Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Quiet Morning At Home

Well, it's a morning at my parents' home...

It is a lovely, relaxing morning too. Saga and I turned in early, it had been a long day and the evenings are coming early this time of year, so some time after eight we wandered off to our room. This morning, Saga woke me when she realized that there was someone stirring in the house...

Dad's dog, Sunshine, was sniffing at the door - probably wondering if Saga was ready to come out and play. It's not as if I hadn't been awake for a while, but it was a surprise when Saga pounced into the middle of the bed and assumed her defensive stance... the one she takes when she has seen (or heard) something that needs all her attention.

Well, that was when the smell of coffee came wafting into the room. I assumed my attentive stance! We made our entry into the house for the morning. I'm now sipping my second cup; the sun is just coming up over the woods to the southeast; my folks are chatting with my sister who has called from Florida. Later this morning we're headed into town to run some errands.

What a lovely, quiet morning. Very homey!

Wherever you are this morning, I hope your morning is a relaxing one!

Don Bergquist - September 30, 2008 - Kensington, Minnesota, USA

Rosh Hashanah Begins

Monday, September 29, 2008

Driving East

The wonderful thing about making a plan for a vacation is knowing that you don't actually have to follow it. I mean, I have so many plans that I've made and that have been thrust upon me that I have to follow at work, it's nice to be able to toss the entire plan out the window as I am driving...

Well, figuratively - doing so literally would be littering and I hate that!

So, when the plan called for me packing the car before I went to bed last night, and then getting up at butt-ugly o'clock this morning and driving to Minnesota by nightfall, it was just nice knowing that any or all of those points were negotiable.

Like the "packing the car" part... that's needlessly anal-retentive for a vacation so let's just scrap that. And that whole early concept... what if I want to sleep in, for instance, it is my vacation! I should be allowed a little lie-in if I want one.

And what if I want to, say, take the long way to Minnesota and see the Black Hills? I haven't been to the Black Hills and the Badlands in years! Is it too much to ask for me to be able to be flexible with my itinerary?
I don't think so. That is why I scrapped the entire plan. That is why I am nighting over in a lovely little motel here in Murdo, South Dakota. That is why I am thoroughly relaxed and enjoying the road trip! And since I will not arrive until tomorrow, I've already called ahead and let my folks know to expect me some time tomorrow afternoon.

What a great way to enjoy a vacation! I'm off to bed now. I'll post this when I get to an Internet connection.

Wherever you are today, I hope you've had a great weekend!

Don Bergquist - September 29, 2008 - Murdo, South Dakota, USA

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Autumn Drive

Ah! It was a lovely drive! 

I am so glad that I delayed my departure so that I could do that!  Not a lot of time to write, but all my pictures have been uploaded at the link above. 
The drive started around five and by sunup I was at the summit of Guinellas Pass. The day could not have been more lovely. I passed only a few cars before sunrise... and because I got out there early enough, there was little traffic on the passes to have to deal with. Well, I am off to Minnesota now.
I hope that wherever you are today, I hope that you will take time to appreciate the beauty around you.

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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What To Do The Morning Before You Leave

I know it's an age-old problem. You have a long drive ahead of you; you'll be driving twelve hours this weekend. So, how do you spend the morning before you drive? Well, if you're me, you toss the cameras in the car and take a drive into the mountains.

According to all the local reports, this is the weekend to see the colors here in the foothills of the rockies. So, Saga has been walked, I'm eating breakfast, I have coffee and hope to get out the door by five this morning so I can be in the hills by the time the sun rises and be ahead of the parade that is sure to be going down every mountain pass today.

Then, tomorrow we're off to Minnesota! It is sure to be beautiful weekend! Look for pictures soon!

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

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

Happy birthday to my cousin, Charles

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vacation Mode

Yes, I am seriously in Vacation Mode!

Saga is sitting at my feet and looking at me expectantly. There is luggage stacked in my office, ready to toss in the trunk, I've been planning my route so that I can see some of the sights along the way. It has, for example, been years since I have been past Crazy Horse. I think I might head to Minnesota Via Sundance and Crazy Horse.

Sure, it's a bit longer, but it is lovely in parts.

But I have some testing and some writing to do. so I had best get to the office. Sorry, it's a bit of a short entry today, but as I have said, I'm seriously settling into Vacation Mode!

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

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

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fall Colors

It's that time again!

I love getting out and driving in the mountains this time of year. The sides of the mountains blaze in yellow, gold, orangem and red... It is a real spectacle. Looking through my photos for a few pictures to add to this blog entry, I noiticed that I haven't done this in three years! Hmmm... I wonder why. What could keep me from getting my autumn drive into my schedule?

Oh, yes! That's right... I haven't been here to do my fall drive!

The day was balmy down here in the piedmont, but up in the passes the snow had already fallen... Having had lived here a while I knew that the temperature at how was no indication of what the weather up there would be like. So I was prepared and had a jacket with me...

The last time I did my fall drive was just after I blew-out my knee boulder climbing up in Boulder Canyon! I was in a brace and walking with a cane, but I still made it up to the foothills and made it out of the car to take pictures.

