Friday, January 31, 2014

Does This Blog Suffer From TMS (Too Much Stuart)?

The answer - definitely not!  Stuart is a true sport about having his photograph taken, which is why he has been featured three times this past week on this Blog.  In the photograph above, he is sitting on the second floor of the Historians Ale House here in Denver, which looks out over exciting Broadway.  The second floor caters to old guys like us, while down on the 1st floor everyone seems to be about 18.  Did they lower the drinking age here when they legalized marijuana?  What's the deal with that?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cold Cold Cold And Old Old Old

It has been pretty damn cold waiting at the bus stop the past few days here in Denver, although I can't complain too much about it, since I had to work at subzero temperatures well past sunset at my previous job in Highlands Ranch.  However, I can complain that a guy walked up to me the other day at the bus stop at Colfax and Josephine, shook my hand, told me how much he respected his elders, and also told me to be safe and God bless.  What I want to know is whether I truly look that ancient.  I don't feel old, at least until that guy at the bus stop started talking to me.  And now, I need to take a nice long nap.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Visiting With John From Nebraska Books

I got an e-mail from John, the Nebraska Book Company Rep, that he would be in Colorado over the next few days, and met him for a couple of beers at the Urban Roadhouse, just west of the University of Denver campus, yesterday evening.  John is based in Lincoln, Nebraska - a pretty little town surrounded by ruralness - and was the sales rep for the DU Bookstore until the store was outsourced to Follett Higher Education Group.  And no, I am NOT still bitter about that - no sir, not me.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The 2014 National Western Stock Show

The National Western Stock Show, which is held over a 3 week period here in Denver every January, is a photographers dream.  There are photo opportunities everywhere, such as the ones in the photographs above of the little child on the big bull and the baby lamb posing for its portrait.  Everybody at the stock show - not only the participants but the visitors, too - seems to adopt a more down-home, relaxed and friendly attitude, which lasts all the way up to the point where they leave the parking lot and start to drive home. After that, watch the hell out.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Visiting The Stock Show With Stuart

I went with my friend Stuart to the National Western Stock Show here in Denver Saturday afternoon. The weather was great and we both had a good time.  It is always fun to experience the rural lifestyle without actually having to go out into the countryside.  I took the above photograph of Stuart with a Brahman bull that was on display in the livestock area.  The bull seemed quite willing and eager to pose with Stuart.  There seemed to be some kind of rapport between the two.  You might say that Stuart is gifted with the bull.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Birthday Memories

Today would have been my mother's 98th birthday.  She could hardly believe she was 93 back when she was living here in Denver with me, so I don't think she could have handled the idea of being 98 at all.  In any case, I was thinking back recently to when I visited her down in Stuart, Florida during the Christmas season one year and she treated me to a bus tour up to Cypress Gardens, a well-known old-time Florida tourist attraction that opened in 1936 (see photograph above).  It was famous for its botanical gardens, southern belles strolling the grounds, and it's water skiing shows, which we duly watched while we were there.  If you ever saw one of Esther Williams "water ballet" movies, it was most likely filmed at Cypress Gardens.  Once Disney World opened up, the place struggled financially, and after going through a series of owners, closed in 2009.  On the bright side, a group of citizens got together to try and save the place, with the result that the botanical gardens were preserved and are now a part of Legoland Florida.  Legoland  Florida?  Really? And just what the hell is a "lego?"

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Passport To Paris On The Cheap

In an effort to lure the true cheapskate to its Passport to Paris exhibit, the Denver Art Museum is offering a $5 per ticket discount on Thursdays between 4:00 and 7:00 P.M.  I took advantage of this offer last Thursday, paying a mere $7 to see some absolutely wonderful impressionist paintings.  In the room devoted to impressionist landscapes, there was a quote on the wall by artist Edouard Manet saying that "the countryside only has its charms for those who are not obliged to live there."  It is almost like he had a premonition about the future Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, with all of its hellish open space.  Not that I mean that in a negative way, of course.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Celebrating With Stuart!

