Wednesday, August 31, 2016
And no - that it not my life philosophy. It is the title of Lesley Blume's new non-fiction book about the writing of Ernest Hemingway's classic novel The Sun Also Rises. I was able to obtain an advance reading copy of the book and found it fascinating. It tells the story of Hemingway, his wife Hadley, and their fellow members of the "Lost Generation" in 1920s Paris, as well as Spain and other parts of Europe. I strongly recommend getting a copy and checking it out. I was so taken with the book, I decided to read Hemingway's Boat, by Paul Hendrickson, which takes up Hemingway's story just a few years after Everybody Behaves Badly ends, when he and his new wife Pauline move to Key West, Florida. Hemingway's life makes a fascinating story, and although I know how the story ends, I find reading about his self-destructive lifestyle and adventures very addictive. And I'll have you know that I myself do not behave badly - very badly, anyway.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
I hired Stuart (pictured in the photograph above) to work at Hatch's Bookstore 35 years ago this month, back when I managed the Hatch's Bookstore at the University Hills Mall on South Colorado Boulevard, and we have been friends ever since. We celebrated this momentous occasion at the Old Chicago here in Denver Sunday night, not too far from where the mall was once located. Neither the mall nor Hatch's still exits, I'm afraid - the mall a victim of corporate department store mergers and Hatch's the victim of intense competition in the book business. Stuart is doing well, and looking forward to watching the Cubs in the playoffs. That will be fun, but I must point out that both the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago White Sox are both only 11 games out of first place. Miracles do happen, after all. But I'm not betting any money, so forget it.
Monday, August 29, 2016
I went over to my friend Mark's house this past weekend to watch a soccer match he recorded between Burton Albion and Derby County. And where are these two teams located? Central England, of course, not too far from Stratford-upon-Avon, where Mark will be traveling in November. While Mark is obsessed with all things soccer (not to mention cricket and rugby), his brother Mike is all about plants. Mike works all day at Denver's Botanical Gardens, and afterwards works on the garden in his backyard, where I took the above photograph of Mark. A trip to Europe for those two is an endless whirl of visits to botanical gardens and soccer stadiums. My own garden consists of a single plant on the living room table. The previous tenants of my apartment had quite the garden out on the rather large balcony, but I myself find it is a lot easier to leave it in it's classic concrete state. And Burton won the match, 1 to nill, by the way.
Sunday, August 28, 2016
It seems like I am featuring a photograph of a different dog every week on this Blog. The reason for this is simple - they are very willing subjects. All I have to do is aim the camera, and they pose for me. The dog above was tied up in front of Green Door Fitness, located a block or so from the bookstore where I work as the bookkeeper. Since I was walking by on my way to work, I figured I would snap the above photograph just in case I ran out of ideas for this Blog. And surprise! It happened!
