Today hippies, burnouts, college students and losers everywhere will be motivated to do something other than playing Call of Duty Black Ops and running down to area convenience stores for Snapples and bags of Funyons. That something will entail joining mass demonstrations to show the world that smoking weed is totally awesome.
Colorado essentially decriminalized marijuana in 2005 and dispensaries have been opening up all over the state ever since. Some have clever names like “Health Joint” or “Green Room” while others have less imaginative monikers like “Marijuana Store” or “Pot Shop”.
I am indifferent about marijuana and could care less if people smoke it or not. I wish the government would just legalize it (and every other drug) and be done with it. Tax it, sell it and put that money to use somewhere else. Like my pocket.
The wife and I braved freezing temperatures last night to watch game three of the National League Divisional Series in a four and a half hour affair that left our extremities numb. 50,000 faithful at Coors Field were in attendance, an impressive number considering the cold. Some highlights:
The Rockies organization once again fucked up some form of the post-season. The game started at ten after eight. We arrived at the gates at ten ‘till eight, happy we would be catching the first pitch. We waited outside Coors Field for forty five minutes in the cold. No announcements as to why tickets were not being taken. No signage explaining why there was a delay. Chants of “Let Us In,” almost degenerate into an angry mob poised to rush the gates and get into the game. My sweet wife even mentioned to me how easy it would be to get away with kidney-punching Phillies fan in the mayhem.
By the time we get to our seats, it is the bottom of the second inning and the Rockies are up 2-1. Fucking Rockies organization. I almost don’t enjoy my Rockies Dog and refreshing beer(s).
Our section is fun early on; good fans, good spirits and an overall good vibe. This situation changes as sobriety slips away and is replaced with stupidity. Once polite Phillies fans sitting a few sections below us become raging assholes and start picking fights. One of the fans is a fat white guy who has long dreadlocks. Insults are hurled his way. “Cut your hair, white Bob Marley,” and, “Got any weed?” and my personal favorite (because I said it), “Go home to your bottle of shampoo, hairbag.”
The couple in the row below us are stoned out of their mind. Through out the game, the guy eats slices of salami he has smuggled into the game via his coat pocket. No Ziploc. No brown bag. Literally eating slices of salami from his coat pocket.
The girl below us dances like she is at a rave every time music comes on. Her balance is so off I remark to the wife, “That girl is going to take a spill.” Within minutes of my comment, it happens. The crowd is on its feet after Carlos Gonzalez belts a solo shot to right field and the girl takes a head plant into the seats below her, flips over another row, lands on her head again and somehow manages to finish the maneuver with her ass in a seat four rows down. She looks confused, disoriented and possibly concussed. Her boyfriend expresses no concern and casually takes another slice of salami from his coat pocket.
We decide to head out in the bottom of the ninth as our infant son it at his grandparents and probably needs sleep. It kills us both considering Brad Lidge has been a nightmare closing ball games this season. By the time we arrive at the the car, the Rockies have lost 6-5, unable to cash in two walks.
Upon further reflection, I should have kidney-punched a Phillies fan to make my night more enjoyable. Especially the fat one with dreadlocks.
Kaye: We met everyone before the trip at our friend’s house in Highlands Ranch. The Exterra looked out of place around all the Audis and Beemers. Me: Fucking Highlands Ranch. A girl I used to work with told me she grew up in Highlands Ranch. I told her, “No wonder why you are so boring.” Living on streets named Wildcat Aspen Lane or Wild Mountain River Court or Bobcat Sunset Honeydew Boulevard. Kaye: All the houses look the same, too. Me: We went to my cousin’s poker tournament down there awhile back. “Our house is the sage green house on the left side.” Oh really? EVERY OTHER HOUSE WAS FUCKING SAGE GREEN. One house is brown, then ecru then sage green. Repeat until you want to rip your eyes out of your skull. Kaye: Ha! It’s the crazy homeowners associations down there. Our friend had to have a shade of gray approved before she painted her house. Me: Jesus, is it 1938 Russia down there? All bleak and ubiquitous? Motherfuckers waiting in line for toilet paper? Kaye: Nice. Me: Actually, that’s not fair. They are probably waiting in line for a Starbucks latte. Or some trendy plates from Crate and Barrel.
Super Joe hangs ’em up. One of the most entertaining, humble and classiest guys to ever play the game, Joe Sakic could have scored at a nunnery in the dead of winter. He is guaranteed to be a first ballot hall of famer no matter what snow blowers try to do to him. During the span of his twenty year career he is eighth all time in points, has won two Stanley Cups and holds the NHL record for game-winning overtime playoff goals (8). In celebration of watching Joe play regularly since the Avs landed in Denver in ’95, here is my favorite “Sakic” moment:
Buck Fifty has fast become my favorite site for Denver and Colorado history. Today’s installment: The Ku Klux Klan in Colorado. In the 1920s; the Klan boasted nationwide membership in the millions and was not the backwoods, hillbilly joke that it is today. Regis University (my collegiate Alma mater) has a stone wall on the southwestern edge of campus declared a historical landmark (or so I was told) where students of the 1920s and 1930s fought off the Silent Empire on numerous occasions. In my day, said stone wall was used by students to park the pricey SUVs their parents bought them next to or to smoke cigarettes against on a warm autumn day. I was also unaware that the old Denver airport (Stapleton) bore the name of noted klansmen Ben Stapleton.
