Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's Going To Be A Long Winter!

Just how much time can one spend watching movies? I've nearly been bested this weekend. The snow and ice are still on the roads and the roads are still crowded with the holiday weekend shoppers so there is no real desire to get out and go anywhere.

I made some calls, wrote a letter, and did some reading yesterday and then settled in and watched a couple movies on the tube. (Can it really be called a "tube" when it is just an LCD panel? Ah, well! I'll let that pass if you will.)

Today it is supposed to be a bit better, the weather has cleared a bit, but it is still too cold out to spend much time out there. So, other than a bit of household chores, and a couple letters I need to get written, I suppose it is another day for movies and television; relaxing on the couch, petting the dog.

Wherever you are, I hope your Sunday is a warm, cozy, and laid back one.

Don Bergquist - November 30, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, November 29, 2008

White Saturday

It's a cold, wet, white morning.

Saga and I ventured out this morning and explored the winter wonderland before sunrise. The cloud cover prevented the sunrise from being anything spectacular. So I was not excited about being out that early.

It was cold and wet so Saga was not excited about being dragged on a walk around the lake. She kept running to the end of her lead toward home, but after she'd worked out that we were walking the standard route, she quit the futile run and resorted to just casting furtive glances over her shoulder to the north; toward home.

There is no plan for the day; it's another good day to do nothing. I think we'll dig deep into the DVD library and find something I haven't seen in a while!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a lovely day!

Don Bergquist - November 29, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Of late this day after Thanksgiving has become commonly known as "Black Friday." But far from being as ominous as it sounds, this is a good day (or rather it should be a good day for) for retailers; the day that makes or breaks them; the day that leaves them in the red or moves them into the black for the year.

At the risk of sound crotchety, it was not always so... at least it was not always so obviously so! I remember when This day was the start of the Christmas Season, not just another day in a season that started before Halloween; a day for an orgy of shopping.

This morning at five when the local news started, there were already stories about how there were no parking spaces at the local stores and malls. The local stations had their traffic 'copters to show that parking lots were overflowing.

Not that the economy doesn't need people getting out there and spending money, it is just that the season is so much more than that... or it should be. So, I am hunkering down as a sort-of existential protest. I am not leaving my home today except to walk the dog, take a walk in the park and perhaps to go out to dinner tonight. Other than that, I am not getting out into the craziness. If that was what it was like at 05:00 this morning, I can only imagine what it is like now that everyone who was sleeping off the turkey dinner this morning what it must be like now!

Wherever you are, stay safe and happy... if you are out in the mess today, have a great time at it!

Don Bergquist - November 28, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Happy anniversary to my folks, Denny and Flo

Happy anniversary to my brother-in-law and sister, Corey and Mary


Over the River and
Through the Woods
by Lydia Maria Child

Over the river and thru the wood,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh,
Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!
Over the river and thru the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and thru the wood,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bell ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!
Over the river and thru the wood,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day. 

Yeah... I never really understood this song. For one thing, it was that whole snow reference - not really helpful in Miami, now is it?

Besides that, with Mom, Dad, and my siblings and I all living in Miami and Grandfather's house being in Minnesota, there was no way we were going there for a meal, no matter how fantastic a meal it might be, on Thanksgiving day.

For a while, my family had the habit of getting together for the holiday at some mutually convenient place. We went to Orlando once, and Pigeon Forge another year... That was a cool tradition. But as we got more and more far flung, this became unworkable.

So my travel today will be by telephone. I'll be calling my family before heading off to a friend's house to share dinner with friends. Traditions sometimes change. But I suppose that the holiday and its meaning stays the same.

Wherever you are today, I wish you peace and happiness with friends and family on this Thanksgiving Day.

Don Bergquist - November 27, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Turkey

And of course, there is the perennial argument about how to roast the turkey. Over the years I have had the turkey a number or ways from Fried to Slow Roasted to Stuffed with other animals.

True! Turducken is an interesting New Orleans treat my brother and his wife introduced me to one thanksgiving. Basically, you stuff a chicken. Then you take the stuffed chicken into a duck. You then stuff that into a turkey. It is actually quite good.

Fried turkey is good, but you can’t fry a stuffed turkey. Besides, it’s not as if with all the butter, cream, and eggs that go into preparing the traditional Thanksgiving meal one really needs to look for ways to make it more fat laden!

But by far, my favorite way (and the way I have always preferred) is the way my mom used to make it. You butter the inside of a grocery bag (back then there was not the choice of paper or plastic, they were all paper… PLEASE DO NOT USE A PLASTIC GROCERY BAG FOR THIS RECIPE!) Then pop your stuffed turkey into the bag, seal it, toss it into a shallow, open roasting pan and roast it as you would normally. (See yesterday’s recipe for timing.)

