Friday, July 31, 2015

50 Main Street

I bought the book 50 Main Street the other day at the Bookstore where I work, mainly because it was a photography book and was priced at $7.00 used (even less with my employee discount).  When I took it home and actually looked at it, however, I was surprised to find that the photographer - Piero Ribelli - is actually pretty damn good.  The portraits of people in all 50 states are wonderful, and definitely worth the $5.00 or so I paid for the book.  For once being a cheapskate has paid extra dividends.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

ISIS Headquarters - Located In Englewood Colorado?

Yes, it's true.  ISIS headquarters is located in a building on South Broadway in Englewood, Colorado, just a few miles south of downtown Denver.  I took the above photograph of the building where they are housed. The sign says "Books & Gifts," and that the place is a "Healing Oasis," but I suspect that might just be a cover.  To say these guys are brazen is an understatement.  They even claim to have psychic readings.  Or perhaps they really are a New Age bookstore and just clueless.  Which doesn't say much for their psychic readers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Stand Corrected...

A couple of days ago I stated in one of my Blog Posts that there was a lion roaming around Detroit.  I must state here and now that I was wrong.  I was confusing this lion with the Detroit Lions, which as avid football fans know is a whole different kind of animal.  The lion discussed in recent news reports is actually wandering around Milwaukee, Wisconsin and looks very much like the lion in the photographs above and to the left.  Plus, there are reports that there might be more than one lion wandering around.  Evidently Wisconsin does not have any laws against keeping exotic animals, and it is suspected that these are "mail order lions" that got too big for their owner to handle.  Mail order lions?  You mean you can go to and purchase a lion these days?  The mind boggles.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jimmy Carter At The Tattered Cover Bookstore!

I went to a book signing for A Full Life, the latest book by Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, yesterday afternoon at the Tattered Cover Bookstore here in Denver.  I was originally planning to take a photograph of him, but was told that if I tried to do that as I approached the desk, I would be shot by the Secret Service, which seemed too high a price to pay for a blog photograph.  I was also thinking of taking a photograph of him leaving the building, but as I looked down to where he would be leaving from, several secret service agents were there looking right back at me, and so I though to myself  "perhaps not." You'll all have to be satisfied with the portrait of him from the front cover of the book, which I'm sure is a  much nicer photograph than anything I could have taken on the fly.  And keep up the good work, Secret Service.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

If they were still alive, today would have been my mother Mary and father Nelson's 75th wedding anniversary. They got married on a farm west of Geneva, Illinois - owned by my father's Uncle John - on July 27th, 1940 (see photograph above).  Two years later my sister Susan came along, and eleven years later, me.  The evening before I was born, my mother and father and sister celebrated my sister's 11th birthday at the Rosewood Inn, a restaurant owned by my father's friend Art Houle.  They had dinner, and then drove to St. Bernard's Hospital at 63rd and State Street on Chicago's South Side, where I was born a short time later.  According to my sister, that was the end of her happy, carefree life.  However, she did forgive me for being born when I turned 50 years, so at last all is well.  And yes - this is the EXACT same photograph I used last year. Tough!  In any case, Happy Anniversary Mother and Dad, if your spirits are out there somewhere.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Cheeseman Park Art Fest...

I went to the Cheeseman Park Art Fest yesterday afternoon and had a great time.  There were quite a few photography booths at the festival, and most of the photographs on display were pretty damn good.  There were landscape photographs of the West, travel photography from around the world, and amazing portrait photography.

The booth on the right belongs to photographer David Schneider of Fringe Photography, who had on display some wonderful western landscapes and wildlife photography. You can check out his web site at  As I looked at Schneider's work, I wondered if this is what I should do with my life when I retire in 2 years, 10 months, 7 days, 2 hours, and 21 minutes, not that I'm counting.  Of course, if I want to take photographs in Europe, I'll have to pick up that 3rd job pretty soon.

