Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chaos



Posted by PicasaI keep telling myself that I am going to stop watching the news. Then the earthquake yesterday happened and I remember all my good friends who live in Ecuador and Argentina and that suckers me into the news once again. After nearly a day of watching just about everything I, once again, realized that our country is in chaos. The conservative, white, republicans are so very angry that a liberal, black, democrat was elected president that they are willing to destroy our great country just to avoid doing anything that might further things for the good of man. In the meantime the liberal, democrats keep moving more toward the center to appease the republicans. (By the way, I did not capitalize those words on purpose because it might lend some credence to the whole mess.) I have always said that the pendulum keeps swinging regardless but now some have figured out a way to stop it in it's tracks. The topping on the cake was Obama reauthorizing the patriot act yesterday. I watched a tribute to Howard Zinn on CSPAN yesterday. I know that he is spinning in his grave along with Paul Wellstone. Why don't they get it?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Earthquake



This is a map of recent earthquake activity for the entire world.   The red circles are bad ones.  The very red and larger ones are terrible disasters.  Notice how they follow the fault lines and take a hard look at western United States and the entire pacific rim.  I think we are going to have a very bad one in the near future.  Time to buy beachfront property in Colorado

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ice


My driveway


is chock full of snow

for the first time

this year.

Of course my friends,

relatives

and construction workers

spent the week

driving over the snow

packing it down

into a massive

antarctic thick

chunk of ice.

I suppose

it is protecting

the concrete

with concrete like

snow and ice.

In that

I am

still on

spring break

and

after all

am retired

I guess

that I

have plenty of time

to have

at the mass

and maybe

remove it by May.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vote


Politics is much like playing chess. Much of it is about strategy. Today many of my news feeds refer to the "51" vote strategy. Simply put, the Democrats know that they no longer have a filibuster proof majority and without that any vote can be stalled in the Senate. But with the "51" vote strategy they can get all of the Republicans to vote publicly against health care which is, in essence, a vote against providing good, affordable health care to the people. It will not move forward but in this election year it will be gold as everyone in the House and 1/3 of the Senate has to run for election this fall. The campaign slogans are being readied as we speak. They will say that Republican so and so is not in favor of good health care but is in favor of supporting the big insurance companies and doctors who pay themselves too much. This vote might just secure the next election for the Democrats the same way George W. secured it for the Democrats in 2008. Something about a silver lining.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Miles


Another day, another 748 miles. I just put new tires on the Honda and at this rate I will need to replace them in a month or two. School ends on April 29 and I am back for a wedding on May 1. I wonder if it will snow in Phoenix in May? I hope not. I am sure the opposite will be true and instead of not wanting snow I will be praying for snow. Such a low satisfaction level. I am a true American. Never happy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wrong


Just because someone disagrees with you does not automatically make them wrong. It simply means that they have a difference of opinion. I am sure that people who disagree do not necessarily want to be disagreeable. They enjoy the same First Amendment rights of free speech the same way I do. At this particular time in our history it has become popular to disagree just to disagree. To always say no to anything that does not agree with how you feel. To bring government and life as we know it to a halt just to bring it to a halt. That, my friend, will come back to bite you in the butt.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Buddhism



I drove 748 miles yesterday and spent the entire time sightseeing and listening to NPR on satellite radio. If I had been at home I would have not driven 748 miles but still would have spent the day listening to satellite radio. Actually that is not true. On weekends I watch Book TV on CSPAN II. With the Tiger Woods situation a new light is being focused on Buddhism. Yesterday on NPR they interviewed a professor of religion from New York who teaches Buddhism at his college. His comments were much the same as I have heard before. Buddha was not God. Buddha was a teacher. He taught peace and self control. He taught us to control our emotions and then to do good in life. (Very simply put.) In Tiger Woods life it could cause him to stop trying to satisfy his lusts and work toward loving his wife and children. For the sake of his wife and children let's hope so. I smile as I repeat what I have heard a few times in the past week. All golfers are unfaithful. All golfers mess around. All golfers cheat. All golfers are womanizers. How is that for generalization? Just remember that I did not say all of this. I am only repeating what the pundits are saying in the news. I am just glad that I never play golf. I think that what deters me the most is the saying that "all golfers have small balls."Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Comments



Posted by PicasaFor the past three days I have been struggling with a problem with someone who has decided, all on his own, to announce how I feel about some legislation when, in fact, I was not personally aware of the legislation nor had even read the bill to form an opinion. I guess it is flattering to think that someone would think so much of my opinion that they would make up what they think my opinion might be. I could care less about the bill. I could care a lot about someone not telling the truth about what I never said or even considered. I know that there are people in side shows and carnivals who make money reading minds. I am sure they are accurate as often as my mind reader is in this case.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Different


You will never be remembered if you are just like everyone else.

