Monthly Archives: January 2010

Who was the most obese knight?

Remember the fun we had two years ago with the letters on the marquee at the off-again, off-again running of the Serf Theater?

To review: Some time after the airing of “No Country for Old Men,” the management had a showing of “In Her Shoes,” starring Cameron Diaz. It was a flick my wife Bonnie and I practically slept through. The first rule of movie-watcherdom is to have a person we can admire, whom we can identify with, but in this movie, there were none. But I’m not a movie critic, so back to the marquee.

Certain unnamed people had fun playing marquee “Boggle” with the letters. The rule was to rearrange all the letters of In Her Shoes to create a different message. Someone waited until Easter to come up with “O He’s Risen.” Others were “Heroes Shine,” “Her Hose Sin,” “She’s Heroin” and “Hi, He Snores.” Continue reading

Mortified over Mortimer Hall

As huge scoops of rock, mortar, wood and glass were loaded into waiting dump trucks yesterday, I waved goodbye.

It’s gone. Mortimer Hall, my home away from home for about 25 years — its parts being hauled off to a landfill somewhere — has been razed, with surprising speed, to make room for the new student center.

The Eighth-and-National location is perfect, but it was a mistake ever to move the old Student Union Building away from its long-time spot, across from Ilfeld Auditorium. And it was a bigger mistake to locate it in Siberia, a.k.a. Baca Avenue, across from the football field.

Because people don’t walk much anymore, the new location, Eighth and National, will be about as central as a building on campus can be. Mortimer Hall was erected in the early ‘50s and named after a local physician and Highlands regent, H.M. Mortimer. It began as a men’s dorm, then became a classroom and faculty office building. Continue reading

Polyglot or polliwog?

It’s always been fun to play with the language. Rather than being a drudge, English can be fascinating. It is to me.

Let me explain: Several years ago, I served on a committee charged with the hiring of the editor for La Mecha, Highlands’ weekly newspaper. One of the applicants was Eva, an Austrian-born woman who spoke English, Spanish, German and French. She’d been my student in several journalism courses, and naturally, I recommended her. I told the group that Eva was a polyglot.

Well, that drew umbrage from one of the student members, a man just a few years younger than I. He used a line straight from Thumper in the 1942 movie, “Bambi” — “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Continue reading

Stranded somewhere in Europe

The first installment of Work of Art, on May 1, 2003, declared that talk certainly is not cheap. In that column I mentioned paying more than $52, to listen to a woman, who spoke flawless Spanish, tell me my close relative had been detenida at a hotel in Tijuana.

The name the caller gave was Maria Trujillo, which fits both my mom and my sister. The catch is that my mother had died six months earlier and my sister had gotten married months earlier. I listened to the collect call I had agreed to pay for, but after a few minutes I said to myself, “Self, you’ve been had.”

The caller hadn’t even gotten to the important and time-consuming part: the part where she was to give me a couple of numbers to call to secure the safe release of Maria Trujillo. I didn’t wait for the woman to repeat the numbers. I hung up, and soon thereafter, bundled with my Qwest bill, was a Zero Plus charge of $13 a minute for four minutes.

Would I have had to mortgage my house and family if I had stuck around to hear those two numbers I was to call? And if I had called them, would I still be in debt? Strange how it was a common con, but it took me minutes to realize it. Continue reading