Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I just got this from Chris Phillips, author of the book Socrates Cafe the inspiration for the groups that meet here in Denver.

hi John, I hope all is great. I can't believe our baby girls Caliope is already 5 1/2 months old. Time is flying.

I wanted to let you know that on friday Feb 23 @ 7 :30 pm I'll be back at the Tattered Cover in the LoDo district to promote my book "Socrates in Love: Philosophy for a Passionate Heart." Anything you can do to help spread the word will be much appreciated.

Hope to see you soon, and I do hope one day you can write that article (about the start and growth of the Denver Socrates Cafes) for our newsletter; we'd much appreciate and enjoy it.


I hope you'll join us to hear Chris on February 23 and that you'll try a
Socrates Cafe between now and then if you haven't already.

Groups in Denver:
Each Friday, 6 p.m., Panera Bread, 13th & Grant. No RSVP required.
Each 2nd Thursday, 7 p.m., Trinity Church, 18th & Broadway, RSVP at


I just sent this to area newspapers:

Some have recently suggested the very bad idea of moving the Caucus date up to February in 2008.

If anything, it should be moved back to April or even to May. The warmer weather would increase participation, whereas the February date will very likely just kill it off.

People who care about grassroots and neighborhoods should speak out about this now.

John Wren
960 Grant St. #727
Denver, CO 80203
cell (720)495-4949

Monday, January 29, 2007

On this day in:
1900 The American League, consisting of eight baseball teams, was organized in Philadelphia.

The first five members of baseball's Hall of Fame, including Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, were named in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The Rocky Mountiain News Editorial today again endorses Denver 1A:

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Denver voters need to fill out their ballots on 1A and return them by
January 30 to one of the locations listed on the ballot.

I'll be voting yes, because I think the change is an important first step
towards better elections in Colorado. The Rocky Mountain News agrees:
Paste and copy to your browser: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/editorials/article/0,2777,DRMN_23964_5299158,00.html

Here's my letter to the Denver Post refuting the lies that are being told
by political insiders, the power elite who want to maintain the status quo:

I understand the mayor is very upset that it looks like 1A has a good chance of passing, it will greatly undermine his powers to have an elected rather than appointed clerk & recorder on his cabinet & running the elections. Bad for Mayor J-Hic, good for the grassroots in my opinion.

Please vote if you haven't already and encourage your Denver friends to do the
same by forwarding this email along. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Art of laughter
Linkletter, at 94, works his magic with the audience at the Nixon Library.
The Orange County Register

YORBA LINDA – The audience erupted in laughter as Art Linkletter, 94, told stories of an earlier era.

"Each morning, if you want to give yourself a laugh, get out of bed, go in front of a mirror and take off your nightgown," Linkletter told the crowd.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people packed the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace auditorium to listen to anecdotes from Linkletter, who hosted the long-running family television show "House Party."

He stopped by to promote his newest book, "How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life," which was released in July.

The book talks about making the most of one's later years.

One piece of advice – laugh.

Linkletter made sure that happened Tuesday.

You know you're getting old "when someone compliments your new 'gator shoes and you're barefoot," Linkletter said.

His audience, mostly senior citizens, howled.

"It was absolutely marvelous; it takes me back," said Mary Hill, 83, of Fullerton who joined friend Frieda Fluck, 88, for the program and book signing. "It makes me feel good."

Jan Charles Gray, 59, a radio station owner who appeared on Linkletter's show in 1954, flew from Custer, S.D., to see Linkletter and conduct business.

"Everyone should try to find out what his secret is and bottle it up," Gray said.

On his show, Linkletter would ask children questions and get funny responses.

Linkletter is the second to make an appearance at the Richard Nixon Library's "In Conversation" program. The new series brings in noted speakers and entertainers to give library guests perspective about the 1960s and 1970s.

Sue McDougall, 67, of Yorba Linda pulled out her scrapbook. She had kept the original paperwork telling her she would be on the show in 1945.

"He is so witty, he hasn't lost a thing," said McDougall after she and her husband, Mac, 69, got their books signed.

Contact the writer: 714-704-3795 or sdaniels@ocregister.com
Julie Aigner-Clark from Colorado sat by First Lady Lara Bush last night. I've invited her to join us at an IDEA Cafe http://ideacafe.meetup.com to share her startup experience.