You will be remembered for being different.

By stepping out and being a change agent.

This is from Writer's Almanac this morning about my fellow Coloradoan.

It was on this day in 2005 that the "gonzo" journalist Hunter S. Thompson died.

He shot and killed himself at his home in Woody Creek, Colorado.

He was 67 years old.

He honed his offbeat, edgy writing style in such works as Hell's Angels (1966) and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972) and many other books.

He wrote, "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone ... but they've always worked for me."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Assassination


An assassination is the targeted killing of a public figure. Assassinations may be prompted by religious, ideological, political, or military reasons. Additionally, assassins may be motivated by financial gain, revenge, or personal public recognition. Assassination may also refer to the government-sanctioned killing of opponents or to targeted attacks on high-profile enemy combatants. A high ranking official in Hamas was assassinated in Dubai recently. Everyone is pointing the finger at Israel. Some think that it might have been done by others, a faction opposed to Hamas in Gaza. Some things do not make any sense. The assassins used the names and forged passports of real people from England. Very sloppy. The assassins were photographed many times in the hotel and other places and the police have clear closeup photos of the suspect. Not very professional. The victim was smothered with a pillow in his hotel room. That does not make sense if it was a professional hit. This morning people are asking if the most highly trained and proficient intelligence group in the world, Israel, would have ever made all these mistakes. Either Israel made these mistakes on purpose to make people think that it was another group or the world economic crises has caused Israel to hire some real idiots in order to reduce costs.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cold


The humidity


inside my house

remains at

about 10%

year round

regardless

of snow

or rain

outside.



It will

go up

a bit

in the morning

after my shower

but for the most part

it stays the same.



But even without

the humidity

going up

it seems

that the cold

recently

has been

much colder

than normal.



Not just

the temperature

but the fact

that it is now

bone chilling.



Goes right

to the core.



I turn up the heat

and it does not

make a difference.



I can

put on

a few layers

of clothing

and I am still cold.



I feel great.

I am

eating and working out

normally.



Nothing

in my life

has changed

other than

the fact

that I am

cold all the time.



I have

a huge hot tub

in my living room

and maybe

it is time

to crank it up

and dump

copious amounts

of moisture

into the air.



Maybe

sitting in

105 degree water

will help.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Laws



Posted by PicasaA few years ago the people of the state of Colorado voted in favor of an amendment to the state constitution legalizing medical marijuana. The people have spoken.




Last year the people of the Town of Breckenridge voted to decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. The people have spoken.



We live under three different sets of laws concerning marijuana. The federal law, the state law and local law.



A few days ago the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration raided a marijuana grower in Highlands Ranch near Denver and charged him with violating federal law. This even after the President issued orders for DEA not to enforce federal marijuana laws in places where the people have approved medical marijuana. The people have spoken.



I was a government employee and elected official for most of the time from 1960 to 2007. Much of that time I was a law enforcement administrator. I have never seen such an abuse of power.



Some of my friends who are mayors, town council members, county commissioners, police chiefs and sheriffs believe that they can cherry pick laws. They can look at all of the laws and see which one they like and which one they don't like. Then they decide what they are going to do. They forget that the people have spoken.



First and foremost local elected officials, police chiefs and sheriffs work for the people. They are not federal law enforcement officials. They are not state law enforcement officials. They are local officials sworn to enforce local laws first and not just the laws that they agree with.



Even after local laws were changed some still say that they will enforce other state and federal laws first. They say that until all laws change they will not comply with the will of the people. They use stalling techniques such as moratoriums and use federal law to rationalize they believe that the people are all crazy and they did not know what they were doing when they changed the law.



You dance with them who brought you.



