Monthly Archives: June 2011

Let’s all give 110 percent

They came to play. Well, what else would they have come for, to show off their needlepoint collection? To exchange recipes?

My addiction to professional sports is limited to watching the Boston Celtics in basketball, the Oakland Raiders in football and whoever is playing in the world series.

During the time I’ve fed this addiction, I’ve acquired quite an arsenal of sports clichés, metaphors that describe things that are not.

But first, a mini-English lesson:

A metaphor, as my English teacher used to say, “is an impossible comparison.” Calling a man a tiger or a woman a cougar is using a metaphor. If you say they merely act like tigers and cougars, well, you’re using a simile. But that’s a topic for another column.

Unfortunately, too many people think of sports as real life, and the clichés that sportscasters and sportswriters conjure up make the creators seem as if sports were all that mattered. And to some it is.

In an old episode of “Alice,” a sit-com starring Polly Holiday as Flo and Linda Lavin as Alice, their boss, diner-owner Mel, asked an orchestra leader if he would play, “Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goalpost of life.” Continue reading

Lawn belched, gave thanks

Going to the plant south of town, on my first trip for a water haul, I counted 18 vehicles, going for or having gotten, a load of effluent water.

My grandson and namesake, thrilled over his brand-new learner’s permit, took the wheel, while my wife, Bonnie, and I went along for the ride. Arthur’s father recently purchased a 275-gallon container, which surprisingly took only about a minute to fill. We saw pickups the size of ours, some with trailers, as well as huge tankers.

The water-distribution enterprise appears to have caught on, and one session of soaking our own used-to-be lawn convinces me it’s hard work. We drained the tank by gravity — no fancy pump to help out. Regardless, our patch of God’s Little Acre belched and uttered a dry, wry “Thank you.”

Being in the water-hauling business is expensive. A round trip to the treatment plant consumes gas and time, and people I’ve talked to mention having to rush just to make four deliveries a day. Unless someone’s willing to pay big bucks for a load of water, it seems highly unlikely anyone’s making a lot of money by delivering it. Continue reading

This water is not pottable

Even a close member of my family struggles with the potable/pottable issue. Which is it?

You’ve perhaps read about the almost-give-away prices of effluent water in the city. If you’re among the purchasers of recycled water, you’ve seen and been a part of a small army of vehicles that line up at the treatment plant south of town to buy 1,000 gallons of used water for $1.25.

Sounds like a great deal, but one wonders whether anyone but a tanker owner could ever load up on the full amount that a buck-twenty-five buys. Likely, some of the people driving pickups, ask the providers, “Do you mind if I come back for the rest of the water later?” The current bargain-basement water rate translates to a quarter for 200 gallons, a nickel for 40 gallons and a penny for eight gallons. Continue reading

Let’s do the Jeffersonian Rock

My favorite dance — there can be no doubt — is the Elevator Dance. It has no steps. And the second favorite, a bit more complicated, is the Y- Dance. The idea here is to escort an attractive woman to the middle of the dance floor, put your arms around her and … Y Dance?

Any attempt at fancy footwork on my part might lead to an appearance on Dancing to the Stares, as my tripping would be more fantastic than light.

Let me explain:

A smart-alecky guy from Gallup High School cured me of ever even imagining I could dance. Back in 1962, I was doing a photo shoot of Vivian Arvizo, who had just been chosen Miss Indian America. The Gallup native, then a student at Colorado College, was back in town for a parade and banquet in her honor.

We hit it off so well that I invited her to a company picnic for the newspaper I worked for. The next day she reciprocated by inviting me to the banquet. “There’ll be dancing, which I’m sure you’re good at,” Vivian said. I explained I was a lousy dancer, couldn’t jitterbug, and sometimes even lost count with the two-step. Her reply, “Then we can learn together.” Continue reading

Fonazo on el treadmill

Trinidad Martinez, mentioned in this space a while back, took on ethnographic research for a linguistics class he took a few years ago when Prof. Carol Scates chaired the Highlands University English Department.

A native of nearby Peñasco, Martinez came up with an impressive list of words which we Spanish speakers in northern New Mexico have adopted. Surely, anyone familiar with the Spanish language has come across any number of words that we’ve somehow made fit.

For the most part, Martinez, a retired elementary school teacher, chose verbs; accordingly, for many it became a simple matter to add an -r-type ending to English verbs and thus adopt. Spanish verbs are easy to identify: the telltale “ar,” “er” or “ir” at the end helps, as in words like “pagar” (to pay), “comer” (to eat) “vivir” (to live). Is there anything in the English language that comes even close to providing the identities of verbs? “Eat,” “live” and “pay,” except for being short, common verbs, provide no clue that they’re even verbs. Continue reading