Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016/02/28 – North Table Mountain with Trixie

I was really psyched to ride this morning, but the morning forecast called for 17mph wind with 35mph gusts. I went outside to check and it felt like they were right.

I decided to try a hike. I say “try”, because I've done very little hiking since I hurt my back last April, and sometimes even a short walk with Trixie hurts.

We wound up hiking 5.5 miles in total, and the trip included a good water stop at the tarn on top of NTM.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

2016/02/27 – North Table Mountain with Mike, Sad Day, My Day in the Barrel

Had a good ride this morning with Mike.


Today is a sad day. Val's mother who has been staying with us since mid November left to go back home to Brazil. In the short time that she has been with us, I really grown to love her and will miss her.
When I was in the 4th grade, I got expelled from school. One morning, at the recommendation of my teacher Mrs. Venturi, Father Fusco the principal and parish head priest, told me to go home, that I was expelled!

I think most kids would have been frightened to go home, or maybe unhappy to be kicked out, but not me. In fact I remember it being one of the happiest days of my life.

At that time my parents both worked and didn’t get home until dark, so I had the rest of the day to play outside. A block away from my house was a big wooded empty lot where kids played in the dirt under massive elm trees.

Earlier in the year, someone had dumped a huge wooden wine barrel in the lot and the kids all played inside. But on this day all the other kids were in school, so I had the barrel all to myself.

I just remember endlessly rolling all through the lot inside the barrel, with this incredible sense of freedom, as if I had escaped from prison.

I hated Catholic school, my teacher hated me, and I hated her. She was a real piece of work. I have vivid recollections of her repeatedly slapping me, while screaming "Get that look off your face!" In later years I heard rumors that they eventually locked her up.

Anyway it was really a wonderful afternoon in the barrel, one that I will always treasure, but it all ended quickly when my parents got home.

They dragged me by the ear in front of Father Fusco, making me apologize and beg to let me back into prison.


Friday, February 26, 2016

2016/02/26 – Free Shines, July 4th Deaths

Recently my good friend Jeff remarked that he admired my entrepreneurial spirit. I thought about that during my bike ride today.

When I was a boy my dad was always telling me stories about how he made money when he was a boy. Most of his stories sounded really dated and stupid in the modern 1950’s.

But he did encourage me and once I got the taste of capitalism, I was addicted. I went door-to-door taking orders for custom potholders that I would make. I pulled neighbors weeds in summer. I shoveled snow in winter. I carried people’s luggage at Kennedy Airport. I put on chemistry shows (that’s another story), and I shined shoes.

I had a gimmick for shoe shining. I would go in the local bars. In those days on Liberty Avenue underneath the elevated train, there were bars on every other block. I would go from bar to bar.

Picture an eleven-year-old boy walking through the bar doors yelling “Free Shines!” In those days the bars were packed on a Saturday afternoon. And walking through the smoke, and noise, and smell of stale beer, a little boy was offering free shines.

And when asked how I could make money giving away free shines, I would reply, “I just work for tips”. And I always got great tips, especially in the black bars. Once I even got a $5 tip! That would be like $50 today.

BTW… My mom tells me we were poor in those days, but I never realized it.

Did you know that 3 of our US presidents died on July 4th?


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2016/02/24 – UFO Siting, Presidents With Bullets

I’m really at a loss for something to report today, so I though I tell a short story.

Years ago when I lived in Westchester County, New York I was driving home late one night with my girlfriend Diane on highway 684.

All of a sudden Diane screamed “Look up in the sky!” There above us was a huge oval shaped spaceship traveling very slowly.

I drove the car to the nearest exit so that we could get out and look closer. The parking was full with dozens of people all watching in amazement.

It’s hard to explain the feeling that came over me. It was almost like seeing god. I was so happy that there were so many other witnesses; otherwise I would have questioned my sanity.

The following week the local papers were flooded with reports of the siting. Everyone was talking about it.

Finally the air force had to confess to doing some practice maneuvers with hundreds of planes very high up in the sky, in the formation of a large oval.

I was hugely disappointed.

Did you know that presidents Andrew Jackson, James Monroe, and Theodore Roosevelt all survived getting shot but the bullets were left inside their bodies for the rest of their lives?


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

2016/02/23 - Matterhorn Trivia, No Cookies, Giants of History

Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt summited The Matterhorn?

Yes, considered by experts to be one of the most difficult and dangerous mountain climbs, Theodore Roosevelt stood on top of The Matterhorn on August 5th 1881, only 15 years after its 1st ascent.

This was a major accomplishment during in an era when climbing equipment was primitive.

