Sunday, June 30, 2013

A 1950s Style Get-Together!

It was a 1950s style evening last night hosted by Linda and Darrel (the former Accounts Payable Manager of the DU Bookstore) at their home in East Denver. In the photograph above from left to right are Valarie (former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore), Jim and Chris (also a former DU Bookstore employee), and Linda and Darrel. It was a 1950s style evening on many levels.  Darrel and Linda's ranch house was built in 1953 (the year I was born), we was celebrating Jim's birthday (he was born in 1954), and Darrel regaled us with tales of some of his beatnik acquaintances up in Boulder.  Not only that,  I was served beer in a Blatz beer mug (with Fat Tire beer in it, thank goodness), and topics of conversation included the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It was also the anniversary of the first Corvette, built in 1953.  It was all great fun, but I think our next get-together should definitely move up to the 1960s.  Start looking for those tie-dyes, everybody.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What To Do About Zoos?

As I have mentioned before on this Blog, zoos are very controversial these days and many individuals (including my friend in the photograph above) are pondering what their future should be.  My feeling is that zoos should be one big open area, shared by animals and zoo visitors alike.  Virtually every creature at the Denver Zoo lies around their cage all day, docile as can be, so I think it would work out fine.  Just to be on the safe side, each visitor could sign a waiver saying they would not sue if they wound up being eaten.  Of course, I also believe the television show Survivor should be a true test of survival, with everybody being dropped off on some deserted island without food, water, or extra clothing, and then filming the results, so maybe my opinions are a bit extreme.  I won't even mention how I think they could improve the television series Big Brother.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Robin and Caitie And Rockies And Mets

I went to see the Colorado Rockies play the New York Mets at Coors Field yesterday afternoon with my friend Robin (in the photograph above on the left) and her daughter Caitie (on the right).  This was a makeup game from early April which was canceled due to a foot of snow on the ground and extreme cold (New York baseball players are such wimps).  In any case, there were no worries about snow yesterday as it was 97 and sunny, kind of like my ex-colleague Doug back at the DU Bookstore.  Both the Rockies and Mets stink this year, but yesterday the Mets stunk less and won 3 to 2.  So much for Coors Field being a hitters paradise.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Sandlot Brewery

I drove over to Coors Field in Lower Downtown Denver yesterday to pick up Rockies tickets for today's game.  Walking back to my car, I noticed that the doors of the Sandlot Brewery were open.  This was big news, since it has been many years since the place has been open other than during baseball games.  I believe they started that restrictive policy after the Colorado Baseball Riots of 1999.  I didn't recall the reason for the riots, but remembered they were bloody, horrific, and deadly - perhaps involving zombies.  In any case, I went in, ordered a couple of beers listed on the chalk board and marked "special," and looked out at an empty stadium being prepared for tomorrow's game (I remember this as being much more exciting years ago).  Then I closed out the tab.  It was $12.  For two beers. They weren't even pints.  Suddenly I remembered what the Baseball Riots were all about.  You could look it up!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Airport Run

I picked up my friends Ana Silvia and Joe last night at the airport.  It was just getting dark, so as I entered the airport grounds I was able to get a good look at the statue of the "Devil Horse" with its glowing red eyes that for some reason is the official mascot of Denver International Airport.  In any case, Ana Silvia and Joe were returning to Denver from a trip to visit friends in Salt Lake City.  I was surprised to see that they were returning home without converting to Mormonism.  I've heard that Mormons are very much into converting people these days, and that often passengers find that they cannot board their flights home without joining the Mormon Church.  Maybe that is only for people who fly United.  Someone should definitely look into that.  Now let's see - I've just insulted Denver International Airport, Mormons, and United Airlines.  All in all, a good day's work.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Evisceration Fest 2013

This past Sunday was the 1st annual South Platte River Fest, held at Confluence Park here in Denver.  Confluence park is where Cherry Creek meets the South Platte River, and the festival included music, food, paddle boarding, swimming, and even white-water rafting.  Forgotten in all the partying was a 2010 study that found that the South Platte is Colorado's most polluted river.  Industries dump 700,000 pounds of toxic chemicals into Colorado's rivers every year, and a third of that goes into the South Platte.  I suspect this festival must be sponsored by the Denver Chapter of the American Academy of Dermatology.  Each festival should provide a year's worth of customers to society members.  Talk about clever marketing.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Training With Darrel And Bill

I went biking Saturday morning with Darrel (in the photograph on the left) and Bill (on the right), my friends and former colleagues at the DU Bookstore. The ride started in the town of Niwot, just east of Boulder, and was arranged to help Darrel prepare for his upcoming bike ride across Iowa (the RAGBRAI).  I must say that both Bill and Darrel are in pretty good shape.  Me, not so much.  Bill used to race bicycles and Darrel is an accomplished tennis player, so neither seemed to struggle when biking up hills.  And neither one of them admitted to seeing the hooded figure with the scythe that kept staring at me as I biked up those inclines.  No matter - I still made it to the top eventually.  Thanks for the ride guys!  It was fun!      

