Saturday, August 31, 2013
I know. It is actually "A Taste of Colorado," but "A Taste of Tattoos" is just as appropriate. There were a lot of them in evidence at The Civic Center in downtown Denver last night. It was just like passing a car wreck - you didn't want to look, but couldn't help yourself. And if by chance your are one of those rare eccentrics who does not have a tattoo, there are a number of booths at the fair that can fix you right up. In no time at all you can look like the Devil's Island escapee from the movie Pappillon who had the Zorro mask face tattoo. That will definitely impress your boss Monday morning.
Friday, August 30, 2013
I photographed the black crested macaque in the above photograph yesterday afternoon at the Denver Zoo. A mere week or so ago, this very monkey was glaring at me and throwing his body full force against the glass where I was standing. Obviously the Denver Zoo has started giving this guy Prozac. As a matter of fact, I bet that is why virtually all the animals at the Denver Zoo seem so lackadaisical. Is it possible that the zoo is pumping Prozac into ALL their animals in order to keep them in line? That would explain so much. It is just like those old mystery movies where the evil doctor in the private psych hospital keeps his victims drugged to the gills to keep them prisoner. I'm just saying that it is possible. Very possible. Somebody call PETA.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
My friend Stuart and I went to Ole - located at 10th and Broadway here in Denver - last night for traditional Brazilian pizza. I must say, the pizza tasted good, came with a pint of Bud Light (which tastes very much like beer), and was very reasonably priced. However, I am not sure what makes the pizza Brazilian. Maybe because it was served while a soccer game between Bot and Cam was being televised from Brazil. And no, I have no idea who Bot and Cam are. As far as I can tell, the game ended 0-0. And these matches cause major riots all over the world? I would think the big problem would be trying to stay awake during the game.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
My friend Valarie - former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - is planning a major trip to India in a few months, where she will meet up with her daughter Cheyanne (currently serving in the Peace Corps in Mozambique) and attend a wedding. I have volunteered to do major research to make sure she and her daughter don't miss any major sights while there. Valarie has told me that she likes to relax when she travels. I, on the other hand, like to sight-see from early morning to around 11:00 P.M, when hopefully I can catch a night train to my next destination. No problem! I am sure we can mesh these two concepts into an acceptable plan. If not, let me know when - or if - you get back.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Valarie, my friend and the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore, and I held a pool party and barbecue for current and former employees (and their spouses) of the DU Bookstore Sunday night. It was a great success. Valarie bought the chicken, cut up all the vegetables, did all the grilling on the barbecue, and even cleaned up after the event (see photograph above). I supervised the grilling, and entertained our guests with my inimitable charm. In other words, it was a 50-50 effort. If I'm lying, I'm dying!!!!
Monday, August 26, 2013
My friend Valarie - the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - and I hosted a pool party and barbecue for current and former DU Bookstore employees (and their spouses) in the recreation room of my condo Sunday night, just across the street from the University of Denver. Everyone had a great time, except that nobody went swimming. Wally tells me that once word went out that I would be taking photographs, the pool party part of the event went south. What's the deal with that?
Sunday, August 25, 2013
I have attended a number of book signings lately at the Tattered Cover Bookstore's branch in Highlands Ranch, a suburb south of Denver. Each time I Blog about it, I mention how happy I am to get away from that cow-infested town. I was just kidding, of course, but it turns out that there actually is a ranch in Highlands Ranch, and they really do have cows - a lot of them. The ranch runs right through the suburb, and many of the houses back right up to pastureland. I would think this would cause serious problems for the town, since most of these cows are probably destined for the Swift & Company slaughterhouse up in Greeley, Colorado. PETA has a lot of support here, and I would think many of the residents would try to save these cows through some sort of updated underground railroad. I can see it now. "Ma'am, I am Detective Rainey of the Highlands Ranch Police Department. Is that a cow in your living room?"
