Saturday, October 31, 2009

Differences


An old friend told me
the main difference
between men and women
is that men
read the headlines
and
women read the details.

Men are results oriented
and women are process oriented.

Men want
to get to the bottom line
and women want
to know how
you get to the bottom line.

This simple principle
should be taught
to all first graders
in the world
and then
every year
after that.

It would probably result
in solving world peace
and reducing the divorce rate
to zero.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cold


Contrary to popular belief,
during the most recent
snow episode here in Colorado,
Breckenridge and Summit County
did not get any snow.

Grass is
still poking through
on my lawn near Breckenridge.

The local newspaper
still reports
"heavy snow continuing"
but I am not sure where that is
in the world.

I guess
it is
the power of
positive thinking.

Print that it is snowing
and it will snow.

The front range,
Denver and Boulder
did get a lot of snow
and Rollinsville
reported 33 inches.

Now that is
heavy snow.

I can report
that my high low thermometers
registered
-15 one day and -10
the next.

Cold is not
snow.

Cold is not
heavy snow.

Cold is cold.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

No One Wins


Now comes Harry Reid
to say now that he likes the public option
after opposing it all along.

Now comes
all of the Republicans in Congress
(Except Snow)
saying they will oppose.

Now comes
FDR
who just did it
and never asked permission
but turned history
around
to create
social security.

Now comes
Lyndon Johnson
who faced terrible odds
from Republicans and Democrats
and went ahead
and created Medicare anyway.

Now comes
Nancy Pelosi
who is not happy
with anything.

Now comes
the 90 % of the American Public
that wants to fix
a broken
health care system.

Now comes
the insurance companies
who are now spending millions
opposing any change
while, at the same time,
they are denying
medical care
to their insured.

Now comes
no one winning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Change


Last night
I joined with my students
to stare
without ceasing
out of the window
to watch the snow
fall under the street lights
in the parking lot.

A solemn ritual.

A rite of winter
to once again
discover
how
even with
our resistance
time and seasons
march on
as does life.

We were all
once again
four years old
and discovering snow
for the 67th time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Beard


When I first went into the New York City Police Department
the old timers would mention "a beard" in their conversations.

Coming from a small town in Iowa
I did not have a clue
as to what they were talking about.

I soon found out that "a Beard" was a cover.

Sometimes a disguise
and sometimes a person.

Probably the most contemporary definition would be
a gay man having a straight woman
available to go to events
to cover the fact that he is gay.

A beard.

Or a lesbian having a straight man available
to take her to parties
or out to dinner
to cover her sexuality.

A beard.

What brought this to mind
is that last night on one of my favorite shows,
"Castle," the lead character
referred to his 17 year old daughter
as his "candy beard."

It was not explained in the show
but I knew immediately what he meant.

He wanted his daughter
to go trick or treating with him
so he could get a lot of candy.

She resisted
as she had a school party to go to
and was not available.

He had no beard.

No beard.

No candy.

Amateur Night


When I was a police officer we used to call special drinking nights as "Amateur Night."
A night when people who do not normally drink will ten to over imbibe and do stupid things.
These nights are New Years Eve, Super Bowl Sunday, and any lame excuse to party and drink too much.

The same is true with drivers on the highways during and after the first measurable snowfall.

Yesterday coming back from the metro area it was Amateur Night on Interstate 70 westbound.
Lots of white knuckles as people would move over the left lane (formerly the fast lane) and then reduce their speed to twenty miles an hour in a 65 mile per hour zone.

I could see their faces as I would pass them at 65 miles per hour in the right lane (formerly the slow lane).
Faces lit up from the glow the the dash lights. Faces with teeth tightly clenched.
Faces showing sheer terror.
Arms shoved forward in a straight arm position.

As if their expressions could remove the snow.
That would have been nice because in the 81 mile drive home to Breckenridge I did not see one snow plow nor did I see one Colorado State Patrol trooper.
Reassuring.
A warm glow of safety.
CDOT takes a holiday.
Must have been Amateur Night for plow drivers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Iraq


This morning
the news
was reporting
that two bombs
exploded
in the middle of Baghdad.

CNN reported,
"At least 74 people
were killed
and 265 wounded
in a double bombing
in central Baghdad
on Sunday morning,
officials said."

I am
so very glad
that we were able
to help
by sacrificing
over 4000
of our boys and girls
and to quote
President George W. Bush,
"Mission Accomplished."

