Thursday, April 1, 2010

Donkey Basketball

I went and watched the donkey basketball last night. I had heard a bunch of bad stuff through Facebook where PETA was running a negative campaign against it saying how badly the donkeys were treated and implying horrific abuse. I like to see things for myself and make up my own mind. I thought as a representative of the Donkey Club if it was bad I could appeal directly to the owner and/or the school. I was fully prepared for a fight if need be.

The donkeys were very healthy an obviously well cared for. The guy running it was very sweet and kind to them. He monitored the whole game carefully and was on the court every minute the donkeys were. The “chasing and beating with a stick” written about by PETA was in fact, him following them on the court with a stick like a blind person uses tapping it on the floor behind a donkey if they decided they were not going to move. It did not scare or startle them. They are trained to move at that cue. The donkeys only wore halters so no one was jerking on their mouths. They all got water breaks and each had their own water bucket.

The kids were kind to them. I did not see anyone lose their temper and even remotely mistreat a donkey. I saw a lot of laughing and petting and hugs.

The donkeys were very well trained and looked to be having as good time as the kids. Ears forward. They wore rubber shoes so as not to slip and were very comfortable on the court with the exception of the donkey that didn’t like the red zone. He refused to go near it, which is where the basket is. He wasn’t upset about it, just wasn’t going to do it and if you know anything about donkeys…That’s his final answer. It was pretty funny. They put kids on him that were not going to be doing much anyway.

One donkey decided at the beginning that he did not want to be a part of the thing that night so he was taken outside and loaded back up right way. No pressure to play.

I was impressed. The guy had 10 donkeys there that would probably otherwise have gone to the meat auction or worse. They were happy with good donkey jobs and a good life.

They are loved and well cared for. I saw no abuse. A good time was had by all and the choir made some money.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Rocks, Rocks, Rocks!

I have always had a fascination with rocks. Especially BIG SQUARE rocks. Everywhere I go on vacations and the like…I take pictures of rocks (and squirrels and sheep and horses and donkeys)…

Recently, in a search of my ancestry I found out that I am from a line of quarry men. So far we have found five generations of quarriers who were also stone cutters and carvers.

The actual quarrying ended with my Great-Grandpa “Jack” John Livingston, but in fact, lives on in the hearts of my Grandfather and Father, as they have always been rock hounds. At 87 my grandfather teaches lapidary to people in his clubhouse where he lives.

When coming home from places I often hear in the customs inspection “Are those really rocks?” Yes, they are. I bring home suitcases full of rocks.

Below are some of the pictures I have taken in places around the world (in the last year) of rocks I found fascinating.

I have also included some fascinating use of rocks. Of course since I love castles, chateaus, cathedrals, tombstones and the like, all made out of giant stone, I have way too many to use here and I’ll save those for another day.

Bend, OR

Dunloe Gap, Ireland

Lyons, CO

Isle of Friol off the Coast of Marseille, France

Great things made from cool stone

Dingle, Ireland

Bricin Bridge, Killarney, Ireland

Steps at Powerscourt Gardens, Bray, Ireland

St. Jean Tower, Chateau Touffou, Bonnes, France

Keep, Chateau Touffou, Bonnes, France

Old house, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

Walkway, La Rochelle, France

Memorial off hidden path, Killarney, Ireland

Sandstone sidewalk, Lyons, CO

Trinity Church, Denver, CO

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Eclectic Architecture of Denver

I had a spare day to myself last week in Denver. I had noticed in a few cab rides that the city boasted some interesting architecture so I set off on foot to investigate for myself.

I started off by getting a perspective from the hotel balcony. I could see a church in the distance that resembled a miniature Note Dame. I also saw something that might be a mosque that was made from sandstone. That was a good start.

Starting off from the Warwick hotel I went down the hill intending to go to The Brown Palace Hotel. Henry Brown built it after being denied entrance into the Windsor Hotel because he was dressed in cowboy attire. Before I got to the Brown Palace Hotel passed the mosque I’d spotted from the hotel. Up close it was not as impressive and also no longer a mosque. As I crossed the street I spotted a fabulous church with a very tall spire nestled up among the skyscrapers.

Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. This beautiful church has many lovely details including a small rose window.

