Monthly Archives: May 2016

Going extremely high tech

Just when I thought it was safe to close the chapter on the topic of homeless mendicants in the Meadow City, I received a report that I once thought would happen only in the movies.

And though I’ve admitted in at least two previous columns that I’m one of the biggest offenders with my enabling, sympathizing, empathizing, mealy-mouthing, dollar-giving manner, it’s possible that I’ll come across today as being critical of those who camp near restaurant entrances an gas station to beg for money.

Oh yes, my files show that I’ve had many encounters with beggars at 1) a frontage road near I-25 in Albuquerque; 2) Souper Salad in Santa Fe in an encounter that I feared might lead to fisticuffs; 3) a dozen places in Las Vegas.

Here’s what happened:

My wife and I were entering a restaurant on South Grand when a man, possibly in his 30s, gave us an oh-too-smooth woeful tale of a family emergency necessitating money for gas to enable him to drive to the Mineral Hill area to fix things up. Continue reading

Have you tried a marathon?

Getting the results of the latest Boston Marathon convinced me that my son Ben, 37, now living in Albuquerque, who used to run track at Wagon Mound High School, had done all right in the popular race, finishing with a 3:32:47 time for the 26.2-mile event. He came out in the 8,528th place.

I’d been quite naive and uninformed about the marathon, believing that just about anybody with running shoes and an interest could simply show up at Bean Town, get in line and race away.

For the 27,487 entrants, rules for qualifying are complicated. Runners line up in “waves,” about 25 minutes apart. And surprising is that those who want to compete must first qualify.

Since that race, I’ve discovered that several people from Las Vegas have made at least one run.

There are probably a number of people who have been in that grand race; in a previous column, I invited such runners to get in touch with me so I could mention them, and a few did: Joseph McCaffrey, Karen Billingsley, Joe Whiteman. Continue reading

What does ‘they’ mean?

“Marilyn, what are the positive, comparative and superlative degrees of ‘good’?”

She answered, “Good, better, best.”

“Very good, Marilyn.”

“And Arthur, almost asleep in the corner there: What are the three degrees of ‘high’?”

“Uh, the three degrees of ‘hi’ are ‘hi,’ ‘hello’ and ‘how do you do?’”

So went many lessons in the ‘40s, taught by nuns like Sister Mary Grammatica, our homeroom teacher at Immaculate Conception School. Continue reading

‘Kinda’ is sorta common nowadays

A recent discovery, which with my luck won’t create even a ripple, deals with added flabbiness in speech and writing.

The culprit has a name: “Like.” We’re not talking about the verb like, which might appear in this sentence: “I really like Katherine Zeta Jones.” That’s a legitimate use of the word.

It’s the flabby part of speech that we make of “like,” when we like overuse it.

My older grandkids have made that word the most popular of all time — but let’s not single them out, as it seems the most over-used word among anyone in school is — like. Being the host parents to two foreign-exchange students, one from Spain, one from Belgium, we’ve socialized, usually in Albuquerque, with dozens of other high schoolers from all over Europe, Asia and South America.

And what do the ones we’ve spoken to have in common? Almost all pepper their speech with “like,” “kinda” and “sorta,” with the zeal that they pepper their fries. And on a short visit to a MacDonald’s restaurant in Prague only last year, we listened in as Czech students succeeded in imitating American teens. Continue reading