Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dear Lady Denver*

(Note: In 1981, after experiencing more than a decade of the destruction of Denver's historical crown jewels under the guise of "Urban Renewal," I wrote the following poem, which was published in Denver's "Out Front" magazine in July, 1981. I suspect that no one who is not a native of Denver and pretty close to my age will recognize the references I make. But, in light of my posts on the Libeskind "conceptual vision" for Civic Center Park, I thought I'd repeat this particular post from December, 2005. So, this pretty much represents where George is coming from: a deep, abiding respect for the significance of Denver's history and the representation of that history in the city's architecture, including parks. That history, of course, must be maintained, cherished and, certainly enhanced when necessary. As I don't/didn't believe the mindless rapaciousness of "Urban Renewal" was justified decades ago, I don't believe an "art for art's sake" remake of Civic Center Park in the Libeskind "vision" is a solution to the very real, serious issues extant with the park today.)

Dear Lady Denver

tell me old girl
does the face-lifting still go on?
do those thick-fingered surgeons of
steel and stone
still build up
where your soul was torn down?

hear me out.
I am your native son
(and there are precious few of us).
take some time from your
fancy modern gyrations and
listen to one who remembers.

I am one who remembers
when the Old Prospector
was as untouchable as the clouds
and as curious to a young boy
as a jet plane in a steep climb or
a Colorado Winter's first snowfall.

And now...
Now the Old Prospector has come down to earth.
He collects pennies at the Towers and
silently stares as he is touched by tourists
and passed by an endless parade
of fume-spewing autos.
I cannot help but think
his shoulders have stooped a bit.

Do you know Old Girl
that I am one who remembers when
there was no Zeckendorf
where noontime loafers putt
on fake green grass and
there was a time--I know you recall it--
when those long-robed
pony-tailed devotees of Hare Krishna
didn't dance their simple jig
to the tinny sounds of finger cymbals
on 16th Street.

Listen, Dear Lady,
Do you know
there used to be a Windsor
where Hayden Simpson and his friends
played Ragtime
in a room where the echoes of your youth
still haunted those
elegant high ceilings and
broad hallways?

there was an opera house called Tabor
that was your pride and joy
'til the sleazy cinema
corrupted its foundation and
brought the bulldozers
to rid you of its plight.

there is so much
to remember Old Girl.
there is so much to be sorry for.
All that which used to be
could still be
if only...
If only you would have realized
what you were losing.

Excuse me, Dear Lady:
The wine is gone;
The music has stopped;
The fire is out.
I feel that I must be going.

But, Dear Friend,
The next time a high-rise
let's get drunk on the heady wine of our memories,
to the sweet sounds of ragtime.

(NOTE: The Old Prospector used to stand atop the Mining Exchange Building. The Old Prospector now stands outside Brooks Towers. Status of the Mining Exchange Building - gone. Status of the Tabor Grand Opera House - gone. Staus of the Windsor Hotel - gone.)

*Yeah, I know, who wants to read poetry on a blog. But, I couldn't help it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Libeskind's $75,000 "conceptual design" for Civic Center Park - OMG!

BWB - Both Ways Bob (Beauprez) - Republican Candidate for Colorado Governor

Ah, another wannabe soldier when it becomes politically expedient to put on the olive drab. Problme is, though, with BWB, Both Ways Bob Beauprez, never served. See, he had this ulcer thing in high school or college and, well... See for yourself.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You Know You're From Denver When...

The People's Republic of Boulder Does it Again!

First of all--not that it has any relevance to this post--I heard on the national news this morning Mississippi is the fattest state (people's girths), and Colorado is the skinniest. That's the good news about Colorado.

Now for the bad news.

