Friday, May 31, 2013

What's The Deal?

My mother lived in the town of Stuart, Florida for almost 30 years, and so I am very familiar with that area of the country.  My sister and I still own her condo down there, and so I tend to keep up with what is happening there via the internet.  Today I noticed a news story on the Stuart News website (see photograph above) that featured the arrest of a fugitive near the Treasure Coast Mall in Jensen Beach.  I was truly amazed that not only did the police officers allow their photograph to be taken, but that they were actually posing for the camera.  Not only that, but one of the officers in the photograph was actually smiling.  If I ever tried to take a photo of Denver police officers making an arrest, they would have tasered me - or more likely just shot me where I stood.  Is it just me personally, is it a matter of a big city police force versus a small town operation, is it bad karma sent to me by the Photo Fairy, or what?  I honestly don't know the answer, but I do have to say "Keep On Smiling, Jensen Beach Police!"

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Coyote Warning!

South Central Denver, where I have lived for the past 25 years, is evidently experiencing a severe coyote problem.  I was walking along the "Historic Buchtel Trail" near my condo yesterday, and ran across the warning sign seen in the above photograph.  Just by coincidence, I had breakfast with my friends Chris and Jim that very morning, where the conversation turned to the subject of coyotes.  Chris mentioned that coyotes often travel in packs, and it is a well known fact that besides pets and small children, packs of coyotes often attack and drag off both the elderly and the unemployed, who save money by walking everywhere and who are often weak from hunger.  This could be the reason why unemployment claims are down so much here in Colorado.  Stay alert people!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cruising Into Dry Dock

I went to the horse races for the second time in my life this past weekend.  The first time was at the now long gone Centennial Race Track around 1983, a real pit if there ever was one.  This time I went to Arapahoe Park, the Denver metro area's only horse racing facility, a modern and attractive operation located somewhere near the Kansas border. It was a very pleasant afternoon, but everywhere I looked were advertisements for the Dry Dock Brewing Company.  Talk about subliminal advertising.  On the long drive home after the 9th race, I drove right by - you guessed it - the Dry Dock Brewing Company.  In spite of myself, I had to stop and have a couple of pints.  The beer is great, and they have a nice outdoor patio where you can sit at a picnic table and look out at - my God, is that Aurora?  I drunk up and immediately headed home.  Nothing personal, Aurora.  I am just severely allergic to suburbs.  You do have nice breweries, though.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Memories

Yesterday was Memorial Day, and I couldn't help but think back to years ago when my then wife Lisa and I would meet my sister Susan and brother-in-law George up in Estes Park, Colorado for a Memorial Day hike.  We would take one car into Rocky Mountain National Park, find a suitable trail, and start hiking.  Invariably,  we would find ourselves hiking up a snow covered trail through a mist shrouded forest.  The further we went, the deeper the snow and the thicker the mist.  George, a big fan of orienteering, or at least a fan of a book on orienteering, would suggest a number of off-trail possibilities.  By this time, Lisa would be freaking out and insisting that we turn back immediately.  We would then turn around, drive back to Estes Park, find a suitable "bistro," and drink beer. It wasn't until years later that I began to realize that this was my brother-in-law George's plan all along.  Being young and innocent, I didn't suspect a thing.  I never did take any photographs during those hikes - we were focused only on survival.  The photograph above (from left to right) shows me, Lisa, my mother Mary, and George being photographed in the park by my sister Susan, a little later in the summer.  Where is the adventure in that?

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Downtown Denver Arts Festival

I went to the Downtown Denver Arts Festival yesterday afternoon to take a look at the photography on display, as well as take a gander at the other types of art being shown.  I wanted, first of all, to just enjoy looking at the art, and secondly,  to see if there were any new ideas I might be able to emulate (steal).  Unfortunately, neither Joe nor Carol - my former colleagues at the University of Denver Bookstore - were displaying their work there, although I did feel they were there in spirit (see photograph above).  On the bright side, both Joe and Carol will have booths at the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market, taking place June 8th and 9th at 2nd and Grant here in Denver. Great art, reasonable prices, and free beer - what could be better?  I think I've got those details right.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Opening Day At Arapahoe Park

