Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What Did You Say?

While I never considered myself a mental giant I don’t think I fall into the dumber than dirt category either. But I am wondering what is happening to the English language. It seems like people are going out of their way to avoid using common English. Phrases, terms, and words are becoming far more complicated than they need to be.

I started noticing this a few months back during the morning news. The newsperson said if you were going through a certain town to be extremely careful when in a ‘safety sensitive zone’ as the fines would be five times the normal rate. She then explained that a ‘safety sensitive zone’ is a school zone. Half way through my tirade, Char turned off the news.

There are other words and phrases that bother me. How about ‘impervious surfaces’? Why don’t we just say concrete or parking lots? Another one is ‘population density centers’ – I’ve always liked calling them cities and towns. I recently completed a report that asked me to explain the ‘currency efficiency demand’. Explain it? I can hardly say it! It took an hour and a half and three phone calls before someone told me that is where I tell them how we spent the money.

But, the one that bothers me the most happened at a recent conference. The speaker was going on and on about the placement of ‘global coolers’. After awhile I stood up and the conversation went something like this:
Me: Excuse me but what are ‘global coolers’?
Speaker: Oh, I’m sorry. That is our term for trees and shrubs. (There was a fairly larger rumbling across the room; I don’t think I was the only one who didn’t know what ‘global coolers’ were).
Me: Why don’t you call them trees and shrubs?
Speaker: Well, those are not catchy enough words to give them the attention needed. They are outdated terms.
Me: So you’re saying trees and shrubs are no longer sexy?

I’m not sure what his answer was. I was telling the lady next to me, “I’m more like a tree than I thought – outdated and no longer sexy.”

So, what are the words, terms, or phrases that rattle your cage – that means disturbs you?

Monday, March 27, 2006

My Hat

This is my hat. This is where I hang my hat. That is important. It’s important right now because that is the only thing I can find in my house. It seems like this morning an army of people (okay, four people) barged in the front door (okay, they probably knocked politely) to announce they were going to paint the entire inside of the house (okay, Char told me they were coming).

I can’t find anything. But the good news is they will be done in a few days and Char assures me I will love it. She also told me I was getting tired of the old colors – man, I'm glad we got that settled.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I never have and never will call meatloaf my favorite food. There is just something about it I don’t like. But, after eating it once a month for a year, I am starting to acquire a taste for it.

A year ago, Char and I took her dad out to dinner. He was at the rehabilitation center and wasn’t doing well. You could tell he was not feeling good but he wanted to go to dinner. I asked him what he wanted to eat. He replied, “Buffalo”. Now he was on a lot of medications and I thought he might be a little delirious so I asked him again. He replied, “Ralph, I want buffalo.” Alrighty then - buffalo it is.

A new restaurant specializing in buffalo had just opened, Ted’s Montana Grill. They offer buffalo burgers, buffalo steaks, buffalo French dip, etc. Vic ordered buffalo meatloaf and proceeded to clean his plate. Not bad for a guy who, according to the nurses, didn’t have much of an appetite.

He passed away two days later. That’s when I wrote ‘The First Day’.

I decided that on or around the 21st of every month, I was going to go to Ted’s Montana Grill and eat buffalo meatloaf. It was kind of my tribute to Vic. We go there at other times and I’ve had other things but on the 21st, it’s meatloaf. Char always has a little fun with it because when we go in and sit down I don’t even open the menu. She gets that little glimmer in her eye and starts to smile before she asks what I am going to get. She knows – buffalo meatloaf.

This past week was the one-year anniversary. Once a month for the past year, I ate buffalo meatloaf out of respect for Vic. Char and I decided to continue it at least for another year.

Funny thing – I am starting to like meatloaf.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Occasionally I think about becoming a farmer. Yeah, I know I would most likely starve to death. Unless of course I became a wind farmer (easy with the jokes here I’m trying to be serious). While returning home from the southern part of the state I came across another wind farm in Colorado. We rank eleventh in the nation for having the potential to generate wind energy (probably due to the way we talk about our sports teams).

Over the past few years, wind farms have sprung up across the United States. These farms have as many as 100-500 wind turbines. Each turbine is a large tower with three blades. These blades start turning when the wind speed reaches 10 – 12 miles per hour. As the blades catch the wind, it turns rotors that produce electricity. Each turbine is connected to an electric transmission grid.

So, if I were to become a farmer in Colorado I would most likely own a wind farm. Then, as a way to supplement my income, I would build a large room under the turbines, put in a large table, comfortable chairs, and a coffee pot. I have to set through a lot of meetings full of hot air and idle chit-chat – those blades would spin like crazy. Who knows, I could become a millionaire.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Truth Declared

Sometimes the obvious is so funny it makes you laugh – well, me at least. I saw four of these signs in my travels yesterday.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Gone . . . again

When I wrote, ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ I thought it would be a stand-alone post. Turns out it wasn’t. In the middle of the night, I had a revelation that kids are a lot like hair. They might be gone – but they are not forgotten.

Here is a picture of Char giving Tiffany a kiss goodbye yesterday. We all went to breakfast then Char went to work. I took Tiffany and Jason (a friend of Tiffany’s) to the airport to go back to school. Spring break has come to an end.

Earlier this week we had a surprise birthday party for Jason. Our son, Nathan, came over for it. After the party, Nathan went back to his house. A few days later Tiffany went back to school.

Now I know you are suppose raise kids to be responsible, self-sufficient adults - but come on! You put all that time and effort into them, they show up, you have a few laughs, eat a few meals, and ... bam! They’re gone – again.