It is, of course, no secret that the People's Republic of Boulder has, once again, thrust Colorado into the international spotlight, first with Mary Keenan Lacy's--Boulder's District Attorney--decision to go after the nutcase, John Mark Karr--who happened to be slithering about Bangkok, Thailand--as the murderer of JonBenet Ramsey. Much of Lacy's "probable cause" came from emails a University of Colorado journalism professor, Michael Tracey, exchanged with Crazy Karr and shared with Ms. Lacy. Tracey, by the way, has made one "documentary" on the JonBenet case that attempted to turn attention for the murder away from the Ramsey family and toward an outside "intruder." And, by the way, Tracey is currently hawking a book with regard to his delusional theories about the case. So, Ms. Lacy gets a warrant from a Boulder judge (dare we wonder about the competence of the judge who issued the warrant) and off to Bangkok the Boulder cops go--at the expense of Colorado taxpayers--and bring Crazy Karr back to Boulder, with a stop in California because of a kiddy porn case.

Curiously, Ms. Lacy was depending upon a DNA match to prove Crazy Karr was the guy, the murderer. Here's the thing about the DNA. There was a trace of "Caucasian male" DNA found in the poor child's panties. There was also DNA found under JonBenet's fingernails. But, wouldn't you know it, the DNA under her fingernails was compromised, contaminated--we are told--by a "dirty" scalpel during the autopsy. Now, it has been shown, demonstrated that there are traces of DNA in panties that have just been removed from the plastic wrapping in which they are sold at your local Wal-Mart or Target or--probably in the case of the Ramsey's--from Dillards or Lord and Taylor.

Okay. Still with me?

So, the Boulder cops get to Bangkok to, we are told, not only to arrest Crazy Karr but also to get a DNA sample--a mouth swab--from the nutcase. What happens? Well, it seems that the Boulder cops misplaced the DNA swab kit--or, perhaps, didn't even bring a kit--and no DNA test was conducted in Bangkok. In fact, the DNA swab was not taken until Crazy Karr got to Boulder from California. The Denver Police Department crime lab ran the DNA match test and WALLAH!--big surprise--there was no match.

I take no comfort in my prior posts--the first one on the morning the arrest of Crazy Karr was announced--that proclaimed no way, no how was Crazy Karr guilty of the JonBenet murder. I take comfort only in the fact that Karr is, indeed, crazy (sorry if I'm being politically incorrect, here) and will, hopefully, be institutionalized and, therefore, unable to destroy the innocence of children with his sickeningly despicable desires.

Yes, not only is Colorado the home of James Dobson's "Focus on the Family," Miss Chubby Pinkness, U.S. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (defender of the sanctity of man/woman marriage in the U.S. House of Representatives), U.S. Senator Wayne--Dullard, Do Nothing--Allard who, of course, also plays to his Colorado flatlander base decrying the "homa-sex-yall" agenda; yes, as if we didn't have enough craziness to contend with, the People's Republic of Boulder shines resplendent today, as an international laughing stock.

Yeah, I know. Generalizations are empirically invalid. In fact, the University of Colorado is my alma mater--although I spent only one year in Boulder and four years at the University of Colorado, Denver Center. But, goodness, dare I ask what next, what absurd illogicalness will emanate from the People's Republic of Boulder?

And, remember, Denver ain't Boulder. Thank God.

P.S. "Fair and Balanced," here's a post from my bud Suz-at-Large that paints a wee bit different picture than I've provided with this post.

Monday, August 28, 2006

You Can Get Anything You Want (Great way to begin a Monday)

This came from this morning.

With reflection on every damned thing going on in the world today, these short videos--at least for me--provide some evidence that within the heartland of this great country, there persists some modicum of charm, easy charm that cannot help but bring a momentary smile, a good feeling that life goes on in spite of the headlines, in spite of all the crap I read every day from the New York Times, AlterNet, the Rocky Mountain News, the Washington Post,, etc. etc. etc.

This is John Young--somewhere in the heartland--on a vintage Martin 0018.

AND, his Pet Feeder invention is really cool.



Alice's Restaurant

Pet Feeder

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Civic Center Redux

If you have an interest in Denver's parks and Civic Center Park in particular please take a look at my friend Suz's post on this subject. The Libeskind vision for Civici Center Park (for which the Civic Center Conservancy paid, I believe, $78,000) will be revealed shortly and Suz has the schedule.

Suz also provides some editorial comment on Daniel Libeskind's "vision" that will open in October where, um, "art" will be displayed.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Fall whispers: a delicate, if not subtle susurration.