Besides this recipe being really easy and making the moistest turkey I have ever had, it is also good because the pan is ridiculously easy to clean and you can toss any remaining stuffing (that didn’t fit in the bird) into the bag and it cooks up so nicely.

The worst Thanksgiving turkey I ever made was the year I had to work… I was working in Memphis and we had a number of Canadian clients so we had to staff the call center. For 4-hours work, we got paid time-and-a-half and got two vacation days exchange. I had friends I had invited for thanksgiving dinner so I did all the prep work the night before, all the veggies were ready to cook; the turkey was stuffed and ready to pop into the oven.

So that morning, boiled the giblets while eating breakfast and then moved them into the ‘fridge. I popped the turkey in to roast before I headed into the office. I was therefore surprised when I opened my apartment door after work and noted the distinct absence of roast turkey aroma. It would have been good to have turned the oven on before I left! Here’s today’s tip for the perfect roast turkey: TURN THE OVEN ON!

Luckily, the grocery store on the corner had not yet closed for the holiday. I zipped down and bought a prime rib, roasted it and served that for the holiday.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a great day and a great holiday!

Don Bergquist – November 26, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Stuffing

Of Course, no turkey day is complete without the stuffing! Everybody has their favorite stuffing, of course, and I am no exception. Mom’s stuffing was good, but I have made my own adjustment to the recipe.


1 Stick Melted Butter
2 Cups Diced Onion
2 Cups Diced Celery
1 Pound Mushrooms Sliced
1 Cup Wild Rice (Cooked as per package directions and cooled)
1 Pound Bulk Breakfast Sausage (One year, in deference to a vegetarian friend I made it with one of the vegetarian sausage replacements and it wasn’t bad, but…)
¼ Cup Fresh Parsley chopped
10-12 Cups Bread Cubes (Mom would use the dry bread cubes ready-made… I like to use my own using a hearty whole-grain bread)
2 Raw Eggs
1-2 Cups Stock (Turkey is best, but you can use chicken or vegetable stock if you don’t have any turkey stock.)

In your largest cast iron skillet (or large, heavy bottomed frying pan) melt the butter slowly until hot enough to sauté.

Cook the wild rice, drain it and add it to a LARGE mixing bowl.

Sauté the onions and celery until translucent. Transfer the vegetables to the mixing bowl leaving the butter in the pan. Mix with the rice.

Sauté the mushrooms until they start to release some of their liquid (a few minutes). Transfer the contents of the pan into the mixing bowl. Mix with the existing ingredients in the bowl.

Crumble-fry the sausage. Drain it and add it to the vegetables in the mixing bowl. Mix to incorporate.

Add the Parsley and bread cubes to the bowl. Mix to incorporate.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add the eggs to the mixing bowl. Mix to incorporate.

Slowly add the stock (mixing the stuffing as you go) stop when the stuffing is wet but not gloppy. (That’s a technical term. The stuffing should wet throughout but not sodden enough to collapse.)

Stuff the turkey until full (but not packed too tightly) and roast as you normally would. (I usually guestimate about 20 minutes per pound, but start checking it at about 12 minutes per pound. Using a meat thermometer, you want the thigh to reach 180° internal temperature, the breast should be about 170°.)

Wherever you are today, I hope you’ll have a lovely day and a happy holiday!

Don Bergquist – November 25, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Sides

Today I am going start a series on Thanksgiving Dinner.

I love this time of the year. The time I spend with my family; the food, it's a great time of year! It was one of the few times of the year we ate in the dining room rather than at the kitchen table. Most of the rest of the year, the dining room was where we did homework; clearing the mountains of paperwork Mom and Dad stored there to one side so that there was room for our schoolbooks.

Every year, my mom would dig her good china out of the cabinets it was stored in. We'd spend hours cleaning the silver and washing the china. The table would be spread with the orange, brown, and gold table cloth. It had an autumn cornucopia motif. We'd spend hours cleaning the china, crystal and silver and then set the table.

Most every other day of the year meals were served out of the pots and pans they were cooked in; or in the case of our Friday fried fish dinners off the newspaper they were drained on. But on the big three (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) and selected other rare occasions, meals were served out of honest-to-goodness serving dishes! There was a gravy boat, a soup tureen, and an assortment of plates and bowls of all shapes and sizes to accept a variety of side dishes.