Today was Opening Day at Arapahoe Park, the Denver metro area's only horse racing track, conveniently located - as far as I can tell - very close to the Kansas border.  The park's website stated that no cameras were allowed inside, but fortunately, the paddock was visible from the parking lot, so I was able to take a few photographs anyway.  I am not sure why cameras are banned.  Perhaps management is worried that if people start taking photographs of some of the racetrack regulars, and the photos start to circulate, it will scare off the rest of their customers.  In any case, I bet on five races, basing my wagers on the time honored handicapping tradition of picking the snappiest names, and still did not win any races. Go figure. Could these races be fixed?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Getting Down To The Gritty-Nitty of Bicycling

I had lunch with Darrel and Chris - my former DU Bookstore Accounting Office coworkers - a few days ago at the Pioneer Inn, just down the street from the University of Denver.  After lunch, I walked with Darrel back to his office in DU's Chemistry Department and took the above photograph.  Darrel plans on going back to Iowa this July and taking part in that state's famous RAGBRAI (the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa).  Unfortunately, Darrel has been a bit under the weather lately, and won't be able to start training for the ride until June 1st.  No problem!  Chris' husband Jim - a devoted bicyclist - and Bill - the former Operations Coordinator of the DU Bookstore and a former bike racer - intend to whip Darrel into shape no matter what.  As for me, I intend to drive the Team Darrel Support Vehicle.  No thanks are necessary, guys!  My pleasure!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Catching Up With Chris

I had lunch with Chris and Darrel - my former DU Bookstore Accounting Office coworkers - the other day to catch up on what they have been up to lately.  I snapped the above photograph of Chris just as she was about to zoom out of the parking lot.  It was almost like she didn't want her photograph taken, but I know that can't be true.  In any case, Chris says she and her husband Jim were planning to go to Paris next February to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, until they realized that their 30th wasn't until February of 2015.  I say you should go now.  As Audrey Hepburn says in the movie Sabrina, "Paris is always a good idea."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

At The Zoo - Part Two!

I had lunch with Darrel and Chris - who together make up the former Accounts Payable staff of the DU Bookstore - yesterday afternoon at the Pioneer Inn Restaurant near the University of Denver.  We had an enjoyable time catching up on things, and after lunch went out the door and began to head our separate ways.  It was then I remembered that I needed to take some Blog photographs.  I had hoped to take a photograph of both Darrel and Chris together for today's Blog, and then one of each of them separately to feature over the next two days.  Using great resourcefulness, I was able to get the individual photographs, but not a photograph of the two of them together.  As a result, I had to make a last minute substitution today and feature a smiling Mr.Giraffe instead, which I took this past Tuesday at the Denver Zoo.  Eat your heart out, guys!  This could have been you!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

At The Zoo

As Simon and Garfunkel are fond of saying, it's all happening at the zoo.  After a tough day of beating the bushes for work, I spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon at the Denver Zoo, taking some portraits of the animals.  And I must say, most of them were pretty cooperative.  I think zoo animals are used to being photographed, and know how to strike an attractive pose, such as the lion cub above.  Now if I could only  get people trained the same way.  Dream on...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Another Mozambique Moment

As regular Blog readers know, Cheyanne, the daughter of my friend Valarie - former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - is a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique.  She recently mentioned on her Blog that Mozambicans are a brutally honest people - they say what's on their minds without hesitation - and you just have to get used to it.  If you have big feet, they call you Bigfoot, if you have a blemish on your face, they continuously point it out.  If you stink at a sport, they discuss it openly.  Hey, they sound just like me!  My kind of country! Be sure to check out Cheyanne's Blog at and read about her adventures.

Monday, May 20, 2013

DAM Photographs

The Denver Art Museum (The DAM) recently installed a new exhibit in its photography gallery called "Common Threads."  It features the works of German portrait and documentary photographer August Sander and Malian portrait photographer Seydou Keita.  This is an excellent exhibit and the portraits featured are wonderful.  I can't say the same for the previous exhibit, which featured photographs mainly of dirty tablecloths with half-eaten food on them.  I can't remember exactly what the curator said made those photographs so significant, but to me it was all a crock.  Although I have to say, that exhibit did give me an idea for producing some museum quality photographs.  I just need to stop throwing out the garbage.  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Grooving At The Garage

Marty and his band "The Fifty-Two 80s" played at the Bannock Street Garage last night to a packed house. I took the photograph above of Marty and his wife Shannon during halftime, or intermission, or whatever they call it.  Like me, Marty is pounding the pavement, looking for a new position after a long career at the DU Bookstore.  Marty was helpful enough to suggest that I open that knitting school I've always talked about now that I have the opportunity.  Thanks for that idea, Marty.  I'll definitely remember you for that suggestion.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Party Tonight!

