Is AARP a Scam?

I was employed at the national headquarters of AARP in Washington, DC from 1995 through 2006 in their communications and outreach operations. These views and opinions that I express here are mine alone and do not necessarily align with the views and opinions of AARP.

The very short history of how AARP got started is this:

In Los Angeles during the 1950s, the first female high school principal (Ethel Percy Andrus) during her retirement formed an organization (the National Retired Teachers Association) to help make it possible for teachers to buy life insurance by spreading the risk of insurance payouts to a large pool of people.

That risk pool approach generated a lot of revenue from the sales of life insurance to teachers. An affiliated organization known as the American Association of Retired Persons was formed to make possible the sales of life insurance beyond teachers. That is how the abbreviation AARP came to be.

What is AARP today?

Over the decades, AARP became much more than an organization to make possible life insurance sales. Andrus became known as an elder rights activist. She ultimately established AARP in the District of Columbia half-way between the White House and Congress to focus upon lobbying of the executive and legislative branches in elder rights issues. What had once been an insurance sales operation morphed into national advocacy on behalf of the quality of life for elder citizens.

The primary reason why some consider AARP lacks credibility and is therefore deemed to be a “scam” is the simple adherence to partisan politics. While AARP members (people over 50) are said to split more or less equally into three groups—independents, Democrats, and Republicans, the people who manage and work at AARP tend to support federal approaches for elder citizens that typically have been favored and supported by the Democratic Party.

It was Democrat Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd US president, who signed the federal Social Security program into law back in 1935. From the days of FDR to today, Republicans consistently have opposed Social Security in particular and any federal government support for caring for elder citizens. Republican George W. Bush, the 43rd US president, in 2003 signed into law changes in the federal Medicare program to pay for prescription drugs for elder citizens, which AARP supported. That challenged one traditional partisan political view that only the Democratic Party cares about elder citizens.

If you can free your mind from partisan political filters you will be able to evaluate AARP clearly and accurately.

Your Career Choice Can Ruin You Financially

Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be DJs or journalism majors. Your kids will soon after choosing to be in radio or television or journalism become dead broke and they will come begging for you as parents to let them move back in with you. Stop them before they make a terrible career mistake!

You probably have at least heard of Kiplinger, a publisher located in Washington, DC that provides business forecasts and personal finance advice. Perhaps you’ve read their content online. It is worth noting that this company has survived since 1920. I think Kiplinger deserves your trust and confidence when it comes to forecasting financial issues for you, personally, and for business entities in general.

I just read a 2017 Kiplinger analysis entitled “10 Worst Jobs for the Future.”

Kiplinger is warning young people at the start of their career to steer clear of the radio and television industries. This comes as number 5 of 12 such warnings worth knowing about.

A projected decline of 10% (ten percent) in available jobs up through the year 2026 is forecast. The median annual salary of $32,283 is cited for radio and television announcers in the Kiplinger analysis.

A far worse fate than suffering through the indignities of that very low salary level you can expect is this Kiplinger explanation as to why you should steer clear of such careers in the first place:

“More radio disc jockeys, talk show hosts and podcasters are under threat of being silenced. Consolidation of radio and television stations, as well as the increased use of syndicated programming, limit the need for these kinds of workers. Plus, streaming music services offer fierce competition to radio stations and their workers. On the upside, online radio stations may provide new opportunities for announcers. If you’re committed to this career track, consider addressing even smaller audiences and becoming a party DJ or emcee. These other types of announcers make up a small field of just 17,326 workers currently, but are expected to grow their ranks 6.0% by 2026. They typically earn slightly less with a median $32,177 a year, but only require a high school diploma to get started.”

Why I’m writing this commentary needs to be explained clearly to you right now: I chose to seek a career on the air in radio back in the year 1970 when I was not yet old enough legally to buy alcohol. More of less four years later I was let go from that amazingly thrilling gig in the Los Angeles radio market, which the second-largest in the United States. I just was not sufficiently talented for an on-air career in the radio industry in Los Angeles. That stunning E-Ticket ride in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard was fast, unpredictable, and, entirely too short.

After I was not talented enough to keep a radio job in the Los Angeles market, I tried to work (part time) in the dead-end markets in both Eureka, California and Bloomington, Indiana. Working in both of those markets proved to be exceedingly depressing compared to working in the Los Angeles market.

