Friday Fives – breaking up over toilet paper edition

Wheel Of Life Mandala

Do you believe in fate?

Like ghosts, and karma, and luck, and the death penalty, and aliens… I don’t believe in it.  However, I don’t NOT believe it it, either.

If Karma was to visit you now, would it be kind or kick you in the butt?

She would be kind, and give me a peck on the cheek.  Then, she would rub my belly and taunt me about losing weight.  Or… is that my grandma?  They both love me!  I am a good boy!

Do you believe you have lived another life previous to this one?    

No, I don’t get that one.  I am a big fan and demi-follower of the Dalai Lama.  He claims he is the 14th incarnation of the original Dalia Lama, Mike.  Like the first question… though I don’t quite believe in it myself (or for myself)… I have no reason to doubt him, either.  He is a much wiser and nicer man than I.

What do you believe in with an unshakable resolve?

You know how people say things on Facebook like ‘if you support guns, unfriend me now’, or same about gay rights.  I say this… if you don’t use the Oxford Comma, you may unfriend me now.  Same about if you don’t do toilet paper the correct way (over… per the patent, crackers!)

What one factor influences your life the most?

  • What is the right thing to do?
  • It is humanly possible to hit snooze just one more time?

Those both weigh equally on my mind for the most part.



All your roads now belong to us

Do you remember when driving on roads was free?  In case you are reading this and thinking ‘but, they are free!’ – I challenge you to bookmark this and come back in 5 years.

Almost every significant current, past, and future highway improvements are ALL toll roads.  I resent the shit out of this, because I feel they are sneaking this past us.  Who are ‘they’?  You know… ‘the Man’, ‘Whitey’, Corporate America… whatever.

First, some background.   Denver is growing like nuts.  We were always growing like nuts, but then the pot thing happened.  We need wider and faster roads.  We need them bad, and we need them twenty years ago.  Hell, I was writing about this 10 years ago.  Proof!  So… we talked about it, at a cost of studies running 100K a year.   No one could agree.  Well, once thing everyone agreed about – don’t widen the roads.  Why not?

Widening is a temporary solution.  Plus, it’s ugly.  No one moved to Colorado to look at more roads.  Plus… and this is a biggie… it is more pollution.  Denver has a very serious pollution problem, one of the biggest in US.  It’s a temperature inversion that causes the pollution to just get stuck over town.  You call it the ‘brown cloud’, though.    Well, we solved all of it.   Wait… none of it.

We widened the roads… the thing nobody wanted.   BUT.. we only widened a really small portion.  Even better?  You have to pay to use them.  Yes, ALL of our new road widening projects are pay per use.  Our state is only building toll roads now.  We needed about a 25 mile relief project on the i-70 in the mountains.  Instead… we build a 2 mile solution.   That, again, you have to pay to use.  Even more odd?  They didn’t widen the road… they just took down the breakdown safety median to charge people to use it for passing.  So, you can no longer safety breakdown in Idaho Springs, but you can pay to unsafely pass folks on the left.  Just like NO ONE asked for.

So…  that was fun, right?  Let’s now make ALL roads toll roads in Colorado.  For a while, they built a cool extra lane spill way in North Denver on the i-25 (near the Speer exits) to relieve traffic when necessary.  Oh, it’s still there… but it’s a toll lane now

Things brings us to the MUCH needed expansion of C-470.  Two lanes each way simply wasn’t nearly enough.  Ok, excellent idea, and thank god.  You have seen the construction if you have driven on the C-470 for the last year.  I had a nasty hunch they were going to pull it again.  Did some research, and they did.  Those extra help lanes will be toll lanes.

The project will add one express toll lane in both the eastbound and westbound directions from I-25 to Kipling. Additionally, one express toll lane will be added westbound from I-25 to Lucent Boulevard and another one will be added eastbound from Broadway to I-25. This would double the width of the highway in some spots.

But wait… there is more!  You don’t even know about this one, yet.  But, they are expanding i-25 from Castle Rock to Fountain.  Again, this is a good thing.  As that stretch drops from 3 lanes to 2 lanes, it becomes a choke point.  See, the government is looking at for you. YAY!

State commission OKs $250 million to widen I-25 from Monument to Castle Rock

Wait… no.  they aren’t going to charge for that, too, are they?  Oh yes they are:

These ‘solutions’ suck for a number of reasons.  They don’t cut down on traffic or pollution.  In fact, they encourage it.  It also discriminates against working class people who can’t afford the privilege of getting to work on time… hence the great and dismissive term ‘Lexus Lanes’.   Lastly, this construction sucks, for EVERYONE.  Even though everyone won’t get to use them.  This is a scary trend that surely sees no end.

Now, unlike Mitch McConnell… I am not here to just insult everyone else’s idea with no solutions.  I have an idea.  it is expensive, but obviously so are all of these.  More light rail.  It holds more people, adds no pollution, is immune to traffic, and is immune to weather.   If for no other reason, support it to piss off Jon Caldara.  He is the right wing nutjob who is MILITANTLY against ALL public transportation.  He has also taken great strides to stop as much of it as humanly possible.

In his latest piece for the Post, Caldara compares state transportation investments in transit and biking to cancer.

Friday Fives – earworms and ticks, mostly

What’s your most recent ear worm stuck in your noggin?

The worst I had in recent memory was ‘goodbye yellow brick road’ from Elton John.  It was BAD.  It was literally in my head 24/7 for about 3 weeks.   Drove me NUTS.  At one point, it was so bad that I remember I couldn’t sleep, so I got out of bed at 4 am to listen to the song, hoping that would make it go away.

At first, the song was a curiosity.  I made NO sense to me.  But hey, Elton is a weird dude.

THEN… I remembered he doesn’t write these songs, Bernie does.  Knowing that, it opened the whole song up to me… and beautifully.  Read the lyrics now as a letter from Bernie to Elton.  It is Bernie saying “dude, this rock star thing isn’t for me.  I don’t want to live in a high rise, I don’t need to be on a jet.  I want to go home and feed my chickens.  Leave me alone”

What’s your newest favorite band/performer?

Bob Dylan.  Not new, but my favorite.  I make it a point to listen to Bob Dylan every single day.

Spotify/Pandora/Tidal/Radio – where do the tunes come from? 

Pandora.  I LOVE it.  I can prove it, too.  I actually PAY for Pandora.  Been using it for years, so my stations are perfectly curated.  See, you don’t just listen to Pandora.  No, sir.  One must be MILITANT about thumbing up and down songs.  I did that like every song for about a year… now I haven’t had to touch it in months.

Now… I do not doubt there might be better services out there.  Thing is, I have spent years with Pandora, so I love it.  I am very comfortable with the interface.  Plus, I have my top stations seriously thumbed up/down to feed me EXACTLY what I want.

Do you have a favorite live performance found on the You Tubes?

Yeah, Mike Masse.  Dig this cover.  Then, did now many hits he has. He literally has more hits than the original.  Oh, and he is fairly recently a Denver citizen.  So, if you live in Denver, he is gigging all around

Also, for those of you reading in Phx, AZ… he is coming there!  He is playing Tempe in early March.

Have you ever written a song?

Yes, many.  I am a life long guitarist.  you want a link?  uh uh.  You gotta come camping with me.

Friday Fives, Guadi edition

What food is delicious but a pain to eat

Drurian.  It has fouled an entire country.

What’s the easiest meal you know how to cook?

Mac and cheese, or do you mean from scratch?  From scratch… the easiest… spaghetti in meat sauce (jar of marinara).  BUT… we make a seriously sick gourmet mac and cheese.   involves Gouda, and more butter than a Paula Deen fridge audit.

What is the most difficult meal you have prepared?

Done right?  Paella.  Almost impossible to execute, seriously.  That is why the wifey makes it.  It’s a dish we fell in love in with Barcelona.  Like Sangria, you just don’t go there and no consume TONS of both.  That is what is on the menu.  It is delicious, and cheap.  Go to Barcelona (or maybe anywhere in Spain, what the hell do I know) and eat LOTS of Paella and drink LOTS of Sangria.   Life is good.  Then, go see everything Guadi.  * that building up there.  That is a Guadi building.  it isn’t photoshopped, or filtered.  There are his buildings, and they are almost 100 years old.  It is fucking phenomenal, especially if you appreciate art and drugs.  Look, here is another one.



think that is something?  Oh, just wait.  He also started building the only large scale cathedral STILL in construction a 100 years after he started it (and 80 years after he died).  They are STILL building this.   It will rock your fucking skull off if you see it in person.  And… you can.  it’s open, you can go inside and take tours.  it is called the ‘sagrada familia’.  if you don’t believe me, google it yourself.  What you have with Antonin Gaudi is what would have happened if Salvador Dali was an architect


this is not a subtle building.  it is THEE defining thing in ALL of Barcelona.  Not to discreet.  Here is a picture of the Barcelona skyline from 50 miles away.  The church is pretty much all you can see.  See all those cranes?  They are still building it.  It’s hollow inside.


What food or drink can you almost not comprehend other people actually like?

Mountain dew, corn chips like Fritos.  GROSS.  Adam Carolla calls Mt Dew ‘Nectar of the ‘tards’.  I can not disagree with with policy.

What is the “white chocolate is not real chocolate” of other foods?

Well, the vanilla you are using isn’t vanilla.  Vanilla only grows one place on earth, Madagascar.  What we are likely getting, even that precious bottle smuggled from Mexico, is Vanilla flavoring and a lot of alcohol.  Just like kissing your sister.

Friday Fives – so Jamie doesn’t kill me

After your first language, what language would you most like to learn?

English first, and I speak Spanish.  Not well, but enough to communicate whatever it is I am trying to communicate.  Language is very much a ‘use it or lose it’ kinda thing… for me at least.  I need to take another deep trip into Mexico, like I used to in high school and college.  Rather than stew in the Phx sun, for summers I would take my fast food money and backpack around Mexico. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with friends.

Travel is the best thing you can do.  I can not impress that enough.  My parents were smart enough to know that, and allow me my adventures.  And adventures they were!  I love you pizza man, and came back to find him 20 years later to tell him as much in a tearful reunion.

Does your country have a second language?

Oh the whole?  I guess you could say Spanish is a second language of the US.  Growing up in the SouthWest, Mexican culture was all around me.  It is my happy place.  The people of Mexico are the most wonderful and beautiful and sweet people of all the world.  I prefer them over my own.   That is why I spend so much time there.  My heart is there.

How many languages can you count to 5 in? To 10 in? List them.

English and Spanish.  Might be able to fake Italian.  I found my knowledge of Spanish was enough to get us around Italy.  They are SO close, it is stupid.  If you are listening, you won’t necessarily see the similarities, but the written word… they are very very close.

What is the first overseas country you visited? And from where? (ie/ timbuctoo to mars)

Overseas?  So… Mexico and Canada don’t count.  Then, it would be England.  This was pretty cool.  We had just moved to Denver, wifey and I.  She found some CRAZY deal to go to London.   I think an airline was announcing non stop route from Denver to Heathrow.  Wifey didn’t even have time to run it by me.  They had a limited run of $99 tickets.  So, she calls me and says “oh, take off the last week in March next Spring.  We are going to England.”   And we did.

I gotta tell you, the first time we sat on that plane looking down an 8 hour flight, I was totally freaked out.  8 hour flight, over the Atlantic ocean?  Isn’t that the one with icebergs and stuff?  Man, I was freaked the fuck out.  THEN… they tell you what to do in the event of a ‘water landing’.  Let me tell you, a plane traveling 700 mph into the North Atlantic ocean in March is not a ‘water landing’.  A ‘water landing’ is a Jimmy Buffet song… or should be.

What country do you most want to visit? And why?

we have been to lots, fortunately.   What is left?   Ireland, and the South Pacific.  This Spring, we are hitting Eastern Europe for the first time on a river cruise, so that will be awesome!

Friday Fives?

I can’t think of anything interesting to say.  So, here is a beautiful picture of my home.  I took this the day after Christmas.  I was so sick that I flew home early from seeing family in Phx.  That may not make any sense, but I got up at 4 am the day after Christmas to take an Lyft to the airport.  All I wanted to do was be in my bed.  A rather brutal 6 hours later… I finally rolled into the gates of home.  I was probably so happy I cried.  I was also so doped up on cold meds, I was likely dodging the dragons and pokemon flying about.

anyhow… Merry belated Christmas from 2016.  I went in and went to bed and didn’t really get up for about a week.

christmas ranch 2016

i just love every aspect of this picture, and what is represents in my life.  If I ever pass away… no need to put up a picture of me at the memorial.  Put this picture up.  It’s how I want to be remember, and what I want to remember.  Besides, I have already commissioned about $13,356 worth of painting of me for my service.  The money is in a trust.  It will involve ice sculptures of my likeness, and even several bonsai homages to me.  That being said, there won’t be a ton of room for any pictures not involving me.  But… please make sure to find a way to squeeze this one in.

Friday Fives

What’s the funniest name you’ve heard someone call an object when they couldn’t remember its actual name?

Justin calls everything a ‘goddamnit’ when he can’t think of the word.  For anything.  It’s a noun as he uses it.  Looking for your beer?   A Lama?  Some guitar strings.

What is the funniest movie you have ever watched?

Going deep here, as Princess Bride and Spinal Tap are too easy.  Let’s go with Harold and Maude, and the Jimmy Stewart classic ‘Harvey’.

What is the funniest lie to tell kids?

Adults know what they are doing, and to always trust them.   Especially clowns!

What is the best/funniest recurring joke in a TV series?

There is this very odd easter egg in every episode of SNL.   Whenever they cut to backstage in the halls… for some reason, there is ALWAYS a guy dressed as Abe Lincoln holding a Lama.  It always looks like they are setting up for an upcoming skit… but it never is.  I think it took me ten years to figure this out, and I NEVER miss SNL.

They never call attention to it, either.  They are playing the long game, too.  I bet this has been going on at least 1979,c_limit/snl-eric-idle-llama.gif

What’s your funniest “I’ve made a huge mistake” moment while cooking?

Assuming you could make Paella by adding the ingredients in a Paella.  Some rice, saffron, some seafood, maybe a bunch of clams, too.  Don’t ever do this.  Turns out that making Paella is wildly complex.  It takes hours, and requires VERY specific order.