Who is she? This is from an interview with Julie in August, 2000 on http://www.bluesuitmom.com/career/womenbiz/babyeinstein.html

Julie Aigner-Clark is the founder of The Baby Einstein Company, an organization that produces developmental media designed to engage babies and very young children in the arts. With a wide range of products from videos to flash cards, Baby Einstein items encourage learning by fostering interaction between baby and parent. From its inception in 1997, the company grew into a multimillion-dollar home-based corporation receiving national media attention and accolades from its users (and their parents!). In November 2001, Baby Einstein became part of The Walt Disney Company and is now a leader in infant devleopment media including DVDs, videos, music CDs, books and toys.

How did you first come up with the idea for Baby Einstein?Believe it or not, when I stopped working when I was six months pregnant, I had no intention of going back to work. I was planning to be a stay at home mom! I was really committed to the mommy-thing. If this was going to be my new job, I was going to be the best I could be! My background is 'humanities' and the arts. Before having kids, I was a middle school and high school arts teacher. When my daughter was born, I started taking her to museums and places like that. But it wasn't very engaging to her or to me! And then I started thinking, "Am I the only mom who wants to develop the love of humanities and fine arts in her children?" So, the idea for Baby Einstein was born.

How did an "idea" turn into actuality?It took me until my daughter was about 18 months old to really start to put my ideas into action. I wanted to help mothers (and myself) spend quality time with their babies while exposing them to new cultural, musical, and artistic experiences. So, with no videography experience, I borrowed a friend's video equipment and started filming my first video in the basement of our home. My husband and I financed this project ourselves -- it cost about $18,000 to develop, design and package our first video, money that we took from our savings.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pres. Bush's State of the Union address tonight concluded with these words:

The greatest strength we have is the heroic kindness, courage, and self sacrifice of the American people. You see this spirit often if you know where to look - and tonight we need only look above to the gallery.

Dikembe Mutombo grew up in Africa, amid great poverty and disease. He came to Georgetown University on a scholarship to study medicine - but Coach John Thompson got a look at Dikembe and had a different idea. Dikembe became a star in the NBA, and a citizen of the United States. But he never forgot the land of his birth - or the duty to share his blessings with others. He has built a brand new hospital in his hometown. A friend has said of this good hearted man: "Mutombo believes that God has given him this opportunity to do great things." And we are proud to call this son of the Congo our fellow American.

After her daughter was born, Julie Aigner-Clark searched for ways to share her love of music and art with her child. So she borrowed some equipment, and began filming children's videos in her basement. The Baby Einstein Company was born - and in just five years her business grew to more than $20 million in sales. In November 2001, Julie sold Baby Einstein to the Walt Disney Company, and with her help Baby Einstein has grown into a $200 million business. Julie represents the great enterprising spirit of America. And she is using her success to help others - producing child safety videos with John Walsh of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Julie says of her new project: "I believe it's the most important thing that I've ever done. I believe that children have the right to live in a world that is safe." We are pleased to welcome this talented business entrepreneur and generous social entrepreneur - Julie A igner-Clark.

Three weeks ago, Wesley Autrey was waiting at a Harlem subway station with his two little girls, when he saw a man fall into the path of a train. With seconds to act, Wesley jumped onto the tracks ... pulled the man into a space between the rails ... and held him as the train passed right above their heads. He insists he's not a hero. Wesley says: "We got guys and girls overseas dying for us to have our freedoms. We got to show each other some love." There is something wonderful about a country that produces a brave and humble man like Wesley Autrey.

Tommy Rieman was a teenager pumping gas in Independence, Kentucky, when he enlisted in the United States Army. In December 2003, he was on a reconnaissance mission in Iraq when his team came under heavy enemy fire. From his Humvee, Sergeant Rieman returned fire - and used his body as a shield to protect his gunner. He was shot in the chest and arm, and received shrapnel wounds to his legs - yet he refused medical attention, and stayed in the fight. He helped to repel a second attack, firing grenades at the enemy's position. For his exceptional courage, Sergeant Rieman was awarded the Silver Star. And like so many other Americans who have volunteered to defend us, he has earned the respect and gratitude of our whole country.

In such courage and compassion, ladies and gentlemen, we see the spirit and character of America - and these qualities are not in short supply. This is a decent and honorable country - and resilient, too. We have been through a lot together. We have met challenges and faced dangers, and we know that more lie ahead. Yet we can go forward with confidence - because the State of our Union is strong ... our cause in the world is right ... and tonight that cause goes on.

