Saturday, May 31, 2014

More Mozambique Moments

Hard to believe, but Cheyanne -daughter of my friend Valarie and a "teacher of teachers" with the Peace Corps in Mozambique, is beginning her final 6 months of service.  Cheyanne (seen in the photograph above with 2 of her students) will be returning to Denver this December and will have to readjust to life back here in the U.S.  She has talked about teaching in Brazil, but since her mother would kill her if she actually decided to do that, it would probably not be worth it.  Cheyanne will just have to get used to going to the beach at the Cherry Creek Reservoir every weekend instead of the beaches of Mozambique.  Don't worry, Cheyanne.  I'm sure you won't even notice the difference.  Check out Cheyanne's Blog at

Friday, May 30, 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive

I went to see the new Jim Jarmusch film "Only Lovers Left Alive" at the Chez Artiste Theater here in Denver last weekend and really enjoyed it.  The movie takes place in both Detroit and Tangiers (I think they are sister cities) and chronicles the lives of a hip vampire couple.  The movie deals with some very important social issues.  The vampire couple get their blood under the table from hospitals and doctors, not through sucking the blood of victims ("that is sooo 15th century"), but at the end of the movie - SPOILER ALERT! - they are forced to go back to the old ways when their source for blood passes away.  This just isn't right. The people they bite are turned into vampires themselves, exasperating the major vampire problem we have in this country today (if the current flood of vampire movies and television show are any indication).  And just why doesn't Obamacare cover this is what I want to know.  In any case, the cinematography was great. After seeing this film, it makes me want to move to Detroit immediately.  Talk about an undiscovered treasure!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

They Really Are Crazy On The Colfax Bus!

I worked fairly late the other night, and decided to take the Colfax Avenue bus ("The Rolling Asylum") to downtown Denver instead of walking.  The late night commuters seem much crazier than the morning crowd. There was a kid who appeared to be really stoned, and would shake hands with the girl sitting across the aisle about every 5 seconds.  He kept getting up to get off the bus and being told by the driver that it wasn't his stop yet.  He would then return to his seat, shake hands with the girl across the aisle again, and start the process over again.  A passenger in the back kept screaming that he wanted to get off at Honolulu, and the guy sitting in front of me kept telling him to get off at the third stop.  Another man sitting at the very front of the bus kept screaming "Hollywood" over and over again.  The driver repeatedly told him to try saying it more quietly, but the Hollywood man didn't seem to hear him.  The bus driver finally told him to get off at the Broadway stop.  I decided to get off at the Broadway stop, too.  I figured if the Hollywood crowd was getting off, I shouldn't stick around either.  After this little adventure, my walk up the 16th Street Mall and the Light Rail train ride home was, in contrast, pretty damn dull.  The Colfax Bus could and even should charge extra for the free entertainment, and it would be well worth it.  Maybe I could be their agent!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Pianos Are Back!

The pianos have returned to Denver's 16th Street Mall for another summer!  This is great news for people who like people-watching and free entertainment.  I usually walk down the Mall every day now that I work close to downtown, and am amazed at the variety of people who sit down and start playing tunes.  I am especially impressed at the number of people I would judge to be down on their luck or playing for tips who are actually quite good.  I have to wonder if years ago their mothers realized the piano lessons they forced on their children would some day be used to help them survive.  Perhaps not, but perhaps so.  Now if the various homeless organizations in Denver would open up a bar /restaurant on the 16th Street Mall and hire these guys to play there, maybe part of the homeless problem might be solved.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Laid Back Kind Of Memorial Day

It was a laid back kind of Memorial Day yesterday here in Denver - the weather was warm, the 40 days and 40 nights of rain finally ended, and Washington Park was filled with holiday revelers.  Even the dogs of Denver seemed to be having a good day.  And because of that, I won't even gripe about missing - for a variety of reasons - both the Denver Festival of the Arts and the Old South Gaylord Street Festival.  And if you think I am also going to miss next week's Brew Grass Festival, you have another thing coming.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!