Saturday, August 24, 2013
I spent Friday afternoon at the Denver Zoo. If you go early enough, staff members show off various animals and give a little talk about them. In the photograph above, a zoo employee feeds a porcupine named Coco. I hate to be critical, but most of the animals the zoo features are pretty damned boring. Let face it, Coco is not very exciting. A much better creature to feature would be one of the zoos black crested macaques. I was standing in front of the glass looking at one when he glared at me, ran right toward me, and slammed his body into the glass. He then turned around and went back to where he had been sitting, waiting to be let inside the monkey house. Now having one of those on a perch like the one above would be fun. In between trying to control the beast, the staff member could discuss what exactly makes it go postal like that. Internalized rage at being caged, no doubt.
Friday, August 23, 2013
I had breakfast with Valarie, my friend and the former Operation's Manager of the DU Bookstore, last Sunday. Valarie's daughter Cheyanne is a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique, and teaches future teachers at a college campus in the town of Homoine. Cheyanne just loves Mozambique, and told her mother she thinks it is the most beautiful place on earth. Make no mistake, these volunteers are doing great things in Mozambique, but Valarie has noted that Cheyanne and her fellow Peace Corps volunteers seem to spend every weekend at the beach and often travel to such fascinating places as Ilha de Mocambique (a World Heritage Site) and the former Portuguese beach resort of Angoche (see photo above of Cheyanne, on the right, with fellow volunteer Anneke). Valarie has nicknamed them the "Party Corps." Where do I sign up? Check out Cheyanne's Blog and some wonderful photographs of Mozambique at www.timeinmozambique.blogspot.com.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I was originally going to go with my friend Stuart to a Brazilian pizza place (yes, that is correct - a Brazilian pizza place) tonight, but Stuart had to cancel. Instead, I wound up wandering around the Bonnie Brae neighborhood. It has everything you could possibly want or need: a famous ice cream shop, a Denver Public Library branch, an Italian restaurant, a pizza joint, and a well-known dive bar. People living around this neighborhood don't ever have to leave, and many probably don't. When the people I meet around here find out I live near the University of Denver (two miles to the south), they often inquire if the street car still runs down Evans. In your dreams, Bonnie Brae people!
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
One of the benefits of being unemployed is that you can go biking in the middle of the week, regardless of the time of day, and taunt all the poor souls who have to punch a clock for a living. I try to telepathically transmit the message to everyone I meet that I really do understand. I completely feel your pain. But regardless of that , I don't have to work today and you do. Ha ha!
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
As regular Blog readers know, I am out there, every day, beating the bushes, looking for a new job, after getting laid off by the Follett Corporation run DU Bookstore. I have been assured by everyone that the jobs are out there, ready for the taking. Perhaps the fellow in the photograph above will be retiring soon - he looks like he's about to - and I can snatch up his job. I definitely hear opportunity knocking.
Monday, August 19, 2013
I gave Valarie - my friend and the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - a tour of my condo building's facilities yesterday morning after breakfast at Pete's University Cafe. I must say, Valarie was quite impressed with the lobby, the recreation room, and the pool. I was hoping we would catch one of the DU students leaping off the balcony into the pool, but evidently it must have been too early for them. In any case, my building was converted from an apartment building into a condo 13 years ago. They did a major remodeling back then, so I personally believe it is no longer a prime example of "Soviet style architecture," as a writer for the Rocky Mountain News described it at the time. As a matter of fact, the Chancellor of the University of Denver, Daniel Ritchie, said the building destroyed the view of his 60 million dollar (or whatever) Ritchie Center, which had just opened directly across the street. What can I say - Ritchie is no longer Chancellor and the Rocky Mountain News is long out of business. So Ha!
