Thursday, March 31, 2016
The Denver Art Museum (The DAM) is currently showing the work of Chicago artist Kenneth Josephson, which I was able to see during the Final Friday event at the museum last week. Josephson is most famous for his photo within a photo style, where he holds up a photograph within the frame that has a relevant or humorous relationship to the photograph he is taking. And in point of fact, when I took the photographs for my international best seller The Journey Home: Returning to Chicago (http://www.blurb.com/b/1361398-the-journey-home-returning-to-chicago), I borrowed (stole) this technique. And I'm sure a fellow Chicagoan would not object to that in the least. Right? Right?
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Last Friday night I did not have to work at my part-time drugstore job, and so was able to attend the Denver Art Museum's Final Friday event for March. The speakers and activities were interesting, but the best part was simply being able to wander around the museum and take in all the new exhibits, which included an exhibit of Chicago photographer Kenneth Josephson's work and an artistic interpretation by artist Virgil Ortiz of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish , as well as a fictionalized 2180 uprising (which is coming up, people). In the photograph above is shown one of those future Indian warriors. In any case, it was a very pleasant evening, and the museum even provided free snacks and a cash bar. And if you happen to see one of those futuristic warriors, I would strongly advise you to cross to the other side of the street.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
I went to the Old Chicago Restaurant on Colorado Boulevard here in Denver for burgers and beers yesterday evening with my friend Stuart. We talked baseball for only a little bit. Stuart is optimistic about the Chicago Cubs this year, and hopes they will go deep into the playoffs, while I, originally from the South Side of Chicago and a White Sox fan (in other words, one of the doomed) am pessimistic as usual about the team's chances, despite their being predicted to finish first in their division. However, most of the evening was devoted to politics - specifically why Donald Trump would be a disaster for the country and the world. We both agreed that there is no way Trump could get elected, but you never know in politics. However, I strongly advise waiting until after the election to check out the cost of real estate in Toronto and Vancouver. Eh?
Monday, March 28, 2016
I drove up to Fort Collins Saturday afternoon to have an early Easter dinner with my sister Susan and brother-in-law George at The Farmhouse, a fairly new, trendy restaurant in the eastern part of the city. And thanks to daylight savings time, I was able to take a photograph of Susan and George during the daylight hours for the first time in months.
The Farmhouse is indeed located in an old farmhouse and the food is really good, but bring your wallet. It is - to me - a bit pricey (my hamburger was $13.95, for example). But then again, I usually go to sports bars when I go to restaurants, and so I am no judge when it comes to anything fancier. So the next time you are in Fort Collins, give it a try. And mention my name for a big discount.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
For the umpteenth year in a row I was planning on using for an Easter photograph the black and white photo of me with my Easter basket, taken back when I was at my most charming, but then I ran across the above photograph of my mother Mary proudly standing in the dining room of our house in the south side Chicago neighborhood of Brainerd. It was taken on Easter Sunday (I think) back in 1957. My mother absolutely loved that house and even hated going on vacations because she would have to leave it. She also loved to have family over for holiday dinners, as I think is obvious from the photograph. Happy Easter everyone!
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Yes. The Denver area was hit by a spring blizzard yesterday, closing down the airport and most of the schools and businesses in town. I woke up to the view in the photograph on the left of the University of Denver's Ritchie Center, hardly visible through the blowing snow.
Conditions were bad any direction you went outside Denver, but in town, it wasn't all that terrible. The buildings sheltered the roads from the wind, and were slushy but driveable. And because there were a lot fewer cars on the road, I actually got to work quicker than usual. Officially, Denver got 12 inches of snow, but one of the employees at the bookstore where I work measured the snow on one of the tables outside the store and saw that we got 15 inches of snow here in central Denver (see photo on right). However, just to the east of us in Aurora they got 25 inches, so a lot depended on where you live in the Denver area. The bookstore where I work closed at 7:00 P.M., when the sun would set and the roads froze and became skating rinks.
Of course, as usual with these storm, the next day the sun came out and the storm was all but forgotten. And why am i reporting on this storm on Saturday if it occurred on Wednesday? Because I could not upload any photographs into my computer the past few days. I was all set to buy a new computer, and being a cheapskate that made me really grumpy, but then one of the computer guys at the bookstore suggested trying a different cord, and it worked. Good thing I never became a doctor, or I would be advising brain surgery for every bad headache.