They work for the local citizens and were put in office or paid by the local voters who have always supported marijuana reform laws. They need to stop picking and choosing the things that they personally like and start working for the people. When you become an elected official or a government employee you should set your personal opinions aside and do the will of the people whether you agree or not. If not you need to resign and go to work somewhere else.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Avalanche


This morning they reported that over forty people have been trapped in avalanches in Colorado this year even with the lack of snow in some places. Fortunately most have lived to ski another day. Over the weekend two people were caught in an avalanche on Loveland Pass and fortunately were rescued. One of the rescuers was a member of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center who was driving over the pass and just happened to be in the right place at the right time. After spending a lot of my life digging out and removing dead bodies from avalanche chutes I still do not understand why back country skiers take the risk. Most of the deaths are people who are very experienced skiers who should know better. They woke up that morning hearing the warnings on the local radio and TV stations about what to avoid to stay out of trouble. Then they go right to the place where avalanches are most likely. This past weekend there was a death where skiers were skiing below other skiers and were trapped when the snow above them broke loose and slid down on them. It is almost as if they are tempting fate knowing that there was a high probability that the snow would give way and kill them. As Mark Twain once said. "If common sense were so common there would be more of it." Stupid is as stupid does.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Iran


This morning's news reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Iran is moving toward becoming a military dictatorship. Nice that she said it openly when most people have felt that way for a long time. The current government is more repressive than many during the cold war. It is all about control. Control information and you can control the minds of the people. Suppress free speech and eliminate dissidents. As I think about this it might have a positive reaction. The people in Iran listen to news from the western world and once they start thinking about the perception of others of their government they might do something to stop the effort. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad feels that he has everything under control but I think he is mistaken. People can only be pushed so far before they push back.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Confused


I have been reading everything I can find on the shootings recently at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. This morning I read that the Harvard educated shooter/professor had also shot and killed her brother several years ago in Massachusetts. The shooting was ruled "accidental" and the DA and the Police Chief at the time allegedly ordered her released. As a retired police officer with more than thirty years experience something smells bad about that whole thing. First of all no one can find the investigation reports from that shooting. Second, the brother was shot three times. If someone is shot three times it is not an "accident." The police chief is retired and the DA at the time is now a congressman. I can see a TV docudrama in the future.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hate


Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. In case you did not get my card (that darn Post Office) here is my Valentine's Card for you and the rest of the world. As we are spending so much time this weekend talking about love and caring for one another, I want to talk about another four letter word. Hate. Hate is a bad thing. Hate is negative energy. We should never hate anything. We should do our very best to love and forgive. I am not saying that it is not appropriate to dislike something. I dislike coconut. You might even say that I hate coconut. It is tasteless and it only gets stuck in your teeth. I really dislike people who do not tell the truth. Like Fox News and what's her name the former vice presidential candidate from Alaska. But I don't hate them. Fox News is a joke and very funny so that is a good thing. The former vice presidential candidate from Alaska is also one of the funniest people I have ever seen. I start to laugh even before she opens her mouth. But I don't hate her. She is entertainment. In fact she is the brightest thing in the Republican party. You remember the Republican Party. A bunch to doddering old men who sit around talking about World War II and how that was the best time of their lives. But I don't hate them. In fact if I had not run out of Valentine's Cards I would send one to them and tell them that I don't hate them. In fact I love them. I just don't agree with them.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Heart


Bill Clinton had a procedure on his heart yesterday after complaining of chest discomfort for a couple of days. He had bypass surgery a few years ago and they announced that the procedure yesterday was a logical and normal event after heart surgery. We all remember when he was president that he would go jogging with the secret service and eventually end up in McDonalds eating a double cheeseburger. That kind of behavior will catch up to you at some point and possibly kill you. Bill Clinton has said in the past that heart problems run in his family. Not that I am talking about Bill Clinton but the biggest health problem facing all of us today is obesity. More than half of our adult population is considered obese according to the widely accepted "BMI" or body mass index. People are not naturally obese. You become obese from your eating behaviors. The old myth of being "big boned" just is not true. A couple of my friends have had bypass surgery and it worked for about a year with a dramatic weight loss but then they gained it all back because their behavior did not change. It is really up to you and I. We choose to be normal and healthy or we choose to be overweight and unhealthy. It is not easy to lose weight. Short of quitting smoking I think it is the hardest thing to accomplish. I smoked and quit after thirty years in 1986. I have weighed as much as 250 pounds in 1968 and today I weigh 198. My blood pressure is under control. My cholesterol is now low. My resting pulse rate is in the 50s. Both of my parents died from strokes. I feel great. I wish good health for all of you and especially Bill Clinton.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Independent


