Monthly Archives: September 2015

‘Nobody ever told me’

Occasionally in the news we come across an item that requires a re-read. Did I get that right? we ask.

A week ago there was an item in the Albuquerque Journal about a man — James Roger Madalena — the second-longest-serving member of the New Mexico Legislature, who asserted that he’d never read a particular document that relates to how a politician goes about receiving donations and what to do when he/she receives them.

Specifically, Madalena has joined several other lawmakers who — oh so suddenly — discovered that some of his campaign expenses might not have been legitimate, such as paying for a surgery copay, clothing, Internet service and for help for a needy family.

When confronted about the spurious spending, the 31-year House member first said, “In my years in our State Legislature I have never seen nor read our Campaign Reporting Act.

A few days later, he changed his story. It turns out he was a co-signer of the Campaign Reporting Act, and his hand-in-the-cookie-jar explanation was, “Of course I have read the Campaign Finance Reporting Act. In fact, I co-sponsored the Act.” Continue reading

A bumper-to-bumper crop

“Well, the traffic was bumper to bumper on the way to Santa Fe.” “There was practically a traffic jam with so many people parked by the side of the road, they almost needed a traffic cop.”

Obviously, the scene is along I-25, any day this month, as the piñon-picking ritual has arrived. The piñon crop, they say, comes once every seven years, and by the number of people who spread out sheets under trees and poke at branches, this year likely will produce a bumper crop. And I used to think a bumper crop referred to the way cars lined up along Rowe Mesa.

Watching hundreds of people — their cars and pickups parked haphazardly along the Interstate — gathering piñon made us recall what a popular, and healthful activity it is. And it’s a family occasion that brings memories.

But first, you decide who’s taking advantage of whom in this (annual and actual) scenario:

Let’s say we Trujillos are traveling in northern New Mexico in the fall and espy a family selling piñon by the roadside. Notice how the smaller Zip-Lock bag always contains precisely a pound of the nutty stuff, whereas the larger bag holds exactly two pounds. And it really doesn’t matter what’s inside the bags, be it cotton candy or lead pellets. Remember: A pound’s a pound the world ‘round. Continue reading

Las Vegas and compass points

Remember General Halftrack, the occasional character in the Beetle Bailey comic strip, who lamented being ignored, as he never seemed to get mail from the Pentagon? Remember Rodney Dangerfield, the comedian who “didn’t get any respect?”

Las Vegas, one of 104 incorporated communities in New Mexico, seldom gets acknowledgement and could reasonably compare itself to the general or to Dangerfield.

Let me explain:

Scores of movies in this natural film playground have been produced right here in town or its environs. The newish series, “Longmire,” has had many episodes produced here. Why, then, does the Albuquerque Journal keep failing to give us our due?

Let’s back up a few months, when the Journal printed a map of activities associated with communities throughout the state. On that map — as if some giant editor had taken a giant eraser and rubbed out a whole section — Las Vegas, Springer and Raton were missing, as nothing seems to exist between Santa Fe and the Colorado border. The map also snubbed Grants and Portales, both sizable cities. Continue reading

People say it’s only natural

Why am I pacing like an expectant father? Why do I wake up suddenly at night, look around to assure myself that our two “daughters” are safely ensconced in their beds?

Let me explain, and there’s much to explain:

By now, several of you may have read my Facebook post that explains my family’s hosting of two exchange students for the school year. They’re part of the AFS Intercultural Program that places students from other countries with American households.

Ana, a high school freshman from Madrid, Spain, and Phaedra, a senior from Belgium, will fly in to Albuquerque this week to become students at West Las Vegas High School.

And we’re told we’re the only family in Las Vegas this year to be hosting children through this program. Our family has only sons, grown sons; the closest beings in age and gender are our granddaughters, Carly and Celina, 15 and 13. They live next door and say they’ll enjoy showing Ana and Phaedra around. Continue reading

Tio Juan rescued us

When people my age were in school, the word processor consisted of 1) a pencil and 2) a piece of paper. Just like today’s computers and calculators, our tools of the ‘50s also had an “enter” and a “delete” function. They’re called lead and erasers.

When my sister, Bingy, and I were at Immaculate Conception School, we often shared a teacher, Sister Mary Matematica Primera, who dreamed nightly about the amount of arithmetic homework she was about to pile on.

Bingy and I had an advantage: We had a 50-some-year-old calculator we called Tío Juan, who could perform dazzling mental computations. His forte was in multiplying or dividing two digits by two digits. Anything larger took a bit longer.

Once, in front of some visiting I.C. schoolmates, Bingy set up Tío Juan to perform an arithmetic show-and-tell. She’d recite a host of equations for our uncle to solve. To the amazement of her classmates, Louise, Isabel, Agnes, Mary Rose and Joan, our uncle provided answers almost as quickly as he received them. Continue reading