Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm just back from Houston, where my son John (left), my mom (right) and I visited by daughter Brooke (center), her husband Ned and two new grandsons, Jeffrey & Tyler!
“Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." G.K. Chesterton, who was born today (1847-1936) who wrote a book called The Everlasting Man, which led a young atheist named C.S. Lewis to become a Christian.

According to a recent study by the online women's blogging community BlogHer and Compass Partners, more than one-third of all women in the U.S. aged 18 to 75 participate in the blogosphere at least once a week. Of those women who are online any amount of time, 53% read blogs, 37% post comments to blogs and 28% write or update blogs.

Colorado is like a suburb of California's coastal cities now. It's like California's exurb. That growth in Jefferson County, in the suburbs of Denver, between Boulder and Denver, all of that growth there. Colorado had eight of 18 of the fastest growing counties in 1990. That's not all explained by Latinos.
Thomas Schaller, a University of Maryland political science prof in Newsweek interview.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm in Houston right now visiting my daughter Brooke, her husband Ned and new twin grandsons Tyler & Jeffry. Will be back for Socrates Cafe Thursday evening and IDEA Cafe on Friday, will bring pictures!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Did you see the ad for the Denver IDEA Cafe in
today's (Fri, May 23) Denver Daily News (p. 8)?

Today Joe Blake, President of Denver Chamber will be
with us with other interesting entrepreneurs, and we
will brainstorm. RSVP at


Big Talk: Good conversation about interesting topics
at Socrates Cafe, each Thursday, 7 p.m., Trinity Church,
19th & Broadway here in Denver. More info and
optional RSVP at

Can We Hear You Now?
Denver Speakers Corner, Sunday, June 8, 4 p.m., Civic Center,
North Pavillion in Denver. More info and optional RSVP at

How much are you investing in your own education through clubs,
associations, classes, etc.? Measure the benefit against these standards:

Does what you are doing now help you:

1. Understand yourself?

2. Develop a good attitude towards others?

3. Develop a dynamic attitude towards life?

4. Learn to react to causes and not symptoms?

5. Acquire skills necessary to achieve your potential?

6. Understand society and how to bring about change?

(From Malcolm Knowles, let me know if you'd like more.)

If what you doing now doesn't measure up, consider starting or

joining a Franklin Circle. Call me if you'd like to know more

about how I can help you.

Next Friday (June 6) I'm starting something new, an open
Franklin Circle. Just show up or RSVP to make sure
you have a seat. Email me with Open Franklin Circle & Date
in the subject line. It will be held each Friday, 4 p.m., at
Panera Bread after the IDEA Cafe.

Finally, I'm available to help your club, association, or group measure
itself against these standards with my interactive presentation
"Learn to Win."

For more information, contact me at or (303)861-1447.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What happens, actually, to public confidence when the public becomes aware (as it gradually must) that the leaders of industry and government are resolutely committed to a confidence-inspiring viewpoint, come hell or high water? How can you know what to believe? Vance Packard, born today (May 22, 1914--December 12, 1996), was an American journalist, social critic, and author.

In The Hidden Persuaders, first published in 1957, Packard explores the use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including depth psychology and subliminal tactics, by advertisers to manipulate expectations and induce desire for products, particularly in the American postwar era. It also explores the manipulative techniques of promoting politicians to the electorate. The book questions the morality of using these techniques.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On this day (May 21) in 1927, Charles Lindbergh's boyhood dream of flight was fulfilled when he landed in Paris completing the first transatlantic flight. Overnight he became the most famous person in the world.

We discussed fame at the Friday evening Socrates Cafe last week. It carries a high price, as Lindbergh's life demonstrated.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I just sent out this release to the media:

May 20, 2008

Contact: John Wren

FREE HELP FOR PEOPLE STARTING NEW PATH. What are you going to do Monday morning?