The Day didn't disappoint. I took lots of pictures; a few of which turned out really well.

The forecasts I have heard is that this weekend and next are supposed to be be the prime viewing times for the fall colors here in Colorado. I guess I should get out there and have a drive before I head off to Minnesota.

Look for those pictures when I return!

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

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living On The Battleground

Oh! What will I do! Living in a battleground state is such a trying experience!

For the last few weeks every commercial on television seems to be for one campaign or another. What is a guy to do? I have no idea where I should eat or what I should buy because the broadcasters are just too busy telling me what to think about this person or that.

The ads are so thick it is impossible to sit through a break without seeing three or four ads for one politician/issue or another. (After five in the morning, that is! Before that they are too busy selling me Life Insurance and Personal Mobility Scooters.)

This morning during the hour I had the news on, there wasn't an ad for anything but the various politicians and issues. Two of the breaks were completely taken-up by competing sides of the same issue/race. It was pretty funny, actually right after the ad for Person X (calling Person Y a liar) the station showed an ad for Person Y (saying you can't trust person X). This couplet was followed by a pair of ads for a local initiate that one side claims is a tax and anyone who denies it is a liar... and the other side says isn't a tax and anyone who says it is is a liar.

Sometimes I feel that to get through the breaks you need to be a third-grade teacher... Or the lunch lady at my elementary school; Mrs. Frawley. Let's face it... The candidates are tossing lies and half-truths back and forth like Tater Tots in a elementary school lunchroom. I feel like I am back at Village Green Elementary. And there she is!

I remember Mrs. Frawley, a short and squat lady from one of the deep-south (red) states, standing at the front of the cafetorium (a room with a raised stage at one end which as the name implies served as a cafeteria and an auditorium - only seldom simultaneously). She'd stand there, dishrag in hand by the microphone and admonish us in her thick southern accent "Boys! Stop that! Now, I said 'Boys!'" Occasionally she would wander over to a recently vacated table, wiping the detritus into a tray and dumping it into a waste can and then return to her microphone and her mantra. "Now, Boys..."

We used to do a great (meaning: "horrible in its accuracy and meanness") impression of Mrs. Frawley: "Shh! Boys! Boys! Now, I Said 'Boys!'" It never seemed to be the girls she would admonish. But then, with the exception of that time that three girls went up and did their impression of her to her face, there was rarely a reason to, I guess...

Ah, Mrs. Frawley, where are you today! The country needs you! I can see you now, interposed between political ads: "Boys" and "Now, I said 'Boys!'" every time a candidate made a snarky, untrue, or misleading claim about their opponent. Mrs. Frawley! The country needs you!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you are safely ensconced wherever you happen to be!

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Okay... Why?

A celebrity (I've alternatively heard him called "a magician," "an illusionist," and "a daredevil") who shall remain nameless, has launched on another stunt. The network that is promoting it plans on having a live special at the end of the stunt (they get no free publicity from me either) to show how he manages to survive it.

Now, I don't begrudge anyone making a living, nor do I think that the network hasn't the right to televise the spectacle, all I wonder is why anyone should care. I can almost understand why people go to daredevil shows... Almost. Watching some idiot do something stupid that could get him (or her) killed does have a sort of morbid curiosity to it... The same macabre fascination that makes one slow down to look at road accidents.

The attraction of magic and illusion shows is more obvious to me. At least there you get to stare in disbelief as the person in front of you does things that are patently impossible. (Or at least things that you don't know how to do...) But this is different.

There is nothing impossible about what this person does... there is nothing that leaves one to wonder how it is done. The only wonder is why he would do these things. A few years ago when he locked himself in a perspex coffin suspended above a park near London's City Hall. While the papers at the time reported that most people were "supportive" of his stunt, a few were openly hostile, throwing things at the box, taunting him with food and flashing him.

The difference between a daredevil and this guy is that the things they do, while equally stupid, at least are over quickly enough that you get an adrenaline jolt the morbid thrill of almost seeing some idiot almost die. But the stunts this guy does (which have included burying himself alive, encasing himself in ice, suspending himself in water, standing atop a pole, and now hanging by the ankles) go on for days or weeks... it's not even like a train wreck in slow motion... it's more like looking at a picture of a train that you know is about to wreck and wondering what will happen to the people.

The speculation can only be titilatting for so long... If at all!

I guess you're now thinking that I'm just not a fan... and that's not entirely true. He is a talented magician... some of the things I have seen him do are really good and interesting. His "Street Magic" specials have, for the most part, been fun. I just fail to see what the interest is in these kind of stunts that, quite frankly make me want to say "so what!?" But then, I have wasted an entire entry on them, so I guess they are worth ink... even if it is only virtual ink.

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

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

Monday, September 22, 2008

Again, It Is Monday

Mondays tend to be the days I really don't want to get out of bed... Perhaps it is the realization that I have to go back to work.

Nah! That can't be it. I am loving the new position, I have lots of fun at the office and am working on an interesting and challenging project. Perhaps it is something to do with the idea of the end of the weekend.