The booth on the left features portrait photography from all over the world by National Geographic photographer Greg Davis.  Davis' work is truly wonderful, and can be viewed at  I also stopped at the booth of New Mexico photographer Jim Carnevale, whose photographs evoking days gone by in the small towns of the West are also very good.  Be sure to check out his web site at In summary, a very good, laid back kind of festival.  And it helped that the sun was shining, too.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Soccer Talk With Mark At The Rockies Game

I went to see the Colorado Rockies play the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field here in Denver last night with Mark, my friend and a current employee at the University of Denver's library, now called the Anderson Academic Commons.. First, however, we went to The Three Lions Pub, at the corner of Colfax and York near the Bookstore where I work, to have dinner.  The Three Lions is a soccer pub, and Mark is obsessed about soccer.  He follows virtually every soccer team in the world, and has traveled to the far corners of the known world to attend games.  One fact he told that surprised me was the number of soccer teams in Europe owned by wealthy Americans, especially the ones who own sports franchises in the U.S. too. Globalization has hit even the sports world.  In any case, Mark is all excited about his trip to Russia coming up this fall.  He will visit St. Petersburg and then cruise the Volga River to Moscow.  In any case, I told him that Russians are very interested in the opinions of Americans these days, and he should bring a "Down With Putin" banner to hang on the side of the cruise ship.  I'm sure it will be a big conversation starter.  Good luck with that, Mark!  By the way, the Rockies won on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 9th in a very sloppily played game.  Go figure.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Going To The Dogs...

Yes.  It's true!.  This blog is going to the dogs.  Still another damn animal photograph.  I took the above photo at the Dragon Boat festival last weekend.  The dog - perhaps an Alaskan Malamute - looks like a friendly pooch, except for the fact that I took this photograph just after he tried to eat a smaller dog.  And to think that animals like this are allowed out on the street everywhere in America, while cuddly little cheetahs like the one in yesterday's blog are forced into small confined spaces at the zoo.  I say Free The Big Cats Now!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Friend The Cheetah

The cheetah at the Denver Zoo is one of the animals at that establishment that is not afraid to look you in the eye and pose for a photograph.  I feel sorry for this guy and the other big cats at the zoo.  They are born to run at something like a hundred miles an hour and are kept in a relatively small space.  Creatures like these need to roam free - preferably throughout the entire Front Range of Colorado.  After all, just last night I saw on the news that a lion has been spotted running around metropolitan Detroit, which has given the residents a big thrill with no negative consequences  - so far.  If it works there, why not here?  Set the big cats free now, Denver Zoo!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


I just picked up a copy of the new Spenser novel at the Denver Public Library the other day.   Although the original author, Robert Parker, passed away a few years ago, a mystery writer named Ace Atkins is continuing on the series.  And I must say, I think he is doing a pretty good job of it, although I don't know if other people feel the same way.  I was able to get a copy of this book from the library right away. However, in the case of The English Spy, the new novel by Daniel Silva, which came out around the same time, I find myself number 2000 or so on the waiting list.  Of course, who cares what other people think.  There are actually some people - and I know this is hard to believe - who don't like this Blog.  Go figure.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dragon Boat Weird

I took the above photograph at the Dragon Boat Festival at Sloan's Lake in Northwest Denver this past Sunday.  The main purpose of the festival is to celebrate and promote all aspects of the Asian culture. Granted, a majority of the Dragon Boat crews were not Asian, but they did try to get in the spirit of the thing, wearing headbands and trying to fit it.  However, the guy above in the tri-cornered hat seems like he would fit in better during a 4th of July celebration.  Perhaps that boat crew could start their own boat races on the 4th, and replace the dragon figureheads on the front of the boats with the faces of the founding fathers.  Just a suggestion.  And I would definitely attend that festival, too.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Dragon Boat Festival!

I went to the 15th annual Dragon Boat Festival - held at Sloan's Lake each year in Northwest Denver  -Sunday afternoon to check out all the boat races.  Due to a fairly heavy thunderstorm (yes, it is still raining a lot here), the contests lasted well past the scheduled finish of 7:00 P.M.  I must say, everyone was very enthusiastic and full of good spirit, although the two boats with the most impressive figureheads on them (one of them is in the bottom photograph ) were not used at all while I was there.  Perhaps they were just there for show, and if a team tried to use one of them, they would sink.  And believe me, you do not want to go into the water at Sloan's Lake, unless you want to dissolve just like the Wicked Witch of the West.  Who wasn't all bad, I am now hearing.  Revisionists, revisionists everywhere.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Morning Nostalgia...

