Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jim McPhee found alive

The best possible news is that Jim showed up last night on a stranger's doorstep in his hometown, disoriented but physically OK and asking for help. The police took him to a hospital. He seems to have been suffering from a short-term brain disorder and has no memory of the 16 days he was missing.

His family is, of course, relieved beyond measure and very appreciative of all the positive efforts, good vibes and prayers that have been made on his behalf.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jim McPhee Is Missing

It may seem strange that my second post is about something that doesn't have to do with the book.

But it is definitely weird, it happened in Colorado, and I have to do my part to publicize it.

Jim McPhee is the husband of my husband's cousin. A week ago today, Jim was running some errands. His last known activity was a trip to the public library to turn in some DVDs. He and his car have not been seen since.

Jim is 34, the husband of Jessica, father of two small children, one of them a 2-month-old infant. He has a steady job as a school bus driver that he very much enjoys. He's a sharp, intelligent, humorous, decent guy.

He did not discuss doing any travel in the near future. His passport is still at home. There is no activity shown on his bank account. He did not take so much as a sweater with him. He has no cell phone, and no GPS device in his car. He has no history of mental health problems, criminal activity, addictions, or known enemies.

The local police have opened an investigation. The story of Jim's disappearance, with a photo, is here:

Jim is a white man, about 160 lbs. and 5'8," with short brown hair receding at the temples and a short reddish beard with a goatee. He has green eyes, a panther tattoo on his upper left arm, and a British accent.

He drives a black minivan, a 1998 Chrysler Town & Country, Colorado license plate number 523NZX.

Anyone with information can contact Boulder, Colorado, police at 303-441-3333 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Tips also can also be submitted to the Crime Stoppers web site at

His family desperately misses Jim. Your positive thoughts, good vibes and prayers for his safe return will be much appreciated.

Why This Blog

I began writing a book called "Weird Colorado" at the beginning of 2008. It's been a long, strange, fiercely funny journey shared with my indulgent husband -- who responds with love and intelligence, if not enthusiasm.

Then I started sharing my adventures in weirdness with a wider audience. It turned out that people liked to hear about my adventures collecting the stories as much as they enjoyed the actual stories.

"You should write a book about that!" they often said. Hence, this blog.

To a freelancer slogging along in rather lonely independence, positive feedback is as welcome as plankton to a hungry whale.

I hope to keep that plankton a-comin' while I press on toward the final three chapters of "Weird Colorado" and my end-of-year deadline for final submission. It will also help keep my experiences fresh and my observations useful even as the pressure of Things That Must Get Done threaten to crowd them out of my personal memory chip.

Just as importantly, I'm hoping this blog will encourage others to share their stories and knowledge of a colorful and quirky Colorado. There is a rich vein of lore hidden under the surface of what has already been published about Colorado online and in print. All the many wonderful historians before me have not completely worked out this mine. There is so much left I can't mine it alone.

If you're not familiar with Barnes & Noble's "Weird U.S." series of fine, hardback books, please take a look at the various volumes listed on the B&N web site, or at The flagship book, "Weird New Jersey" was written by Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman.

The Mark lads now have a web site, Weird NJ (also Weird U.S.), listed under Links You Shouldn't Miss. They also do an occasional show called "Weird U.S." on the Travel Channel, and videos on YouTube.

If you enjoy reading about the odder aspects of history, fascinating legends, strange customs, hilarious happenings, colorful characters, interesting places and all kinds of high strangeness and Fortean stuff, then please check out "Weird U.S." and support this blog with your encouragement and suggestions.