Monthly Archives: March 2016

Reactions to panhandling item

As I answered the phone three evenings ago, I detected a bit of hesitation on the caller’s part.

She and I had worked in the same building at Highlands for years, until my retirement in 2000. The message came haltingly: “I hope you don’t resent me for this, but I disagree with you and need to get this off my mind.”

Of course there was no getting mad; I welcome calls, even those from people telling me to grow a brain. In this case, the woman (who asked me not to identify her) was referring to the column I wrote last week about panhandlers in Las Vegas. Her point was that I somehow aggravate the panhandling situation by throwing money at the problem.

It’s true that I don’t vet each mendicant who recognizes me and asks for a handout. I don’t question the veracity of their request or situation. However, I believe that people’s current lot in life can’t be too good if they need to beg. Continue reading

Overwhelmed by panhandlers

Somebody needs to stop me. My modest generosity is going to get me into trouble.

If “modest generosity” seems like a contradiction of terms, I apologize. What I’m trying to get across is that I’m an easy touch, but apparently my touching doesn’t do a whale of a lot of good.

Let me explain:

There’s an army of people in Las Vegas who get their sustenance by putting a hand out. They’re inescapable and unavoidable, at almost every Allsup’s convenience store in town; Better Stop generally has a few chronic beggars at the ready; some stand guard in front of Charlie’s Restaurant, Traveler’s Cafe, and other places with walking traffic.

Two nights ago, I went to gas up our car, in preparation for an early-morning trip to Santa Fe. Yes, I could have waited until morning but I realized something would prevent us from getting our foreign exchange students to the Santa Fe Railrunner station on time. Continue reading

Please give us more D.S.T.

Let’s prepare for several months of lasting daylight, a time for enjoyment. Even at my age, I plan to find out how far I can knock a ball.

I’ve been practicing with our foreign exchange students, Phaedra Wouters and Ana Granado, now members of the West Las Vegas softball team. And though it’s fun, chasing fly balls that sail over my head gets a bit exhausting.

But back to Daylight Saving Time. It’s been with us for decades, and I wonder whether I’m the only person on the planet who welcomes it. But don’t get me wrong: I’m just as happy when New Mexico returns to Mountain Standard Time. That too has its advantages.

For about six weeks, I’ll be hearing my wife’s diurnal question: “What time is it?” I’ll say something like, “It’s 7:30, My Delight.” “No, I mean ‘What time is it really?’” And that leaves me the option of giving her the time it was before 2 a.m. Sunday and the time it is now. Continue reading

Just for antiquity’s sake

It looks like an antique. By some people’s definition, an antique needs to be more than 100 years old.

What I’m looking at is a vintage photo from the New York Times that shows the newsroom of a metropolitan daily newspaper, possibly the Times newsroom itself.

There are a number of manual Royal typewriters, reams of paper, wadded up sheets on the floor, wastebaskets every five feet apart, massive filing cabinets, a generous number of ashtrays, a radio-like object that’s probably a police-and-fire department scanner, and a battery of Teletype machines.

There are no people in this crowded newsroom — possibly everyone’s on a break, but more likely the photo was taken on a day the paper didn’t publish.

At all the newspapers I worked for, the copy paper we typed on was not the precisely cut 8-1/2-by-11 sheets but actual newsprint, left over from a roll of paper and cut in the back shop to resemble what gets fed into the typewriter. Continue reading

It’s much safer today

On a ride back from Santa Fe, I chatted with my granddaughter Celina. The conversation began right after some dude whizzed past us. It was clear he hadn’t had an oil change in years — if ever.

We pulled over to let the A.J. Foyt of the Rockies get way ahead of, as we didn’t wish to inhale the noxious fumes his car spewed. That prompted my second-oldest granddaughter to ask, “Was it worse when you were my age?”

Well yes it was, Celina, but we didn’t think of it as worse then; it’s relative. And we wondered what the air we breathe would be like when Celina, now 12, has her own grandkids.

Nowadays, it seems that everyone, not just every family, owns a cell phone. Your car breaks down and you dial (dial?) your cell phone for help. Except for the inconsiderate driver who overloads his pickup and lets newly chopped logs spill out, we don’t see many objects on the road, at least not to the extent we did in the olden days. Continue reading