On to Afghanistan.

When will this madness end?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Heated Discussion


A couple of Northwest Airlines (Delta) pilots had what they referred to as a "heated discussion" on a flight from San Diego to Minneapolis-St. Paul and managed to fly 150 miles past the airport and eat up another one hour of flight time.

Apparently the Denver Center (which is really in Longmont) tried calling them by radio for over an hour without any response.

Was it a lover's quarrel?

Was it a lover's tryst at 30,000 miles up?

Was it the "Six Mile Club" for pilots?

If it was an argument was it about the differences of Fox News vs. CNN or MSNBC?

Could it have been over the different proposals on health care?

Funding for Abortions?

A woman's right to choose?

Which is a better truck Ford's or Chevy's?

Or maybe they were checking the inside of their eyeballs?

Maybe they were doing some high altitude meditation?

I am sure that we will never know.

The only thing that I am sure of is that they both should be fired before they kill themselves and a flight full of people.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Time


Time in-between time.
Quiet time.

Time to shop
without waiting in lines.

Time to take
a long drive alone
on an empty highway.

Time to park
along the road
and just stare
at a mountain
I have never seen before.

Time to be alone
with my own thoughts.

Time to think
about the past.

Time to think
about the future.

Time
to take time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday is Friday


I teach
four subjects
in five classes
from Tuesday
at 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm
and Thursday at 1:00 pm
to 7:00 pm
with a Wednesday night
thrown in the middle.

A three day week.

A very full
but short
three day week.

My Monday
is Tuesday
and my Thursday
is Friday
and every week
has a four day weekend.

There will be a test.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do The Right Thing


It is always
a moral dilemma
between doing what is right
and then doing the right thing.

Workers and functionaries
are always expected
to do things right.

Put things
in the right places.

Follow
the policy.

Follow
the rules.

While true leaders
are always moving
toward doing the right thing.

Not looking
to precedent
but looking
to have the greatest
positive impact
on the greatest
number of people.

On the whole group
and not
just the special interests.

What a miracle of nature
when this all
comes together
and actually happens.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Balloon Boy


I think that Wikipedia
should add "Balloon Boy"
to the definition of
"Slow News Day."

The media
has dredged
new depths
for news.

No wonder
they are in trouble.

I get news feeds
from Europe
and the Middle East
and they all led
with that one story.

The problem
is endemic.

If you can't find
anything to write
then you should not write
anything at all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pelicans


I had watched
the many
large white birds
sitting
in the warm water
at the outlet
of the
Breckenridge sewer plant
for many days
believing
that they were
snowy geese
or swan.

So very idyllic in the water
reflecting the blue sky
and white snow covered peaks.

And then
a few days ago
the local newspaper
put their photo
on the front page
with a caption
about
the Pelicans on the lake.

I can't even spell ornithology.

Maybe I need to buy a bird book

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheetos and the Universe


I walked
to the convenience store
at Farmer's Korner last night
around 9:30
because
I had this urge
for some Cheetos.

It is
a major addiction
for me.

The store
is exactly 1/2 mile
from my couch.

In the dark.

No moon.

No street lights.

The good news is
that I could see
every star
in the sky.

It was
almost as if
someone
had drawn
the pin points
of light
just for me.

A reminder
that I am
part of something
that is
much larger
than
all of the stuff
that concerns me
here on the ground.

A young girl
was throwing up
on the ground
in the parking lot
while her boyfriend
was hitting
on the clerk inside.

I am sure
that neither
noticed the stars.

At the end of transaction
the clerk asked me
if I wanted
to donate to a boy
who had died
of Swine Flu
recently.

I said no
and silently wondered
what a dead boy
would do
with my money.

It is
too late
for him.

On the way home
I decided to take a shortcut
and in the dark
I found the culvert
going into
a retention pond.

I know now
that I can
stretch my legs
far enough
to cross
the culvert
in the dark.

Near death
all for a lousy bag of Cheetos.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Borders


There are only four states separating Canada from Mexico in my part of the country. Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Borders.

Hundreds of miles but just a few borders.

This morning the violence continues in Juarez named one of the three most violent places in the western hemisphere.

The other two are Laredo and Tijuana.

Juarez is only a few hours from where I live.

Borders.

This morning the violence continues in Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.

Borders.

Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan are tribal regions.

There is very little common to the areas.