I made reservations for my trip to Florida this past week so that I can check out our condo in Stuart, Florida.  It will then be 4 months since the seasonal renters have left - definitely time to go down there and make sure all is well.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the only thing I will have to do is go to the beach, play golf, and take in a few Florida State League baseball games.  And after posting a photograph last Sunday of my father Nelson and Uncle Jack in Paris back in the 1970s, I am more than a little nostalgic about heading back to the last home my parents owned and the last place we were all together as a family.  The photograph on the left shows my father in his trademark orange pajamas preparing breakfast one morning in the kitchen of our Stuart, Florida condo, while my mother Mary prepared herself for the day and my sister Susan continued to sleep, and sleep, and sleep some more. The last time Susan and I were down in Stuart, I couldn't help but notice that she still has the same schedule.  Go figure.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

An Oldie But A Goodie

I received an e-mail from my friend and former DU Bookstore colleague Darrel the other day thanking me for my retirement gift to him - a framed photograph of Darrel, his wife Linda, and our hero Rick Steves, taken at a travel convention here in Denver last year (see above).  Darrell's wife and daughter threw a retirement party for him last Sunday on the occasion of his retirement from his position as Office and Budget Manager of the University of Denver's Chemistry Department.  Since Rick Steves was constantly surrounded by adoring fans every second he was here, it was much easier to take a photograph of Darrel and Linda in front of his photograph instead of him personally.  Evidently the photo got a lot of comments at the party.  Darrel didn't mention if they were good or bad comments, and I'm sure not going to ask.  And next up for Darrel and Linda?  Travel, of course.  What else?

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Big Story In Denver

I got home late from my part-time job the other night - Bastille Day, no less - and turned on the television to watch a rebroadcast of the news.  I was surprised to find that the lead story was about a bear that broke into a pie shop near Estes Park and ate 20 or 30 pies before it left the premises.  The report lasted about 5 or 10 minutes, with virtually everyone in the area being interviewed about the incident, and then they went right into the weather.  I was hoping to at least see some Bastille Day footage of the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower, but no such luck.  In any case, the lesson to be learned from all of this is that if you see a bear like the one in the photograph above, be sure to stand a respectable distance away,  but not too far away - perhaps maybe 5 or 10 feet just to make sure you get a good photograph.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tiger Encounter!

In addition to having a "giraffe encounter" at the Denver Zoo this past Saturday (see yesterday's post), I also had a "tiger encounter," too.  Unlike the giraffes, tigers will come right up to you even if don't have any food to feed them.  Of course, tigers probably just think that you ARE the food.  But that's okay - there was an unbreakable pane of glass between me and the tiger in the photograph above.  It is unbreakable, right? Right?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Giraffe Encounter At Last

This past Saturday afternoon I finally got to have a "Giraffe Encounter" at the Denver Zoo.  As faithful readers will remember, I tried to have a giraffe encounter a  few weeks ago and arrived a few minutes too late.  Giraffes can only take so many encounters with humans before they go bonkers.  In any case, I was damn lucky to get the above photograph.  There are only very specific feeding times, and if you don't have food for them, the giraffes won't go anywhere near you.  Simon and Garfunkel had it right when they sang about giraffes being insincere in their song At the Zoo.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Valarie And Jake

There were a number of former University of Denver Bookstore employees at my friend and former colleague Darrel's retirement party last Sunday, waxing nostalgic about the good old days, including Chris - the Bookstore's former Accounts Payable Assistant - and her husband Jim, and Valarie and Jake, seen in the photograph above.  Valarie is the former Operations Manager of the DU Bookstore, back when it was an institutionally owned operation.  Darrel, by the way, is planning to ride in the RAGBRAI, the famous bike ride across Iowa, this month.  And Jake is planning a motorcycle ride to Alaska.  Biking across Iowa would require a lot of energy I don't have right now.  I would buy a Vincent Black Shadow and go along with Jake to Alaska, but I don't think clumsy people should be riding motorcycles at 75 miles per hour.  Oops has a totally different meaning at that kind of speed.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Darrell Retires!

