Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yesterday morning I heard Mike Rosen, semi-conservative Denver talk radio host, announce that my hero William F. Buckley had died. Buckley's obituary is in today’s New York Times.

The day before I’d joined the Coalition for a Conservative Majority as a Democrat. Could it be that’s what killed Buckley? Wish I could pick up the phone and call him, as was possible just day before yesterday. First person I remember regreting not making the effort to meet before death was John Steinbeck; the anniversary of his birthday was yesterday.

Steinbeck's Travels with Charley was one of the first what I considered serious books I ever read, I can still remember reading it by the pool at the Disneyland Hotel on a trip with my family. Somewhere Steinbeck said, "A book is like a man — clever and dull, brave and cowardly, beautiful and ugly. For every flowering thought there will be a page like a wet and mangy mongrel, and for every looping flight a tap on the wing and a reminder that wax cannot hold the feathers firm too near the sun." This was certainly true of WFB. We will miss you, Bill.

Today is the birthday of the great essayist Michel de Montaigne born in Périgueux, France (1533). His father was a wealthy landowner and a devout Catholic, with innovative ideas about child rearing. He sent the infant Michel off to live with peasant parents, so that he would learn to love the lower classes. Then, when Michel was a toddler, his father required everyone in the household to speak Latin rather than French, so that Latin would be his first language.

Michel went off to college and became a lawyer. His father died when Michel was 38 years old, and so he retired to the family estate and took over managing the property. More than anything, he loved to write letters, but after a few years in retirement, his best friend died and he suddenly had no one to write to. So he started writing letters to an imaginary reader, and those letters became an entirely new literary genre: the essay. From The Writer’s Almanac

Join us?

I’m in the process of forming the Alpha Group Franklin Circle, eventually it will be comprised of leaders of leaders. Eventually. There is more information about Franklin Circles on my website, click on the upper left of this page to go there. If you’d like an invitation to attend an information session about the Alpha Group, please let me know via email or see me at one of the free meetings I’ll be facilitating this week:

Tonight (Thursday, Feb 28) Socrates Café, 7 p.m., Trinity Church at 19th & Broadway here in Denver. Free & open to all who enjoy good discussion. More info and RSVP at

Tomorrow (Friday, Feb 29) IDEA Café, 2 p.m., Panera Bread at 13th & Grant here in Denver. Free and open to all who are starting a new project, career, campaign, or new business, we just ask that you bring your brain for the brainstorming. RSVP at

Next week, additional sessions of the above meetings, plus Friday (Mar 7), the Denver Grassroots Rally, 4 p.m. Panera Bread, 13th & Grant here in Denver. State and County political leaders are being invited to discuss the recent Denver Post editorial suggesting that Denver should become a presidential primary state (see my post about this below). We will also decide if the meeting should become weekly, and if it should be moved to Civic Center Park and the name changed to Denver’s Speaker’s Corner. Those who RSVP will be invited to speak first, after the invited political leaders. More information at

"If you organize chaos, you organize as much as you can to show that it's chaos. It's the way I do it. To pretend it's not chaotic is a lie." Irwin Shaw

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