 

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I heard a report yesterday about how the Independents are now moving toward the Republicans the way the Independents moved toward the Democrats in the last election. It is just a few points but the issue is the direction that the Independents are moving. Some of that is to be expected but some of it is not. When polled the Independents said that there were several reasons for the move. The continued double digit unemployment even though it dropped to a single digit, 9%, last month. Another reason was the banks and the stimulus money that they feel has abused by giving huge bonuses. The last reason is that the huge amount of stimulus money has not put a dent in the economy. The market dropped below 10,000 this week for a while. It was up again yesterday. I think the real problem is that Americans expect a Magic Bullet. Something that will have an immediate impact on recovery. People want something that will make them lose weight immediately. They want something that will cause them to quit smoking overnight. It is about the lack of patience on the part of the people. Americans have never been able to wait. They all want instant gratification. It ain't happening baby. Not in my lifetime. It is the dark side of human nature. If the Independents do move to the right and elect Republicans they will soon find out that the Republicans do not have a magic bullet either.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Weird


 

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One of my most favorite places in the world is Austin, Texas. SXSW is happening and probably one of the most eclectic events on the planet. There is a motto down there, "Keep Austin Weird." I second that motion. Another of my most favorite places is,our own Boulder, Colorado. I think that my personal motto for Boulder is, "Boulder is weird." No doubt about it. One of my favorites in recent years is the young black man with a beard who wears bright purple dresses as he pedals through town. Another one is that in Safeway, King Soopers and Target it is always sheer havoc. The people push their shopping carts the same way they drive. Straight forward and damn the pedestrians and other cars or carts. It is a Boulder thing. Sheer arrogance because, "I live in Boulder so therefore I am different and do not have to excuse myself for being rude." I just laugh. I lived in New York City for ten years and they can't hold a candle to the shopping cart pushers in Boulder. A beautiful part of the Boulder weirdness is their municipal deer herd. The herd is everywhere. I see deer grouping on the Pearl Street Mall among the shoppers. I see the herd walking down the middle of Broadway, one of the busiest streets in town. I see them in yards grazing like they were in the middle of the woods. I keep my camera on the seat next to me and this past Sunday I caught the herd on a lawn on Alpine near the Ideal Market. There are four deer in the photo but they really blend into the suburban environment. Check out the photo at http://www.garylindstrom.com.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wheat


The Colorado State Legislature is moving very fast to move very backwards. To help save the state budget they are removing some provisions that prohibit taxing certain things. In other words they are raising taxes. Yesterday they decided to tax products with sugar but it had an interesting twist. They will not tax candy with wheat. Some candy bars like Twix are chocolate covered cookies or crackers. They will not be taxed. Interesting that Colorado is a major wheat producer. Something about the hand that feeds you. The sponsor said yesterday that they excluded wheat candy bars because many other states had excluded them too. That list was probably the same as the list of wheat producing states. That is the same excuse that children use, "All the other kids get to do it."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wind


 

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I was a New York City Police Officer for several years in the 1960s. Each day I would go to work at the 18th Precinct (AKA: Manhattan North) and find out where I was working. Some days I would work in the office typing reports for the Plainclothes Detail who arrested prostitutes in Times Square. Other days I would be assigned to fill in to replace someone who was off and had been working in a "Radio" car. In the winter the very worst place to work was the piers on the Hudson River. I have never been so cold in my life. The wind blew straight off the Arctic ocean into Manhattan. I would wear many layers of clothing and it still would not help. I would find ways to stand between the uprights on the pier to stay out of the wind. The temperature was easy but the wind was a killer it would take every ounce of warmth from my body. My partner Don even bought a pair of electric socks any they did not work either. Maybe that is why I never liked duck hunting. Way too cold. I could hunt pheasants because I could keep walking to stay warm. No place to walk on a pier in the Hudson River in the 1960s.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Crash


 