To date over 500 climbers have died climbing this famous peak.

I didn’t mention my cookie business yesterday because I’m trying to forget about another weekend with zero orders. I’m not sure what I’m going to do at this point.

Are you interested in American history? I just finished a 9 episode podcast on Theodore Roosevelt. Check it out in “Giants of History” on iTunes.


Monday, February 22, 2016

2016/02/22 – Michael Moore, Coffee Counts

Michael Moore is a man, in my opinion, who should either stick to radio or clean up his image for video.

Have you ever just listened to Michael Moore on the radio or in a podcast? I was listening to an interview with he and Mark Maron recently and I was seriously shocked at the quality of his voice and how good of a speaker he is. I found him to be absolutely eloquent.

I was shocked because when I listen to him speak when I can see him, I don’t get that impression. For me, his poor image overpowers his great voice, and I find him hard to look at.

I’m sorry, I love Michael Moore’s movies, but he looks like an embarrassing unkempt slob, especially when I see him meeting with important people with an old baseball cap and sneakers.

I really think that his image detracts from his message.

There are many different opinions on how much water we should be drinking every day. The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon.

Of course you need to drink more if you exercise, especially if you sweat a lot.

And according to this article in WebMD coffee counts in your tally! 

Many used to believe that coffee and tea were dehydrating, but that myth has been debunked. The diuretic effect does not offset hydration.

Excuse me while I go hydrate!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

2016/02/21 – Cookie No-Business, Smart Toilets, Cardboard Rodney

I’m half way through the weekend and still have ZERO cookie orders. This would probably discourage most people, but not me, the eternal optimist.

My ad plan for this weekend’s cookie sales really backfired on me. I replaced my gourmet cookie ad in the Nextdoor site on Tuesday, announcing that I had increased my range to include Sunrise Ridge and Fieldstone. Then on Friday morning I asked a neighbor friend to reply to this posting so that all the Nextdoor neighbors would see it on Friday afternoon, just in time for the weekend. She happily agreed, but even with a reminder later in the afternoon, she forgot.

Needless to say, I’m relying too much on my neighbors, and the Nextdoor site for promoting my new business. Luckily my investment in this venture was minimal, mostly my time, and I’m really in no hurry.

I recently heard someone say that in the future you will have a “smart toilet” that analyzes your urine and will tell you if you are developing health issues. Do we really need that much feedback? Do we really want to live life constantly monitoring our inevitable demise? Personally I would rather live 75 Keith Richard years then 95 healthy years of continuous self-examination. But that’s just me.

I was just listening to a “Stuff You Should Know” podcast about Rodney Dangerfield, and it reminded me of my “Cardboard Rodney”.

For those of you who don’t remember Cardboard Rodney, here’s the story:

I was driving one afternoon on I-70 and a car passed me on my side. As it did I glanced over as saw a life size photo of Rodney Dangerfield’s face pasted to the passenger window of the car.

I cracked up! He is a funny and funny-looking guy.

Sometime later I was listening to a report on the car radio. It was about Ellen DeGeneres hurting herself and not being able to finish her tour. But they said the tour would continue and she was creating a “Cardboard Ellen” to replace her.

That’s when the idea of Cardboard Rodney was born. It was a very silly idea, but I got such a kick out it.

At the time I was running a web site called “14erWorld”, whose approximately 1,000 members were Colorado mountain climbers.

I wondered: Can mountaineers have a sense of humor too?

Now my members either loved the idea, or hated it. There was no middle ground. The serious hikers though it was stupid and wanted no association with this gumby activity. But the not-so-serious members “got it” and enjoyed the fun.

I created Cardboard Rodney by taking a self-portrait dressed in my hiking outfit, enlarged to life-size. Then I overlaid my face with the head-shot that the real Rodney Dangerfield actually sent me. I had the whole image mounted on ½ inch foam board, then cut and hinged the foam board so that it folded up to approximately 24” x 10” x 4” and fit tightly into a shoulder sack.

My plan was to mail Cardboard Rodney from person to person if they were willing to take him up a fourteener (one of the fifty-eight 14,000’ highest mountains in Colorado), and on Cardboard Rodney’s last 14er (Pikes Peak) we would have a big celebration.

I had contacted Rodney Dangerfield through his web site and he sent me the head-shot to use, along with permission to use his image for my promotion. He got a kick out of the idea. I invited him to come to the finale, but declined. His health was failing.

In total Cardboard Rodney got up over 25 14ers that summer.

Unfortunately Rodney Dangerfield passed away that fall at the age of 82. All enthusiasm to continue the Cardboard Rodney project died with him. RIP Rodney!