I have taken lately to sitting on the front porch of our old house this past week. I sip shiraz-cabernet and puff gently on the Swisher Sweets that, still being cigars regardless of their charming moniker, disgust David. I cannot explain why I've taken up the nightly puffing except that, I suppose, I'm passing through another phase (my "crotchety" phase, as some family members have suggested) and the little cigars with the plastic tips seem, well. appropriate right now. I am, after all, too young to be "crotchety." Or am I?

I listen to the cicadas (do we have cicadas in Denver?) or the crickets, in unison, pulse their hypnotic song against the darkening night and I wonder why they still try; why, this late in the summer, they still call to that, apparently as yet unidentified, mate; the primordial pulse of the promise of propagation. It is a wonderful sound. I lose myself in its monotony.

The giant and ancient Silver Maple that fronts our property appears almost black--the hanging branches so profuse this year, so happily replete with ten? a hundred?-thousand leaves. The black shape flows slightly with the breeze, moving ever so gently as an ocean tide at no moon.

The clutch of three Aspen trees that have grown thick and tall this spring and summer huddle there at the corner of our little yard. The coruscation of their leaves--caught in the gentle breeze--is a playful dance, reflecting the gleam from the streetlamp four houses down.

Did you know that an Aspen grove--six, seven thousand trees, or more--is the largest living organism on the face of the earth? Did you know that an Aspen grove will give extra nourishment and water to trees in its clutch which are failing, ill? Did you know that if the ailing trees in the grove do not respond to the good deeds of the whole, the whole will withdraw the extra care and let the trees pass on, die? Or, at least that is what our guide told us (Greg, Clayton and me) on our recent horseback ride at Piney Lake, in the Eagle's Nest Wilderness area of the White River National Forest.

Yes, and then there is the Blue Spruce that our neighbor, Sue, planted ten, twelve, fifteen years ago close to the fence that separates our front yards. It was so small, so beautiful then. She planted it close to our fence because, she said, it would grow to complement the extreme pitch of the roof of our old Victorian. And, now, as I sit upon the porch and sip my wine and puff the poison from my Swisher Sweet, the Blue Spruce looms huge, full, against and through the fence that separates our property from our neighbor's. The Blue Spruce is also--now, at night--just a shadow against the sky.

By the third of fourth summer of a total of ten summers of lifguarding at city pools (this was at least a thousand years ago, by the way) by mid-August, the signs, the portend of fall did not escape me. The daytime shadows moved and--albeit still experiencing days of ninety or more degrees--the very air, the sky, the precious paltry whiff of a breeze foretold the ineluctable adjoining of seasons. This lesson learned from all those hours upon hours of sitting, walking or standing--clad only in one brightly colored Speedo or another (green, blue, red, orange) with a whistle around my neck--and , with intense vigilance, caring (I really did care!) for the lives of the kids and the parents and the jerks and the idiots and the rest of them, including "tax payers," who took to the water; yes, by the third or fourth summer of eight to ten hours in the sun, the subtleness of the seasonal change became, perhaps subliminally at first, obvious.

Two things came from those long hours in the sun. One, like the other creatures of the earth, I learned to understand the hints of nature--hints, that to some species, send them south or from the highlands to the lower valleys or upstream or downstream or cajole them to gather the sustenance that will take them through the big freeze ahead. Two, the cumulative affects of all that glorious sunshine, all that ultraviolet contagion has left me with only half of the top of my right ear. Squamous cell carcinoma. I await the certainty when another part of me will be sliced away. (Please, don't let it be the nose. I have such a nice nose.)

I have four Swisher Sweets left. I've told David that once this box is finished, then I will be finished with the nastiness of what I have promised myself will not become a habit. I'm indulging in the puffing only because I'm going through my "crotchety" phase anyway. Aren't I?

