Monthly Archives: October 2014

Political ads can be cruel

Have you noticed how much vitriol fills virtually every TV and radio commercial as a prelude to Tuesday’s midterm election? It’s everywhere. And notice how often the name of Bill Richardson, our former U.S. representative and two-term governor, is invoked.

I wonder whether such attack ads make a difference. Quite popular are those that accuse the opponent of having engaged in a secret deal that enriched that person. Otherwise, campaign managers portray the candidate as incompetent.

It must be the seedier part of human nature that makes people believe denigrating someone else elevates the status of the slanderer.

All of that makes me — and I’m sure many others — wonder whether such advertising techniques make any difference. For my part, I feel the urge to vote against any candidate who airs particularly noxious advertisements. Continue reading

Where’d we all come from?

It’s hard to imagine that the staff of Dr. Cordell Halverson’s office will ever forgive (or at least forget) my deception. Halverson, a long-time Ob/Gyn, had my wife, Bonnie, as one of his patients. His office was at Eighth and University, close to Highlands.

At the time, Bonnie was teaching school in Anton Chico. I received a call from her (in that pre-cell phone era), at my office, in Mortimer Hall, telling me she’d forgotten to deliver a certain specimen to Halverson’s office, on her way to work that morning.

Apparently, in those days, a urine specimen was used to determine whether the woman was pregnant. As I had a full morning of classes, I pondered whether I’d have time to make the delivery. We had only one vehicle at the time. Bonnie carpooled, and it was her day to drive.

I hitched a ride, and a short time later entered Halverson’s office and announced, “Bonnie forgot the specimen, so I decided to provide my own.” That caused a bit of consternation among the staff, who told me — redundantly — that my idea simply would not work. My announcement also drew scattered tee-hees. Continue reading

Can’t do without it

Necessity is the mother of invention. Or is it the other way around? Doesn’t it happen that a new gadget we’d never dreamed of suddenly becomes a necessity we can’t be without?

Let me explain:

Not a tekkie by any means, I nevertheless felt stranded, branded, abandoned and empty-handed by the cell phone I forgot to take to my meeting Monday morning. And as evidence of my non-tekkieness, I didn’t join the gadget generation until later in the game. We didn’t get our cell phone until eight years ago.

What was life like without it? I recall driving to the International Sunport to pick up my sister, Dolores. A friend told us we ought not dare leave town without a phone. She loaned us hers, a rather large contraption that fit in a packing crate that could still accommodate a pony.

Bonnie thought it was silly, two grownups taking a jaunt to Albuquerque and needing a phone. Unheard of! But yet, guess who managed to place a half dozen calls, making sure contact knew, “We’re calling from a cell phone. It’s neat!” Continue reading

And what’s so funny?

Probably for the rest of my life I will carry a certain amount of guiltfor things I thought and did in my childhood. Twelve years in a parochial school made a believer out of me.

Most of my scrapes came as the result of inappropriate laughter. Why was it permissible — and even encouraged — for elementary school kids to laugh, even to guffaw, when the teacher attempted humor, but never OK for me to try instigating some laughter on my own?

True, her humor was polished and refined; mine, banal. Our homeroom teacher at Immaculate Conception School, Sister Mary Sans L’Humour, never let a spurious giggle go unnoticed or unpunished.

And it’s the nature of the beast finally to catch the punch line to yesterday’s joke, while in church today or engaged in some other form of reverence. Continue reading

Cursive: Not what you think

It started as a pleasant but intense discussion on the future of cursive writing. But before we get into it, let me pre-sanitize all implications of the word. You see, even though I’d used it most of my life, I’d never even heard the term, until much later in life.

Disclosure: It has nothing to do with profane language; no, it’s not akin to cursing. Strange that as a person in education for a third of a century, I’d either never come across “cursive” or hadn’t been aware of it. Then when I met the woman I later married, a woman who’s taught elementary school much longer than my shorter tenure, I became familiar with “cursive,” also thinking initially it dealt with offensive language.

OK, so cursive is the writing that links letters together. Ostensibly, it was created centuries ago as a means of speeding up written communication. In theory, printing one’s words is neater: When I write my email address for others, I don’t trust my cursiveness and also always need to print the address, as I’ve lost the ability to make an “a” look different from an “o” in cursive. And the “r” and the “v” — well, let’s not discuss them. Continue reading