Marty, my friend and former colleague at the University of Denver Bookstore, is the lead guitarist for the red hot band "The Fifty-Two 80's," which will be performing tonight at the Bannock Street Garage in the Golden Triangle neighborhood of Denver.  Marty, seen in the photograph above with his wife Shannon, was - like me - recently laid off by the DU Bookstore (now managed by the Follett Higher Education Group), but is making a comeback by reviving his career as a rock musician.  Way to go, Marty!  See you tonight at "The Garage."  I only hope you weren't lying when you said there would be an open bar until midnight.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Kind Of Town, Lakewood Is...

I had burgers and beers last night with my friend Stuart at the Old Chicago in Lakewood, Colorado.  As usual, the joint was hopping.  Of course, as far as I can tell, it is the only place hopping in Lakewood.  Nonetheless, Stuart (seen in the photograph above) is very proud of his adopted home town.  He works in Boulder, but can't wait to get home each evening to what he considers a truly cosmopolitan city.  Cosmopolitan?  Isn't Lakewood the home of Casa Bonita, the all you can eat Mexican restaurant where divers leap off plastic cliffs?  Try and top that, Paris!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Peking To Paris!

I went to the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Lower Downtown Denver last night to hear Dina Bennett discuss and sign copies of her book "Peking to Paris: Life and Love on a Short Drive Around Half the World."  Bennett and her husband Bernard took part in a 128 car antique auto race from Beijing to Paris, driving a 1940 LaSalle. Bennett told the audience that her husband Bernard would sign the book too, but only if you were able to ask him to in French.  Is it me, or do the French never seem to change?  In any case, my point in attending the event was not to insult the French (although that is always a plus), but to learn about the race in hopes of joining it this year - perhaps even get a promotional contract with the DeSoto Company or something. This is what we job seekers call "thinking outside the box."  Mongolia and Siberia here I come!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chicago Memories

With lots of time on my hands lately and last Sunday being Mother's Day and all, I have become very nostalgic about my days growing up in Chicago.  Several years ago I went back to the old neighborhood after 40 years and had a wonderful time.  The result was an international best seller called "The Journey Home: Returning to Chicago" (  Be sure to DEMAND IT from your local Bookstore!  The above photograph shows the resulting book in front of my priceless R.C. Kimball painting, bought from an art gallery on 95th Street, just down the street from our old house in the Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago.  It depicts Mary Queen of Scotts standing next to her executioner and was given to me by my sister after she finally started getting creeped out by it.  Now that I am footloose and fancy free, I often wonder what it would be like to move back to the old neighborhood and walk the streets I once walked every day as a child?  Can you really go home again?  I have no punchline for that one.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Recovery Is In Sight!

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog, I went for a bike ride with Bill, former Operations Coordinator of the DU Bookstore, this past Sunday, and took the above photograph of him in front of a Swedish-Lutheran church, built in 1882, just before we hit what I refer to as "the wall."  This was a steep hill on Nelson Road which I found to be quite a challenge, but I do have good news.  I am quickly recovering from the ride and will actually be able to sit down any day now.  Battle-scarred but stronger for it.  Thanks for the ride, Bill!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pounding The Petals

Bill (see photo above), former Operations Coordinator of the DU Bookstore and currently living the good life as a retiree, invited me to do some biking Sunday.  It was a beautiful day for it, and we started our trek on the rolling country roads north of Niwot, Colorado.  At first it was a fairly flat and easy ride. We stopped at an old Swedish-Lutheran church, built in 1882, to have a look, and then started biking up Nelson Road.  Bill is in great shape - me, not so much. At the top of a rather steep hill, the road ahead looked flat, but it turned out it really wasn't - there was a slight but hellish grade. As I biked uphill, I noticed a white cross along the side of the road, no doubt the site where a previous bicyclist had dropped dead.  Then I saw the ghosts of some Swedish farmers waving to me.  One wore a cape and carried a sickle, but no worries - I think that is just some sort of Swedish farm tool.  By the time we got to the end of Nelson road and pressed on, it was all downhill, thank goodness, and I thought to myself, "maybe Bill isn't trying to kill me after all."  So on the whole, it was a great day of biking.  Maybe in 3 or 4 months (or years) I'll be in shape, too.  One can dream.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Party Time - Part II

