Columns

Thu
16
Apr
atodd's picture

The Rule of Law? Don't make me laugh…

The notice read: "You are herby summoned to APPEAR at the JOHNSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE…".  Who or what is a "herby"? I wondered. Typos happen; apparently proofreading at a certain county courthouse in Kansas doesn't.

A summons for jury duty, of course, doesn't mean you're going to be selected. It just means you're going to have at least one very slow morning waiting for something – anything – to happen. Then when it does it invariably involves listening to lawyers asking simple questions and explaining things to adults while pretending that they're talking to three-year-olds.

I'm not complaining. The experience turned out to be a civic exercise laced with laughter and comic relief. That's saying something considering that this was a criminal court and the case involved a charge of domestic violence – certainly, no laughing matter.

Wed
11
Mar
atodd's picture

Your business is our business

Next week is "Sunshine Week," celebrating transparency in government. In Colorado, the Colorado Open Records Act, or CORA, and the Colorado Open Meetings Law, or COML.
Before CORA was formalized in 1969, a citizen's ability to access public records was at the discretion of the custodian of the records.
A few years back, we had issue with a local school board on behalf of the public and were met with objection to obtaining emails between members because one member used a private email account.
Remind you of anyone in the news recently?
Fortunately, we were able to obtain all we needed to shine some light on the actions of the board.
Simply put, with some qualifications, any entity required or authorized by law to be involved in the receipt or expenditure of public funds is subject to CORA.

Sat
28
Feb
atodd's picture

Let the healing continue

It's been five years since we moved to Ouray County, after being behind the Pine Curtain in East Texas for over a decade. We stay in touch with folks and root around for news from time to time. Sometimes, news from there finds us, and hits us hard.
A couple of tragedies involving best friends of each of our boys have reminded us that healing is a process that never ends.
A few years ago we got a terrible phone call. Joey, one of a group of four which included our Michael, died in a car accident on Interstate 35 north of Waco, Texas. Joey was supposed to have joined two of the four “J’s” - Joey, Jared, Jim and J'Michael (as he was named to fit the alliteration) - from high school in going to college together. The fourth had already enlisted in the service.
They were inseparable. We always expected them to travel life together, and the fact that three of them were going to college together seemed a natural progression.

Wed
25
Feb
atodd's picture

Giving space to ideas and ingenuity

Back in the day, before the norm was a Man Cave with full wet bar and a 48 inch wide screen HD TV, men hung out in the shed. The shed had beer in bottles or cans in a beat up fridge, a license plate or two covering the holes in the wall, an old AM radio in the corner and pin up girls on every vertical surface not covered in tools. In the Shed men stood around and smoked cigars with their buddies while tinkering with the family car or (if they were luckier) a project car. Back then, fixing a car relied on the expertise of a number of friends from around the neighborhood. The friends might be electricians, welders, plumbers or even insurance salesmen — and they all brought their own expertise and perspective to the project.  

Sun
11
Jan
atodd's picture

Post-holiday hangover of an andropausal male

Warning: At the risk of being labeled “Mr. Grinch,” I'm about to take a leak on the annual guilt-induced, corporate-shakedown madness known as "The Holidays." I held off ’til after Christ's big birthday bash in hopes of escaping eternal damnation, hell’s fire, and/or a lightning bolt.
My inner Grinch appears suddenly, right out of the Walmart blue, while standing in a stalled checkout lane of glazed-faced shoppers. The line stalled due to an elderly penny-pinching coupon-clipper who decided that the busiest shopping day of the year would be a good time to save a buck forty. This is the kind of stuff that happens when a cynic is suckered into the shortest line, and it corroborates Murphy’s Law that even the best-laid battle plan cannot survive contact with the enemy.

Sat
10
Jan
atodd's picture

Not even Oprah can fly

I promise I won't write about our new dog each week. In fact, he won't get much more ink, unless we have a famous headline that reads "Man bites dog," or something sensational like that.
And the only reason I'm writing about him today is he did something pretty sensational the other day.
A lot of folks around Ouray County have dogs. Don't believe me? Just hang out at either post office for an hour, Hartwell or Fellin parks, your favorite trail or even the bank where they're known to have a treat or two handy for a four-legged customer. You'll run out of fingers and toes counting pups for just an hour or so at just about any location.
One weekly visitor to the Plaindealer carries dog biscuits in the breast pocket of his coat as he makes his rounds.
Kind of like the Pied Piper of pooches, you might say.
I'm sure all these dogs around the county at some point have performed the sensational, at least in their owners' eyes.

Wed
07
Jan
atodd's picture

Editorial Cartoon

Wed
03
Dec
Wed
03
Dec
atodd's picture

Making myself a more balanced rider

When I was in college I never pulled all nighters. Many of my friends did in cramming for an exam, but I just wasn’t able to stay up all night studying. I also didn’t think it was very valuable. Sure, you fill your head full of facts, regurgitate them for the exam the next day and then promptly forget them. That’s usually the way it goes.
On Friday, while on my way to Montrose and the Black Friday sale at Murdoch’s, I was listening to NPR. The program was on ways of studying in order to retain the knowledge, and not just for a test. They were discussing “blocking” and “interleaving,” a term I had never heard.

Wed
03
Dec
atodd's picture

Trust in three simple words

When trust and faith intersect, you can bet you're ready for just about anything.
My son, Ross, the budding pilot, wanted to take me flying Friday at the airport at which he trains in Provo, Utah. My publishing partner, his mother, is a bit more discriminate in her desire to be aloft. You can't much blame her, really. The Diamond DA40 two-seater would be eclipsed by a Volkswagen Beetle with a long tail pipe.
When I helped Ross lock down the heavy, clear bubble that enclosed our cockpit, it didn't occur to me to question him about what we just witnessed.
A four-seater Piper raced down the runway before us, lifted, then bounced and seemingly caught itself and righted before rising away. I asked Ross if he had seen the bounce, and Ross made some comment about how the pilot probably just pulled his nose up too quickly for a second. Happens all the time.

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