My dear friend Evan Haning wrote in 2011 for the Foreword to my book KHJ, Los Angeles: Boss Radio Forever that the profession has disappeared. That was 6 years ago.

Evan Haning always was a man ahead of his time. And, Evan Haning is the ONLY person I knew personally who made it on the air in radio over the long stretch. Compared to me only being on the air in Hollywood at some rock and roll station for a very short while, Evan Haning, who started on the air in the dreaded San Luis Obispo, California radio market, made it from a success in the Los Angeles radio to the crucial Washington, DC radio market and he did so within the cut-throat all-news radio business there. He is one of the few living radio heroes I have.

Pay careful attention to my commentary here: It makes sense for you NOT to go after a profession that is already gone from our culture. I urge you NOT to pursue a career in the radio or television industries. I believe what Kiplinger is saying. So, should you.

You may want to go get a bachelor’s degree like I did in Journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. But, do not for one minute believe that being on the air at KCPR radio at Cal Poly actually will prepare you to make a living in a career on the air elsewhere. Read about my own KCPR radio at Cal Poly experiences as a possible guide to what may happen to you if you go that route.

Remember that ANY bachelor’s degree anywhere will do the basic minimum—train you to learn how to use your mind effectively. Just do not expect a financial payback for all the dollars that you or your parents invest in your undergraduate education if you choose a major such as journalism that is declining in job prospects. You will need more than merely a bachelor’s degree. You will need a top-notch graduate degree or two from highly-reputable universities that are expensive and not at all easy to get into.

Ironically, now in the wake of President Donald Trump’s claims about so-called “fake news,” which is a false claim that does not stand up to the test of reason, skilled and talented journalists are needed perhaps more than ever before. But, the reality is this: Skills can be taught during an undergraduate or graduate degree program, yes. Getting a bachelor’s degree in journalism won’t give you talent that you don’t already have within you. And seeking a career on the air on radio or television may just ruin you financially even if you go the extra distance to get graduate degrees. You don’t want to beg mommy and daddy to let you move back in with them after you are 30. Mommy will do your laundry. Daddy will curse you under his breath while he gets loaded on adult beverages at the dinner table. And, while your rent will be free, you will end up not being able to look yourself in the mirror for the rest of your life.

These are my opinions. Your mileage may vary.

The Show Must Go On

What would it feel like to be a stand-up comic who was scheduled to perform in San Francisco the night after Robin Williams was gone? San Francisco’s KCBS radio covered this angle of the larger story concerning the suicide of the beloved actor and comedian. My partner, Sam Glass, and I happened to have August 11 tickets to see actor Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O’Brien on Fox broadcasting’s 24) perform at the Punch Line—San Francisco’s oldest running comedy club. The club’s announcer called for a moment of silence in memory of Robin Williams at the start of the evening’s performances. But, that night belonged to laughter, not sadness.

Innocent Schoolboy No More

The date November 22 became infamous 50 years ago when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. I remember the panic that spread like wildfire that Friday morning through the elementary school I was attending.

There was an awful lot of crying, and not just by us schoolchildren. Seeing so many adults weeping freely and openly without shame was very unsettling to me. I never forgot the feeling that something so overwhelming in real life had trapped me in shock and terror far deeper than any book or movie I had ever experienced.

And yes, for me and countless other young people, what we experienced in late November 1963 brought about a sudden end to our childhood innocence. I was just 13. There was no way I could remain sweetly innocent after I watched Lee Harvey Oswald shot dead on live television that weekend.

More importantly, there was no way I was going to continue believing what grownups had taught me. Many adults from my parents to my teachers had taught me that American society should be considered civilized and sane. After JFK died, I started thinking for myself and seeking my own answers in this life. I lost faith in grownups as far as providing answers that I could believe.

The process of my maturing into an adult suddenly accelerated just five years later. At age 18 I became a volunteer in the doomed 1968 presidential campaign of Senator Robert Kennedy. This second Kennedy assassination hurt me far more deeply than the first.

It is no exaggeration that the death of RFK ripped away my hope for humanity.

I was raised within the Roman Catholic faith and education system to believe grownups who insisted that human society should be considered civilized and sane. Now I know better, but I certainly cannot disregard those very soothing and comforting feelings of schoolboy innocence.