In Iran and Iraq the only time there has been peace is with a dictator or king (Shah).

All four countries were created by the pen of a British bureaucrat when the British could no longer control the tribal leaders and to appease the Indians who wanted to Islamic citizens to leave India.

Borders.

No borders.

Some feel the leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan is illegitimate because their elections were fraudulent.

It was announced yesterday that now the elected leader in Afghanistan will now have to have a runoff election because his total is now less than 50%.

This was a result of pressure from the United States to correct the fraud in the recent election.

This is the same guy we are dying for in Afghanistan and who we have given billions of dollars to in recent years.

This is the same guy who refuses to leave the safety of the capitol because the other areas are not under control or actually under the control of the Taliban.

Borders.

There was no threat in Iraq but the United States remains in the area after nearly twenty years if you count from Desert Storm following the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Huissan.

We have now been in Afghanistan for eight years with little or no progress.

The Russians remained for eight years and then left after the effort almost bankrupted their government with no progress.

Osama Ben Laden worked for the United States in those days.

Now the Saudi Arabian government is funding Al qaeda and the Taliban against the United States.

Pakistan has the Atomic Bomb because India has the bomb and India has the bomb because China has the bomb.

Now Al qaeda and the Taliban is fighting the Pakistani government in Pakistan and Pakistan continues to refuse to let the United States have any military in their country.

Keep in mind that the candidate for leadership in Pakistan was assassinated by the previous government to prevent her from running for election.

Borders.

Now the threat of Al qaeda getting the bomb is a real threat.

So how are we going to protect the bomb when Pakistan refuses to allow us into the country?

Borders.

Maybe it is time for a do over. Let's ask the British to get out their pen again and make a new map.

Borders.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Insanity


In 1998. eleven years ago, at a public forum in the Summit County Commissioner race held at the old Summit County Library I told the assembled masses that soon books would no longer be used.

One of the other candidates was astounded that I said such a thing.

To her nothing would replace curling up in bed with a good book.

Nothing would ever replace the smell of the paper and ink.

It was as if I had announced the death of her lover.

Newspapers are now closing every day.

The remaining newspapers are so thin you could read a newspaper through the newspaper.

Amazon has many of their books available on data that can be put into their two models of the Kindle, an electronic book.

Google has announced that they will soon publish for download over 500,000 books.

They are wrapping up their legal settlement with publishers and authors to ensure payment to them.

Yesterday, Tina Brown, the publisher of "The Beast" on-line announced new publications on the Internet.

It has nothing to do with the declining economy.

She claims that it is about the arrogance of publishers and journalists.

It has to do with their elite attitude about their profession and their fear to look toward new and better ways to publish authors.

It has everything to do with attitude.

If you look to the future you will be successful.

If you keep trying to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result you meet the requirements of insanity.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

To Vomit


Last night
Jacklyn announced
to me
and the rest of the American Government class
that she was not feeling well
and she may have to beat a hasty exit
from the room
if her illness
became projectory.

I suggested
that she use the lap
of the young man
next to her just
in case
and of course
she laughed
and he looked shocked.

The class
is three hours long
with a break mid-time.

No more cigarettes
as they are now banned
even in the open areas
in the parking lot
and within
a quick walking distance.

Time to go to the bathroom
or to get a soft drink
and then have
to go to the bathroom again
the immediate
result of the soft drink.

Jacklyn was participating
and laughing as usual
and enjoying
her honored position
of being
the only woman
in the class.

One male student
quipped recently
that CMC
does not stand
for Colorado Mountain College
but Colorado Men's College.

Mid sentence
during the lecture
after the break
I looked up and Jacklyn was gone.

Off to recover and to project.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No Winter Olympics For Me


It looks like Seattle
out of my window
on the world
this morning.

Can hardly see
the water in the lake
for all the water
in the air.

Water.

Not Snow.

It only snows
in Denver
this year.

They are talking
about trying for
a Denver Olympics again
forgetting that
the voters turned it down
in 1976.

By my calculations
most of those folks
are still alive
and would still vote against it.

"Too many
damn people
here already.

Why invite more?"

They said,
voting with their ballot
and not their feet.

The old threat,
"If that happens
I will move to Australia."
did not apply
that time.

I think
that I will
open an
umbrella stand
if this rain
keeps up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Triskaidekaphobia


Triskaidekaphobia
is a fear or a phobia
concerning
the number 13.