I believe, though, I will continue to sit myself down in one of the two Adirondack chairs on our old front porch, sip the shiraz-cabernet and just simply be amongst it all, amongst the sublime mystery of it all.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Dear Marilyn Musgrave

Click on the title to see a video of the lady in pink explain why she should be reelected to the U.S. House from Colorado's flatlander district where God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I noticed that my last "Letters to Melissa..." post included a picture of Melissa with an errant tail exposed in the upper right of the pic. With apologies to our big guy, Calvin--who passed from lymphoma several years ago (you'll notice the biopsy scar on the left side of his neck)--I thought I'd better get him in the picture, too. He was no less loved than Sweet Melissa. He, too, is missed still, always

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Magnificent Fraud - John Mark Creepster Karr - Michael Tracey Does it Again

The Broward-Palm Beach New Times, a publication much like our Westword, provides this piece on University of Colorado Journalism professor, Michael Tracey, and his particular Ward Churchillish absurdly sickening grasp for fame (and money, of course).

Like I said the morning this fraud broke, Karr ain't the guy folks.

Letters to Melissa - Piney Lake (Part IV)

Sweet Melissa:

Sweetheart, we did it again. Yes, David and I went camping with John and Fred, Clayton and Richard and two "newbies," Greg and Daniel. I know, it's hard to believe that we would--for the third time, for goodness sake!--forsake the comforts of a warm bed, immediately accessible bathroom, fine restaurant, outdoor patio (a Maker's Mark and 7, in hand) framed by mountains of Pine, Spruce and Aspen in Silverthorne or Vail. But, we lived in a tent for two days. It was fun...mostly.

You'll be happy to hear that the attack of the voracious suicide flies from our July camping trip was not repeated. I believe an early fall is hanging in the air up there, quietly whispering of the big freeze just around the corner. The nights were cold. Indeed, that two or three a.m. bladder-splitting necessity to crawl out of the sleeping bag, open up the tent and shakily navigate through the profuse willow fields in order to release the goods, was, dear heart, icily painful. But, the flies have not really survived that cold. There are still some hardy suicide suckers buzzing about. But, they're now manageable. Thank God!

Yes, this camping event followed pretty much the established protocols: pack the vehicle with six days of supplies (clothing, food, booze) when the intended stay is two nights; drive the hour and a half to Vail, head north to Piney Lake (dirt road, pretty well maintained); unpack the vehicle; set-up the tent, the camp chairs; pour yourself a drink and settle in around the fire.

Then, there was the hike to the waterfall (Fred and the newbies went all the way; David, John and I went half way; and the rest took Roo and Sydney--the Golden Retrievers--to the lake for a swim); the horseback ride (Clayton, Greg and me); the obligatory press-on tattoos.

Yes, honey, we had fun. Again, many thoughts those days in the
hills were about how much you would have loved the experience--demanding proper respect and deference from the Goldens, of course.

Loving you still, always


Friday, August 18, 2006

Letters to Melissa - Piney Lake (Part III)

Dear Sweet Melissa:

Well, sweetheart, here we go again. Heading back up to Piney Lake where, the advance crew (our friends, John and Fred) have reported the flies are gone (too cold), and--as I said--it's cold and where, it's reported, there will be rain in the next couple days.

But, what the hey! There will actually be between nine to twelve of us up there together, doing what guys (gay or straight with the exception that, as you know, the gay guys don't kill things for the helluva it! Sport? You've got to be kidding!) do on a camping trip which I've explained in prior posts.

I bought a new lens for my camera and, hopefully, I can get some great shots this time.

Anyway, wish you were here; wish you could hop in the car with us and spend some time in that wee slice of paradise--(that is, if the flies are truly dormant).

Loving you still, always


This Is Absolutely Insane - Rocky Mountain News

The Rocky Mountain News has outdone itself today with an absolutely insane, absurd, crazy, asinine litany of nutty stories, cartoons and editorials attacking Peter Boyles of KHOW radio who has, since the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, maintained that this tragedy was not the work of an intruder as John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents, (as well as their official mouthpiece, the Rocky Mountain News) asserted/assert. Boyles further has identified the "confession" of John Mark Karr as the ramblings of a nutcase who had nothing whatsoever to do with murder of JonBenet.

Whatever you think of Peter Boyles and whoever is ultimately proven to have committed this heinous act, please consider some of the facts:

1) Karr claims to have picked JonBenet up at her school, taken her to the Ramsey home and therein did the deed. Fact: The murder occurred during the Christmas holiday. School was not in session.

