Monthly Archives: May 2012

Fjords, and Chevies too

We’re booked. In late July it’ll be our turn to fly across the Atlantic to visit our son, Stanley Adam, wife Lizbeth, and daughters Ellen, 3, and June, 5 months old.

It’s our exchange for their having flown here; they’re in Washington, D.C, visiting one of my nephews, and they were due in Albuquerque on Tuesday night, a few hours after the deadline for this column.

They’ve flown here; we’ll travel to their new home in Copenhagen, Denmark, in July, and after a week there, my wife and I will take an ocean cruise to Norway, clear up to the Arctic Circle, where we’ve never been. Continue reading

Watching eclipse with a nude eye

Two medieval beings chatted about the science of astronomy in the late 15th century.

One marvelled, “The Renaissance is just barely beginning, and soon we’re supposed to become great painters, poets, scientists and philosophers, and already, scientists know the names of most of the planets. Without having traveled into outer space, how could anyone know these things?”

Using the primitive instruments of past centuries, astronomers really must have worked hard. In this day, we marvel at the precision with which experts can predict things like the just-passed Annular Eclipse. They had it down to the minute. Continue reading

Election reaches new heights

An article in the New Yorker once told of competition among purveyors of steaks along the tollways.

My first experience with tollways — long before the Interstate network developed — was getting on the Turner Turnpike in Oklahoma, which in those days, the ‘60s, was the only way to drive across the state in less than a week.

The article stressed that wherever privately owned tollways exist, that gives states an excuse to neglect the free highways. But what impressed me the most was the number of billboards advertising quickie steaks. The first billboard promised a sizzling sirloin steak on your plate in a mere 10 minutes. Farther along, some restaurateur peddled an 8-minute, 8-ounce steak. Continue reading

The word is “tie-teh”

The rate of exchange didn’t fluctuate much for people like your resident doorman who doubles as a columnist.

The few quarters I carry in my pocket remain there, even after an exchange of pleasantries and cash as my entry fee to local businesses.

We’re referring to two things here: My habit of asking for a quarter tip when I hold the door open for someone; and the ceaseless greetings by some mendicants who ask for “spare change” of customers when they enter — and leave — restaurants.

Last week’s column covered some of the interesting people one meets by the mere act of holding the door open for them. As you may recall, I reported on a tense confrontation in Santa Fe, when I asked for a quarter and got a not-too-subtle refusal. Continue reading

Twenty-five cents, please

Sometimes I meet the most interesting people. I did Sunday at Souper Salad in Santa Fe. Let me explain.

One can usually identify me as the man who, when holding open a door for someone at a restaurant, will ask for a tip.

True, the denotation of “Twenty-five cents, please” means, of course, “Hand over the cash.” The connotation — and to me that’s what communication is mostly about — is “I’m just joking, trying to be friendly.”

When the denotation (what the expression is supposed to mean) and the connotation (what we make of the words) collide, there’s often friction.

But let’s return to Las Vegas: Continue reading