Sunday, July 31, 2016
I went to the Cheesman Park Arts Festival yesterday afternoon, and really enjoyed it. This is a fairly new arts festival, but each year it seems to get bigger. This year I noticed there were a number of exhibitors from different parts the country, although the majority were from Colorado and New Mexico. Cheesman Park is located in Central Denver and is a really nice place for a festival like this. Many of the attendees live in the area, and walk or bike to the event. And Cheesman Park was, by the way, Denver's first cemetery. As Denver began to grow in the late 1800s, it was decided to make the cemetery a park, and most - but not all - of the bodies were moved to Riverside Cemetery, on the far north side of the city.
And yes - it is said that the park is haunted. The removal of the bodies to Riverside Cemetery turned into a scandal at the time, with many shortcuts taken to increase the profits. The work was halted by the mayor, and never resumed. And starting around that time, the ghost stories began. Check out http://www.legendsofamerica.com/co-cheesmanpark.html to get more information on these spooky happenings But I digress. The thing I like most about this festival is that they have a lot of photography on exhibit, and most of it is pretty good. I have noticed that the great majority of these photographers are around my age. I am guessing that they retired from regular, good paying jobs and are spending their "golden years" pursing their hobby. Sounds like a good idea to me. And by the way, I did not see any ghosts yesterday, and do not plan to spend any time there after dark in the foreseeable future.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Yesterday was the final Friday of July, and as is my custom, I attended the Denver Art Museum's Untitled Final Fridays event, titled IN-SYNC (I know - I don't understand either). This month the museum is celebrating it's new exhibit Rhythm & Roots, and so the theme at this month's Final Friday was dance. I toured the main exhibit, and it was pretty good. All of the paintings on display featured artists depicting individuals and groups in the act of dancing.
And as usual, there were various talks and tours, and other types of entertainment, too. I stopped to watch the Buntport Theater's presentation of "Joan and Charlie," which is based on the famous painting of the same name that is part of the museum's collection. They perform in the freight elevator, and were as funny as usual, but I have not seen that actual painting in years. Was it defaced by some protester, stolen by a true crazy, or what? I would recommend concerned parties call the museum and demand an answer immediately.
And recently the museum has added tours by the Denver Center for the Performing Art's improv group "Cult Following." I followed them around the contemporary arts gallery and found them very amusing. I took the photograph of them on the left discussing what they claim was a dental X-Ray gone bad, and turned into modern art. They also discussed a contemporary painting of a highway where they said the artist had blue paint left over from painting the kitchen, some green paint, some black paint left over from his daughter's goth period, and a large piece of plywood, and put together a huge painting of a highway. They said he sold it for big bucks, and now, for better or worse, it is ours. I'm sure the contemporary arts curator just loves that story.
And finally, as I mentioned before, I toured the museum's new Rhythm & Roots exhibit, and really enjoyed it. I checked at the entrance to see if photography was allowed, and there was only a "no flash" notice. Therefore, I took a photograph of the painting on the right, which I found very striking. And of course, one of the guards immediately walked up and told me that this was the one painting in the entire exhibit that was not allowed to be photographed. I ask you - what are the odds of that? Really now? In any case, I had already snapped the photo, and so here it is, a little bit blurry and a little bit enhanced by me, but still a glimpse of a forbidden photo. Enjoy.
Friday, July 29, 2016
I have mentioned several times in previous Blogs that the Urban Land Institute and the University of Denver have put together a 10 year plan that includes moving the Light Rail Station to the corner of University and Buchtel Boulevards, combining it with a hotel, shops, and luxury residences. This location happens to be where my 11 story condo building sits (seen in the photograph above). DU and the Urban Land Institute have not specifically said they want to tear my building down, but it is not a very big corner, and so it would be pretty cozy here if my condo building was included in the plan. Just in case they are thinking of tearing the place down, I have come up with a great idea. When the building was sold to developers and turned into condos back in 1999, the newspapers described the building as being an example of Soviet style architecture. And just how many buildings can there possibly be in Denver that feature Soviet style architecture? I say we nominate the place for Denver Landmark status. If this was approved, it would be very difficult to tear it down, or fundamentally change it in any way. There is absolutely no reason this shouldn't work. Right? Right?