Nestled up against the back is a huge ugly yellow billboard that says “We sell ugly houses”.


“Formally dedicated on December 23, 1888, the Broadway building embodies the theological concept of the Holy Trinity. Architect Robert Roeschlaub applied the rule of three to all of the church’s character-defining elements. Three arches cap the Broadway entrance, the 183-foot corner spire is divided into three sections, and three intertwined circles decorate the ends of each pew.”

From Trinity I went catty corner across to The Brown Palace Hotel. It was not, as most people, including myself until now thought, built by “Molly Brown”. It was build by Henry Brown, who lost his fortune a couple times but went on to become one of the wealthiest man in Colorado. After being turned away from the Windsor Hotel, one of Denver's most elegant at the time, because he was dressed in cowboy attire, Henry Brown decided to build his own hotel and outdo the Windsor.

It too is now nestled low among the high modern buildings but they hold none of the charm. Across the street I saw a place called ‘The Navarre” which as it turned out was the local “Gentlemen’s Club” of the day. It is said there was a tunnel between The Brown Palace and the Navarre for the shyer folk.

From there I head off to the left and come across the miniature World Trade Center. Very interesting. Flags and all.

"Metropolitan State College of Denver (Metro) had the foresight to acquire the license for a World Trade Center in Denver and agreed to transfer the license to a partnership of interested organizations. That founding partnership consisted of Metro; Brookfield Development (the building operator at the time); the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce; the Colorado International Trade Office; and, the Rocky Mountain District Export Council. These five community leaders formed the Rocky Mountain World Trade Center Association, also known as the World Trade Center Denver."

"Almost 20 years later and 275 members strong, the WTC Denver continues to serve as a hub for the international community. In addition, the WTC Denver now houses the non-profit Rocky Mountain World Trade Center Institute - a leading international business skills training program. The WTC Denver maintains its status as a non-profit membership organization concentrating on raising awareness of Denver, and the Rocky Mountain Region as a whole, as an international competitor. Through networking events, seminars, roundtables, annual events and political awareness, the WTC Denver is actively involved in shaping the region's position within the global economy."

Next on my walk was the very cool gold topped building I had seen from many vantages. The Capital Building.

The The Capital Building was designed and constructed by Elijah E. Myers in the 1890s from Colorado white granite. It opened in November 1894. The stunning gold dome is made of real gold plate and the sun was shining on it just for me!. It was added in 1908 to commemorate the Colorado gold rush. I could not have asked for a more beautiful dramatic sky.

I got slightly sidetracked by the giant golden bellied begging squirrels in on the lawns. They came right up to you like puppies. I am glad I usually carry some nuts with me. I am easily amused by small furry creatures. It's also possible they are easily amused by me.

Turning around with my back to the Capital Building there was a stretch somewhat like the National Mall with a needle-like armed services memorial in the middle. On the other side was another formidable looking building. I never did find out what it was. It looked very official.

From there I shot a picture down the street of Trinity Church nestled in along the 16th Street Mall. It amazes me.

My camera started telling me the battery was low. It was then that I realized that the charger was still plugged in at home and the spare was in my purse… In my closet…At home. Humph. Knowing I had already decided I was going to Lyons and would definitely need my camera, I got on the phone and located a charger at a camera store.

Realizing my light would run out and I still had some battery left I headed to the The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. My “Mini Notre Dame”.

You get much more of the "look" of Notre Dame when viewing from the hotel balcony. Up close it is too big to really capture. The history is interesting. I did notice one of the founding contributors was J.J. Brown, “Molly Brown’s” husband.

I did not go inside and I might be sorry for that but my blood sugar was low and I needed food so I popped into the sushi place next door. From there I got a cab to go over to the camera store.

I saw a lot of other places where I would have liked to stop. There was a lot of use of low flat domes on buildings and in Cherry Hill there were some lovely old homes across form the Country Club.

I could have spent a lot more time in Denver and in the future I plan on doing so.

From here I got a shuttle to the airport so I could pick up my rental car. On the way out of town I saw my last great piece of architecture, done by the master. Sunset over The Rockies.

Was I driving while taking this picture? Yes, which along with talking on your cell phone, is not illegal in Colorado....yet. I was not, however doing both.

I love Colorado.