Mission High Memories

What was then known as Mission Central Catholic High School in San Luis Obispo holds a special significance for many of us today. We survived high school during the turbulent Sixties and lived to tell.

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We were young and restless and believed that we would grow up to become the leaders of tomorrow. Look back at a time long ago in a place far, far away. It’s difficult to believe (for me at least) that the year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of our graduating from Mission High School.

Birthday Commentary

A few months ago I updated my commentary entitled “Should I Stay or Should I Go” — a title from that song from the 1980s by the English punk rock group The Clash. Here is update on the occasion of my birthday, June 29, about how to stand out.

It is good to reflect upon your life at least once a year. Doing so on your birthday makes good sense in my humble opinion.

As I reflect on this day, I realize how far I have come in my life. Literally and figuratively. I relocated from Phoenix, Arizona in 1995 to take a Washington, DC executive speechwriting career job. I am one of those people who loves living in the Desert Southwest, but the career employment opportunity in DC had to become my main priority.

Relocating from the desert to DC was one of those famous Life Changing Experiences, to say the least. I believe that there is very little that DC shares in common with life in the western deserts of the United States. For me, living in the desert developed a deep and enduring bond between myself and the physical environment. The simplest way to explain this is to say that I created a spiritual connection with the earth while living in the desert.

After the Great Recession hit in 2007, although I could continue to make a living in the DC market, I started feeling as though my life path needed to take me back to the Desert Southwest. My answer to the “Should I Stay or Should I Go” question was to stay in DC. During August 2012, however, I answered “Should I Go” with a clear “yes!” and I chose to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada.

At this point in time, I have lived in Las Vegas almost one full year. This week in Las Vegas, we are experiencing record high temperatures. When the hot winds hit your face, you learn to take it or you will keep wondering why anyone would choose to live here in the Mojave Desert.

Las Vegas is internationally famous for being a place where you can escape for fun and relaxation. That is as true today as it has been since 1906 when the railroad came to Las Vegas and enabled casinos and hotels to exist here as viable businesses.

But, living in Las Vegas permanently as a local is a whole different experience compared to visiting Las Vegas for just a few days of fun and relaxation as a visitor. From experience, I would suggest that if you choose to relocate to Las Vegas as I did, choose also like I did to relocate here during any month when the temperatures are at their highest. Why? If you relocate to Las Vegas when the weather is cool, doing so will create a very false sense of reality for you regarding how punishing the physical environment can be here in the Mojave Desert. When you experience a high temperature of 120, you will know rather quickly if you are going to be able to survive living here.

Life as a local in Las Vegas has many advantages that cannot be matched or exceeded anywhere else in the United States. Among these advantages are a highly favorable tax environment, a clear and consistent welcoming and encouragement by municipal and state governments towards entrepreneurs, low-cost entertainment of the highest quality, low-cost dining out opportunities of the highest quality, and, overall genuine friendliness of the locals. Vacationing here and attending conventions here is a terrific experience, too.

Infamously, many people move to Las Vegas and then leave within about 30 days. The reasons for their exodus are numerous and personal. You can find part of an answer why many never make it past 30 days here if you consider some of the disadvantages (excluding the famous daily 90+ temperatures during many months of every year) of life as a local in Las Vegas.

Other than the threat of heat-related physical injuries, there can be flash flooding caused by rare thunderstorms. I experienced two successive flash flooding incidents during 2012 and 2013. On the plus side, there are not likely going to be tornadoes or hurricanes here, however, like elsewhere in the United States. Nor are you going to suffer under several feet of snow.

Throughout the Las Vegas Valley there persists the old-fashioned 1960s emphasis upon single passenger vehicles. This unavoidable reality directly results in routine traffic congestion and extraordinarily inconvenient and frustrating parking. Alternatives to this outmoded single passenger vehicle way of transportation are beginning to establish a foothold here in Las Vegas. Pun intended.

Some locals you may encounter in the Las Vegas Valley choose to play by their own rules of public behavior that exist outside the typical bounds of polite society. I cannot go into detail about this without sharing anecdotes that easily would earn an “R” rating.

At the same time, this is a welcoming place. I quickly became involved on the board of directors of the Las Vegas chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). I am a serious advocate for everyone who is in the communications fields to join your local IABC chapter and get as actively involved as you possibly can. IABC is a fantastic networking opportunity for communications people. Everyone I have met within IABC Las Vegas have been genuine and welcoming towards me.

