Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Nitty-Gritty On Highlands Ranch

I worked from 8:00 in the morning until 8:30 at night yesterday at my part-time job in Highlands Ranch, Colorado - a suburb just south of Denver.  I must admit that the views of the mountains from there are very nice.  During the daytime, Highlands Ranch seems very pleasant.  However, after the sun sets, it becomes a very cold, very dark, and very lonely place.  Not to put too fine a point to it, but I sense the presence of The Devil there - an indescribable feeling of total evil.  I am very sensitive to things like this these days, since lately I have been reading Steven King's novel The Stand.  In any case, if I were a Highlands Ranch resident, I would definitely bring this issue up at the next city council meeting.  Perhaps they could establish a Department of Exorcism or something.  In the meantime, I would strongly suggest that you don't go outside after sunset , Highlands Ranch people!

Friday, November 29, 2013

For The Second Year In A Row, A Broadway Danny Rose Kind Of Thanksgiving...

My sister Susan and brother-in-law George decided for the second year in a row to postpone their Thanksgiving dinner, and therefore I spent Thanksgiving Day feasting on a Hungry Man Turkey TV dinner, which is what the title character in the Woody Allen film Broadway Danny Rose used to feed his clients every Thanksgiving. On the bright side, I got to take a long walk this afternoon in Denver's Washington Park. The weather was sunny and positively balmy for late November, and so it turned out to be a very pleasant day. Plus, I found a huge road kill turkey on the way home that I will be able to serve my guests Christmas Day. Talk about win win!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

In celebration of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I am posting a photograph of a long ago Thanksgiving Day in the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Brainerd, back when I was at my most charming best. In the photograph above, from left to right are Aunt Kitty (my maternal grandfather's sister), my mother Mary, my maternal grandmother Louise, my paternal grandmother Fleta, and Moi!  In the cage in the background is our pet parakeet Petey, which by coincidence was also the nickname of my ex-wife Lisa.  I wonder what Freud would have thought about that?  It truly boggles the mind.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Party On, Peace Corps People

The last we heard from Cheyanne - a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique and the daughter of my friend and former DU Bookstore Operations Manager Valarie - she and her roommate Theresa were dancing the night away celebrating Teacher's Day at their college.  Her students presented an award to her that day and also performed traditional dances as part of the festivities (see photograph above).  That was back on October 16th.  Since then there have been no updates on her Blog, so I assume they must still be partying. They don't call it "The Party Corps" for nothing. Be sure to check out Cheyanne's Blog at

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Alleys Are Evocative, But Evocative Of What?

My classic 1987 Honda Civic broke down Saturday afternoon, and so I have been car-less the past few days.  I still had to run some errands Sunday, so I wound up walking to the bank and then the post office. This gave me a chance to walk past Jordan's Irish Pub in order to see if they really did close their doors, or if they were just lying to me.  If I walked past and saw that it was business as usual, I would be pretty pissed. In any case, the place was indeed closed, and all the fixtures had been removed.  I then took the above photograph of the alley right next door.  I figured it was more artistic than a photograph of an empty storefront.  I am after all an artiste and have a reputation to maintain.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Big Bronco's Bash At Boone's Tavern

I stopped by Boone's Tavern Sunday night to see if Jen - the bartender from the late lamented Jordan's Irish Pub - had started working there yet.  Evidently she has the weekends off, and just how she arranged that I don't know.  In any case, the Denver Broncos game was on the television, and the place was pretty lively, so I stayed to watch a little bit of the game.  Boone's Tavern, by the way,  is named after the politically incorrect former mascot of the University of Denver, a Daniel Boone type of cartoon character created by Walt Disney, which DU feels is an affront to women, Native Americans, and the free world in general.  He didn't seem to offend the crowd here, though.  Maybe all the politically incorrect people just like to hang out together.  In any case, the Broncos were up 24 to 0 over New England at the end of the first half, so I left knowing that victory was at hand.  And the final result - New England 34, Broncos 31.  Wait until next year guys!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Winter And I Work Outside, But I'm NOT Whining...

As regular Blog readers know, I was laid off by the University of Denver Bookstore (now run by the Follett Higher Education Group) this past May, and have been working at a part-time job the past 4 months.  It is outdoor work, and lately it has been very cold here in Colorado, especially after the sun sets.  I went to Wal-Mart the day before yesterday to buy long underwear, but no matter what the display boxes were marked, they only had extra large sizes in stock.  No reason to question that - they are retailing geniuses, after all. When you get right down to it, I think they are making a statement about America.  Oh well, back into the cold...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Crimson And Gold But No Frank Sinatra

My friend and former DU Bookstore colleague Wally and I decided to stop by the Crimson and Gold Tavern Friday night, since our regular Friday night watering hole - Jordan's Irish Pub - closed its doors last week. Both Wally and I agreed that the music was a little loud, not to mention a little strange.  I asked the waitress if they could put on a little Frank Sinatra, but was informed that the customers choose the music on what I would call a 21st Century jukebox.  I checked it out, but there was no Frank Sinatra to select.  Go figure. Do you guys have any Dean Martin instead?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Teller's Taproom Is The Top! It's the Coliseum! It's The Top! It's The Louver Museum! Maybe...