This Friday (May 23) and every Friday for over 10 years, long time community activist John Wren leads a free 1 1/2 hr. workshop for people starting a new project, a new career, a new business or a new campaign. Speakers this week will be: Joe Blake, Denver Chamber of Commerce,; Mari Christie; and Lissa Ann Forbes

The Denver IDEA Cafe meets each Friday (except holiday weekends) from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the hospitality room at Panera Bread, 1330 Grant (the corner of 13th & Grant) in Denver. Successful people are invited to share how they started their career, project, campaign or new business, and the group brainstorms on topics about startup problems and opportunities. It is free and open to anyone starting something new. More information and optional RSVP at

The IDEA Cafe takes it's name from a 4-step business creativity model: I= Inspiration or ID the Target; D= Develop Alternatives; E= Evaluate the Alternatives; and A= Act! The model and the rules for brainstorming are explained at each meeting. Wren's little book about startup is available for free at

"The IDEA Café is for people who aren't sure what they are going to do Monday morning. I do it for two reasons," says Wren. "First, it really helps me. I invite speakers I want to hear, and the brainstorming is like taking batting practice for my brain. Second, the people who attend say it helps them, too. When we are successful, they are too busy to come back the next week."

Wren’s evaluation is confirmed with lots of quotes from past participants on the web site, here’s a sample:

"Other people should join if they have an interest in hearing entrepreneurial stories and in brainstorming - for themselves or other people in the group. I received great brainstorming assistance today!" — Mike Kraft (May 2, 2008)

"Motivation to get your business going, lots of ideas for your key problem area you need to address, meeting like minded people going through the same start up or growing pains you are experiencing." — Davyd Smith (Apr 19, 2008)

• "Great opportunity to share ideas with bright, motivated people." — Grayson Hill (Apr 4, 2008)

• "If you're stuck, If you need to jumpstart the process of moving forward with your entrepreneurial plan than The Denver Idea Cafe meetup is the place to brainstorm!" — Rob Reighter (Mar 31, 2008)

• "If your of an entrepreneurial mindset and you have a question you are stuck on - make time to be here." — Sean Bell (Jan 18, 2008)

• "The IDEA Cafe is a fun and productive group!" • — Michelle Fire Eater (Nov 30, 2007)

• "Good group, as offering of diversity and worthy exchanges" — Randi Levin (Jan 6, 2008)

• "Very helpful and motivating." — Johnny Swift (Sep 7, 2007)

• " Wonderful. I really liked the format. " — Sondra Carr (Sep 7, 2007)

• "Highly recommend this to others need a boost in their business or support for an idea." — Judy Browne (Sep 6, 2007)

• "Got some great ideas!" — David (Jul 23, 2007)
• "Enjoyed!" — Christina James (May 25, 2007)

• "It was a small but intimate group - very good input and I came out of it enriched." — Estelle (Apr 20, 2007)

• "Great time - thanks!" — Chuck (Dec 26, 2006)

• "People in attendance are very talented, well education, life exerienced and everyone participated." — Deborah (Dec 22, 2006)

• "Good people, lots of laughs, and we had a good time. I'd love to go back for my other "ideas"!" — Suzi (Oct 29, 2006)

• "Great group!" — Amy (Jun 25, 2006)

• "I like the group and leader a lot." — Mike O'Neil (Apr 28, 2006)

• "Mediated well to maximize time and facilitate great brainstorming. There was a wide array of people and interests." — Travis (Feb 24, 2006)

• "Efficient and thought provoking. " — Gena Dry (Jan 27, 2006)

• "It's a good place to get brainstorming help with your project and to learn from others who have had successful projects that require marketing, investment capital, and original ideas." — Bobsterz (Nov 26, 2005)

• "The organizers and participants were very welcoming when it came to discusssing new ideas. The location was reachable by bus, so there are no worries on not being able to get there. It would be nice if the meeting was a little longer, so that people could get to know each other beforehand and discuss more of their ideas before it ends." — Nadia (Nov 5, 2005)

