Monthly Archives: September 2007

Who has a hoarding disorder?

A recent front-page story about a resident with a hoarding disorder made its way to our Journalism Practices classroom at Highlands.

The discussion concerned a woman who collects stuff — so much stuff that the city went after her. The more salient issue was not the article itself but the term “hoarding disorder,” which few of us had heard of. Does any psychological association recognize it?

I came home that evening and asked my wife, “What to you is a hoarding disorder?”

“It’s what you’ve got,” she said.

“Please explain what you mean, My Delight.”

Continue reading

Are ‘palomitas’ really popcorn?

Evidence of a huge movement to communicate shows up at every big box. Just walk down the aisles at Wal-Mart and you’ll find dozens of shingles advertising coffee, for example, and below it will be the word in Spanish, “cafe.”

Clearly, the translation is done to accommodate our Spanish-speaking newcomers, not so much to teach us that bread is “pan.” Well, we knew that already. Yet, it’s helpful if there’s residual acquisition of one language or the other as we browse the aisles.

It’s great to know that a paloma is a dove, but the diminutive form, palomita, is popcorn, according to the store markers. And syrup isn’t miel, as I used to believe, but jarabe, which sounds more like a dance than a topping for pancakes.

I suspect much of four-decades-ago northern New Mexico was more bilingual than now. One hardly hears Spanish on the playgrounds, and even at public meetings where the topic is bilingual education, it’s in English.

Continue reading

Our stopulation explosion

It took three traffic light changes to get through a short distance from Daylight Donuts to Mills Avenue Tuesday.

Granted, it was close to 3 p.m., in time for a shift change at the hospital and the dismissal of school.

My delay was compounded by a good Samaritan just in front of me who gave two buses permission to cut ahead in line, and then scanned the territory for others who might want to do the same.

That act of charity is fine, unless you’re at the end of the line.

Continue reading

‘I better not hear about . . .’

“I better not catch him looking at my girl.” Well, aside from the fact that “I” should really be “I’d,” or “I had,” the sentence does pose a threat, the kind kids make on playgrounds, usually under the guise of wanting to protect his girl, his property, as if anyone in the school were the possession of someone else.

But let’s put this into context. The implied “better not” message apparently is that the other fellow who looks at the girl is owed a beating. But the threat doesn’t say that at all. It simply implies it would be best if the “owner” doesn’t find out about the gawking.

Simple? One of these “better not” threats came at the end of a forever-forwarded e-mail message. Titled “Strange Coincidences,” it exhorted the thousands of recipients to pass it on, chain-letter style. The e-mail provided some interesting information of the multiple Biblical references to Iraq. One of them places the Garden of Eden in Iraq, and another says, “Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization.” The e-mail also locates Noah’s Ark and the Tower of Babel in Iraq.

Continue reading