I drove out to Lakewood, Colorado yesterday evening to celebrate my 61st birthday at Old Chicago with my friend Stuart.  Lakewood - or at least the Old Chicago located there - was hopping, as usual. Over beers and pizza, Stuart and I discussed the idea of moving back to our old home town of Chicago, with perfectly opposite opinions.  Stuart said that the many murders reported on the WGN-Chicago television news and the many below zero temperatures there has convinced him never to move back.  I say the sheer excitement and beauty of the city outweighs all the negatives, such as certain death.  Hopefully someone will turn up with the deciding vote soon.  Meantime, if you crave urban excitement, I say stay out of Lakewood.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Rolling Asylum

Now that I have an "EcoPass," provided by my new employer, I am taking the bus to work each day, and often take the Colfax Avenue bus to downtown Denver whenever something interesting is happening there. As I have stated before, there are a lot of characters on this bus.  My friend Wally tells me it is known as the "Rolling Asylum."  I have definitely seen my share of eccentrics on this bus,  but on the other hand, they probably think the same thing about me:  "Look at that nut taking photographs of every damn thing he sees. A true honest to God wacko."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Denver Post Photo Night

I took the Colfax bus - always an adventure - downtown after work last night to attend Denver Post Photo Night, which features various Post photographers showing and discussing their work from the past year.  I must say I was very impressed with the presentations.  You tend to think of these photojournalists as a hard-bitten lot, taking photographs of all these tragedies and heartrending subjects, but they are actually a pretty conscientious and caring bunch, often becoming good friends with their subjects.  Perhaps I should get to know the more eccentric regulars on the Colfax bus and do my own photo documentary.  Or perhaps not.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Dogs Of War - I Mean George

I went up to Fort Collins Saturday afternoon to visit my sister Susan and brother-in-law George, and of course, their two dogs, Blackberry (on the left) and Tutu (on the right).  It used to be that the place was always in a constant frenzy whenever I visited, but now that they are older, it is much quieter and more peaceful.  The dogs are calmer, too.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Super Bowl Bound!

The Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots yesterday afternoon at Mile High Stadium and are going to the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years.  I bicycled to the stadium to photograph the fan reaction and was not disappointed.  I have begun to realize that no matter the race, religion, or national origin of Bronco fans, they are all uniformly crazy.  What a surprise.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Celebrating (Commiserating Over) Our Birthdays

My Sister Susan and I celebrated our respective birthdays last night at Bacco Ristorante and Pizzeria up in Fort Collins, Colorado.  We were going to do a pub crawl, but decided that crawling to the pizza place was quite enough, thank you very much.  The pizza was great - I didn't think they served good pizza in Fort Collins, but I was wrong.  In any case, Susan's birthday was yesterday, January 18th, and mine is today, the 19th.  I am now a very youthful 61.  I won't divulge how old Susan is, but only say that she is older - much older.  That's the kind of brother I am.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Urban Roadhouse Kind Of Guys

Wally (in the photograph on the right) and I (on the left) are the epitome of the Urban Roadhouse customer - sophisticated, urbane, worldly.  In other words, we fit right in at the establishment formerly known as Spanky's, located just west of the University of Denver campus.  On the other hand, we also fit in at Spanky's as well.  And just what does that say about us? Let's not think about it.  The important thing is that we had a great time drinking $3 happy hour beers and discussing the important issues of the day, most of which involved the DU Bookstore and its current and former employees.  Plus, as an added benefit, we were both carded to make sure we were of drinking age.  My God, could anyone have a better day than that? I think not.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Back Home At Last

Everyone who went to the big wedding in Madikeri, India is back home now, including both my friend Valarie (on the right in the photograph above) and her daughter Cheyanne (second from the right). Cheyanne is a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique and is a "teacher of teachers" at a college campus there.  She reports that she and her friend missed their connecting flight to Johannesburg, but were given a free pass into Ethiopia, free hotel and meals, and a direct flight the next day to Maputo, their ultimate destination.  Plus, they found a 12 year old guide who gave a wonderful tour.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - does this girl live a charmed life or what?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hanging Out In The Hood...