2) Karr claims JonBenet's death was accidental. Fact: The poor child's head was viciously bashed with what was probably a flashlight. She was then strangled with a garotte.

3) Karr claims he drugged JonBenet. Fact: The toxicology report from the autopsy found no drugs in JonBenet's body.

4) Karr claims to have had sex with JonBenet. Fact: No semen was found.

Good people, Karr's confession--as well as the ramblings of the Rocky Mountain News, as well as the machinations of the People's Republic of Boulder's DA and police department--is (God, what's the best word???) absurd. Wish I had a better, more descriptive word. But, that's it.

Jesus, we live in strange times....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

WHOA! Somthin' Ain't Right With this JonBenet Thing

Have you had a look at John Mark Karr who claims to have killed JonBenet Ramsey? Have you listened to his voice? Have you read the facts that led to his confession? Have you considered the relative merits of prison time in Thailand as opposed to the United States?

More later. But, good people, my gut tells me this guy is a nut.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

No More Binkies

Okay. No more liquid-filled binkies on airplanes. I can understand that. I mean, some crazy son-of-a-bitch could stick the business end of an electrode attached to a battery or a cell phone detonator into the binkie and set off an explosion proportionate to... Well, I guess the amount of peroxide based or whatever liquid explosive the crazy (now, stupid!) son-of-a-bitch put in the binkie would, most likely poof pretty much like a beer fart and burn the guy's nose hairs, while scaring the shit out of the baby, for Christ's sake. That is, of course, if he had a baby and if he didn't, what the fuck was he doing with the binkie in the first place? Satisfaction of a fetish, maybe?

I'm wondering here if the issue of Preparation H came up in a Chertoff staff meeting. Although--thank the good Lord--I don't have to use this stuff, the wipes are smothered in some kind of liquid and, I understand, there are suppositories that, most likely, also contain some kind of liquid. What about hemorrhoids? If you're on a four or six or eight hour flight, I guarantee you that, if you've got the nasty buggers, hemorrhoids, you're going to need to soothe their certain-to-occur complaints during the flight. What about Prep H? Or, is one simply left with locking oneself in the toilet and massaging oneself with one's index finger which, most likely, will ease the discomfort for about five minutes? But, then, liquid hand soap has been banned, so what means of cleanin' up is okey-dokey according to Chertoff? Yeah, I guess the airline's supply their bathrooms with those little bars of soap. I wouldn't know. Of all the thousands of miles I've flown, I've never used the bathroom in an airplane, except, of course in my novel, "A Cirlec of Magic," available at... Never mind.

Today, I heard that those liquid filled inserts Dr. Scholls makes for your shoes have gone on the banned list. I've got a couple of those in one pair of my trail shoes and they're great for the stressed arches. I'm wondering though, if Chertoff and company are banning all electronics on airplanes, how would one detonate the peroxide paste-based explosive in one's shoes? Of course, this assumes that--the by and large non-English-as-a-primary-language federalized mafia who meet and greet us as we pass through the beeping machines--those pesky Dr. Scholls inserts haven't been spotted and ripped out and confiscated before we ever get on the plane.

Now, I'm hearing that mascara is a banned substance. Gawd!

This whole knee-jerk reaction from Chertoff and crew is, of course, reactionary and, sadly, really doesn't provide or invoke any real confidence that Chertoff and crew know what the hell they're doing. Remember Katrina, ya'll? Why'd Chertoff keep his ass on that one?

Recalling the initial hysteria with the onset of the AIDS pandemic, I'm reminded that, in time, hysteria kind of slipslides--for most of us--into a non-hysterical logicality that respects fact over fiction (and hysteria) and centers on what measures are really, truly effective in the fight against the demon, the bug, the fearfull entity that has been visited upon the human condition.

Fundamentalistic Islamic terrorism is the demon, the bug, the fearfull entity that has been visited upon us. Does one really believe that banning binkies from aircraft is the answer?

