Monday, June 30, 2008

What a difference!

I have to say, I am so pleased with the recent upgrade to the insulation in the attic and the addition of the whole-house fan! Whereas it would have normally been roasting in the upstairs rooms and freezing in the downstairs (because I would boost the thermostat to compensate for the irregular heating properties of the two floors) it is now much more comfortable on both floors.

And with the tendency for the nights to be cool (it tends to get down to the high forties or low fifties), it is great sleeping with the windows open. I've found that if I leave the screen security door locked and the front door ajar at night when I head off to bed and the windows upstairs open, the house cools off nicely over night. I can then turn on the fan for an hour while getting ready for work and the house is full of fresh, chill air when I seal it to go to work.

The improved insulation means that the house is still comfortable when I get home after work. In the heat of the day this weekend, I think the air conditioning came on twice… but I cannot be sure. It never seemed hot enough for it to need to come on! I am so glad I did these two projects. I wish I had done them years ago!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're staying cool and having a great day!

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

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Gorgeous Day

Yesterday was lovely!

After a bike ride, a walk in the park with Saga and a few hours of work around the place that I just needed to get done, I headed up to Mount Sanitas, in Boulder. It has been a long time since I was hiking up in the mountains and the trail crests Mount Sanitas is on of my favorites. I brought my cameras, but the weather was so hazy the vistas were obscured. There was no good photography, even from the summit.

Ah well… perhaps today. I think I am going to drive west into the mountains and look for something fun to do.

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

Don Bergquist – June 29, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Presidential Memorial

My friend Mike Mowery brought this to my attention:



From our Department of Damning-With-Faint-Praise Files: A San Francisco voters group has started a petition drive to rename their sewage treatment plant "the George W. Bush Sewage Plant." What a fitting memorial! Too bad I am not registered to vote in that locality. I would sign in a second.



Not surprisingly, coverage of the move varies depending on the source. Fox News dismisses the protestors who want to rename the plant as "A renegade voter movement" and dismisses the idea as one they will eventually rue even if they see it as a fitting statement of their views. The San Francsico Chronicle has a more fair and balanced view of the petition... No judgement, no commentary; they cover it as "a group going by the regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco" without the normal dismissiveness that Fox seems to think of as "Fair and Balanced" coverage. (Fox is about as balanced as a drunk at the end of an all-night bender!)



But even if I cannot participate, I can certainly promote it! If you or anyone you know is a registered voter, please seek-out the petition and sign it. If you know anyone who is, please forward them the link at the top of this post and ask them to sign. Let's make sure that the president gets the memorial he so justly deserves!



Wherever you are today, I hope you're having a great day!



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

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday: Time To Plan The Weekend

It's pretty-much like any other day. There is no pub to go to tonight with the dog. No rides in Bushy Park await my enjoyment this weekend. I can't catch the train into London tomorrow to meet-up with friends. It's another weekend in Colorado.



But, the Bear Creek Trail has ground under my bike tires regularly for the past few weeks, the mountains becon to the west... there is plenty to do here!
I'm thinking that Saga and I may drive up to the mountains this weekend and go exploring.



Those of you who have been reading my blog for any period of time know that the one thing you can probably count on because I plan to go to the mountains this weekend, is that I will probably not make it to the mountains this weekend! It's nothing I can help, it just seems to be the way things happen.



I can plan and plan; make schedules and expectations; prepare for whatever it is, but as soon as I make the committment, tell people what my plans are, they go right out the window! I end-up doing nothing of the sort. It seems to happen all the time. Either something comes up, or the plans collapse, or I get sick.



But, if today goes well, and the weekend is as lovely as they are predicting, then Saga and I will be feeling the road under our wheels this weekend. There's a lovely park I know of that has a mirror lake that beautifully reflects the sky. I think that we will head up there. (We'll see what happens.)



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



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

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On A Thursday

There's a great line from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur Dent (an earth man) has just learned that his best friend Ford Prefect (named after a car for reasons that are unimportant at the moment) is not from Gifford but rather is an alien from somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. This on top of the fact that the council has decided to demolish his house to build a bypass, so you can tell he is having a bad day. Under the weight of this provocation, Aurthur exclaims "This must be Thursday, I never quite could get the hang of Thursdays."

I can sympathize with that! My morning started with Saga waking me up way early. Not really sure why, she just wanted to play around three this morning. I tried getting back to sleep after convincing her to lay down and let Daddy sleep, but it was futile.

When I went downstairs to get coffee, I noticed that I hadn't put the pot fully under the filter so the filter exit was blocked. There were coffee grounds and coffee all over the counter from where it had overflowed the top of the filter basket.

