Thursday, June 30, 2005

Our Hike - A Bleed

Our Hike - A Bleed, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Our Hike - Sweet Girl on the Road (The grass is always greener..."

Our Hike - Aspen Grove

Our Hike - Aspen Grove, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Couple Things - Same Sex Stuff - Reagan? You've Got to be Kidding

Our Canadian friends, according to the Washington Post, press onward toward the recognition that gay/lesbian couples necessarily possess the same rights and privileges as their non-gay counterparts. What a concept!
I wonder if Dubya was pissed because he wasn't recognized as the "Greatest American?" Neocons, I'm sure, were wetting their pants in excitement over the announcement that Ronald Reagan garnered 2.5 million votes which placed him atop the likes of Walt Disney, Abraham Lincoln, Oprah, Martin Luther King, Lance Armstrong, etc., to be the "Greatest American."
From AlterNet this morning comes this, which reads in part:
"Yep. The man who lied his way through Iran and all of Central America, who conspired to keep minorities poor... and who held two jobs in his entire life -- actor and politician -- beat out George Washington (who could never tell a lie), Ben Franklin (modern day Renaissance Man), Abe Lincoln (the Great Emancipator) and Martin Luther King (a 20th Century Moses who almost single-handedly saved American Democracy from its own debilitating hypocrisy).
Monday, June 28, 2004

Reagan's Sorry legacy

Collective Amnesia or Collective Alzheimer's:America 'Remembers' Ronald Reagan by Paul Douglas Newman
To remember Ronald Reagan as one of the greatest Presidents of the twentieth century, to replace FDR on the dime with Reagan's profile as Republicans wish to do, we are being asked to forget too much.
We are asked to forget Lebanon, where Reagan decided to "cut and run" after hundreds of Marines perished when a suicide bomber invaded their compound.
We are asked to forget the arms for hostages deal.
We are asked to forget El Salvador, where the right wing ARENA, armed with Reagan money, Reagan weapons, and Reagan military training from the School of the America's at Fort Benning, Georgia slaughtered more than 80,000 civilians in the "War on Communism."
We are asked to forget the Iran-Contra Scandal, an event that he evidently "could not recall" in response to more than one hundred questions during the Congressional hearings.
We are asked to forget the groundwork laid for nuclear disarmament by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Nixon.
We are asked to forget the Strategic Arms Limitations Treaties I and II.
We are asked to forget the re-freezing of the Cold War following the Nixon thaw, when Reagan bellicosely denounced the Soviets as the "Evil Empire," and then joked on his weekly radio address that our missiles were ready to launch.
We are asked to forget the silly invasion of Grenada following the Lebanon disaster, and the reversal of goodwill gestures made to the Caribbean made by previous administrations, including the return of the Panama Canal.
We are asked to forget the Soviet Union's internal move to Perestroika, a groundswell that occurred over decades resulting in a generation of new Communists by 1985 who were not manufactured by Reagan's bravado, but were products of the "Evil Empire."
We are asked to forget that Reagan presided over the worst recession since the Great Depression.
We are asked to forget the enormous cuts to social welfare programs and the Veterans Administration, moves that led to such an enormous rise in the homeless population, especially evident on the streets of Washington, D.C., that even comedians felt that they had to do something to stop the bleeding with "Comic Relief."
We are asked to forget the policies that enriched agri-business at the expense of small farmers, continuing the decline of the family farm to the point that recording artists were the only ones left to uphold the Populists' mantle with "Farm-Aid."
We are asked to forget that he slashed taxes for the wealthiest, raised taxes on the poor, and then bailed out the corrupt Savings and Loan industry at taxpayer expense. We are asked to forget that his SEC presided over such a corrupt and over-inflated stock market that the Dow saw the largest one-day crash in its history, greater than in 1929.
We are asked to forget that Reagan's economic policies effected a reversal in the trend toward greater distribution of wealth begun by Progressive Republican, Democratic, and Socialist politicians in the early twentieth centuries, and have led us to the greatest concentration of wealth today since the days of Andrew Carnegie and James Pierpont Morgan.
We are asked to forget the enormous and outrageous military contracts, for which American taxpayers paid hundreds of dollars for nuts, bolts, and toilet seats, and the nation saw defense-spending rise to astronomical heights.
We are asked to forget the Reagan Administration's opposition to the Civil Rights movement, their blocking of busing programs and cuts to Head Start meant to bring equality of opportunity to American education.
We are asked to forget that Reagan considered ketchup to be a vegetable in federal school lunch programs.
We are asked to forget "government cheese."
We are asked to forget jelly beans, splitting wood, bad b-movies, McCarthy-ite participation in Hollywood blacklisting.
We are asked to forget our history.
We are asked to forget, and forget, and forget. And by the looks of the New York Times and Washington Post's memorials to the "Great Communicator," it appears that what historian Studs Terkel has referred to as "America's collective amnesia" is still acute. Perhaps it is more serious than that. Perhaps we have a national case of Alzheimer's Disease. Perhaps our ability to remember relatively recent events has eroded, and our capacity for rational thought has diminished as well. Perhaps we are becoming a danger to ourselves and others. Perhaps we need admittance into a managed care facility for nations. Perhaps we are "riding off into the sunset." How else do we explain our descent into Bushism?: our quick repetition of past economic and foreign policy blunders, our re-visitation of failed policies to solve current problems, our persistent dementia that results in trying the same things and expecting different results? As of now, there is no cure for Alzheimer's Disease, only management of the symptoms and provision of comfort until death. Hopefully Studs Terkel is right, and we've just suffered another blow to the head from which the American people will recover, and remember, and remember, and remember.
Paul Douglas Newman ( is Associate Professor of American History at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, PA
My comfort rests with the fact that not a whole lot of folks participated in the stupidity of the AOL "Greatest American" hucksterism. (AOL sucks, by the way -- I got rid of it some time ago.) But, then, thanks to Dubya and Rove, Cheney and Rummy, Condie and the rest of the crew (including the Lawd, I guess), I think the results of the program serve only to emphasize we live in an America where mendacity from our government is pervasive and a whole lot of folks have swallowed-- hook, line and sinker--a revisionist view of American history that places (you've really got to be kidding me!) Ronald Reagan above Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King, Jr. You've really got to be kidding me!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Our Hike - Mountain Flowers

