Saturday, October 29, 2011

Driving my life away

I make four round trips from Breckenridge to the Denver/Boulder area every week.  It is one hundred miles one-way, two hundred miles round trip for those of you who are mathematically challenged.  That is a total of 800 miles a week.  I normally get my oil changed every 7000 miles according to the recommendation from Honda.  That means that I need to change my oil every seven weeks.  I read last week about a Honda Accord that had just rolled over one million miles.  They think it was the first time that has happened.   The owner had changed the tires, battery, belts, oil, and had replaced the seats and upholstery but that was all in one million miles.  What a nice thing to read about.  I am sure that other people could report much the same for their cars.  Today in the era of planned obsolescence where we are sold things knowing that they will not last and will need to be replaced, it is nice to hear of the alternative.I have about 175,000 miles on my car right now so I am almost 20% (17.5%)to a million.  By the way my car looks almost new.  A simple car wash every week keeps it that way.  I know a lot of people who would never drive their car that long because of their stupid egos.  They need to have the latest and the greatest.  I wonder if they have ever thought about how much that costs?  You also can't just drive a car into the ground.  You need to pay attention to all of the things that the million mile Honda owner considered in regular maintenance.

Friday, October 21, 2011


This essay was originally published in the "Summit County Voice"


It was wildly reported in the national media this week that more than 73% of Americans support the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations as well as the Occupy movement throughout the United States.  Yet at the same time there are some conservatives in congress and others running for offices who adamantly oppose the movement.  They insist that the police come in and move them out.  They do not talk about their issues.  They can only talk about how they dress and act.

The candidates for President of the United States are standing up on a daily basis and saying exactly the same things that the Occupy demonstrators are saying.  Things are out of control.  It is time for change.  Let’s get big business out of government.  Yet these are the same people who are heavily funded in their campaigns by big business.  How ironic.  Money=Politics.  Imagine that?

I saw a chart on-line the other day that compared our current Tea Party with the Occupy demonstrators.  On one side was what the Tea Party wants and the other side was what the Occupy demonstrators want.  There were only a few items exclusive to each side but the majority of points were in the middle.  The Tea Party and the Occupy demonstrators want the same thing for the most part.  They both think that government was part and parcel to the current recession.   They both think that government has wrongly rewarded banks and big business by pouring billions of stimulus dollars into their coffers. They both think that our government has done nothing to punish those responsible for the mess.  They both think that government and big business (Wall Street and the banks.) are co-conspirators in the collapse of our economy and our out of control unemployment.

I teach American Government, United States History, World History, Sociology and nineteen other subjects at the college level.  I will assure you that the history of the United States is full of examples where the people demonstrated, camped out, took over public space and changed the world.

I was a police officer in New York City and Colorado for nearly forty years after I had served for six years in the military during the Viet Nam era.  I did not come by my thoughts and opinions easily.

I have probably spent more time at anti-war demonstrations as a police officer than any demonstrator has during their lifetime.  I saw what was going on and heard their rhetoric first hand over many years.  And, believe it or not, as a student and teacher of history, I was proud of what they were doing and I was proud to see men and women get their civil rights and to see a terrible war end as a result of the demonstrations.

It is sad in a way that the very people who believe that they are the most patriotic and support our nation to the highest level have never read the United States Constitution or studied our history.

The true purpose of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, “Right to bear arms” was so that people could have firearms in their homes that could be used to overthrow the government.  This was a lesson from the American Revolution when they found out how important personal firearms are to keep the government under control.  It has nothing to do with carrying a concealed weapon as some would tell you.  It has to do with protecting your rights as an American citizen.

The American Revolution was an “occupy” process.  Look it up.

The Civil War was an “occupy” process.  Look it up.

In the very middle of the United States Civil War there was a movement in the north to protest against the draft of men for service in the military.  It was call the Draft Riots and they occurred in 1863.  Part of it was also the fact that men with money could buy someone else to fight the war for them and then not be drafted.  You think that things are corrupt now?

Later after the beginning of the depression several other veterans and others moved into Washington D.C. again and built a tent city called “Hooverville” as they blamed the United States Government for being a party to creating the depression.  Sound familiar?