Finally, Saga didn't want to go out this morning, so I had to coax her to the door, slip on the lead and practically drag her out for her walk. When we finally got to her park, she wanted to sniff everything in sight but not actually take care of her business. I still have to pack lunch and get into the office. I am going to be so late today! Grrr....

Another Thursday!

Wherever you are this morning, I hope that the days has started well for you!

Don Bergquist - June 26, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike to Work Day

Well, it's bike to work day but there is no way in Heck that I am going to participate. According to my GPS, I live at about 6,000' the office is about 800' higher. That climb would be bad enough but my twenty mile trip would have to cross a couple really evil hills.

So, I'll be driving my hybrid into the office today; as always. But in honor of Bike to Work day, I am planning to get home as early as possible and bike to the store for groceries. (Instead of stopping on the way home, that is...)

Some year, I'll be with-it enough to get up an extra hour early and make the ride into the office instead of driving... but that is not going to be today. (Besides, it is supposed to be over ninety today!)

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're having a great day!

Don Bergquist - June 25, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Religion

Let's see, in my blog I have discussed Sex, Drugs, and Politics. I guess Religion is the only taboo I need to jump into. And yesterday's news gave me the perfect grist for my rant mill.

Have you seen the new Pew Survey on the Religious Landscape of America? It is fascinating! It also describes an America that I am not sure that I live in. Of those surveyed, 70% of those who identified themselves as being with a particular religion agreed with the statement that "many religions can lead to eternal life." I find that interesting as most of the people I know who are religious and identify themselves with a particular church are fairly dogmatic in their beliefs.

Another surprising survey result was that while 90% believe in God in one shape or another, only 60% of those believe in the classical bronze-age sky god that I remember being taught about in my catechism classes. A quarter of the respondents expressed the view that God may be an impersonal force... a zeitgeist, an amorphous thing rather than the bearded grand-dad figure floating on a cloud that you're likely to see in the popular religious artwork.

Not surprisingly, the percentage of people who expressed absolute certainty of the existence of God (at or above 90%) are the groups that tend to be the most vocal or evangelical. The Jehovah's Witnesses top the list at 93%, followed by a three-way tie of the evangelical sects, historically black churches, and Mormons.

For someone who professes to being an Existential Catholic (I believe in Catholicism as a concept and think that the underlying ethical code they teach is a fundamentally good one but have a hard time swallowing the dogma of the church and the evolving "truth" they peddle) I was not surprised that the strongest beliefs tend to be held by the people that seem to always be in the news protesting Abortion, Gay Rights, or Liberalization of anything they see as "Sinful." What surprised me in the survey the most was that nearly one-in-five respondents identified themselves as being either Atheist, Agnostic, or otherwise unaffiliated with a particular church.

In an America that was founded on Protestant beliefs but religious cast-offs from the old world who came here to found a country where they could practice their religions without fear, it is to be expected that the US would have a decidedly religious bent. I know a lot more of these "unaffiliated" people from the UK than I do from the US. It surprises me, that there are so many out here. They are certainly not a vocal minority!

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

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

Happy Mid-Summer's Day

Monday, June 23, 2008

Downer

Well, isn't that just fitting!

On my way to walk the dog this morning, I noticed my car was sitting a bit funny... FLAT TIRES???? It must be Monday!

I have no idea what's going on, but I have to get AAA out and get my car to the tire store to see if they were let down or if I picked-up a nail or something on the road. Grrr! And on the morning I have a conference call early!

I guess I will set-up My laptop and get to work here at home. Well, it must be Monday again!

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

Don Bergquist - June 23, 2004 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Happy birthday to my niece, Elizabeth

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Relaxation

What a relaxing weekend! Saga and I took a lovely long walk in her park yesterday morning around sunrise. The air was cool, the dew was thick and the prairie dogs were still groggy from sleep. When we returned, I took the bike down to the store and got a few things.

I've decided that with the supermarket only three-or-so miles away, I should really bike there unless I am doing a major shop. So I got a side-bag (it hangs off the bike rack) to carry groceries in and makes shopping by bike easier.

The rest of the day was spend doing a little light housework, catching-up on my bookkeeping, and chatting with friends and family on the phone. In the afternoon, I took a swim and another bike ride. The day was spent in the bliss of someone who has no actual schedule to follow.

As evening fell, a neighbor came over and we shared a bottle of wine and conversation out in the cool air of the evening on my deck. Her cat came over to check things out, and Saga came out to check-up on our guests. It was lovely!

Today, I think may be much the same. But, perhaps I will dump my camera gear into the car and go for a drive... look for something to shoot. Who knows. I don't have to be anywhere until six tomorrow morning. Today belongs to me and Saga.

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

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

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Aah!

What a difference! Why did I wait so long?