Sunday, August 18, 2013
I spent yesterday afternoon at the Golden Art Festival with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George (pictured in the photograph above). There were all kinds of interesting paintings, art objects, and photographs on display, but the beauty of this art fair is that it is only a few steps away from the Golden City Brewery, the second largest brewery in Golden. Evidently the owner was sitting around in his 1870s era house one day, and decided that he wanted to turn his garage into a brewery and his backyard into a beer garden. I assume he asked his wife about it, and she said "that's fine dear." That will teach her to listen more closely to her husband when he says something.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
I am very tempted to see The Act of Killing, a new documentary film now showing at the Chez Artiste Theater here in Denver. The Chez Artiste used to be called the U-Hills 3, and is located in the University Hills South Shopping Center. After the name change, the theater started showing more "artsy" films, but it still looks like the U-Hills 3 to me. In any case, The Act of Killing is about the killing of one million alleged communists in Indonesia after a military coup in 1965. One million people! I never heard about this tragedy until reading the above movie review today. Perhaps we were all too focused on the Vietnam War to notice. It amazes me that after the horrors of the Holocaust, something like this would be allowed to happen a mere 20 years later. Things like this tend to reinforce my natural cynicism, which definitely doesn't need reinforcement.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Giraffes are pleasant, friendly creatures. Unlike most other zoo animals, they come right up to you and say hello. They even smile for the camera, like the giraffe in the photograph above. At the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, there are walkways that allow you to actually pet the giraffes. However, unlike the apes, which are highly intelligent creatures, I get the feeling that giraffes don't have too much upstairs. Coming right up to you, trying to please everyone, not too much upstairs - my God, they sound like a congressman campaigning for office. Of course, unlike a congressman, I'm willing to bet that a giraffe wouldn't turn into a swine as soon as it got to Washington. Am I being too cynical, or what?
Thursday, August 15, 2013
The lions at the Denver Zoo aren't camera shy, unlike many others who shall remain nameless (except for Doug, my former colleague at the DU Bookstore, who doesn't read this Blog anyway). Lions don't turn around and point their butts at you when you try to take their photograph. They look the photographer in the eye, smile, and think to themselves: dinner! You have to admire that kind of attitude. Even if you are the prospective meal.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
I went to the Denver Zoo last Sunday to take a few animal portraits. Some days the animals jump right up and pose for you. Some even smile. Other days, as soon as they see the camera, the animals turn right around and point their butts at you. Ironically, this is exactly what Doug - my former co-worker at the DU Bookstore - used to do whenever I asked to take his photograph for this Blog. Talk about coincidences.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I took the above photograph last Thursday night from the balcony of my condo, which overlooks the University of Denver campus. Looking at the photograph more closely, it appears that the huge bolt of lightning hit exactly where the DU Bookstore, my old employer, is located. I have to wonder just what they are up to these days. The last time I saw a lightning bolt like that was the one that hit the Vatican right after Pope Benedict announced he was retiring. Talk about sending a message.