Forgive me, but I do believe there is another direction--political correctness be damned to the particular hell it deserves--that might be a wee bit more effective in assuring the safety of what Chertoff calls the "traveling public." Islamic Fundamentalists fit a profile. Or, at least the pictures and descriptions I've reviewed tend to indicate--100 fucking percent of the time--that Islamic Fundamentalists--forgive me--kind of all look alike. Would it be too much for Chertoff and crew to consider that reality rather than honing in on binkies and Prep H?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Letters to Melissa - Piney Lake (Part II)

Dear Sweet Melissa*:

Okay, I've told you about the first four parts of camping. Now, for the fifth part.

The fifth part of camping is, perhaps, the most important. This is the part where the "newbies" (those who are camping for the first time or are camping for the first time with US) sip their favorite beverage as the whole group stares into the magnificent fire with the close and holy darkness of forest caressing each of us, with the divine lightshow above--the ten-billion stars, pulsating, alive and framed by the tops of pines that surround the campfire. (Often, it's necessary to take a little walk out to the dirt road fity yards from the campsite, to actually see the astral fantasmagoria above.) It is, you see, incumbent upon the newbies to bare their souls before the round of boys sitting before the campfire. Those are the rules.

Baring one's soul has, in the past, focused on things as trivial as what one has loaded into their iPod or, indeed, what or whom one has, um, intimately interacted with in the most recent past--lovers, boyfriends, partners aside.

Now, dear heart, let me tell you that the newbies are not required to reveal anything. They're simply urged to do so as a right of passage necessary to the particular camping experience we've all come to love since we started the same (for David and me, just a year ago) but for John and Fred and whomever they've coaxed into the hills for years and years past, yes, this right of passage has been around for a while.

Okay. Here's a primer on what the newbie tell-all entails. Well, see, I was in this bar and they had strippers, okay?, and the strippers weren't really strippers but they were, well, boys for hire and all I had was twenty bucks and, well, twenty bucks don't get you laid in Denver, buckaroo--no matter how pretty you are--and, well, I had to go to the ATM and it was out of money and then I had to go to the bartender with a check for $200 bucks and he cashed it and then I went looking for him, the beauty who'd smiled at me, and, damn, I couldn't find him, so I went to the tubs, to the baths and the sights there were probably as disgusting as--tee hee--the group around this campfire and, well, I just went home and satisfied myself and fell asleep immediately without any actual physical contact with anyone, save myself and, well...

Ah, Sweet Melissa. You don't really need to know about this factor five of the camping experience. I think most of those tales told around the campfire are enhanced for affect anyway. And, besides, the doggies that have experienced this fifth component of the camping experience just sleep through it all, not caring a whit for the content or, indeed, recognizing bullshit when they hear it.

*Sweet Melissa was the absolute joy of David's and my life for twelve years and ten months. When her osteoarthritis became so bad that she literally could not stand up, she went to heaven, with the blessings of us all...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Letters to Melissa - Sorrow

Dear Sweet Melissa:

As always, I know you already know this. You are, after all, there, ensconced in the trappings of painless, guiltless, serene acceptance and understanding of those things that we here don't fully understand or comprehend. But, I thought I'd just let you know that life here amongst the temporal machinations of human beings is still pretty screwed up; still pretty unfathomable by those of us whose perception of the world is encased in the essential worth of the full gamut of Western Civilization.

Seems China is killing dogs. There has been a five-day massacre in Yunnan province's Mouding county, that has taken the lives of an estimated 50,000 dogs.

The report is that since three human beings died from the affects of rabies from dog bites in this Chinese province, the solution is to kill all the dogs; 50,000 at least.

The CNN report of this horrible event reports that: Dogs being walked were taken from their owners and beaten to death on the spot, it said. Other killing teams entered villages at night creating noise to get dogs barking, then homing in on their prey.

About 360 of the county's 200,000 residents suffered dog bites this year, with three reported deaths, including a 4-year-old girl, the report said.

"With the aim to keep this horrible disease from people, we decided to kill the dogs," Li Haibo, a spokesman for the county government was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

Yes, honey, I know... The killing of dogs in China is nuts, crazy. Why can't they initiate a program to immunize the dogs against rabies? But, then, we're talking about a country where folks eat dogs.