This week I did two big projects at home that I have been delaying (partly because I was not here, partly because when I was I didn't have the time to sit here and wait for contractors). But this week, I finally put-in a whole-house attic fan!

It is wonderful! The moment I turned it on, I could feel something that my home never had, a breeze! My home has lovely large windows in every room, but since my condo is backed by another identical to my own, and is flanked by one on each side, there is no natural ventilation. It was a dead-air zone.

The fan, creates low pressure in the stairwell, pulling the warm air in the place and forcing it into the attic, this draws the cooler air from outside my home in. It also creates this lovely breeze! I had a lovely sleep with the windows open the night it was installed and for the first time in weeks, I needed to cover-up with the duvet. I love it here in the mountains where temps in the daytime can soar to the nineties and then drop to the forties overnight.

Yesterday I had the insulation installed. Having been built prior to the oil embargoes of the seventies, insulation was not one of the big priorities here... there was only about an inch of insulation in the attic. I now have 18" of blown-in insulation in my attic, an R-Value of about 40.

This work is going to pay for itself in no time! For the first time since I have owned this place on a summer day, the A/C didn't kick-on until after 17:00! In the morning, I opened all the windows and turned on the fan for an hour. The house cooled down and stayed cool all day!

Aah! I'm lovin' summer!

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

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

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's The Summer Solstice

Obnoxious

The best thing about being an uncle is that I can see my nieces and nephews when I want and I can send them home after. I also love the fact that if a child is acting-up or being obnoxious, chances are, it isn't mine! Don't get me wrong, I love children. Well behaved little darlings are a pleasure and a joy! And some of the funniest things I have ever heard have come "out of the mouths of babes" as it were.

So I really am not blaming the children here, for messing-up my swim last night and taking all the fun out of it. It is the parents I blame!

Out community has a pool. (I own 1/96th undivided interest in the grounds, the pool, the buildings, and the facilities of my condo community.) Now, it is clearly posted at the gate to the pool and the community rules clearly state that the hours between 08:00 and 20:00 are open to all the community but outside those hours, the pool is either closed or reserved for the use of adults only.

So imagine my surprise when I got back from my bike ride and decided to go for a nice, relaxing swim only to find a children's birthday party going on! There were perhaps three dozen people milling about, more than half of them children, to one corner of the enclosure around the pool. I smiled at them, they smiled back and I dove in and started swimming laps.

One of the children started throwing toys in the pool as I was on my second lap. I imagine his thought process was something like: "that poor man has no toys... the pool is no fun without toys" and so I convinced myself that he was just trying to be friendly.

Aw!

But when one of his little friends joined in and the water became crowded with little rings and water noodles, laps became an impossibility. The parents, finally seeing what the kids were doing, decided this may be a good time to bring out the pinata.

I have no idea where the got this thing, but it is the first one I have ever seen that was made out of cast iron. At least I assume it was cast iron. Each and every kid took turns trying to break the thing with the bad (accompanied, of course, by the cheers, yells, and screams of the other children) and when they had all had a turn making loud thumping and whamming noises, the cartoon characters on the pinata still smiled down at them; mockingly if you ask me, almost as if daring the children to try again.

So they did. This went on for perhaps ten minutes. I kept hoping it would end so I could clear the pool and swim, or at least enjoy lolling in the pool in relative peace. But after they had all had a second go at the impregnable pinata, the parents started going at it.

I dressed and left the pool as one guy (who looked as if he may throw around small cars for enjoyment) was going at the thing with the bat and having no visible affect! Needless to say it was more relaxing out of the pool area than in. Perhaps I can get a swim in this afternoon... perhaps not.

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

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

Happy birthday to my sister, Mary

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oh God!

I listen to the pundits every weekend and love to hear what the opinions being spewed-out there are. Both the far right and the far left say some pretty incredible things but this weekend, Piyush "Bobby" Jindal (R-Louisiana) made a comment that went completely unchallenged.

He was asked his views on education vis-a-vis the subject of Creation Theory and he said that he would feel better if his children were presented with the best science and given all the facts in order to get the best education.

The problem is that Creation Theory (or the theory of Intelligent Design) is not science! It's religion going in the guise of science. But, when I put on my Dracula costume at Halloween, I do not become a vampire. And every boy knows that tieing on a cape does not make you Superman. (Except in your own imagination.)

Okay, sure, as I stated on Monday in my post, evolution is a theory, but it is a Scientific Theory. It makes definite predictions, it is testable, it could be (given evidence to the contrary) be disproved, it describes the world we live in, and it depends upon no supernatural agency.

By contrast, the theory of intelligent design is not a Scientific Theory. In claiming that the world is too complex to have evolved by chance, it certainly defines the world around us. The problem is, it makes no predictions, is not testable and has at its very center a supernatural agency.