Nope... that can't be it either. While weekends are fun, they are also tiring. (...even the ones in which I do relatively little. Relaxing all weekend really takes it out of you!) That's it! Mondays make me feel old!

I am so knackered this morning. Saturday, Saga and I went for a long walk and then I took a bike ride. Sunday we went up into the hills and later I went up to Boulder to climb mounds of boulders. It was a great weekend and very fun filled. But this morning I am paying the price.

Perhaps I should stop doing so much on the weekends, but that is not an acceptable idea... I have to find a way to do more on the week days so that the weekends aren't so draining. Hmmm... I'm going to have to work on that one...

Wherever you are this morning, I hope that you are having a lovely morning and that your weekend was a good one.

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

Autumnal Equinox

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Lovely, Cool, Early Fall Morning

Morning came early today! Saga roused me from my slumber before six this morning.

I'm not sure if she failed to suss-out that it was a weekend or if she just decided that her daddy had had enough sleep for the morning, but there it is. Around six this morning, I awoke to the sudden addition of two-stone of Canaan Dog suddenly materializing on my chest.

The sudden materialization was accompanied by her hot breath in my face, possibly as she sniffed at me to see if I was perchance eating something while softly snoring the night away. This was followed by an energetic licking of the face and a quick game of "Push The Blankets To The Floor!" Having robbed me of my lovely slumber and my cozy covers in the course of a couple minutes, she bounded off down the stairs again...

I never did sort-out what precipitated the sudden entry into the world that greeted me this morning. By the time I was downstairs, she was happily snoozing again on the couch. It was a strange way to say "Good Morning" I'll give you that!

So, I've done some laundry, done some housework, listened to the morning news on the radio as I worked and now it is almost lunchtime and I have most of the day still ahead of me. I think I will go to the farmers' market. There should be one somewhere around here. I need some veggies for the week and it would be a good way to pass a few of the lovely weekend hours.

Perhaps then I will come back home and take a nap! Yes, that sounds nice!

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

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

Friday, September 19, 2008

Secret Ballot

I vaguely remember learning during my Civics classes in school that we have something called a "Secret Ballot" in the US. While I can understand the concept behind political advertising... I mean, if you want to sell anything, you need to advertise.

What I don't get is the concept behind political bumper stickers!

For one thing look at how people act while in their cars! They eat, work, make phone calls, send text messages. It is as if they believe that you can't see them through the glass of their car windows.

And if that weren't enough, when was the last time you drove behind someone for any length of time that didn't drive you up a wall? Let's face it! People are at their worst when they are in their cars. What kind of persuasive powers does the lady re-applying her makeup as she drives have over you? That guy picking his nose, is he really going to sway your opinion? When was the last time that you found yourself thinking: "You know, that asshole who just cut me off, I wonder who he is voting for..."?

I've just had a truly evil idea: Everyone should plaster their bumpers with the bumper stickers of people the would never vote for and then drive around like total fraking morons. That would piss-off people and get them to vote for the candidate you support!

I'd love to see a bumper sticker that encourages people to think for themselves! One that tells people to quit following the crowd. It is okay if you are following me, but you don't have to follow my judgment!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will think for yourself!

Don Bergquist - September 19, 2008 - Lakewood, Colorado, USA
Bumper stickers available from
Uncle Don Cards
A Division Of
Frost Lake Photography

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quote Du Jour

There are some politicians who just set my teeth on edge!

The moment they open their mouths they start spewing a stream of falsehoods and sophistries that are so transparent to anyone who is paying attention. (Or anyone who  has the minimum amount of interest to rive them to the Internet news archives to verify, or debunk, their statements.) The politicians who believe that repeating the same lies over and over again will suddenly make their statements magically come true.

A certain politician of late has entered that class in my mind. Their assurance that they took an admirable stance - even though every news organization including the one that tends to sympathise with their party's party line - has stated point blank that the statement is untrue, grates on my nerves. And as this is one of the only qualifications that is offered for the candidate's worthiness of being elected for office, the party seems to be of the opinion that if they just repeat the claim often enough the whole fabric of space-time will unravel and reweave itself so that in our timeline the claim will eventually be true.

But today's screed is not about what any politician said, it was about a "Man-In-The-Street" piece I heard on the radio this morning. NPR was interviewing women about their feelings. "How do you feel now that the republicans are running a woman for V.P.?" was the gist of the piece.

In among the normal and predictable chaff of "She's great! I'm gonna vote for her..." and "She's horrible! I'd never vote for her..." was a shining grain of truth. A nugget of inspiring wit. A line that made me laugh. The line started-out sounding like any other partisan hack line. The woman being interviewed delivered the line beautifully too... She paused right where the effect would be greatest.

"What do I think?" she began. "I think that her selection is a sign of progress for the Republican party."

I rolled my eyes in the half second she paused at this point. "God," I thought "another voter blinded by the right..."

But then she finished her thought: "I mean they've been selecting unqualified male candidates for so long, it's good to see them pick an unqualified woman for a change!" I broke out laughing!

Wherever you are today, I hope you find something to make you laugh!

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

Today is my 19th anniversary at my present job!

