27 September 2006: Big News in Courant

Big news lost in pages of Courant

The lead headline read “Female prisoner dies in county jail.” The irony of the poor woman’s early demise was found in the subsequent headline, “80 isn’t old…if you’re in Clear Creek.” Since the woman was a young 51 and our average age is 81, I figure that there has to be someone out there who will live to the ripe age of 111 somewhere in these hills, Bilbo’s age when he made his grand exit.

The buzz around the county of late is the report that Clear Creekers have the longest life span of Americans. We share that geriatric privilege with neighboring counties, which also abut the Continental Divide—which suggests the irony of it with the wind likely blowing there as hard as it does here. What explains the longevity is a matter of debate—the pristine air or, perhaps, the mine tailings we consume vis-à-vis our Rocky Mountain spring water.

It was a big news week. Inside were stories that failed to make the front page—one about how our voting machines can be corrupted, thus endangering our essential democracy, and Jerry Kopel’s analysis of Gov. Bill’s reign of smaller government actually resulting in bigger government, if we measure growth in terms of how many state employees it takes to service the needs of the general population. Imagine what it would be if the Division of Motor Vehicles actually staffed enough employees to keep the wait at less than half a day.

I’d like to send my thanks to Bill Cathay in “Up here in Alice” for the regular updates. It looks as if he has his hands full. My hope is Honey survived the stove pipe ordeal. It’s great knowing not too far from the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan Georgetown, there is a unique and exotic place such as Alice. Keep us posted.

The most intriguing piece by far was about making gelato, which seems best described as Italian ice cream lite, some 70 percent less butter fat. Which gives rise to the question—What’s the point? When asked which is better, Dr. Leonardo Mazzero, who has doctorates in economics and food preparation but apparently specializes in gelato, said, “It’s like comparing beer and wine.” Huh? If an analogy is “this to that as another that is related to a third that,” then is the ice cream or gelato more like beer or wine? There are beers and then there are beers. And there are wines and then there are…well, maybe not.

Oh, Scot, don’t feel guilty about not retorting to that woman who made the bigoted and narrow-minded comment about Mexicans. Actually, the best response would have been to chuckle—you know, one of those “I cannot believe you really said something that stupid” laughs. I find myself doing it on a regular basis when I hear something real inane, which is often, coming from hardcore righties. Too often they are blinded by their ideology and prejudices with no interest in moving past them. Besides, laughter is the best medicine and, as we all know, it’s easier to smile than frown. So, the next time some Ann Coulter types say something really stupid, just smile and shake your head. They won’t know if you’re agreeing or laughing at them, which is part of the fun.
Oh, the upcoming election—in case you missed it, commanding print space spanning ten pages are synopses of the seven proposed constitutional amendments and seven referenda. Thank you, Adrienne! If you pride yourself on being an informed voter, you best get on it now. Best voter strategy—request an absentee ballot for two reasons: time and security. While it seems our county’s voting machines are relatively secure, no sense taking chances.

Now I am not picking on the Courant, as it is my favorite local weekly and I well know who doesn’t butter my bread. In truth, we are fortunate that we have a local print medium that will print pretty much anything short of porn and libel. In other words, the opportunity is here for the plain folk of Clear Creek County to have their say on the mighty issues from Idaho Springs to Baghdad—the city we are in the battle for in what will be soon used to be called Iraq. But what the heck, life in a democracy ought to be easy; everyone knows it can survive on its own.

For now, we still have a republic—tenuous, yes, but it has survived other assaults in the past. But to be sure it remains that way, vote and, dammit, speak out, for life is too short to not to, even if you will be a centenarian by the time you move on.

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