• "Wildly varied group. Terrific range in industry, position, needs, expertise, etc. This is still true" — Nik Nikkel (Sep 23, 2005)

• "John Wren makes the City and County of Denver a richer place to live and work through his efforts to invite its citizens to gather in community circles to discuss certain aspects of the human condition." — Louis (Aug 27, 2005)

John S. Wren, MBA+ (303)861-1447 is an adult educator and consultant. Wren is the author of Daring Mighty Things—The Simplest Way to Start Your First (or Next) New Business that was sold for years in local bookstores and is now available on his website for free. He is immediate past president of the Denver South Optimists Club, and a member of the board of directors of the Denver Lions Club. He is the past-president of the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association, the Denver City Club, the Colorado College Republicans, and the University of Denver Graduate Students Association. He formed the first Franklin Circle in Denver in 1996, which is based on the group Ben Franklin formed in 1727 in Philadelphia. He held the first Socrates Cafe in Denver, and he now leads the Denver Socrates Cafe each Thursday evening at Trinity Church in Denver

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Today (Sun, May 18) is the birthday of Frank Capra, born in Bisaquino, Sicily (1897). Capra lived in Sicily for the first six years of his life until his family immigrated to Los Angeles. He sold newspapers in the Sicilian ghetto in Los Angeles, and he made money playing the banjo at nightclubs so he would be able to go to college. He studied chemical engineering at Cal Tech, paying his way by running the student laundry, waiting tables and wiping engines at a power plant.

In 1922, he was poor and unemployed and living in San Francisco, when he read in the newspaper that a man named Walter Montague was launching a new movie studio in an abandoned gymnasium. Capra called him up and talked his way into getting a job directing his first movie, a one-reel film based on a Rudyard Kipling poem.

For the next six years, he worked as everything from a prop man to a comedy writer. In 1928, he signed a contract with Columbia. Five years later he made his first big hit, the screwball comedy It Happened One Night (1933), for which he won the first of three Academy Awards for Best Director. In the next fifteen years he made a string of successful movies, most of them about a naïve and idealistic man from small-town America who goes up against greedy politicians and lawyers and journalists. Capra said the moral of his movies was: "A simple honest man, driven into a corner by predatory sophisticates, can, if he will, reach down into his God-given resources and come up with the necessary handfuls of courage, wit, and love to triumph over his environment."

His movies were so distinctive and so influential that the word "Capraesque" has made it into the dictionary. The 2000 American Heritage Dictionary defined it as "of or evocative of the movies of Frank Capra, often promoting the positive social effects of individual acts of courage."

His movies include Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and It's a Wonderful Life (1946), which was also about a small-town hero who battles corruption, but it was darker and more cynical than any of his earlier movies, and it didn't do very well at the box office. For some reason, Capra didn't renew its copyright in 1974, and it fell into the public domain. PBS was the first network to play it every year around Christmas. Other stations started picking it up, and now watching It's a Wonderful Life on TV is a holiday tradition for families across the country.

Capra said, "I wanted to glorify the average man, not the guy at the top, not the politician, not the banker, just the ordinary guy whose strength I admire, whose survivability I admire."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch®.

From The Writers Almanac

Friday, May 16, 2008

“When a person takes part in community action, his health improves. Something happens to him or to her biologically. It's like a tonic." "The older you are, the freer you are, as long as you last." "Take it easy, but take it." "I came up as the Titanic went down." (Note: Also as the Colorado Caucus came up.) Studs Terkel, born on this day (New York, 1912.) He moved with his family to Chicago in 1922 where he spent the rest of his life, eventually as a radio & TV broadcaster, author (Working, Touch and Go), and social historian.

From an interview with Studs Terkel on Democracy Now! in 2007:

AMY GOODMAN: I want to play a little bit of the tape, that—the interview that you did with Bertrand Russell. It was 1962. You interviewed the British philosopher at his home in North Wales. This is an excerpt:

STUDS TERKEL: Why do people, the great majority of people the world over, feel as helpless as they do, they feel as impotent as they do? This seems to be in the air, I’m sure, all over the world, feeling that the individual, I, John Smith, John Doe, says, “I can’t do anything about it.”

