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February 2009
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April 2009

Sam Cassidy for House District 3 in Colorado

I grew up just about a mile or so from where I live now, and I actually remember our state representative coming to our door, and chatting with him for a while. He was very nice, very engaging, a bit nerdy.

His name was Wayne Knox, and he was the representative there forever, and did a great job.

After he retired Jennifer Veiga was elected. I didn't live in the district while she was there, but she's done well for herself, moving up into the Senate where she is highly regarded. When she was in the House, I was a reporter, and we talked several times about where I grew up. House members always know their neighborhoods very well.

Now we have another representative who is leaving, but doesn't want to wait until her term is up. My hunch is she wants to run for something bigger, and wants to be able to raise money now. Whatever. I'm horribly parochial about these matters, and I'm looking forward to our next representative in the Colorado House.

So, I just about choked on my breakfast cereal when I read one of the names floated to fill in the position: Sam Cassidy. The reporter gave some identification to a few of the other candidates, but just left his name alone in the story.

(Are there no good reporters left? The writer couldn't have somehow spent a few seconds to figure out that the candidate was none other than a former Lt. Governor of Colorado???)

I covered Sam when he lived in Pagosa Springs, down in Southwestern Colorado. We've stayed in touch through the years, and I knew he was a neighbor of mine, having pretty much created the Ethics in Business program at DU, bringing it up to be one of the best in the nation.

But I had no idea he would think about running. Anyway, he is. I hope some members of the vacancy committee read this, and contact me to ask me about him. Be prepared, though, for me to go on and on. 

Sam would instantly turn HD3 into a district that has real influence in Colorado. If you are on that committee, vote for someone who can make the biggest splash in the shortest amount of time.

The Smell of the Press Room

As a former Rocky reporter and book reviewer, I was brokenhearted about the Rocky closing. I haven't been able to blog about it, so sad is the news.

I attended the wake, and the hardest part was talking to people who came up to me, knowing that I've made a living -- more or less -- online for the last half-dozen or so years, and they looked to me for hope that they will be able to do the same. I don't know what my own future holds, so...

They still have their heads held high, though, and they should. They produced an amazing product under the most difficult of circumstances.

And now today comes news of the next domino falling: They are closing the press at the Coloradoan. This is also horrible news.

It won't quiet the voice of the newsroom up there, but the 48 people losing their job were, I'm sure, doing as good of job at their jobs as the 250 or so people who were putting out the Rocky every day. They aren't as familiar to us, but they had respectable jobs doing honest work.

(Old fogey alert!) This saddens me especially because of my first regular journalism job at the Durango Herald. It was an afternoon paper then, and every day I would get to work early, read the official police blotter and turn it into the one we put in the paper and then write up whatever other stories were going on that day. We had to have all the words on the page so it could be pasted up by hand by 11:45 a.m. If we missed that, dozens of paper boys would be delivering the paper after dark, so we never missed it.

After gathering around the front page and the back page of the front section as the layout guy calmly finished his job with all of us yelling about the indignity of an editor moving a comma, or whatever, we reporters would mosey off for lunch. By the time we got back the presses were rolling, and I'd go watch every day, and grab a freshly printed paper and just breathe in the smell of it and flip through the pages.

At first, it was a thrill seeing my story on the front page, but that faded fast.

After that, it was just the joy of seeing something that actually got printed. The guys in the press room cared about the quality of the product, and it was an honor working side-by-side with them. We had different jobs, but we had the same goal every day: making something real.

We don't make much in this country any more. We buy a lot of plastic crap made by underage workers in countries that we just can't understand. Newspapers were one thing that we still physically produced.

We still do, barely. Now it's all done overnight in far away places and the papers are so thin that they can print, for example, the Denver Post, the Boulder Camera and the Fort Collins Coloradoan all on the same night on the same press. 

My son will probably never understand what it means to work someplace where people actually make something. Too bad, because for my couple of years in Durango, I was a part of making something, and I got to see the whole process from reporting the news to seeing it delivered in the course of a day, and it happened every single weekday.

And I loved it so much.

Goodbye, press room. You will be missed.

In These Frugal Times: The Fruugalist

This is going to be huge.F-logo-square

A good friend just started a new email newsletter and site called The Frugalist.

The idea is simple: A daily email to help those who used to have plenty of money with a new resource to help them save some money.

But it's more than that. As it says on the gorgeous site, it's about "Less Spending. More Living." You can tell from the first issue that came out today that the idea is more about helping people deal with this new reality;  not just saving money but figuring life all out without much money.

I've been honored to volunteer helping the amazing site designer Evelyn Wilder get her idea for this thing going, along with the ever-talented Kathy Yates and "the other" Scott.

If there was ever a right time and a right place for something, it's The Fruugalist right now.

Sign up now so you can tell people that you were one of the first to be on the list when Oprah is talking about it and there are zillions of subscribers.

Nobody Messes with Joe?

President Obama made it clear that he has great trust that the recovery money will be spent wisely, and he believes that because he has his vice president watching over the money. "Nobody messes with Joe," he says.

And then Joe himself goes on the tee vee the next morning and makes it totally clear that he has an iron grip on the details of what's going on.

"Do you know the website number?" he asks.

OK, so basically nobody messes with Joe, unless they happen to know the website number when he doesn't.

Suuuuuuuper. Just great. Awesome. I feel so safe now.