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Friday, August 26, 2016
I should never attend my condo building's HOA meetings. It just tends to make me mad. A few months ago, I attended one to find out what was going on with the building's pool, which has been closed for the past two years. The board said that they were thinking about closing it for good, which really got me upset. Last night, there was an HOA meeting to decide the pool's fate. It turns out that the cost to fix the problems with the pool were fairly minor, and the HOA actually wants to keep the pool and open it up again next year. The majority of the owners in the room were in favor of this. However, there were a few owners in attendance who wanted to eliminate the pool and the green space around it and put in more parking. More parking? I just don't understand that attitude. I sometimes want to shake some sense into those people, but until Donald Trump is elected president and it is legal to shake people with opinions different from your own, I will just have to deal with it. And by the way, the photo I am holding in the photograph above is of myself, my mother Mary, and my grandmother Louise next to the pool at the Sun Castle Hotel in Pompano Beach, Florida, back in August of 1963. And no, I did not suggest to the hotel's management that they eliminate the pool and put in more parking. Go figure.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Wednesday, August 24th was circled on my calendar, so that I would not forget to attend the University of Denver's quarterly neighborhood meeting. I was especially interested in attending because a recent issue of the Washington Park Profile (www.washparkprofile.com) reported that the Urban Land Institute and DU were proposing to move the light rail station from it's current location to the corner of University and Buchtel Boulevards, along with a new hotel, shops, and luxury residences. And this location just happens to be the exact spot where my condo building sits. However, when I went to register for the meeting, I found out it had taken place the previous Wednesday. I e-mailed Diana Helper, who writes the monthly University Park News column for the Profile, to find out what was said, and she was kind enough to promptly respond with a full report. Diana told me that the light rail station cannot be moved to the corner, because of the incline needed to reach the bridge over University Boulevard. DU will have to make light rail station improvements - if it still wants to - where the station is currently located, a block or so to the West. And happily, I will not be tossed out on the street after all - at least because of that.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Monday was my sister Susan and brother-in-law George's 47th wedding anniversary. I was going to take their photograph at the Golden Arts Festival and feature it this past Monday, but they couldn't make it. Therefore, I am featuring an oldie but goodie - a photograph of Susan and George on their wedding day back in 1969 in front of the Justice of the Peace in Evanston, Illinois, and one taken just a few years ago on the patio of their condo in Fort Collins, Colorado. Susan never liked this "then and now" diptych, but I do, and it is, after all, my Blog. So here it is. Happy Anniversary Guys!
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
I went to the Golden Arts Festival - the last major arts festival of the season here in Colorado - this past Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful day - hot and sunny - and everyone was in a great mood, enjoying both the art and the people-watching. Golden is about 15 miles west of Denver,located behind Table Mesa, and as a result has retained it's small town atmosphere more than other Denver suburbs. Golden is an old town, was in fact Colorado's first capitol, and it's historic district has many homes and other buildings from the 1870s.
But I digress. The arts festival this year had quite a few booths exhibiting photography. I was especially impressed by the photos of Cuba by Andrew Butler (www.andrewbutlerphotography.com) -seen on the right - and the great portraits by Greg Davis (www.gregdavisphotography.com) from Cuba, India, and many other parts the world. Davis quit his job with a computer company and traveled the world for a year, beginning a new career as a photographer. Need an assistant, Greg?
In any case, the Golden Arts Festival is happily located just a few feet away from the Golden City Brewery, the 2nd largest brewery in Golden after Coors. The owner turned the backyard of his 1870s era home into a beer garden, and his garage into a brew house. Talk about an understanding wife. Plus, in the 3 years or so since I was last here, they have begun accepting credit cards. Talk about wonderful news. Let the good times roll.
Monday, August 22, 2016
I went to the Cubs - Rockies game at Coors Field Saturday night with my friends Stuart and Mark. We started the evening at the Breckenridge Brew Pub. Stuart and I actually had dinner there the first night they opened, braving a below zero February evening. At the time (I think it was 1994) Coors Field was under construction just kitty corner from the place.
When we got to the ballpark, the line to get in was huge, made up mainly of Chicago Cubs fans anticipating a Cubs victory that night, not to mention another run for the World Series. And the fans were not disappointed, as the Chicago Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies 7 to 2. The Rockies did not look good at all Saturday night.
And so as we left the ballpark to take the light rail train home, we saw the Cubs celebrating their victory in the infield. However, although the Cubs won the battle, it turns out that the Rockies won the war, so to speak - the Rockies took the series 3 games to 2. Of course, this year it appears the Cubs will once again be going to the playoffs, while the Rockies players will be safely able to schedule their golf vacations in October. So it is pretty obvious who gets the last laugh - at least this year, anyway.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
I drove down to Colorado Springs to see a Sky Sox minor league baseball game Friday night with my friend Mark, who as regular Blog readers know works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (the library back on earth). It was very overcast when we left, and so it was no surprise that it was raining cats and dogs when we got down there. We decided to have dinner at On The Border, and had Mexican food while we discussed all thing soccer. Mark is a huge soccer fan, and is overdosing on it this week, what with the Olympics and the start of the British soccer season happening at the same time.