The US Academy of Sciences defines Intelligent Design, as pseudo-science. It is a belief system, a theory in the terms that it has no proof, but as it does not fit the definition which is generally accepted, it is not science. You have your right to your personal belief structure, but (with the exception of Kansas) you have no right to impose it upon me or my children.

It's too bad that the moderator didn't have the chutzpah to challenge Mr. Jindal on his labeling of Creationism as Science. But then, what can you expect from the Liberal Media Conspiracy? Ha!

Wherever you are, have a great day!

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Impeachment

For some reason, people do not seem to understand what this is. I was in a political discussion the other day. We (the people I was chatting with and I) were discussing the economy and the war, and one of the people that I was talking to raised the idea of impeaching the president for his misrepresentations (not to say lies) that got us involved in the war.

"What," responded another of the people in the discussion. "are we going to impeach every president now?"

The impeachment proponent looked at the speaker and looked dumb-struck. "What do you mean? We haven't impeached anyone since Nixon!"

"Nixon wasn't impeached," I said, "he quit before articles were brought."

"Nixon was impeached." the person who started the subject responded.

The confusion here seems to be that the process is misunderstood. First off, the removal of a president from office is not impeachment. Impeachment is the official bringing of charges against the sitting head of the administration. (Or, I suppose any other elected official, but we're talking about presidential impeachment here...)

The US has impeached two presidents both have remained in office as the Senate has failed to find the president guilty of the charges brought. If you wish, think of Impeachment as an Indictment of High Crimes and Misdemeanors. (Indictment is not Conviction.) Once indicted, the president stands trial in the Senate. It is only on their vote that the president is removed from office.

In the United States, the articles of impeachment - or charges against the president for which he could possibly be removed from office - are brought in the House of Representatives. Once the articles of impeachment have passed, the president is tried by the Senate on those charges. A majority of the Senate finding the president guilty, will force the president from power and place the Vice President in power.

For this reason, the Vice President does not preside over Impeachment trials and does not cast votes. (the Vice President as the head of the Senate, casts the deciding vote on any ties of a purely legislative nature.) The proceedings are, instead, officiated by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Now, the thing about Nixon was that as the details of the Watergate affair were coming to light, Impeachment Articles were being discussed and debated in the House, but rather than allow them to go to term, and sensing the way the wind was blowing (not to say sensing people knew he was guilty of the charges he could have been removed from office on) Nixon resigned and handed the presidency to Ford rather than face involuntary removal from office. But, and this is an important but, Nixon was never impeached as the articles of impeachment never came to a vote.

The last president to be impeached was William Jefferson Clinton. He was impeached on charges of perjury before a grand jury and obstruction of justice charges. He just barely squeaked by, as the final vote in the Senate was a tied 50/50 vote. Having no majority, Clinton was not removed from office.

Before president Clinton, the last (and only other) president impeached, was Andrew Johnson. He was impeached on charges of violating the Tenure of Office act, an act he vetoed but was overturned on. The act forbade him from removing political appointees prior to the expiration of their tenure. He was not removed from office either.

There are currently articles of impeachment being discussed in the House against the president for his behaviour leading up-to the war, but I doubt that it will come to the floor for a vote before January. Should some miracle happen and the president be impeached and removed from office before his term expires, remember: The Vice President ascends to the presidency. Do you really want to live for any time (no matter how short) under president Cheney?

Be careful what you wish for!

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

Don Bergquist - June 18, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Twenty-Three Percent

During the 04:00 news this morning there was an interesting statistic quoted. Apparently, in a recent ABC News poll, the president's approval rating has dropped to an all-time low of 23%. According to the story 69% of those polled disapprove of the president's performance, while those 23% think he is doing just a cracking job.

I'm surprised! What high numbers!

No, not the 69% number; that number is believable from watching the news. Practically every night, we're told that the economy is in the toilet. No, it's the 23% that interests me. Who are these people?

Are they people like the idiot I saw on the news a few nights ago? I have no idea where they dredged this winner up. Standing in front of a gas pump (on the very day that gas price averages went over four dollars), filling his battered old pick-up the guy said "I don't understand why anyone is complaining about the economy. The economy doesn't affect me at all. I don't know anyone who is suffering."

While this person may be a complete hermit, and may have had millions of dollars stashed-away, or perhaps the truck and the pump were just props and he had not actually bought gas in the past few years, that seems somewhat unlikely. And even if it were true, there could not possibly be enough of that sort of person to explain the 23%.

I can only assume that either the sampling was skewed, or there are a hell of a lot of people working in the petroleum and military contracting industries. How else can you explain it?

