Steve & Georgia Carter

Our Notebook

Category: Observations

Historic Rifle

Andy Gordon taught me how to fly in 1973, and one snowy day that winter I took a number of aerial photos of Rifle.  They’re fascinating to look at over 40 years later.  Among other things, there is

  • no I-70, so of course no bypass
  • City Market was located where Remington Square is now
  • City Hall and the Library are vacant lots; the Winchester Hotel had been torn down earlier that year during one of the boom/bust cycles
  • The apartments at 5th and Whiteriver are not there
  • Aspen Avenue had very few houses and wasn’t paved all the way to 7th Street
  • Highlands East is farmland
  • Rifle High School was held in what is now part of the Middle School

I also took some nostalgic photos of the Rifle A&W and of Ray Cole, its owner.  By this time, the alignment of I-70 had been determined, and the Department of Highways had acquired and closed his restaurant.  The Chamber of Commerce had purchased a railroad car from the Rio Grande for $1 and parked it near his restaurant; it was later moved to the SW corner of the intersection of First & Railroad, and subsequently junked.

Please leave comments if you notice anything else.

You know that you are a South African when…


  • You call a bathing suit a ‘swimming costume’.
  • You call a traffic light a ‘robot’.
  • You call an elevator a ‘lift’
  • You call a hood a ‘bonnet’
  • You call a trunk a ‘boot’

You call a pickup truck a ‘bakkie’
  • You call a Barbeque a ‘Braai’
  • The employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are.
  • The SABC advertises and shows highlights of the programme you just finished watching.
  • You get cold easily. Anything below 16 degrees Celsius is Arctic weather.
  • You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you’ve never had any.

You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them.
  • You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Mandela.
  • You go to braais regularly, where you eat boerewors and swim, sometimes simultaneously.
  • You know that there’s nothing to do in the Orange Free State .
  • You produce a R100 note instead of your driver’s licence when stopped by a traffic officer.
  • You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement.
  • You have to hire a security guard whenever you park your car.
  • When you are a victim of crime and say: ‘At least I’m still alive’.
  • You know a taxi can move twice it’s certified number of people in one trip.
  • You travel 100’s of kilometres to see snow.
  • You know the rules of Rugby better than any referee

To get free electricity you have to pay a connection fee of R750.
  • More people vote in a local reality TV show than in a local election.
  • People have the most wonderful names: Christmas, Goodwill, Pretty, Wednesday, Blessing, Brilliant, Gift, Precious, Innocence and Given, Patience, Portion, Coronation.
  • ‘Now now’ or ‘just now’ can mean anything from a minute to a month.
  • You continue to wait after a traffic light has turned to green to make way for taxis travelling in the opposite direction.
  • Travelling at 120 km/h you’re the slowest vehicle on the highway/freeway.
  • You’re genuinely and pleasantly surprised whenever you find your car parked where you left it.
  • A bullet train is being introduced, but we can’t fix potholes.
  • The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday.
  • You paint your car’s registration on the roof.
  • You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government hospital.
  • You have to prove that you don’t need a loan to get one.
  • Prisoners go on strike.
  • You don’t stop at a red traffic light, in case somebody hijacks your car.
  • You consider it a good month if you only get mugged once.
  • Ruwandan refugees start leaving the country because the crime rate is too high.
  • You consider a high crime rate as normal

Cablea’s moment

For those who don’t know about it, Cabela’s advertises itself as the Worlds Largest Outfitter, and their store in Grand Junction (an anchor store at Mesa Mall, located at the site of an abandoned Mervyn’s department store)  is filled with hiking, camping, fishing and hunting equipment.  Including firearms and a huge selection of ammunition…much of which, oddly enough, comes from Russia.  When you enter the store, a large sign announces the greeter is there to check any firearms the customers may be carrying.

I went there yesterday to buy some gifts, and noticed that the man in front of me, who was about my age and looked perfectly normal, bought three boxes of.38 caliber bullets. He grumbled to the the cashier that he wished there wasn’t a limit of only 3 boxes. The total cost was over $200, although he had a Cabela’s loyalty card so I’m sure someone was tracking his purchases.  I wonder what he planned to do with his purchase.

The nice middle aged lady behind me in the line, who was there with her teenage daughter,  had stopped at Cabela’s folksy homemade fudge shop, and bought a box of fudge, and a box of shotgun shells.


Google & Facebook Ads

When ads first appeared on the internet, they were not really very well targeted. But Google has made its fortune by learning all about you by snooping on the websites you visit. Facebook is trying to emulate the same thing by determining who your friends are and what you like. These commercial behemoths have a pretty good idea of your age, sex, marital status, location, what kind of cars you drive, what your hobbies are, etc. Several years ago, I would get ads and emails for programs to restore my credit score (which hasn’t needed restoring, thank you very much), reduce my mortgage, and of course, ads for fake Viagra.

As the years passed, the credit scores and mortgage ads began to decrease in frequency, and the ads became more relevant and pleasant: new cars, cruises, vacations to exotic places, motorcycles and ham radio. Sweet.

However, in the past couple of months, I’ve begun to see a disturbing trend in the ads; Google realizes that I’m over 65, so the ads are now aimed at a new demographic. They’re depressing, because they are for things such as the “Help I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” security dongle, magic wands that make arthritis pain a thing of the past, or “scam Medicare to get your own mobility scooter.” Those didn’t bother me much, but now they’ve reached a new low: step in bathtubs for old people.

The time may come when we would welcome a mobility scooter or step in bathtub, but for now I wish they’d keep the ads for romantic cruises and vacation destinations.

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