California Dreaming




As I’ve been spending more time in California I’ve been experiencing the way the place can mess with a Midwesterner’s sense of the seasons. For instance, above is a photo taken in Santa Monica of the last sunset before Daylight Savings Time, 3/7/15.


Skiing on Memorial Day Weekend

It takes a long time to write a book. In the meantime, some pics taken on the long weekend:


indypass2 scottskiing slide

Chapter 9

Recently I landed at Detroit Metro one week to the day after Detroit’s landmark bankruptcy filing, then spent a couple days in the city. They were great days. On my first morning I walked around to check out a couple landmarks, just to make sure they hadn’t been sold off:

DetroitSpirit TheFist coneydogcomp


That’s the Spirit of Detroit, the Joe Louis Fist, and the city’s two most famous coney dog places. That night I gave a talk to a group of bankruptcy attorneys (hey, they invited me) at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra building. It was a great event, as were drinks afterwards. One of the ironies of the many conversations I had was this: everyone says they haven’t seen so much business activity in downtown Detroit in years. The Chapter 9 filing seems like a step forward–or at least a way to escape the past.

Still, it’s not without pain. The next day I ran into a group of firefighters picketing in front of Comerica Park (more on baseball in a moment). There’s an idea in the press that Detroit just couldn’t keep paying those lavish pensions. Well, that’s only half right–the pensions are not lavish. The average for a firefighter or policeman is $30,000 per year, or about half what a cop or firefighter gets in, say, Los Angeles. Furthermore, the Detroit firefighters have been paying into this system instead of social security, to which they are not entitled. The public pension is all there is. You can imagine the riots we’d have in the streets if the federal government told social security recipients their payments were going to get cut by a third to a half.

Still, there was a ballgame in town that night, with the National League Phillies coming to town for what would be a three-game sweep by the Tigers. I should also mention that Detroit pensions are twice as well funded as those in Philly–no joke. Detroit just doesn’t have the current tax receipts to keep going.

But, back to baseball. Check out the photo below, taken at 9:15 at night. Living out of state, I miss that Michigan sky:



Detroit is west in the time zone, and north. It gets dark late in the summer. The Tigers won this game 2-1.  Below are some more Detroit shots:

ChurchandCasino CityscapeII outsourcetoDetroit opportunityDetroit smallplatesdetroit

Skiing Independence Pass

There are a lot of downsides to doing a blog–having to actually write something, the pay–but every once in a while you get to share a cool experience, like the one I had today.

About eight this morning my son and I got in the car and drove to the top of Independence Pass, east of Aspen. Indy Pass is closed all winter, and for good reason; it crosses the Continental Divide at over 12,000 feet after a series of switchbacks that are not for the feint of heart. In places the road narrows to one lane. Eventually we got to the top, parked, put on our gear, and started hiking.




After 30 or 40 minutes we came to the top of 4th of July Bowl. It felt like full-on winter, with a hard wind. Here’s my son at the top:



And down a bit:




Finally, we hiked out to the highway and hitchhiked back to the top. I was back at my desk at 10:30…