Happy birthday to my cousin, Aimee

Happy birthday to my cousin, Theodore

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Break From Politics

Mornings are getting later and chillier. You can tell that fall is in the air, Saga shows less interest in getting up and going out as the weather gets colder. I have long held the belief that she blames me personally whenever the weather turns cold or wet. You can see it in her eyes.

The other morning, as the rain was falling and the air was a chilly 40-degrees, Saga lay sprawled on the duvet and disheveled bedclothes when I returned to the bedroom after finishing my morning ablutions. She barely stirred as I made my way around the room dressing for work.

Grudgingly, she shifted slightly as I sat down to put on my shoes. But when I said those (usually) magic words: "Hey, Little Bit! You want to go out?" her response was far from the eagre action I am used to seeing. She simply turned, looked over her shoulder, out the dark window at the falling rain. (It would have been absolutely perfect if lightening had flashed just then.) Having thus maid the point "It's cold and wet outside, you moron!" she turned back to the important job of making sure that the bedding didn't get cold.

I know what she feels though. In truth, as the mornings get colder and darker, I often wonder why I can't just give myself "five more minutes." But then, five becomes ten; ten becomes twenty... and that is why I can't stay in bed. That is what weekends are for... C'mon Saturday!

Wherever you are this morning, I hope you will have a lovely morning and a beautiful day!

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

V For Vendetta

Last night, one of the channels on my cable system was carrying V For Vendetta.

What a great film! I first saw it a couple years ago while living in Thames Ditton. A friend of mine there lent me the film to watch. It's dark and creepy. A thriller about a vigilante who holds a corrupt government to task for the illegal acts they have perpetrated to keep themselves in power.

The story is set in a fictional England which has been taken over by a nationalist party. They rule though fear. They keep their power by manufacturing panic among their population. The tag line is amazingly apt: "People Should Not Be Afraid Of Their Governments. Governments Should Be Afraid Of Their People."

It is also a story about their undoing at the hands of the populace.

Not that a government would ever try to control their people through fear! That's just nuts! Who would ever believe such a thing!? If you get the chance to see it, make sure you do. It is quite a good film and fitting for our times. The Guy Fawkes Day rhyme is most fitting for politicians in the US this year:
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot to surrender,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Of course, on the fifth of November, assuming we miss the "Florida 2000" type incidents, we will have a new president elect. Now that is something to be afraid of! (Potentially at least!)

Wherever you are today, I hope that your government fears you more than you fear it!

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

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Additions To The Blog

I know that I am only one guy, but I am one guy that has a number of people reading my daily rants. I have a feeling I may be losing audience here, there being fewer pictures and more politics in my blog of late, but in my view, everyone has a reason to be motivated in this election.

If you are the kind of one-issue voter that doesn't really care what-else your candidate stands for, then this is not the place for you to be hanging-out for the next few weeks. (You're welcome, but you're likely to read a number of things that you may find incendiary.)

If you're the kind of voter who votes based on what your friends tell you to do, then this is not the place for you either. I'd be happy to tell you who to vote for, but why should you trust my judgement? My personal advice to this kind of voter is this: "Stay home on election day! If you don't care enough about the country and the process to research the candidates and the issues, and vote your conscience, you will get the government you deserve... if not the one you want. History is rife with despots that came to power because of an apathetic populace."

If you're the kind of voter who is offended by the pandering of the politicians to the masses and the media, then the new additions to the blog are for you! I hope that over the next few weeks (when I get onto my personal soapbox) you will find your voice and speak up. And I am not looking for comments from just those people who agree with me politically.

Politically I am all over the map; socially liberal - the government should not be in the morality business, I tend toward the conservative side of the spectrum on fiscal issues. On some issues I am positively Libertarian. It is hard to find someone who agrees with me on everything.

What I am looking for is an open and honest political dialogue. If you have an opinion, please post a comment. I've added the RSS feeds for FactCheck.org and for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting to the sidebar... I hope you will find some of the stories on these feeds interesting.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will take an active role in your community today!

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

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Was Right

It's a good thing that I looked out yesterday and decided that it was too nice to be inside! Last night, after walking with Saga in her park, I lay in bed and suddenly became aware of the sound I was hearing. It was rain.

September is going to be a good month for rainfall. (Though, it is not supposed to be such a wet month.) Last night's storm dumped about half-inch into my rain gauge. This added to the Friday rain means that my garden is going to be incredibly green when the warmth predicted for this week comes through!

But today looks like it is going to be cold, wet, and miserable all day long. Perhaps I will so some housework and then perhaps head off to see a movie. Whatever it is, it will be inside.

Wherever you are today, I wish you a pleasant day, whatever the weather!

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

Happy birthday to my friend, Christie

Happy birthday to my step sister-in-law, Suzette

Saturday, September 13, 2008

What A Lovely Day!

What a lovely day! As Saga and I were taking our morning walk, the fog had not yet burned-off the valley. The skies were clear, the fog was gray... the day looked promising.

