Selling a house without burying Joseph

When we were getting ready to put our house on the market a few weeks ago, the topic of St. Joseph came up again and again.

The Dream of St. Joseph
Wikimedia Commons

He has always been one of my favorite saints, second only to Bernard (BER-nerd, the scholarly saint, and not Ber-NARD, the courageous canine). I also happen to be named after both holy men, Saints B and J.

Maybe this helps explain, beyond the perfectly obvious silly superstition factor, why I resisted the advice from so many friends to bury a statue of Joseph upside down in the front yard. Supposedly this, when combined with prayers, quickly brings buyers your way.

I read somewhere that the practice has its roots in extortion, whereby the homeowner would bury St. Joseph’s likeness and threaten to keep him buried until he pulled whatever spiritual strings it took to get the property sold. To me, that just seems like asking for trouble.

We chose not to bury the patron saint of fathers, expectant mothers, carpenters, grave diggers and others, and we sold the house in a week.

Now we have a condo, and of course the makers and distributors of St. Joseph statues advise condo owners to bury him in a pot when it’s time to sell. Upside down, facing the front entrance.

No way in hell.

Being thankful

Let us be thankful for our mates and partners,
our children and siblings,
Red Dog Smithand all their families,
and our lives
and our health.

For our friends, enlightened
or misguided, furry
or clean-shaven,
and for our dogs and cats, too.

For work that is worth doing well,
for freedom and teachers,
for honest public servants,
and people who challenge violence and corruption,
and people who help the suffering.

For bicycle makers and fixers and pedalers,
and craft beer makers,
and good coffee
and good pizza.

For snow and rain and sunshine,
and stars in the sky.

Gateway Arch a poor choice to symbolize this stark divide

Gateway Arch image
The Gateway Arch in 1965.

A family trip to St. Louis in the mid-1960s was the first thing that came to mind when I saw Meredith Talusan’s post about the December 8 cover of The New Yorker.

The Gateway Arch was not quite finished. Two graceful arcs of gleaming stainless steel reached into the muggy summer air toward a single point in the sky.

We may still be back there in 1965 in some sense, hoping for an end to division.

While the magazine cover works on one superficial level, though, the artist could have done better. As we all know, the two sides of the arch did meet 630 feet above the riverside.

The gap that has yet to close is far from unique to St. Louis and has nothing to do with the iconic arch.

A happy, sad story of a Dutch village and dementia

A story about a Dutch village “where everyone has dementia” is both happy and sad.

It is good to know that the residents are treated with respect and dignity and are helped to live as normally as possible in their new reality. The sadness comes from the knowledge that there is no cure for what afflicts them and that so few can live in Hogewey.

The article says it might be impossible to make such a place work in the United States. We do have some good assisted living facilities for those who can afford them, but far too many families don’t have that luxury.

It seems there are lessons we can learn from the Dutch village experience, and big questions we need to ask. One question the article raises is particularly intriguing: How much of dementia is a result of disease, and how much is a result of how we treat it?

My question: Are we ready to help the millions more who are likely to need dementia care in years to come?

Sadly, no.

Elk shooter’s character more important than residence

Would Sheriff Andy Taylor have shot and killed an elk like Boulder’s Big Boy right there in his own town of Mayberry?

Of course not. The fictional sheriff wouldn’t have gunned down the critter in Mayberry—or in Raleigh or Durham or any other city or town, in season or out, let alone lie about it.

It’s not a matter of residence, as a politician and a Denver Post writer would have it as laid out in this Sunday opinion piece.

It’s a matter of character, plain and simple.

There may be good arguments for requiring some workers to live in the city that employs them, and as the column points out the issue has been legislated and litigated.

It’s more important to have police officers who can be trusted to obey the laws they are supposed to enforce.

Jeremy Meyer’s column simply confuses two important issues.

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Do some traffic signs increase risk to road users?

Our community’s pernicious motor-centric bias is on display along U.S. Highway 36 between Lyons and Estes Park.

As we drove that route Monday to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking, I couldn’t help but notice the road signs that singled bicyclists out for special attention. Bicycling was “not recommended,” the signs said, and cyclists were advised that they did so “at their own risk.”

Some questions

  • When do cyclists ever not ride at their own risk?
  • Were we driving our car at someone else’s risk?
  • Are motorists less inclined to be careful and polite around cyclists when they see such warnings?

By telling the community that some roads are unsafe for non-motorized travel, and telling all road users who can read that cyclists really shouldn’t be around, our transportation officials reinforce the notion that roads are just for cars and trucks. They make the roads more dangerous for bicycling.

Tell them they need to stop doing that.

Boulder County Transportation

Colorado Citizen’s Advocate for Transportation

U.S. Department of Transportation

Share the road

Having bicycled up Highway 36 to Estes Park a couple of summers ago, I’m not really eager to do it again, but that’s beside the point.

Whenever you see someone on a bicycle, people, pass with care.

That’s what “share the road” means.

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What’s the penalty for killing a cyclist?

I hate the headline on the piece from which this is quoted, so I’m not using it here. When you see it below, you’ll see that the obvious answer is no.

What’s the penalty? Too often, there is none.

What follows here is the best advice I’ve seen on the subject in some time:

Every time you get on a bike, from this moment forward, obey the letter of the law in every traffic exchange everywhere to help drivers (and police officers) view cyclists as predictable users of the road who deserve respect. And every time you get behind the wheel, remember that even the slightest inattention can maim or kill a human being enjoying a legitimate form of transportation.

via Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists? –