As Pogo would say,
"Friday the thirteenth
came on Tuesday this month."

I like to think
that it is
an irrational fear.

I remember
that many office buildings
in New York
would not have
a thirteenth floor.

I always wondered
if the owners
had paid
for the non-existent floor.

My friend Sarah
works on the thirteenth floor
of an office building
in downtown Denver.

I told her
the story about
the thirteenth floor omission
in New York
and she
had never heard
of such a thing.

Maybe that myth
did not make it
this far west.

In these days of Glen Beck,
Bill O'Reilly
and Ann Coulter
it is a wonder
that all myths
have not
made it
this far west.

The truly sad thing is
that people
still believe
that the number 13
is unlucky
and that
Fox News
tells the truth and is
fair and balanced.

We are going backwards
rather than forward.

Monday, October 12, 2009

America


Today is Columbus Day. It was meant to honor the person who allegedly discovered America. Sounds like a great idea but the whole appearance of the thing has changed in recent years. The true purpose of the Spanish exploration was in response to the proliferation of people of the Jewish faith in Spain. It was to find a place to put them. The result was the removal of thousands of Indigenous people from their native lands and then the importation of thousands of Africans as slaves into the Americas. If we could do it all over again would we?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Frozen Out


Twenty eight degrees was too cold to have a baseball game.
The league postponed the Rockies playoff game for a day to warm up.

My good friend Bill had season tickets a few years ago.
He generously took Tom and I to the early spring games.
Nice of him. Bill is a good guy.

His generosity warmed my heart but not my feet and toes
as the wind whipped around third base up to where we were sitting.

I guess that is why you need a passion for the game
to warm you up as the boys of summer
are playing in the arctic cold of spring in Denver.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Memories


Heard from my old friend Ken Rominger yesterday.
I found him on Facebook.

He and I worked together for a couple of years at RAF Alconbury in England in the early 1960s.
He and I are both in our late 60s but then we were in our early 20s.
He now lives in North Carolina and is retired from the Air Force and from the Postal Service.

All of that brought back a flood of memories.

The very long days, months and years when it did not stop raining.
A visit to a hog farm so that the two of us, both from rural areas of Iowa, could show how the American Military could relate to farmers in England.
Pig farms all smell the same even in prim and proper England.

Ken reminded me that I had been the best man at his wedding.
He married a girl from Scotland who was living in Leicester.
Her name was Hazel and she had bright red hair and a very strong Scottish accent.
Hazel was his first wife and she and he have split as well as my first wife Peg and I have split.

Lots of time and memories between then and now.
Always good to reconnect.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama


I woke up this morning to NPR announcing that Barack Obama had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. What great news. Then I spent a couple of hours listening to liberals and conservatives talking about how he did not really deserve the honor. What a terrible thing for people to do. They did not make the decision. It is a world-wide honor and not something for people to attack. The liberals do not think that he is liberal enough and the conservatives think that he is too liberal. I think they should all go home and rethink their positions.

News that is just as good is that the hate crimes bill was attached to the defense spending bill and now it will pass finally after many years. It is the Matthew Shepard bill that makes it a crime to attack someone based on their sexual orientation. Again the conservatives are complaining but they must wage war so they don't have a choice.

Congratulations to President Obama and to all of the gay and lesbian people of America.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Reingold Beer


Global Post reported this today. "Need to know: The global Muslim population stands at 1.57 billion, meaning that nearly 1 in 4 people practice Islam. A new report, three years in the making, presents a portrait of the Muslim world that might surprise some. For instance, Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon, China has more Muslims than Syria, Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined, and Ethiopia has nearly as many Muslims as Afghanistan."

By the way, the number one religion in the world remains Christianity.

This reminded me of the Reingold Beer ads in New York City in the 1960s. They would say that there were more Irish in New York City than in all of Ireland. There were more Jews in New York City than in all of Israel. Their point was that, at the time, Reingold Beer was the number one selling beer in New York so by reference it would be true that it was the number one beer of each of the many ethnic and religious groups in the city. I have no idea if that was true.

