Thursday, December 31, 2009

Remembering


Since last Saturday we have been inundated with retrospectives of the past year and past decade. We are being forced to remember things we wanted to forget. We are being forced to relive bad things and bad experiences. Each commentator and news outlet puts their own spin on what they believe is important and then a long diatribe about why it is important. It is actually all about a very long slow news week. And some wonder why the media is in trouble.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Naked


The way the discussion is going you will have to get naked to get on a plane. You will have four choices. Let the machine take your clothes off electronically, take off all of your clothes for a strip search, allow someone to physically touch you in ways that you might not want people to touch you or not fly at all. I listen to the news a lot and find it strange that most people do not care. They are willing to do whatever it takes including getting naked to prevent bombs being placed on planes. The people who are complaining are not the modest or the prudish. The people who are complaining are the people who think that there is some civil right connected to being searched before getting on a plane. I personally do not think the problem is any of the above. The problem is our intelligence community that continues to refuse to talk to each other. Maybe we should make them be naked until they start sharing information.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gliding


Someone has invented a new way to kill yourself. This is the story as reported by Channel 31 in Denver.

"SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. - Rescuers and volunteers braved harsh terrain and sub-zero conditions to rescue an injured speed glider on Quandary Peak Sunday.

Speed gliding, also known as speed flying or sky gliding, involves skiing with a small parachute that allows the person to go airborne for short periods of time.

Rescue workers says the victim and a friend had launched from the summit of Quandary, a 14,000 foot peak just south of Breckenridge, Colorado, around 2:00 p.m. with the intention of skiing down the East Ridge, making a turn, and then gliding down to the bottom.

The first man made it, but the second reportedly 'lost wind' and crashed near the top, injuring himself, Anna DeBattiste, spokeswoman for the Summit County Rescue Group, said."

The "Ski Glider" broke both of his legs and would have died but for several hikers on the peak when it happened. It took Search and Rescue eight hours to get him off the peak and to the waiting ambulance.

Cheers to Search and Rescue but a major Boo to these idiots.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Guilt


We are now
halfway
through the holidays.

Around
the middle
between
Christmas
and New Year's.

This is
the time
that everyone
feels bad
about
all the food
they ate
last week
and then start
to think
about
this year's
New Year's resolutions.

Most of us
know that
memberships
in Gyms
and
Recreational Centers
increase this week.

Guilt
is a
major motivator.

Most marketers
will say
that
sex sells
but I disagree.

Every mom
or wife
in this world
knows
that guilt
will motivate
both men
and women
to the greatest degree.

If you are
serious about
working out
then wait
until February.

That is
when all
of the
new January
members
will have
stopped
working out.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Different


I have known that I was different since I was a small child. I have always felt that I did not always fit in to the mold. I am not like the normal, average person. But at the same time I feel that I go out of my way to listen and consider the attitudes and opinions of others. Others that I might not agree with but at the same time that I appreciate hearing or reading their thoughts on any given topic. So, as I near the ripe old age of 68, I am constantly amazed at the large number of people who want to tell me that I am wrong. That I must change. That tell me I should dress differently. That I should cut my long hair. That I should be less liberal and more conservative. That I must read a certain book or I will die. That I must sell my car and buy something else. That I should not support certain causes. That I should drive faster down the highway. That I should eat more. That I should eat different foods. So when do I reach that magic point in my life where people will leave me alone and let me be what I want to be? I accept them the way they are so why can't they accept me?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Boxing


Today is Boxing Day in England, Canada and many of the member countries of the British Commonwealth. It is the day set aside to box gifts that were given and to box the things associated with the Christmas Holiday. Today in the upper Midwest of the United States they are celebrating Shoveling Day. It is the day set aside in the United States to shovel the huge amount of snow that has fallen in the past few days. I saw on the news tonight that the storm now covers more than a million square miles. In Colorado the weather folks are talking about the fact that the storm we had a couple of days ago is so large that it is actually spinning back into northeastern Colorado. Then of course the biggest problem is that the naysayers on global warming will once again use a storm as an example that it is not happening. Of course that is not true but we must be careful not to wake them as they are sleeping and dreaming of conspiracies. They might have a heart attack and die on Boxing Day.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas


Merry Christmas to you all. I guess that Festivus is over and Kwanzaa is near. Regardless, I want all of you to take the day off and spend some time with family and don't forget to overeat. Overeating is a gift that keeps on giving for days, weeks and months. Don't tell your small children this, but I live alone. I have two fireplaces. Two chimneys and Santa did not come. Of course it is still night here so maybe I am just speaking too soon. I want to personally thank all of you for all of the good things that you do for your families and our communities, for being a positive force in the face of a lot of negativism in this world. Namaste.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wildlife


For the past couple of days I have watched a solitary American Bald Eagle patrolling along the Blue River a couple hundred yards from my house. I have lived in Colorado for nearly 40 years and in the mountains for almost 36 years and in this house for 15 years and I have never seen an Eagle around here. I see them all the time in the Lower Blue River near the Colorado River in Grand County. In my many trips to Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction I see them on every trip. Eagles are like people. They want to live near the grocery store. The river and the plethora of fish is their grocery store. With all of the federal and state protections I would imagine that the numbers have increased dramatically. As the numbers increase the feeding habitat is extended further and further up smaller rivers such as the blue. I see Fox and Coyotes ever day out my window. This week I found deer tracks next to my house headed toward the river. I see Red Tailed Hawks sitting on the telephone pole near my road every day. And now an Eagle. Welcome.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fishing


I have always been obsessive compulsive. I never do things halfway. It is either all the way or no way.

When I first moved to Colorado, I immediately started skiing every day that I could get to the mountains. It was so bad that I eventually moved to where there were four ski areas so I could ski every day of the week if I wanted to and as many days in the year as possible.

I did the same thing with fly-fishing. I tried to go fly fishing every day that I was not skiing.

Get my point.

I would even fly fish in the dead of the winter.

I remember my good friend Gary Goldsberry and I fly fishing at Cheeseman reservoir south of Denver on a very cold, windy, snowy winter day. To get to the water we had to crawl over some very slippery rocks covered with ice. Then we would stand in the nearly frozen water with our hip waders on casting our flies hoping for a strike.

I have fished with bait and lures all my life and had some days where I did not take anything home. I do not remember one day fly-fishing where I was skunked.

I still remember the great fly shop in Denver run by Jim Poore. He also wrote a great book called, “Matching the Hatch” about cutting open the fish to see what they had been eating and then using a matching fly.

Worked for me.

Another great day was with my good friend Joe Erl Barton and Dick O’Brien up in Grand County on the Colorado. It was a “catch and release” stream so we were not able to keep any fish but I know that I had to have caught over 100 that day.

They say that if we could get all of the world leaders to sit down in the kitchen and have a meal together there would be world peace.

I would like to add getting them to fly fish in Colorado.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Health


I teach
Political Science,
American Government,
American History
and Sociology
along with
eight other subjects.

The recent
Senate action
on the Health Care bill
could be used
as a case study
in any or all
of the first four
classes that I teach.

Listening
to the Senators
they all want
to take credit
for the vote
and then
they complain
about the
negotiations
and the deals
that were struck
to insure passage.

Vermont,
Nebraska
and Montana
all got
special "gifts"
in the bill
for their votes.

My advice
to the complainers
is for them
to deal with it.

That is life
in congress.

It has
always been
that way
and it will
always be
that way.

The only
difference today
is the bright
spotlight
that the media
has placed
on this one issue.

Nothing
in this world
can take
that kind of scrutiny
without revealing
some defects
in the players
or in the process.

It has something
to do with
the greater good.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Solstice


Today marks the winter solstice. The first day of winter. If you are a pagan it is a holiday. If you are not then it is supposed to be the shortest day of the year. Some historians say the solstice is one of the reasons that the birth of Christ is celebrated around this time of year. There was already a holiday so the early Christians piggybacked on solstice. Others believe that Christ was actually born sometime in the middle of the summer around July. There is a historic record of the census taking by the Romans of the Jews that caused Joseph and Mary to end up in Joseph's native birthplace of Bethlehem near the beginning of the year around Christmas. We do know that the Christmas Tree was originally a pagan symbol from the area where Germany is today. Isn't history fun?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday


The Christmas Holiday
in a mountain ski resort
in Colorado
is not
just one day
long.