And side dishes there were for Thanksgiving! Olives (Black and Green!), mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing! There was usually corn, and beans, and salad of some kind. Yum! And each had its own serving dish. There was a small oval plate just the right size to hold a can of jellied cranberry sauce (always served in a gelatinous cylinder and still showing the ridges of the tin can... that's how we knew it was "fresh!") and of course the huge platter that was barely large enough to hold the main event: The turkey.

It would have been nice to eat off the good china more often, but really, the stoneware was eminently more practical.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have a great day!

Don Bergquist - November 24, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Sunday, November 23, 2008


What a lovely feeling doing nothing all day!

I guess my blog must be getting a bit dull, On weekends all I want to do is to go for a bike ride or a walk in the park with the dog. And during the week I am too busy at the office to really get out and do any world-seeing... so in the past year my blog title has become more figurative than literal.

How different from four years ago, when I started the blog because I was going to be traveling regularly to Europe. But there is, I suppose a lot of things I could be discussing in the blog. For example, the current political situation. What the hell is going on in Washington!?

When did it become advisable to reward a company for poor performance? The "Big Three" auto makers have an almost perfect track record in recent years of building cars that people don't want (or can't afford) to buy. But now, all of the sudden, we have to send them BILLIONS of dollars to keep them solvent. And they expect that they will keep building the same cars that nobody wants or needs. There is a reason Japanese cars are so popular in the US!

I hope that we will see some responsible behavior out of congress... now that the congress is more central than it was a few years ago, and skewing a bit left of center, perhaps they will start to watch out for the common man, rather than the CEO. If the little guy cannot afford to buy a product then all the money in Washington will not support an industry for too long.

Forget supply-side economics, let's look at demand-side economics. Sure, we can't buy what isn't available, but they can't sell what we can't afford to buy!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you have a great day!

Don Bergquist - November 23, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quiet Saturday

No plans, no obligations.

Saga and I took a leisurely stroll through the park just after sunrise; not really a choice on my part. It is not possible to move faster than a stroll with her stopping ever few steps to thoroughly sniff-out things.

I have no plan for the day so i may do a little housework, a bit of reading and just chill for the day. How lovely to have no plan and nothing to do!

Wherever you are today, I hope you will take time for yourself.

Don Bergquist - November 22, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lost In A Fog

What a lovely morning to have chosen to take off. I love it when the weather is changing!

This morning as Saga and I took our early morning outing there was no way to see the other side of the street, let alone the park. The aftermath of our cold front (that dropped frozen mist and sleet on us during the rush hour yesterday morning) is a fog bank that has blanketed the front range this morning. It was in the high teens as we made for the park at five. Needless to say, Saga didn't want to spend a lot of time outside, the fog was that penetrating, thick fog that clings to everything and makes you feel the damp and the cold.

Later, when the sun was up and it was a bit warmer (in the low twenties) Saga and I went for a walk again. The fog was beginning to burn off. You could at least see the trees across the park now. The the grass all had a thick coating of frost. It reminded me of an early-winter day in London. I was transported to all those nights crossing the village on foot or on my bike after an evening at the pub.

I had to shake my head to get rid of the image of the churchyard. It was interesting; four years ago today I set foot in England for the first time. I think of London often but to realize as I was walking through a very London-Like fog on the anniversary of my first visit and see the striking similarity... Odd.

But the morning wears on. I have a number of things I want to accomplish today and can't start them until I post this and get moving so I will say good morning to you and wish you a good day.

Wherever you are, I hope your day is clear and fine!

Don Bergquist - November 21, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my Cousin, Grainne

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Eventually, she decides that Daddy is just not leaving so she can go back to the living room and get on with her arduous schedule of sleeping. I'd say "cat napping" but as she is a dog, it may offend her!

One of the cool things about the breed that Saga belongs to is that they are equally happy getting out and being active with you or assuming a position, balled-up on the couch and napping all day. They are either hard-working herders or they are couch potatoes! Either way, it's all the same to them.

Saga loves getting out and taking a walk (assuming it is not too cold or wet) and when we return, she is perfectly happy to ball-up on the couch or on her bed by the front windows, and just snooze the day away. What a wonderful life.

It's funny; when I go down for my second cup of coffee, her head lifts inquisitively. Is Daddy on his way to get me a snack? is the obvious question that had drifted lazily through her head. Seeing me come back almost immediately, she barely stirs the next time I head down.

If I fail to come down any time soon, she'll come up and see what Daddy is up to. We have our "Work From Home Day" routine... and I am happy with it. I also get to go out for a walk with her at lunchtime... I'm sure she likes this too. But the operative part of a "Work From Home Day" is the "work" part and I suppose I have put that off long enough, so I should get to it.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a good day!