That was nearly 40 years ago and the point is that we live in a global society. It is just plain dumb for the United States or any country to be geocentric. Thomas Friedman was right when he titled his best selling book, "The World is Flat." You may not like it but I would ask that you make a very strong effort to deal with it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Things That Go Bump In The Night


A discussion ensued last night about whether or not September 11, 2001 ever happened.
If the planes actually flew into the buildings?
If there was even a plane at the Pentagon?
If the buildings were designed to fall?
If the terrorists could have come out their caves and learned to fly large commercial jets well enough to get to their targets?
And the beat goes on with the conspiracy theorists.

Did Roosevelt know about Pearl Harbor beforehand but did nothing in order to drag the US into World War II to end the depression?
Could one person, Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone could have actually shot Kennedy from the book depository in Dallas?
And the beat goes on with the conspiracy theorists.

What really happened in Roswell?
What was the true mission of Area 51?
I can only imagine that if any of this were true it would have come out by now.
Paranoia is a type of mental illness.
But then again I am paranoid about the conspiracy theorists.
And the beat goes on with the conspiracy theorists.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Weather Is Fickle


It snowed all day yesterday
but the temperature was above freezing
so it melted when it hit the ground.

This morning
there was
about 1/2 inch
on my three decks
and driveway.

Loveland Basin
and Arapahoe Basin
have both
been making s
now
for over a week now.

The Denver channels
give regular reports
on their progress
as there is a contest
every year
to see
which area
opens first.

I am not sure
that I am ready
for all of this.

Those short,
sunny,
warm
reprieves
in the weather
are always nice.

Much like a love affair
when you break up
and it is terrible
and then get back together
and all is wonderful again.

The weather
is as fickle
as love
sometimes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mustard


My neighbors
across the street
painted their house
over the summer.

It is the exact color of
Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard.

It even matches
the bottle
which has
a dull red cap.

They have a dull red metal roof
and a dull red trim
around their doors and windows.

Each morning
I gaze out of my window
behind my desk
at their
house
and have
an irresistible urge
for a hot dog.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Politically Correct


I spend a lot of time in my classes explaining what is and is not politically correct. We study religion, culture, gender, race, ethnic groups, sex and sexual orientation. Just about every subject that can be attacked or vilified. When my students talk I can hear their parents, their friends and relatives.

I find it so very interesting how much of the offensive language is truly generational. When we discuss where the word originated normally the student will refer to their dad or their brother as the greatest offenders. It has to change or end if we are to move forward.

Today we know that all races are descendants of Africa. We all came from the same place. I read yesterday that they found a skeleton of a woman in Ethiopia that is over 4.4 million years old. It is our oldest ancestor.

As you move through life consider that everyone you meet is related to you.

Knowing that, ask them for a loan and see how far that gets you.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cliches


I am often reminded of the saying that, "Youth is wasted on the young." Just about the time you get everything figured out it is at the end of your life. I love my students and their vibrant energy. They are so very intelligent and well motivated. I enjoy the fact that when I am tired at the end of three hours of teaching the students are all energized and want to stay after class to talk to me about what they have experienced in life. If there was only some legal way to bottle all of that energy and excitement and hand it out to more mature men and women. I guess the term, "Different strokes for different folks" comes into play. What, "turns my crank" is probably not what turns yours. So we all have to, "Keep on keeping on" in our own special way.

Friday, October 2, 2009

On A Cold Morning


My neighbor left very early this morning
towing his drift boat behind his pickup.

I am sure
that he is not going fishing
but equally sure
that he will be hunting for ducks or geese.

He has a much greater resolve than I.

I have spent many years
walking the cold, bare farm ground
hunting pheasants and sometimes dove
but only once did I ever venture out to hunt waterfowl.

Sitting in a blind
at the edge of a lake or a river
is much too daunting to me
just for the very fleeting opportunity
to shoot birds
as they fly in and out of the water.

Bone chilling cold
as the increased humidity level
permeates everything
within a hundred yards of the water.

Hunting on the water flyways
can be equated
to sitting in a ice fishing hut
on a lake
in the middle of the winter.

The cold air
causes a permanent loss
of the brain's reasoning power.

A reasonable person
would remain by the fire
reading a good book.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Fell


One minute
it is September
and the next
it is October.

One minute
it is fall
and the next minute
it is winter.

Beautiful yellow aspen turning on the hills
surrounded by the bitter brown of beetle kill.

This morning
we add
a coat
of white
for contrast.

By this afternoon
I might be wearing
shorts, t shirt
and my $2.50
Wal Mart flip flops.

My John Kerry shoes.

So sad
that he will be remembered
for such a thing.