Aspen conservative voted “Mr. Aspen” and “Best Columnist” after the liberal Aspen Times fired him

For seven years, I was the conservative columnist for the Aspen Times. Democrats outnumber Republicans three to one in Aspen and about twenty to one at the newspaper, where I was the one.

Despite the liberal leanings of the Aspen Times and its readers, my conservative column became the most-read thing in the newspaper. It often garnered more clicks than front page news and, I suspect, even the real estate ads for $4,000/sq ft condos.

But I evidently wasn’t hired to be a conservative success. Rather, I was hired to be a conservative token. On Christmas Eve in 2019 after savoring the clicks I had generated for seven years, they fired me in an email taking potshots at my writing. Their email culminated in the observation that my “values” did not comport with theirs.

About that last point, they may have been right.

That was a few weeks after my column again took aim at the Aspen establishment for soaking the public by giving themselves taxpayer-subsidized housing for dimes on the dollar. Those houses are sometimes adjacent the ski mountain and worth millions.

The liberal establishment that treats itself to this exorbitant housing at taxpayer expense includes, coincidentally, some of the editors, reporters and other columnists at the Aspen Times, the company that fired me after I reported on it. Small world, huh?

But Karma has a long memory.

The Karma that came my way was the good kind. I continued writing my blog after the Aspen Times fired me, and it took off. This was partly because I became more candid about my conservative sentiments when I no longer had to worry about being muzzled, partly because my firing became a national story which drew attention to me, and partly because I began writing about three times as much.

The website host of my blog, WordPress, tells me I recently passed the half-million mark in readers. To put that in perspective, the Aspen Times circulation is a few percent of that.  

The Karma that came to the Aspen Times was different but equally fitting. They conduct a “Best of Aspen” contest every year where readers vote on “best” this and that. One category is “Best Columnist.”

For year 2020 when I was only writing a blog rather than a formal column after being fired by the Aspen Times back on Christmas Eve in 2019, the winner of “Best Columnist” was . . . yours truly.

It gets better. I’ve continued to write my blog and it continues to draw new readers. This year the Aspen Times once again held its annual “Best of Aspen” contest. For the second year in a row, I won “Best Columnist” even though I’m only writing a blog. The link is HERE at page 24.

And it gets even better than that. The marquee category in the Aspen Times’ contest is “Mr. Aspen.” (Don’t worry, they’ll surely have a “Mx. Aspen” soon.) In addition to voting me “Best Columnist” again, the readers of the Aspen Times in this year’s contest voted me “Mr. Aspen.” The link is HERE at page 22.

I demand a crown and the keys to the city. Or at least the keys to some of those taxpayer-subsidized slope-side digs.

One last thing. The Aspen Times is being purchased in a few weeks by a family-owned newspaper company out of West Virginia. The head is a registered Republican.

Merry Christmas!

For all this, I thank my readers. You’re the best. I may or may not have those bad values for which the Aspen Times fired me. That judgment is beyond my pay grade, at least in this world. But in any event, I’m in good company with readers like you. Thank you.

Join my readers with a free subscription HERE or just send an email to theAspenBeat@gmail.com.

America’s taxpayers give half a mil to Aspen’s vagrants

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A fawning “report” in the Aspen Daily News breathlessly announced more federal COVID funds for Glitter Gulch, otherwise known as Aspen, Colorado. To be exact, $538,073.

You know the place. It’s where the house pictured above just sold for $72 million, and houses routinely go for $3-5,000/sq ft. Where insiders such as newspaper reporters and city council members get slope-side multimillion dollar homes for dimes on the dollars under the taxpayer-subsidized housing program.

The fed money this time is for Aspen’s vagrants. Er, I mean “homeless.” Er, I mean “persons experiencing homelessness.” Whom, we’re told, are camping on the sidewalks and pooping in the gutters because they’re afflicted with something called “shelter-resistance.”

Pity the left’s Sisyphean task in the dictionary of euphemisms. Once they find and roll up the hill a suitable euphemism for “vagrant,” such as “homeless,” the euphemism rolls back down the hill because it becomes associated with people who behave like vagrants.