Thursday, July 28, 2016
As I mentioned in a Blog post a few days ago, a massive tree crashed into a house several doors down from the bookstore where I work as a bookkeeper. I took the photograph on the left a few days after the event, after all the leaves were removed and more of the damage could be seen. And I am sure people will be shocked to learn that massive trees like this one are still falling in the Greater Denver area.
I saw on the news just last night that another huge tree fell onto a car in Niwot, Colorado, a small town north of here in Boulder County. The tree destroyed the driver's car, but she kept driving and was able to get out from under the tree before she was killed. And so beware - there are trees everywhere, just waiting for the right moment to attack. Wear your crash helmet at all times - work, restaurants and bars, and especially at home. You are not safe inside or out (as you can see from the photograph on the right), and many people could die. Not that I'm being paranoid or anything.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Today would have been my parent's 76th wedding anniversary if they were alive today. They were married at my Great Uncle John's farm just outside of Geneva, Illinois (see photo on the left). I myself never saw that farm, but my sister (who is much much much older than me) stayed there a few times when she was a child. She fondly remembers sitting on the porch out front in the evenings, and then saying good night to the cows before going to bed. Uncle John was also a plumber, in addition to being a farmer, and his plumbing shop was later turned into a fancy restaurant in Geneva called the Mill Race Inn. I understand that it is no longer there, either. Life is fleeting.
In any case, I remember my parents best the way they look in the photograph on the right. It was taken by my Uncle Jack (my mother's brother) in front of his and my Aunt Helen's house in Evergreen park, Illinois. My mother once told me that this was her favorite photograph of the two of them. In 1976 my father and mother retired to Stuart, Florida, where they spent their happiest days. My father passed away in 1984, but at least he had 8 happy years of retirement. A lot of people don't even get that. My mother lived in Stuart for 30 years, and absolutely loved the place. If their spirits live on, it is probably there.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
I just finished reading Slow Burn, a Spenser mystery written by Ace Atkins, and really enjoyed it. When Robert Parker - the creator of the Spenser mystery series - passed away, his widow and her advisers choose Atkins to continue the series, and I personally feel he has done a great job. I can't tell the difference between the original series and the ones Atkins writes. The stories take place in Boston, and Spenser often gets help from his friend Hawk and a full-blooded Cree Indian named Sixkill. My only complaint is that I read them too quickly, and will have to wait another 6 months to a year for the next installment. Definitely pick a copy of Slow Burn at you local independent bookstore and read it!
Monday, July 25, 2016
I drove past the house in the photograph yesterday on my way to work. A huge tree fell into this house just two doors down from where I work Saturday afternoon during a rainstorm / windstorm. There were five tenants in the building who are now displaced, but no one was hurt when the tree fell. Neighbors claim the tree was in bad shape before it fell, but the landlord did not attend to it, and the house was not well maintained. However, just to be safe, I advise wearing crash helmets if you are within sight of trees - any trees - for the foreseeable future. Safety first!
Sunday, July 24, 2016
As I said before, the neighborhood is very popular, and I spotted the hipster mobile in the photograph on the right parked in front of a coffee shop on 17th. This is exactly the kind of car I am looking for (if a Nash Metropolitan is unavailable), but if I bought one I am convinced it would be destroyed by Denver's infamous hail within weeks. In any case, the rain started to come down pretty hard when I hit the 16th Street Mall, and so I was damn glad I brought an umbrella. My office-mate Peter says that "real" men don't carry umbrellas, but I am here to tell you there were some pretty wet "real" men downtown Saturday afternoon.
It was getting towards 7:00 P.M. as I approached Union Station, and so I decided I would dine with my fellow beautiful people. I stopped at Subway and bought the $3.50 sub special, walked over to Union Station and ordered an Epic IPA at the Terminal Bar for $5.00 (their cheapest beer, I might add), found a nice table to sit at, and dined in style, all for $10.00. Is this a beautiful universe, or what? At least on the weekends, anyway.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Every year around this time I think of our yearly family vacations in Ontario. My Uncle Bill (my mother's brother), my Aunt Elsie, and cousin Linda would drive up from Cleveland and my mother, father, and I would drive up from Chicago and stay for two weeks at Torpitt Lodge, located on Ontario's Sparrow Lake, 150 miles or so north of Toronto. And before I was born, they would drive up to a resort called Britannia on Ontario's Lake of Bays with my sister Susan and my uncle and aunt's daughter Judy. I was told that Britannia was a much nicer resort, but evidently the son of the original owner inherited the place and raised prices to an unaffordable level. It figures. Susan getting the best, and me always getting the hand me downs. But I digress. The photo on the left shows (from left to right) my father Nelson, mother Mary, Aunt Elsie, and Uncle Bill by the golf course.