Don Bergquist - November 20, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Book Club Night

Well, I finally finished the book. It's not as if it was really a hard read, just a depressing read.

My book club read Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee this month. It was interesting, if somewhat depressing. The story is that of a professor in Cape Town, South Africa who leaves his post in disgrace after an affair with a student comes to light.

It was interesting because I have been to the areas that are the settings for the story and I enjoyed seeing them as the setting for a novel. It was depressing because it brought to mind all the uncomfortable feelings I had while there.

Don't get me wrong, South Africa is a beautiful place and the people there (for the most part) were lovely people. I had a great time there. The racial tension (even this long after the fall of apartheid) was palpable and it made me uncomfortable to watch things happen blatantly that haven't been acceptable in the US since the sixties.

It was clear to me from the beginning that the novel was meant to be an allegory of the state of South Africa race relations since the de Klerk government ended apartheid and fell to the government of Nelson Mandela. Tonight's discussion should be a good one.

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day is a good one.

Don Bergquist - November 19, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What The…

Okay, it is going to be nicer in Denver today that it is in South Florida!

As I sit here at five o’clock the news has just announced that it is already nearly 60° outside and we are headed for a high near 80°! It is really nice outside! I had a light sweater on as we walked… The stars were shining with the half-moon beaming along. The skies are nearly cloudless and it is supposed to be an absolutely lovely day! I am so tempted to play hooky! But no, there is a lot to do and next week is a holiday so I guess I had best get into the office.

Ah… what a hassle it is being a grown-up some times!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you’re having a lovely day.

Don Bergquist – November 18, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, November 17, 2008

Feeling Better!

Thanks for the email, guys!

I am feeling a lot better. It's amazing how great 20-hours of sleep in a day makes you feel!

Saga was wonderful... she would come in periodically to check-up on me (or perhaps she was there all along and I only noticed in those few occasions I was conscious. The few times I made it outside it was lovely out yesterday.

This morning I have a dental appointment and so I am doing my writing from home. That's good... I am feeling a lot better but don't want to push it! As soon as I have put-in my eight hours I expect I'll be climbing under the duvet.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you'll have a great day!

Don Bergquist - November 17, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Out Of Commission

Well, I had thought that I had dodged the bullet and gotten out of the office before I caught the cold (flu?) that one of my coworkers was walking around with, but starting last night I started feeling pretty cruddy.

This morning I got out of bed only because I had to... Once Saga and I had taken a walk, I went back to bed. I thought I was going to feel better after sleeping 'til noon, but now that I am vertical, I am thinking of nothing but getting horizontal again. So I'm off to bed again.

Wherever you are, I hope you're feeling well.

Don Bergquist - November 16, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy anniversary to my cousins, Michael and DeeAnn

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Hey, kiddies, it's flippin' cold out there!

My thermometer outside read 10°(Fahrenheit - that's -12.2222222° Celsius). Needless to say, Saga didn't want to spend a lot of time exploring this morning. We'll head out again a little later on as the temperature rises a bit.

But this is one of the things I love about living in Colorado! Down here where most of us live (six thousand feet and below) it will snow one day, and the next day be lovely. It is supposed to be up around 70° again by the middle of the week.

If I want the snow, it is falling up in the mountains. The slopes are lovely! The white and green blankets that can be seen from down here shine in the first light of the morning.

I have no big plans for the day. Tomorrow is supposed to be the nice day of the weekend... so I suppose today is a bookkeeping and house cleaning day. Tomorrow, perhaps a bike ride... the paths should be clean and dry by tomorrow.

Wherever you are today, I hope your day is a lovely one!

Don Bergquist - November 15, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, November 14, 2008

First Snow

They've been playing up the fact that this morning's storm is the first snow storm of the season. It is cold and blustery outside and Saga decided that she really didn't want to sniff-out everything in the park this morning. It was to wet and cold!

What a difference from a year ago. One year ago this morning I was waking up in Isandlwana, South Africa. It was a lovely place and a very moving place, once I learned the history of the defeat of the British at the hands of the Zulu at Isandlwana. (The movie Zulu - through which I have still not been able to sit without falling asleep - is about the battle the next day at Rorke's Drift, a few miles away.)

Last year it was hot and muggy, though the scenery was lovely. I was struck by how dark it gets there at night. There are practically no lights once the sun goes down! This year, I am sitting in the warmth of my home in Lakewood watching the first snow of the season fall. It's coming down pretty steadily, but because we had such a warm week up until last night, there is little accumulation other than on the grassy areas. Still... It is a good day not to have to be out and about!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are warm and cozy!