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Drinks With Wally

I had drinks with Wally, my friend and former DU Bookstore colleague, at Jordan's Irish Pub Friday night, where he regaled me with tales of his navy years and his adventures in Dayton and Cape Cod.  Wally is a big fan of Dayton, Ohio, and tells me he always had a great time whenever he went there.  On the other hand, one of Wally's favorite books is on the history of salt, so there you go.  Think carefully before you make those vacation plans.  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mr. Beer Hits The Books

Dick Kreck (aka Mr. Beer), spoke about and signed copies of his new book Hell on Wheels the other night at the Tattered Cover Bookstore here in Denver.  Kreck was a reporter and columnist for the Denver Post for many years until his retirement in 2007, and he still writes an occasional column about beers and brewpubs.  Kreck's latest book is about the wild towns that sprung up along the tracks when the transcontinental  railroad was being built.  Among these wild towns are North Platte, Nebraska, and Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming.  I have been to all three, and must say they are not quite so wild these days.  They seem to have more cows than people.  However, the brewpub phenomena has reached even these places.  Can the internet be far behind?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Carl Hiaasen Visits The Tattered Cover!

Bestselling Florida author and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen visited Denver's Tattered Cover Wednesday night to speak about and autograph copies of his new book "Bad Monkey."  Hiaasen rocketed to fame a number of years ago after writing Tourist Season, which featured an antihero so upset about Florida being ruined by over-development that he committed a number of eco-terrorist acts, including feeding tourists to alligators.  Speaking of Florida, my parents moved to Stuart, Florida in 1976, and my sister and I still own their condo.  Stuart and Vero Beach (about 30 miles further north) were lovely small towns back then, but have since grown significantly larger, mainly due to an influx of people moving north from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, including - surprise! - Carl Hiassen.  I was going to ask Carl if he ever considered writing a book featuring an antihero feeding these refugees from South Florida to the alligators, but decided he might not understand my "quirky" sense of humor.  Plus, it would have been humiliating being the first person in history to be thrown out of the Tattered Cover.  I still have some pride left.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wizards, Musicians, and Mimes, Oh My!

Lately I have been biking into downtown Denver in the late afternoons for the exercise and the people watching.  Once I hit the 16th Street Mall and start walking down its length, it is more or less a free show.  The day before yesterday I actually found myself following a barefoot wizard, complete with long white beard, pointed hat, and walking staff.  As I passed him, I saw he was carrying a sign that announced he would do palm readings for a fee.  There are also plenty of mimes and street musicians on the mall, too.  The mimes and wizards all seem to want money for their photographs, so I usually stick to photographing the musicians.  It would be embarrassing getting into a fistfight with either a mime or a wizard, not to mention the possibility of being put under a spell if it was a particularly bad wizard.  Who needs that?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

You've Seen One Mountain, You've Seen Them All

I went for a hike in Breckenridge, Colorado this past Sunday with my friend Stuart.  I say hike, but the closest we got to anything resembling nature was when we got out of the car, took some photographs (including the one of me above), and then got back in the car and drove home.  This reminds me so much of my father.  This was exactly how he liked to hike.  Coming from Chicago, neither he nor my mother were great fans of nature. When he and the rest of my family came here once to visit, we would drive into the mountains, get out of the car, take a photograph, and then head home for the cocktail hour. Am I becoming my father?  Not at such a young age, I hope.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Raising The Bar On Hiking

The photograph above shows my friend Stuart standing in front of the mountain that we wound up not actually hiking this past Sunday.  In fact, this is the 2nd hike in a row where we got no further than the bar at the Breckenridge Brewpub.  On the bright side, there were no injuries, and as long as we keep trying, I am sure we will eventually hike past that bar and out into the back country.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Party On!

