Monthly Archives: November 2012

Including the kitchen sink . . .

A comic strip I remember from my childhood showed Dagwood helping Blondie with the Thanksgiving dishes. He broke one, causing Blondie to say, “If you break one more plate, I won’t let you help me with the dishes anymore.” And a light bulb went on in Dagwood’s speech balloon.

Would a Spanish version of the same comic strip have used a slightly different word with a slightly different meaning?

Let me explain:

The other day, a friend said she was preparing to wash the Thanksgiving dishes. But she said it in Spanish, and the word for “wash” came out as “fregar.” I was expecting her to use the verb “lavar” for “wash.” Now anyone who grew up in northern New Mexico ought to know that in our parlance, “fregar” doesn’t refer to washing the dishes at all. “Fregar” means to bother, molest, pester, annoy. Continue reading

Ultima, ultimately

The first time many of us saw Rudolfo Anaya was when he spoke to Highlands students and staff in a packed Sala de Madrid, around 1972.

He had just completed his first — and in my opinion, his best — novel, “Bless Me, Ultima,” now a movie that my family and I saw at a multi-screen theater in Santa Fe last weekend.

Back in the early ‘70s, I was assigned a couple of composition classes that allowed me to teach six sections of a class called Exposition II. I chose Anaya’s new novel as the main component of the course and I get the impression the classes loved it.

Whether it’s a compliment or an indicator of limited post-Highlands reading, a few students have since told me, 40 years later, that Anaya’s book had stuck with them and remains among their favorites. Continue reading

Hey, the election’s over

I want to shout out — to total strangers if necessary — “Hey, the election’s over.” Of course, I’m viewing this political theater through the eyes of someone who’s pleased with the results.

Obama got re-elected, gaining about 125 more electoral votes than his opponent, Mitt Romney. Yet, bloggers, those who spend half their lives writing comments online, usually on Facebook, continue the assault.

Let me explain:

I believe few will disagree that this was by far the foulest, most mud-slinging election in memory, perhaps in history. Imagine grownups throwing big bucks into campaigns while enriching the media, mostly TV stations, to damn the opposition. Continue reading

You’ll get a whole dollar!

As part of a let’s-be-friendly gesture, I once asked my then-next-door neighbor, James, if he’d help me unload some lumber from my pickup.

I’d bought several pieces of wood to shore up our fence, and as I noticed him sipping Sun Tea on his porch, I sweetened the offer:

“And if you help me, I’ll give you a whole dollar.”

“A whole dollar?” James asked. “How about if I give you a whole dollar to leave me alone?” That’s how neighbors in Camp Luna get along. By the way, he did help me unload — a three-minute job — but refused my magnanimous whole dollar offer. Continue reading