In any case, Mark used his smart phone to find out that the game was postponed, which was not a surprise. When we left the restaurant, it was cold as hell out there - Colorado Springs is located at an elevation of 7,000 feet, several thousand feet higher than Denver, and when it turns cold there - even in August - it really turns cold. I was glad I didn't have to sit through 9 innings of Sky Sox baseball in those conditions. And as a helpful hint to fellow sports fans, if you are going to a sporting event when the conditions look like the photograph on the right (taken on Monument Hill on the way down to Colorado Springs), I would advise you to turn around, or at least find the nearest cantina to stop at.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
But I digress. The view from the consulting room, with the mountains in the distance, was impressive, but when you looked down, you saw what used to be Fero's Bar and Grill, where five people were systematically stabbed to death here in Denver a few years ago. From the sacred to the profane in one view. Bill Bryson was in Colorado when these murders occurred, and wrote about it in his new book The Road to Little Dribbling, discussing how in the U.K. this story would have been in the papers for weeks, while here in the U.S. it faded away within days - another example of how Americans have become inured to violence. In any case, seeing that location (on the far left in the row of shops in the photograph on the right) certainly puts the pain of a tooth extraction in perspective.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Tomorrow night is the annual Dancing In The Streets celebration in Stuart, Florida. Faithful Blog readers will recall that last year I danced the night away at that event, walking back to my Stuart condo in the wee hours of the morning. This year, timing issues - not to mention finances - prevented me from attending this year's event. Which is why instead I am featuring a photograph of my mother Mary and sister Susan, taken years ago in front of an ice cream shop on the very street in downtown Stuart where they will be dancing tomorrow night. I thought I was being very clever, taking a photo of them in front of that shirt that says "Genuine Antique Person - Been There, Done That, Can't Remember," but now that is starting to describe me. Curses.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
When Blogger's Block strikes, my solution has always been to find an animal to photograph. Fortunately, there are usually dogs tied up outside the bookstore where I work or in front of the Twist &Shout record store across the way, where I found the pooch in the photograph on the left willing to pose for a portrait. And what witty remark can I make to go along with this photo? I'll have to get back to you on that one, except to note that record stores these days are actually selling records again, as opposed to CDs. And I am sure that is exactly where this dog's owner was while I was taking this photograph. Time to get the turntable out of the storage closet, I guess.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
I have noticed that a number of the Victorian era homes in the neighborhood where I work are decorated with sculptures on the parapets. Are these for decoration, or are they possibly a way to ward off evil spirits, such as vampires and zombies? Regular Blog readers will remember that Denver has a SERIOUS zombie problem. In fact, they are even allowed to run wild on the 16th Street Mall on a Saturday every October, and they always take the opportunity to raise hell, so to speak. And that day is not far off. Time to start making those garlic wreaths, people. I know that is mainly used against vampires, but it sure couldn't hurt. Stay alert people.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
I just finished reading The 14th Colony, the new Cotton Malone adventure novel by Steve Berry, and I must say it is an excellent read. The story revolves around an unrepentant former KGB officer living in Siberia who plans to take revenge on the United States for its role, along with Pope John Paul II, in bringing down the Soviet Union. Although I really enjoyed reading the book and found it very exciting, Berry is once again letting his right wing politics show. For the second book in a row, he is trashing Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the Patriot Threat, he portrayed Roosevelt as an arrogant, unprincipled demagogue. In this book, he claims that Roosevelt twice wanted to invade and conquer Canada - once in 1935 and again during World War II. Like other right wingers, I think he is bitter that Roosevelt established social security. Tea party types are forever talking about the percentage of people who are no longer working, the majority of whom are on social security. Instead of expanding the social security tax to solve this budgetary problem, I think they want the elderly to work until they drop. Survival of the fittest - a true conservative value. But I am not bitter. And I damn well intend to file for social security in 17 months and live for another 40 or 50 years. So there Steve.