Our Hike - David Chewing on that Peanut Butter Bar

Our Hike - Death/Life: The Eternal Cycle

Be Careful. That Last Step is a Doozy. (George's boo boo from the hike!)

Gay Pride Day - Denver

This from the Rocky Mountain News and this from the Denver Post describe Denver's celebration. David and I chose to take a hike (literally) instead of attending the festivities. Yes, we've participated in, watched, photographed, nudged our way through the dense and sensuously minimally-clad crowds at the booths at the end of the parade for over twenty years. But, this year, we took a hike. It's estimated that Denver's celebration brought out about 180,000 folks. Not bad for a "cow town."

I'll let you know how the hike went...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Water Lilies A'Bloom

Water Lilies A'Bloom, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Ken Salazar's Jingoistic Rhetoric

This from Mike Littwin in the Rocky Mountain News this morning reads in part:

The issue, this time, was the flag-burning amendment, or, I guess, the anti-flag-burning amendment.

In support of the amendment, which is heading to the Senate, Salazar wrapped himself in the flag, in family, in country - all in one quote. He needed a big quote if he was going to explain his vote and simultaneously announce his latest break with Democratic party regulars.

His brother, of course, had already voted for the amendment in the House. Now it's unanimous in the Salazar caucus.

"For me, what comes to mind very often . . . is a flag-draped coffin of my father and his love for this country," Ken Salazar said.

Um, okay, Kenny (who was elected over Pete Coors--yeah, the beer guy--by an overwhelming Democratic/liberal coalition), but, see, the real point here is provided in Littwin's piece:

Times have changed. It used to be that sewing a flag on your jeans was a protest, and now they play the Jimi Hendrix version of the Star Spangled Banner at Little League games.

The flag vote is the kind of vote that looks like a test of patriotism - but it's a test that's easy to get wrong.

A flag is a symbol.

Free speech is what we ask people to die for.

You tolerate burning flags because toleration of dissent is an essential American value.

But, Kenny, I understand you're a little shaky in your new role. Colorado is, after all, basically a really, really red state and you, of course, are a politician and, well... Gotta feed the folks what they want, right? But, then, it was you who called James Dobson and his Focus on the Family zealots the "Antichrist." That's kinda liberal, wouldn't you say? But, you also appeared at the confirmation hearing advocating for Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General which was kind of a red thing to do, now wasn't it. Littwin again hits the proverbial nail on the head with:

For Ken Salazar, the flag-vote announcement fits a pattern, which is meant to look like an absence of pattern. And yet, I think you can follow along.

He has split with Democrats on a major bankruptcy bill and on class-action lawsuits. His first recognized act as a senator was to introduce Alberto Gonzales, just as Democrats were accusing the new attorney general of basically condoning torture.