The majority of my ancestors settled in Denver in the early 20th Century. My mother’s Italian relatives took refuge in the various brownstones of North Denver and my great-grandfather, an illiterate fruit peddler, was one of the founding members of Potenza Hall (an Italian lodge that is still standing today amidst a landscape of Rite Aids and Taco Bells). My father’s Slavic ancestors settled in the Globeville area; a hard neighborhood know for its rail yards, smelting and meat packing industries. My dad grew up in this community in a small house amongst Slavic kin who liked to drink, cuss, smoke and hate anyone who was not Slavic (my great uncle is still getting his “Gran Torino” on in a Globeville neighborhood that is now predominately Hispanic). The Western Slavonic Lodge was founded around the same time my great-grandmother arrived in Denver from what is now modern-day Russia. I think these lodges are indicative of the mindset of immigrants at the time. It was a place to gather with fellow countrymen, drink, offer support and learn about the idea known as “America.” Being “American” was important to all of my ancestors that settled in Denver. My great-grandfather, for example, when asked by his children to teach them Italian would reply, “We are in America, and in America you speak English.” I often ponder what happened to this mindset; where people identified themselves as American first and their ethnic background second. Perhaps it withered away as class systems divided. Or maybe it disappeared with our manufacturing base when we decided culturally that it was better to consume goods rather than produce them. Perhaps it vanished when people accepted that being friendly was merely waving hello to your nameless neighbor at Starbucks. It could be all these things, or it could just be that a fucking McDonalds became more important to us than a community center.
At the entrance to Denver International Airport (DIA), a lone sculpture stands amidst the backdrop of high prairie and the distant Rocky Mountain front range; Mesteno (or as I like to call it, Demon Horse). The sculpture is a polarizing fixture as its bright red eyes eerily glow out over Pena Boulevard (at dawn or dusk, the effect is particularly creepy) and most Coloradans despise the sight of it. I like the sculpture and enjoy the satanic evilness of it. Besides, how could I openly bash a sculpture that killed its own creator? I do not taunt Demon Horse. For he may come alive with the magical powers of hellfire and gallop across the prarie to claim my soul. Or, at the very least, just fall on top of me and sever one of my arteries.
The aftermath of the nature’s windy wrath has been rife with insurance adjusters, fence contractors, gutter repairmen and one unemployed handyman that was canvasing our neighborhood door-to-door who claimed he could reset our fence posts for “next to nothing” (I quickly learned that “next to nothing” in unemployed handyman talk comes out to be roughly $750). The insurance adjuster stopped by on Saturday morning to assess our property damage and surprisingly turned out to be a genial individual with a soul. Not only did he agree to our damage assessment to the house and fence, he gave us money to replace our hammock that looks more beat up than Tara Reid’s midsection and some roof shingles that may or may not have been ruined via the storm. Minus our $1,000 deductible, insurance will cover nearly 100% of our property damage which was far more than we expected. This week I will be supervising gutter and fence contractors hammer away on the homestead in the chilly January air from the office window while I drink coffee in the warmth.
Early this morning the wife and I awoke to the hurricane force winds. In Colorado. In the winter. When champagne powder should be falling from the sky, young lovers should be skating a frozen pond with hot cups of Wassail and children should be giggling as they sled down soft twinkling hills of twilight gossamer. Instead, fences are being destroyed and coming out of the ground post-first, gutters are being shredded and left for dead and beloved backyard napping furniture is being cast asunder. Thankfully, our wind damage is minor compared to some in the neighborhood. For the record, I call a 35-foot tall pine tree blowing down on top of your fence “major.”
For the first time in American history, a black man has been elected to the highest office in the land (and Colorado is a blue state now! Hooray?). Congratulations President-Elect Barack Obama; may your name and skin color piss off every Southern, backwoods redneck for the next four years. Obama has inherited a mess; the national debt, the mortgage bailout, the Iraq War, the Afghan War, education, health care, the lunatic fringe, etc. I do not like the idea of a welfare state, a national health care plan that I will never use but have to pay into regardless and punishing companies for making too much money. Mix that in with the fact that I am a pessimistic bastard harboring a healthy distrust for politicians in general and now you understand my mindset. I am hopeful the Democrats will do the right thing for the next four years. If not, I look forward to waiting in line for toilet paper and vodka with all of you.