Monday, August 12, 2013
I was invited to dinner yesterday evening by my friends Ana Silvia and Joe. Ana Silvia is my brother-in-law George's cousin and is originally from Honduras, and her husband Joe is originally from Poland. In keeping with the international theme, Ana Silvia served homemade Chinese food and fried rice, which I must say was excellent. I intend to return the favor by inviting them over to my place soon to try my homemade Mandarin beef and fried rice. It is an old family recipe, but I will still have to stop by the Red Coral Chinese Restaurant down the street to pick up some fortune cookies. I serve everything in those funky cardboard cartons to make it all seem more authentic. Would you believe some people accuse me of just buying the food already precooked? Everyone is so cynical these days.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
My family and my Uncle Bill's family, as well as my grandparents, used to vacation for 2 weeks every August at a resort called Britannia, located on the Lake of Bays, near Huntsville, Ontario. My Uncle would drive up from Cleveland and our family would drive up from Chicago. Everyone shared a cabin in the woods, and while my father and uncle played golf for two weeks, everyone else would swim in the lake, shop, and just hang out. Three meals a day were served in the main lodge's dining hall. My sister Susan and our cousin Judy would be first in line when the dining room opened, and made the young waitresses lives a living hell for 2 weeks. Susan and Judy waited all year to get together, fought like hell for 2 weeks, and then just hated to leave. Judy loved the place so much she spent her honeymoon there. Recently I saw that Britannia was for sale (http://www.sothebysrealty.com/eng/sales/detail/180-l-740-4000021445/lake-of-bays-recreational-property-muskoka-on-p0a-1h0). I originally thought the sales price was 4.5 million - a bargain waiting to be snapped up - but when I rechecked the web posting I saw that it was actually 9.2 million. At that price, forget it. I would have to give up the villa in Provence.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
Cheyanne - daughter of Valarie, my friend and the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - is a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique. She reports on her Blog that she and her friend Karina traveled to the northern part of the country for a conference recently, and were able to take some vacation time as well. They met up with fellow Peace Corps volunteer Anneke, and the three of them - along with Anneke's visiting mother - traveled to Ilha de Mocambique, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and was the capital of colonial Portuguese East Africa until 1898, when the capital was moved to Maputo. As the photograph - from left to right - of Anneke, Cheyanne, and Karina shows, they are working day and night to make the world a better place, even if it does involve getting a little wet. Cheyanne reports that their time on Ilha consisted of "enjoying sun, water, company, and beer." What I want to know is, what beer do you drink down there? Are the British shipping you India Pale Ale? Let's hear about the important stuff for once. Check out all the details of Cheyanne's journey north at www.timeinmozambique.blogspot.com.
Friday, August 9, 2013
Colorado Women's College was originally located on the east side of Denver, and is the alma mater of Linda, the wife of Wally, my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore colleague. CWC, as it is known, ran into financial difficulties back in the early 1980s. A local architect and real estate developer named Temple Buell offered to bail them out it they would rename their school Temple Buell University. That didn't sit too well with the Board of Trustees, and so they sold the school to the University of Denver. DU eventually moved the school to its main campus (see photograph above). In any case, when I worked at Hatch's Bookstore years ago, I actually met Mrs. Temple Buell. She was making a purchase at the Bookstore, and the credit card company told us to seize her card. She told us "I AM MRS. TEMPLE BUELL" and made a few phone calls, but by the time her accountant called us, an eager cashier had already cut the card in half. I related this to the very depressed sounding accountant and he quietly hung up. Yet another bumpy interaction with the rich and powerful.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
I photographed the older couple above last week at the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver. The 1st Friday of each month, this street is packed with art lovers, but the rest of the time it is pretty much pedestrian free. This is true for most of the United States, as opposed to Europe, where everyone walks everywhere and each evening everybody gets out on the street and does their vacas (laps) around town. Here in the U.S. the car is supreme. People who don't own cars and walk everywhere are considered true eccentrics and are often picked up for psychiatric evaluation. Don't worry - they are usually released after a few years and are often later seen driving Hummers.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Last Saturday we had a major rainstorm here in Denver, and I needed to seek shelter immediately. Fortunately I was very close to Jordan's Irish Pub, located kitty-corner from the University of Denver, and got there just as the skies opened up. Nobody shouted "Dave" as I walked in, but it was good to find a refuge from the storm. The driving rain went on for over an hour, and the place lost power for a while. However, the beer taps still functioned, so nobody panicked. The situation reminded me a lot of the film Key Largo, except for the fact that we weren't in Florida and we weren't being held captive. I - naturally - imagined myself in the Humphrey Bogart role, although I wasn't wearing a toupee, as Bogart always did. Eventually the power came back on, and it was back to reality. Although many people do say I remind them of Bogie.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
I went to the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive last Friday night to immerse myself in Denver's art scene. As usual, there were huge crowds checking out the art galleries, the street performers (such as the bongo player in the photograph above), and most importantly, the food trucks. As usual, the Renegade Brew Pub at 9th and Santa Fe was the most popular destination. We here in Denver have a very broad interpretation of art, and Renegade is highly admired for it's "collection." That's just the kind of open minded people we are. Keep beating those bongos, buddy! Check out Denver's Santa Fe scene at www.artdistrictonsantafe.com.
