Friday, December 31, 2010

A nickel and a nail

Posted By on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Well kids,

We are all packed up and ready to hit the road first thing tomorrow morning. We got a pretty good snowstorm yesterday, but it looks like it has passed through. Temperature reads 7 degrees at the moment.


We began filming a few days ago around Colorado Springs, and got some very interesting interviews: Ken Hallenbeck at Hallenbeck Coin Gallery, and Scott O'Malley from the Western Jubilee Warehouse both spoke extensively on hobos and hobo nickels. We were unable to get together with anyone at the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum to see about filming their archived collection of nearly 200 hobo nickels, but they agreed to send pictures and speak a little bit with me when I get back from Florida.

We are still planning on taking I-25 south to Sante Fe, I-40 east to Nashville, and then I-24 to I-75 south. My wife insisted that I bring my cell phone (719/322-4458), so if anyone along our route wants to drop us a line with a ride or floor to crash on, we will pay handsomely in gratitude and hobos ...

I will be posting updates on my facebook page,, if you want to follow along with us.

Until then, check out this amazing ’70s-style truck-driving ditty written exclusively for the project by Nick Davey called "2000 Miles." If you ask me, it hits as hard as any track C.W. McCall ever wrote!

Thank you kindly, everyone, for all of the support we have already received. Smell you on the 10th!


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Denver police ticket 12-year-old for getting hit by car

Posted By on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 4:44 PM


As a kid, you know how it is: One minute you're sledding, thinking about what's for lunch — possibly the homework you have due the next week — and the next, you're thoughtlessly and deliberately careening out of control into the path of oncoming drivers, who coincidentally enough — because it's snowing like a motherfucker — are careening out of control, too.

So what do Denver police responders do? Why, they ticket the little bastard. After all, it was his malicious out-of-control sledding that caused a car to hit him, not to mention a man to run out and try and jack the car up and off the child, not to mention cause an ambulance to rush the child to the hospital.

Here's Denver's KDVR:

Even kids couldn't stop their sleds. Neighbors say a black car hit a 12-year-old boy who skidded into the street and ended up under the car.

Candace Villalovas' husband tried to help.

"He ran down, grabbed his jack from the garage, went outside to jack the car to take the pressure off Michael," she says.

The injured boy was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Police say he's expected to be okay.

Police ticketed him for being a pedestrian in the roadway.

We've e-mailed the DPD for comment and confirmation that they're keeping the snow-bound world of Colorado safe from marauding youngsters. We'll update if they brave a return.

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In a twist of irony, Waak not running again

Posted By on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 4:16 PM

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em...
  • You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold ’em...
Last November belonged to the ’publicans.

Angry about the economy, or just angry, voters showed up in force — turning blue states momentarily red.

Except, you know, Colorado. Considered a "purple" state — and therefore one that should have been easy to snatch in a Republican surge — Colorado nevertheless elected Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper.

It was an embarrassment of massive proportions for Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams. Suddenly, you could find nary a Colorado Republican who didn't want to hand old Dick the pink slip.

But Dick's not a quitter. At least not yet. He still hasn't announced whether he plans to seek a third term.

Oddly, Pat Waak, chair of the Colorado Democrats, has announced she won't run again. Waak, as you can imagine, could probably spend the next year patting herself on the back for a job well done, and no Democrat would really mind.

But, apparently, Waak wants to quit while she's ahead. I think there's a lesson in that. (Are you listening, Dan Maes?)

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Unanswered phone not the problem

Posted By on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Perhaps you saw this week's headline in our local daily: "Police: Unanswered phone led to puppy's death."

It's a very sad situation. After an argument Dec. 23, according to court records, a Colorado Springs man allegedly stomped his girlfriend's puppy to death. Records say he told the woman he killed the dog because she wouldn't answer her phone.

And the Gazette's headline would lead you to think the phone caused the death, or more specifically, that the person who didn't answer the phone caused the death.

A puppy didn't die because of an unanswered phone. A puppy died as the result of a relationship involving domestic violence. The couple had been in court earlier this year, at which time the woman received a restraining order against the man.