Today is Memorial Day, and in honor of that holiday I am featuring photographs of my father, Nelson Hoyt (top photo), my Uncle, Jack Spillard (middle photo), and the two of them together in (I think) the Philippines during World War II.  My father was an Army dentist on Okinawa, and visited my Uncle, who was in the Air Force, in the Philippines during a leave.  He also wanted to get information on his (and my) cousin Adam, who it turns out survived the Baton Death March only to die when the Japanese prison ship he was on was torpedoed by an American submarine.  In any case, my father was well into his thirties when he was drafted, and not too happy about it.  My Uncle Jack, on the other hand, was rejected when he tried to enlist and actually got a hernia operation so they would take him.  While my father endured typhoons and snipers on Okinawa, my Uncle Jack slogged through the Philippines and New Guinea, and soon learned that war is not a very pleasant thing.  He contracted malaria while in New Guinea, and as a result his health was poor for the rest of his life.  Let's hope that with increased globalization war might eventually become a thing of the past. Dream on,  David...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Visiting With Doug

I stopped by the Wizard's Chest in the upscale Cherry Creek neighborhood of Denver yesterday to visit with my old friend and co-worker Doug.  Doug works as a Magician at the Wizard's Chest on Saturdays, in addition to his regular job as the Textbook Manager of University of Denver Bookstore. Doug is also a juggler, and as we watched a fellow employee juggle bowling pins in front of the store, I suggested he might try that too.  Doug replied that he would be able to juggle the pins about seven times before they wound up hitting him, one after the other, in the head.  Personally, I think that would be pretty entertaining, too.  Talk about drawing a crowd!  In any case, all is well with Doug, although he still refuses to have his photograph taken for this Blog.  Whenever I visit him, I have to resort to using photographs that I took years ago, such as the one above.  He still looks the same, except much older, of course.  Nice visiting with you, Doug!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pelicans In Colorado? Go Figure...

I went for a walk around Sloans Lake here in Denver last Sunday afternoon with Valarie, my friend and former DU Bookstore co-worker.  As we were walking around the lake, we saw a group (gaggle, gang?) of pelicans standing around close to shore.  I'm not exactly sure why there are pelicans - a sea bird if there ever was one - here in Colorado, let alone within the city limits of Denver, but I assume it is all part of the Great California Migration to Colorado.  California has sent us quite a few odd ducks and the occasional strange bird, not to mention a few fairly normal people, so why not the American White Pelican too?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fame At Last!

I was very surprised to pick up this month's Washington Park Profile and find out that they had used one of my Blog photographs to promote the Art Students League of Denver's Summer Art Market.  It is a photograph of Joe - my former DU Bookstore colleague and an instructor at the school - that I took at last year's art market.  Can a call from National Geographic be far behind?  After all, the Profile has a circulation in the millions.  I plan to use my villa in Provence as my base of operations.  My only question is whether to make the plane reservation now or wait until I get the call.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lunch With Darrel And Chris

I had lunch yesterday afternoon with Darrel and Chris - my former DU Bookstore co-workers - at the Deli Zone near the University of Denver campus.  We had a good lunch and a nice visit, but as we were about to leave, it started raining and hailing heavily.  I volunteered to drive Darrel back to his office and Chris to her parking garage, which turned out to be quite an exciting trip, what with the severe hail pounding the car, the rain coming down in buckets, and the fogged windows making seeing the street difficult.  Plus, my classic 1987 Honda Civic sedan kept stalling out.  However, Darrel and Chris only screamed a couple of times, usually as a DU student unwisely chose to cross the street in front of my car.  In any case, there were no injuries, and so I say the day was a great success, although I doubt Darrel or Chris will ever ride in my car again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pedicab Heaven

I went to the Colorado Rockies game after work last night, but had to leave at the top of the 9th inning in order to catch the 9:53 P.M. light rail train.  If I don't get home by 10:30 on weeknights, I turn into a pumpkin, and that is an ugly sight indeed.  Between arriving late and leaving early to these games, I am beginning to remind myself of a Dodgers fan.  In any case, as I was leaving the ballpark, I couldn't help but notice that there were something like 200 pedicabs waiting outside the gates to take fans the 3 blocks to the rail station.  Many of the fans at Coors Field seem to concentrate mostly on eating and drinking instead of the game, and therefore are too out of shape to make it there on their own.  By the way, the Rockies won with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning. Wish I had been there.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cheyanne Updates Her Blog!