BERTRAND RUSSELL: That’s just [inaudible]. They can. I mean, an individual, if he has the pluck and the independence of mind, can do a very great deal. Actually, here we sit, no organization, none whatever, and simply by expressing an opinion which is known to be unbiased, an individual can effect a very great deal. And this powerlessness of the individual is a form of cowardice; it’s a pretense, an alibi for doing nothing.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher. Studs Terkel, it was in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

STUDS TERKEL: Right there. I’ll never forget that. He was very strong. He said he sent cablegrams to Khrushchev, to Nehru and to Kennedy. He said, “I heard from two of them: Khrushchev and Nehru. Didn’t hear from your president.”

It’s 5 a.m. now as I write this. After waking early, I just listened to this interview with Studs Terkel. Very moving.

I woke feeling discouraged, but as I listen to Studs, read about him, and write this for you, I'm filled with enthusiasm: You and I can make a difference. Let’s get started! Faith without works is dead.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

''Books are not rolls, to be devoured only when they are fresh.'' Clifton Fadiman who was born today (May 15, 1904- June 20, 1999). He was a critic and editor (Book of the Month Club) and host of the once popular “Information Please” radio show, who throughout his life urged young people to be serious and to read classic literature.

On this day in 1940 the first McDonald’s opened in San Bernardino, Californa.

An editorial in the Denver Post this morning tells us that the city is falling short in raising the $55 million promised to bring the Democratic National Convention to Denver this August. At this point, it would be easy to say “so what” and just figure they can’t do anything but hold it here at this late date. But in my opinion that would kick away a big, big opportunity to promote Colorado through a national email and TV fund raising effort. Here’s the comment I just posted on the (click here to see it): Denver Post editorial:

How about an outreach to small contributors on a website, get Obama and Clinton to both pass along an email to their small contributors encouraging support of the convention with $25 on the website?

How about getting Mayor J.Hic, or better yet Elbra Wedgeworth who did such a great job bringing the convention here to Denver, on Oprah to talk about the convention. Or a special Jerry Lewis style telethon that would raise money for both the Dem and GOP convention? Support it through all the symphony orchestras across the country, maybe get them all to turn one of their free city concerts in early summer into fundraising events for the conventions. Maybe do something similar through small theatres, promoting Colorado theatres at the same time.

With some imagination, raising money from small contributors could promote Colorado and increase our tourist traffic for the next 100 years.

We'll brainstorm this at our next IDEA Cafe, tomorrow (Fri, May 16)and each Friday until the money is finally raised at Panera Bread, 13th & Grant here in Denver. More info and RSVP at

Let’s start the brainstorming right now! What do you think Denver could do to raise the money from small contributors? Post your comment here or better yet on the Denver Post editorial.

Mayor J.Hic (and you) would be more than welcome to join us for the next Denver Speakers Corner, June 8, 4 p.m. North Pavilion, Civic Center Park. More info, including a video of our first meeting, and optional RSVP at

We can't get the Mayor on Oprah, but we can get him (and you) on YouTube!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On this day in:
1607 - Jamestown, Virginia is settled as an English colony.
1787 - In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates begin to meet to write a new Constitution for the United States.
1796 - Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination.
1804 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition departs from Camp Dubois and begins its historic journey by traveling up the Missouri River.
1948 - Israel is declared to be an independent state and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Does far left plus far right equal fair?

That's really the question it seems to me, as CU proposes to endow a chair for a conservative.

I'm going to suggest this as a topic at the Denver Socrates Cafe this week. If discussing this sort of thing is interesting to you, join us!

We meet each Thursday at 19th & Broadway in downtown Denver. Details and optional RSVP at

Monday, May 12, 2008

  • "If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." Katherine Hepburn (1907-2003) who was born today.