Monday, August 5, 2013
I had pizza and beer at the Old Chicago in Lakewood last night with my friend Stuart, seen in the photo above sitting underneath a black and white landscape photograph of a typical Chicago block (notice all the bungalows and two-flats). In any case, we couldn't help but notice that Old Chicago's advertising signs now say "pizza and taproom." There are no longer any bars in their establishments. Back on the south side of Chicago we had only bars. Stuart says that I am now rising above my humble south side roots by drinking in a taproom. Personally I feel "bistro and taproom" would have sounded even classier. I am willing to bet the discussions in the corporate boardroom on the "pizza versus bistro" issue must have gone on for weeks. On the other hand, this was Lakewood, so how classy could the place possibly become, for goodness' sake?
Sunday, August 4, 2013
I have said it before, and I will say it again. The animals at the Denver Zoo are just too laid-back. They lie around all day, staring into space, bored as hell - the animal version of the couch potato. Not only is this boring for visitors, but it is also very unhealthy for the animals - obesity is bad for them, too. My solution is for zoos across the country to hire people to get these creatures moving - to prod them with a stick, get them moving about, and start acting lively. It will be entertaining for zoo visitors and healthy for the animals, too. A true win-win situation for all. And the risk to the new hires that do this? Look at the pleasant, docile tiger in the photograph above. Would he hurt someone? Of course not!. Apply for these fabulous jobs now at your local zoo! Here in Denver contact www.denverzoo.org. And just a piece of friendly advice: if you are at a cocktail party and mention that you are an animal poker, be sure to clarify immediately.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
I went to the Denver Zoo yesterday afternoon to take a few animal portraits. I couldn't help but notice that every time I passed the cheetah compound, the cheetah was always ready for a photograph. As soon as I would take out my camera, the cheetah in the photograph above would sit up, look directly into the camera, and smile. This is in sharp contrast to many of my human subjects. I remember that Jan - one of my former DU Bookstore colleagues who moved to Omaha a few years ago - would always let me take her photograph, but it would often take 4 to 6 weeks for her to prepare. That is not the case with Ms.Cheetah. She is always up for a photo op. I once knew another Ms.Cheetah back on Rush Street in Chicago, who was also always up for a photo op, but that's a whole different story.
Friday, August 2, 2013
It has been a month since Cheyanne - a Peace Corps Volunteer and the daughter of Valarie, my friend and the former DU Bookstore Operations Manager - has posted anything on her Blog. The last we heard, she and her roommate Theresa were celebrating the opening of their Children's Library in the Mozambican town of Homoine. Theresa - shown in the photograph above passing out books to a class of children - worked for over a year, with Cheyanne's help, to get the library opened. Perhaps they are all still celebrating. I think that is the Mozambican way. Check out Cheyanne's Blog at www.timeinmozambique.blogspot.com.
Thursday, August 1, 2013
I went to see the Nick Cave: Sojourn exhibit at the Denver Art Museum (The DAM) yesterday. Cave is an up and coming artist whose style is most accurately described as pretty damn weird. He is most famous for his Soundsuits, huge outfits made out of recycled materials that insulate it's wearers from the harsh real world. Also on display are his "Rescue" sculptures, made from knickknacks that Cave finds or purchases from secondhand stores. Cave lives on the South Side of Chicago, which of course explains a lot. Southsiders are notoriously eccentric (except for me, of course). I think it has something to do with having to deal with the White Sox on a constant basis. I suspect that his Soundsuits (which cost a minimum of $60,000 and for which there is awaiting list) were originally designed to be worn to the White Sox games, a rather pricey upgrade to the old paper bag over the head.