Ah, can you imagine what my reaction would be if some "committee" or "team" tried to beat you? Yeah, it wouldn't happen. Or, yes, it would not have happened. Wishful thinking, I guess; wishing you were still here. (Sometimes I hear the jingle/jangle of the tags on your collar and I turn my head with a smile, knowing you have climbed the stairs to my second story lair, just to check up on me, just to suggest a goodie might be in order. But, I realize, of course, you're no longer here. And, I turn my head back to the computer, as a thousand images of your life with David and me course through my mind.)

So, anyway, I'm sorry this is happening. Eastern civilization confuses me. Always has. I think I got a D+ at the University of Colorado when I took a course in this complex and confusing subject. It remains complex and confusing.

Now, having admitted to being stumped by the gyrations of Eastern civilization--they eat dogs, for God's sake!--I'm reminded that I can't even explain as rational much of what this country, this jewel of Western civilization is up to lately. I mean , look at us. Look at the oaf in the White House who chews his food with his mouth open while talkin' tough pardner with the Prime Minister of Great Britain; the fuc_ing fratboy genius "world leader" who, heh heh!, gives an unwanted neck rub to the female leader of the German nation state. Hell, I would have been fired from my workplace if I'd layed hands upon a female coworker.

Well, back to the dogs.

I keep rereading this; I keep digesting this; I keep loving these words:

“We need another and wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.”

Henry Beston, The Outmost House

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Death of Trees

This morning's Denver Post provided a piece on the tragic loss of the lodgepole pines in the White River National Forest. The devastation, the killing of these wonderful trees is the result of the voracious appetite of the pine beetle that, it is estimated, will eventually take 80 to 90 percent of the lodgepoll pines in the west. The picture at the left was taken (Ed Andrieski, The Associated Press) in Colorado's White River National Forest near Frisco.

I took the picture below last month also in the White River National Forest ten miles east of Vail. In both pictures, the lodgepole pines being attacked first lose their foliage and turn brown; they then turn gray and, eventually, fall to the ground.

Sadly, the vista on the right will probably disappear in the not too distant future.

Some say it's nature's way; that the fires that will naturally occur and burn away the rotted lodgepole pines will give new life to this old forest. That may be so. But, Mama Nature--from the short view--sometimes really sucks.

EXTRA! North Denver Tribune Removes George From Its Subscription List!

I, of course, asked for it. I dared to bring up some salient points in an emailed letter to the Tribune's managing editor, Elisa Cohen, with regard to the city's failure to provide for the proper infrastructure maintenance of Denver's Parks. Ms. Cohen took umbrage with my remarks that, by the way, actually, in my opinion, pointed out her lack of reportorial skills. HOW COULD I DO SUCH A THING! HOW DARE I DO SUCH A THING!

The picture of the beautiful welcome sign to Highland Park will become relevant as you continue. (If you do continue. I had a comment on one of my posts not too long ago that I ought to stop worrying about the parks; that I ought to just chill at the seal pond in Civic Center Park. Um, yup, now THAT would be chillin'. Denverites will know what I mean.)

Anyway, here's my letter:

Elisa Cohen’s, “Is the grass greener?” which appeared in the August 3rd edition of the Tribune recounts her “investigative” efforts to determine if Sloan’s Lake Park’s perceived grass/lawn/flower deficiencies are the result of some bureaucratic bias which favor—specifically, in Cohen’s piece—Washington Park. The conclusion? With the help of middle management Denver Parks' personnel, Cohen concluded that God is pretty much in His heaven and all is right and equal with the care of maintenance of Denver’s 5,500 acres of parks.

What bothers me most about Cohen’s piece is, I hope, obvious. To make the conclusions she made and to accept the relatively rosy rhetoric from the Parks folks by comparing two parks, Sloan’s and Washington, is akin to determining one can get a pretty good handle on Christianity by contrasting Catholicism to Methodism. (Spend a Good News Sunday over at New Hope Baptist and you’ll see what I mean.)