Let's all do our part now!
Vote Yes in Denver.
My letter in today's Denver Post:

Starting a new project or business?Join us this Friday, 2 p.m. for the Denver IDEA Cafe:
RSVP at http://ideacafe.meetup.com/1/calendar/5342364/

Need more sales?Tomorrow, learn how to develop a winning sales force:
Saturday, learn how to increase your personal sales:

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Vote Yes on Charter Change

Denver voters are being asked to eliminate the 3-person Denver Election Commision and create a new elected Clerk & Recorder who will oversee elections.

The arguments against the change just don't make sense.

Does it increase the power of the mayor? No. It does just the opposite. It creates a powerful watchdog who will be a check on the mayor's negligence that we saw last fall.

Is it unfair to the minority party? No. It will not be any harder for the minority party to elect a Clerk & Recorder than it is now to elect an Election Commission member.

Should we vote no because this change will not directly effect the problems with last fall's election disaster? No, this is just a first step towards fixing the problems for the 2008 elections.

When I was studying for my MBA at the University of Denver, I was taught the management principle called "unity of command". Oversight of the elections is a management job, and one person will do a better job than three. Too many cooks spoil the soup.

Vote yes and encourage your friends and neighbors in Denver who care about better elections to do the same.

John Wren
960 Grant Street #727
Denver, CO 80203

I just sent this letter to Denver newspapers.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Vote Yes in Denver

I emailed this out to my online friends last night:

My friend Dennis Gallagher called me tonight,
urging a yes vote on the question now before
we Denver voters regarding a change to an
elected clerk & recorder who will be in charge
of future elections, instead of the 3 person
election commission we have now.

Dennis says this will give us some accountability,
and that we should vote yes in spite of the fact that
the Denver political establishment has joined ranks
against the change.

I agree with Dennis. If you live in Denver, please vote
yes and encourage your Denver friends to do the same.

It is clear that what we have now just doesn't work.
Too many chefs spoil the soup!


This morning a couple of friends emailed me that the
change would not really fix the problem, which is true.
I sent this email in response to one of them, who is
also a friend of Bill W.:

You raise good points. This whole mess shows once again
that our system of government is the worst except for all the rest!

The proposal seems to me to be progress, but certainly it is not
perfection! May be just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,
but given the choices of yes, no or trash my ballot, seems to me
the best choice is yes.

Life is not easy, is it. Let's keep doing the little we can each day to
try and be helpful, trusting that with God's help it is enough!

I'm still at York Street, really need to rotate out of the job. Do you know
anyone who might like to take it on? http://orgsites.com/co/yorkstreetclub.

Very good to get your email, how about coffee to catch up sometime?


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I attended the GOP dinner & pep talk from Dick Wadhams last Friday night. It had special significance for me since it was a building my father built, 6265 E. Evans.

It was the most positive GOP event I've attended in many years. It seems to me Dick will make a big, big differece in attendance at the 2008 GOP neighborhood caucuses and the elections that fall. With his leadership we should be able to make Colorado a red state once again!

The Denver Post seems to agree, this is on their editorial page today:

GOP party post goes to a pro

He was urged to run for state Republican party chairman by GOP politicians of every stripe. He upstaged Sen. Wayne Allard at Allard's own retirement announcement, and even though his most recent client went down in flames (and cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate), Colorado GOP leaders are treating him as a conquering hero returning to his roots.

Can one man save the Colorado GOP? What if that one man is Dick Wadhams?

Wadhams, the local political consultant who went national, is running for state party chair. Insiders ooze with excitement, talking about Wadhams as a "nuts and bolts kind of a guy" who can unite and energize an organization in disarray.

The task will be considerable. Wadhams will inherit a party fractured along multiple fault lines. Aside from traditional schisms between social conservatives and business-oriented Republicans, there are divisions on state fiscal issues (starting with Referendum C) and such matters as abortion and same-sex marriage. More generally, the party has fallen out of step with the Colorado majority.

In just over two years, the GOP lost control of the state House and Senate, the governor's mansion, a Senate seat, two congressional seats and the treasurer's office. In 2008, the party at risk of losing its remaining Senate seat and presidential electoral votes that Republicans have held in every election but one since 1968.

Wadhams is a campaign manager by trade, and as GOP chair, the Allard Senate seat will be his first order of business. He'll have to operate at a time when the power of state parties has been weakened by reforms that shift big campaign money away from the parties to 527 groups, which operate independently.

As party chair, Wadhams will be allowed only limited interaction with the 527s. He can alert them to information that's already in the public domain, but of course so can your aunt and uncle. Anything that involves "expenditures" is off-limits by law. And "almost anything can be considered an expenditure because you're using resources to accomplish a task at hand," said state GOP attorney John Zakhem.

