Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Golden Farewell to O'Colorado

With our departure from the Centennial State now decided and upcoming, it's time to recapitulate: what have we learned? We've learned that coyotes are common, water is precious, and springtime snowfall forecasts have, to say the least, a high standard deviation. We've learned how to cook with two burners and a dream. We've seen the Rockies play at Coors Field and marveled at the dazzling, golden clouds at sunset over the Rockies. We've huddled inside while chinook winds howled against our windows, and we've reddened from the sun at mile-high altitude. We've become reacquainted with Western relatives and ridden the RTD light rail up and down I-25. We've seen dinosaur fossils at the museum and collected four library cards each. (Epic tie!)

We've also sought out the best Irish pub and restaurant experiences in Denver and environs. Our unfair and unbalanced report follows:

The Lansdowne Arms Bistro and Pub, Highlands Park. Located near the amazing Tattered Cover Bookstore. Nice restaurant seating area with interesting artwork on the walls. A bit pricey, though. Recommendation: avoid the hovering manager if you're a tall person, for he will interrogate you about any junior relatives of exceptional height who might become fodder for his daughter's school volleyball team.

Scruffy Murphy's, 20th and Larimer, Denver. Trekked downtown, expecting to hear the advertised Irish music sit-in jam session. Turns out, it's every other week. FAIL! So we had a decent meal in a rather bar-like atmosphere, took note of the more-Irish-than-most regular crowd, and watched football on the telly -- by which I mean soccer, not football.

The Irish Snug, East Colfax, Denver. Very tasty pub food. So-so decor and seating. Casual crowd, relaxing on a weekend afternoon; a teacher or professor at a nearby table graded papers over a sandwich and a beer. At other times, we imagine it's more of a college hangout. Football on the telly -- by which I mean football, not soccer.

Nallen's, formerly O'Shay's, Greenwood Village. Affiliated with the well-known Nallen's Irish Pub in downtown Denver. Located at Belleview and Yosemite, near the Denver Tech Center. Advertised its Grand Opening in Celtic Connection, the Celtic music and entertainment paper serving the Greater Denver area. We looked forward to a fun evening out. Went there, couldn't find it. Figured out where it was supposed to be. Still boarded up. Very dark. No signage except for silhouetted vestiges of the lettering from O'Shay's. As the kids would say -- even in Ireland, I'll bet -- EPIC FAIL!

Jack Quinn's, Colorado Springs. Cheerful; hopping. We were enchanted by the attractive, traditionally decorated wooden booths ("snugs") that provide attractive surroundings and a modicum of privacy for a small group. Without the snugs, Quinn's would just be a typical lengthwise bar with small, wobbly tables and a makeshift music platform. With the snugs, it was one of our favorite, most authentic hang-out experiences. Recommended.

Slattery's Irish Pub, Greenwood Village. Upscale furnishings, such as you might find in a downtown martini bar. Very good Irish-style entrees, save for the sticky white rice underneath the salmon. Very reasonable menu and prices, considering its location in the Landmark luxury condo and shopping complex. Oddly, for an Irish pub, Slattery's features a live music combo playing 1930's/1940's "gypsy jazz" invented in Paris. Enjoyable, especially as an alternative to the six-thousandth rendition of "Danny Boy".

So, that's the report from the Mountain Time Zone -- or the O'Rockies, as we call them. See you this summer at Milwaukee Irishfest!

Monday, April 13, 2009

You Never Can Lose, You Always Win

I'm not a jazz musician on a Saturday night bandstand. I don't have the talent to improvise nine or ten riffs around a recognizable theme before powering up with a Big Band flourish on the last verse while the beloved, Italian-American bandleader croaks out the familiar lyrics, wails out the climax, and takes a warm bow to scattered applause in the room.

But if I were, I'd arrange an 8-minute jam to the Schenectady Savings Bank's 30-second television commercial of the 1960's and 1970's, the one that's still lodged in my cranium like a crowbar:

          Get the most,
          Get the most,
          At Schenectady Savings Bank!
          It's the most,
          Yes the most,
          That's Schenectady Savings Bank!
          You never can lose, you always win
          When Schenectady's the bank you keep your money in!
          Get the most,
          Get the most,
          That's Schenectady Savings Bank!

God forbid this should be the last tune going through my mind when I pass away, but based on the commercial's reach and frequency when I was growing up, not to mention its penetrating melody and vocal harmonies, I wouldn't bet against it. It's not a bad little tune, actually; the syncopation is rather catchy. I'll take it over that cloying, ubiquitious Jared Jewelers jingle anytime. A toast to the composer -- wherever he may be banking now.

As for the lyrics: the careful observer will notice that there's some serious public policy embedded in the song's bridge, resulting in today's claims in perpetuity on taxpayer dollars. I'll bet Bernanke and Geithner wish they could musically improvise on that "never can lose" line right about now.

Schenectady Savings Bank eventually merged with Hartford Federal Savings & Loan in 1982; the combination was federalized and renamed Northeast Savings. Northeast Savings was bought out by Shawmut National Corp. in 1994; which merged into Fleet Financial Group in 1995; which in turn merged with BankBoston -- itself a 1996 merger of the Bank of Boston and BayBanks -- to form FleetBoston Financial in 1999. All of which was acquired by Bank of America in 2004.

In 2009, Bank of America, too big to fail, received $20 billion of taxpayer money and $118 billion in government guarantees against toxic assets.

Get the most? I'll say!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Peanuts! Get Yer Peanuts!"

My beloved spousal unit and I drove out for errands today in the Silver Zloty. Upon parking, we noticed a certain hot smell. Uh oh. "The car in front of us?" she said, hopefully. "Cracked exhaust system?" I thought, ruefully. "$800?" both of us thought, recalling the universal applicability of Wait's Laws.

Neither of us expected to see what I found upon opening the hood: three or four handfuls of peanuts in the shell sitting in two or three locations atop our hot car engine. Roasting.

We usually park near a row of trees, home to multitudinous birds, rabbits, and other fauna. Also nearby, our neighbor often scatters birdseed, bread crusts, and, we now know, peanuts. It seems the early squirrel gets the nut -- and also knows where to put it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Probably Worth Only a Tweet, If That

Question: If you're working on behalf of two people, are you working on bequarter of each one of them?


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