However, there is a difference between kids and hair. Kids (and they will always be your “kids”) will return. Hair on the other hand is gone forever.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

B & B

Several people asked about the bed and breakfast Char and I were at when I endured the bear attack. Okay – no one asked. But, it is a great place.

It’s called the Meadow Creek Bed and Breakfast and their website is located here. It is a stone lodge built in 1929 and originally was known as Casina Lontana. One thing I will mention is there is no television in the rooms. You have to create your entertainment. Char and I . . . well, I digress.

There is a great hot tub perfect for relaxing and sipping wine. They serve a wonderful breakfast at 9:00 AM daily. There are also many hiking trails located on the 34 acres. An author by the name of Beverly Lewis wrote about it in her novel called, ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’. That is how Char found it.

It’s a great place to get away for a few days. Just watch out for bears!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Looking for Gold

In 1859, John Gregory went into the mountains west of Denver. His discovery of gold caused thousands of miners to go to an area that is now known as Black Hawk and Central City. Those two towns are only one mile apart. Throughout that region, thousands of gold claims were filed, yet very few people struck it rich.

In 1991, a statewide referendum legalized low stakes gambling in Blackhawk and Central City. Today, as in the 1800’s, thousands of people flock to Black Hawk and Central City with the hopes of striking it rich. Monday, for the first time, we went to Black Hawk and Central City to take our chance with Lady Luck.

Tiffany and Jason each had $20 and started playing the slot machines. Char and I walked around and just looked. Then it started. A nickel here, a penny there, going one from casino to another looking for that magically slot machine. Finally, several hours later, I was down two dollars and forty-five cents and decided to limit my losses.

The big winner was Tiffany. She won $132 on a penny slot machine. We cashed in and headed home.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Tea Time

Boulder has never been one of my favorite Colorado communities. Truth is I go out of my way to avoid it. But, today, we made a trip there. There is a lot to see and do but you have to be willing to deal with the ‘attitude’ – not to be confused with ‘altitude’.

If you ever drank a cup of Celestial Seasonings tea, it would be worth a trip to see how and where it is made. It is the only plant in the world where Celestial Seasonings is made. The Boulder attitude is not present. The staff is extremely courteous and friendly.

Celestial Seasonings started from humble begins. Mo Siegel gathered wild herbs in the forests and canyons of the Rocky Mountains and made them into a healthy tea called Mo's 36. Now, 1.2 billion cups of Celestial Seasonings tea is consumed every year.

While waiting for the tour to start, you are invited to sample approximately 50 different types of teas. Sleepytime has and will always be my favorite. It must also be one of the most popular as the Celestial Seasonings factory is located on Sleepytime Drive.

A tour of the factory is impressive. The tea room is where they store the black, green, and white teas. In the mint room, the fragrance of peppermint and spearmint blend together and can clear out your sinuses in a matter of seconds. The factory is not extremely large but produces 10,000,000 bags of tea in twenty-four hours

If you are ever in Boulder, take the tour. It’s worth the time.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


This sign has been proudly displayed in my kitchen for the almost five years. It is quite the conversation piece. The conversation usually starts like this:

Anybody: So . . . tell me about Cliff Morrow.
Me (looking at the sign): He’s a Burt County Supervisor.
Anybody: Do you know him?

This is the crossroads of the conversation. So far, I have told the truth about Cliff and the sign. But, one of these days I am going to blurt out, “No, never met him. But I have always been fascinated by the artistic quality of that sign - the way the red and blue compliments the white.”

I looked at that sign this morning before leaving and had several thoughts. The first was pretty standard – I need to go out there for a visit. The second was more serious. This is an election year for Cliff. As of March 1st, which was the deadline, no one signed up to run against him. No matter where you live, that is quite a compliment in today’s society. It means people like the job you’re doing. But, at a deeper level, it means that the people being represented know they are being listened to and their views and opinions are being carried forward. We need more elected officials that can and will do that.

Way to go Cliff. Keep up the good work. The sign will be up for another four years. We’ll be out for the election celebration party.

Mating Season

Two Indians and a Hillbilly were walking through the woods. All of a sudden one of the Indians ran up a hill to the mouth of a small cave."Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!"he called into the cave and listened closely until he heard an answering, "Wooooo! Wooooo! Woooooo! He then tore off his clothes and ran into the cave.

The Hillbilly was puzzled and asked the remaining Indian what it was all about. "Was the other Indian crazy or what?" The Indian replied "No, It is our custom during mating season when Indian men see cave, they holler 'Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!' into the opening. If they get an answer back, it means there's a beautiful woman in there waiting for us."

Just then they came upon another cave. The second Indian ran up to the cave, stopped, and hollered, "Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!" Immediately, there was the answer. "Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!"from deep inside. He also tore off his clothes and ran into the opening.

The Hillbilly wandered around in the woods alone for a while, and then spied a third large cave. As he looked in amazement at the size of the huge opening, he was thinking, "Hoo, man! Look at the size of this cave! It is bigger than those the Indians found. There must be some really big, fine women in this cave!" He stood in front of the opening and hollered with all his might "Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!"

Like the others, he then heard an answering call, "WOOOOOOOOO, WOOOOOOOOO WOOOOOOOOO!" With a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face, he raced into the cave, tearing off his clothes as he ran.

The following day, the headline of the local newspaper read....


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Birds of a Feather

For the past couple of weeks I've been traveling a lot. I have been throughout Colorado and spent several days in Nebraska. These trips were for good reasons and at times fun, but it’s been tiring.

The above picture was taken at Lexington, Nebraska. While driving down I-80 out of nowhere hundreds, if not thousands, of geese were in the air. Suddenly they all landed at one pond. The number of geese didn’t surprise me. What amazed me was within a few hundred feet was another pond – without one single goose.