The DU Bookstore get-together Friday night at Jordan's Irish Pub was such a major event, it has taken two days to give it justice.  In the top photo are, from left to right, Darrel, Jim, and Chris (Blog regulars all), and in the bottom photograph are Trish, Carol, and Owen.  Flo, the DU Bookstore's current A/R and A/P accountant, still refuses to be photographed, since she is one of the many DU Bookstore employees in the witness protection program. In addition, I was just about to photograph Bill, the DU Bookstore's former Operations Coordinator, who also was at the event, when Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, stopped by to wish me well, so I missed the shot.  Or maybe it was Darrin from the ID Office.  I can't remember now.  Sorry about that, Bill!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Party Time!

Yesterday a large group of current and former DU Bookstore employees got together at Jordan's Irish Pub across the street from the University of Denver.  It was organized by Wally (in the top photograph on the left, sitting next to Mark, a good friend of the Bookstore).  Wally, by the way, is also known around the store as "Mr. Party." In any case, the get-together was to celebrate the early release of both Patti (in the bottom photograph on the left) and me (on the right) from the service of the Follett Corporation run DU Bookstore.  I was very touched by the large turnout.  Even Darren, who supervises the Pioneer Card Office below the Bookstore, was there.  I was also very touched by that, until he told me that he was there with another group and just came over to say hello.  As long as he was there anyway, he decided to wish me well, but I wasn't quite as touched anymore.  In any case, thanks for coming everybody!  I appreciate it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Bookstore Reunion!

Tonight I am getting together with a few former colleagues from the DU Bookstore.  It will be nice to see them all and to catch up on what they are up to these days (probably no good).  I was reminiscing the other day about my years at the Bookstore as I was going through "The Book on the DU Bookstore" (, my international bestseller on the store that I put out a few years ago.  As I recall, I concluded that my co-workers were an eccentric (i.e. crazy) bunch, but great to work with.  Hope you are all doing well guys!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fun At The Old Ballpark!

Actually, it turned out much better than I expected.  After an all-day rain, it stopped right as I got out of the light rail train near the ballpark, and although it was cold (45 degrees at game time), it was an enjoyable, fast-paced contest.  In addition, although the Yankees did beat the Rockies 3 to 2, I did get to see New York's famous closer, Mariano Rivera, for the first and last time (he retires at the end of the year).  It was nothing like back in Chicago at the old Comiskey Park, sitting there in the cold and rain, drinking a beer as the White Sox were trailing by 9 runs in the second inning.  You just can't buy an experience like that.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Space Gallery Event

I went to the Space Gallery on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver last night to see the photographs of Randall Bellows III, who is selling off his work at bargain prices to finance his 3 month trip to Iceland.  Dennis - an associate at Space gallery (see photograph above) - gave me a tour of the gallery and Bellow's work.  The event was publicized in Westword, the local free entertainment rag, and it said that the public was welcome.  Since everyone else seemed to be on a first name basis with the photographer, I am happy to report that I was the de facto representative of John Q. Public.  Where were the rest of you?  There was an open bar, for goodness' sake.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Visiting With Valarie

I had dinner last night at the Lakewood Grill with my friend Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore. Valarie now works at the Action Center of Lakewood, a non-profit that assists the needy throughout Jefferson County, Colorado. Dinner was very good, although I must say that Lakewood isn't exactly Paris. Let's face it - Lakewood is a suburb, and suburbs are boring. A recent survey found that 80% of Lakewood residents would move to Mumbai, India if they could.  Not only does Mumbai have nicer ambiance, but it is much safer for pedestrians.  Maybe that's why Valarie wants to visit there so much.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Stuart Returns To Campus

My friend Stuart and I had burgers and beers at Jordan's Irish Pub last evening, and afterwards walked around the campus of the University of Denver, from which both of us graduated a few decades or so ago.  Stuart graduated from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and after touring the new library and the rest of the campus, we visited the International Studies classroom building.  Stuart was very impressed with the new Chiang Kai-shek Pavillion (see photograph above).  His exact words were "it's not really all that terrible." High praise indeed.  By the way, Stuart, DU is still waiting for that large check you promised  them. Send it in soon!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Derby Day!