To me, the names in this case don't matter because this type of situation unfolds every day in this community. Domestic violence is a matter of power and control; in this case, the man allegedly used the puppy as a tool to exert his control over the woman. It's a commonly used threat: "If I can do this, just consider what else I can do if you don't do what I want you to."

Frankly, the pawn could have been anything, from a child to a car to a paycheck. A perpetrator of violence will use whatever he or she can to wield power over his or her victim. In this situation, it was a very young puppy.

Which brings me to the specific role pets often play in violent relationships. As a former TESSA employee, I heard over and over again victims who said they couldn't take the steps to escape a relationship because they didn't want to leave their pets behind with the abuser. Statistics show that it can take a victim seven to nine times to permanently leave a violent relationship. Add in a furry friend, and it ups the issues a victim has to reconcile before making a difficult, and potentially deadly, decision.

Most shelters, including TESSA's, do not have the capabilities to accept pets. Because of this, many years back, TESSA worked with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region to set up a SafePets program.

If a victim wants to enter TESSA's emergency shelter but is worried about a companion animal, TESSA and the Humane Society will help set up a temporary foster situation. The victim can be assured that while she is in shelter, her pet will be safe.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, with a pet or otherwise, please know there are resources for you in this community. You can reach TESSA's crisisline at 633-3819.

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'20 cars a-piling, 19 people watching, 18 drivers walking ...'

Posted By on Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Because you've probably already seen this on Facebook, here it is again. Enjoy!

(Unless you're actually in this video. Then you might enjoy it less than, you know, everybody else.)

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Give! campaign passes $300,000

Posted By on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 2:31 PM


With a steady flow of donations in recent days continuing nonstop, the Independent's Give! 2010 campaign has just reached the $300,000 milestone at 2 p.m. today.

The donations now stand at $300,087.44, though they probably have risen more by the time you read this (keep up with the progress at The campaign closes in less than 34 hours, at midnight on Friday, Dec. 31.

The goal is $333,333.34, which could be reached with donations alone but certainly will be met when matching funds from other entities are included in the final total. The entire campaign, including matching funds, totaled just less than $200,000 last year in the Give! debut.

Anyone can make donations online at and choose the recipient(s) from 40 participating nonprofits, whose programs are described in detail. Donors also may drop off checks at the Independent offices, 235 S. Nevada Ave., as late as 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

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Lamborn tapped to oversee his buddies

Posted By on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 2:16 PM

Being the ranking Republican member of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources makes you a lot of industry friends. And in election 2009-10 cycle, oil, gas and mining interests were the second-largest contributors to U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn's reelection campaign. Because they are friends.

And who doesn't stick up for their friends?

Yesterday, our congressman's stalwart support of oil-exploration and drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf was further rewarded when he was appointed the chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

Today, Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) and Chairman-elect Doc Hastings (WA-04) released the following statements after Lamborn was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. This subcommittee is one of five subcommittees of the House Natural Resources Committee. As chair, he will be directly responsible for congressional oversight of the "conservation and development of oil and gas resources of the Outer Continental Shelf."

“I am excited to be given the opportunity to chair this important subcommittee. Our work will include tackling much-needed domestic energy development and mineral security. We will be vigorously reviewing numerous policies from the Department of the Interior that impede domestic energy production. These include the offshore drilling moratorium and other efforts to close off public lands for energy and mineral use.

“As Chairman I look forward to highlighting how Republican policies will support an all-of-the above energy approach, create jobs, strengthen our economy, provide relief to consumers, and safeguard national security.”—Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05)

Guess what else Lamborn, in his new role, will be charged with safeguarding. "Equally important is the Subcommittee's duty to oversee the government's collection of royalties - or a share of the proceeds - that energy companies are required to pay in return for the right to drill on federal lands and in federal waters . . . When the Department of the Interior fails to ensure this happens, this Committee has a duty to step in to correct negligence and secure accurate levels of payment to the people and their Treasury."

This is going to be an interesting tenure to watch.