The problem with Denver’s parks is, of course, the infrastructure. The problem with the grass in Denver’s parks is pumps and pipes and sprinkler heads and crews to maintain them. This issue is endemic throughout Denver’s park system. Granted, a little less endemic in certain parts of town than others.

I was struck not long ago with the irony of an editorial in the Denver Post that heralded Denver’s Manager of Parks and Recreation, Kim Bailey, as a “diamond” of the Hickenlooper administration. Why? Well, according to the editorialist, Ms. Bailey has reactivated five of Denver’s water fountains (the one’s you sit and watch, not the ones from which you sip). The editorialist characterized this “accomplishment” as a rejuvenation of the City Beautiful movement…a legacy from Mayor Robert W. Speer’s administration.

The irony of the rejuvenation of fountains is that there is probably no more costly or maintenance intensive undertaking in any park, anywhere than that of a fountain. Fountains bleed resources. Yet, the grass doesn’t get watered, flowers don’t get planted, weeds infest with gleeful effusion, asphalt paths deteriorate, play areas fall into disrepair.

It would have been worthwhile if Ms. Cohen and the Parks folks had sauntered through Highland Park or Berkeley Park or Rocky Mountain Park, all of which are also in the Northwest Park District. It would have been interesting if Ms. Cohen had asked the Parks folks a few more cogent questions about what appears to be deliberate neglect of portions of each of the parks I’ve mentioned. (I’m not concerned about Sloan’s because, as Ms. Cohen reports, the Sloan’s neighbors are doing quite well in playing the role of squeaky wheel.) It would have been interesting if Ms. Cohen had asked the Parks folks if all that money spent on the rejuvenation of fountains might have been better spent, for example, on the replacement of the rocky, slumped, jagged, deteriorating path through Highland Park or, indeed, just the planting of one flowerbed.

Sloan’s Lake Park is a marvelous environment for people and critters. The pelicans alone, which grace the lake, are literally evidence of God’s good work. Unfortunately, the evidence of man’s neglect weighs heavy on other parks where the neighbor’s clout, the neighbor’s “…demands…” (as Ms. Cohen reports) are a wee less influential at City Hall.

Shamefully heartless, wasn't I.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Home is the sailor, home from the sea...

Actually, just home from the shore, the Jersey shore. Someone--my brother-in-law, I think--suggested that when one says they're going to the shore, it is universally understood (in the states, at least) that one is going to New Jersey, to the New Jersey shoreline where the Atlantic rumbles and spits, ebbs and floods; a robust gush of white-crested, moon-pulled saltwater that captures the essential fancy of even the most cynical.

The picture above, by the way, was taken about 7 a.m., about a half-hour to forty-five minutes after the sunrise turns from a basketball of orange fire to what you see in the picture. I pointed my camera directly at the sun--from the balcony of our bed and breakfast--and the affect of seeming sunset, the dark land, the coruscation of the sunlight on the sea is, at least, interesting.

Incidentally, as I titled this post, above, I googled the words just to take a look at the complete poem by A.E. Hausman and discovered--yes, I'll admit I didn't know it--that those words were first written (conceived) by Robert Louis Stevenson in his Requiem. Lest you think less of Hausman, he did acknowledge and credit Stevenson.

This is my third trip to the Jersey Shore, to Ocean Grove for the purpose of celebrating my nephew's birthday. He, Jack, became eight this year. Of all the pics I took of him and his sister, Kate, and their mom and dad and David, I'm fascinated with this pensive image of him as he and his mom and sister awaited the departure of ride at Point Pleasant Amusement Park which is about an hour south of Ocean Grove.
Yes, there are scads of pics with smiles. And, to be fair, here's another pic of Jack on the balcony of our bed and breakfast. He's a good boy, with a fine mind,
a wonderful sense of humor,
the ability to counter, tit for tat,
his Uncle George's quips and
comments, arguments and logic
or illogic, as it may be.

Much more to be said about the trip to the shore. But, as is my
habit, I'm going on here and probably losing your interest. So, I'll
end this post here and take up the adventure again in a future, or several future posts.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Back From the Shore - Back to the Routine

That's me in the orange pants! :-] I missed my treadmill!