Wadhams says the GOP can be unified if Republicans return to their roots as defenders of small government, fiscal conservatism and private property rights.

"The Republican Congress went awry and we paid the price," Wadhams said, referring to the thumping that Democrats gave Republicans last November. "Sometimes those purges aren't bad."

Wadhams' own candidate, Sen. George Allen of Virginia, was among those who went down for the count.

With no opposition, Wadhams will take over the GOP reins in March. The work is already piling up.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Enjoy the next prime of your life!
Daily Press
Patt Abrahamson

ESCANABA — Art Linkletter isn’t letting any grass grow under his feet. Together with Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, they spawned a new, exciting book: “How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life,” published in July.

Art Linkletter is 94 years young. He was born in Canada where, as an orphan, he was adopted by a Baptist evangelist minister. Shortly, thereafter, the family moved to Massachusetts and eventually ended up in California. Art graduated from San Diego State College in 1934.

Most will remember his long running shows: House Party (25 years) and People are Funny (19 years). His has written 23 books. Among them are Old Age isn’t for Sissies and Kids Say the Darndest Things, one of the top 14 best sellers in American publishing history.

After reading his newest book I am convinced that it is a must read for every senior. Personally, I couldn’t put the book down. Not only is there ways to improve your health and stay fit, keep your memory from fading, enjoy sex through your senior years and keep a vibrant spiritual life, but there is humor abound.

For example: A husband and wife, both 60 years old, were celebrating their 35th anniversary. During their party, a fairy appeared to congratulate them and grant them each one wish. The wife wanted to travel around the world.

The fairy waved her wand and — poof! — the wife had tickets in her hand for a world cruise. Next the fairy asked the husband what he wanted. He said, “I wish I had a wife 30 years younger than me.”

So the fairy picked up her wand and — poof! — the husband was 90.

Art Linkletter and his wife Lois of 70 years have had their share of tragedy in their lives. In 1969 their daughter, under the influence of LSD, jumped to her death from her sixth-story apartment. They have also lost a son and have dealt with a life-threatening illness of another child.

Those were tumultuous years for the Linkletters. They had to go on, and they were able to overcome the heartache. Art went on to become a professional lecturer on drug abuse, positive thinking and gerontology. He schedules 75 lectures a year. That’s incredible, considering his age.

Art says, “Don’t ask me if I am going to retire. Retire to what? I love what I am doing because I think it matters. And I think this book can matter to anyone who is getting into the later years. Don’t stop living and learning.”

As I mentioned the book is filled with wonderful information and a good dose of humor.

You know you are getting older…

...When happy hour is a nap.

...When your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.

...When your idea of weight lifting is standing up.

The architects of the book believe that age 60 is the new 40, the new middle-age — and age 80 is the new 60. And I have to agree. Our grandparents seemed older than the grandparents of today. Today’s more youthful grandmothers might wear jeans, sport a tattoo (ugh), run a marathon, start a business, write a best seller, mountain climb, sing, dance and entertain and the list goes on and on.

It’s not exactly the stereotypical grandmother of yesterday when grandmothers looked tired and older than their years, wore house dresses covered with an apron, a hair net and for the most part did not work outside the home—nor did they have washers, dryers and the myriad comforts of today that make life easier.

There are many myths and misconceptions about how we age — is it determined by lifestyle or genetics? On the chapter that addresses this question the final score may surprise you: Lifestyle 70, and genes 30. But think about the diseases we bring on ourselves by what we put into our bodies.

The list is lengthy. Dietary choices, obesity, smoking and alcohol are culprits that cut years off of our life expectancy—not to mention the quality of life and energy sucked out of us from poor choices. Exercise also plays a huge part in delaying our destiny with the Grim Reaper.

I love the humor in the book:

Two old men had been best friends for years. They both lived to their early 90s when one of them fell deathly ill. His friend visits him on his deathbed, and they’re reminiscing about their long relationship when the friend asks, “Listen, when you die, do me a favor. I want to know if there is baseball in heaven.”

The dying man said, “We’ve been friends for years, this I will do for you.” And then he dies. A couple of days later, his surviving friend is sleeping when he hears his friend’s voice. The voice says, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that there’s baseball in heaven.”

“What’s the bad news?”

“You’re pitching Wednesday.”

Did I mention how great laughter is for our well-being?

Three elderly men are at the doctor’s office for a memory test. The doctor asks the first man, “What is three times three?” “274” is his reply. The doctor rolls his eyes and looks up at the ceiling and says to the second man, “It’s your turn. What is three times three?” “Tuesday,” replies the second man.