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Aspen Journalism uses riots for self-congratulatory money solicitations

Last summer, criminal mobs stormed federal buildings in an attempt to intimidate our elected officials and overturn our democratic republic. “Burn it down” and “No USA at all” were their frequent chants. Some demagogic politicians egged them on. People died.

Fast forward to last week. Another criminal mob stormed another federal building in another attempt to intimidate our elected officials and overturn our democratic republic.  “Stop the steal” was their frequent chant. Some demagogic politicians egged them on. People died.

The media accurately reported last week’s riot as a riot, but they reported last summer’s riots as “mostly peaceful protests.” The reason for the disparate reporting is of course that the media sympathized with last summer’s criminal mob but not with last week’s criminal mob.

Never willing to let a crisis go to waste, an outfit here in Aspen called Aspen Journalism promptly sent out an email yesterday congratulating themselves for their “truth telling and the free exchange of ideas.” They went on to portray themselves as victims of the DC riot 2,000 miles away: “As journalists we were alarmed by the violence and menacing rhetoric directed at the media.”

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Beaton by the Potholes

The Managing Editor of your fine newspaper, Joanna Bean, invited me to write a column or two about the old days.   Those days and I are about the same age, you see.

In fact, I knew the Gazette when it was called “The Gazette Telegraph.”  And I knew Colorado Springs when it was called “The Springs” and not “The Potholes.”  I’ve been gone for 42 years, but now I’m back for a spell.

I attended Harrison High School – home of the Panthers — where I was shaken down daily for my lunch money.  I was famous there for being the younger brother of Mark Beaton, a terrific baseball pitcher who dominated the Gazette’s sports page as thoroughly as he dominated opposing batters.  A pitching Panther, was he.  A typical Gazette sports page headline from spring of 1970 was “Beaton Strikes Out 15.”  (Look it up!)

As for me, well, Continue reading

Return Downtown to the People

Aliens visiting earth would think initially that the dominant life form on this planet has four wheels and owns two-legged slaves who feed and care for it.

In a sense, they would be right. In the developed world, we have more cars than people. People love their cars.

I love my cars too, and have owned four BMW’s to prove it. At one point, my family of four humans owned five cars (or maybe that family of five cars owned four humans).

But there’s a place for cars and a place for people. Downtown Aspen should be a place for people.

In other towns on this planet, the human slaves have revolted. Zermatt has prohibited cars Continue reading

More Fear and Loathing

Hunter S. Thompson — gonzo author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and keeper of dynamite in the basement and toxins in the refrigerator — was the last of the Aspen undomesticated types.

In my recent column, I lamented the substitute poseurs who are more interested in conventional socialism than unconventional socializing.

Indeed, as I noted, we’re now so lacking in fearsomeness and loathsomeness that the sane and sanitized readers of Travel + Leisure voted Aspen their “favorite town.” Ugh. Readers emailed me, called me and even stopped me on the street to add names to my growing list of extinct and endangered exotica. So here are a couple more:

Meet Claudine Longet. Born in Paris, this winsome woman danced in Las Vegas well before Thompson arrived. One day, she had the good fortune of her car breaking down — because her rescuer was one Andy Williams. They married a year later when she was 19.

By age 21, Continue reading

Fear and Loathing in Aspen

Hunter S. Thompson was a gritty character. He was a member of the National Rifle Association. He accidentally shot a person while attempting to scare a bear away. In his house near Woody Creek, he kept dynamite.

He never graduated from high school. He worked for Time magazine till it fired him for insubordination. He once was charged as an accessory to robbery.

His breakthrough novel was about the Hells Angels. For that, he lived with the Angels for a year till one night they beat him almost to death. He later wrote a series of deviant “Fear and Loathing” novels beginning with the classic “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”

He once said, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

Whatever you think of how he wrote (well) or lived (less well) or died (badly), say this for the guy: He was a true character.

I thought of Thompson when I saw that the buttoned-down readers of Travel + Leisure magazine recently voted Aspen their “favorite town.” What’s next? Will Aspen be Continue reading