Back to the Cripple Creek Ice Festival

I went with my department coworkers to see the ice carvings in Cripple Creek. The theme this year was superheroes, I guess, since that’s what all the carvings were of. It was mid-afternoon on a weekday, so things weren’t exactly hopping. Most of the vendors were absent, very few people were around, and at least half the sculptures were covered in black plastic to prevent melting.

Here’s what we saw.

Batman on his motorcycle. Notice the “BANG” and “POW” carvings.

More Batman

Spiderman

The Green Goblin, missing his arms

Superman’s Fortress of Solitude? with Maddie and Megan

I’m not sure what this carving was supposed to be, but we took full advantage.

Cynthia, Maddie, and Cheryl.

The Hulk. And me.

The entire “festival” took us maybe 20 minutes. We ate at Gold Camp Bakery in Victor on the way and stopped for drinks at McDonald’s in Woodland Park on the way home. At McDonald’s, we had a good time sharing celebrity sightings.

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Highlights from Recent Reading

Writers come in two principle categories—those who are overtly insecure and those who are covertly insecure … — from Draft Number 4, by John McPhee


We also saw the Golden-fronted Leafbird, a bright green bird with an orange forehead about the size of a Mockingbird. — from One More Warbler, by Victor Emanuel (That’s a really big forehead.)


Conscience drove Adam behind the trees of the garden; revelation brought him forth into the presence of God. The consciousness of what he was terrified him; the revelation of what God was tranquilized him. This is truly consolatory for a poor sin-burdened heart. The reality of what I am is met by the reality of what god is; and this is salvation. There is a point where God and man must meet, whether in grace or judgment, and that point is where both are revealed as they are. Happy are they who reach that point in grace! Woe be to them who will have to reach it in judgment! It is with what we are that God deals; and it is as He is that He deals with us. In the cross, I see God descending, in grace, to the lowest depths, not merely of my negative, but my positive condition as a sinner. This gives perfect peace. If God has met me in my actual condition, and Himself provided an adequate remedy, all is eternally settled. But all who do not thus by faith see God in the cross, will have to meet Him by and by in judgment, when He will have to deal, according to what He is, with what they are.

It is quite impossible that a divinely-quickened conscience can rest in aught save the perfect sacrifice of the Son of God. All effort to establish one’s own righteousness must proceed from ignorance of the righteousness of God. … Thus, in whatever way we view the matter, we see the sinner’s complete impotency, and, as a consequence, the presumptuous folly of all who attempt to assist God in the stupendous work of redemption, as all assuredly do who think to be saved in any other way but “by grace, through faith.”

[God] made it altogether a question between Himself and the serpent; for although the man and the woman were called upon individually to reap, in various ways, the bitter fruits of their sin, yet it was to the serpent that the Lord God said, “Because thou has done this.” The serpent was the source of the ruin, and the seed of the woman was to be the source of the redemption. … Looking at the matter from nature’s point of view, Eve might be called, the mother of all dying; but, in the judgment of faith, she was the mother of all living.

It was God’s wondrous mercy to allow [Adam] to hear what He said to the serpent, before he was called to listen to what He had to say to himself. — from Notes on the Book of Genesis, by C.H. Mackintosh.


Reno’s record also was superior to that of his closest friend at West Point, James McNeill Whistler, who piled up demerits with heroic aplomb and concluded one examination by defining silicon as a gas. Whistler reputedly said to Reno some years afterward that if silicon indeed had been a gas he probably would have stayed in the Army and become a major general; and Reno said yes, but then nobody would ever have heard of his mother. That must have been one of the cleverest things Reno ever said. Unlike Custer and Benteen—with their very different styles—he seems humorless. There is no levity in that dark face. — from Son of the Morning Star, by Evan, S. Connell.