Monday, August 15, 2016
My cousin John and his wife Barb got together with my sister Susan, brother-in-law George, and myself at Kaos, the beer garden/pizza parlor on South Pearl Street here in Denver yesterday afternoon. John and Barb were here in Denver for the past month to help their daughter with a new baby. Both are retired and living the good life, and will be heading back to their home in Seattle on Tuesday. They will certainly miss Colorado, where we have over 380 days of sunshine per year (according to the Chamber of Commerce), compared with Seattle, where it rains 11 months out of 12. Hopefully for their sake August is their month of sunshine. In the photograph above are (from left to right) George, John, Barb, and Susan. Great to see you again, John and Barb!
Sunday, August 14, 2016
And no - Funkifino is not a new virus, but a hip Denver band. And I know they are a hip band because almost all of them are wearing sunglasses, even though they are in the shade. I stopped to listen to them at a free concert on the patio of the Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant on the 16th Street Mall here in Denver Friday night, and I must day they sounded pretty good. It was definitely worth the price of admission.
They have these concerts next to the Rock Bottom every Friday night during July and August, but this was the first one I have actually attended in several years. Last year I was working at Walgreen's every Friday night until 12:30 A.M., and before that perhaps I was just in a funk. In any case, I remember years ago an older guy - he had to be in his 80s - would attend these concerts and dance the night away. He must have been the previous "King of the Hipsters." Now, according to my friends Bill and Renee, I am the king of the hipsters. It's still hip to be square, right?
Saturday, August 13, 2016
I walked from the local Denver bookstore where I work as the bookkeeper last evening down 17th Street (lined with a bevy of hip eateries and bars) to the 16th Street Mall, where I stopped to listen to the sounds of Funkiphino (Yes! - Funkiphino), who were giving a free concert on the patio of the Rock Bottom Brewpub. I stayed through their first set, and then headed to the light rail station at Union Station, now another hip locale here in Denver. And who do I run into but my old University of Denver co-worker Bill and his wife Renee, coming back from a short train trip to Glenwood Springs. I ran across them down in the new bus terminal, waiting for the bus to take them back home. Both are doing well and living the good life up in Northglenn. They told me they were just talking about me, and had expected to see me upstairs in the main hall with the in-crowd that hangs up there, since I am "the king of the hipsters." Really? Nah. You think? In any case, great seeing you guys again!
Friday, August 12, 2016
Plus, you get to discover cool houses and apartment buildings with interesting statues and features like the place just off 17th Avenue in the photograph on the right. Many of the Victorian houses in the area are currently apartments, but as gentrification rolls on, these places are slowly but surely being turned back into residences and to their former glory.
And there are also pretty imposing structures to see along the way, too. In the photograph on the left is Temple Emanuel, built in 1899 as a synagogue and currently owned and operated by Denver Community Church. A few years ago, it was the Temple Events Center, and my friend Stuart and I went there to hear Jerry Brown - currently the governor of California - speak when he was running for president. We also saw Jerry Brown speak at a coffee house in the Highlands neighborhood when he was running for president in a different year. Could the two of us together jinxed his presidential ambitions twice? Frankly, considering the luck we have both had, I wouldn't doubt that for a minute.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
I took the photograph on the left of a female gorilla and her baby when I was at the Denver Zoo the other day. Last time I was at the zoo, she and her baby did not venture outside, and it was hard to get a photo. This time, however, they went out into the yard, and so I was able to get a decent shot. Everyone was amazed at what a devoted mother she is. Not once did she let the baby out of her hands, taking it everywhere. I'm not even sure it can walk yet, although eventually, when it gets to weigh a few hundred pounds or so, she will have to let it walk on its own. If she isn't careful, her child might develop a complex, and then the zoo will have to hire an animal psychiatrist. And they don't come cheap.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
I went to the Denver Zoo Sunday afternoon and while I was there took some photos of the big cats on display. Clockwise from the upper left in the photograph above are a leopard, a snow leopard, a cheetah, and a lion. While the lions have a fairly large area to roam, and the cheetah a moderate space, the poor leopard and snow leopard are stuck in small cages, pacing back and forth, obviously wanting to get out of those confined spaces. A new tiger exhibit is opening this fall, which should give the tigers more room to roam, but I don't think that will help these poor leopards. I say let them out of their cages in the evenings so they can roam freely after the zoo visitors leave. What could it hurt? In the morning, the zoo employees could round them up and put them back in their cages for the day. While the hell not? E-mail the Denver Zoo today and demand that they do this, or else you'll report them to PETA.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
I went to the Denver Zoo this past Sunday to check out the 4 new lions the zoo recently acquired. These lions are not cubs, but teenagers, all between 14 to 19 months old. They are still at that curious stage, as can be seen from the keen interest the young lion in the photograph above has in the young zoo visitor. Does the lion want to play, or is he thinking about dinner? And yes - there is glass between the two of them. Although the Denver Zoo has a "Giraffe Encounter," they are not quite ready for a "Lion Encounter." Perhaps next year, depending on the budget.