What a difference from yesterday! Yesterday, the thermometer didn't succeed in breaking out of the fifties. Today it is already sixty-five and the morning is still young. What a surprise. Yesterday's weather was supposed to last until Tomorrow afternoon.

I think I had best get out and take advantage of the day! I've already been out to do my weekly shopping, and have a pot of curry (Lamb Rogan Josh) simmering in the kitchen. The plan for the day is probably to grab a book , hit the bike and pedal down to a park along the Platte and do some reading. That's a way to horror the day. You know tomorrow may be horrid. Today was supposed to be.

Wherever you are, I hope that you're day is surprisingly beautiful!

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

Friday, September 12, 2008

In The Interest Of Fairness

(Continued From Wednesday)

...which is not to say that Democrats are the bastion of truth themselves...

Obama has made the claim that John McCain refused to support loan guarantees for the domestic auto industry. What a piece of sophistry! John McCain has opposed the support of the American auto makers, but has since earlier in the year supported the same initiative that Obama supports. According to the August story in the Detroit News, McCain joined the supporters of the bill in August that would grant $25 billion in loans to shore-up the ailing auto industry.

So while the claim is technically true (McCain did oppose the loans, after all) it is no longer true and Obama should quit making the claim. But that has not stopped him (Obama) from making it the central theme of a commercial now running in the Michigan television markets. The most that McCain could be accused of here is "flip-flopping."

According to FactCheck.org the "facts" in Obama speeches need a little bending to move them into the "truth" column of the balance sheets.

On the economy, Obama has stated that his tax cuts will be completely off-set by closing the loopholes that allow the wealthy and corporations not to pay their fair share. But the truth of this statement is up for debate. The Tax Policy Center says that both the McCain and the Obama plans fall short of paying for themselves.

Later when saying that McCain would "Tax People's Benefits," Obama was speaking in half-truths. While it is true that health benefits that your employer gives you would become a taxable benefit under the McCain plan, those costs are somewhat (or entirely) deferred by a $5,000 tax credit that could be used towards health benefits.

Both parties are fear mongering (not that there aren't some things to fear about both parties!) and demogoging for your votes. They think you are too busy or too stupid to find out which of the "Facts" they quote are real and which are politically driven.

I urge you: Before you vote, do your research! Don't let the pundits, your friends, or your relatives tell you how to vote. And for god sake, Don't listen to what the candidates "say!" Do your own research. Make-up your own mind. Vote your conscience.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will have an excellent day and - do a little research on who you want to vote for. See how many times he or she has told you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!

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

Happy birthday to my uncle, Terre

Happy birthday to my cousin, Sylvie

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Ago

At the risk of appearing to be living in the past, today's entry is a memorial to that horrible day five years ago when life in the US Changed.

That morning, I was sitting at my desk in the office, downtown Denver, when the news of a horrible "accident" in New York. A plane had hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. First reports were sketchy and conflicting. When one of my co-workers came up to me and informed me of the second crash, I was sure he had heard some rumor that had been exaggerated in the telling.

When reports became clear that both towers had been hit by BIG planes and that there was a third attack, this one on the Pentagon, and a plane down in Pennsylvania. The scale of what was going on was obvious. I had just recently been on a project to define the disaster recovery plan for the company and knew our building to be the second tallest in the downtown area, it was also on the direct flight path of DIA's main east-west runway. And as Denver International Airport was only about twenty miles away of on the plains to the east of downtown (heck, I could see it from my window), the fact that the reports and rumors of airplanes being hijacked did not make me very comfortable sitting there.

But there was a job to do. I was the technical support lead for the product line that I was with at the time. The clients had to be informed that we knew of the situation and that we were actively working on how to deal with the changes that the morning's activities had necessitated. It was during this planning that the first report of a threat against my building was received. The fire alarm was set off, the building security told us all to leave.

Calmly, I directed my staff to leave and was in the process of setting the phones to night service when the all-clear was given. By this point all flights in the US had been grounded. The consultants we had on the road were stranded wherever the planes put down. (I heard stories of commercial jets being forced to land in executive airports, where the runways were way too short for a comfortable landing and hurry-rigged methods of getting the passengers off the plane once it was down; the gates had not designed to accommodate the planes any more than the runways had been.)

While meeting with the programming management on how we were going to accommodate the mass changes that would be required by the broadcasters going to wall-to-wall (commercial-free) news coverage, the second bomb threat was received. Again, I dispatched my duties as a fire warden and made sure everyone was out of the office and headed toward the ground. I then forwarded the phones to night service and headed toward the stairs when, again, the all clear was sounded.

We had an emergency meeting of the management staff and had just decided that we would start letting the staff go home early, letting people leave in staggered groups based on how far away they lived. We had received word from the management of the building that the mayor had asked for the high-rises in town to be evacuated "just in case…" Who were we to argue?

The days which followed have blurred into one-and-other over the intervening years. I remember taking all the support calls from home for the next few days until receiving word that the office was open again. I remember the paranoia that was the norm. I remember the conflicting advice offered by the government on how to best deal with new attacks which may (or may not) be imminent. I remember being on the second flight out of Denver when commercial airlines were allowed to fly again; I had picked-up a trip that the consultant who had been assigned to it didn't want to do.

