

Noah - the DU Bookstore's Stockroom Manager - reports no further problems just a few months after both he and his wife contracted a skin rash later linked to an outbreak at the elementary school where his wife teaches.  I mentioned to Noah at the time that leprosy is making a resurgence, but he told me his doctor had definitely ruled leprosy out.  I do have to mention, however, that Noah has not shown anyone at the Bookstore his medical records.  I find this highly suspicious.  It is kind of like President Obama refusing to produce his birth certificate. And while we are on the subject, David Letterman recently mentioned on The Late Show that President Obama's half brother is having trouble running for public office in Kenya - his opponents are all claiming he was born in Hawaii.  Glad all is well, Noah.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's New With Tristy?

Tristy, the former Director of the DU Bookstore and the current Director of the Forty-Niner Shops Bookstore at Cal State Long Beach, accepted the National Collegiate Retailer of the Year Award (see photo above) for her store last week at the annual Campus Market Expo (CAMEX).  This is quite an honor for the store, considering that this award is presented by the National Association of College Stores, the college bookstore industry's trade organization.  Besides experiencing  the unmitigated joy of receiving this honor, I'll bet the store staff in attendance got all the free drinks they wanted.  Now that's what I call "Win Win." Congratulations Tristy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


As I mentioned in a previous post, Marty - the Textbook Manager for the DU Bookstore - belongs to a band that will be playing this Saturday night at the Bannock Street Garage ( here in Denver.  However, they have decided to change the band's name from Mad Cowabunga to Supergeezer.  I think they did this in order to better market themselves to their fan base.  In any case, be sure to stop by Saturday night to get your oil changed, have a drink, and listen to their music.  While there, feel free to get in touch with your inner geezer.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Searching For Answers, Not Sugarman

I went to see the Academy Award winning documentary "Searching for Sugarman" with my friend Valarie (pictured above) last night at the Mayan Theater here in Denver.  It was a great film, and definitely deserved the Oscar for Best Documentary.  However, it also left a lot of unanswered questions.  Why is the movie  named "Searching for Sugarman?"  That wasn't a nickname for Sixto Rodriquez , the subject of the film, just a name from one of his songs.  Why was the film made only now, 15 years after Rodriquez appeared to a hero's welcome in South Africa?  The film interviews his 3 children, but there was no mention, even in passing, of his wife.  The film also mentions in a single sentence that one of  the daughters fell in love with someone in South Africa, and Rodriquez now has a grandson there.  This daughter apparently still lives in Detroit, so did they marry, get divorced, do they share joint custody? It is all very mysterious.  Perhaps someone should make a documentary about it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Retired And Loving It!

I got a call the other day from Bill, the former Operations Coordinator for the DU Bookstore, who was prominently featured in my international bestseller "The Book on the DU Bookstore" (see photograph above).  Bill - who retired from the Bookstore several years ago - wanted to know if I was free to attend a University of Denver basketball game next Saturday night.  My immediate response was "DU has a basketball team?"  Once he assured me it did, I told him I wouldn't miss it.  Bill also told me that he recently sold his interest in a three store bike rack business with locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  When I mentioned that he will no longer be able to deduct his trips to California on his taxes, he told me he never did, since all he usually did was say "Hi" when he dropped into the stores.  Are you crazy, Bill?  You should have me do your taxes.  Once you say "Hi," EVERYTHING is deductible.  I'll get you the post office boxes of some of my satisfied clients.  By coincidence, they all live in Leavenworth, Kansas these days.  I hear it's beautiful there.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Month Of Photography

Denver celebrates the "Month of Photography" every March, and this year is no exception, with two blockbuster photography exhibits, in addition to the many other exhibits all over town.  The Victoria Myhren Gallery on the University of Denver campus is featuring the work of Joel Dallenbach, the street photographer who is willing to fight (quite literally) for the right to take his great photographs.  Metropolitan State University of Denver's Center for Visual Art is featuring an exhibit called Semblance, featuring such great (although admittedly weird) photographs as the one in the photograph above by Robert and Shana Parkeharrison.  What a great time to check out Denver's many art galleries! Especially if you like weird.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dee - What A Trooper!

Dee - who helps out at the DU Bookstore during rush periods and who also works full-time with the Spirituals Project ( is recovering from a severe case of the flu, quite possibly a case of the Martian Death Flu, which was first contracted several years ago by humorist Dave Barry. Today is the first day she has been out of the house in a week.  Despite this, she still allowed me take the photograph above for this Blog.  Unlike some people, Dee never requires a 30 day notice to prepare for the shoot. That's the spirit!  Hope you feel better soon, Dee!