These days I am taking the bus to my workplace, located near the corner of Colfax Avenue and University Boulevard here in Denver. It is a fascinating neighborhood, to say the least, with the population running from street persons to ultra yuppies. Occasionally I head downtown after work and take the Colfax Avenue bus, which is more exciting than a ride at Disney World.  Last week while riding this bus, the other passengers and I were treated to someone recounting all of their fights with both individuals and street gangs, and the resulting confrontations with police, judges, parole officers, etc.  I would have taken a photograph of him, but since he kept telling his friend how much he enjoyed all of this fighting, I thought it might be best to be a bit more circumspect.  Call me crazy, but "that's how I roll," as they say.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Very Familiar Pose

Walking through the Denver Zoo Sunday morning, I ran across the monkey in the above photograph sitting by the door to his cage, his arms folded around him , trying to stay warm while waiting to be let in. Ironically, this is exactly what I used to do at my previous job, but they never let me in either.  The monkey in this photograph was climbing up trees and along lengths of rope and was full of energy during the summer, but obviously does not like the cold.  I am very surprised the zoo makes him remain outside in such chilly weather.  Probably it is some sort of punishment, which I think was also the case where I used to work.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Meanwhile, Back At The Zoo...

I stopped by the Denver Zoo Sunday morning to take a few photographs, and ran across the elephant in the above photograph using a large piece of tree limb to scratch with, play with, dig a hole with?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Personally, I think being locked up for so long finally got to him or her, and he/she doesn't really know what it's doing.  I certainly hope the Denver Zoo retains a staff of animal psychologists to deal with issues such as these.  Calling Dr. Doolittle...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Full Throttle Bronco Mania

The Denver Broncos played the San Diego Chargers Sunday afternoon, and the crowd at Mile High Stadium was in an absolute frenzy.  I took the light rail over to the stadium to take a few photographs, and was not disappointed in the range of photo ops.  I must say I was very happy that the Broncos won.  I would hate to see this crowd turn ugly - just imagine being chased by a half naked fat man painted all orange. Talk about traumatic.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Visit With Doug

I stopped by the Wizard's Chest - located in the Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver - yesterday afternoon to visit with Doug, the DU Bookstore's textbook buyer and a magician at the Wizard's Chest on Saturdays. The winter quarter has just begun at DU, and so Doug has been working a lot of hours making sure all the textbooks are on the shelves.  Doug is pretty reticent about having his photograph taken these days, and so I am using a photograph I took of him and Marty, a former DU Bookstore textbook buyer, back when we all visited Paris many years ago.  Come to think of it, this photograph might have been taken during a different lifetime (maybe we should contact Shirley MacLaine about this).  Doug is on the left, wearing his Civil War era cap, and Marty, on the right, is wearing his cherished bowler hat.  The Eiffel Tower is under construction in the background.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Celebrating One Week On The New Job!

Yesterday marked exactly one week since I started my new job as Bookkeeper with an independent bookstore chain, and I celebrated this auspicious occasion with my friend Stuart (seen in the photograph above) at the Handlebar Tavern at the corner of Downing and Alameda here in Denver.  It has been a number of years since either of us has been there, and after a change in ownership, I must say I am quite impressed with the place.  It is filled with the ultra hip Washington Park crowd, and of course we blended right in.  And although I've said it before, I'll say it again - it is so nice to be both living and working inside the Denver city limits every day, where unlike Highlands Ranch, the only wolves are the ones that hang out at the bar.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Morning Commute

I receive an "Eco-Pass" at my new job, and so am able to take the bus to work every day.  I board it at the University of Denver Light Rail Station and take it up to Colfax Avenue, which is not only Denver's but the country's longest street.  Getting an "Eco-Pass" has been a God-send.  My car is a classic 1987 Honda Civic with a lot of miles on it, and at my other job, I had to drive all over hell (by which I mean Highland's Ranch) to get to it.  Now I can leave the car at home and only drive it on the weekends, mainly just to show it off to an adoring public.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Last Monday, January 6th, was Epiphany, the 12th Day of Christmas.  It is celebrated worldwide as the day the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts.  In our family, we always kept our Christmas decorations up until after this date.  However, for various reasons, this year neither my sister nor I put up a Christmas tree, as opposed to years ago, when we always put up a giant natural tree.  In the photograph above, I am sitting next to our tree in a slip-covered chair (naturally) in the living room of our home in the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Brainerd, back when Santa Claus still paid yearly visits.  Those were the days.  I don't know about you, but I haven't seen Santa come around since before the new millennium. What gives with that?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cheyanne Returns To Mozambique

