Columns

Fri
13
May
atodd's picture

Irreconcilable differences on “Walden Pond”

As February rolled into March, Bobbie and I rolled homeward. We paused about 20 miles north of Moab for one last back-road boondock on an elevated campsite that afforded views of russet fins and “hobgoblins” in Arches National Park, a fitting metaphorical “bow” on yet another winter RV sojourn through the desert southwest.

“Otherworldly,” I thought, endeavoring to reduce to a single word such a vast, surreal landscape… a veritable “Red Sea” of anthropomorphic hoo-doos and gravity-defying arches, lapping at the “shores” of white-capped La Sal Mountains.

I first stumbled into Moab in the spring of ’77, six months after a soul-saving transplant from Les Miserable, Missouri, to West-slope, Colorado. As a “newbie” itching to jumpstart camping season, I was both surprised and bummed that my new San Juan Mountain “backyard” still languished waist-deep in snow in April.

Fri
13
May
atodd's picture

Washington via Ouray

A small-town guy from little Yuma, Colorado stopped by the office last week. It's not exactly the story of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado likes to talk about his roots.
"There used to be two newspapers in Yuma," he said. "One was the Rattler. The Rattler didn't make it."
The Rattler was actually from Wray, a bit east of Yuma. Perhaps when you're out on the high plains of Eastern Colorado, everything kind of blends in.
"I wish I'd been fifth generation in Ouray," the senator said, glancing out the Plaindealer's corner office. "It would have been a little more scenic."
He and his family live in the same house that his great-grandparents lived in, although it had left the family for a while before he bought it. "I would have saved a lot of money had it stayed in the family," he said.
I had about 15 minutes to pepper him with questions.

Thu
07
Apr
atodd's picture

Well-rounded upbringing with inside and outside smarts

We made it. It seems winter and most of mud season have passed. There were a few days recently that begged the question, “What month is this?” Of course, anyone who has lived in Ridgway for more than two years knows that spring snow is par for the course. As is snow in May or snow on the 4th of July.
The kids are entering the final phase of school for this year. The section of their standardized testing education is in full swing. It seems to us that the creative, mind engaging section of education has been put on hold to ensure that the testing results are ‘up to state standards’. I am no fan of state standardized testing. Can you tell? Printed notes come home, pre-recorded phone messages are received and verbal reminders are passed on to ensure that the kids “eat a good breakfast and get plenty of sleep in preparation for excellence on the standardized testing.”

Thu
14
Jan
atodd's picture

A New Year’s mourning muse

Well, well... the first day of another new year, my 65th, but who’s counting. Thanks to coffee and a one-and-done drink/in-bed-by- nine celebration last night, I greet the New Year wide-eyed and bushytailed. I write this by fire- light, swallowed in the gullet of an overstuffed Lazy Boy that reminds me of long ago times in Grandma’s lap at church, my head buried in the cleavage of her great bosom, a choir singing, “How Great Thou Art.”
In this morning’s darkness a similar warmth exudes from a natural gas hearth... its artificial embers glowing neon orange and blue flames licking noncombustible logs. I’m wondering around on paper here, whether to write anoth- er chapter in the same old book or start a new one? On a day symbolic of promise and oppor- tunity, maybe I’ll live with the ten pounds gained over “The Holidays” and resolve instead to change directions, maybe shake things up a bit. I mention this to Bobbie, already on her fourth “Challenger” Sudoku Puzzle.

Thu
14
Jan
atodd's picture

Chances are goo that...

Does your chance to win the $1.5 gajillion Powerball increase with every ticket you buy with a new set of numbers?
According to the Powerball website, winning the grand prize and assuring yourself of becoming everyone's favorite aunt or uncle is one in 292,201,338.
Frankly, I don't understand the math. I have recently read "experts" tell it both ways. One camp says each ticket holds the astronomical odds of one in 292 million, and no matter how many different sets of numbers you have, those odds don't change per ticket.
Other "experts" say with each ticket you buy with different numbers comes a division of the odds.
One of our readers who can balance a checkbook while chewing gum can probably tell me which theory is true.
All I know is if you don't buy a ticket, your chances are zip. If you buy one, your chances are…well...

Fri
13
Nov
atodd's picture

The saturation point

The Marijuana Industry Group, formed in 2010 to help promote Colorado's medical marijuana industry and patients, and which has since extended its promotion of all things to do with legal marijuana in our state, this week congratulated the City and County of Denver for extending a moratorium on new business licenses for two years.
Last one in shut the door.
MIG’s executive director, Michael Elliott, said that much to the glee of those businesses already operating in the industry in Denver and Denver County, that enough is enough — for now. "The marijuana industry has helped spark an economic boom in Denver," Elliott wrote, "but at this point it appears the number of businesses is in line with market demand."
In contrast to what Bob Dylan sang, evidently not everyone "must get stoned."

Fri
13
Nov
atodd's picture

Adventure begins at the end of comfort zones

Canyonlands, Utah — Needles District: Readers of this column should know by now, if it’s October, Bobbie and I are in Somewhere, Utah. Our initial camp was delightful and quiet, a back-road boondock on a hilltop mound of burgundy slick-rock. It afforded shimmering mirage-like panoramas of unfathomable canyons, improbably carved by water, wind and eons of time I struggle to comprehend.

Thu
22
Oct
atodd's picture

A wing and a haltere

To some people the best part of fall is the color. To a distiller the best part of fall is when the fruit flies go away. This has been a rough year for fruit flies and I am over them. It is well into the fall season and I am still battling the little buggers.

Thu
22
Oct
atodd's picture

The mysterious envelope

I can easily say of the never-ending task of cleaning the garage that it is, well, never-ending. But occasionally a surprise or two pops up.
The other day I was looking for my birth certificate. I tried all the usual places - you know, places where it should be but wouldn't be because those places would make too much sense.
File cabinet? Nope.
Sock drawer? It wouldn't be there, would it?
My box of stuff in the basement? Can't believe it wasn't there.
Oh, oh, oh. I know. In the trunk I've been carting around for years.
Let's see…an old pair of shorts that I evidently stole from some skinny guy years ago. A coin collection that I've never seen. Chinese coins? No telling where those came from.
There are my old concert ticket stubs. I saw Jethro Tull three times? I can only remember seeing them once, which is probably why I saw them three times.

Thu
01
Oct
atodd's picture

Blue suits me just fine

Beecher and I had been in a bit of a quandary recently. We couldn't figure out who gets to drive the Jeep home from Oktoberfest when we win it this year.
But, all's well. We now realize that we won't get to drive our new Jeep home Saturday night. We'll need to go fill out all sorts of paperwork at the Ouray Chamber a few days afterward. Then we can fight over - er, decide - who gets to drive the Jeep home.
Of course, my brother in Phoenix just texted me. He has a different plan. He says that when he wins the Jeep, we can drive it home and do our best to keep mice and such out of it. Then he'll come up in a few days, stay, fly fish, then take his new Jeep back to Phoenix. He tells me he'll look good in blue.

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