Columns

Sun
26
Jun
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Be healthy and save the planet! Buy this amazing product…

What is healthy? It's title of a recent article in The Economist, for starters. It's a fair question.
The definition of "healthy" is not only a puzzle for biomedical science to solve, but also a kind of game played for high stakes. The game requires a referee because science provides no clear answer and scientists who do this kind of research – often for companies with skin in the game – can't agree. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration wields the whistle.
Money is important in life, but good health trumps even the almighty dollar. Unless, of course, you own a company that sells products with the word "healthy" on the package – like a panoply of products in the supermarket these days.

Sun
26
Jun
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A bit of history in Ouray County

It's that time of year that we receive a whole bunch of press releases from our friends at Colorado Parks and Wildlife related to wildlife. Don't feed the bears. Birds don't need bird feeders. Leave baby animals alone.
It's a good bet that if your actions are designed to help or assist wildlife, then you're really not helping at all.
If you want to feed the locals, go shopping or dining or stay a few nights. It is we two-legged locals that have the most difficulty surviving Colorado winters!

Feel like you're going forward and backward this week? Well, it won't last past Sunday. The palindrome will be over, like the movie Groundhog Day, except this week gets to the end and goes back to the beginning. It started on Friday (6/10/16), continued on to Saturday (6/11/16), and on through this coming Sunday (6/19/16). The madness will all stop this Monday (6/20/16).

Sun
26
Jun
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A pernicious blend of ignorance and overconfidence

I’m sure Mark Twain had men in mind when he said, “Success is oft born out of ignorance and confidence.” Well whadayaknow, two things I just happen to excel at. Thus it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a dumbass Geezer-Guy on Medicare is drawn to stunts like trying to ride his mountain bike from Lovely Ouray to Yankee Boy Basin. This kind of irrational, hormone-driven arrogance likely explains why women live longer than men.
I was seized by this lunatic ambition a couple of years ago during a recurrent bout of mental illness commonly referred to as Spring Fever. Its source is always the languid, drop-by-drop thaw of a winter’s-worth of dirty “white plague” from the upper reaches of my San Juan Mountain playground. Symptoms include pacing, fidgeting, moodiness and watching reruns of “Ellen” and “Dr Phil.”

Sun
26
Jun
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A time for all seasons on the farm

Life on a ranch, as you may have noticed, moves in unison with the seasons.
In the fall, the kids start school, the cattle come off the mountain, the calves are weaned and it’s volleyball season.
In the winter, the kids start making Christmas lists, the cattle settle into a feeding schedule, the calves ship out and it’s basketball season.
In the spring, the kids get antsy to finish school, the cattle have new calves and it’s soccer season.
To every season, there is a reason. On a ranch and in most ranch families, there are many reasons to each season. Over the years, the motto in our home has become “Onto the next thing.” Our home is bustling and busy. The children play sports, and the cowboy and I work our full time jobs.

Fri
13
May
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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
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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
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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."

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