Monthly Archives: May 2007

Cool it on apostrophes

    Remember the Serf Theater sign, the one abandoned several years ago, with “In Her Shoes” left there, giving the impression it was one of history’s longest-running movies?
    It’s gone through several transformations, some rather clever, such as “Heros Shine” and “Oh He’s Risen.” Remember the rules: Thou who rearrangeth the sign shalt use all of the letters. Only recently, somebody took the trouble to anagrammize the west side of the sign.�
The change now reads, “3 Roses for Her. Fini.” Apparently the sign also contained the date, “31 Fri.,” which accounts for the extra letters.
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Involvement becomes meddling

A one-line item in last week’s Work of Art mentioned my plan to return to teaching in the fall. If students sign up in sufficient numbers, if we have clement weather and a stiff tail wind, I’ll be co- teaching a journalism course at Highlands to help revive the moribund college newspaper, La Mecha.

Tom McDonald, Optic publisher, will be the co-teacher and doesn’t yet know that he’ll have almost the “lion’s share” of the duties. (Remember, lions don’t share, so technically McDonald would be doing all of the work. So that’s why he’ll have almost the lion’s share.)

Rachael Ball, virtually a one-person newspaper crew, did an admirable job of putting out La Mecha this school year, under some taxing conditions. As editor, she worked hard but often lacked reliable help. McDonald and I hope to restore La Mecha, which hit the skids around the year 2000, when the journalism program got deep-sixed after my retirement.
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Let’s just raise all the grades

Winner of the 2008 Associated Press Managing Editors competition

Never never never did I have the parent of a student hassle me about a grade. That was when I taught at the college level.

Always always always was I confronted by parents who thought I’d been unfair to their child. That was at the high school level.

My sister-in-law, Donna, an elementary school teacher, envied my autonomy and my ability to do my job at Highlands without needing permission slips from parents, without notifying parents that their child had missed class, or spending half my teaching day on playground or cafeteria duty.

But what Donna warned me about, more than 20 years ago, ruined my day. “One of my former students is at Highlands now and signed up for your class,” Donna said. “And you can expect for her mom to be dropping by your office regularly.”

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Grannies were innovative back then

Recent columns appear to have had sticking power, as I still get feedback about items on home remedies, columns about the pronunciation of some Spanish names and of the ways we play with words.

At an Associated Press awards banquet last week, I met Phaedra Haywood, a Santa Fe New Mexican staffer who’d just taken a first place in feature writing for a series of articles on volunteers for a fashion makeover. Part of her beat is the village of Pecos, and she mentioned that some of the remedios — Aceite Mexicano, volcanic oil and castor oil — I’d listed in a previous column were familiar to residents of that community.

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Shortest line’s the slowest

An aphorism that for me rings truest is “The shortest line is the slowest.” I can’t think of many things in life more profound.

As one who hates keeping people waiting in line, whether in a bank, supermarket, big box or anywhere else, I sympathized with a gentleman in front of me at Wal-Mart last week who used the wrong card to charge his goods.

As soon as he realized his mistake, I sensed we were going to be there for extra innings. Whether the customer was close to being over the limit on the card, or he simply preferred to use another, we never found out. By that time, a couple of customers behind me started getting impatient. The checker, not knowing how to cancel the transaction, needed assistance from customer service and went into rush mode, which means about one step every 12 seconds.

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