Bill - the former Operations Coordinator of the DU Bookstore - and his wife Renee are seen in the above photograph partying at the Bonnie Brae Tavern here in Denver Saturday night, a social event which was also attended by Wally (my former DU Bookstore colleague), his wife Linda, and their friend Jenny.  Bill is very enthusiastic about Linda's idea for me to host a pool party, and suggested I hire the "Brio Trio" to play at the affair.  The Brio Trio is a light jazz group that was playing at the Bonnie Brae Ice Cream Shop Saturday night.  Personally, I would just as soon wait and hear them play at Mustard's Last Stand (a South Denver hot dog stand) before making a final decision.  Every detail is critical in party planning.  As a certified party planner (certified, anyway), I know these things.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Wild Times At The Bonnie Brae Tavern

A bunch of us got together at the Bonnie Brae Tavern here in Denver last night for a wild party - at least as wild as this crowd ever gets.  Pictured in the photograph above (from left to right) are Jenny, Linda - with a fist full of cash, as usual - and Wally, Linda's husband and my former colleague at the DU Bookstore. Linda, always a live wire, is very insistent that I host a pool party, which I very much intend to do.  However, my idea of a pool party is to stand at the balcony railing of my 4th floor condo, drink beer, and look down at the pool from above.  Hopefully Linda will be okay with this concept.  I used to be a party planner, after all.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Caged At The Zoo - What To Do?

Zoos today are very controversial.  Many people now believe it is immoral to confine wild and exotic animals to such small spaces.  Zoos counter by saying they are helping to save many species that are on the verge of extinction. No matter whose side you are on, you have to admit that the monkey above exhibits all the classic signs of depression - a vacant stare, a slouching body posture, the total lack of energy or ambition to even move around.  Many if not most of the animals at the Denver Zoo today are just like this.  Whether zoos should exist or not, these animals are in desperate need of anti-depressants.  Please call or e-mail your local zoos and demand that these poor animals get the meds they need to live a happier life.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Complete Misunderstanding

I visited my friend and former DU Bookstore co-worker Joe last weekend at the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Festival (Joe is also a talented artist) and mentioned to him that my biggest source of Blog subjects has been eliminated now that I no longer work at the Bookstore.  I also told Joe that I am frequently taking photographs of zoo animals in place of DU Bookstore employees.  Joe seemed to misinterpret my meaning, so I want to categorically state here and now I did not mean to suggest any similarity between the zoo animals and Bookstore employees.  Although the pair in the photograph above do seem vaguely familiar.  I wonder how things are going back in the textbook office, anyway?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Treasured Item Rediscovered

I had dinner with my friend Valarie - former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore -  last night, and for the second time in a row forgot to take a Blog photograph of her.  Therefore, I am left with having to take a last minute replacement photograph, which in this case is a photograph of my treasured "New Encyclopedic Atlas and Gazetteer of the World," 1917 edition.  I found it in a box while looking for my selective service card from 1971 (don't ask).  I immediately opened it to the map of Europe.  This is not your Rick Steves Europe.  Most of Europe at that time seemed to have been made up of the German Empire and Austria-Hungary.  Plus, Poland did not exist as a nation.  I think I am going to have to stop using this particular atlas  to plan my trips. No wonder I find Europe so confusing.  Back to the Future!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Message from Mozambique At Last!

Cheyanne - daughter of Valarie, my friend and former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - has finally updated her Blog after almost a month.  In her latest post, she writes about hosting a neighborhood party, dealing with a major upheaval at her college, and vacationing in Swaziland.  She has also posted a number of photographs, including the one above showing Cheyanne and her students mugging for the camera. I am very glad she has sent out this latest post.  If she hadn't, I was thinking of putting together an expedition of unemployed former DU Bookstore employees to go find her, a la Stanley and Livingstone.  And believe me, that would have been tough to organize, especially now that Banana Republic no longer sells safari clothing.  Check out Cheyanne's Blog at

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Just When You Thought You Knew Everything About Liberace...

Many years ago my sister Susan was a great fan of Liberace.  I remember having to watch a movie starring Liberace (yes, there was one) when I was a child at our home back in the Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago because of this.  When my sister worked for the Bank Marketing Association as a convention planner, she actually got to go up on stage in Las Vegas and visit with Liberace as he explained to her and the audience the significance of his various rings.  Now it appears that Liberace was actually a gay psycho serial killer.  We know this because it was in this week's National Enquirer (see photograph above), and unlike the internet, they cannot put anything in print unless it is true (I saw All The President's Men, and they must ALWAYS have two sources).  Not only that, but some person named Katie recently had a public sex romp, which cannot be good either.  Thank goodness for the National Enquirer.  Inquiring minds need to know.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Joe At the Show!

Joe, my friend and former colleague at the DU Bookstore - like our mutual friend Carol- has a booth once again at this year's Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market.  Not only that, but his work is being featured this month at the Carson Art Gallery in the Santa Fe Arts District.  As I was taking the above photograph, Joe asked me if it was going to appear in the New York Times.  And of course I reassured him that it would and that the Times has been hounding me for articles now that I have so much free time.  Keep on looking for that article, Joe!  Check out Joe's website at

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Carol And Mary Jo At The Show!