    Not Quite What I was Planning: Six Word Memoirs from Writers Famous and Obscure collects almost 1,000 six-word memoirs, including additions from many celebrities including Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris, Dave Eggers, Richard Ford, Deepak Chopra, Moby, and more. Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

    Here’s mine: “61 years now, feel like 16.”

    The Rocky Mountain News gave almost no coverage to the 1st Congressional District Assembly that was held Saturday at Denver’s South High School. Here's my comment on the sad state of affairs I just posted on their online version:

What else in Denver attracts this many people and gets so little news coverage? Thanks for your very good color comentary, Tina, but where is the play by play record of the game?

It's not here because John Temple has openly declaired war on our wonderful Colorado Caucus. Can we apply to Scripps Howard to get a replacement? Someone who really cares about Colorado and our traditions?

With support from at least one of our daily newspapers, the Colorado Caucus could become as big as the Iowa Caucus, which Mr. Temple found interesting enought to SEND A FULL TIME REPORTER. Why don't we get the same coverage here at home?

Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore? Join us at Denver Speakers Corner next June 8th, 4 p.m., North Pavillion in Civic Center Park. More info, video of our 1st meeting w/ Dennis Gallagher, and optional RSVP at

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On this day in 1934 - Dust Bowl: A strong two-day dust storm removes massive amounts of Great Plains topsoil in one of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl in North America. On Mother’s Day in 1934, Bill & Bob talked for the first time, which lead eventually to them founding Alcoholics Anonymous.

Yesterday I attended the 1st Congressional District Assembly at Denver’s South High. The Denver Post this morning said a little about it, and this is the comment I posted at the bottom of that article:

There were thousands of Democrats in Denver's South High yesterday for our 1st Congressional District Assembly and Convention. This was a big, big story. Where's the news coverage in today’s paper? Would someone help me understand why the Denver Assembly wasn't front page news today? Annette, did you attend, it's hard to tell from your story. Why no photograph?

I then wrote a rather long article about my experience yesterday and posted it on the Denver Post's Your Hub. Maybe you can find it there, I couldn't after the post went up, and I don't want to waste my entire morning. I'll try again tomorrow.

Did you go to the assembly yesterday? What was your experience?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young." "The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style." Fred Astaire, movie star whose birthday is today.

Today I'm going to the CD1 assembly/ convention here in Denver. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow. Did you go to your caucus February 5? Do you think some of the new people who've been drawn in to the caucus this year will become new leaders for us?

Friday, May 09, 2008

On this day in 1955 - Sam and Friends debuts on a local U.S. television channel, marking the first television appearance of both Jim Henson and what would become Kermit the Frog and the Muppets.

When I was director of marketing for the Denver Symphony I was amazed when I took Henson to dinner at a cafe on the 16th street mall. Young people kept coming over to our table, awstruck by seeing in person they had grown up watching on TV.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

“Marxism is the opiate of the intellectuals.” Edmund Wilson whose birthday is today (May 8, 1895June 12, 1972), The New Yorker Magazine has said his “mission (was) to deprovincialize American culture… Wilson hated American chauvinism and gentility, and everything he associated with them—prudery, pedantry, commercialism, and militarism. That hatred is the starch in his prose.”
"Our conscious, deliberate systems will never have total control, and our memories will never be perfect, but as they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, recognition is the first step. If we come to recognize our limitations, and how they evolved, we just might be able to outwit our inner kluge." Gary Marcus, a professor of psychology at New York University, who is the author of "Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind." In my opinion, this book is an example of a kluge. It's a clumsy solution to the problem of assuming there is no intellegent designer or creator; our best thinking got us here.
Thanks Mom! And thanks Pop, where ever you are. Today's also my birthday. (May 8, 1947) I'm celebrating by attending the Denver Socrates Cafe, 7 p.m., Trinity Church, 19th & Broadway. Can you join us? (No presents, please, except perhaps that you volunteer to share your experience with us one Friday afternoon at the Denver IDEA Cafe in the next few months. If you can't be with us tonight, send me a email at with "Happy Birthday, IDEA Cafe" and I'll get back to you to set a date.)
How do you like the video I've just posted (top left on this page) of last Sunday's first ever Denver Speakers Corner. Another birthday present request, RSVP now for our next meeting, and then send out a few invitations to your friends who might be interested, OK? makes it easy to send out invitations, if you have any problems let me know and I'll help you. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind." Sigmund Freud who was born today (1856September 23, 1939). Freud was a Czech Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who founded the psychoanalytic school of psychology. Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind and the defense mechanism of repression.