Don Bergquist - November 14, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Such A Morning

Why is it I so rarely have a camera with me in the mornings when I walk Saga?

Not that I had the time to sit through the exposure time this morning. the moon breaking through the clouds as we walked this morning cast an amazing glow across Saga, me, and the entire park. It wasn't quite "the lustre of mid-day" as described in A Visit From St. Nicholas but it was pretty close... The park positively glowed!

Saga, of course, decided that she needed to go way off the paths... Nothing interests her here on the path, I suppose. By the time we got home, the moon had gone back behind the cloud banks and all was dark again. I suppose I should post this and get to the office... it is another busy day for me today.

Wherever you are today, I wish you a lovely start to your day! 

Don Bergquist - November 13, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Busy Morning

How is it that Saga can always tell when it is going to be a busy morning for me?

It seems that the more I have planned to do at the office in the morning, the more time she wants to spend wandering aimlessly about the park. Of course, she doesn’t go about it as if it were aimlessly. Oh, no!

She is just a bundle of energy, bolting this way and that, going about sniffing and snuffing hither and thither. This morning I have to get in and reload all my programs on my PC… does she not understand this? But how can I be upset? She is so damn cute as she wanders determined to sniff and check-out everything in the park. I can spend a few extra minutes to enjoy her company!

Wherever you are today, I hope you’ll take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to spend time with someone special to you!

Don Bergquist – November 12, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin, Michael

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD
Canadian Army
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

After the first world war broke the soil in Flanders (a lovely area on the border between France and Belgium) the battle fields were covered the following spring in beautiful poppies. The war disturbed the soil, the poppies took the chance to enjoy the broken ground and germinated.

You see, poppy seeds can lie fallow in untilled ground for years until the conditions are right for their survival. Once the ground is tilled (or turned up by a battle) the seeds will germinate and grow. This is one reason that they have become associated with veterans day.

These poppies are orange, and not the traditional red that has been the symbol of the veterans that we honor on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, but the red variety were hard to find in gardens. I have only pictures of the orange varieties.

They were as hard to find as the commemorative one are to find this year. Which is odd. Perhaps it is because I spent the last three Novembers in London, but I remember poppies being big on Veterans’ Day! This year, even though I looked for a poppy to wear, I could not find one to be had. I was sure that I had one from my trip to South Africa (we left poppies on the graves at Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift) but I cannot find many of the things I thought I had saved as mementos from that trip.

So orange poppies will have to do. That and the remembrance of all the veterans current and past who have fought and defended our rights and liberties for these last 232 years.

American veterans: Thank you!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will take a moment to thank a veteran of your country!

Don Bergquist - November 11, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Remembrance Day

Armistice Day

Veterans Day

Monday, November 10, 2008

Oh Come Off It!

Today’s screed is brought to you courtesy of a story someone mentioned to me the other day. I really shouldn’t have bee as incredulous as I was. I mean, really! Was it really too hard to believe that a certain segment of our population (the redneck right) would immediately expect the new administration had designs on their guns? Was that really such a stretch?

Apparently, there has been a run on guns since the election. The interview I heard yesterday was eye-opening. The idiot they were interviewing sounded like a refugee from the cast of Deliverance. He did everything but drop the “N” bomb when discussing how our next President wanted to deprive him of his god-given right to own a Howitzer if he wanted to!

A word to the wise… Uh… A word to those of you afraid that your rights will be impinged upon:

Where were you when the current administration canceled the first article of the Bill of Rights?

You certainly rallied around the flag when someone decided that any law no matter now well intentioned that even hints at removing the armor-piercing, heat-seeking bullets from your arsenal (you obviously need them for deer hunting, after all!) but allow the government to remove the right for free people to have their constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech, and you’re MIA!

And while we’re at it, the current administration has been all too expedient when it comes to trampling on most of the rest of the bill of rights.

Fourth Amendment: Protection from unlawful search and seizure… not while the Bush Administration is on its little witch hunt. They hired a whole department to listen into your calls… god forbid they thought your private conversations were “interesting!”

Fifth Amendment: The right to due process… unless the president thinks that it is a bad idea. Then he just invents justification to provide you of it. And you can forget about your habeas corpus rights!

Sixth Amendment: The right to trial by jury… Unless we decide you’re an “unlawful combatant” (whatever that is) and then we’ll just hold you ad infinitum. Let’s just hold you in an off-shore prison. You’ll eventually get your trial I guess. Hell may freeze over in the interim, but…

Eighth Amendment: Prohibition of Cruel and unusual punishment… I guess he has me here, though. If he sends your to another country that doesn’t have the bill of rights protection and if you just happen to get tortured or water boarded or whatever while you are there, can he really be held responsible? Nudge-nudge.