Friday, March 25, 2016
No, my friend Stuart is not an "Equitrekker." As far as I know, he has never even been on a horse, which I hear are very rare on the North Side of Chicago. They are pretty rare on the South Side of Chicago, where I am from, too. I just am using the photograph because it has a horse (not to mention Stuart) in it, and seems appropriate to today's topic, which is the PBS (Public Television System) television show Equitrekking. I usually don't watch that program, but the other night it featured Colorado, and so I was hooked. It took place on a working ranch in the northeast part of the state, as well as on a tourist oriented "dude ranch" in the southwest part of the state near Durango. On the working ranch, people actually pay to work there, mending fences,doing other repairs, herding cows, etc. In other words, it is the Tom Sawyer story all over again, except that Tom Sawyer didn't get paid - just got people to do his work - while the ranch brings in big bucks from the tourists. What is the deal with that? The only benefit is that the tourist gets to ride a horsey, which might - or might not - be a positive thing. I wish I could get people to pay me to let them do my job. I just don't know how to make bookkeeping sound that much fun.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
As most people have already heard, the world's most fascinating man - who appears on the Dos Equis beer commercials looking appropriately fascinating - is retiring, and Dos Equis is searching for the world's second most fascinating man to replace him. And yes - I am throwing my hat into the ring. Please e-mail Dos Equis and insist they hire me at an appropriately high salary, or else they might choose Donald Trump instead. If they do, it will all be your fault. Stay thirsty, my friends.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
I had dinner and beers last night with my friend Mark at the Three Lions Pub, just down the street from the bookstore where I work on Colfax. Mark, as you will remember, works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (the library). The Three Lions is a "World Football" pub (i.e. a soccer pub), and I couldn't help but notice that the place was pretty empty. Mark said that the place would be hopping on Saturday and Sunday mornings, when all the live soccer telecasts take place. I would have to believe that beer sales at this place would be pretty low because of that, but what do I know? In any case, Mark is planning a trip to Avon-On-Stratford in November and hopes to tour a bit of the rest of England when he is there, too. Mark has visited quite a bit of Europe, often traveling with his brother, who works at the Denver Botanical Garden. Of course, his brother likes to visit botanical gardens, and Mark likes to attend soccer games, so is it really travel? I say no.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Years ago my mother and her friends used to go to a tea house in an old home in downtown Stuart, Florida for lunch once in a great while. The photograph above shows (from left to right) my mother Mary, her neighbor Dorothy (the only one one still living, by the way), my mother's next door neighbor Elaine, and her upstairs neighbor Jane. My mother told me that sometimes when they went there, it would be filled with older ladies wearing red hats. I do not know much about this group, but I believe they are called the Red Hat Gang, and I imagine they must do things like knock over liquor stores to obtain money for food. I also believe they are a national organization, and not just a Stuart, Florida phenomena. And as always, if I have gotten any little detail wrong, please let me know.
Monday, March 21, 2016
As I discussed in yesterday's Blog, a few days ago I ran across a shoe box full of "lost" slides that I took back in the 1970s, when my parents and I lived in the southern Chicago suburb of Country Club Hills (warning: don't go there!). Among the slides were photographs of a one day trip to Charleston, Illinois to visit Lincoln sites. The photograph on the left shows my father Nelson and mother Mary in front of the house of Abraham Lincoln's stepmother, Sara Bush Lincoln, and her daughter, Matilda Johnston. A few miles away is the home of Thomas Lincoln - Lincoln's father - and Sara Bush Lincoln that they occupied during Thomas' lifetime.
Although I have always had - and still do have - a mind like a steel trap, I totally forgot about this trip to Central Illinois (motto: if you think it's boring here, try Kansas), and was happy to see these photographs from the past. I only had time to scan 4 photos from that shoe box full of slides, but will upload them into my computer as time allows and share them on this blog (be sure to keep 2019 open). In any case, what really strikes me as a first reaction is just how dorky everybody looked back then. And yes - that is indeed me along with my mother Mary in the photograph on the right. Me dorky? No way.