Monday, August 8, 2016
I got together with the former University of Denver Bookstore Accounting Office Gang Saturday night, but I'll be damned if I didn't forget to take a Blog photograph before I left. Am I getting forgetful in my old age? Certainly not! In any case, Darrel - the former DU Bookstore Accounts Payable Manager and his wife Linda - are off to Spain for 3 weeks next month, and will spend 4 days in Barcelona. The rest of us have all visited Barcelona, and so I decided to take a photograph of everyone that I took last year and Photoshop all of us into Barcelona, all in the spirit of Catalonian solidarity. In the photograph above, from left to right, are me, Jim, Jim's wife Chris (the former DU Bookstore Account's Payable Assistant), Linda, Darrel, the former DU Bookstore's Accounts's Payable Supervisor, Jake, and Jake's significant other Valarie, the former DU Bookstore Operations Manager. Jake and Valarie were not actually there Saturday night, but I decided to bring them along to Barcelona anyway, just for old times sake. And by the way, when I was planning to visit Barcelona, my friend Stuart told me that Barcelona was famous for its topless bars, and to be sure to check them out. When I got there I didn't see a one, and when I got back to Denver, Stuart told me he said "tapas" bars, not "topless" bars. OK. Fine. I'll check them out next time.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
I mentioned a few days ago in a Blog post that my sister Susan and brother-in-law George treat their two dogs like children, and that they are by no means alone. Exhibit A, proving this fact, is the photograph on the left, which I took last Friday night at the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver. I don't know what the story is - if the dog is old and can't walk anymore or what - but it does prove my point. And I must admit that the hat on the pooch is a nice touch. And what do you think is going through the dog's mind at this moment? "This time I'm going to kill her" is my guess.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Yesterday was the monthly First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive here in Denver. Unlike last month, I thought much of the art was pretty good this time around. A lot of the galleries were featuring abstract expressionist paintings by local Denver women, in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum's Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibit, and most of these were very well done. I was also impressed by the photography on display this month. On a whim I walked down the alley behind Santa Fe Drive (filled with pretty weird art, such as the poster on the left), and discovered the Wandering Art Gallery.
The Wandering Art Gallery was featuring the photography of Mike Holtby. Holtby wanted to be a cultural anthropologist, but with a family to raise, he instead became a clinical social worker for 40 years. Now he travels all over the world with his camera photographing different cultures. The portraits on display at the gallery (seen in the photograph on the right) were from all over Asia, and very impressive. Talk about a wonderful second career. Be sure to check out his web site at http://mikeholtby.sites.livebooks.com/.
Next I stopped in at the KANON Art Gallery, where a photography exhibit titled Volcanic Origins was on display. The photographer, Noah Bryant, traveled to the islands of Kauai and Iceland and took some really great photographs. One features a mountaintop during the winter with the remains of a DC-3 aircraft sitting on top of the snow, a truly stunning image. I took the photograph on the left of Bryant being photographed in front of it. You can't see the image in this photo, but all the photographs in the exhibit - and more - can be seen at https://spark.adobe.com/page/2QNZ0/ . All in all, a very enjoyable evening. I even got a free 2016 Iceland calendar featuring Noah Bryant's images. And free - as some of you already know - is my very favorite price point.