Cheyanne - daughter of my friend Valarie and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique - has posted three new items on her Blog this past week, all of which I highly recommend reading.  I especially like her account of getting together with 20 other Peace Corps volunteers at a beach resort a week or so ago.  As soon as it started raining, the two bedroom suite they rented starting leaking like crazy.  No problem - they all just set up their tents inside and carried on with their "Beer Olympics," whatever that is.  No doubt some Peace Corps sponsored event. The photograph above shows Cheyanne, on the far right, facing off in one of the events.  Be sure to catch up on her Mozambique adventures at

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Sunday Afternoon On La Grande 26th Street

I went for a walk around Sloan's Lake here in Denver with Valarie - my friend and former DU Bookstore co-worker - Sunday afternoon, and afterwards we had lunch at the Providence Tavern in nearby Edgewater. The restaurant has a copy of Georges Seurat's A Sunday On La Grande Jatte on the outside of the building - I assume because the town of Edgewater is so much like Paris.  And if this is indeed so, why is the place named the Providence Tavern?  Is it some kind of hangout for ex-Rhode Islanders?  Do they have ex-Rhode Islanders around here, and do they have any Rhode Island sports teams to watch on the wide screen televisions?  These are the kind of questions that keep me up at night.  Valarie, by the way, is doing well, still likes her job as Office Manager of the Action Center of Jefferson County, and doesn't seem to be concerned about these Rhode Island issues at all.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Usual Suspects...

I went to the Colorado Railway Museum in Golden yesterday with (from left to right) Mark - who works at the University of Denver Library - Bill, the former Operations Coordinator of the DU Bookstore - and Wally, who still works at the DU Bookstore. The four of us toured rail cars from as early as the 1880s, and also took a ride on "The Galloping Goose," a modified train-like vehicle that was used in the Southwest part of Colorado up until the 1950s. And I want to add that I was pretty miffed that the Railway Museum staff did not allow us to actually drive the train even after we paid the full $4.00 fee.  Still another one of life's many disappointments.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

DU Library Night At The Colorado Rockies Game

I went to the University of Denver Library's Employee Night at the Colorado Rockies game last night with (from left to right) Mark, Bill, and Bill's wife Renee.  And no - Bill (the former Operations Coordinator of the DU Bookstore) and I did not recently join the DU Library's staff.  We were actually invited to attend the game by Mark, who works at the library (now known as the Anderson Academic Commons).  Sitting behind us was Marks boss and his wife, both of whom are from Chicago - the north side of Chicago to be exact - and are, naturally, Cubs fans.  As Jean Shepherd has often remarked, it is very hard being a Chicago South Sider in a world of North Siders.  And, I might add, Mark's boss and his wife did not even stay for the entire game. Typical Wrigley Field Bleacher Bums, no doubt.  And I mean that with all due respect.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Speaking Of The Casa Bonita...

I had burgers and beers with my friend Stuart at the Old Chicago restaurant in beautiful Lakewood, Colorado last night, and somehow the talk turned to one of Denver's most famous landmarks, the Casa Bonita.  Not only do they serve all you can eat Mexican food, but they also feature indoor cliff divers.  The most startling thing is that Stuart has NEVER been to Casa Bonita.  How is such a thing possible in this day and age - living in Denver and never having visited it's most famous icon?  I was shocked.  But don't worry Stuart - we'll stop there when we walk the length of Colfax Avenue as part of Camino de Cabrini pilgrimage that I blogged about yesterday.  See you there!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

El Camino de Cabrini

I mentioned to my co-worker Peter that I was hoping to one day hike the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage trek across Northern Spain. Far from being impressed, Peter suggested that a cheaper alternative would be to hike the entire length of Colfax Avenue, the longest street in America.  And the more I thought about it, the more I thought "why not?" Colfax is 26 miles long, and starts east of Aurora, Colorado.  It runs through Denver and Lakewood, and ends in Golden at the start of the foothills.  Plus, it is perfect for a pilgrimage, since a mere 5.5 miles beyond the official end of Colfax is the Mother Cabrini Shrine, which honors America's first saint.  After all, why can't we have our own pilgrimage trek right here in America?  Are European saints that much better than American saints? In the immortal words of Mother Cabrini herself, "No Way Jose!"  Not only would it take a mere 3 day weekend to complete, but there would be all kinds of fascinating sights to see - East Colfax motels, the Tattered Cover Bookstore, LoDo (lower downtown Denver), the Big Bunny Motel (onetime home of actress Sue Lyon of Lolita fame), and the world famous Casa Bonita, home of indoor cliff divers and all you can eat Mexican food.  Not to mention the Mother Cabrini Shrine itself.  And talk about the interesting (i.e. crazy) people you will meet along the way! Plus, I defy anyone to tell me they can tell the difference between the scenery at the Mother Cabrini Shrine and the scenery in Northern Spain (see photograph above).  I am really excited about this idea.  Maybe I can even con - I mean persuade - my former DU Bookstore colleagues to join me on this trek.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Darrel And Linda - My Fellow Rick Steves Groupies!