But I know that no matter how much of an impact those days had on me and my industry, by far the worse were the life and times of the families of all the victims. It is to them that this column is dedicated. Because for all of the bad that happened that day, it was also a day when for once every American was unified. We were truly one country on that day! It's too bad that in the intervening years so many politicians have chosen to besmirch the memories of those who died on September 11, 2001 by using the memory to achieve their own political ends. The victims and their families deserve better.

Wherever you are today, I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on that day and the impact it has had on the world of today.

Don Bergquist – September 11, 2008 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Political Animals

Oh come on now! You really can't take offense for being called on something you actually have done! (Well, you can, but it then becomes transparent bluster!) There was a movie (or perhaps it was a play) that I saw long enough ago that I cannot remember what it was or where I saw it. In this work, there was a line; this line comes up after the speaker has just made a generic disparaging comment and the other character as taken offense at it. The line went: "Why is it I show you a suit 'off-the-rack' and you assume it was custom tailored for you?"

The point being that the speaker had made a comment about the general situation and the person to whom they had been speaking took it as an accusation. It would be as if I were to be taking with my mates about how the crime rate had risen in recent years and one of them got offended and said that they had not stolen the car that went missing from the parking lot the week before. I had never said they had.

Or it would be like, say, one of the campaigns using a common idiom that has been in use for a long time, and the other campaign took it as a personal slur on their vice-presidential pick. I mean really, how can McCain (with all his experience - and I use that word without prejudice) never have heard the expression?

It is a common idiom. To put lipstick on a pig is to attempt to dress-up something and pass it off as something else - usually in the hopes that nobody notices. But let's assume, for a moment, that he didn't know the expression; why then did he use it in October 2007 when he referred to the Democratic Health Care plan as being a revival of Hillary Clinton's 1993 Health Care initiative by saying:
"I think they put some lipstick on a pig," he said, "but it's still a pig."
Please, tell me that this was not a personal attack on Ms. Clinton! But perhaps he was unfamiliar with the work of his former press secretary, Victoria Clarke, who is the author of a 2006 Book called... Uh... Something like:
"Lipstick On A Pig: Winning In The No-Spin Era By Someone Who Knows The Game"
Yeah, that must be it! He must have never made the connection between this common phrase that is being used all over the place and the phrase that he himself and those around him have bandied about. Perhaps he has reached senility and has forgotten this common expression. Perhaps he has forgotten using it himself. Perhaps in his dotage, he has entered that time in his life when everything is new and interesting again.

Come off it Mr. McCain, you know that Mr. Obama's comment last night:
"You know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." ... "You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called 'change,'" Obama went on, "it's still gonna stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing! It's time to bring about real change to Washington. And that's the choice you've got in this election."
was no personal affront on your running mate! You can call yourself a maverick all you want that don't make it true. Your, yourself, are proud of voting with the president in excess of 90% of the time. (Some maverick!) Your running mate claims she stopped "the bridge to nowhere" but she ran for governor on a platform that included support for the project. She claims to have put the Governor's jet on eBay and you claim that she sold it on eBay at a profit. The truth is that it was posted there but didn't sell. It was finally sold by an airplane broker at a loss to the state. Check your facts!

You continue your party's practice of lying repeatedly in the hopes that it will be taken as truth. Your entire campaign is lipstick on a pig. You have no right to take offense at the use of the phrase!

I heard this story on all three networks and one cable channel last night. All of them (with the exception of CBS) seemed to imply that Mr. McCain had some right to feel he had been called a fish and that his running mate had been called a pig. What a joke! (But then, what do you expect from the Liberal media, eh?)

Oh, and just in case the McCain campaign should happen to read this entry, that last line was what is called "Sarcasm" and it is not support for your assertion that you (the right) are ill-treated by the media... The opposite tends to be the actual truth. I say this as you seem to have a problem spotting these little details.

Wherever you are today (even if you are working for one of the campaigns), I hope you will have a day that is lovely and free of things from which you take offense!

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

Happy birthday to my cousin, Michael

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Too Good To Last

You knew that it was too good to last!

The brief cold snap that we've been having is supposed to end today. It was a lovely, foggy morning this morning as Saga and I walked along the chilly path in her park. The wisps of fog curled over the walls and the walks as we ambled along the path.

But that will end today when the thermometer once again begins to climb. I know, I know. You're probably thinking that I never seem to be happy with the weather I have, but that's just it! I love the changing weather. I guess it is the novelty that I love.

The first snowfall is great! But six weeks later when the weather has been cold and wet for a month and a half, I start longing for the spring. The first spring shower is great! But after a few days of the gloomy weather, I want it to get hot and dry. The heat of summer is great! But after a few weeks of temperatures that make me want to crawl into a cave and not come out until nightfall and I am looking forward to the first cold snap of fall. The fall colors are wonderful! But as the nights lengthen and the days become anemic, I start wanting the snow to fall... anything to find interest in the days.