Wherever you are, I hope that you will have an excellent day!

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

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunburn

One of the bad things about being of Scandinavian lineage (apart from the periodic exposure to that toxic waste in the guise of food known as Lutefisk) is the fair skin so prevalent amongst our people.

Sure, there must have been some evolutionary advantage to fair skin, blue eyes and blonde hair when living in the frozen wastelands of Northern Europe back in the day. Perhaps this coloration helped prehistoric the Scandinavian blend into the snowbanks thus avoiding predators and enemies...

But tundral camouflage aside, what is the advantage? I see the drawbacks! The sun must be weaker in Sweden, or the summers cold enough to keep mostly covered all year round, otherwise Sven and Lena would have died out of carcinomas before Oslo was even an idea! Imagine! A world without Lefse! Sure those blonde-haired beauties with the eyes like the fjords on a clear day are certainly eye candy. On them, the milk-white skin looks lovely.

But flowered vests and puff-sleeved shirts would be out of place here in Lakewood, as is skin, the color of a fish's belly! So, once the weather turns nice, I try and spend as much time as possible in the sun to try and get "that healthy glow."

Wait right there! I know what you're thinking, you're thinking about the sunburns. I do wear sunscreen, but it does not make a difference... I burn all the time. I could wear SPF 4000 (essentially like wearing a lead umbrella) and still burn in a surprisingly short time. So, I've learned to take my sun in short doses and spend long periods between in the shade.

The dermatologist that I went to recommended me off most of the gimmicky sun blocks that are out there that claim to block all sun rays all day long. Instead, she recommended a good sun screen SPF 40 worn pretty-much all year 'round and keeping sun exposure down to an hour or less at a time.

This weekend, I got my hour-at-a-time doses frequently, it was such a lovely weekend. I took a few bike rides, took Saga to her park, went swimming, and did some gardening. And even with the protection, I am a bit sunburned. Not enough to be painful, but enough to put some color other than white on my face and arms!

C'mon Summer!

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll wear your sunscreen and have a great day!

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

Editor's Note:
State of Kansas Disclaimer

To those of you located in the state of Kansas, please note Evolution is a theory... Reference to the evolutionary theory in the second paragraph was used in deference to science. Please take no offense that the author chooses to reference a scientific theory rather than the mystic mumbo-jumbo your legislature has chosen to label as "science."

Happy birthday to my aunt, Diane

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunny Sunday

After a walk with Saga in her park and a cup of coffee on the Patio with the phone, I took a bike ride down to the Local Home Depot to get a few things. It is a lovely day here in Lakewood! The sun is shining, the temperature is just perfect! What a lovely day out!

It is a shame I have things to accomplish in the house today. I am thinking of blowing off my housework and going down to the swimming pool. It would be a shame to waste this lovely day indoors!

Yes, I think that is what I will do... the housework can wait until this evening. (If I'm not too sunburned to move!) I guess I now can understand why mom used to get so annoyed at us kids for not going outside and getting into the sunshine when we had the chance!

Wherever you are today, I hope you have a great day and good weather for whatever you what to do!

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

Happy Father's Day

Fathers' Day

Happy birthday to my friend, Sara Lynn

Happy birthday to my friend, Karl

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Public Domain

Have you seen the new show on these days, Swingtown? It's a melodramatic telling of the lives of three couples (families) living in the Chicago suburbs in 1976. It's follows a line of Nostalgia TV. Those look what we were like sitcoms and dramas set in the "good old days."

In the eighties, we had Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley which were both set in the fifties. In the nineties, we had The Wonder Years which was lovingly set in the sixties. Now that we are in the '00s, our television has snuggled-up to the seventies; we have That '70s Show and now Swingtown set in 1976.

I don't want to alarm anyone, but have you noticed the pattern? These shows are coming on when the period in which they are set is about thirty years in the past...

What does this mean? The music in each series is just coming into the public domain. It is the nefarious plot of the networks to feed our nostalgia with the music in the public domain! (There are fewer royalties to pay that way.)

This has got to stop!
NOW!

It's not that I have anything against the producers of these shows, or the network's blatant manipulation of our (all-too-human) nostalgia! I simply want... NO! We need this trend to stop!

Oh, sure, it's kind of kitchy; looking back at the housewives wearing high heels and pearls as they clean the oven, and every night having fresh-baked rolls or breads with dinner. It's even kind of fun hearing the music and laughing at the hair and clothing styles we used to wear (willingly!). But this has got to stop!

Does anyone remember what comes next? Sure, there were rumblings of it on the horizon as early as the mid-seventies, and some would argue that it started as early as '74 (with Rock The Boat by The Hughes Corporation) but it really took off at the end of the seventies, and early eighties. Yes, that's what I am talking about. I'm talking about the coming storms that would scar our sensabilities next!