My father and my uncle just loved to spend those two weeks playing golf at the resort's 9 hole course. It was a brief break each year from jobs they were never crazy about. At Torpitt we shared a cabin in the woods up a hill from the main lodge (seen in the photograph on the right, with my mother sitting on the right. The cabin we stayed in was not exactly luxurious, but it was a fun place to stay. The thing I remember most is walking back to that cabin at night in the cool Canadian air and that strong pine tree smell. The most popular story about that cabin was the time my Uncle Bill fell asleep eating peanuts, his mouth wide open, and a chipmunk sitting on his chest with it's head starring into his mouth. Nothing like close encounters with nature.
And last but not least, on the left is a photograph of me (on the left) with a couple of my friends, taken at Torpitt back in 1961 when I was 8 years old. Either that year or the next, I got pretty sick in that cabin and had to be taken to the hospital in Orillia, Ontario. That cabin and the surrounding area were evidently pretty moldy, and I had a major asthma attack. Needless to say, that was the last time we saw Torpitt Lodge. But on the bright side, my Uncle Bill and Aunt Elsie retired to a condo complex in Stuart, Florida, and my parents retired there too in 1976. The place had a 9 hole par 3 golf course, and so my father and my Uncle Bill were once again able to play golf together, this time not having to go back to work in two weeks.
Friday, July 22, 2016
And no - the Rockpile is not located at the Colorado State Prison in Canon City. It refers to the cheap seats in center field at Denver's Coors Field. I decided to buy a ticket a few days ago to see the Colorado Rockies play the Atlanta Braves. The tickets costs only $4.00, and if you are 62 or over, you can buy them for a dollar on game day. Of course, on game day, they are always sold out, so I decided to spend the extra $3.00 so I could actually get in to see the game. I was late, however, because I had to park clear across downtown to avoid having to pay for parking. There used to be an old cigarette commercial that declared "I would walk a mile for a Camel." Well, I would and in fact did walk a mile to avoid paying those extortionist parking fees. It's the principal of the thing, not the money.
There was a fairly large crowd at the ballpark for a Thursday night. Atlanta has quite a following, even if they have the worst record in baseball this year. When my parents moved to Stuart, Florida in 1976, the nearest major league baseball team was in Atlanta, and so my father, as well as everyone else in the state, rooted for the Atlanta Braves. I remember being in the pool at my parent's condo complex in 1982 and talking to an older woman (she was probably the age I am now) about various things. She excused herself after a while and said she had to get back home to watch "our Atlanta Braves," who were making a run for the playoffs that year. Humorist Lewis Grizard wrote once about how grateful he was to be able to have the Braves and announcer Chip Caray's commentary to look forward to each day on television when he recovered from heart surgery. And as you can see from the photograph on the left, the Rockies mascot Dinger and the crowd were all enthused during the 7th inning stretch.
And just to make it clear - nobody in their right mind actually sits in the Rockpile. It is as far away from the game as Mexico. When I got to the park, I went up to the party deck, where they have a row of counter tops overlooking the park where you can stand and eat. Afterwards, I headed down to the infield and stood watching the game from there. The Rockies are very mediocre this year, which is a tremendous improvement from last year, when they stunk. The Braves have the worst record in baseball this year - they are the team that stinks this year - and so it was no surprise that the Rockies won 7 to 3 (and seen celebrating in the photo on the left). Let the good times roll! At least during this series.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
I had dinner with Valarie, my friend and former University of Denver Bookstore co-worker last night at the Tony P's in the Lower Highlands neighborhood. It had been a while since we had seen each other, and we had a lot of catching up to do. Valarie and her significant other Jake are doing well, as is her son Dillon and daughter Cheyanne, a former Peace Corps worker in Mozambique. Valarie works in Lakewood, to the west of downtown Denver, I work on East Colfax, and so we decided to meet in the Lower Highlands, the midway point. Valarie arrived right on time, but I had to fight my way through the downtown traffic and was about fifteen minutes late. Living so close to work, I am not used to that kind of traffic anymore. If the University of Denver is successful in it's plan to tear down my condo building to build a new light rail station, hotel, and luxury residences, and I can't afford to stay in the neighborhood, I might just have to pitch a tent on the front lawn of the chancellor's residence. She couldn't object to that, could she? Otherwise it will have to be Valarie's backyard.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
I was going to walk downtown to Denver's Union Station from work and then back again yesterday afternoon in order to get a little exercise. Ever since I stopped working at the Post Office in Highlands Ranch, I have been gaining weight, and need to start taking it off. However, as soon as I got out the door the storm clouds started to form. It definitely didn't look like the evening for a long walk (as seen in photograph on the left that I took on top of the parking garage).