Darrel - the former Accounts Payable Manager of the DU Bookstore - and his wife Linda were at University of Denver night at the Bonnie Brae Tavern this past Saturday, and like me are big fans of Rick Steves, the travel writer and host of the PBS television series Rick Steves Europe.  The three of us plan to attend the Amazing Adventures Travel and Leisure Expo this June here in Denver, which features Steves as its keynote speaker.  We intend to attend Rick's two lectures, his two book signings, hang out at his travel booth, and generally make him want to head back to Europe NOW!  We feel the least we can do is to encourage him to get back to Europe as fast as he can and start filming again.  And no thanks needed!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

University Of Denver Night - Part II

After having dinner at the Bonnie Brae Tavern Saturday night, the DU gang and I went across the street to the Bonnie Brae Ice Cream Shop and had what I was told was calorie free ice cream.  In the photograph above (from right to left) are Wally, my former colleague at the DU Bookstore, Mark, who works at the University of Denver's library, and Marks's parents. An interesting sidebar comes from Bill (featured in yesterday's Blog) who mentioned that a member of the University of Denver's Board of Trustees was in the shop, but left as soon as we arrived.  On the bright side, she didn't scream, so I assume we are all still in the university's good graces.

Monday, May 12, 2014

University of Denver Night At The Bonnie Brae Tavern!

I got together with a bunch (gaggle, pride, pack?) of former and current DU Bookstore and library employees at the Bonnie Brae Tavern Saturday night to have dinner and beers and catch up on what everyone has been up to lately.  It was a fun evening, and not only did I get to have a nice visit with everyone, I was also able to take three- yes, three! - Blog photographs.  Bill (pictured above with his wife Renee) remarked to me that now I wouldn't have to go to the zoo to take photographs for a while.  Was that some kind of crack, Bill?  I thought not.  Just checking.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!

Today is Mother's Day, and in honor of that I am featuring a photograph I took of my mother a few years ago at Circle Bay, a condominium complex right next door to my mother's condo building in Stuart, Florida. My mother absolutely loved Stuart, not to mention her condo and all the friends she made down there.  I think that was the happiest time of her life, and if the human spirit survives after death, I am sure hers remains there.  Happy Mother's Day Mother!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fight Night!

I went to the Cinco de Mayo celebration at Civic Center Park here in Denver last Sunday, and was surprised to see that they were hosting boxing matches in a makeshift  ring right in the middle of Broadway. It reminded me of my old co-workers Larry and Darrel from the DU Bookstore, both of whom - at the insistence of their fathers - boxed when they were young.  Darrel was pretty successful in his matches back in Iowa.  Larry, on the other hand, wound up fighting an opponent from Joliet Illinois Correctional Institute, known far and wide for the ferocity of their fighters.  Larry eventually did start talking to his father again after a couple of years, but I think his fight career ended after that particular bout.  And by the way, if I've told this story before on this Blog, you can let me know, but I'll tell you right now - I don't care.  That's the prerogative of the older generation.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Waiting For News From Mozambique

It has been almost 3 months since Cheyanne - daughter of my friend Valarie and a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique - has posted anything on her Blog (  The above photograph was posted on her Facebook Page, and shows (from left to right) Cheyanne, three of her students, and another Peace Corps volunteer preparing food to sell at a festival in the town where the college she teaches at is located.  This particular photograph had a caption attached, but most of her Facebook photos don't, and that has given me a great idea.  Until Cheyanne has the time to start posting on her Blog again, I plan to feature her Facebook photographs on my Blog every week or so and then add my own interpretation of them.  As Sherlock Holmes once said, from a single drop of water one can deduce the Nile. How far off could I possibly be interpreting a few photographs?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Early Edition Rocks!

One of my favorite television shows of all time is Early Edition.  It takes place in Chicago - my old home town - and is about a guy who gets tomorrow's newspaper today and spends his days saving the people he reads about in the news stories.  I liked it so much I even took photographs of the locales where the show was supposed to have taken place when I was in Chicago a few years ago and put them in my international best seller (seen in the photo above) titled The Journey Home: Returning to Chicago (  And I want to state emphatically that I am not a big fan of the show simply because the characters seem to spend most of their time drinking beer in a former Chicago Firehouse turned bar called McGinnty's, which they eventually wind up owning.  On second thought, maybe that is exactly why I like Earl Edition so much.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It's All Happening At 10th And Osage!