The big round bullet that brought him down came from a muzzle-loading Lancaster rifle, possibly one of many weapons given to the Cheyennes by the government at the Medicine Lodge peace council. Barnitz himself had been at Medicine Lodge and was amazed: “Indians signed treaty. Presents distributed—among other things 65 new revolvers!—and hundreds of new butcher knives!”

Eight years later Major Reno wrote his official report of the Custer business while on the banks of the Yellowstone, concluding with these lines: “The harrowing sight of the dead bodies crowning the height on which Custer fell, and which will remain vividly in my memory until death, is too recent for me not to ask the good people of this country whether a policy that sets opposing parties in the field armed, clothed and equipped by one and the same government should not be abolished.”

A century later it is obvious that Major Reno’s question has not yet been answered.— from Son of the Morning Star, by Evan, S. Connell.

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January Stuffs

Things I Saw and Did in January

Books Read in December and January

Things I Learned in January

  • To prevent fires back in the days when houses were warmed and lit by fire, people covered flames at night with a lid called a “coverfeu.” This word developed into our word “curfew.”
  • The Duke of Marlborough was so cheap that, to save ink, he didn’t dot his “i”s.
  • The dining room came into existence in homes largely because people got tired of stains on their expensive, upholstered parlor furniture.
  • In an average year, more people die of food poisoning contracted at church picnics than have died from contact with bats in all of recorded history.
  • There are around 50,000 square miles of lawn in the United States, a larger area than that taken up by any single farm crop.
  • Falling down stairs is second only to car accidents as a cause of accidental death. Unmarried people are more likely to fall than married people. People in good shape are more likely to fall than those in bad shape.
  • When you say that something is “the greatest thing since sliced bread,” you’re saying it’s the greatest thing since 1928, the year a Missouri jeweler named Otto Rohwedder invented the bread-slicing machine.
  • In 1907, Kellogg offered a free box of Corn Flakes to any woman who would wink at her grocer.
  • The word “literal” is an adjective of the Latin word “littera,” meaning “letter.” Centuries ago, when only a handful of educated people knew how to write (or read) and the materials for doing so were hard to come by, something that was “literally true” was of such importance that it was worth writing down.
  • Christopher Columbus took notes in Italian, gave most of the places he discovered Portuguese names, wrote his official correspondence in Castilian Spanish, kept a public journal of his voyages in Latin and a second, private, one in Greek, used Hebrew astronomical tables, and spoke the lingual franca (a mix of Arabic, Italian, and Spanish) of Mediterranean traders. And he was typical of learned men of his day.
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CU South Denver Museum

I discovered this museum while searching online for interesting things to do in Colorado. I never would have found it any other way because the word museum doesn’t appear in the name of the “museum” or on the signage anywhere near the building. My GPS took my to a large building in Parker. I walked across a plaza past several animal sculptures that at least felt museumish.

From behind a counter in the lobby, a young woman gave me a friendly greeting. I asked, “Is there a museum here?” She assured me that there was, and got very excited as she explained how I was to navigate the space. Rarely have I paid to see something I knew so little about.

The museum had three major areas. The first was a large room with a winding walkway that passed through several different environments—rain forest, tundra, desert, etc.

There were animal figures, and even a few human figures along the way. Many of them were animatronic, but a lot of them weren’t. And many of those that were were only minimally so. I had to watch very carefully to see any movement. Here are a few examples. The human figures would talk to me when I pushed buttons on a screen. The rest of the time, they just froze in place—except for an occasional blink or turn of the head. It was more than a little creepy. The exhibit wasn’t large, but it was impressive. I saw maybe four other real, live humans in the room while I was there.

The second section featured Colorado wildlife. There were mounted specimens of many of the local fauna, but as near as I could tell, none of them moved.

The third part of the museum was an art gallery, donated by some rich folks. I had this part entirely to myself.

One exhibit featured seven chimpanzee statues. I had some fun with these.

And that was pretty much it. The whole museum took me about an hour and a half and taught me nothing. But as a way to kill a Saturday morning when I was recovering from a flu-type bug, it was delightful.

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