On the drive home, the rain started, and it came down as hard as I have seen it rain in a while. I even got an official text message on my phone saying that there were flash flood warnings for the City of Denver, and that we were probably all doomed. By the time I got half way home, the view out of the windshield od my car looked exactly like the photograph on the right (if I turned my windshield wipers off for a second, that is). Today's driving tip: don't turn off your windshield wipers in a heavy rainstorm. In any case, I got home safe and sound, and the rain promptly stopped. Perhaps I'm not meant to exercise anymore. It would be silly to avoid these obvious signs, right?
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
I went to 730 South on South University Boulevard for a libation or two Friday night (they have the best Happy Hour in town - $5.95 entrees and $3.00 beers) and it started hailing like hell. As I was leaving the place, I checked my car, and sure enough - hail damage. This also happened a little over a year ago. I bought the car in January of 2015 and two months later there was a massive hail storm that really damaged the car. Since it was brand new, I had it repaired. As I recall, the damage was over $5,000, and the deductible was no piddling amount, either. Now it has happened again, but the damage is not as great as before, and the car is after all going on two years old. My father traded his really nice 1961 Pontiac Catalina when it was only two years old for a brand new 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix. He had gone into Jim Miller Pontiac, located on Ashland Avenue in the Brainerd neighborhood of Chicago, to replace the cigarette lighter, and came out with the Grand Prix. It was right around the holidays, and my mother was NOT happy. It was a grim Christmas. But I digress. Denver has more hail than almost any other city in the world. Is that amazing or what? If I was driving around in Nairobi or San Paulo, it would be no problem. But I am convinced that if I have the hail damage fixed again, there would soon be another massive hail storm out there on the horizon with my name on it. Am I crazy? Don't answer that.
Monday, July 18, 2016
I was able to do a little bike riding yesterday afternoon for the first time since last year, and really enjoyed it. After work, I walked my bike to the service station to fill up the tires with air, biked through Washington Park, and then through various Denver neighborhoods to Lower Downtown. Denver is a great place to bike, with many bike paths, a city sponsored bike rental program, and lots of cycling events. The photograph on the left shows the B-cycle station in front of Denver's Union Station.
As I biked downtown, I couldn't help but notice that there are a lot more "McMansions" in my neighborhood these days. Which means that there are now a lot more rich people here in Denver. There are also a lot of poor people, too. After a series of incidents involving homeless people on the 16th Street Mall, police presence has been stepped up, and the homeless driven away. They now seem to be congregated along the Cherry Creek Bike Path, which I took on my way home. The ride was a short one - about an hour and a half - but very pleasant. I got back to Washington Park, close to my condo, just as the sun was setting (see photo at left). Washington Park, by the way, is where Denver residents by the bucketful are now playing Pokemon A-Go-Go. You go with that, guys.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
I drove up to Boulder yesterday afternoon to check out the annual Art Festival on the Pearl Street Mall. It has been at least 3 or 4 years since I was last up there - too busy working two jobs or working overtime at my day job to make the 45 minute trip, I guess. It still is a great feeling to crest the hill on US 36, however, and look down at the Boulder Valley, nestled beneath the Flatirons. It makes me wonder why I haven't just made the time to come up here more often.
There seems to be a lot of new buildings and different shops since I was last here, but Boulder is still Boulder. I walked up and down the mall looking at the art booths, the street performers, the old hippies, and the college kids, all enjoying the day and the Boulder "vibe." I took the photograph on the right of a typical Boulder piano player, working hard and willing to do anything for tips. it made me think I should have never quit those piano lessons I was taking back at Fort Dearborn Elementary School.