Cheyanne (see photograph above) - the daughter of my friend Valarie, the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore - returns to her job as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique today after 3 weeks in India to attend a wedding and sight-see with her mother. The big question is, does she intend to head for the beach this weekend or stay home and update her blog, which she hasn't done since October 16th of last year?  Not that I'm criticizing, mind you. When the beach is calling you, the beach is calling you, I guess. Check out Cheyanne's Blog at

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Word From Valarie At Last!

My friend Valarie, seen in the photograph above in front of the Taj Mahal with her daughter Cheyanne, commented on her Facebook page Sunday that she has safely returned to Denver from her trip to India. Evidently she and her daughter Cheyanne didn't join a cult and decide to remain in India after all.  Valarie reports that she and Cheyanne had a wonderful time, and that she did not get sick once - that is, until after she arrived back in Denver.  Come on, Valarie - have you already forgotten that you should never drink the water in Colorado?  Why do you think we have so many brewpubs located here?  Time to get with the program!

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Wedding Party

I am assuming that the above photograph is of the wedding party in Madekeri, India, where my friend Valarie (6th from the left in the back row) and her daughter Cheyanne (5th from the left) traveled to attend the wedding of one of Cheyanne's friends.  Otherwise, I guess that means they have both joined a cult.  If Valarie doesn't show up at her desk at the Action Center in Lakewood,Colorado this morning and if Cheyanne does not return to the college campus in Mozambique where she is a Peace Corps volunteer, we will know for sure.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

39 Days Until Spring Training!

The weather outside may be frightful, but spring training begins in just 39 days.  The Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Colorado Rockies will all be working hard this spring in order to improve their records from just plain horrible last season to merely mediocre (let's be realistic, after all) this coming year.  Let the games begin!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Celebrating With Wally

I celebrated the first day at my new job with my good friend Wally at the Urban Legend (or something like that) Cafe, near the University of Denver campus, last evening.  Wally still works at the University of Denver Bookstore, which is getting ready for the first day of the new quarter this coming Monday.  Wish I was there to help wait on the thousands of customers you will be getting there next week.   Maybe I can stop by just to cheer you guys on.  Remember to embrace the stress and make it work for you.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Celebrating Christmas At Last!

My sister Susan and brother-in-law George postponed Christmas for a week this year.  We finally got together on New Year's Day to celebrate the holiday.  This was definitely a cheapskate's dream, since we were able to take advantage of all the post-Christmas sales.  However, Susan and George found out that it is not a good idea to try to buy a Christmas tree after December 25th.  There just doesn't seem to be much of a market after that date.  Perhaps next year you guys should cruise the alleys of Fort Collins on December 26th and see if some people have already thrown out their trees.  Talk about finding a bargain!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Farewell Forever To Highlands Ranch, Colorado!

Today is my last day at my "part-time" job in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where I have worked for the past 6 months, with occasional jaunts to Greenwood Village and Roxborough Park.  It is an area where everyone has views like the one in the photograph above, and where after sunset the wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions come out in force to frolic and look for food (such as poor saps working outside like me).  I will miss the place dearly.  Of course, every day when the sun sets, I will continue to be filled with a sense of foreboding, until I realize that I am no longer outside in the wilds and therefore have nothing to fear.  In any case, if the Highlands Ranch Chamber of Commerce reads this Blog (and I doubt they do), I imagine they will be throwing a big party tonight.  There is probably still time to get in on that, Highlands Ranch People! Enjoy!  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

                       Happy New Year from "Mr. Fun," the life of the party.  I hope everyone has a great and prosperous 2014!