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Two more enter Council races

Posted By on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 12:59 PM

  • Bennett
  • Czelatdko

With seven City Council seats up for grabs, the race has nevertheless got off to a slow start.

Until yesterday, only four people had declared candidacies: Michael Merrifield for District 3, Brandy Williams for one of five open at-large seats, and Larry Bagely and Angela Dougan duking it out for the District 2 seat.

Which left four at-large seats no one was running for.

That changed yesterday evening when Merv Bennett and Lisa Czelatdko threw their names into the race for at-large seats.

Bennett is the retiring president and CEO of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. He spent 40 years with the organization.

Czelatdko is a volunteer and mother, who previously ran for Council and vied for an appointment by Council to the District 3 seat that was later awarded to Sean Paige. Czelatdko had been mentored by the previous holder of that seat, Jerry Heimlicher.

More recently, Czelatdko volunteered with the strong-mayor campaign.

Czelatdko recently commented on

My beautiful husband was seriously injured in a snowboarding accident last year and as a result has had multiple surgeries since then. We, like so many other families in this community, are being hit hard by the economy plus Tom's recovery time, it's been a double whammy. Still, I am committed to my City deeper now then I was when I applied last year for the District 3 Council seat. I have been to dozens and dozens of council meetings so I understand the time commitment, the responsibility, and the possibility in making this City shine even greater than it already does. If you see LISA CZELATDKO on the ballot you will know that I am serious in bringing passion, communication, and a fresh start to COS City Council. Sincerely, Lisa.

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Ten from '10: Songs that mattered, part 3

Posted By on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 10:35 AM


The year may not officially end until tomorrow night, but today’s the day that the Indy’s Top Ten issue hits newsstands — or would, if newsstands still existed — which means it’s time for the final online installment of the songs that made 2010 great.

You can find the earlier blogs, complete with videos and links to Indy interviews, here and here.

Meanwhile, here's a recap of ten through four:

10. (Tie) Broken Bells, “High Road”; Nick Curran & the Lowlifes, “Reform School Girl”

9. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, “Tiny Light”

8. Plan B, “Stay Too Long”

7. Pigeon John, “Dude, It’s On”

6. Dessa, “Dixon’s Girl”

5. Everything Everything, “MY KZ, YR BF”

4. Cee Lo Green, “Fuck You”

And now that you've got an actual use for your Xmas iTunes cards, here's more:

3. Die Antwoord, “Enter the Ninja”

Early this year, long before “Fuck You” and “Bed Intruder” were even glimmers in the all-seeing eye of YouTube, South African hip-hop surrealists Die Antwoord went viral in a big WTF-kinda way with “Enter the Ninja.” At the time, there was much debate about whether the heavily accented, hilariously weird, undeniably original and surprisingly skillful Afrikaners were “authentic,” as though that were the point. Fetchingly bowl-coiffed chanteuse Yo-Landi Vi$$er and her insufficiently clothed cohort Ninja (aka Watkin Tudor Jones) have unleashed a bizarrely endearing hybrid of District 9 aesthetics, hip-hop theatrics, blank parody and art-school excess, that’s no less fake than Eminem or the Beastie Boys. The group released its debut album on Interscope in October, but “Enter the Ninja” is where it all began.

2. Fitz & the Tantrums, “Breakin’ the Chains of Love”
L.A.’s Fitz & the Tantrums specialized in the sharp-dressed soul in the tradition of Otis Redding, Martin Fry and Mayer Hawthorne. Uneven as the band’s debut album may be, “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” is a flawless three minutes of funk-pop pleasures.

1. Janelle Monae, “Cold War”
Read our Janelle Monae interview here.

“This is a Cold War / You better know what you’re fighting for,” sings Janelle Monae in the chorus to the year’s best single, which was also the year’s best video, starring the year’s most promising artist. Monae’s lyrical call to arms — "If you want to be free / Being underground's the only place to be" — is driven home by her breathtaking vocals and airtight instrumental arrangements that add up to a remarkable work by a soulful pop diva whose artistic and vocal range is only matched by her kinetic energy, impeccable taste and unstoppable talent.