The mall was very crowded - as usual - Saturday afternoon, but all you have to do is walk a few blocks west on Pearl Street and you see scenes like in the photograph on the left. Keep walking and you are in the mountains. It is probably the best thing about Boulder, and why is it costs so damn much to live there. My friend Stuart worked up in Boulder for a number of years, commuting by bus from Lakewood, and said he eventually tired of the scene, but now that he is no longer working up there, he says he misses it. Perhaps it stays fresh if you only visit once in a while. It is still, I am happy to report, 25 square miles surrounded by reality.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
I just finished an advance reading copy of Razor Girl, Carl Hiaasen's latest crime novel. I must say, it was pretty good, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good read, not to mention a good laugh. Hiaasen, by the way, is most famous for his book Tourist Season, which features an anti-hero who feeds new residents to Florida to the alligators. Like Hiaasen, this character feels that newcomers to Florida have ruined South Florida. However, I must mention that my mother and father moved to Stuart, Florida - located on what is called the Treasure Coast, about 90 miles north of Miami - in 1976, and it was a wonderful, laid back area. However, all those South Florida residents (including, no less, Carl Hiaasen) have been moving up to the Treasure Coast to avoid the crime and congestion, bringing that congestion and environmental degradation with them. And because of this, do I suggest that Hiaasen himself be fed to the alligators? Let me think about that for a while.
Friday, July 15, 2016
I put together the collage of Paris seen on the left after I visited there in 2005, during a much more tranquil period. It was a great trip and France is a wonderful place. However, Paris and the rest of France is anything but tranquil today after yesterday's Bastille Day attack, when a man drove a truck through crowds of people watching the annual Bastille Day fireworks on Nice's waterfront promenade. At least 80 people were killed in what was most likely another act of terrorism. France has been especially hard hit by these terrorists over the past year, including the coordinated attacks in Paris this past November that killed 130 people. It appears these deadly incidents around the globe will not end until the world's leaders unite to put an end to Islamic State and any nation that encourages and supports this kind of terrorism. I am not a fan of war, but I think it is finally time to take action. Too many innocent people are dying, and if nothing is done, will continue to die.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Today is July 14th - Bastille Day - and a national holiday in France. It is the day the French celebrate the start of the French Revolution back in 1789, and is capped by fireworks in cities all over the country.
I forgot Bastille Day was coming up until I saw it on my Page-A-Day France Desk Calendar, which today features a fireworks display over the Port of Marseille. That photograph reminded me that the last time I was in France, I spent hours late at night driving back and forth between Marseille and Avignon, a not inconsiderable distance, looking for the exit to Saint-Remy-de-Provence (the birthplace of Nostradamus, no less) After I got off the freeway, I was hopelessly lost, and wound up getting a police escort to my motel around midnight. But I digress.
In honor of Bastille Day, I am featuring some photographs I took while visiting Paris a number of years ago. The top two photographs I took back in 2005, stopping there for just a day on my way home from visiting Italy and France's Provence region. The photograph on the left I took on my first trip to Paris - for that matter, my first trip to Europe - back in 2004. I flew over there for 5 days, staying at the Hotel Royal Phare in Paris's Rue Clare neighborhood. It was my most memorable trip ever. Taking the elevator up to the top of the Eiffel Tower was almost a surreal experience, and I didn't want to come down from the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral after I got up there. Perhaps when I retire I will take up residence as 'The Geezer of Notre Dame." Happy Bastille Day Everybody!
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
The other day I picked up a copy of The Washington Park Profile (www.washparkprofile.com), the monthly neighborhood newspaper, and as usual, I turned to the University Park News column written by Diana Helper. It turns out that the University of Denver has teamed up with the Urban Land Institute to develop a 10 year plan to help the university "reach out to communities." After reading this column, I checked out the University of Denver Magazine online, and there was a more in depth article in it (https://magazine.du.edu/campus-community/land-use-group-makes-recommendations-future-du-neighborhood/). The number one suggestion of the ULI in its preliminary report is to move the University of Denver Light Rail Station to the corner of University and Buchtel Boulevards, along with shops, a hotel, and residential units. This corner happens to be where my condo building currently sits. Not only would I and the occupants of the other 124 units be thrown out of an affordable building in an increasingly unaffordable neighborhood if this plan is instituted, a hotel would be built that neighborhood residents have opposed for years. Traffic and parking, already a nightmare in this neighborhood, would become even worse. Other than that, it sounds like a fine plan. And by the way, the above photograph is of a statute of Boone, once the mascot of the University of Denver. However, since Boone was male, instead of gender neutral, he was deemed unfit to represent the campus, and replaced. That's DU for you - always taking the high road. In any case, the Urban Land Institute will present the finished report to the Board of Trustees in a couple of months. Inviting the neighbors to the meeting, guys?