My friend and former DU Bookstore colleague Darrell (in the photograph on the right next to another of his former bosses) has retired from his job as Office and Budget Manager of the University of Denver's Chemistry Department and celebrated this momentous event at his east Denver home yesterday afternoon. This is the third former DU Bookstore employee to retire in the past year.  What is the deal with that?  We are all still so young.  In any case, Darrel and his wife Linda plan to take it easy and do a lot of traveling in the next 6 months or so.  And I am not jealous.  Not at all.  No way Jose.  In any case, congratulations Darrel!  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hoyt Family Nostalgia

The annual Hoyt family reunion in Cannon Beach, Oregon has been canceled.  In fact, my cousin John Hoyt and his significant other Barb are here in Colorado, helping Barb's daughter with her newborn baby for a few weeks.  Unfortunately, the cancellation of the reunion means that I probably won't be able to visit with my Uncle Jack, my father's younger brother, this year.  Uncle Jack will be 93 or 94 this year, while my father Nelson, if he had lived, would be 105, which would have definitely made him very cranky.  In any case, in a fit of nostalgia I decided to print a photograph of my father (above on the left) and Uncle Jack (on the right) taken in Paris in the early 1970s.  Notice how they are dressed for a day of casual sightseeing, as compared with the shorts and T-shirts today's tourists sport.  Those were the days, as Archie Bunker famously sings during the opening credits of All in the Family.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Hoofing It Once Again

Now that my car is in the shop being repaired for major hail damage, I am once again taking the bus and walking everywhere I go, including to the grocery store.  I am now being forced to go to the closest supermarket,  instead of the King Soopers that I usually shop at, and as a result have been forced to give up eating my regular Michelina's Frozen entrees - Authentico! - and instead eat frozen dinners such as The Shanghai Surprise, or something to that effect. I suggest you try it and be surprised too.  Plus, I now have to walk across the University of Denver campus - where I worked for almost 30 years before being laid off - on my way to the grocery store.  In the photograph above, I am walking past DU's Morgridge School of Education, where I applied for a job after the DU Bookstore was outsourced to Follett Higher Education Group.  I never did hear back from them, but as readers of this Blog should well know, I am not bitter about it.  Much.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Downtown Walk

Now that my car is in the shop being repaired for hail damage, I am walking to the Light Rail Train at Union Station after work whenever I can.  This probably will be the situation for a while, since I was told my car would be ready "someday" (not Sunday).  And yes, as you can see from the above photograph, it is still raining here in Denver.  My cousin John, who lives in Seattle, is here in town on an extended visit, and I think he has brought his city's weather with him.  Damn it John - if the sun doesn't come out soon, it  might be time for you to head home to Seattle, where I hear the weather is hot and sunny.  Go figure.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Photographers Burden

The above photograph is the first one I took of my sister Susan and brother-in-law George at Kaos, the beer garden/pizza parlor on South Pearl Street here in Denver this past Sunday afternoon.  Susan - as you can tell from the photograph - does not like her picture taken anymore, especially if it is going to appear on this Blog. I was only able to take the second photograph that appeared on this Blog Tuesday by telling Susan that she would have to pick up the check if she didn't cooperate.  Cruel, I know, but it works.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Birthday Brunch With Stuart

I helped my friend Stuart celebrate his birthday Sunday afternoon at Blackbird, a fairly new restaurant located here in Southeast Denver.  I must say I was not too impressed with Blackbird.  The food was okay, but the prices seemed a bit on the high side - a hamburger was $13.00, for goodness sake.  Plus the ambiance was a bit sterile and unappealing.  Nevertheless,  Stuart and I were able to catch up on what we have each been up to the past month or so, and I able to present Stuart with a photograph of him and some of the old Hatch's Bookstore gang (see photograph above).  Stuart is the one wearing wearing the Groucho glasses, his trademark back in the 1980s when we both worked for that bookstore.  And whatever happened to those glasses, anyway, Stuart?  As I recall (although I must admit that my memory is not what it used to be), you even used to wear them to job interviews.  And get the job, too!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Return To Kaos

After my sister Susan and brother-in-law George and I visited the Cheery Creek Arts Festival Sunday afternoon, we had dinner at Kaos, the beer garden/pizza parlor on South Pearl Street here in Denver.  It has been several years since Susan and George have made a weekend trip to Denver, and Kaos was Susan's number one choice.  It was a very pleasant afternoon and the pizzas were excellent.  Susan had a garden pizza topped by 2 eggs and George and I (health fanatics that we are) shared a pizza with double pepperoni. It did rain for a brief time, but fortunately we were sitting at the one table that had an umbrella over it, and so we kept calm and pizza-ed on, as the British might say. The stars were definitely aligned Sunday afternoon.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival!