You’ve been out to lunch while your rights have been systematically revoked and the economy and the image of your country has gone to hell in a hand basket. But you’re just damn sure the new government is coming after your guns? I have news for you, Bubba!There is a recession on! The good old boy in the white house and his cronies have screwed-up the economy and made a general mess of things!

The new administration are going to be too busy fixing and cleaning-up after the current confederacy of dunces to be worried about whether you really need eighteen Kalatchnikovs for rustlin’ you up some ‘possums and some squirrels for tonight’s vittles! At least you’re helping to stimulate the economy in your own perverse way!

Wherever you are, I hope that you are having a good and stress-free day!

Don Bergquist - November 10, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Lovely Sunday Morning

It’s a cold, crisp morning in Colorado!

The day dawned early as Saga and I were on our morning constitutional in her park. The weather continues to hold. Despite the repeated predictions to the contrary, the weather is dry and cool. The afternoon is likely to reach up to the high fifties, low sixties. But that is hours away still.

It is just after sunrise and Saga and I have just returned from our morning walk. As we made our way back from the lake, the sun was just peeking over the rim of trees along the east edge of the park.  The glow of it had just started making the mountains glow to the west. There were very few clouds so the sunrise was nothing that would be interesting through the camera, you just had to be there.

I’m making coffee, Saga is curled on the end of the sofa. It is a lovely, relaxing morning… The day spreads out ahead of us full of possibilities. I suppose that while the weather holds I should do something outside but what that may be I have no idea. I’ll just have to take the day as it comes. But then, this is the best way to spend a quiet, lazy day at home!

Wherever you are today, I hope that your day is a calm and relaxing one!

Don Bergquist - November 09, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, November 08, 2008

On A Lovely Saturday Morning

On a Lovely morning like today what more is there to do but to get out and enjoy it?

Saga must have thought I was crazy when I brought props with us into the park. Well, okay, that’s not quite true… this picture is a few years old. But it is a perfect illustration of the day as I see it.

I wore a jacket as we went for our walk. By the time we returned home, I sort-of wished I hadn’t it was way too warm. The day is sunny and bright and apart from getting ready for my game night this evening, I have no plans for the day. I am struggling to get through the book club selection that we are reading, but I am certainly not enjoying it.

I have to get to the bank, they sent me an ATM card but never sent the PIN for it… I guess they wanted me to know they were thinking of them, just not very much. I have to get some groceries and make some snacks for the party, other than that, it is relaxing and reading for me today.

Wherever you are, I hope that your weekend is relaxing!

Don Bergquist - November 08, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Friday, November 07, 2008

Party Politics

In the post-election hand-wringing that has been going on since Wednesday morning, I have been hearing a lot about the "mistakes" that the Republicans made. It is amazing how many experts can tell the party why they lost but none of them seemed to be able to tell them how to win!

As a voter with no party affiliation, let me make a few suggestions that the pundits seem to have missed - at least from the experts I have been hearing.

1) Remember: You Cannot Legislate Morality!
Forget it! It has never worked. Think: "Prohibition!" The moment you try to try to tell people what is and what is not acceptable behavior, you lose them. Keep your nose out of my private life. Ask yourself these questions: "Am I personally involved in _____? Does ____ directly impact me? Can ____ cause direct physical harm to me?" If the answer to any of the above is "yes" then talk to me... if not and the only reason you want to keep me (or someone else from doing ____ is that your religion tells you it is a sin), you have no business telling anyone that they can't do it. This is not a theocracy. We were founded on religious freedom. You have your right to have your personal beliefs, you have your right to discuss your personal beliefs, you do not have the right to impose your beliefs on anyone else! So here's the deal. I won't go out of my way to oppress your rights and beliefs, don't go out of your way to deprive me of mine.
2) Practice A Little Restraint!
Be fiscally conservative. Remember: It's my money you are spending. If we can't afford it, we can't afford it. Let's not leave tons of debt to our grandchildren. eventually enough is enough!
3) Encourage Responsible Behavior!
Let's try and not burn the planet to a cinder before the end of the century! This is, for the moment, the only planet we have. Can we practice a little stewardship? I'm not even saying you have to believe in man-made global climate change. There are enough reasons not to pollute the planet or be wasteful without believing in it. General consensus amongst the scientific community says it is real, but if it makes you uncomfortable, think about it this way instead: There is not an infinite supply of anything on this planet. The planet is of a finite size. Let's try and save some of the resources for tomorrow. Spending your entire paycheck on payday makes the rest of the pay cycle a bit hungry, doesn't it?
4) Don't Play Me For Stupid!
Look: The dumbest animal will eventually learn. If you kick it every time it walks up to you, it will eventually stop walking up to you. Don't tell me during the election that you're an agent of change unless you actually have plans to change something. Oh, and despite what the president seems to think, we all know that simply repeating something over and over does not make it true. (I'm a maverick! I'm a maverick! I'm a maverick! I'm a maverick! I'm a maverick! I'm a maverick! I'm a maverick!)
5) Quit Pandering!
You cannot possibly give everything to everyone. It is the nature of society that in times of plenty we all share in the boon, in lean times, we all tighten our belts. A rising tide lifts all boats. If taxes need to go up, tell me. I expect, however that they will go up for everyone... Not just a select few. 
In short, I guess I can sum this up by saying be less like, well, like you seem to have been for quire a few years. return to your historic stance as the party of fiscal responsibility and get off the crusade that you got on to court the religious right. If you can't, well... any third party out there who can may find that a number of those of us in the center who are disgusted with the current two party system would be willing to listen.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have an excellent day - but not at the expense of anyone else!