The Holiday
normally lasts
for at least
two weeks

and the Holiday has begun.

Yesterday
driving back from Denver
I encountered
double lane traffic

headed west into the mountains.

Cars and vans
laden with
mom, dad, the dog
and tons of stuff
stacked on top
just to spend
a few wonderful days
enjoying the mountains
and what little snow
there is here
in the high country.

When I look
at the faces
of our visitors
they, at times,
look like
they would rather
have stayed home
in front of the television
watching their
favorite football game
rather than
fighting the crowds
at the ski areas
and the
traffic on the roads.

Many
will have
spent thousands
of dollars
just to feel the pain.

Give me
a minute.

I think
I remember
what it means
when someone
pays for pain.

Starts with a M.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Shopping


There
should be
a law.

The press
is out of control.

Recently
the press was talking about
how Black Friday is
"The busiest shopping day of the year."

Today
I heard a reporter
talking about how
today, the last Saturday before Christmas
is, "The busiest shopping day of the year."

Yet I know
that some reporter
will say this coming Thursday,
Christmas Eve, is, "
The busiest shopping day of the year."

They do
the same
with DIA.

The crush
before Thanksgiving
is the, "Busiest day of the year"
at the airport
followed only by
before Christmas which is,
"The busiest day of the year"
at the airport again.

How can
we have
so many
"busiest days?"

It is not
a good thing
to confuse
old people.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas


Christmas
is a week
from today.

Hard to imagine
that another year
has gone
and here we are again.

I stopped
celebrating Christmas
several years ago.

I still believe
in the religious significance
of the holiday
but I can't bring myself
to get into
the commercial aspects
of the whole thing.

I also refuse
to participate in
or to watch sports.

How unamerican can I be?

Both Christmas
and sports
interfere with everyone's
normal lives
and are there only
to benefit children
regardless of their age.

I remember
growing up in Iowa
where the big part
of Christmas
was going to church.

Now that
was always nice.

The same thing
with sports.

The Friday night
high school
football games
were great.

Very enjoyable.

Nothing to do with
multi-million dollar contracts
and people
shooting each other
in bars during
and after the games.

I think
that we have
lost touch
with reality

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Money


After all it is only money. Or pretty soon it will be real money. While the Senate is arguing about paying for health care and people are dying, the United States has just agreed to help come up with $100 billion to offset the costs of programs to reduce global warming in developing countries. (ie: poor countries) Now not that I am opposed to stopping global warming. I am in favor of whatever we can do to stop the problem. But at the same time our failed health care system is an immediate problem right here at home. Would you take care of your family first or the family down the street? Enough said.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vacation


I get four weeks off in May between spring and summer semesters. I get one week off in August between summer and fall semesters. And right now I get five weeks off between fall and spring semesters. Five weeks off in the dead of winter. There is something wrong with this picture. Many people spend thousands of dollars to spend a week in Summit County this time of year and I can do it for free. But I no longer partake in winter sports. No skiing, no snow shoeing and no snowmobiling. My winter sport is looking out the window at the snow. I have some books to read but my house is about as clean as it can get. I need to work on my front deck and the trim of the house needs to be painted but those are both warm weather events and not winter projects. During my long May break I have travelled to Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador to go to school for one to three months. Not the same when Christmas and New Year's falls smack dab in the middle of this break. I guess I can wait. Oh well. The sun will be up soon and I can see if the snow has changed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trapped


A few days ago
a medical student
on vacation
visiting his family in Utah
was exploring a cave
and got stuck.

Apparently
the opening
he was going through
was very narrow.

To make things worse
he was head down
in the opening.

The rescue crews
worked very hard
to get him loose
and finally succeeded only
to have their rope break
throwing him even further
into the hole.

At that point
they could not
move him at all
and he died.