I drove to the strange and exotic Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colorado yesterday evening to have burgers and beers with my friend Stuart.  Stuart seems to think that Lakewood is the new Paris.  And does that mean the industrial suburb of Commerce City is the new London?  Nevertheless, the Teller Taproom and Kitchen was hopping last night.  I don't know if that is because the place is so wonderful, or because it is one of the very few places to hang out in on a Thursday night in Lakewood.  Perhaps Lakewood should think about building a tall iron tower with an observation deck on top.  It sure couldn't hurt.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Stand

I am currently reading Stephen King's horror novel "The Stand."  It was recommended to me by my friend Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore.  She tells me it is King's scariest novel.  So far, I find it far more depressing than scary.  The government accidentally releases a biological weapon into the atmosphere and kills off most of the world's population.  The survivors in the United States form into two groups.  The forces for good gather in Boulder, Colorado (Yes! Boulder!), while the followers of Satan gather in Las Vegas, Nevada (now that I can understand).  The two are evidently going to have the ultimate showdown.  I was very surprised to find that King describes Boulder like a native.  After researching this on the internet, I found out that he and his family lived in Boulder for a year while he wrote The Shining.  After they moved back to Maine, his next novel was The Stand.  I just hope reading this book doesn't have a bad effect on me.  I would hate to be driven stark raving mad - again.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Cow Town No More

I took the above photograph of Denver's iconic Daniels and Fischer Tower - a famous reminder of Denver's past - last Sunday evening as I was driving home from downtown.  The Denver Broncos were playing at Mile High Stadium that evening, and everybody was getting an early start on the party.  Denver is now a much livelier city than when I first moved here 32 years ago.  And I give credit where credit is due: once all those millions upon millions of Californians who started moving here in the 1990s took a look at Glendale - a suburb surrounded by the city of Denver and the so-called nightclub district at the time - things began to change quickly. Glendale fell out of favor and Lower Downtown ("LoDo") was born.  Now Glendale is hoping to reinvent itself by building an entertainment oriented Riverwalk along Cherry Creek, the center-point of which will be a strip club called Shotgun Willies.  As I understand it, once the Riverwalk is built there are plans to rename the strip club "The Glendale Center for the Performing Arts."  Good luck with that, guys.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Passport To Paris!

The Denver Art Museum is currently hosting an exhibition called "Passport to Paris," a showing of impressionist paintings from the collections of the Denver Art Museum and philanthropist Frederick C. Hamilton.  People are flocking to the museum to see it.  One of my Christmas gifts to my sister Susan and brother-in-law George this year will be tickets to the exhibition, hopefully on New Year's Eve or Day.  I remember years ago the three of us - along with my mother Mary - went to a similar exhibition of impressionist paintings at the DAM.  One of the featured paintings then was Renoir's "Luncheon of the Boating Party."  I still remember my sister Susan remarking that she thought the paintings on her Renoir calendar seemed much more vibrant to her than the originals.  Wow!  Talk about insight!  Good old Frederick C. Hamilton could have saved millions just by going onto  Where was the internet when he needed it?

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Last Day of Jordan's Irish Pub

I stopped by Jordan's Irish Pub, located just kitty-corner from the University of Denver, last night for their last day of business.  As usual, the place was packed, but that didn't matter.  Like the Tattered Cover Bookstore's  location in Cherry Creek, the landlord demanded such an exorbitant amount of rent that they have been forced to close - a sad day indeed.  And since it was their last day of operation, Jen - the bartender who has been a fixture at the place for years - agreed to pose for the Blog photograph above. Starting tomorrow, she will be working at Boone's Tavern, located about a mile to the west and named after the politically incorrect former mascot of the University of Denver - no doubt a true outlaw bar. Good luck Jen!  See you there!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Christmas Goose For The Taking!