How do you call this man a liberal?

Salazar's answer seems to be this: very carefully.

After all, you don't win statewide races in Colorado by embracing your inner liberal.

Well, Ken, you're probably touting your repetitive tap dancing across the aisle to the other side as a matter of conscience, just voting your heart and conscience. Being the essential liberal that I am, I guess I'd have to say something like, "Bullshit!" You're being the essential politician, Kenny: day one of your six-year term you started your campaign for the next election.

Yeah, I know, you've got to exist is what is essentially a red state. But, hey, listen Kenny: my memory ain't that short. And, I expect there are a whole bunch of folks in Colorado who won't forget your pirouettes across the aisle come next election.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Illegal Aliens - and Other Stuff and Nonsense

Okay. Let's start with this front page from yesterday's Rocky Mountain News. The story behind the headline appears here, and reads in part:

A Mexican immigrant has sued Park County, alleging that his seven-day stay in a filthy, overcrowded jail cell in Fairplay cost him his leg.

Lawyers for Moises Carranza-Reyes, a 29-year-old who remains in the United States illegally, say county officials sacrificed their client's constitutional rights in order to turn a profit - and left federal taxpayers paying most of his $1 million hospital bill.

Carranza-Reyes entered the jail a healthy man and left it near death, with gangrenous legs and infected lungs, the suit says. It seeks unspecified damages.

Do I dare ask about the expenditure of almost one-million bucks of American taxpayer dollars on this guy's health problems (albeit allegedly caused by unsanitary conditions in the jail)? Do I dare ask why this guy wasn't just deported immediately and handed over to the Mexican government?

Saw a bumper sticker today: "Cowboy foreplay: Get in the truck!"
Who is Senator Ken Salazar, Really? And, His Brother U.S. Representative, John?

This from the Denver Post this morning reports that both Democratic senator Ken Salazar and his brother Democratic U.S. Representative, John Salazar sided-up with the Republic majority in Congress to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban flag burning.
Before I go on here, the Post also provided an editorial this morning that reads, verbatim:
Short-sighted flag waving.
In its 218 years, the U.S. Constitution has never been amended to take away even one of the freedoms guaranteed to the American people. But there is now a real risk that Congress will set just such an abridgment in motion. If that happens, Sen. Ken Salazar will be at the head of the parade.
Salazar announced Thursday he would co- sponsor a constitutional amendment to overturn two Supreme Court decisions that said burning the flag is a form of political speech protected by the First Amendment. An Associated Press survey shows Salazar's support brings the amendment within two votes of the two-thirds majority it needs to pass the Senate and head for the states for ratification.Salazar said he backs the amendment because, "The flag is special and deserves our reverence and protection."
We don't disagree, but the Constitution is even more deserving. Trampling on freedom of expression diminishes the flag, it doesn't protect it.The House has passed the flag amendment four times, but the pre-Salazar Senate has always blocked the way. We hope it will do so again. To their credit, in the House, Reps. Diana DeGette and Mark Udall voted to uphold the Constitution as it now stands.
We urge the Senate to weigh the words of Gary E. May, chairman of Veterans Defending the Bill of Rights, who lost two legs in Vietnam: "This amendment would not honor veterans; it would attack the very principles that inspired us to serve our country. My fellow veterans fought for a set of ideals that binds this varied and dynamic nation together. We defended this country's autonomy, not a piece of cloth. We fought for a society free of repression and filled with open debate."
The Senate should not let their fight be in vain.
I took a look at Senator Ken's bio and, nope, he never served in the armed forces. His brother, John, did serve in the Army for a few years.
Not that I believe anyone who has served their country in the armed forces is any more qualified or privileged or sanctified to pontificate on the nonsense of a Constitutional amendment to protect the flag. But, as a veteran of the Army who volunteered to serve his country after completing five--yes, count them, five--years of college, let me just suggest that what we've got here is another hot button, neocon, Karl Rove, God, Mother and Apple Pie issue that just begs to be soundly defeated in the U.S. Senate. And, Senator Ken Salazar, nomial Democrat that he is, should get a clue; should understand that supporting the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General (the guy who told Dubya that, well, no, it wasn't really torture that US forces were perpetrating against prisoner's of war) and, consequently, breaking with his Democratic colleagues and tap dancing over to the GOP side of the aisle on the Gonzales question; yes, Ken Salazar and his brother John really need to understand the difference between being independently minded and biting, hook, line and sinker into the bullcrap of Dubya's and Karl Rove's strategic blueprint.