In conclusion, only you can answer your own “Should I Stay or Should I Go” question. If you are like me, you may discover after weighing all the factors that choosing to stay where you are is not the best for your career. But, know that choosing to go is very difficult. You should expect emotional and financial challenges.

But, if you are like me, you may discover that augmenting your personal brand requires you to move your life and your career to some other place than where you are right now. I’m convinced that one’s personal brand may need such a reboot or restart from time to time. I urge you to face this kind of life change bravely and with determination all the while knowing that there will be experiences in this journey that are not fun. I’m confident that you, like me, will emerge at the new location a stronger person than you were before your move.

Create Your Own Reality

Throughout Western culture in literature, song, movies and other artifacts there is a common meaning to be found: Each person has the capability of creating their own reality. Tapping into this ancient wisdom can save your life and reinvent who you are.

A very recent echoing of this wisdom came from Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO at GE. Read his simple, yet profound message to a graduating class of college students to see what I mean.

Immelt’s core message is powerful and merits requoting here: “We can’t wait for the economy to stabilize. We can’t wait for a time when there is more certainty. It used to be that you only had to manage momentum. Today, you have to create your own future.”

I’m not sure how I came to be someone who embraces that kind of viewpoint about life. I just do embrace it. Wholeheartedly.

I have been reinventing who I am for many years. Long before I ever heard of the word reinvention, I was doing it in my own life.

That is partly why I write commentaries here on this website. My goal is to share with you what I have discovered to be true. I hope your life can benefit from the lessons I have learned.

Achieving Courage and Competence

Even if we do not live and work in Boston, we all were impacted this past week by life-changing events that happened there. Many lessons can be learned from what happened to help us stand out from everyone else.

Because I lived and worked in the Boston media market years ago, I will always feel a deep connection to Boston and to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Like many other Americans, this week I was horrified to watch the media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent hunt for the men who chose to kill and injure innocents on Patriot’s Day.

It is easy to think that there are no lessons to be learned from what happened this past week in Boston in the context of trying to stand out in your professional life and with your personal brand. If you think that, you are wrong.

Readers of my online column on Ned Lundquist’s Job of the Week website know by now that to stand out is to choose to be unique in positive ways while deliberately working smart towards separating yourself in meaningful ways from your professional competitors.

I saw a commentary on CBS News about two traits that were vividly demonstrated in Boston this past week in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. I want to share that commentary with you because of my humble opinion that the two traits mentioned on CBS News can be applied to any one of us who wants to stand out from our professional competitors.

The two traits and competence and courage. I agree with the commentator that these traits are rare today. But, to have competence and courage is a choice. There’s still time in your life to achieve both of these crucial traits if you expect to stand out. Achieving these traits won’t happen by accident. You must be deliberate. You must choose to have these traits actively and with forethought.

Enough context setting; now I encourage you to follow this link to the CBS News commentary to learn more.

Get Rid of the Hookers

I worked for one of the so-called Beltway Bandits in the Washington, DC media market. These are companies that provide services to the United States government. Your taxpayer dollars go to these companies, which is why some consider them to be stealing your money. One humorous and unforgettable experience was when the client, an agency within the United States military, wanted to use social media outreach for cause marketing. The client approved a campaign presence using Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Somehow, Twitter was misunderstood by the female project manager, who, like me, was an employee of the consulting company (not the federal government.)
She was unfamiliar with (and I think fearful of) what would happen if the consulting company set up a Twitter account for an agency of the US military.

With Twitter, you choose whom you want to follow. One essential trait of Twitter is a social outcome. When you choose to follow someone on Twitter, the accepted behavior is for them to reciprocate and choose to follow you.

I am happy to report that by working smart to choose to follow particular Twitter accounts which had large numbers of followers, I was able to boost the number of Twitter followers for the military client so that we hit the one thousand mark within the first four months using Twitter. It is easier to have a Twitter account and just let the organic process work in which people choose to follow you on Twitter or not. But, that approach will not allow you to hit one thousand followers in your first four months using Twitter like I accomplished for the military client.