I went to the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market yesterday at 2nd and Grant Street here in Denver, and ran into several friends and former colleagues from the DU Bookstore.  In the photograph above on the right  is my friend Carol and on the left her tent-mate Mary Jo.  Carol tells me they have shared a tent at the art festival for years and have never had a single fight.  This is a good thing, since I have heard rumors of knock-down, drag-out fistfights between various tent-mates in previous years. I believe this is why the organization banned the always popular open bar at this year's event. Damn!  Check out Carol's artwork at

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Barbie Is Taking Some Serious Barbs

I went to the First Friday Art Walk down on Santa Fe Boulevard here in Denver last night to take in that lively art/party scene.  As usual, the streets and galleries were packed with people.  As I was exiting one of the galleries through the back door, I noticed a whole series of black and white photographs along the alley wall.  Several featured photographs of Barbie, and it made me recall a photo exhibit at the Redline Gallery this past March featuring Barbie performing a variety of deviant acts.  What's the deal with that?  The photograph above just shows her drinking heavily, which is understandable, considering the bad press she is getting.  It reminds me of that old television commercial featuring Pantene hair products, where model Kelly LeBrock says "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."  And no, I do not have a fantastic memory.  This commercial, believe it or not,  is still around on YouTube.  Talk about an amazing age.  Don't worry Kelly - I don't hate you!  Or you either, Barbie, for that matter.

Friday, June 7, 2013

It's The Real Thing

It is a little known fact that before Lenin became the leader of the communist revolution, he was a spokesperson for the Coca Cola Company (see the historic poster in the photograph above).  Lenin worked a full 40 hours per week for many years, but Coke refused to pay him any benefits. It was at this point that he started reading Karl Marx's Das Kapital, and soon after joined the Bolsheviks.  This is the reason why, if you travel to Russia these days, you can only find Pepsi products.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Greetings From Independence Pass!

I recently blogged about hiking in Rocky Mountain Park on a long ago Memorial Day, and posted a family photograph from 1984.  I e-mailed a copy to my ex-wife Lisa, and she asked me to send more photographs from that same era (the Jurassic).  One of the photographs I picked out (seen above) was taken on Independence Pass when we were young and innocent and on our honeymoon back in 1982.  I also have a photograph from the same time of Lisa looking especially crazed, but decided not to post it.  Even though Lisa now lives in San Francisco, I was afraid that thanks to the miracle of the "information superhighway" she might see it and put out a hit on me. Seems hardly worth it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More From the Denver Chalk Art Festival

As I mentioned in yesterday's Blog, I went to the Denver Chalk Art Festival in Larimer Square this past weekend and had a really nice time. However, evidently not everyone felt the same way, as you can see from the look on the face of the Art Festival patron above.  I can just tell by his expression that he is saying "Enough of this chalk stuff.  Let's go get a bowl of beer."  And yes, three of my last four posts have featured animals. And no, I am not "going all Dr. Doolittle."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

I went to Larimer Square this past weekend to see the Denver Chalk Art Festival, which used to be known as La Piazza Italian Chalk Art Festival.  What's the deal with that?  In any case, most of the chalk artists were very good.  It was really enjoyable to walk around, look at the art, and do a little people watching.  And speaking of people watching, I can just tell what the woman in the photograph above is thinking to herself: "Her hair. It is sooooo red."  You see, I have this gift for mind reading.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Nostalgia At The Zoo

A wave of nostalgia swept over me at the Denver Zoo the other day while I was looking at the gorilla in the photograph above.  It made me think of Doug - my old friend and former coworker at the DU Bookstore - who would always (and I assume still does) sit at his desk in the textbook office and eat a banana every day.  I wonder what's new with him?  Hope all is going well for you, buddy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Return To The Zoo

Now that I am no longer employed by the University of Denver Bookstore (run these days by the Follett Corporation), I have lost my deep reservoir of people to photograph and to feature on my Blog each day.  Because of that, I have resorted to visiting the zoo more often to find willing subjects, such as the orangutan in the photograph above.  Hopefully Denver Zoo officials won't be monitoring my Blog each day to see if I am saying something disrespectful about the animals, but you never know.  Keep on smiling, Mr. Orangutan!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dining With Carol and Greg

I had dinner last night at Jordan's Irish Pub with Carol - my former co-worker at the DU Bookstore - and her husband Greg (seen in the photograph above).  It was a very pleasant evening, and we spent the time swapping stories, some of which were actually true.  Carol, a very talented artist, will have a booth next weekend at the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market.  Plus, she is considering giving out free drink coupons with every sale.  Talk about thinking outside the box (or six-pack).  What a marketing concept!  Check out Carol's website at