My Great Blue (um, Green) Heron

These Guys Don't Work - Surprise! Birds Are Smarter than Plastic!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Non-Surgical Biblical Lobotomy

From via AlterNet:

Congressman Accuses Democrats of Anti-Christian Crusade
WASHINGTON -- Business on the floor of the House was halted for 45 minutes yesterday after Rep. John N. Hostettler (R-Ind.) accused Democrats of "denigrating and demonizing Christians," prompting a furious protest from across the aisle….The House was debating a Democratic amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill that would have required the Air Force Academy to develop a plan for preventing "coercive and abusive religious proselytizing."

If you doubt that reading the Bible too much can result in what I call a “non-surgical, Biblical-lobotomy,” look no further than John Hosteller. If stupid were music this guy would be the Marine Marching Band. Example: He got busted last year for trying to sneak a loaded Glock 9mm semiautomatic onto a flight to Washington. No, he wasn't testing airport. It was his gun. Apparently Jesus wants his disciples packing.

Anyway, after Hostettler's remarks set off a firestorm of protest from Democrats he stood and, the story continues, “ a sentence that had been written out for him in large block letters by a young Republican floor aide: "Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the last sentence I spoke."”

Block letters. Now you know why born-agains don't believe in evolution.

Meager Newspaper - Big Headlines

Big Headlines - Little Minds

This from the Rocky Mountain News this morning (with the above accompanying headline) points out two things: The Rocky remains the stuff of big headlines and little minds; Congress remains the stuff of, um... I guess the insertion of a conjunction like "and" after the word Rocky and then the insertion of the word "Congress" would suffice, wouldn't it. Okay. The Rocky and Congress remain the stuff of big headlines and little minds. That's better. (Bunch a damned disassemblers!)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mama Finch has abandoned the nest...

Book Meme

Joseph's book meme post has put me on the spot and this is not an easy exercise for me. But, here goes:

Number of books I own:
Thousands. I haven't thrown or given away or sold a book ever that I can recall.

Last Book Bought:
Actually, my partner David bought John Grisham's The Broker and Peter Straub's lost boy, lost girl for me. I finished Grisham's and it sucked (note my prior post). I'm half-way through the Straub and it's holding my interest. (Straub's best book, incidentally--in my opinion--is Koko.)

Last Book Read:
The Grisham which, as I've noted, stunk.

5 books that mean a lot to me:
Okay. This is the hard part.
1. Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I love Dickens. He is the sublime master of characterization, plot and mood. Bleak House just stands out as the most representative.

2. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon. This is a magical book. I've read it three times.

3. Andrew Holleran's first novel, Dancer from the Dance. Perhaps this is one of my five because it was first published in 1978 and 1978 was probably the most exciting year of my life. This is a gentle novel about love and excess; a novel that captured my imagination then in that watershed year. And, indeed, Holleran's inclusion of William Butler Yeats, "Among School Children," is, at least, poignant:

Labor is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul,
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

4. Randy Shilts, And The Band Played On. No need to expound on this one; the chronicle of the brave (in one sense) and pathetic (in another) American response to the AIDS epidemic.

5. The Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer is a book that really captures that period of American history when I came of age--not to mention that Mailer is a superb writer.

There are probably another hundred (or thousand) or so books that, "...mean a lot to me." But, Joseph, for what it's worth...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Nope! Not a drop!

Nope! Not a drop!, originally uploaded by George In Denver.


Ah..., originally uploaded by George In Denver.

John Grisham's "The Broker"

First of all, don't bother. Whenever Grisham strays from his tried and true genre--law and courtroom drama--he sucks. The Broker is one of Grisham's worst. I'm not really sure what the hell he's trying to communicate to the reader: The book seems to suggest only that there are some pretty good little restaurants in Bologna.

Go figure...

Gotta Love the Baptists Um, NOT!

From "That Colored Fella's Web Log..."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Boys - Workin' It In the Back Yard

Sweet Melissa

Sweet Melissa, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Stuff and Nonsense

Okay. So, I haven't really posted in a while. Good reason. I received the line edit for my novel a couple weeks ago and I've spent the last two weeks sorting through the changes, corrections, suggestions that came with it. Hard work. Hopefully, the inspiration (and the very, very thorough, professional and critical comments and suggestions from my editor) will make the read more better. :-]

Got an anonymous comment: "I like this photo. Your writing? I do not understand them."

I guess that's why I post photos. Not everybody is going to "understand" my writing. So, they can look at the pictures; you know, the thousand word thing.