Don Bergquist - November 07, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's The Wildlife

Living in the UK was cool because when Saga and I would go for our morning walk we would often see foxes running through the streets in the village. Then there was all the fallow wildlife (deer, elk and the like) that lived confined into Bushy Park. But the wildlife here in Colorado is really something else!

This morning, Saga alerted me to something amiss outside the windows as I was laying in bed semi-dozing, semi-awake, semi-watching the news. When she would not give-up the growling and the occasional quiet yap as she stood, her feet against the window sill, I got up to see what had her so riled. It was the dozen-or-so deer that were sauntering through the complex. At least that was what I could see. Under the watchful eye of my faithful companion, the wildlife strolled across the lawn between my home and my neighbor's, paused a moment to nibble on the roses (or something else… but I think it was the roses) and then continued their saunter off in the direction of the park.

That was a cool thing to see first thing in the morning, but not nearly as cool (or as heart starting) as the sight that accompanied us as we took our actual walk a little later on.

We were just entering the park when I saw, off to my left, crossing the street by the school what I thought was a large dog; a grey German Sheppard or something similar. I didn't think much of it, Saga did her little "that’s right, get out of my park growl" as the "dog" moved off to the north. It was a moment later as we were walking down the path to the bridge that I realized that this had been no dog.

Another one shot across the path not ten feet away. Saga let out a yelp and then started barking. I had to pull hard on the lead to keep her near me. It came to me in a flash as the next one crossed the path slightly further on. "Coyote!"

All told there were four of them that were traveling in a pack across the park. I stood there, frozen, watching these wisps of grey smoke moving through the tall grass of the wild part of the park. Saga stayed close to me… but only because I was keeping her on a short lead. She really wanted to get out there and protect her park. Either that or she thought they were something to be herded ("Daddy! Did you get me some herd animals for a surprise present!?") and she wanted to get to work.

My heart pounding a bit - I really had no idea what they would do if they thought Saga was an easy target, I kept an eye on where they had come from for a second; there was no movement. I turned to watch them recede into the distance toward the school. They ran down the center of Yale Avenue. Now there is a sight you don't see every day.

All told, it was a good morning for watching the wildlife! It's just too bad that this time of year it is too dark for any good pictures that early! Oh well… off to work!

Wherever you are this morning, I hope your day is a little wild!

Don Bergquist - November 06, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


What does it say about a party when the incumbent party cannot get a majority of their party members off their couches and to the polls? It has been reported that the number of Republicans who voted yesterday was around 40% of those registered to vote. And this in a year when overall turnout was at a record high!

I have to say, having stayed up late to see the returns (but almost certain that we wouldn't have returns for a day or so...), I am relieved that the party in control of the White House has changed! Perhaps the new president will work to restore the rights that we were granted in the Bill Of Rights. I'm getting pretty tired of having my rights trodden upon by the executive branch (and what ever branch Dick Cheney believes himself to be in this week).

How about that concession speech by Senator McCain? It was touching and moving. It reminded me of why I was considering voting republican. He was almost the John McCain he was before he sold-out to the radical right wing of his party. It was disturbing to hear the calls of "boo!" and "terrorist" from the crowd watching the concession speech. I hope the McCain supporters will listen to his pleadings to change the tenor of the discourse in Washington... Though with the substance of his ads as the campaign wore on getting more and more dishonest, mean, and generally hateful, I doubt that that crowd will let it go any time soon.

