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Archive for the ‘ Curious Boulder ’ Category

 

A Changing Boulder in Three Acts

April 30th, 2016

Popular Culture is a large tent. Through its iterations, the term encompasses many things—entertainment, politics, celeb gossip, to name some—via an equally broad galaxy of media, whether new or old. It offers a reflection of the time in which books, productions, and, these days, blog posts are created. Boulder, directly and indirectly, is no exception. You can learn a lot about the perception of our place in the world through its depictions. As such, it’s a worthy exercise to take stock once in a while, by looking at the once and future king of American pop culture: movies. It’s a large... Read More

Leanin’ In

April 2nd, 2016

Among other things, cities are amalgams—a mix of geography, history, economics, and trends. Most of the time this blending is fairly subtle. Neighborhoods come and go, like the people that live in and define them. Businesses pop up, shut down. The baseline for life, or the signs thereof, have a fluidity to them that’s easy to miss. Boulder, of course, is no exception. In many ways, it’s more of an amalgam than most. But that’s hard to pin down. Sometimes, though, you can step into a space that wears its Frankenstein-like mish-mash on its sleeve, and in doing so, get a glimpse of wider ranging... Read More

We Can Weird It for You Wholesale

March 5th, 2016

The Boulder area is known for weirdness, however you choose to define that. To political conservatives, it’s because of our liberal-infused policies. For those interested in culture, it’s because of a “San Francisco of the Rockies” label applied in the 1960s and 70s, or for pre-legalization 4/20 celebrations that left the Norlin Quad blanketed in weed smoke. To others, it’s more a feeling that can’t be quantified, but is nonetheless there. The thing is, much like those defunct 4/20 gatherings, there’s more smoke than fire nowadays. Don’t misunderstand, we still have our claims to... Read More

The Perennial Canyon

February 27th, 2016

Colorado’s reputation as a confluence of health and recreation is well established. We’re known for our ski resorts, biking, and every athletic activity in-between. Anyone can challenge or simply enjoy themselves throughout the mountains, Western Slope, and Front Range. The history of this is long, to say the least. But perhaps the most important chapter, in terms of impact, came in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tuberculosis was the leading cause of death at that time, and effective antibiotics wouldn’t come until the 1940s. Failing other options, many doctors prescribed the sun,... Read More

Pinball Wizard Redux

February 13th, 2016

There’s an old saying-slash-cliché that goes, “everything old is new again.” We’ve all heard this, and have likely experienced it firsthand. Nostalgia is a powerful mechanism, particularly when coupled with irony. Some resurgences, however, though they might start that way, end up finding life of their own. In Boulder—both the city and county—we’re seeing one such situation. Despite our region of the Front Range becoming increasingly known for start-ups, particularly of the high tech variety, low tech has its place too. Here, I’m talking about the unassuming pastime of times past:... Read More

The Amazing Life of Byron White

February 5th, 2016

On this Super Bowl Sunday, with Peyton Manning facing his (potentially) last game, it’s appropriate to look at someone who achieved on and beyond football. Someone who, with his connections to Boulder and Colorado more broadly, affected our entire country. Born in Fort Collins in 1917, Byron White was raised in nearby Wellington. Being a devoted student, he graduated from high school at the top of his class in 1930, which earned him a scholarship to the University of Colorado-Boulder. His years at CU, time would tell, were pivotal to say the least. Byron met his eventual wife, Marion Sterns (daughter... Read More

Tis the Seasonings

December 19th, 2015

There are a lot of stereotypes about Boulder. It’s a college town with a reputation for partying. It’s home to a Buddhist-based university, Naropa, started in part by Allen Ginsberg. Its people are some of the healthiest, in one of the healthiest states in the country. And, of course, there’s the “granola crunch” factor, encapsulating the intersection of once-dominant hippiedom and alternative eating practices. Exactly how Boulder gained that last reputation isn’t an easy question to answer. To my mind, though, one of the biggest factors comes in terms of tea. And if we’re talking... Read More

A Home in the Holidays

December 5th, 2015

This time of year tends to breed reflection. Sometimes it takes the form of thinking about the meaning of holidays, friendship, and family. Sometimes it’s less specific, as if the season is a point against which measurements of the past, present, and future are made. And all of this, of course, comes with a backdrop of work shuffling and travel schedules, jumbles together in a rush of logistics. Then, inevitably, there’s a shift. Maybe it’s seeing someone you haven’t for too long. Maybe a loved one waits to share news until you’re face to face. Arguments come about over mashed potatoes;... Read More

Snakes and Stallions

November 15th, 2015

I’m not a gearhead. I don’t know how most systems work in my car. Checking tire pressure, and maybe replacing a fuse or headlight bulb, is about as hands-on as is possible. I know of the internal combustion engine’s work, but couldn’t tell you much about it. Growing up and beyond, cars never interested me all that much (see also: complicated board games, the heaviest/ deathiest of heavy/ death metal, and reality TV). But as with anything, whether or not I generally like it, there’s always the possibility for change. Sometimes all it takes is the right situation, or person, or example... Read More

Skiing at Home

November 1st, 2015

When the days get cold, it’s hard not to turn your attention to the weather. And when it comes to fall and winter that means snow. Come on: more than a few of us live in Colorado for that very reason. Where there’s snow, of course, there’s skiing, snowboarding, and a host of other activities. That probably brings to mind the big Summit County resorts—your Beavercreeks and Breckenridges and Keystones. Closer to town, there’s the always scrappy Eldora; while their snow tends not to be as deep, their territory not as expansive as the mega resorts, they make up for it in coziness. And better... Read More