The Cherry Creek Arts Festival is one of the top art festivals in the country (at least according to Cherry Creek, and they wouldn't lie) and for the first time in years my sister Susan and brother-in-law George decided to drive into Denver and take in the show.  I must say, it was a pretty hot day, and George told me the heat was bothering him a bit, and that if we got separated, he would meet us at the bar at Elways.  My sister and I went in to look at the artwork at the booth in the photograph above, and when we came out, George was nowhere to be seen.  Sure enough, when we got to the bar at Elways, there he was.  In all fairness, I must say that it was nice and cool in there, and George even bought us a drink.  I would call that a win-win result.  And by the way, I eavesdropped on the artist talking to a customer at the A.E. London booth, and not only does she do the sketches for her paintings in Africa, but she also teaches drawing and animal conservation in the schools there and sponsors drawing competitions between those schools.  Check out her website at

Sunday, July 5, 2015

4th Of July Fireworks

I visited the Cherry Creak Arts Festival with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George yesterday afternoon, and later that evening decided to take the Light Rail Train down to Sports Authority Field to see the fireworks display at the conclusion of the Denver Outlaws game.  Usually I go to the fireworks display at the Colorado Rockies game, but the Rockies are on the road this year and so this was one of the few options left.  And I must say, I was not impressed with the fireworks display (top photo).  Evidently major league lacrosse does not generate enough revenue to fund a major league fireworks display.  However, on the walk back to the Light Rail station I saw that Elitch Gardens, a local amusement park,  was also putting on a fireworks display too, and hung out beside the Platte River and watched that display, too.  It was a much better production (bottom photo).  Of course, by the time I got to the Light Rail Station, it was filled with all those damn lacrosse fans (talk about eccentric), and the train home was packed.  Halfway home our car broke out in an impromptu, drunken version of the start spangled banner.  I was glad I only had to take the train for 6 stops.  More than that and I would have gone even crazier than I am now.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Corn Is Knee High By The 4th Of July - But No Pool!

Today is the 4th of July - Independence Day.  Back in The Great State of Illinois, we used to say that the corn should be knee high by the 4th of July (we used to grow it along the alley fence in the backyard of our house in the South Side Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago).  However, although the corn may be knee high by now back in Illinois, the pool at my condo building is still closed.  Of course, in the 28 years I have lived in this building, I have never actually been in the pool, but my balcony is right over it, and it makes a good backdrop for photographs.  The HOA has not said why the pool is not open.  I don't know if it is because they can't afford to open it, or they are afraid more University of Denver students might jump off the balconies into it and injure themselves.  The last time a DU student did that - showing off for the sunbathing coeds (alcohol may have been involved) - he hit the bottom of the pool, broke his collarbone, and wandered around the yard in a daze until the ambulance arrived to take him away.  It would be a shame if the pool didn't open this year because some of the residents are too stupid not to jump off the balcony.  Perhaps they could just put up signs to the effect that jumping off the balcony could be dangerous to your health.  I'm sure that would work.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Hot Countries...

Great news!  Timothy Hallinan has a new Poke Rafferty mystery novel coming out this fall titled The Hot Countries.  This mystery series takes place in Thailand and is a very good read.  Many years ago, I read Hallinan's Simeon Grist series, which takes place in Los Angeles, but when they stopped coming out, I assumed Hallinan had stopped writing.  It wasn't until I started working at the bookstore where I am currently employed and picked up an advance reading copy The Fear Artist that I realized that Hallinan simply moved on to a new series.  I am happy to report that I was able to pick up an advance reading copy of the Hot Countries, too, and it is also excellent.  Just don't tell me how it ends.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Peacock Encounter - Always Open!

As I reported yesterday, the Denver Zoo has a new exhibit - "The Giraffe Encounter" - which allows zoo goers to get up close and personal with the resident giraffes.  However, it is only open from 10:00 until 4:00 each day, resulting in disappointed children  - not to mention me, too - being turned away sobbing and heartbroken.  However, I am happy to report that the "Peacock Encounter" is always open, and young children can chase after them to their hearts content.  You catch it, you can take it home, kids.  Go for it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Giraffe Encounter - Closed!

I went to the Denver Zoo this past Sunday afternoon to see the new "Giraffe Encounter," which allows you to get up close and personal with the zoo's resident giraffes.  However, when I got there, it was closed.  At first I thought there had been some kind of incident - possibly a giraffe biting or even eating a young child, but then I read the sign a little closer and saw that the exhibit was only open between 10:00 and 4:00 each day. Evidently the giraffes can only take so many human encounters before they snap and go berserk.  And one thing you do not want to see is a berserk giraffe.