Sunday, March 20, 2016
I got to talking with a customer at my part-time job, and learned that she lived in Michigan City, Indiana. I told her that I used to bike from Michigan City along Lake Michigan to Grand Beach, Michigan, where the first Mayor Daley had a summer home and a bunch of angry looking guys in suits used to hang out at the entrance to the place. The customer told me that the second Mayor Daley (now retired) still uses the place, and that her husband put in new floors for him. After she left, I remembered that I took a lot of slides of that area, and this past weekend I decided to look for them. I discovered a treasure trove of slides in a shoebox taken during the 1970s when my parents and I - and for a very brief time my sister - were living in Country Club Hills, Illinois, in the southern suburbs of Chicago (hated it, hated it, hated it). Many of these slides are of Chicago during that period, and a lot more are of family. Now all I need is the time to go through the slides and scan them into the computer. I think they call this kind of time retirement.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
And then a Friday morning commute to work down snow-packed roads. Although Denver received a relatively modest 6 inches of snow, Boulder received 13 inches and the mountains much more. Since everyplace in the Denver metro area is at a different elevation and experiences different weather conditions, there never is any uniformity concerning snow totals here.
But on the bright side, even after major blizzards, the sun usually comes out the very next day and soon the storm is a distant memory. In no time at all, the Bonnie Brae Ice Cream Shop, seen in the photograph on the right, will have lines out the door once again. And the Bonnie Brae, by the way, is where Rudy Giuliani , the former mayor of New York City, once campaigned for the presidency a number of years ago. And you all know how well that went. At least the ice cream is good there.
Friday, March 18, 2016
I took the above photograph the other morning in the parking garage next door to the bookstore where I work. It this was a blackbird or a raven, it might be a sign of bad luck, but fortunately it is only a pigeon. In fact, I used to park exactly where the above car is now parked, until I came back one evening and found that about 40 or 50 pigeons must have had some kind of wild pigeon party directly over my car. Now I park under the wide open western skies. Who says I'm not a nature lover?
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone! And who can deny that I am willing to wear green on the big day? At least at my part-time job in the evening, where I can borrow the green fedora, take a photograph, and put it back without shelling out any cash. And I know that it is the Scots who are supposed to be cheapskates, but I have both Scottish and Irish blood, so it all fits. Enjoy the day, people!
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Talk about exciting! Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) is about to open 4 new light rail lines this year, one of which will go to Denver International Airport, located - as far as I can tell - right along the Kansas state line. Conspiracy theorists have claimed that the airport was built so far outside the city in order to allow flying saucers to land there unseen, but some feel this might be a little far fetched. In any case, in less than 30 days you can take the light rail train out to DIA to catch your next flight, unless of course the light rail trains can be diverted directly into the UFOs, in which case I hope you brought an extra pair of underwear.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
I took the above photograph of my mother Mary and father Nelson in Panama City, Florida back in April of 1975. My father had retired from dentistry that year, and the 3 of us took a leisurely road trip to Stuart, Florida to visit my Uncle Bill and Aunt Elsie. My mother and father wanted to see if the condo complex where my uncle and aunt lived might be a good place for them to retire, too. We drove south from Chicago, through Mississippi (where I almost ran into an elk at 70 miles per hour, by the way), then along the Gulf Coast though Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, through Panama City, Florida, and then across the state of Florida to Stuart. It was a very enjoyable trip. We had a nice visit with my uncle and aunt, and my parents decided that Stuart, Florida was indeed the place they should retire to. Now I will soon be taking that same road to retirement - perhaps literally - but trying to keep both my condo in Denver and the condo in Stuart. In other words, like the rest of my fellow baby boomers, I want it all. And like they used to say in the old L'Oreal commercials, I deserve it!
Monday, March 14, 2016
I started reading The Bone Labyrinth, the new adventure novel by James Rollins, this past week and it is not half bad. It is one of a series of novels about Sigma Force, a special government team that investigates strange occurrences that could have dire consequences for the entire world. Rollins is one of a number of authors - including Steve Berry and Dan Brown - who write books with similar themes. For the most part, these are interesting and exciting novels, although Berry has been adding some of his right wing political opinions into the stories (states have the right to secede from the Union, Franklin Roosevelt was a monster, etc.), and Dan Brown has not written a good story since The Da Vinci Code. In any case, the locales are usually set across Europe and make for an exciting read. Plus, the situations are so similar to my current lifestyle, it is uncanny.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Since something like 99% of all Coloradans seem to own dogs these days, there are plenty of opportunities to take impromptu dog portraits, like the one of the smiling dog in the photograph above that I took the other day in front of the bookstore where I work here in Denver. Most of the time these animals are very willing subjects, unlike many of their curmudgeonly human counterparts. People are so suspicious of having their picture taken these days. They think it will show up on the internet or something. They are right, of course, but why should they care? My furry friend in the photograph doesn't care. Why should they?