The corner of 10th and Osage in Denver used to be best known for the location of the Buckhorn Exchange, a restaurant which holds the oldest liquor license in the city of Denver and has been in business since the late 1800s.  However, since the addition of a Light Rail stop and the encouragement of "transit oriented development" by the city, it is being transformed into an urban village - an entirely new neighborhood of retail shops on the ground floor and apartments above.  Right now it is still under construction, which made it a bit eerie walking through it's deserted streets the other night on my way to catch the train. I was probably just feeling the presence of the ghosts of residents past, evicted in the name of gentrification.  Just passing through, guys! No worries!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Paul Stanley Visits The Tattered Cover!

Paul Stanley of the band KISS visited Denver's Tattered Cover Bookstore on Colfax Avenue yesterday evening to sign books and visit with his fans.  I must admit I had never heard of him before yesterday, but he seems to be extremely popular - the line to see him went from the main floor of the store, down the stairs to the lower level, back up a second set of stairs to the main  floor again, and then across to the opposite side of the store, where Stanley was greeting each fan. Originally he was only going to sign books, and not allow posed photographs, but he wound up arriving early, signing all the books in advance, and then posing for photographs with each and every fan.  That struck me as a pretty nice thing to do.  If I remember correctly, I believe KISS was a polka band back in the early 1980s and that Stanley was the lead accordionist.  He seems like such a nice guy, I will definitely be there for his next polka concert here in Denver.  And by the way, I pride myself on my journalistic accuracy, so if I ever get any little detail wrong, please be sure to let me know.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Or Cinco de Mango, or Cinco de Shamrock, or whatever Cinco you celebrate.  I biked downtown to Civic Center Park here in Denver yesterday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  The park was crowded with people, booths selling a variety of foods and products, and musical acts, such as the one above.  Of course, everything was in Spanish, so I had no idea what the announcers were saying.  I think I got the jist of it, however, although  I still don't understand why funnel cakes are considered a Mexican treat.  Were they invented by the Aztecs?  And if so, what about sausage on a stick?  Incan, no doubt.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Getting Together With Robin And The Gang

I went to the Met-Rockies game at Coors Field last night with (from left to right in the photograph above) Colin - the son of my friend and former Hatch's Bookstore co-worker Robin - Colin's girlfriend Molly, Robin, and Robin's daughter Caitie.  This was the first time that I have seen Colin since his high school graduation party 12 or 13 years ago (he hasn't changed a bit), and so we had a lot of catching up to do. Colin is a big New York Mets fan (his father is from New York and must have brainwashed him), and proud of it, and so we were roundly heckled by the Colorado Rockies faithful as we walked to our seats. Robin is also a Mets fan, and so I felt all alone in cheering for the Rockies, who won with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning.  Hey Colin, the weather was perfect, so don't sulk too much!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Warm First Friday At Last!

I attended the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Boulevard here in Denver last night, and for the first time in many months, it was actually a warm evening.  The streets were crowded with art lovers, not to mention various and sundry acrobats.  I suppose that can be considered an art form, too.  The couple in the above photograph attracted quite a crowd, most of whom expressed the opinion that if they tried that themselves, they would wind up in the emergency room.  So much for the state of exercise in this country.  I say try it anyway and have your insurance card ready.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cheyanne Soldiers On!

I checked the Facebook Page of Cheyanne - daughter of my friend Valarie and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique - and see that she is still enjoying the good life in that East African nation.  She recently spent some time with friends in the old Portuguese colonial town of Inhambane, and as the above photograph shows, Cheyanne (on the left) is keeping up with her social engagements, too.  As I've said before, they don't call it the "Party Corps" for nothing.  Check out Cheyanne's Blog at

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Finding Vivian Maier

I went to see the documentary Finding Vivian Maier at the Esquire Theater here in Denver last weekend. It is a film about a nanny who turned out to be one of the greatest street photographers ever, but never showed anyone her work, despite taking over 100,000 photographs.  Most of her photos were taken in Chicago - my old home town - and I must say, her portraits of the people she met on the streets are stunning.  She was evidently a very private person, quite eccentric (i.e.crazy), and probably would never have wanted the fame she has now gained posthumously.  Maier also took 8 months off and traveled the world, taking thousands of photographs wherever she went.  Traveling all over the world, acting wildly eccentric, taking photographs of everybody and everything.  Hey, I could do that!  Something to aspire to.