The family
and the local sheriff
decided to leave him
in the hole
and seal the cave forever.

For some reason
I can't get that
out of my mind.

I remember
a movie in the 1950s
called, "Ace in a Hole"
where a miner was stuck
in the same way.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043338/plotsummary

The rescue attempt
drew so much attention
and took so long
that a carnival set up
near the operations
so that they could
feed off the crowds.

I do not
have a fear
of being underground.

I worked on
the Johnson Bore
of the Eisenhower Tunnel
and the Strantia Springs Water Tunnel
at the Foothills Water Project
and neither bothered me.

Of course
they were 8-20 feet
in diameter
and not up
against my face or chest.

I think that
what strikes me
is more the fact
of being trapped.

Being trapped forever.

Being trapped
where there is l
imited space
and little or no light.

No hope.

Just death.

It is a fear
of being
buried alive.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Snow


I know that the ski areas and the chambers and the resort associations hate it when I say, "We have not had any snow this year," but now they can rest easy. Today, December 14, 2009, I shoveled snow for the very first time this season. I can see the ski area from my house so I would imagine that there is a collective sigh of relief up there. I remember a few years back in the 1970s when it did not snow at all. That was before snow making and the ski areas would open with just a skiff of snow on the runs and then close right after Christmas because what little snow there was skied off the hill. Then the following summer Dillon Reservoir would not fill and you could see the foundations of the old towns as your drove past on Highway 9. And then a couple of years later there was so much snow that we all thought there was too much snow. I remember driving from Frisco to Breckenridge in what appeared to be a tunnel of snow. The snow was not that deep but the plowed snow was pushed 10-12 feet up along the road. It was so bad that I never did get my driveway cleared and I had to be pulled into the street by some generous truck driver. Too much of anything is not good. Too much ice cream. Too much chocolate. Too much snow. Today was just the right amount.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Open


Recently I had a discussion about the importance of an open mind.
I really do not care if a person agrees or disagrees with me.
All I expect is that they listen and then I will do the same.
It always reminds me of the saying (Paraphrased),
"I don't agree with what you are saying but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
That is so right.
That is so true.
You must have an open mind about listening.
You have a right to close your mind about agreeing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Grass


No.
The other kind of grass.
The kind you mow.
The kind you don't need a prescription for.
The kind you can't smoke.
Well, you could smoke it but it would taste really bad.
I have grass.
My lawn is covered with grass.
My lawn is not covered with snow.
We virtually have not had any snow the year so far.
Denver has had snow.
Lots of snow.
You can't see their grass.
Their grass is covered with snow.
The NWS is forecasting snow for the high country today and tomorrow.
But they have forecast snow for the high country for the past three weekends and nothing happened.
I think that they need to form a contrarian position.
Announce that it will not snow then surely it will.
Well, at least we could try that because the other thing is not working.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dope


Rob Katz, the CEO of Vail Resorts, was quoted recently opposing the decriminalization of marijuana in Breckenridge. He allegedly said that it would be bad for the ski industry. Mr. Katz, if all of the skiers who smoke dope stopped skiing the ski industry would collapse. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wind


Back in Iowa
they used to say,
"It is not the heat.
It is the humidity."

I agree.

Here in the southwest
people will say
that it is not cold
because,
"It is a dry cold."

Poppycock.

Dry or wet
it is cold.

It is
very cold.

And then
you add
double digit
wind speeds
and it goes
right to the bone.

Wet or Dry.

Dry or Wet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Change


This morning's news
reported that
the surf in Hawaii
this morning
is the highest
ever recorded.

Surf's up.

At the same time
a very severe blizzard
continues
to blow
across the nation
from Utah to Ohio.

Another report
was about
the discovery
of more
thermal vents
in the bottom
of the ocean.

One that
they recently
looked at
was over
twenty stories high
and was spewing
thermal hot water
from far below
the bottom of the ocean.

Amazing.

Makes sense to me.

If we have
hot springs
blowing
out of the ground
all over Colorado
then why not
under the sea.

I wonder how
they factor that
into global warming?