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
I got a call from Tristy, my old boss at the University of Denver Bookstore, a few weeks ago. She wanted to catch up with what we have both been up to over the past few years, and also to see if I still had a copy of a photo collage I made sometime in the last century of various doors I had photographed in Paris. And after a bit of a search, I did find it on a CD I had in a bookcase in my den. As far as I know, there are only 3 (and now 4) copies of that photograph in existence. It is, of course, worth a fortune. I myself might have a copy, but since I have been living in the same building for almost 30 years, much of my stuff is packed away in my storage locker, closets, various drawers, and wherever else I can put the various items collected over a lifetime. Perhaps when I retire, I can go through all that stuff, sort it out, and finally get organized. Or perhaps just leave it for my heirs to deal with. That seems like the most attractive option, at this point. Good to see you again, Tristy.
Monday, July 11, 2016
The Colorado Springs Sky Sox, who were located in Hawaii before moving to Colorado Springs, say they will be moving to San Antonio, Texas in 2018 if that city agrees to build them a new stadium. I attended Saturday night's game at Sky Sox Stadium (now called Security Service Field) Saturday night with my friend Mark and his friend Tony, and thought the park looked great. There was a big crowd in attendance, most of them wearing Sky Sox paraphernalia, and everyone was in a great mood.
Of course, the reason the team wants to move is that they want the city to build them a new stadium, and the City Council voted against it. I don't know why their current stadium is considered inferior, but I am sure it involves money. It seems like no matter what kind and level of sports, it is all about the money these days. A sad comment on our times. Of course, by 2018 I might very well be retired, and will have the time to drive to San Antonio to watch the Sky Sox (or whatever they decide to rename themselves) play. Like that's going to happen.
Sunday, July 10, 2016
My friend Mark and I drove down to Colorado Springs to meet his friend Tony and watch the Colorado Sky Sox play the Iowa Cubs. Mark had never attended a minor league baseball game before, and I thought it would be fun to see them play the AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. On the way down, we drove behind a huge truck with bumper stickers that said "I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy" and "I carry a big gun and have a short temper," which more or less confirms what I have always thought about Colorado Springs. But I digress. We met Tony (in the photograph above on the left, next to Mark) and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. The Cubs dominated the game, but that was okay. It's just the minor leagues, after all. Minor League baseball is much lower key than the major leagues, and it is actually more fun to attend the games. Plus, the program was free. What a deal!
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Yes! It's true. And as Exhibit A I offer Tutu, seen in the above photograph, who actually runs my sister Susan and brother-in-law George's household. Can you tell that he lives a life of luxury? He is always the center of attention whenever I visit them up in Fort Collins, and usually stands beside the dining room table and barks the entire time we are having dinner, looking for handouts. I won't even discuss what their two dogs have done to the rugs, but hey, I'm not complaining. My motto has always been "call me anything, but don't call me late for dinner."
Friday, July 8, 2016
I took the photograph on the left of the Republic Plaza Building a few weeks ago, not because it is pretty or interesting, but for the principle of the thing: after 15 years, I am still being told to not photograph it. In point of fact, I was taking a photograph of a row of trees against the back wall of an old building, and was told by a security guard that it was private property and photographs were not allowed. It turns out she didn't want me to take a photograph because a small corner of the Republic Plaza Building was in the background, and the photo could be used by terrorists. A few years ago I took a photograph of the front of the building and was chased down the 16th Street Mall by two security guards in blue blazers, who ran out the front of the building as soon as I snapped the shutter. What a crock. It is time to aim the war on terrorism on terrorists, not photographers. The Republic Plaza Building, by the way, is 714 feet tall, 56 stories, the tallest building in Denver, and the 109th tallest building in the US. You can get all the details, including a photograph almost exactly like the one I took, on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_Plaza_(Denver). And so why am I being hassled?
The kicker is that I was walking past the same spot just last week, and the security booth was closed. I was able to take the photograph I originally wanted to take (as seen on the right) without any hassle whatsoever. So is it only important to stop potential terrorists during regular business hours? Just let them have their way after 5:00 P.M? The mind boggles. In any case, be sure to be extremely careful with the photograph on the right. If it got into the wrong hands...
