This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, October 26, 1994

October 26, 1994 - Highway Trash and Arnold Schwarzenegger

I call it "LaRue's Law of Unintended Consequences:" what you study is not necessarily what you learn. For instance, since joining Rotary, I have a much greater appreciation for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Here's how it started: last Saturday morning I went out to pick up trash under the "Adopt a Highway" program. The Rotary is responsible for a patch of I-25 between Ligett Road and the Meadows turn#Doff.

I learned:

(1) I'm a little out of shape. Picking up trash is stoop labor. It started to hurt after awhile.

(2) Nonetheless, the Adopt A Highway program is a very good idea. There's a lot of trash on the highway. Some of the volunteers brought their kids, demonstrating in a very practical way that it's up to ALL of us to look after the environment. I'm told that most of the children become extremely indignant about the garbage people throw around, as if somehow it might be collected by the Trash Fairy, instead of real people. This is an important lesson.

(3) People throw a lot of strange stuff out of their cars. Some of the things you'd expect: 4 tons of cigarette butts, a gross of soft drink cartons, a platoon of straws, and about a case of beer cans and bottles. But what surprised me was all the clothing: 4 hats, 6 mismatched gloves, one shoe, two shirts, three bath towels, and, most alarming to me personally, ONE leg of a pair of corduroy pants.

(4) I am VERY out of shape. After three and a half hours of picking up trash, I made a painful drive back home, where I had to ask one of my neighbors to pick up the newspaper from the driveway for me. Then I staggered up the stairs and spent the rest of the day whimpering in bed, until the late evening when I made myself some dinner and watched "Terminator 2."

And that takes us back to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some years ago, I joined a health club, and spent three days a week "bombing" my muscles. As Arnold himself explains it in one of his books, what weight-lifting does is to stress the muscles of your body so hard that your body goes into emergency repair mode. It concentrates all its energies on building up the tissue that you have just destroyed, "reasoning" that more stress may be on the way.

I stopped weight-lifting because I finally realized that the body's blood flow can either go to your muscles or to your brain. My muscles were getting smarter, but I was losing about 30 I.Q. points per workout. This is a popular weight-lifter's cheer: "Gimme a D! Gimme a U! Gimme a H! Whaddas it spell?" Long silence.

But this does not apply to Arnold Schwarzenegger. It turns out that his entire weightlifting and film careers, not to mention his real estate dealings, his political aspirations and consequent marriage, are all part of a carefully worked out plan, conceived decades ago. And now Arnold not only has biceps the size of Pikes Peak, but he is also a top-drawing film star, a very wealthy man, and, most amazing of all, a member of the Kennedy family. In other words, he's smart.

So there you have it: how Rotary made me a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. If this has piqued your curiosity, check out some of the following books: "Arnold Schwarzenegger: No. 1 movie star in the world," by Sue Hamilton, "Arnold Schwarzenegger: larger than life," by Craig Doherty, and "Arnold: an unauthorized biography," by Wendy Leigh. All are available from the Douglas Public Library District.

I can also recommend the first "Terminator," perhaps the best science fiction movie ever made. (Terminator 2 is worth it, too, both for the effects and Linda Hamilton's stand-out performance.) They're available from your local video store.

Finally, do pick up after yourself on the highway, ok? Even when it's painful, it's the smart thing to do.

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