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A private plane flew into the tow rope on a glider ascent yesterday in Boulder and brought down the tow plane and the private plane. The glider was able to disconnect and glide to the nearby Boulder airport. The crash is still under investigation so there are few details at this point. There were several eyewitnesses and many photos and videos of the event. The private plane was new and had a parachute attached to the aircraft that allowed it to float to earth very slowly. That is the good news. The bad news is that the plane was on fire as it floated to the ground. Persons on board were seen jumping from the plane before it came to the ground. It reminded me of the people jumping off the world's tallest building, the World Trade Center, just before it fell. I think I would hold on until the last minute. Others want to control their own destiny. Their own demise. Time will tell. Speaking of destiny. Yesterday in Spain a 16 year old boy fought six bulls at the same time, killing them all, to set a new world's record. I like sitting at my desk and reading about such things.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Profiling


Heard an interesting piece this morning on profiling. Profiling is where a police officer or a security person will use a name, skin color or dress to profile a person into certain types that represent a known hazard. It is fully racist but I also believe that everyone does it to a certain extent. If people say they are not then they are not telling the truth. We all walk around with certain preconceived notions about people and how we expect them to behave. It is wrong but I am not sure what the alternative is short of a frontal lobotomy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Freedom


 

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My youngest son called last night to tell me that he is getting married on July 3 at Sapphire Point here in Summit County. Ironic that he would get married the day before Independence Day. My youngest daughter is also getting married on August 28 beside the Blue River at Agape Outpost. They both grew up at around 10,000 feet so it is a homecoming of sorts. They are both marrying great people and I am sure they will do well in life. It is all part of the cycle of life. Things coming and going. Things going around. Important things that ensure what we have will continue long after we are gone.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Meanings


 

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They say that English is the hardest language to learn. One of the problems is that in English the same word can have many meanings. I have several dictionaries and a few on-line web sites that I use. As I am teaching I will use a word and then define it and immediately hands will go up to tell me that the definition is not the one that I used the last time that I defined the word. Then I have to get into a long discussion about context and how that actually influences the definition. I truly love it when my students discover that they have inquiring minds. I find if very gratifying after spending thirty minutes talking about a word and then later in an essay test the student will quote me in his or her answer and describe the various definitions of the word and how the context causes the word to be defined in a certain way. It really bothers me when people send me e mails complaining about how our foreign workers cannot speak English very well or that some poor soul has to push 1 for English. Get over it and put yourself in their shoes. It ain't easy honey.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tape


 

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My son's dog Reina yesterday nipped at the man measuring my floors as he was rolling his tape measure out and then letting it snap back into place. Reina is a female and a mother without pups. She is very protective and was not concerned with the man but was concerned about the long yellow thing that he put on the floor and then made disappear very quickly. She was not biting the hand but biting at the thing controlled by the hand. Much like killing the messenger.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Colors


 

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After about ten years I have decided to make some improvements to my house. New window coverings. New floor coverings. New decks. New siding. Almost a whole new house for a small cost compared to the cost of my home. One dilemma I had was choosing a new color. Right now my house is beige with light green trim. I want a change. I decided a couple of weeks ago to drive around and take photos of colors that I like. It is almost funny because I virtually have no taste. Or as the old saying goes, "All of my taste is in my mouth." I like things that are bright so that rules out browns, greens and reds for the most part. I do not like blue as a color for a house but I have decided I like light gray. Very light gray. Almost white gray. I have decided that I like very light gray with very white trim around the windows and the eaves. So how bland and tasteless is that? Sounds just right for me. The photo shows the house that I like. I belongs to a neighbor. Now if I can only grow some Aspen trees to put in the yard. (Go to www.garylindstrom.com to see the photo.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Up



I saw a bunch of contrails in the sky over the weekend and it reminded me of how I hate to fly. I spent four years in the Air Force and would fly a lot. The more I flew the more I hated it. I was involved in two plane crashes in the Air Force. No one got hurt except me emotionally. I even took flying lessons and was almost hit by another aircraft on a perfectly clear day. Recently I have flown to Guatemala and Ecuador. No different. Terrible takeoffs and landings. Overcrowding and rude flight attendants. I won't even begin to tell you my stories about TSA. Can you spell strip search? Twice. Salt Lake City. Billings. A good friend of mine works for TSA and I wondered if he put me on a list or two as a joke. I know people who fly daily. I have friends who are airline pilots and they love it. I don't. I think we have reached critical mass. It is no longer convenient. It is no longer fun. I would rather walk.Posted by Picasa