In the late seventies and early eighties, fueled by cocaine, Quaalude, and whatever other recreational pharmaceuticals we could mix with our Cuba Libras, Disco made it big! And with Disco, the Leisure Suit! And all those synthetic materials that are still happily living-out their half-lives in a landfill somewhere.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, remember: Rap will become "Nostalgic" in just another few year! Please! Stop the madness now!

Wherever you are today, I hope all your memories are pleasant ones!

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

Happy Flag Day

Friday, June 13, 2008

Electile Dysfunction

Here's a blast from the past!

I was thinking of this because The Daily Show had a guy on who wrote a book called Just How Stupid Are We? last night. The point of the book is not so much that the American people are stupid, but that we (on the whole) just don't pay attention to what is going on in the world.

He gave the statistic that 60% of the population cannot tell you that our federal government has three branches, let alone name them! Were they not in the same civics classes that I was in back in school? Every third-grader in Village Green Elementary School could have told you that The Legislative Branch (the legislature, Congress and the House of Representatives) make the laws (and control the budget); The Executive (The president and his -or her- administration) execute and enforce those laws; and the Judicial (courts) interpret the law and its execution. (At least the could have in the sixties when I was there!)

Perhaps the reason that so few people in the stated survey could not remember the three branches of the federal government is that for the past seven-and-a-half years, the executive branch (and here I am including the vice-president, though Mr. Cheney seems to think he is in neither the legislative nor the executive branch. He seems to think he is in some mythical fourth branch that is immune to all the rules!) have flagrantly disregarded the constitutional separation of powers. The system of checks-and-balances that were instituted to keep check on megalomaniacs trying to commit a coup have been largely disregarded under this administration.

The author of the book encourages Americans to be more informed... I applaud him for the message! I implore you! Get involved. If you don't you get the government you deserve!

Wherever you are today, I hope you'll take an interest in the world around you.

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

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Back In Her Good Graces

Perhaps it was that the light wasn't quite perfect, perhaps it was that whatever I did to put me in the proverbial doghouse has been forgiven, perhaps I will never know! But last night when I came home, Saga was all cuddles and kisses.

I was met at the door by an almost overly eager Saga who, as soon as I sat down to watch the news, jumped in my lap to be stroked. She stayed within my view (or kept me in her view) the entire evening... it was nice to be back in her good graces. This morning she greeted me by waking me up - jumping-up and wanting to play - early.

Actually, we may have been awakened at the same time... About three thirty I was awakened by the sound of fireworks. At least I assume that someone had set off fireworks. It sounded like three firecrackers being set-off in rapid succession.

It was a couple minutes after that that Saga came into the bedroom to play. being up early, we had a nice long walk. But now, it is time for me to get this posted and get off to the office.

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

Don Bergquist - June 12, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Grand Dame

Saga and I both know who is in charge. She is!

I am so glad that she allows me to live in the house that I bought! She can be so funny! Last night when I got home, she, as usual, was waiting for me at the door. But not as usual, she ran straight past me onto the deck and lay down in the sun.

When I walked over to her and asked what was wrong; wasn't she glad to see Daddy, she gave me a patronizing flick of the tail as if to acknowledge my presence and dismiss me all at once. There was no jumping up to say "hi!" and there was no fuss over my absence, it was just the sort of acknowledgement of presence that a parent might expect from a teenager upon their return from work.

What had I done wrong? Had I forgotten to feed her? No. Both the food and water bowls were full and I distinctly remembered feeding her in the morning. I spun and checked the drapes... no, they were open so that she could sleep in her favorite chair, watching the world go by her window. A quick inspection of the house showed that she hadn't spent the day tearing things up that she was now contrite over... in fact, the place was immaculate.

Now this was interesting... was she trying a new ploy on me? Try to make Daddy feel guilty for going to work? No, perhaps the sunny patch on the deck was just more alluring to her than I was! Even during our walk, she seemed to want to just return to the deck and lie in the sun! I was just a shapeless form, blocking her path to a snooze in the sunshine. I had been reduced to a cypher!

This seems to have been the case; around sunset, I suddenly seem to have appeared in her world. She ran to the chair where I was watching something-or-other on the DVR and she jumped in my lap. She gave me kisses and whined as if she hadn't seen me all day! She suddenly wanted to play, wanted my attention... was it that she suddenly had missed me and wanted to let me know that she still cared? Or did she just want to interrupt the program I was watching?

I think it was the former. She awoke me this morning by jumping on the bed to play at 04:00... The news had not yet come on, the room was dark and silent, except for her cute little challenging growls as she postured, almost daring me to make a move toward grabbing her. She let me win that game, I got to pet her and give her a belly rub and then we went down to have some breakfast and watch the news. Ah! She loves me!