Friday, August 5, 2016
I went to see the Colorado Rockies play the Los Angeles Dodgers with my friend Mark (seen in the photo on the left) Wednesday night at Coors Field. As regular Blog readers will recall, Mark works at the University of Denver's Anderson Academic Commons (known as the library back on earth). Mark is a tremendous soccer fan, and was very excited about the start of the English soccer season - so much so that all the talk Wednesday evening was about Great Britain and soccer, as opposed to baseball. UK soccer begins today, by the way.
As for the baseball game, the Rockies beat the Dodgers 12 to 2, which is saying something, considering the Dodgers are only a few games out of first place. I must say, their pitchers did not look very good. When the starting pitcher started getting shelled, they brought in the fellow seen warming up in the photograph on the right, and he wound up getting shelled, too. Break up the Rockies! Can a World Series appearance be far behind?
Thursday, August 4, 2016
I just finished reading an advance reading copy of Ghostland, a new book by Colin Dickey. The book is a history of obscure or offbeat events in American history that were the inspiration for ghost stories, and does not take a stand on whether spirits exist or not. The author relates several stories that gave him pause, making him wonder whether those ghost sightings could be true, but for the most part the book tells about little known historical events that the ghost stories bring to light, making them important and relevant, even if there really are no ghosts or the facts do not bear out the legends. I enjoyed reading the book, and recommend that you pick up a copy at your local bookstore as soon as it comes out. And watch out for all those things that go bump in the night.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
I went up to Fort Collins to visit my sister Susan and brother-in-law George last Sunday, as as usual, the household seems to revolve around their two dogs, Tutu and Blackberry. And it point of fact I think they consider them their children, and treat them aa such. When my cousin John and his wife Barb visited them, they weren't quite used to dogs running around, barking, jumping up on them and licking their face as they sat in their chairs, and said as much . Cat fanciers, I guess.
I took photographs of both Susan and George with TuTu, their Yorkshire Terrier. I didn't take any photographs of their Cairn Terrier, Blackberry, this time since he was a little too hyperactive and would just show up as a blur. In any case, dogs are nice, but like children, have to be attended to constantly - midnight walks, vet bills, and the age old question of what to do with them if you want to go on vacation. If I wound up getting a dog, I would have to have a full time nanny, which could wind up being expensive. If I ever win the lottery, perhaps I'll consider getting a dog. On the other hand, there is the issue of my pristine carpet...
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
I went to the Dragon Boat Festival at Denver's Sloan Lake this past Sunday afternoon, and thought it was the quintessential multicultural event. Not only were there dragon boat races, but entertainment on three or four different stages. In just an hour or so, I saw Indian, Polynesian, and Thai dancing groups. Plus, there were booths selling food, clothing, knickknacks, and all kinds of other stuff, too. My only complaint is that this park has virtually no trees. Every year on this weekend the temperatures are in the mid to upper 90s, and always makes for a very hot experience. What is the deal with no trees in this park? Is it kept this way to promote sales at the beer garden? I can't think of another reason. I would suggest everyone write city hall immediately, even if you don't live here.
Monday, August 1, 2016
Denver's 16th Street mall is a popular destination for locals, tourists, and conventioneers, not to mention the occasional homeless person passing through town. A month or so ago, one of these homeless persons started chasing people around the mall with a large length of pipe. A lot of people objected to this, of course (people are definitely more hypersensitive these days), and so the city stepped up the police presence on the mall. Now I see that they have taken care of another serious issue on the 16th Street Mall - the ballet dancers. They have finally - after many years - put clothes on them (see photograph above). It was so jarring to see naked ballet dancers on the mall, and I am sure there were lots of complaints. And so still another 16th Street Mall controversy has been solved by city hall. Good going guys.