This social transaction process on Twitter is very different from what happens when you set up a website. A website can be an entirely passive product on the Internet. Visitors can choose to visit your website or not. One of the essential drawbacks of setting up a website is that there are so many sites available online nowadays that yours can easily get lost in the crowd unless you spend considerable time and effort to promote the site. In contrast, Twitter accounts are specifically social in that you set up a Twitter account because you want to reach out to other people in a highly interactive way.

I wonder what is the point in setting up a Twitter account if you then do not work on your engagement of other Twitter users so that you generate a high number of Twitter followers? Also, what is the point if one does not interact with other Twitter users in the tweets, themselves? I believe that Twitter should not be used by people who only want to post mundane things like what their cat did that was so cute this morning. Nor should Twitter be used unless one is ready and willing to jump in and interact with other Twitter users. Others may disagree with me about that.

If you are an individual and you set up a Twitter account, you probably won’t concern yourself with who chooses to follow your tweets. But, if you set up a Twitter account for a US government client, should your thinking be different because you are representing someone other than yourself? If you set up a Twitter account for a military client, should you be concerned with managing who chooses to follow your military client’s presence on Twitter?

Spammers (those who send out unsolicited messages to make money from selling products or services) are able to thrive by using the Internet. Each new online tool is quickly accepted by spammers who are happy to have additional ways to have their messages seen by millions of Internet users. Spammers took to Twitter quite readily. Some spammers use Twitter to conceal their true identities while pushing out messages that attempt to sell products and services. Other spammers are open about their efforts to sell stuff and it is not difficult to find Twitter users whose purpose of being on Twitter is to sell sexually-oriented services or products. This is just one of the realities of today’s Social Media.

Should you concern yourself with sexually-oriented Twitter followers? If you have an individual Twitter account just for your own personal use, you really are totally free to decide that on your own. But, what if you set up a Twitter account for a government and/or military client? Should you allow sexually-oriented Twitter followers on your client’s Twitter account, or, should you use the built-in Twitter capability of blocking followers? These are not hypothetical issues.

During the first few months after I set up a Twitter account for the military campaign’s outreach, it didn’t take long before there were Twitter followers of an obvious sexual nature. Some Twitter followers during the initial months posted a profile picture with nudity. Other Twitter followers posted a profile picture with drug-related imagery such as a marijuana leaf.

The female project manager grew very angry with me when she saw these profile pictures on Twitter. I will never forget her raising her voice to me and saying in an unpleasant tone, “Woody, get rid of the hookers!”

One argument today is that there is no negative impact upon either you or your client if Twitter followers have either a profile picture or a Twitter username that seems controversial. The Internet is wide open. You will find that there are varying degrees of openness across the Internet and acceptance of controversial images or words. Unless one has signed up for a Twitter account, it is not possible to see who is following whom on Twitter.

It may be best to think of Twitter usage this way: If you sign up to use Twitter, you implicitly are accepting the rules of the road that some followers may come along that you would prefer not to have around. But, it is definitely true that there currently is no global consensus as to what is considered controversial online versus what is not. The standard–if there is one–as to what is controversial or undesirable may also be in continuous flux. I think that there may come a day when vetting your Twitter followers will be considered outmoded. Perhaps the desirability of vetting Twitter followers is one of those many things whose value exists primarily in the eye of the beholder?

Is a Degree in Journalism Useless?

A controversial online report from The Daily Beast suggests that some majors, such as journalism, are “useless.”

One working journalist disagreed in a well-written statement worth reading.

I take issue with the label of “useless” in referring to majoring in journalism, not just because I majored in journalism. Truth and beauty and what is “useless” are all things that are strictly in the eye of the beholder. A long time ago, one Star Trek episode from the original series wanted us to ask, “Is truth not truth for all?” Wise is the person who understands the correct answer to that question is “No!”

I feel that I was fortunate to have studied journalism in a polytechnic environment. That’s an unusual word that basically describes an institution of learning that offers students instruction and hands-on training in industry-specific and technical skills in an applied sciences format. So it is that I became biased in favor of a polytechnic institution. If you major in journalism specifically at a venue where you can learn industry-specific, technical skills in an applied sciences format, your major will NOT be “useless” when you graduate.

Why? The elusive truth is that your major is not as important as what you can do with it after you are no longer a university student. What you study is less important that whether you emerge from a university with new skills that allow you to use your mind effectively so that you behave in ways that will help you survive in the 21st century.

