Monthly Archives: July 2010

Where’s the beef? Not in tacos

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Anyone who’s been around long enough for a green-and-red chile (notice the word ends in an “e,” not an “i”) inauguration knows the beneficial effects of eating it. It can cure gout, asthma, the common cold, rheumatism, depression, indigestion and a bad attitude.

True, we all know the best places in town to find it, but it seems none of the dozens of restaurants that prepare chile know how to classify it. It’s not really Mexican food. Go to Mexico City and try to order enchiladas, tamales and refritos and you get a blank stare.

So it is Spanish food? No, their national dish is paella, a fish-rice-snails concoction. But the same probably goes for other favorites of other countries. Try ordering pizza in Rome. Maybe we need a term that includes “southwestern food” or Rio Grande-style food. Continue reading

Raiders tag had no effect

The signs at both entrances at the erstwhile Celebrity Sports Center in Denver made it clear: No Oakland Raider paraphernalia.

Did the center management ban caps and jerseys touting the San Diego Chargers or Seattle Seahawks, at the time rivals of the Denver Broncos?

Now I say “erstwhile” because it used to be called “Celebrity,” and as I recall, traded that word for “Family,” and now, who knows? The massive entertainment center on Colorado Boulevard might not even exist anymore, but the sentiment still wafts.

Let me explain:

The center was a draw for families. When my three sons were younger — long before the “chip” made everything computerized — we’d drive to Denver twice a year, where all of us (except my wife Bonnie, who’d spend her time reading some Victorian novel), would break loose. We’d score higher than Obama on any of the 40 bowling lanes. But most of all, we liked the hands-on feel of holding a real basketball or tossing a series of wooden balls down a small lane in a game called “Ski-Bowl.” Continue reading

Why protest a spelling bee?

For the third time in my career, I’ve participated in a spelling bee, but no, not as a participant (my eighth-grade classmate, Ermalinda, beat me, and others, out).

Once, while I was still teaching, Betty Leger and George Fidel invited me to be a pronouncer at West Las Vegas High School. Later, I served as a judge at the Baha’i School in Manuelitas.

Most recently, I was one of four pronouncers for the Colfax County Spelling Bee, in Raton, a couple of months ago. As Raton’s Bob Stewart, coordinator of the event thanked me for my services and asked if I’d be willing to do it again, I thanked him, the experience being so enjoyable.

Without reciting the entire lexicon of rules (and it would take a giant database to store all of them), let me stress that the rules cover every possible occasion. “But what if a student begins to spell a word, backs up to correct it and…,” I was tempted to ask, but before I could, Stewart cited chapter and verse for each conceivable situation. Continue reading

A melon collie tail

What are the chances? There are about a third of a billion people in the U.S., and two of us see the same person — a stranger — twice, though we’re hundreds of miles away?

That’s too much of a coincidence, but stay with me and help me unravel this sighting matter.

A while back, on the first Rail Runner trip for most of us, my family and I drove to Santa Fe’s South Capital Station to board the train for Albuquerque. There, I saw a man I swore had donned a half cantaloupe as a way of keeping cool.

The tam, sans brim, simply sat roundly on the elderly man’s head. It had the texture and color of a melon; it’s as if he cut a large melon in two, scooped out the guts and placed the remains of the half sphere atop his head. Naturally, I didn’t hesitate to photograph him; I figured that anyone who chooses to dress like that couldn’t claim invasion of privacy. So I clicked away. Continue reading