The doctor shakes his head sadly then asks the third man, “OK, your turn. What’s three times three?” “Nine,” says the third man. “That’s great,” said the doctor. “How did you get that?” “Simple,” he says, “just subtract 274 from Tuesday.”

You’ve got to love this one!

A reporter was interviewing a 104-year-old woman: “And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” the reporter asked.

She replied: “No peer pressure.”

Art says, “Get ready for the next prime of your life! Make the “rest of your life the best years of your life.”

— — —

EDITOR’S NOTE — Patt Abrahamson, Escanaba, is a free lance writer and published author of “Brain-Injury: A Family Tragedy.” She can be reached at pattabe@charter.net.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Economic 'garden' set to sprout?
Marlene Kennedy

Here's a new entry for your business lexicon: economic gardening.
It's the idea that successful communities cultivate or grow their own businesses, rather than relying on a few big national or international firms for new jobs. Homegrown companies develop deep roots, the thinking goes, and so become interwoven into the fabric of the community to everyone's betterment.

It got on my radar last month when the Times Union brought site-selection consultant Robert Leak to the Capital Region to speak at our Capitaland Quarterly breakfast for community leaders. Leak saw economic gardening as equally important to the region as the incentives package that enabled us to land Advanced Micro Devices Inc. last year.

The Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo., is credited with developing the concept in 1989 following a layoff by the area's largest employer, Martin Marietta. City officials were upset that their economic health was being determined by an out-of-state company and so directed the city's business/industry affairs office to come up with some ideas.

Christian Gibbons, now director of the office, says he was the city's economic development chief then and worked with others in Littleton government to scour the research of the time to come up with the award-winning idea.

They liked the studies into job creation being done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by David Birch that showed big-company "recruiting coups" were responsible for less than 5 percent of a community's new jobs, despite the headlines they generated. Instead, the majority of new jobs were produced by small, indigenous businesses.

So Gibbons and his colleagues decided to build from the inside out: that local entrepreneurs creating new companies were the primary source of jobs and wealth, "and that the job of economic developers should be to create nurturing environments for these companies," he says.

But it wasn't that simple, Gibbons found. Not every small business succeeded and not every entrepreneur who took a "How to Write a Business Plan" seminar saw his or her company take off.

So Gibbons et al. refined their ideas (again, based on Birch's work): It wasn't small business as a whole that created new jobs by the barrowful but the nimble, fast-growing companies -- known as "gazelles" -- led by CEOs who embraced change and risk.

These companies learned to operate at the "edge of chaos," straddling stability and innovation to move forward. That meant "the most vibrant economies (in terms of producing jobs and wealth) were highly unstable in the sense that they had the highest rate of business start-ups and business deaths," says Gibbons.

And the temperament or "culture" of the community played a role, too. Did local citizens embrace change, or were they risk-averse? Were they content to have outsiders control their destiny, or did they support the entrepreneur

By the late 1990s, Littleton's economic gardening concept was raking in accolades. But its authors were still refining their ideas, particularly in how to build an environment that supported entrepreneurs -- both culturally and structurally.

Littleton concentrated the latter in three areas: information (making available, for instance, data-base services usually affordable only to large companies), infrastructure (not only highways and traffic lights but parks and trails and community college courses in e-commerce) and connections (to think tanks, trade groups, industry research and other CEOs).

You can read Gibbons' account of the maturation of the concept of economic gardening -- he sees it as still a work in progress -- at http://www.littletongov.org/bia/ economicgardening, the Web site of his office in Littleton. And you can read about Robert Leak's talk to local community leaders in the next issue of CQ, our quarterly business publication, in the Times Union on Sunday.

And then you can ask yourself whether this area, likely the home of a new AMD computer chip manufacturing facility in the next decade, is doing enough economic gardening.

We have many flavors of programs that teach the basics or offer support to local entrepreneurs, through chamber, community and college initiatives. Is that sufficient? Do we embrace risk-takers? Can we surf the edge of chaos with them? You decide.

Business Editor Marlene Kennedy can be reached at 454-5492 or by e-mail at mkennedy@timesunion.com.

All Times Union materials copyright 1996-2007, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation, Albany, N.Y.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

“The greatest gift which humanity has received is free choice. It is true that we are limited in our use of free choice. But the little free choice we have is such a great gift and is potentially worth so much that for this itself, life is worthwhile living.” Isaac Bashevis Singer, quoted in the conclusion of today's article in the New York Times on free will. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/02/science/02free.html?em&ex=1167973200&en=30114785d6264b5f&ei=5087%0A