I believe very strongly that anyone who has learned how to use their mind effectively so they can behave in ways conducive to survival will NEVER conclude their journalism major is “useless” based on the current employment possibilities within various journalistic professions or the typical annual salaries that people earn. A university degree is no guarantee of happiness or success in personal or professional life. But if you attain a polytechnic education, your mind will be trained in an essential combination of technical and intellectual skills that can shape how you process life in your head.

Part of that skill of using your mind effectively so that you behave in ways conducive to survival is that you must learn how to be adaptable. Equally important is that you must learn genuinely how to welcome change all around you and embrace change in your professional life. This is true whether your major is journalism or something else. The trick is to learn technical abilities that you can then repurpose to new technology as it emerges. At the same time, your intellectual skills (such as how you seek information and how you process what you find) must be fluid so that how your mind works is never outmoded as society keeps changing.

I speak from experience: I graduated with an undergraduate degree in journalism before there were personal computers or cameras that don’t use film or voice recorders that don’t use tape or the Internet or blogging or Facebook or Google Drive. Somehow I survived decade after decade of tumultuous changes in technology and in the journalism profession. You can, too. The only thing that can make your journalism major “useless” is if you somehow do not learn how to use your mind effectively so that you can behave in ways conducive to your survival.

We Have No Secrets

Sometimes I like to annoy non-Boomers by quoting song lyrics written by from singer/songwriter Carly Simon. Usually, the annoyance fades especially when I am sharing especially profound Carly Simon lyrics that transcend generations.

Certainly one of the most profound of all the many, many lyrics written by Carly Simon is “We Have No Secrets” from 1972. In this poignant poem set to an irresistible melody, she warns of the sweet perils of being too honest in life.

I think that members of the younger generations who post on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and whatever other social media channels today need to memorize the entire lyrics from “We Have No Secrets” and maybe even learn the entire song to sing it themselves quietly and softly while they spend so much time online.
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Brighter Future Possible for Cal Poly Journalism Department

During September 2010 I posted a commentary online that was reposted elsewhere.

What I wrote was a strong expression of the anger that I felt about troubles within the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Journalism Department.

I could not understand how a once vibrant Cal Poly Journalism Department that shaped my professional career in the 1970s could look like a train wreck in the 2000s. I am not the only alum who came to believe that the widely publicized bickering among faculty members was the root cause of the descent of the Cal Poly Journalism Department. Ironic how the department that teaches public relations could let faculty bickering spiral out of control into a major public relations disaster.

That was why I posted my recommendation online in 2010 that Cal Poly alumni should withhold financial support for the Journalism Department. As someone who has earned a doctoral degree and has worked full-time with numerous faculty members at several academic institutions, I know that faculty bickering is a 100% preventable condition.

But, I accept that the past belongs in the past. Today I am convinced that a professional focus upon rebuilding the reputation of the Journalism Department and earning accreditation is the only way to go.

As 2011 begins, I am encouraged that Linda Halisky, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and Harvey Levenson, interim chair of the Journalism Department, have been working to craft many tangible changes designed to improve the management, operations and reputation of the Cal Poly Journalism Department.

From all I have seen, I sincerely feel that the work begun by Halisky and Levenson deserves a closer look by all who care about Cal Poly. I believe now is especially a time of need for Cal Poly Journalism alumni to support–both financially and professionally–the reform efforts of Halisky and Levenson.

Lessons from the Hoover Dam Bypass

Hoover Dam Bypass

Lessons from the Hoover Dam Bypass.

A new bridge connecting the states of Arizona and Nevada over the Colorado River recently was opened to the public. Since the great Hoover Dam was built a generation ago, there was a curving two-lane highway that crossed right over the dam, itself. After 9/11, concerns grew that terrorists could easily blow up the dam and release tons of water to destroy everything downstream below Lake Mead to the Gulf of California. Out of an abundance of caution, the idea for this new crossing over the Colorado River was born.

Sam and I made the trip on the old Highway 93 crossing back in the Summer of 2006 while on a day trip to the Grand Canyon. When I lived in that area a decade ago, I became very familiar with the long desert drives spanning lonely highways in Northern Arizona on the way to Las Vegas. This new shortcut is something I cannot wait to see in person.