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Today is March 12th and would have been my father Nelson's 107th birthday. He passed away - as far as I am concerned - before his time back in 1983 at the age of 74. He was a very kind, intelligent, witty person. His parents forced him to go into dentistry (they thought they were doing the right thing), and he just hated it. He worked in that profession until 1976, when he and my mother Mary moved to Stuart, Florida, where he could play golf and enjoy the good life. He was able to spend 7 happy years there, which is better than nothing, but I wish it had been more. Happy Birthday Dad!
Friday, March 11, 2016
C.J. Box appeared at the Tattered Cover on East Colfax Avenue in Denver Wednesday night, promoting his new Joe Pickett mystery novel Off the Grid. I had just finished an advanced reading copy of Off the Grid and really enjoyed it, and so was especially interested in hearing what he had to say about the book. Box gave a nice talk to an overflow crowd, and answered any and all questions from the audience. Since Box lives just outside fairly nearby Cheyenne, Wyoming, his wife and a number of acquaintances were in the audience, too. After he got done speaking, a large line formed to get their book signed. If I wanted to get my book signed, it would have been a long wait. Plus, there would have been the embarrassment of asking him to sign a freebie, and so I decided to just take the above photograph and call it a night. Even cheapskates have their pride.
Thursday, March 10, 2016
I visited the Denver Zoo Sunday morning, and one of the tigers was putting on quite a display, walking back and forth in front of the window and stopping each time to peer intently into the room. As you can see from the photographs, zoo visitors - especially the younger ones - were fascinated, and peering right back. Was the tiger looking for it's mate and/or it's cubs, who were still inside the building, or was he or she simply picking out dinner.
And if the tiger was looking for it's cubs, that meant zoo visitors were right between them, which has always been considered a wildlife no-no. Which makes you wonder just how strrong that glass dividing the tiger from zoo patrons really is. Of course, on the other hand, if the tiger did break through, it would make for a memorable day - if you survived, that is.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
For the first time in months, I was able to visit the Denver Zoo this past Sunday morning before going into work. It was almost 70 degrees and sunny, and I arrived at the crack of dawn (10:00 A.M.), and so I assumed the "Giraffe Encounter," where fans get to feed the giraffes and get up close and personal, would be going great guns. But no. It was closed. I have been to this exhibit at 11:30 in the morning and seen a "tummies full" sign on the gate more than I can count, and now it appears the giraffes can't be fed during the wintertime, even though they are wandering around the compound anyway. I don't want to put too fine a point on it, but I think it is all a shuck, a jive, a con. On the other hand, at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, not only can you feed the giraffes 24/7, they even let you ride them through the compound. Take a lesson, Denver Zoo!
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
I took the above photograph of my mother Mary and father Nelson back in February or March of 1962, when I was 9 years old. I used to love going to the auto show, not only because it was something I could do with both of my parents but also because it was very exciting. It was held in the old McCormick Place (which burned down 5 years later and was rebuilt twice as big), and everything was bright and glitzy. My mother told the salesman at one booth how much she liked the car on display, and he told her the Queen of England was fond of it, too. And we all marveled at the high cost of a Jaguar XKE sports car, and wondered who in the world could afford to pay $6,000 for a car. I think I wound up sitting in every car on display there, and was dragged back to our car to go home, walking along wintry Lake Michigan, where I took the above photo. Those were the days, as Archie Bunker and Edith used to sing.
Monday, March 7, 2016
I didn't have to work at my part-time job Friday night, and so was able to attend the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver. I ran into my friend and former DU Bookstore colleague Carol, along with her husband, exhibiting her work at the Spark Gallery (see yesterday's Blog) and also saw some wonderful black and white photographs in the same gallery by Bruce Zander. Carol told me that just an hour ago Wally, my friend and another former University of Denver Bookstore colleague, along with his wife Linda, had also made an appearance.