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Tom Noel, known locally as "Dr. Colorado," gave a slideshow presentation and spoke at the Tattered Cover Bookstore last night, promoting his new book Denver Landmarks and Historic Districts. Noel - seen in the photograph on the left - gave a lively and entertaining talk, with a great deal of the audience, many part of the historic preservation community, adding valuable insights.
One of the audience members adding comments - lots of comments, as a matter of fact - was former Denver City Councilman and Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher (seen in the photograph on the right addressing the audience), who joins Noel every year in leading a guided tour of Denver during the annual Open Doors Denver Weekend. Both Noel and Gallagher discussed the famous Tabor Opera House, Denver's most notable building, which was torn down without hardly any fight at all back in 1964. This, and the proposed demolition of the Molly Brown House, is what spurred the founding of Historic Denver, which has saved many Denver buildings since. Great talk, Tom. Sorry I couldn't afford to buy your book last night. Maybe after I get paid next week.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
My sister Susan and I were originally planning a hike in Rocky Mountain National Park this past 4th of July, but my brother-in-law George decided he would rather kick back at home and grill some steaks on the barbie. Which is exactly what we did. When George isn't working in his home office, he can be found in his chair in the living room, watching (God help us all) Fox News with his two dogs, Tutu (seen being held by George in the photo on the left) and Blackberry, on his lap.
Meanwhile, my sister Susan, who George describes (as well as me, by the way) as a left wing loon, spends her free time in her garden, as seen in the photograph on the right. In any case, political differences aside, it was a very pleasant evening. The steaks were good, the conversation was lively, and the evening passed very pleasantly. The only down side was the realization that the 3 day Independence Day weekend was coming to an end. Always a bummer.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Saturday afternoon I brought a pizza over to my friend Mark's place (Mark works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons, called the library back in the real world) and watched Iceland play France live in the semi-finals of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. Iceland was the underdog favorite, since it has only about 1000 people living there due to the extreme temperatures and the fact that it is in total darkness half the year. In any case, sadly enough, Iceland lost 5 to 2, and was eliminated from the tournament. In honor of the occasion, Mark wore his Cemento Cruzazul soccer shirt, which features advertising for various products all over the front, back, and sleeves. I only hope major league baseball executives don't see these jerseys. Otherwise, they will sell so many ads they will probably eliminate even the player's name from the jersey. And if you think I'm kidding, you don't know major league baseball these days.
Monday, July 4, 2016
Today is the Fourth of July, and here in Denver that day is synonymous with the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, which takes place every Fourth of July weekend and is Denver's most prestigious art fair. I walked around the festival for a few hours yesterday afternoon. There was a short, light rain shower, which was good, since it reduced the huge crowd that you usually have to fight through to see the art. I overheard one woman talking about the year it rained so hard a lot of artists were washed down the street. I was there that day, and the streets were like fast running streams. I remember a lot of debris being washed away by the current, but no artists being swept away. The sight of that must have been horrific.
This is a very prestigious show, and it is an honor to be selected to display your work. It goes without saying that the art here is 1000% better than what you see at the monthly Santa Fe Drive Art Walk, but on the other hand, the prices are 1000% higher. The painting on the right is one of a pair that would look perfect over my living room couch, but I simply can't afford to buy them. I am seriously thinking of just having the photograph enlarged to sofa size and hanging that there, instead. No wonder so many booths have signs forbidding photography.
The best thing about the Cherry Creek Arts Festival is the people watching. The Cherry Creek neighborhood is arguably one of Denver's most prestigious, and therefore you get to see a lot of interesting sights. Dogs are welcome at the fair, too, and for the most part, that is good. People are always stopping to complement people on their pets, and most of them are pretty well behaved. However, the dog in the photograph on the left, being pushed in a baby stroller no less, was barking at every single person that went by, which means of course it was barking continuously. And the owner didn't seem to care less. And of course it was a poodle. I say next year dogs in baby carriages should be banned. Poodles too, for that matter. Something must be done.
And of course we must not forget that Denver has been plagued for years now by zombies. Every October they even have a special day when they get to parade around the 16th Street Mall and run amok. I attended the event last year and was shocked at how many of these damn creatures there are here in Denver. Of course, they don't go away after their special day, and can be seen around town the rest of the year, too - even at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. I took the photo on the right of one of them walking down the street looking zombie-ish. You can't keep them out, after all. That is why we are celebrating the Fourth of July in the first place. Happy 4th Everybody!