Yesterday was the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby.  Years ago the Derby was a big event  in our family.  We would have friends over, cut out the names of the horses from the newspaper, throw money into a pot, and then each person would draw one or two of these slips of paper out of a hat.  The pot was always small - never more than 4 or 5 thousand as I recall -  but it made the race interesting.  In a fit of nostalgia, I decided to head down South Santa Fe Drive to an off track betting parlor/restaurant/bar called Red and Jerry's, located in some hellish town called Sheridan,  to watch the race.  Sitting amidst such establishments as World of Tiles, the Santa Fe Adult Store, Tire Warehouse, and Krystal's (where the fun begins), Red and Jerry's is located very close to (or possibly right over) the site of Centennial Park, Denver's old horse track.  Imagine my surprise when I found out Red and Jerry's was actually charging to get in.  Not only that, the restaurant and bar area was already sold out.  If you wanted to see the race, you had to pay $10 and watch it from their Event Center next door.  I took a peak inside - it was even more depressing in there than the surrounding neighborhood,  if that is possible. Oh well.  To hell with nostalgia.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Chance Encounter!

I was on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver yesterday evening for the monthly Art Walk and ran into Carol,  my friend and former colleague at the DU Bookstore, and her husband, who were also taking in the local art scene.  Carol is an accomplished artist in her own right (, and exhibits her work at the Spark Gallery and Zip 37, among other venues.  She will also be exhibiting her work at the Art Students League Summer Market this June, which is the most enjoyable art fair in Denver.  As I walked around last night, I couldn't help but notice that the most popular venues were the Art of the Food Truck and the Art of the Brew Pub.  Lines were long at both places.  At the Renegade Brew Pub at 9th and Santa Fe, the place was so crowded, you risked being suffocated if you tried to approach the bar.  However, for a dedicated artiste like me, it was worth the effort.  One must suffer for one's art.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Louviers Colorado - A Dynamite Kind Of Town

I took a trip to Louviers, Colorado - about 15 miles south of Denver - yesterday on the advice of Barry, my friend and former co-worker at the DU Bookstore. Louviers was a company town, founded in 1906, and the company made dynamite.  I decided to take a photograph of the former Louviers Community Church (see above), now a private residence and currently for sale.  The dynamite factory was open from 1908 until the early 1980s, and I imagine that if you worked in a dynamite factory, you didn't miss too many church services.  Now that the factory is gone and attendance has dropped, you can buy the former church for your family home.  Just don't let the ghosts of all those dynamite workers and their families scare you.  They were all very friendly to me.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Rock And Roll Photographer!

I took photographs of Marty, my friend and former colleague at the DU Bookstore, and his band, "The Fifty-Two 80s," performing at the Platte River Bar and Grill in Littleton, Colorado last weekend, and some of the photos turned out really well. If I could wangle a deal to become their official photographer, and they became famous, like the Rolling Stones, my position in the world of photography would be assured.  Not to put too much pressure on you, but let's get cracking, guys!  Chop! Chop!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley - I Mean Mangalore - Again

Due to recent events, I will not be traveling out of the country on a vacation anytime soon.  Because of this, I am getting heavily involved in helping my friend Valarie plan her trip to India this December.  Valarie and her daughter Cheyanne (see yesterday's Blog) will be attending a wedding in Madikeri, in the south of India,  and will then tour the rest of the country.  I have been getting so involved in this project that I feel myself becoming one with India, as the above photograph shows.  In any case, I have suggested to Valarie several times that she needs to tour the famous Dharavi slum in Mumbai, in order to get an idea of how so many people in that country live.  I cannot believe how much she is dragging her feet on this issue.  She says she prefers a safe, relaxing, peaceful, and cheerful vacation.  Can you believe that?  Me either.