Bookstores: A Love Letter

October 25th, 2015

There is an incredible range of quality work being done on TV these days. Despite Hollywood doldrums, at least a handful of genuinely great films are released every year. More music is being made and released than ever; the Internet is always coming up with more ways to enrage, distract, and entertain us. In short, the media landscape is as vast as it is varied. Of all those forms, though, books have a special place in my heart. In fact, I am an irredeemable book junky. As much as I love high-quality TV series or movies, there is something about a story being told in my mind, via words and sentences... Read More

Something in the Air

October 18th, 2015

Humans have always had a complicated relationship with weather. Ancient cultures prayed and made offerings to gods in hopes of receiving conditions conducive to growing crops. Adverse weather, then, was often interpreted as displeasure on behalf of those same beings—a punishment for failing to observe proper rituals. It doesn’t take a history scholar to understand this impulse. Weather, now as then, is both an enemy and ally. On one hand, it provides everything from the raw material for food—sunlight driving photosynthesis, wind the primary method of plants spreading their seeds—to something... Read More

Mork Versus the Subaru

October 11th, 2015

Let’s look at 1978 for a moment. The Camp David Accords were signed, Japanese car imports soared in reaction to petroleum shortages, and the comic strip Garfield debuted to a world bereft of lasagna-scarfing cats. Another debut, of a TV sitcom called Mork & Mindy, came a few months later. And for Boulder, this hit much closer to home. Mork & Mindy was a spin-off of the 1950s-themed Happy Days. In one episode Mork (played by Robin Williams), an alien from the planet Ork, visited Milwaukee to obtain a human specimen for study. Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) would’ve been that specimen,... Read More

The Once and Future Architect of Boulder

October 4th, 2015

There is an argument to be made that architects don’t get their due. For every household name, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, there are thousands of people who spend their careers under the radar. Yet even lesser known architects literally and figuratively shape people’s lives by influencing the built environment in which they take place. Charles Haertling is a perfect example of such. His name is one many won’t recognize, but over the course of his life he left an indelible mark on our region. Born on October 21, 1928 in St. Genevieve, Missouri, Haertling joined the Navy in 1946, straight out... Read More

Green with Community

September 27th, 2015

It’s hard to say what makes a business catch on. There’s strange calculus, even alchemy involved. Often it’s about selection, catering to a niche, or comes down to price. On rare occasions, though, a business survives because it becomes part of the community in which it was created. These days, brick-and-mortar stores not only struggle against each other, but against virtual retail. Anything can be found online, and purchased with a mouse click. Where once towns centered on the local drug store, for example, now that idea seems quant. As a result, even mega-chains have problems. Many local... Read More

Pleading the Fifth

September 20th, 2015

Often, the significance of an event isn’t clear until after it’s passed. Everyone can recall an example in his or her own life. Sports, of course, are no exception. And since September is in full swing, that means football, which brings to mind a particularly odd example. It’s October 6, 1990. The CU Buffs had a record of three wins, one loss, and one tie; their opponent, the University of Missouri Tigers, had a record of two wins and two losses. Nearly 47,000 fans packed Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri to watch the rivals battle it out. Both teams played hard, and Missouri lead 31-27... Read More

The Trace of Overcoming

September 13th, 2015

If you ask five people why they participate in outdoorsy activities, you’re likely to get five different answers. They might have similarities—health consciousness, a love of nature—but the real thrust of their recreation is unique. Boulder, of course, is known for the opportunities afforded its athletically inclined residents and visitors. If you’re into running, biking, skiing, or any other verbs-turned-pastimes, this city and its surroundings are your huckleberry. For me, one thing connects these activities: conquering. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s everywhere. Anyone who participates... Read More

Geniuses of the Cold

September 6th, 2015

Mid-1990s Boulder was busy with activity. Fitness was king. Local businesses were prized. Hacky Sack circles and jam band opuses were ubiquitous anywhere students congregated. Simultaneous to that, though, was something wholly different. Buried in the corridors of the JILA tower on CU’s campus, a breakthrough was purring along quietly. Professors Carl Wieman and Eric Cornell were making real what many physicists thought was only theory. In the 1920s, Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein conceived of a new form of matter, which came to be known as the Bose-Einstein Condensate. A full explanation... Read More

An Island on the Hill

August 23rd, 2015

Through a combination of nostalgia and legend, some pieces of Boulder never fully disappear. Maybe the best example was an ordinary building in the middle of the Hill known as Tulagi. On walking inside, you were hit with the smell of decades of beer being poured, consumed, and spilled. Past the Tiki-ish foyer, you were deposited into the venue, with an open dance floor as simple as the stage at its head. On either side were raised sitting areas with built-in benches and stacked-stone walls, under-lit to give the feel of a cavern-come-club. Surrounding was a mural with various scenes—all sun-drenched... Read More

Subtopia

August 16th, 2015

It’s been argued the history of the world can be seen on your plate. Moorish improvements to Roman irrigation boosted rice production in 15th century Spain, eventually melding with Middle Eastern spices into what we know today as paella. Bánh mì sandwiches combine native Vietnamese ingredients (such as cilantro, cucumbers, and pickled daikon) with baguettes and mayonnaise left behind by French colonists. There are many interesting through-lines when it comes to food. Closer to home, consider a different kind of example: the humble sub sandwich. Whether you prefer to call them hoagies, grinders,... Read More