I went biking the other day through Washington Park here in Denver, and even in November the place is filled with geese.  They evidently recognize the good life when they see it, and now stick around year round. Although starting in Victorian times turkey became the traditional Christmas meal, before then it was the Christmas goose.  There were even "Goose Clubs" that were formed to allow working class people to buy a goose for the holiday over time.  No need for that here in Denver.  You can just head over to Washington Park right before the holiday, pick one out, ring its neck, pluck a few feathers, and you've got a meal ready for the oven.  This truly is the land of milk and honey. Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Final Friday Night At Jordan's Irish Pub

I met my friend and former DU Bookstore colleague Wally for pizza and beer at Jordan's Irish Pub, just across from the University of Denver campus, yesterday evening. It will be the last time we get together there, since the place will be closing down after this Sunday.  Like the Tattered Cover Bookstore in the Cherry Creek neighborhood here in Denver, the landlord raised the rent so high that the place can no longer survive in its current location.  I suggested to Wally that he ask his wife Linda for the checkbook tonight, so we could make an offer for the place and save it, but she was evidently too wily for this idea and refused. What a bummer!  I was hoping Wally and Linda would be the money people and I would be the idea person, but it wasn't to be.  Seems hardly fair.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Biking In November In Denver

Denver's climate is pretty nice in that there are days during the fall and winter when the temperature can often approach 70 degrees.  Yesterday was such a day, and I spent it biking all over town.  However, when we do have these days, it is usually followed by a sharp drop in temperatures and the arrival of snow.  On those days, the last thing I want to do is bike, but there are still plenty of bicyclers out there, as well as an insanely large number of pedestrians wearing shorts.  Shorts?  Has California purposely shipped - and does it continue to ship - all its crazies to the State of Colorado?   That would explain a lot.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Still More Nostalgia: Stuart, Florida 1975

I took the above photograph of my mother and father in April of 1975, when we traveled to Stuart, Florida to visit my aunt and uncle and for my parents to see if they wanted to retire there.  In point of fact, they loved the place, and bought a condo there the very next year.  The scary thing is that my father at the time was just a little over 6 years older than I am now, and my mother was actually several years younger. In other words, how in the hell did I get so old so quickly?  It seems like just yesterday people were referring to me as "the kid."  The fact that time goes quickly is definitely not a cliche.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Missing Stuart Beach

Although today is an exception, it is starting to get cold here in Denver, and we are getting a little bit of snow once in a while, too.  Working at a part-time job out-of-doors, I am really beginning to notice the change of seasons and am very much missing the beach in Stuart, Florida, where my mother lived for over 30 years. The above photograph shows my mother (on the left) and my sister (on the right) trying to look jolly for the camera one hot August day at the beach many years ago.  My sister and I still own my late mother's condo, but we rent it out, and the tenant does not seem enthused about us dropping in once in a while for a week or two.  One thing I noticed when we were down there, however, is how many people who live in Stuart have not been to the beach in years. My mother would only go when we visited.  I guess they feel the beach will always be around if they want to go, but the problem is, perhaps they won't be.  I am just beginning to realize that for all of us, it is later than you think.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tiger Cubs Just Love Hyenas

I went to the Denver Zoo Sunday afternoon, and arrived just as Denver Zoo staff members were presenting a talk on hyenas.  When they brought one of the animals into the building, everyone in the crowd was riveted, but no one was more riveted than the tiger cub in the above photograph.  He was just fixated on the hyena, and couldn't take his eyes off it.  I assume he just wanted a playmate, and hoped the hyena would be released into his cage so they could romp together. Let the good times roll, guys.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Down Side Of Zoos

I went to the Denver Zoo today to take some photographs, and realized that at the zoo, some animals are more equal than others.  The Denver Zoo just recently constructed a huge space for both the lions and elephants to roam around in.  However, the jaguar in the photograph above is stuck 24/7 in a very small cage, and spends his time pacing up and down along the bars of his cell, dreaming of being set free.  This is truly just inhumane.  As my friend Roddy, the photography professor at the University of Denver once said, maybe they should just eliminate zoos entirely, instead of prolonging the suffering of these animals.  Definitely something to think about.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pizza At The Bonnie Brae

I took the above photograph of my friend and former DU Bookstore colleague Wally and his wife Linda at the the Bonnie Brae Tavern Friday night, where we shared an excellent pizza.  The Bonnie Brae Tavern has been around South Denver since the 1950s, and still serves great food, even if the decor hasn't changed since the place opened.  No problem - I liked the 50s! Wally and I were originally just going to have a couple of beers at Jordan's, right across the street from the University of Denver, but Linda stopped by, rounded us up, and drove us to the Bonnie Brae.  I think Linda was worried about all the trouble Wally and I would have gotten into if she didn't intervene, and intervene quickly.  We are, after all, two wild and crazy guys.  Well, at least crazy, anyway.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friday With Wally At Jordan's Irish Pub

I met Wally (see photograph above) Friday afternoon at Jordan's Irish Pub - just across the street from the University of Denver, where Wally currently works and where I was once employed - for happy hour.  We had a couple of IPAs, and then Wally's wife Linda stopped by to keep an eye on us and make sure we didn't get too out of line. Jen, the bartender, agreed that this was indeed a necessary step.  Two wild and crazy guys on the loose in Southeast Denver is never a good thing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Little Red Book

