Columns

Tue
23
Aug
atodd's picture

“Praying for Satan,” my two cents worth

It seems like every time a Presidential election year rolls around I get an irresistible urge to put a bullet through the TV. Blue-sky promises reverberate from podiums across America; babies are hugged, hands are shaken and fingers are pointed. Never does so much amount to so little for so many. Presidential election promises are about as incontinent as an old bucket at a target range, it just doesn’t hold water. “Cream” no longer rises to the top, and I’m left to wonder if our election process isn’t due for an upgrade, you know, a tweak to make it fair, relevant and most of all, make it actually matter who wins.  

Tue
23
Aug
atodd's picture

Of all the mean, vicious, merciless little buggers imaginable

Are you as warm as we are? It has gotten a little too warm around here. The bovine, equine and human species are all suffering.
There really isn’t any relief from the heat when you are on the ranch. We don’t have a chlorinated swimming pool to jump into. The creek beside the house really isn’t sanitary enough to recreate in; it’s downstream from the cows. For those who may not know, cows do “their business” in the creeks around here. Please think twice before you drink…this is a public service message from the Ouray County Cattlemen’s Association.
So, the kids, critters and I are forced to be creative with our “cooling off” activities. My favorite involves a good ol’ fashioned water hose. We don’t have a section of the property flat enough for a “slip ’n’ slide” so we leave our jeans on, wet down the grass REAL GOOD, and ‘booty bomb’ the side yard. It is fun. A little Redneck, but fun. Now we haven’t had time to do it this year, so I am trying to plan it.

Tue
23
Aug
atodd's picture

Sign of the times

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?
-Five Man Electrical Band

As the RAMP project in Ridgway continues to take shape, a discussion about signs in Ridgway has blossomed.
It's certainly true there are quite a number of signs in town these days. I counted 58 signs along CO 62 driving from the Shell station to the Old School House. And that was counting only the ones along the north side of the highway.
Some are permanent and some are temporary. A number of them are construction signs, which will go away. Another batch directs to businesses, necessary because of construction. Most of those will go away. And another batch is what I call "holdover" signs, including the Ridgway town logo signs.
I'm guessing a lot of those will stay.

Sun
26
Jun
atodd's picture

Be healthy and save the planet! Buy this amazing product…

What is healthy? It's title of a recent article in The Economist, for starters. It's a fair question.
The definition of "healthy" is not only a puzzle for biomedical science to solve, but also a kind of game played for high stakes. The game requires a referee because science provides no clear answer and scientists who do this kind of research – often for companies with skin in the game – can't agree. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration wields the whistle.
Money is important in life, but good health trumps even the almighty dollar. Unless, of course, you own a company that sells products with the word "healthy" on the package – like a panoply of products in the supermarket these days.

Sun
26
Jun
atodd's picture

A bit of history in Ouray County

It's that time of year that we receive a whole bunch of press releases from our friends at Colorado Parks and Wildlife related to wildlife. Don't feed the bears. Birds don't need bird feeders. Leave baby animals alone.
It's a good bet that if your actions are designed to help or assist wildlife, then you're really not helping at all.
If you want to feed the locals, go shopping or dining or stay a few nights. It is we two-legged locals that have the most difficulty surviving Colorado winters!

Feel like you're going forward and backward this week? Well, it won't last past Sunday. The palindrome will be over, like the movie Groundhog Day, except this week gets to the end and goes back to the beginning. It started on Friday (6/10/16), continued on to Saturday (6/11/16), and on through this coming Sunday (6/19/16). The madness will all stop this Monday (6/20/16).

Sun
26
Jun
atodd's picture

A pernicious blend of ignorance and overconfidence

I’m sure Mark Twain had men in mind when he said, “Success is oft born out of ignorance and confidence.” Well whadayaknow, two things I just happen to excel at. Thus it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a dumbass Geezer-Guy on Medicare is drawn to stunts like trying to ride his mountain bike from Lovely Ouray to Yankee Boy Basin. This kind of irrational, hormone-driven arrogance likely explains why women live longer than men.
I was seized by this lunatic ambition a couple of years ago during a recurrent bout of mental illness commonly referred to as Spring Fever. Its source is always the languid, drop-by-drop thaw of a winter’s-worth of dirty “white plague” from the upper reaches of my San Juan Mountain playground. Symptoms include pacing, fidgeting, moodiness and watching reruns of “Ellen” and “Dr Phil.”

Sun
26
Jun
atodd's picture

A time for all seasons on the farm

Life on a ranch, as you may have noticed, moves in unison with the seasons.
In the fall, the kids start school, the cattle come off the mountain, the calves are weaned and it’s volleyball season.
In the winter, the kids start making Christmas lists, the cattle settle into a feeding schedule, the calves ship out and it’s basketball season.
In the spring, the kids get antsy to finish school, the cattle have new calves and it’s soccer season.
To every season, there is a reason. On a ranch and in most ranch families, there are many reasons to each season. Over the years, the motto in our home has become “Onto the next thing.” Our home is bustling and busy. The children play sports, and the cowboy and I work our full time jobs.

Fri
13
May
atodd's picture

Irreconcilable differences on “Walden Pond”

As February rolled into March, Bobbie and I rolled homeward. We paused about 20 miles north of Moab for one last back-road boondock on an elevated campsite that afforded views of russet fins and “hobgoblins” in Arches National Park, a fitting metaphorical “bow” on yet another winter RV sojourn through the desert southwest.

“Otherworldly,” I thought, endeavoring to reduce to a single word such a vast, surreal landscape… a veritable “Red Sea” of anthropomorphic hoo-doos and gravity-defying arches, lapping at the “shores” of white-capped La Sal Mountains.

I first stumbled into Moab in the spring of ’77, six months after a soul-saving transplant from Les Miserable, Missouri, to West-slope, Colorado. As a “newbie” itching to jumpstart camping season, I was both surprised and bummed that my new San Juan Mountain “backyard” still languished waist-deep in snow in April.

Fri
13
May
atodd's picture

Washington via Ouray

A small-town guy from little Yuma, Colorado stopped by the office last week. It's not exactly the story of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado likes to talk about his roots.
"There used to be two newspapers in Yuma," he said. "One was the Rattler. The Rattler didn't make it."
The Rattler was actually from Wray, a bit east of Yuma. Perhaps when you're out on the high plains of Eastern Colorado, everything kind of blends in.
"I wish I'd been fifth generation in Ouray," the senator said, glancing out the Plaindealer's corner office. "It would have been a little more scenic."
He and his family live in the same house that his great-grandparents lived in, although it had left the family for a while before he bought it. "I would have saved a lot of money had it stayed in the family," he said.
I had about 15 minutes to pepper him with questions.

Thu
07
Apr
atodd's picture

Well-rounded upbringing with inside and outside smarts

We made it. It seems winter and most of mud season have passed. There were a few days recently that begged the question, “What month is this?” Of course, anyone who has lived in Ridgway for more than two years knows that spring snow is par for the course. As is snow in May or snow on the 4th of July.
The kids are entering the final phase of school for this year. The section of their standardized testing education is in full swing. It seems to us that the creative, mind engaging section of education has been put on hold to ensure that the testing results are ‘up to state standards’. I am no fan of state standardized testing. Can you tell? Printed notes come home, pre-recorded phone messages are received and verbal reminders are passed on to ensure that the kids “eat a good breakfast and get plenty of sleep in preparation for excellence on the standardized testing.”

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