After visiting with Carol at the Spark Gallery, I went to the MSU (Metropolitan State University) Gallery to check out their exhibit. They were featuring the late 18th and early 19th century political caricatures of James Gillray, along with the artwork of 3 of his contemporary counterparts. That is where I took the photograph of one of my fellow hipsters, seen on the left.
I then headed to the John Fielder Gallery, where I saw some really great travel photographs on display by Jeff Carter and Richard Voninski, before heading to the Point Gallery, which I always make a point never to miss. I just love the space, and like to walk through it, but to be honest, I have never seen any art work there I am too crazy about. There were a few interesting black and white photographs by Denver photographer Mark Sink there, but most of the art looks like the piece in the photograph on the right. Of course, I might not like it, but perhaps it would look good in your living room. Maybe I can get you a deal.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
I ran into Carol at the Spark Gallery Friday night during the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver. Carol was at the gallery to exhibit some of her etchings, which, by the way, are very good. Carol was one of my coworkers at the University of Denver Bookstore, is now a full time artist, and doing very well. How wonderful is that? She has a number of art shows planned and will be participating in a Studio Tour March 19th during the Month of Printmaking. Be sure to check out Carol's website at www.caroltill.com. Great to see you again, Carol!
Saturday, March 5, 2016
To tell the truth, I never heard of Lita Ford before yesterday, until she came to the Tattered Cover Bookstore to sign her new book Living Like A Runaway, but shw has my vote as one of the best author signers ever. Although she didn't speak about her career as - according to Elle - as one of the best female electric guitar players, she greeted each fan warmly, went around the table to hug various fans every minute or so, and wrote long personalized messages in many books. And most importantly, she posed for the above photograph, which as far as I can remember no author at a book signing has ever done before. Keep on keeping on, Lita!
Friday, March 4, 2016
Once again I have run out of Blog ideas, and therefore have decided to feature another photograph of Tutu, my sister Susan and brother-in-law George's Yorkshire terrier that I took last Saturday night at their condo up in Fort Collins. You can't go wrong with a dog photograph, although it is my opinion you could go very wrong owning one: non-stop barking, constantly zooming round the house, vet bills, and frequent (to me) carpet replacements. But then again, I am considered a bit of a curmudgeon. And as usual, I don't care.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
Baseball spring training games began yesterday, and will continue throughout the month of March in both Florida and Arizona. There can be no surer sign of spring than this. And Opening Day is less than 5 weeks away. How exciting is that? Of course, the Colorado Rockies are predicted to lose 100 games and finish dead last, but on the other hand, both the National League (North Side) Chicago Cubs and American League (South Side - Yea!) Chicago White Sox are predicted to finish first in their divisions. No doubt this year will be the first "subway" World Series in Chicago since 1906. Let the good times roll! And by the way, I took the above photograph at a Florida State League (Single A) baseball game at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida this past August. While it hosts minor league baseball (the Palm Beach Cardinals and Jupiter Hammerheads) in the summer, during the spring it is where the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins train. Of course, since my sister Susan and my Stuart, Florida condo is rented through April, I will not be able to attend any spring training games unless I just show up and demand to use the spare bedroom.. I wonder how that would go over? Probably very well, I suspect.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
I went to visit my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore colleague Doug at the Wizard's Chest, near 4th and Broadway here in Denver. Doug works there every Saturday as the resident magician, doing card tricks and magic for the entertainment of the customers. Doug was retained as the textbook buyer after the DU Bookstore was outsourced by the University of Denver to Follett Higher Education Group, but about 8 months ago he decided to retire, and is enjoying it immensely. Doug does not want me to take any more photographs of him to put on this Blog (probably because he is in witness protection), and so I am using the photograph I took of him (on the left) and Marty (on the right, also a former DU Bookstore textbook buyer) when the 3 of us traveled to Paris back in 1888, during a previous life. Doug looks just the same, only older. Not like me.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Yes, it seemed like it would never get here, but March is here at last. Spring training baseball games begin in just a few days, daylight savings time begins in just over 10 days, and the temperatures here in Denver have been in the upper 60s and low 70s over the past week. It almost makes you forget that March and April are Denver's snowiest months, and that in just a week or so Washington Park (seen in the photograph above) will be covered in snow, if the weather forecasts are to be believed. But they are often wrong, so it is time to think positive. No more cold, no more blizzards, no more snow. Yeah. Right.