Monthly Archives: April 2010

Is there an ugliness quotient?

As a way of giving back to Highlands University, my alma mater, I decided to pick up a newly minted license plate that bears the letters “HU,” with the message, “Go Cowboys” on an attractive white-on-purple field.

The plates became available this week at the local motor vehicle office, for a slightly higher fee than regular plates, Highlands receiving part of those fees. The trip to the MVD, while time-consuming, went surprisingly smoothly, considering it was also time to renew my driver’s license, which expires next month, after eight years.

The plate contains five digits, with a couple of zeroes tossed in. Theoretically, the number of digits would allow 99,999 plates to be sold without duplication or running out. My number, if you ignore a couple of zeroes, comes quite close to my current weight. But that’s a topic for a later column. Continue reading

Like a broken record

An enjoyable aspect of writing a column is talking to and learning from people. Often, as I once did with the term “church key,” I ask people younger than I (and that includes the masses) what certain words mean to them.

Usually, they can divine the meaning but seldom can explain why. For example, my three grandchildren, ages 7 through 14, know the expression to “sound like a broken record,” but they aren’t able to explain that a broken record skips, and the needle (“whatever that is, grandpa”) gets stuck in the groove (whatever groove is) and keeps repeating.

Those of us alive in the pre-CD and I-Pod generation probably still use the term. When the husband accuses the wife of sounding like a broken record, it’s because of her incessancy in reminding him to take out the trash. But when the wife applies the expression to her mate, it’s because he is emphasizing a point, not being repetitious at all. Continue reading

A midnight dive into Storrie

Back in the olden days, before Storrie Lake became a state park and when entry was free, I once took a couple of neighbor-acquaintances swimming. I call them acquaintances because they were not exactly my friends.

Without getting into the semantics of what a friend is, let me explain that they were simply young men my age whom I saw regularly but who weren’t part of my circle.

I had a car, in a manner of speaking; they didn’t. In the early ‘60s, when the Optic had a genuine weekend paper with a tabloid Sunday supplement, “Omnibus,” I’d leave work at midnight. On my way home one time, the acquaintances, Henry and Don, flagged me down as they were stepping out of one of several bars on East Lincoln, a block from my work. Continue reading

Putting on the trout

“Don’t forget ‘truchas,’” Joseph P. Santillanes yelled at me as I parked on Douglas and he crossed the street.

Was the personable candidate for San Miguel County Sheriff inviting me to have trout with him at Charlie’s Restaurant or at Dick’s?

Hardly. Santillanes was reminding me that in my frequent attacks in my columns on words we use around here I’d omitted “truchas.”

“Why don’t you write about truchas?” he asked.

It’s true: I’ve written entire columns on words like “like,” “so,” “whatever” and “sapo” but never “truchas.”

Let me explain: Continue reading