And it is not as if I just want to wish my life away! If I could wish for last Fall, and last Summer, and the Spring before that, and the Winder before that and regress for a few years instead of advancing, that would be cool too. Or if we could have fifty two seasons a year... each about a week long! We'd never have a chance to get tired of the seasons! Wouldn't that be cool!?

I suppose I should just get out there and get to work and enjoy the now. It's too good to last. Good thing I'd tire of it soon anyway!

Wherever you are today, I hope you're enjoying living in the now!

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

Monday, September 08, 2008

Soup Weather

Soup weather is here, folks! Ladies and Gentlemen: Start Your Cauldrons!!!

The cool nights and mornings have put me in the mood for soup! I love this time of year! It is great time to drag out the crockery and the cauldron and start simmering concoctions on low for hours on end. This morning the house smells of my latest creation. I'm taken some mixed beans and soaked them, par-boiled them, rinsed them well and then tossed them in the cauldron with some chopped and sautéed onion, celery and carrot.

Throw in a bit of pork for flavoring, and some rice to thicken the stock, bring to a simmer and a few hours later, you have a thick and hardy soup that sticks to the ribs on a cold evening and makes the house seem a little bit warmer. I think next I am going to try and get one that is based on my favorite curry dish from London: Lamb Sag!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you've got something warm and filling waiting for you at home!

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

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Game Night

The first Saturday of each month is my regularly scheduled game night. This Saturday (last night) was no exception! Around six people started arriving. It was a lovely evening, friends, companionship, and some children to console Saga after the trauma her morning had been.

The games were fun. We played two games, one starting before the group was complete and the other starting when our numbers were full. The first game was Mille Borne. I haven't played that for years! Later, we played Quiddler and it was fun. About half of us had played before but the rest hadn't so we played a trail round so that everyone could get the hang of it before the scoring started.

There was wine and beer and vodka passed around and the dips that my guests brought were yummy! I put out some sliced fruits and some dips that I had made for them, white chocolate for the strawberries and butterscotch for the apples. Yumm!!!

The evening broke-up around eleven, I saw my guests out, walked Saga, loaded the dishwasher, cleared away the detritus and retired for the night. This morning I am having a relaxing time in slug mode. Coffee on the terrace with the morning glories all around, Saga popping her head out occasionally to see if I was still there and not sneaking off to somewhere fun without her. It was lovely. But this morning, I have to eventually drag myself back to reality... I have laundry to do and the dishwasher to empty. Ah! But the morning is lovely as long as it lasts!

Wherever you are this morning, I hope it you have a good one!

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

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Evil Place

What a morning! I have had a flurry of activity since getting up!

It's a cool clear morning, now. At six it was that strange kind of overcast/fog/mist combination that makes many a fall morning here in Colorado such a pleasure! The morning was cool and opalescent as Saga and I explored her park. The sun, trying to make its scheduled appearance, made admirable attempts to peel away the layer of fog covering the valley. What was left were the irregular patches, like the pith that remains after a half-hearted attempt at peeling an orange.

It was from this idyll that Saga and I set forth to do our morning run around eight. The first stop was to get Daddy some breakfast (the cupboard was bare). Knowing how much she loves to "sneak" food, I decided to go to a Drive-In and "accidentally" drop a morsel here and there so that it would fall into the her domain, behind the front seats. She was loving it.

Later, it was a stop at the supermarket, the car parked in the shade and the windows open so that Saga could bark at the locals walking by. I returned to the car, my weekly shop in the cart, and saw that Saga was entertaining a nice little girl who had walked over to stare (no touching!) at Saga. She was so cute, Emily that is... Saga's always cute.

Saga sat inside the back seat getting cuter by the minute and waggling her entire back end (to emphasize that she was wagging her tail) and trying to draw her new admirer to the car window as if my sheer will (and cuteness) alone! Emily stood there staring wantonly. You could tell she really wanted to pet her.

Occasionally, Emily would stare over her shoulder and whine something that I didn't quite catch. Emily's Mommy,  at the next car in the parking lot, had just strapped a baby into the car seat and was loading bags into the boot of the minivan when I got to the car and started loading my groceries into my trunk.

Emily looked guiltily at me for just a second as I opened the trunk. (It was almost as if I had caught her stealing penny candies or picking-up a second cookie from the "Free Cookies for Kids" bin at the bakery.)
She then called her mommy.

"Just a minute!" her mommy said loading a couple bags into the car. She looked over when she was done saw me and said "Don't bother that man's dog, Emily!"

"It's no bother." I said. "Saga loves being the center of attention!" I returned to stacking the bags in the trunk.

A moment later, I heard the back hatch of the minivan followed by a plaintive wail of "Please!" drawn out to six syllables in that way only a young child can do it. As I was putting the last of the bags in the car, I heard the woman speak again. "I'm sorry. My daughter is fascinated by dogs and loves your dog. Can she pat your dog through the window?"

"I'll do you one better!" I moved to the side of the car, opened the back door and brought Sage, the universal object of affection and desire, to her adoring fan. Emily sated her desire with a couple tentative pats on the head. The kind of love/fear relationship most young children seem to have with animals. They love that cuddly sheep across the field behind the fence, but when up close and that puffball of wool is right up next to you, you realize it is bigger than you are!

So, breakfast and shopping done, we had one last morning stop before we could go home and that was at the local Dog Wash. It is almost as if Saga can read the sign. The moment we got to the parking lot, she started to whinge. She knew the place. It was (as it always is) an interesting thing to watch. An anticipation: "This is where the cookies come from! Everyone gives me cookies!" Mixed With Trepidation: "This is the evil place. This is where daddy takes me and makes me stand in water for minutes on end!"

She was mostly a champ about it. She was, with only minor argument, compliant as I led her to the tubs and she jumped up and in. (She then tried to immediately jump out, but that was the minor argument and her daddy stopped her.) Twenty minutes later, washed and squeaky-clean, we walked out to get her a few cookies and headed home. As we rode home, everything that went before, the breakfast with daddy, the admirer at the supermarket, the ride in the car, all of that were washed away in the evil place. This morning became in her mind, the day that daddy gave her a bath.

She is sulking downstairs as I write this. But that is her business. I have to start getting ready for company. She'll get over the trauma (or play up on it) tonight when there are people and food around. People and food: Two of Saga's favorite things!

Wherever you are, I hope you bear up to whatever life splashes you with today!

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

Friday, September 05, 2008

Uh... Yeah!

Who had last night at 07:03 PM in the pool?

I was wondering how long it would take before the Republicans started fear-mongering and throwing 09/11 at us as a reason we had to elect the republican party! And here's a surprise! It was Rudy Giuliani who tossed it out there. And of course the invoked the memory of Reagan as well! None of which is a reason for anyone to ignore the various issues that are important to them!

Learn the positions of the candidates, ignore party! Vote for whoever you feel will do the best job! Treat it like a job interview and you're doing the hiring! After all, that is how this is supposed to work! And, now that it appears the worst is over (Yeah! The preliminaries are over... now it's onto the real mud slinging!)

The good thing is, folks, that there are fewer than eight weeks before we know the results! Get out there and campaign for the person your feel would do the best job and don't forget to vote in November. Remember: People who don't vote get the government they deserve!

Wherever you are today, please have an excellent day!

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

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

I guess on the whole, I should not find it strange at all, but when I first heard her speak on the news yesterday, it did. Laura Schlessinger (a.k.a. Dr. Laura) is fully behind the candidacy of Sara Palin. I get it from the point of view that they are both extreme right-wing advocates of some extreme ideals. What I don't get is Dr. Laura's sudden conversion.

Interviews I have heard (as well as clips from her advice show) would have lead me to believe she would not support this. Dr. Laura generally espouses the theory that working mothers is tantamount to child abuse. So why, now, does she think that questions about whether-or-not Ms. Palin has children is sexist. Strange!

But then, it just goes to show that the far right has no logic behind it! But then neither does the far left. Extremists on either side are equally logic-free... It should be an interesting race!

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

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

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Those of you who know me well, know that after eleven years of not smoking, I started smoking again last year. Yes, I know, it was a stupid move and the reasons for it are not anything I want to get into. Suffice it to say that I want to quit and am going to quit.

To this end, I have been looking for a good hypnotherapist in the area that I can work with. I have been looking for someone whose style is what I am used to and finally I've found one that I like. I had my first appointment last night and voilà! No cigarettes on my way home from the appointment. I did get the urge to have one this morning on my way into the office, but was sated after two puffs and so almost immediately put it out.

I expect that after my next appointment next week, I should not have the urge in the morning on the way to the office. (Driving has always been one of the times I enjoyed smoking the most.) Wish me luck!

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

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

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

...And We're Back...

Once more reality encroaches on the wonderful weekend!

Saga and I got our hike in up Mount Sanitas in Boulder, and I got a bit of housework done. I took a couple bike rides in the cool mornings, and basically did not a lot more. The rest of the weekend was spent catching-up on correspondences, and lolling around and in the pool.

But this morning, as I lay there watching the morning news it struck me: It's back to work today!

I'm all refreshed and recharged and ready to take on whatever the week doles out. I cannot wait to get to the office and see what today has in store! But first, Saga wants to go and inspect her park... I'm outta here!

Wherever you are today, I hope that your week begins (or began) on a good note!

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

Monday, September 01, 2008

Home on the Holiday

I can remember the very moment that Colorado became home. It was after a long and difficult business trip some years ago. The car met me at the airport and as we drove into the bowl of the Denver Piedmont on our way to my home up against the foothills I realized that this was truly "Home."

It's partly the friends I have here (which is not to say that I don't have very dear friends elsewhere), it's partly the atmosphere, but mostly it is the beauty of the place and how much I love being here. While walking the dog in the evenings I get to watch the sun setting over the leading ridges of the Rockies. In the mornings, the sunrise plays on the hogback, doing wonderful things with the light.

On the weekends, I can go for a drive in the mountains or just chill by the pool. And that is what I am going to do today! Just chill. It is going to be a wonderful holiday!

Wherever you are today, I hope that you're at home doing something that you want to do!

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

Happy Labor Day!