AlterNet has a piece about a book from the former chief of the Seattle Police Department, Norm Stamper. You may remember Norm as the top cop in Seattle during the WTO (World Trade Organization) imbroglio of '99 when some protesters and police got a wee bit out of hand.

Anyway, Norm's book, Breaking Rank, apparently purports to open the closet on the dirty little (and big) nasty business that police work is, has always been and probably always will be. The AlterNet piece reads, in part:

The author reflects on his own experiences as an officer to illustrate the ways in which America's police force is rotting from the inside out, corrupted by an interior culture of institutionalized racism, misogyny and homophobia. But while effectively ripping the police world apart, Stamper manages to remain honest about his own role in the "boys' club." He confesses to some unsavory, stereotypical-cop behaviors in his early days, from emotionally abusing his wife to knocking perps unconscious. And he's upfront about career regrets (e.g., the WTO debacle, for which he resigned).

Being the kid of a cop--indeed, a cop who eventually became the chief of the Denver Police Department--I can only observe that Stamper's revelations are interesting and pretty close to home. In the AlterNet piece Stamper provides:

Young men who've been given authority -- a badge, a gun -- and allowed to stop and cite and arrest and question and fight and shoot their fellow citizens, run a grave risk of having that power go directly to their heads, or other parts of their anatomy.

That pretty much summarizes how and why it's easier for cops to become abusive in their personal relationships. 'Who are you to question my authority, wife?'

...And they're also adept at delivering blows that don't show. They know what to do and they're armed, so a lot of police domestic violence over the years has gone unreported. Their victims and survivors are terrified -- they're afraid to come forward, for good reason.

Suffice it to say, my father fit the above profile like a glove. But, then, there's also the other side of the story--which I've seen firsthand--and which I described in a post last year, part of which reads:

And, if you look still deeper you may see the macabre images which that old cop holds, secret and secure, in the most inaccessible recesses of his or her mind. And, the images are of a life spent dealing with all the vileness and degradation human beings are capable of; of victims who have been cut and sliced and who, lying deadly still in their own blood, can only silently swear that another human being was responsible; of children abused, black and blue, from the hard knocks of parents – PARENTS! – who could not deal with themselves much less their children, much less an unkind, complex world; of drunks and derelicts lying lice-infested in gutters with matted hair and urine-soaked clothes … vomit stained shirts and no shoes; of hookers and pimps plying their trade; of pre-pubescent boys and girls whose bodies were sold for the price of a meal; of automobiles wrecked beyond manufacturer recognition encasing four or five or six dead young bodies who only wanted to have a good time at 110 fucking miles an hour; of dopers and pushers and good outstanding pillars of the community high as kites after snorting or shooting or popping or drinking their particular ticket to nirvana; of the homeless and sick wandering the streets babbling to themselves and cursing the unseen demons that haunt their souls; of ten-thousand filthy, disgustingly sad, sad images which, in one way or another, the old cops not only dealt with but were expected to deal with over and over and over again and again by a society that, in spite of its humanity, delegates to one class of people – the cop – the job of handling its failures.

I haven't read Stamper's book and I may do so.

I remember my father telling me that when he first became a Denver cop (1946) he and his partner would patrol the red light district of Denver and, moving slowly down the street in their cruiser, shoot the passed out derelicts on the sidewalks and in the gutters with a bb gun. He said they'd laugh like hell when the pitiful drunks would jump up and grab whatever body parts had been pinged and look around to search for the source of the pain.

What fun...

Sweet Melissa came down with a kidney infection a couple weeks ago. We actually thought we had lost her (she will, after all, be twelve this September). But, she bounced back. Sweet as ever...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Mount Evans from the Lake

Monday, June 06, 2005

Cormorants - Casual and Content

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Double-Crested Cormorants on the Lake This Morning

Coot Kids! :-]

Coot Kids! :-], originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Jon Stewart - Dubya on Disasemblers

Photo Op! Photo Op! Denver's Mayor Hickenlooper -- All Wet! (As usual...)

Ah, Spring!

Ah, Spring!, originally uploaded by George In Denver.


Unfolding, originally uploaded by George In Denver.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Dubya's Poem (From my Cousin Butch)

My cousin Butch, says, "I don't think I've heard Dubya use a sentence with more than five words in it! This following poem is composed entirely of actual quotes from George W. Bush. It was compiled and arranged by Washington Post writer Richard Thompson."

Make the Pie Higher
I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty.
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet
Become more few?

How many hands have I shaked?

They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish
Can coexist.

Families is where our nation finds hope.
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!

Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!

Eine Kleine Nacht Melissa

Sweet Melissa Through the Slats