Wherever you are this morning, I hope that there is someone in your life who loves you!

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

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

GPS Fun

I've finally done it. I've been thinking about it for a while now, but this weekend I have finally done it. I went out and bought myself a GPS for the car. What's wrong with maps?

Before living in London, I always considered in-car Global Positioning System navigation units to be an expensive and frivolous toys. But living in the UK, where practically every car I got into had one, I can see the benefits. They really do help you route to places you've never been, and they can optimize the stops that you have to make along the way, but more importantly, they help you out by telling you about road conditions.

I got the Garmin nĂ¼vi 760. It is pretty cool! I use it to compare routes to the office and yesterday, on the way home, it told me that there was an accident ahead of me on the interstate. I was getting off well before then anyway. I am looking forward to my trip across the country. Apparently, the unit will route me around traffic jams! That should come in handy on my way to the coast!

Wherever you are today, I hope that the road ahead of you is smooth and open!

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

Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday Morning Again!

There's no need to shout about it, there little fellow! Monday's happen!

This little fellow was one of the prairie dogs I shot (Calm down! I mean with my cameras!) this weekend along the Bear Creek Trail. (I'll post the rest of the pictures soon... My photo sharing website is down this morning.)

There is a huge prairie dog colony in the park just west of Wadsworth Boulevard. (I can't take Saga there on walks any more because she just goes crazy!) I spent some time there yesterday with my cameras. This little guy is raising the alarm... apparently, even with my 300mm lens, from fifty feet away, I cause a panic in the warrens!

This morning is dawning lovely and cool. there was another bit of rain last night. The grass was really wet so it was either that or a very heavy dew. Saga decided to sleep-in this morning and I had to coax her out for a walk this morning. No surprise there! I had my monthly game night on Saturday, she had a busy afternoon/evening trying to surreptitiously beg from the guests. The one time I caught her actively begging, I sent her upstairs to chill... later in the evening, I caught her staring longingly at everyone who had a plate. i guess I can't blame her for trying.

So, it is no wonder she is tired. She was tired yesterday too... I guess begging is hard work when you are her age! But, if you look at it in the right way, Begging is her thing. It is what she does; her job! My job is writing test scripts at the moment... something I should get my butt in gear and get to. So I guess I should post this and drive into the office.

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

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

Sunday, June 08, 2008

It Doesn't Have The Thames...

...but it is still nice!

The greenbelt in which I ride most often has Bear Creek running through it. It is a lovely trail and hearing the creek laugh as it trips over the mini rapids is lovely.

The weather this weekend has been so excellent! It has rained every morning early, before I get up (and you know that is early). I've lain in bed listening to it as I came back to reality.

But despite the early rains, the afternoons have been lovely! I've been riding along the trail, swimming in the pool, and generally having a lovely weekend. This morning, I strapped on my backpack when I went for my ride; the one with my camera gear in it, and took some pictures along the trail. This is one that reminds me that while the Bear Creek Trail is no tow path, it does have one important thing that is missing from the Thames!

Where in Thames Ditton can I get views like this? (Of course, where in Lakewood can I get a Tanglefoot? - Nowhere! I've looked!) So, there are great things to do on both sides of the Atlantic, and when I was there, I missed here. Now that I am home, I miss it there. Wherever ever I am, I miss the friends I have left behind.

So, I send out greetings to the friends I have made on three continents. For the rest of you, Don't worry, with my travel schedule, we'll probably be friends sooner-or-later!

Wherever you are, I hope you'll spend time outdoors today - perhaps with your friends!

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

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Party Prep

Well, it is game night again. But, having just recently returned from Minnesota, I have decided to invit my friends over to a bratwurst barbecue before gaming tonight. It should be fun. I have losts of those great Miltona Custom Meats bratwurst and hotdogs!

It is just after seven and I have already had breakfast, gone shopping, and cleaned the barbecue. Now it is time to pre-boil the brats and to take a bike ride. Later, when the beer store opens, I'll need to head down and get so me beer, but right now, I want to enjoy this lovely morning on my bicycle. I think I will put the sprinklers on before I go so I can cross one more thing off the list for today!

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

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

Friday, June 06, 2008

What A Wonderful World

With apologies to Louis Armstrong

I'd see trees of green... red roses too
I'll see them yet... the sun is still due
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

I see trees of gray... and clouds of black
The rain was supposed to go... but now it's back
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow... are missing from the sky
They're missing from the faces... of people rushing by
I see umbrellas popping up... and galoshes too
Their owners are thinking... I need you

I see Saga shake... her coat is wet
It's supposed to be sunny... perhaps it will be yet
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world


The weather reports were calling for a bright sunny day of about seventy degrees today. It was raining as Saga and I took our walk this morning. Perhaps the day will get nicer after sunrise...