Here in Colorado some coal miners and their families were occupying land near the Ludlow mine in southern Colorado in the early part of the 20th Century.  (They were probably mining “clean” coal but did not know it.)  The coal company got a hold of someone at the state capitol and they sent the National Guard, as they were known at the time, to put down the occupation of the coal mine property.  The Guard ended up killing several women and children in the process. Historically it is referred to as the “Ludlow Massacre.”  When people started driving a lot the Colorado Courtesy Patrol (now known as the Colorado State Patrol) was formed to enforce traffic laws.  The regular law enforcement function was left up to the counties and the towns through the Sheriffs and the Police Chiefs and their respective departments.  I found it ironic that the Colorado State Patrol was called in wearing full riot gear to remove the Occupy Denver people from the park at the capital recently.  Yes, I know that the Colorado State Patrol serves as security guards at the State Capitol and also provide security for the Governor.  So what was the security problem that they had to take care of by moving the Occupy Denver people?  I wonder if they thought the women and children at Ludlow were a security problem also.

Another bad Colorado story is the Sand Creek Massacre.  (Do you see a theme here?)   Some American Indians were camped in eastern Colorado along Sand Creek.  They were basically just hanging out.  You know, occupying the area near Sand Creek.  Some people at the Colorado State Capitol decided that they did not want them there anymore so they sent the Calvary to move them out.  Most of the men in the tribe were gone and left only women and children at the camp.  For some unknown reason the Calvary decided to kill the Indian women and children to fulfill their mission in getting the Indians out of Sand Creek..

I read another article recently about the Occupy Wall Street demonstration and how, now that they have finished their first month of the occupation, that the police and the government of the City of New York have given the demonstrators high marks on their organization.  They have food distribution, medical clinics and regular trash collection.  Maybe they should be running our government.

I found it very upsetting that the Occupy Denver people allowed the police to move them off the capital grounds without any resistance.  I realize that they just walked across the street to the City of Denver Park at Civic Center and continued their occupation.  But I think that moving them was illegal in the first place.  If they are a security or health problem then that is another situation but to move them just because they are occupying an area is wrong.

Why when most people agree with the demonstrators are the duly elected and appointed officials abusing their power and authority to end the occupation?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It was 29 degrees at 4 am when I got up this morning. No new snow. It is 27 degrees now.  A skiff of snow on my deck.  "We're having a heat wave.  A tropical heat wave."  Here is a copy of the news feed from the National Weather Service a few minutes ago.



Last night the Denver TV weather people were seriously conflicted in their forecast.  Some said ten new inches of snow by morning.  Batten down the hatches and full speed ahead.  Another forecaster said that it would only rain and not to worry about the snow or the roads.

With apologies to the people who are actually schizophrenic.  My heart goes out to them.  But I think that the weather reporters are all suffering from some form of the disease.  They have multiple personalities.  Multiple forecasts with a "take your pick" type of weather for the day.  I think that it might have to do with it being the beginning of the season.  They are just not up to speed yet.  Or maybe the really good ones took the day off.  Or maybe things are not going well at home and they are all in a bad mood.

I am obsessed with the weather as are most of the people in the world.  We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking and talking about the weather when, in fact, we can't do anything to change the weather.  The ski areas here actually will try to seed the clouds to get more snow each winter.  I personally think that it is a joke but, the ski areas spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to try to get it to snow more.

Then my big pet peeve is that it will not snow at all.  No new snow on the ground.  Bright sunny skies.  Then the ski areas will report ten new inches.  I wrote a weekly column for many years and actually put that in a column once.  A member of the local ski patrol who measures the snow lost it.  Called me a liar.  Wrote to the local newspaper.  Last week the very long time weather observer in Breckenridge Rick Bly was interviewed about his numbers and he commented that he too did not know where the ski area came up with the large numbers of snowfall inches each year.  They did not jibe with his numbers.  Imagine that?

So I will continue to talk about the weather and I am sure that the local TV stations will also.  Maybe someday we will all come up with a better thing to write about.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7, 2011

Twenty degrees and falling this morning at 5 am.  

Not snowing now but it snowed all the way home from Denver last night around 7 pm.  The roads were fine.  The visibility was bad due to the blow-back from the other cars and the trucks.  

The normal fall phenomena was apparent as drivers who would normally go 65 miles per hour slowed to 40 miles per hour thinking that somehow that would make the snow go away.  Very dangerous but common as the first snow comes each year. 

Driving 200 miles a day now allows me to have a new respect for most of the semi truck drivers.  I know why they call them professional drivers as they very seldom take any chances.  They are tooling down the road in their "business" represented by a couple of hundred thousand dollar investment with the truck and trailer.  They want to make some money and be able to get home to mom without a scratch.  

There are exceptions.  This time of year I see a lot of cattle haulers being driven by cowboys from the ranches.  A hundred years ago the cowboys "drove" the cattle to lower altitudes for the winter.  The cold season in the high country is not nice to cows.   These cowboys always seem to drive way too fast and always disregard the speed limit signs.  I imagine that the drive down to the lower pastures might be the only time they drive their trucks all year so they are probably anxious to get back home.  The name of their ranch is always on their doors and on the back the the trailer.  God bless them if they can get home without a scratch driving that way.  I always give them a wide berth knowing how they are.  And yes, in a past life I drove big trucks.

The Nobel Peace Prize was announced this morning honoring three women from Africa and the Middle East who have worked for peace in their countries as well as for women's rights. The New York Times reported, "The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the three women "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace building work."     Let's hear it for the distaff side.  Good on them.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I guess that my summer vacation is finally over and I will be sending out my blog again.  If you want off the list then just ask and I will remove your name.  If you know someone who wants on my list then have them contact me.  My blog also appears at

Steve Jobs died yesterday.  May he rest in peace.  I believe that Starbucks Coffee and Apple Computers both qualify as cults.  Think about it the next time someone starts talking about either. They are iconic and nearly god like.  It is not the fault of the companies but rather the fault of their customers and their belief systems.

Sarah Palin decided not to run for President of the United States yesterday.  Good decision.  Jon Stewart on the Daily Show yesterday ran a clip of Sarah Palin talking about Herman Cain who is now tied with Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination.  Sarah Palin referred to Cain as "Herb" Cain.  So sad for Sarah.  I think that she and Michelle Bachman both are verbally challenged.  They are, in fact, their own worst enemies.  If either of them were serious about being a candidate they should both stop talking in public.  If they did, their numbers would surely rise in the polls.  Something about shooting themselves in the (tongue) foot.

We had our first snow in August.  That happens every year.  Yesterday a big storm was forecast for above 9000 feet.  I live at 9017 feet.  So far we only had rain and heavy clouds.  It was actually 44 degrees this morning at 5 am when I got up for the day.  Right now at 10 am it is 50 degrees.  Hardly snowstorm weather.

Right now I am teaching the Sociology of Criminolgy at Metropolitan State College in Denver and Communication in Healthcare at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood.  I also work in the Communication Lab teaching Public Speaking, teach Group Communication on-line, and teach in the Weekend College teaching Conflict Resolution and Effective Presentations.  I will teach the same classes in the spring but will be adding Sociology 101 at Metro and Organizational Communication at Red Rocks.  I will have eleven semester credit hours at Red Rocks and six semester credit hours at Metro.  A total of 17 credit hours.  I guess that qualifies me for full-time.

I just got a news feed that President Obama gave another speech supporting the passage of the Jobs Act.  Heard an economist speak the other day on the topic and he said that Obama had it backwards.  The economy needs to get a major jump start and the jobs will follow.  That was the problem with the first stimulus bill.  It only created jobs in the short term and it did not have a lasting impact on the economy.  I am more personally concerned about Europe and their troubles.  That could hurt the US more than most even want to think about.

I tell my students this all the time.  Never, ever retire.  It is a myth.  Also, never ever quit a job until you have another job.  It is not a good time to be unemployed.  Suffer under the terrible boss or bad working conditions to make sure that you have an income.