The one comment in the speech that left me wondering what he could possibly be thinking was when he referred to his running mate as a woman of substance who will go far. Unless he was talking about the distance between Phoenix and Anchorage, I cannot imagine her going far. Sixty percent of the country sees her as the unqualified buffoon that she is. Perhaps the scales will fall from McCain's eyes on the road back to the senate.

I can only hope that Obama meant what he said in his victory speech, that we need to pull together, start working toward fixing the problems we have here and abroad, and try and repair the goodwill we used to enjoy in the world. Perhaps the next time business takes me abroad, I will not be encouraged by my hosts to claim to be Canadian rather than acknowledging my heritage as a US Citizen!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you'll have a good day!

Don Bergquist - November 05, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Guy Fawkes Day

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason, why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot.
People should not fear their governments,
the governments should fear their people.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day Comes Early

I don't believe I have ever seen that school active this early! As Saga and I took our walk this morning the activity at the elementary school across the street from our house is a polling place and I suppose that with the expected turnout being in excess of 85%, they want to make sure that they are ready when the polls open later this morning.

The sunrise is spectacular. I noticed the color off to the east as Saga and I were stepping out the door. I reached back in to grab the camera. Is there something poetic about the election day having such a lovely sunrise? It it a sign that we are in for a beautiful new beginning? Am I just being a sap? Yes. That is more likely.

It is a cool, crisp fall morning and the frost on the grass sparkled like diamonds in the street lamps. It does appear that the lovely weather is coming to an end. They are predicting rain and/or snow tomorrow. Ah, well... I guess that the Indian Summer had to end eventually.

If you haven't already, I hope you will take time to vote today! It is the least you can do for your country. The very least. Take part in the process! Go out and vote. And if you have already voted, call two friends and encourage them to go out and vote.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are having a lovely morning!

Don Bergquist - November 04, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Here it is... we're approaching the finish line! By tomorrow evening there will be no reason for either campaign to be RoboCalling me two-to-three times a day! Heck! I even got a RoboCall from my sister this weekend! Argh!

But I think that the thing I will miss about the election is the wonderful dissonance between words and actions. Take McCain claiming that Obama wants to be distributionist in chief, and Palin claiming that the Democratic ideal is "From each according to their ability; to each according to their need." Oh come off it!
McCain wants to take $350 Billion of my money, your money and everyone else' money and redistribute it to those people who are unable to pay their mortgages. Talk about "spreading the wealth!" And as for the label of "communist," "socialist," or "Marxist," please! If the Republicans (under McCain) get their way I (and everyone else in America) will end-up owning your mortgage! Talk about collective!

Ah! This will all come to an end... my phone will fall silent for reasons other than that I've turned-off the ringers!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have a great day!

Don Bergquist - November 03, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy anniversary to my cousins, Dale and Gwen

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I think the most strenuous thing I am going to do today is laundry.

That digging yesterday really did leave me sore! I think I may go down to the community center and swim a few laps and then spend some time in the whirlpool. But at least I got the planting done... that was the important thing.

Today there is not a lot going on. I remembered to set my clocks back yesterday so when I rolled over and looked at the clock at 06:00 and wondered why I was so awake so early, it took me a moment to remember it was "Fall Back" day. I hope you remembered that we change the clocks back to standard time in most of the US today.

And it was dark out! Saga and I are going to wait for the sun to come up before walking this morning; the coyotes have been active for the past few mornings. That is the big plan for the day. I will probably spend the remainder of it reading my book club selection of the month... or napping. It's nice having no big decisions for the day.

Wherever you are, I hope that you're having a lovely weekend!

Don Bergquist - November 02, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my cousin, Michael

Happy birthday to my uncle, Richard

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Busy Saturday

There are no pictures to show, plots of dirt are not terribly photogenic, but I have finished planting my beds for the spring. The areas I was planting didn't look that big when I started out but I am completely sore and spent now that I have finished.

The two beds are each about twelve feet long and about a two feet wide... One had never been planted in before so it was covered with a layer of rock-strewn dirt and an under-layer of landscaping plastic weed-barrier. Argh!

I think I will sit out on the patio in the Hammock Chair with a beer, a book and a few Naproxen Sodium in my system and see if I can drift off while reading. It was a good day of planting but I am completely spent now! At least this spring I should have some lovely flowers to show for it. Right now all I have is sore muscles and a couple long grey-brown patches in front of my place.

Wherever you are today I hope you've got something to show for your efforts!

Don Bergquist - November 01, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my friend, Terry

All Saints' Day