I wonder if
the sceptics
will only say
that the reports
were intended
to reinforce
the discussions
on climate change
in Copenhagen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Facebook


Sorry
The link you are trying to visit has been reported as abusive by Facebook users.

Last night a reader sent me an e mail telling me that she could not get into my blog using my link on Facebook. I tried and then got the message above. Abusive? The only people I have abused have been religious zealots and conservative thinkers. No bad words. No personal attacks.

I think that we should file a class action lawsuit against Facebook for violating our First Amendment rights. I wonder if they know that freedom of speech and freedom of religion are both in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Censorship is a bad thing regardless of who does the censorship.

Monday, December 7, 2009

LINO


As I have said before.

If you don't
stand for something
you will fall for anything.

RINOS are
Republicans
in name only.

They call themselves
Republicans but they
agree with Democrats, Liberals and Environmentalists
much of the time.

DINOS are
Democrats
in name only.

They call themselves Democrats
but they agree with
Republicans, Conservatives and Industry
much of the time.

LINOS
are probably
the worst.

They call themselves
Liberals but they agree
with the Republicans,
the neo-cons,
the military,
the polluters
and the war hawks
and support
the build up
in Afghanistan.

It is not
in the best interest
of the country,
for the Democrats
or the Liberals
to support
the increase
in troop numbers in
Afghanistan.

It is
in the best interest
of the country,
for the Democrats
and the Liberals
to do what we said
all last year
and pull out
of Iraq
and Afghanistan
immediately.

We need to
come home
and rebuild
our destroyed economy.

Build schools
and hospitals
and a solid
health care system.

Not to go somewhere
half the way across the world
and kill people.

That is not
what we
stand for.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lesbian


This morning's news
on the BBC reported,
"Lesbian Rev. Mary Glasspool
of Baltimore
was elected assistant bishop
of the Diocese of Los Angeles
on Saturday.

She and Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire
are now the
world Anglican fellowship's
only openly gay bishops."

Jesus smiled.

I have been a Christian
since I was ten years old,
for over 57 years so far,
and I applaud this decision.

I graduated from
a Christian College
and a Christian University.

I tell my students
and others
that you can
boil down
being a Christian
to two things.

Love and forgiveness.

God is love
and he sent
his son Jesus
to earth
so that we can
be forgiven.

God decided
that we could never
meet his
high standards
without forgiveness
so that is why
Jesus came to earth.

God loves homosexuals,
lesbians, Muslims,
Buddhists, murderers, rapists
and even Al Qaeda terrorists.

God does not
approve of or condone
what some people
might be doing
but God
loves everyone.

That is
the premise
of being
a Christian.

All of this garbage
that churches keep preaching
is only designed
to create
a lot of guilt
and to keep
the church coffers full.

It has
nothing to do
with God.

It is all
about the business
of running a church.

The shortest verse
in the bible is,
"Jesus wept."

I think of that verse
each time I hear
some self avowed
Christian prophet
talk about
how we are all
going to hell.

I guess they missed the part
about Jesus coming
so we could avoid all of that.

Today
Jesus is smiling
a very big and wide smile.

I welcome
Bishop Glasspool
to her new office.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Man


Yesterday
as I watched
the President
of the United States
walk from the White House
to his helicopter
my heart was broken.

Instead of the confident,
self assured man
from a few weeks ago
he appeared
to be very tired
and obviously
thinking deeply
about
the issues of the day.

A weight
on his shoulder.

The pressures of office.

I have heard
comments
about how
his hair
is turning gray.

I have heard
comments
that some feel
he cares too much.

I have heard
comments
that he wants
to be all things
to all people.

Unemployment.
Banking.
Wall Street.
Nobel Peace Prize.
Copenhagen.
Altoona.
Afghanistan.
Pakistan.
India.
China.
Russia.

The list
goes on.

I hope
we never forget
that he is
just a man.

I hope
that
he never forgets
that he is
just a man.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Numbers


Someone once said that statistics never lie but liars use statistics.

You can trust the numbers but you should never trust the person who is giving you the numbers.

It really depends on who is paying the person and the message they want to convey.