I burn a lot of calories at my part-time job, and as a result have lost 20 pounds over the past 4 months. However, on the days I don't work, my weight balloons.  Therefore, I dug out "The Little Red Book," my father's old calorie counting guide, to watch my calories on my days off.  And yes, I think the book was written by Chairman Mao, but I digress.  My father (seen in the photograph above with my mother during the late 1970s), bought the book to try and reduce his weight after my sister told him that people were mistaking him for Sidney Greenstreet, the "Fat Man" in the movie The Maltese Falcon.  His dieting results were mixed, but I am going to use the book anyway just to make sure the family gets its monies worth out of this 35 cent volume.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dinner With Valarie!

I had dinner with Valarie - my friend and the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - last night at a recently opened brewpub in Wheat Ridge, a suburb just to the northwest of Denver.  We had a very pleasant evening, but when I went to take her photograph for this Blog, she struck the above pose.  It is almost as if she doesn't like the photographs I take of her, and wants to cover herself up as much as possible.  That can't possibly be true, can it?  I mean can it?  Really?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Working In The (Not So) Great Outdoors

As regular Blog Readers are aware, I am currently working at a part-time job that requires being outside even in the snow and cold, often for 12 or 14 hours at a time.  Not only does this make you stronger and get you into shape, you actually get paid to do it.  Is that a great deal, or what?  Many people stay fit and trim by running out in the frigid Denver temperatures, and they don't get paid a dime for it.  I have often been told that I am crazy to be working at this part-time job, but who's crazy now?  Don't answer that!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Living The Good Life In Mozambique

As the days grow colder here in Denver, I am beginning to envy Cheyanne - the daughter of Valarie, my friend and the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - more and more.  Cheyanne is a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique,  and teaches students there to become teachers.  After working all week, she and her fellow Peace Corps volunteers spend weekends at the beach.  What could be more perfect?  Of course, it's not all fun and games.  Cheyanne is doing a lot of good work there, and is very much appreciated at her school, as the above photograph - showing her students presenting her with an award - clearly shows. Be sure to check out Cheyanne's Blog at

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's Arun!

I worked a 14 hour day (without any breaks, I might add, although I'm not complaining) at my part-time job Saturday and decided to stop at Jordan's on the way home for a libation or two.  And who should I run into but Arun, who worked at the DU Bookstore around 10 years ago or so.  He was surprised to hear the store was outsourced, and that so many of the staff were no longer there.  Arun worked in the stockroom and also at the Heckman Pioneer Shop, which the Bookstore operated in the University of Denver's Ritchie Center. The store did a great business during hockey games,  but was usually dead the rest of the time.  However, the Chancellor insisted that the store remain open on a daily basis.  It was a deathly boring job to work there during the daytime - you can only stock and vacuum and straighten so much, after all.  Wally, my friend and former colleague, tells the story of how he would go over there to close the store and Arun would often be standing there behind the counter,  in an almost trance-like state.  Wally would shout "Arun, Arun, snap out of it" to bring him back.  Working at the Heckman Pioneer Shop was indeed a tough gig.  Glad you survived it, Arun!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Do Orangutans Make Great Pets?

I took the above photograph of this very friendly orangutan a week or so ago.  He was very curious about the zoo visitors and sat right in front the glass looking back at us.  He appears to be a gentle creature and in my opinion would make a great house pet.  However, would you believe that most Homeowners Associations (mine included) won't allow people to keep them in their apartments?  Talk about impinging on our basic freedoms.   Why doesn't the Tea Party do something about this?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy All Souls' Day And Dia de Muertos!

Today is both All Souls' Day and Dia de Muertos (also known as the Day of the Dead - an important Hispanic holiday). It is the day to remember friends and family members who are no longer with us.  This is a truly important holiday, especially for those of us who are getting older and who no longer have parents and grandparents still living. It is a sad time, but also a very positive experience, since we remember all the happy times we had together as a family. None of us can live forever, but while we are still here we can certainly be grateful for all the good times.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ole' Chipmunk Cheeks

We end Halloween Week with a photograph of my friend and former DU Bookstore colleague Wally, taken one Halloween several years ago at the DU Bookstore.  Back then many of the employees used to dress up in costume every Halloween, and there was a kind of party atmosphere there the entire day.  The last Halloween I worked at the store before it was outsourced, we had our quarterly meeting with the Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance scheduled for that day.  I suggested to the other members of the management team that we go in costume.  As Finance Manager, I would of course have gone as the Court Jester.  I am convinced I would have been very effective reporting on status of the Bookstore's finances in that costume. However, everyone refused.  Just like that.  Those party poopers.