Wherever you are today, I hope that you'll think to yourself: "What a wonderful world!"

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

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wonderfully Wet Morning

It's still dark out my window, so it wasn't apparent that it was raining out. Its a sort-of misty-drizzle (Mizzle) that soaks into everything nice and slow without being noisy while it's about it! Saga ran out the door to go to the park this morning and was excited until she got out from under the eaves.

The mist made halos under the street lamps and other than the occasional flash, where the raindrops were big enough to throw the light back at me, there was no other indication that it was raining. I felt it, sort of like walking in the fog back in London. Not wet enough to mind, just wet enough to know that you're getting soaked.

The weather cast on the local news says that it's going to be a chilly, cool, and wet day. Good! The gardens need it! The rain gauge says that the mizzle has misted about a quarter-inch of water overnight. I'd be thrilled if it kept this up all day! Of course, if it does, Saga will want to stay in all day, and that means I'll have a spectator as I sit in my home office writing.

When the sun rises in about an hour, I can't wait to see how the plants are doing.

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

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

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Cold Front

We had the first arm of a cold front blow through last night. The rain helped to knock a bit of the crap that I am reacting to out of the air, what a relief!

Not really much to tell today, I will be getting into the office and trying to make-up for lost time. Even though I tried to work at home yesterday, I wasn't as efficient as I'd liked to have been. Much of the day I spent sneezing and coughing and generally feeling awful.

Last night, I slept well, however. It was the first time in a week that I did. Perhaps the allergy shot I got last week has finally kicked in. The temperature is supposed to be about ten degrees cooler today than yesterday and the good news is that the second arm of this front is coming through tomorrow night.

The high for tomorrow is predicted to have to struggle to hit sixty! Yeah! And there will be more rain so the air will be washed once again! Bring it!

The bad weather tomorrow will make it uncomfortable to ride, but, I rode my bike in the rain in London, I am sure that I can ride it here in the rain! Besides, I need to get back on the bike. I was feeling so lousy yesterday that I didn't ride after work. I wanted to, but I could not drag myself off the couch.

There is always today!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're feeling well and you have a lovely day to do what you want to.

Don Bergquist – June 04, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Not Much To Report

Everyone I talk to says that they are having problems with their allergies this year; even those who have no allergies. The cottonwood trees in the park are certainly prolific this year. The lake is white with their fluff; the path is a whirl of the stuff. My ride yesterday was a sticky mess. By the time I got home I had plant stuff stuck to me all over. I must have looked like swamp thing.

This morning I feel like death warmed over. I am going to zip into the office and grab my laptop before people start getting in so nobody has to see me like this and then work from home. Misery may love company, but nobody loves the company of someone who is as miserable as I feel today.

Wherever you are, I hope that you’re feeling well.

Don Bergquist – June 03, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Tale Of Woe

This darn cough that I have had for about a week now, brought-on by my allergies just will not let go!

I've been on a prescription cough syrup, and my normal allergy medications, and I have had the steroid shot that I get almost every year when the allergy medications don't quite cut it. I've added a couple OTC medications (at my doctor's suggestion) to augment the prescriptions. Nothing seems to help! It is a horrible allergy season!

The coughing keeps me up at night, I am running on only a couple hours sleep from last evening. But I have lots to do at the office today so I have to get going. I cannot wait until allergy season comes to an end!

Wherver you are today, I hope that you're having a good day!

Don Bergquist – June 02, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Pool Is Open

It's actually been open for a week-or-so, but yesterday was the first change I had to go for a dip. What bliss!

The water is just perfect and so welcoming after the long, hot bike ride I took this morning. After having coffee and a walk with Saga, I grabbed the bike and hit the trail along the creek in the greenbelt. Much of it is how I remember it, but there are some interesting changes in the time I've been away.

There is a new park about five miles from the house and just after that, the trail has been closed; they are building a new business park across where the trail lay. It will, according to the signs, re-open soon, but for now there is a detour that takes the rider well off the original path and far from Bear Creek. Ah, well, it was a good ride.

But the pool afterward was a really great way to cool down. My neighbor has told me before that the water is just the right temperature, so I assumed it would be as warm as a bath, but no! It is a lovely temperature, warm enough that you're not shocked awake by jumping in, cool enough to be refreshing.

I had a lovely swim this morning after my ride, but now I have work around the house to do so I had best get to it. Perhaps I will go swimming again this evening.

Wherever you are this fine day, I hope that you will take time to enjoy it!

Don Bergquist – June 01, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA