Showing posts from 2011

A Day at the Museum

I took advantage of a short trip to New York to visit the American Museum of Natural History. Now, before you yawn, this is the same museum that was featured in the comedy film Night at the Museum, starring Ben Stiller, a few years back. He is hired as the night watchman, not knowing that, due to a spell, all of the animals, statues, and dioramas come alive at night. “Where history comes alive” is the tagline of the movie.

Luckily, I was in the company of an astrophysicist and a meteorologist, so I was looking forward to an enlightening visit. We entered the loggia where an introductory inscription quoting Theodore Roosevelt is displayed and then proceeded to the Asian mammals hall. The astrophysicist said he lived too much with dioramas and requested that we go immediately to the Ross Hall of Meteorites in the basement. Arriving at the first floor, we walked through the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins, with its skulls and jawbones, to the meteorites.

I marveled at the meteorites and …
New York City, you rejuvenate me so much. I am in your thrall. I watched with awe your joie de vivre that buoyed you up when September 11 hit so hard. This past weekend, I visited Faces at Ground Zero, Aftermath, the Crown of the Statue of Liberty, the subway bowels, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Tornado Alley, the Birth of the Galaxy, and the Big Bang. The shared theme in all these performances was to search for, struggle for, nurture, celebrate, and honor Life. Everything is living, be it half primate and half humanoid, a gemstone, a crystal, a bacteria, a galaxy, or a tornado.

19th Century Writers and Today's: Parallels

Please have a look at my newly created pages on turn-of-the-century writers if you are interested in authors such as Stevenson, Wilde, and Doyle. Owen Wister will be discussed as well, and you are welcome to bring up others. I'm suddenly interested in fin de siecle writings because I can see many parallels between the late nineteenth century and now. Late Victorian writers were often labeled "decadent" because, I suppose, they questioned the strict morals of the time and called for more natural relations, sometimes veering into the hedonistic. Another influence was the growth of science which presented ethical questions, just as it does today. I will compare works of the late 1800s to 21st century writings and movies, such as Duncan Jones's Moon and Source Code.

"Weary Tiger Mother" checks in

Samantha Bee is a weary Tiger Mother...but not too weary to author an excellent article on the subject in the Wall Street Journal.

Herb Garden in Midsummer 2011

I know I promised a review of the WSJ Review Section here. But first...presenting my herb garden in midsummer! The aroma of lemon balm and the butterflies flitting through cool shadows distracted me from indoor activities.
The yellow plant at left is St. John's Wort and next to it is oregano with lavender blooms. Lavender is below and to the left. In front are chives, lemon balm, more oregano and hops vines to the right. We're actually planning to use the hops berries to flavor beer this fall!

Reader to Reporter: Nailed!

It's a delight to wake up on a beautiful Saturday morning to muscular, engaged prose. That's why I've been reading the new Review section of the Saturday WSJ instead of heading straight to the gym. Review and its sister section Off Duty help me get my mental engines revved up and ready for a multidisciplined weekend.

For instance, today's Off Duty section leads with a command to take three days off in Jackson Hole, Wyoming by reporter Benjamin Percy. Okay! The commands continue: "peel off your clothes and soak the travel grime off your skin" "drag on your wetsuit and board a bus that grumbles into Teton National Forest"  "throw down $10 for the round-trip shuttle that motors you across the water to the Cascade Canyons trailhead" "suck down a gin martini and chew your way through an elk steak" "grass hisses beneath you as you bump along, your teeth gritted into a smile" "eat up some asphalt". Double okay!


Reader to Reporter: Please Ditch the Dollop

Reading a cover of Beth Slifer and her Vail interior design business in the Denver Post, I was thrown off by the line "comfortable, functional and timeless with a dollop of opulence." I can deal with the word dollop (but just barely) in recipes, but it's too precious and patronizing to press into use elsewhere.

Word fads are addictive. I'm alarmed to see "dollop" cropping up as often as burnt orange colored vehicles on the highway. Last week, emblazoned "Emerging markets will see dollop of fund flows" on its home page. Puleeeze! An interview with the mystery author Dean James described him as "churning out sprightly feel good reads with a heavy dollop of humor and a twist of murder and mayhem." Even the New York Times has fallen for the dippy word. A book interview in today's issue says, "During this visit to Nana Selma, Rayne relives his troubled but nurturing boyhood, and also gets a dollop of history."


National Farmers Market Week!

It's a whole week devoted to farmers' markets! Go visit your local market this week and hug a farmer...or at least buy a bag of produce. The market comes to my hometown of Golden, Colorado on Saturdays and it's usually packed with people. Farmers' markets these days sell ceramics, pizza and burritos, and windchimes in addition to produce. You never know what you are going to run across!

My mother has begun the ritual of visiting the farmers' market every Saturday. She loves the Rocky Ford cantelopes and the ripe tomatoes. Plus, it gets her out of her apartment and walking places in the fresh air!

Amusing Elevator Pitches

The Elevator Pitch has become an American institution. Here, "This American Life" and "Planet Money" conspire to explain the speed-living phenomenon.

Going Up?

Okay, Now I'm Reading...

The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd. She's the author who wrote The Secret Life of Bees. (Whatever happened to that movie?) It's about a woman who goes back to the island off of the Carolinas where she grew up, to help her aging mother and sister. There's also a mysterious monastery with mysterious monks and a mysterious mermaid chair. It's really engrossing!

What I'm Reading

Miracle at Speedy Motors, by Alexander McCall Smith.

A Town is Born: The Story of South Park City, by E. J. "Gene" Amitrani.

Surrounded by Fourteeners at Kite Lake

Since the Kite Lake Trailhead campground was snowed in on the last weekend in June, I set up camp between the road and a roaring creek, at an established campsite with a fire ring. Here's my Kelty tent with Mount Democrat, the Fourteener I climbed, in the background. To the right is the approach to Mts. Cameron and Lincoln.
I took off from work about 1:30 pm and sped west to Fairplay (also known these days as South Park). Just stopped long enuff to buy a 6" sub at Subway. Drove NW on Colorado State 9 to Alma, a cute little mountain town. Turned west and followed a bumpy road 6 miles to the trailhead. BUT, the road was covered with snow 3 miles from the TH, and impassable. I found a campsite between the road and a roaring creek. Set up my tent, gathered firewood, and retired around 8 pm. Although the sun went behind a mountain around 5 pm, it was light until 9 pm, so I was able to relax in my sleeping bag and read Alexander McCall Smith's latest novel for an hour. Sleep el…

About this blog

First things first: I am not an arsonist. The title of this blog refers to what's hot on the Front Range of Colorado. It also hints at something dear to my heart: cooking. If I'm not on a trail or an ice climb, you'll find me behind a stove. It may be a JetBoil stove, or any other kind of stove! Otherwise I'm likely to be dishing out opinions, fleeting thoughts of fancy, snips of copy, photos, quotes, and unsolicited advice on any number of totally unrelated topics. Are you up for it? Then, follow me on the Front Range!