It's interesting what an important role dreams and day-dreams play in the bible, from Adam & Eve to Mary & Joseph. Why do most of us pay so little attention to our dreams each day?

Monday, May 05, 2008

What the age needs is not a genius - it has had geniuses enough, but a martyr, who in order to teach men to obey would himself be obedient unto death. What the age needs is awakening. And therefore someday, not only my writings but my whole life, all the intriguing mystery of the machine will be studied and studied. I never forget how God helps me and it is therefore my last wish that everything may be to his honour.

Søren Kierkegaard, who was born today (5 May 181311 November 1855) He was a prolific 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian. Kierkegaard strongly criticized both the dominant philosophy of his time, and what he saw as the empty formalities of the church. Much of his work deals with religious problems such as faith in God, the institution of the Christian Church, Christian ethics and theology, and the emotions and feelings of individuals when faced with life choices.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Be ashamed to die until you’ve won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann, (1796-1859). His victories? Founder of K12 public education in the US and Antiock College. His birthday is today.

Cinco de Mayo celebration today at Denver Civic Center Park. At 4 p.m., I’ll be at the North Pavillion, just across Speer Blvd. from the Denver Newspaper Agency building, for the 1st Denver Speakers Corner. Hope you’ll join us!

The Denver Post calls for elimination of term limits in today’s paper. This is a bad idea right now, maybe later. Here’s my comment that I posted just now:

I was against term limits, seems to me voters should decide who represents them. Problem is, voters don't really get to choose right now. But we could, if we organized.

Colorado law gives us a mechanism for banding together to get rid of bad representatives and party leadership with the potentially wonderful Colorado Caucus, the precinct-assembly system for nominating to the primary ballot. Let's eliminate term limits if and when legislators fund a project to strengthen the Colorado Caucus as they have in Iowa. Did you attend last February 5? Will you in 2010? Why or why not?

I'll tell you more, and you can tell us what you think about the Colorado Caucus or anything else, this afternoon (Sun, May 4) at the 1st meeting of Denver Speakers Corner, North Pavillion (right across Speer Blvd from the Denver Newspaper Agency, just South of the Blackberry Exhibit), Denver Civic Center Park. Tell us what you think, or just listen, at 4 p.m. More info and optional RSVP at
special Abe Lincoln exhibit at the Colorado Historical Museum, today's the last day! Park once, see it all!

Hope you'll join us this afternoon!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Interesting article about blogging in the Boulder County Business Report. No comments about it have been posted online until mine today. What do you think, why do so few people post their thoughts when it is now so easy to do? Is this a good or a bad thing?

“Examine everything with discernment; keep what is good; keep your distance from every trace of evil” (1 Thes 5:21-22).

Friday, May 02, 2008

All candidates for superdelegate, delegate, dog catcher, or any other elected or appointed office, and anyone and everyone else, are hereby invited to join us this Sunday for the 1st meeting of the all-new (sort of) Denver Speakers Corner.

Take your turn on the soap box to share your passion for whatever issue or candidate that is near and dear, to tell a joke, to sing a song, or just to tell us how the cow ate the cabbage or got thrown under the bus.

Sunday (May 4) at 4 p.m., North Pavillion, Denver Civic Center Park, more information about this informal gathering and optional RSVP at New, free, open to all, it should be fun. Join us!