Best Music Streaming Service: MOG
Best Critical Response to a Live Performance: Pigeon at Kings of Leon show
Best Lyric: “I got two white Russians but we also need some drinks,” Nicki Minaj featuring Kanye West, “Blazin”
Best Cover of a Vintage Artist by Another Vintage Artist (Tie): Mavis Staples performing Allen Toussaint’s “Last Train,” Bryan Ferry performing Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren”

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COPPeR names new executive director

Posted By on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 10:11 AM


Yesterday, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region announced Christina McGrath as its new executive director, a position which pays roughly $45,000 per year. McGrath is taking over for the departing Bettina Swigger, who accepted a job in California.

"COPPeR is at such an exciting stage in terms of growth and development," says chairwoman of the board Amanda Mountain in a news release. "The board feels that Christina is the perfect fit to build on all of the tremendous work Bettina has done, and to further expand beyond what even we can see in terms of possibilities for the organization."

McGrath is leaving behind the El Pomar Foundation, where she worked as program director and oversaw, among others, the Empty Stocking Fund. Her LinkedIn profile shows she graduated from Miami University in Ohio, where she majored in architecture and minored in arts management, in 2007. Her Facebook page reveals a woman of impeccable taste — noting she's a fan, among other worthy causes, of the Indy's Give! initiative.

"At El Pomar I've had exposure to hundreds of outstanding nonprofits — I am excited to now be working for one," says McGrath in the release. "The vitality of a city depends on its arts and cultural scene, and having grown up in this community I know we have a lot to offer."

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This needs to be a law?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 4:44 PM

You wont be able to get this at your favorite bar, which shouldnt bother you at all.
  • You won't be able to get this at your favorite bar, which shouldn't bother you at all.

I am so confused by this story:

The Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division has issued new regulations that seek to crack down on the sale of low-strength beer in restaurants and liquor stores. The crackdown could prevent bars from serving beers such as Michelob Ultra, Heineken Light and and Corona Light.

As the writer goes on to point out, there is already a law in Colorado that forbids bars and restaurants from selling "low-strength" beers, beers with an alcohol content less than 4 percent. But it's a law that is rarely enforced, because, well, why would you even need to?

And now thanks to the magical powers of our legislators, starting Jan. 1 liquor stores and bars will have to totally stop selling this watered down idea of beer (which you will still be able to buy at grocery stores).

I guess there just aren't enough people driving around hammered off the "high-strength" beers that they downed at the local pub.

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MMJ patient records found in dumpster

Posted By on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Denver's 9NEWS is reporting that a blue binder full of medical marijuana patient information was found in a dumpster by Harold Morton. And the center responsible for the paperwork? Apothecary of Colorado, a widely-known Denver center.

Adam Stapen, an attorney for Apothecary of Colorado, says their patient records are "kept under lock and key to protect privacy of patients."

He says the current owners purchased the dispensary on July 1 and it is possible the patient records are from before that.

A phone call by the Indy to Wanda James, the previous co-owner, yielded nothing. James had no knowledge of the paperwork until the story broke, and would hazard no guesses as to why a folder of patient information would be in a dumpster.

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Ten from '10: The songs that mattered, part 2

Posted By on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 2:58 PM


As threatened, here’s the second installment of the 2010 songs that mattered most, well, to me, anyway. But first, a quick recap of yesterday’s favorites, including handy links to Indy interviews:

10. (Tie) Broken Bells, “High Road”; Nick Curran & the Lowlifes, “Reform School Girl”

9. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, “Tiny Light”

8. Plan B, “Stay Too Long”

7. Pigeon John, “Dude, It’s On”

Okay, then. Here’s three more for ya.

6. Dessa, “Dixon’s Girl”
It’s not much, but my money’s on Doomtree Collective emcee Dessa. “Dixon’s Girl” channels Steve Reich’s cool minimalism and Erykah Badu’s smoldering soulfulness, filtering them through the brainy poeticism of an artist with a degree in philosophy and a university gig teaching hip-hop. Bonus points for the clarinet arrangement that leads off the track.

