Monthly Archives: May 2017

OK — Maybe Facebook is addictive

A friend, Luke Phillips, who used to work in the composing room at the Optic, when it was on Lincoln Avenue, dropped a note recently, in which he explained that the city council session he covers in a California town had been meeting for three hours and had yet to finish Item #1 on the agenda.

Ah, the glamour people in the news business can experience amounts to pure splendor!
It’s true that members of the press try their darnedest to keep the public informed, even if the topics are mill levies, referenda, sewage treatment plants and endless processions of proclamations. And yes, I’ve done my share. People who cover government meetings generally receive that assignment the day they’re hired.

Even Jason W. Brooks, our new editor, has already written several items on our government.
I covered public affairs, first in Las Vegas, in the days when we had two municipalities, two school boards and two town councils. That kind of schedule doesn’t conduce to providing quality nightlife. The next batch came when I moved to Gallup and was allowed to cover the Town Council, the Indian Community Center, and the local school board. Continue reading

Their attempt to please

A number of my columns have dealt with food. Growing up in this area, I’ve become accustomed to the real spicy stuff many moms serve several times a week.

But first, let’s define some terms:

  • “Señor Taco” is a term that should never be construed as an insult. It simply refers to a kind of amateurish way of cooking that adds tomato sauce and calls it chile.
  • Sopaipilla is spelled with two “i’s,” not one.
  • “Chile should never be pluralized; it’s chile that’s in your bowl, and yes, if we must put an “s” at the end of the word, we’re referring to individual peppers which add nothing but heat to the meal. So remember, the delectable stuff has only one “s.”
  • And it’s a big offense to spell the stuff “chili.” That’s only for flatland touristers.
  • Chile rellenos should not be confused with the common local surname “Arellano.”
  • Using the name “hot tamales” is redundant. By their nature they’re hot (or should be), and any tamale that is not hot (or calls itself hot, comes in a can.

As an inveterate eater of southwestern cuisine, I’m continually amused when I read recipes for “Hot Chile Sauce.” First, it’s not a sauce; chile is a food in and of itself, and the only modifications can be “red,” “green” or “Christmas, which gifts people with two distinct flavors.” Continue reading

We’re going for Round II

We’ve done it again. Or, to be a bit more accurate, let me change that to “We’ve almost done it again.”

I refer to our second round of hosting young people from far away as our foreign exchange students. The last round, we kept two girls from across the Atlantic, for almost 10 months. They spent the school year enrolled at West Las Vegas High School and stayed an extra month because their schools, in Spain and Belgium, respectively, run weeks later than most American schools.

Readers have probably read about Phaedra Wouters, the one from Antwerp, and Ana Granados, from a suburb of Madrid. They’re close in age to our own granddaughters, Carly and Celina, who live next door to us.

As we played softball with the four girls or picnicked with them high up in Gallinas Canyon, or had them read stories to us, we adults simply “lost” ourselves. That’s our way of saying we almost forgot which of the girls were blood and which were kin, their having blended in so well. I’ll admit going into a funk in early July when we drove them to the Albuquerque Sunport to see them off. I gave each of the teens a big squeeze, as if that gesture would shorten the time till we see them again. . . . If we ever do. Continue reading

License renewal woes

Previous columns have detailed my family’s experiences during our travels since our retirement from teaching. We opted not to buy fancy cars or houses and instead put some funds into travel.

Of course, the fact that our oldest son, Stanley Adam, moved to Denmark with Microsoft several years ago, took himself a Copenhagen bride and sired two daughters has something to do with where and how often we travel.

We’ve been fortunate that our son’s vacation days often coincide with ours, and either we spend days visiting at their home or we find another destination. That’s enabled us to visit much of western and central Europe, and we’ve even gone as far as Austria, Sweden, Nuremberg and the Czech Republic.

We’ve noticed how the level of trust seems to tighten the farther east we go into Europe; the farther we travel from home, the more urgency there is in having the right papers in place. Continue reading

Copping an ID is complex

A friend asked me to go with her to the Motor Vehicle Department in Las Vegas to get her squared away on the Real ID, which, among other things, entitles one to board a commercial airline.

Apparently, the Real ID is a document with bells and whistles that gives the holder added privileges.

It seemed simple enough until she informed me that the name that would appear on her renewed driver’s license does not agree with what’s on her birth certificate. She’s a twice-widowed, once-divorced senior citizen whose current (about to expire) license contains much more than the given, Christian names on her birth certificate.

Before we arrived at the MVD, I assured her securing a new license would be a piece of cake. “In fact, I’ll go with you get my own driver’s license, which is also about to expire,” I told her.
Not so fast. I believe that the MVD officials who listed all the new hoops we need to face didn’t realize how much things change over the decades. But before we go on, let me assured readers that what my friend and I experienced was unique; and trying to use this column as an instruction manual would be foolhardy. Continue reading