How many of you believe that there is one Christian religion? There are many religions that consider themselves to be Christian but not all Christians ascribe to them. I had a student ask me this week if Catholics were part of a cult. Of course they are not but many believe they are.

This morning some radical Muslims blew up a mosque in Pakistan. Muslims killing Muslims. Suicide bombers with machine guns and hand grenades. They killed 40 people in the first report. Is there one Muslim religion? Of course not. Do all Muslims ascribe to blowing up mosques and killing fellow Muslims? Never.

The new unemployment numbers were released this morning. The unemployment rate is going down. Things are getting better.

But consider this.

Unemployment numbers are based on the number of people collecting benefits and not the number of people without jobs. If your benefits have run out and you still don't have a job you are no longer considered to be unemployed. Ain't life fun?

Be careful out there.

It is a slippery slope when it comes to religion and politics and unemployment numbers.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cold


It is 14 below at my house this morning. Clear skies which adds to the low temperature. Clouds actually holds the warm air close to the ground. We have a sink effect living next to Lake Dillon. Cold air goes down to the bottom of the valley. It is actually warmer the higher you go. Sometimes it is warmer at the Eisenhower Tunnel at 12,000 feet than it is at my house at 9600 feet.

So much for the weather and now to the news.

I try not to be an old man. I try not to be a curmudgeon. I try not to be negative. So I got up this morning trying to forget what President Obama is doing. I turned on NPR and I immediately got new ammunition. The advisers to the president are now saying that the real issue is the potential threat of weapons of mass destruction getting into the hands of terrorists. Sound familiar? I thought that was the reason we started the last war in Iraq when, in fact, there were no weapons of mass destruction. The president and others have touched on the issue recently. It has nothing to do with Afghanistan but rather with Pakistan. The problem is that Pakistan provides a safe harbor for Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden. Pakistan has at least eleven nuclear weapons. Some cannot imagine having a strong Al Qaeda presence running Afghanistan right next to the nuclear weapons. In the meantime Pakistan prohibits the United States from going into Pakistan to chase and remove the terrorists. Some good news is that finally Pakistan is going after the terrorists on their own.

Last night it took me almost an hour to explain all of this to my college Government class. How Pakistan was created by the British when they partitioned India in the late 1940s. It was a religious thing. Giving the Muslims a place to live. Today the largest population of Muslims is in Indonesia while the second largest population resides within the borders of India. Neither country is in the middle east. Neither country is Arab.

My students glazed over eventually not unlike the members of congress who do not understand all of this either.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Left


The news
this morning
was filled
with
right wing conservatives
applauding
President Obama
for announcing
the troop buildup
in Afghanistan.

They are pleased
that we are
going to continue
the unwinnable war.

I know
that Obama
is a big fan
of JFK.

JFK
made the same mistake
in Viet Nam
and that only cost us
50,000
American boys and girls
in a war
we could
never win.

Not that this
is always true
but recently
it was reported
that no member
of the House of Representatives
or the Senate
had any children
in the war.

No investment.

No loss.

It is OK
because
it is some other person's kid
that is going to die
to support a corrupt dictator
and a war that cannot be won.

To appease
the liberals
Obama gave them
a pull out date
in 2011.

What do you want to bet
that that it will be extended?

We have been
in Afghanistan
for eight years
so far
and the only thing
that has happened
is that things
are worse today
than eight years ago.

Again,
the definition of insanity
is to do things
the same way
over and over again
and expect a different result.

The result

will be the same.

We are insane.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

AIDS


Today is
world AIDS Day.

The leaders
in South Africa
have finally agreed
that something
needs to be done
by the government
to inform
the people
of the threat
of AIDS.

One problem in Africa
is that the men
must leave home
in order to work.

They are gone
for many weeks
at a time.

They have sex
with persons with AIDS
and then come home
to visit their families
and spread the disease.

I suppose
the good news
in the rest of the world
is that
with a very expensive
cocktail of drugs
AIDS is now under control.

That and a major effort
to encourage
the use
of condoms
has really helped.

The bad news is
that the cocktail
is very expensive
and not available
to people
without resources.

The people
who most
need help.