Make Colorado Springs a major tourist destination

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on July 9, 2018. It can also be found online here.

Roland, our food tour guide on a recent vacation to Montreal, had a great personality to match his great size. Reassured by the reverse of the aphorism to ‘never trust a skinny chef,’ you couldn’t help but like and put faith in Roland’s recommendations.

Roland was our key to unlock Montreal. He marched our group of 12 or so around the Old Port, where we ducked in and out of restaurants, nibbling samples of spectacular eats while Roland taught us about the 4 million inhabitants that call the island of Montreal “home.” Continue reading “Make Colorado Springs a major tourist destination”

The things you know when you turn 40

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on July 1, 2018. It can also be found online here.

40. The Big Four–Oh. The midlife milestone. If we compressed a lifetime into a single week, turning 40 would be life’s Wednesday — humanity’s great middle measurement.

Since nearly everyone alive at 39 will muddle on to 40, and since nearly everyone reading this will make it to 39, or already has, then a bit of thought is worth our while on this important occasion in the lives of so many. (Besides, my wife recently celebrated her 40th year on the planet, and so this 38-year-old had to do some advanced analysis on such a vaunted event, so let’s see what I came up with.)

Why do we worry so much about turning 40? What makes us nuts about that particular age? Continue reading “The things you know when you turn 40”

Yes, once in awhile, we really need to cheer for bureaucracy

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on June 18, 2018. It can also be found online here.

It was the way catastrophes really happen and not as you imagine them.

The trip had been planned for months. I booked the flight to Montreal this past November. Go ahead, do the math. That’s seven months ago. Well over two hundred days. I thought I was all set. Babysitter: check. Hotel: check. Flight: check. I had that feeling you get when you’ve booked everything-in my own mind, I probably said to myself: “Canada, here we come!”

So when I looked down at my passport two weeks ago and saw that it had expired several months ago, the panic set in. Fourteen days to wheels up and with no passport I couldn’t even board a flight to Canada. The closest I could get would be to fly to Minnesota, which, let’s face it, is actually pretty much Canada, minus the maple syrup and trade wars. Continue reading “Yes, once in awhile, we really need to cheer for bureaucracy”

Why we need libraries, even in the digital age

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on June 6, 2018. It can also be found online here.

I often looked up at the enormous World War I-era “doughboy” statute in Memorial Park, Manitou Springs, and wondered about who was immortalized with so much bronze atop so much granite.

But there was no sign nearby. Nothing to explain who he was. And so I did what we all do: I turned to the internet and searched “statue Memorial Park Manitou Springs.” A bunch of tourism websites popped up, none of which explained the mystery of the anonymous hero. Continue reading “Why we need libraries, even in the digital age”

What Han Solo tells us about American heroes

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on May 27, 2018. It can also be found online here.

Han Solo is an American hero. Across Colorado, the country and the world, millions will flock this Memorial Day weekend to see “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and the young Alden Ehrenreich take on the character Harrison Ford made into a legend over the past four decades. Each ticket sold cements the reckless-rogue-turned-reluctant-rebel’s status as the quintessential (accidental) American hero. Continue reading “What Han Solo tells us about American heroes”

Military leadership for USOC

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on March 10, 2018. It can also be found online here.

Want to fix the USOC? Draft a general.

“Why is he sad?” my 6-year-old asked about the young man walking out of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s entrance, whose downward, despondent gaze was as identifiable as his “Team USA” backpack. We were next to USOC headquarters a few days ago, stopped at a red light. “It’s complicated,” I said over my shoulder, as her younger sister listened in.

The troubles weighing down that USOC employee could have come from several places: the shocking news that hundreds were abused in the USA Gymnastics system, the emerging awareness that similar violations were widespread in other sports, or the sudden resignation of USOC CEO Scott Blackmun, who officially stepped down last week for health concerns; others attribute his leaving to the recent scandals. Continue reading “Military leadership for USOC”

Immunity for parents braving the school drop-off line

*Note: This essay was published in the Colorado Springs Gazette print edition on March 5, 2018. It can also be found online here.

I have a confession to make. When I drop my daughter off at school, I break the law. Not always. But sometimes.

In my defense, like all parents, I know kids are our future. And if they don’t get to school, there will be no future. For any of us. So no impediment must ever hold back a parent’s ability to transport their child to school. A parent driving a child to school is a sacred social event, like a funeral procession or pro sports championship parade, and nothing should hinder its execution or progress. Even laws.

For the thousands of parents in the Pikes Peak region that brave this stress-inducing event to drop their kids off at school, it’s time to organize and demand that all parents be granted the right to drop-off their children without fear of legal infraction. These parents should get the same immunity we customarily extend to diplomats. Continue reading “Immunity for parents braving the school drop-off line”