5. Everything Everything, “MY KZ, YR BF”
There’s been no shortage of bands resurrecting the ghost of XTC over the last decade, from the ultra-polished version offered by Franz Ferdinand to the annoyingly angular approach of the Futureheads. But Everything Everything gets the balance just right. This is one of four singles the band released prior to its debut album, which hit the U.K. in August and is set for stateside release in early 2011.

4. Cee Lo Green, “Fuck You”
The eff-good hit of the summer, Cee Lo’s hilarious single makes you wonder why no one did it before, or at least did it so brilliantly. Among the song’s primary pleasures is Cee Lo’s delivery of one of the sweetest fuck you’s in the history of pop. After first breaking the song on the Internet, Cee Lo released a sanitized-for-your-protection radio version with the lyric changed to “forget you,” which wasn’t nearly as fun. In addition to a finely honed instinct for lovable outrageousness, Cee Lo has the chops of a great soul singer. And with lyrics like “If I were richer / I’d still be with ya / Ain’t that some shit,” it’s actually class-conscious. When was the last time you could say that about a pop hit?

To be continued….

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2010's top lie named

Posted By on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 10:54 AM

I was a little surprised to hear that there's actually a prize for the best lie of the year.

As a child, it was sternly explained to me that the only prize for lying was a very sore behind and 30 minutes staring at a wall.

Mom was such a liar.

Turns out you can also get your name in the newspaper.

From the Associated Press:

MILWAUKEE—A Wisconsin man has earned bragging rights as the champion liar of 2010 with this line: "I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met."
David Milz, 49, told The Associated Press he came up with the one-liner over the summer when he was joking around with colleagues. He thought it might be good enough to win the Burlington Liars Club's annual contest, but the call he received Wednesday was still a surprise.

Read the whole thing at the Denver Post.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Who's been naughty?

Posted By on Tue, Dec 28, 2010 at 2:02 PM


The New York Times sure has one sick sense of Christmas cheer.

The elves who write the paper's editorials tried to ruin our holiday weekend by warning of a "looming crisis in the states," a big and mean economic cratering.

Since every large state in the nation apparently has been run for decades like a coked-up Lehman Brothers, they are now broke and neck-deep in debt and even Wall Street finds it unseemly (or has doubts) that there are profits to be made by buying up the states' massive debts . . . which means without federal intervention these states are only months away from a cascading economic collapse.

Ho ho ho!

If you didn't catch it, and if for some reason you aren't depressed enough about your life already:

Starved for revenue and accustomed to decades of overspending, many states have been overwhelmed. They are facing shortfalls of $140 billion next year. Even before the downturn, states jeopardized their futures by accumulating trillions in debt that they swept into some far-off future.

But that future is not so distant, and the crushing debt has made recovery far more difficult to achieve. As The Times reported, Illinois, California and several other states are at increasing risk of being the first states to default since the 1930s. The city of Prichard, Ala., has stopped sending out its pension checks, breaking state law and shocking its employees.

The editorial begins by pointing to the well-reported "gamble" being made by a desperate Illinois that it can postpone the collapse of its critical services by convincing investors and hedge-funds managers to make whole the state's debts to its service providers. It is in debt to these vendors more than $4.5 billion. The state would then have to pay back those short-term loans, with interest.

The Illinois approach works like this: Investors take over the delinquent bills owed by the state to its vendors. Those vendors are due a 1% penalty each month after the state falls behind by 60 days. The financial investors make the vendors whole and are entitled to 1% monthly penalties until the state pays the investors back.

With Illinois currently five months behind on its bills, investors who participate in the program today could collect 3%, which state officials say works out to an about 12% annualized return. The rate is double that of many long-term Illinois state bonds, which pay roughly 6% annually.

And then, yesterday, in the not-so-distant future the editorial was referring to, the paper reported on a city in Michigan begging to be allowed to declare bankruptcy: “The state is concerned that if they say yes to one, if that door is opened, they’ll have 30 more cities right behind us."

Happy new year!

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