Monthly Archives: July 2017

Never ever double-space — ever

Doing research through old microfilms of the Optic, at Highlands’ Donnelly Library, I soon thought of abandoning the project — for several reasons.

For years, a laboratory somewhere would take each issue of the Optic, photograph it and convert it to a 35mm reel of film that contained the days’ news. But that didn’t make things perfect. Too often, there were pages out of order, pages that simply didn’t copy well, and lots of blotches that forced us to guess the content therein.

The microfilm machines — considered high tech in the ‘50s — were big, bulky, hot, noisy and fuzzy. But the main problem was magnifying the page sufficiently to make it legible. The manufacturers, it seemed, had removed the bottoms of Coke bottles and used them as lenses for the microfilm machines.

I examined some of the original copies we had at the Optic building on Lincoln Avenue and discovered that much of the material needed to be examined through a strong pair of eyeglasses, or a magnifying glass. Continue reading

The Ayatollah Raiders?

We were unwinding after having taken in some of the sights in Denver over the weekend. We boarded the capital city’s light rail toward our destination, which is about as close to the center of town as one can get.

Benji, our youngest son, and his family put us up for the night in a 24-story apartment house that places Ben a short block from where he works. And what is that work? Doing computers or something. What else does anyone his age do for a living nowadays?

It was a fine reunion, as we got together with our oldest son, Stan Adam, his wife and two young daughters. They came from a bit farther away: Denmark, as it was their turn to head west.

Around 9:30 p.m., we were the only rail passengers ­— until groups of noisy young adults boarded and sat in the car we had occupied. I enjoyed listening in on their chats. It seemed that each one increased his or her volume to make a point. Remember: In today’s society, the louder and more emphatic you are, the more veracity your comments carry. Continue reading

Addicted to Facebook

The first time I bought a totally portable battery-operated radio, I believed I’d gone to Heaven. Even though I was able to receive only one station, KFUN-AM, I enjoyed listening to the Game of the Day as I delivered papers on my Optic route, which comprised two streets across the tracks, Railroad (which we call Tough Street), Grand and parts of First and Second.

I taped the small radio to the handlebars and got fairly good reception. That made me a Brooklyn Dodger fan, as that team was on the air most often.

And I thought, way back in 1952 that sound technology had reached the highest peaks.

That was long before tiny, yet powerful, things like cell phones came along. And with them came something called Facebook, which I happily admit, has obsessed many, including and especially me.

I’m addicted. Day after day, I come across lots of drivel; if it’s not someone wanting to sell us something, it’s another person hoping to convert us. Continue reading

“And I’m like ‘wow!’”

There’s a phenomenon that I must be heir to, something I’ve mentioned before in this column. It has to do with hearing a word that seems new — and then hearing that word dozens of times, often that same day.

One of the words, which I’m not ashamed to admit came late in my life, is “comprise.” The first time I heard it and used it (incorrectly) in a sentence, I began hearing it constantly. It seemed everybody was using the word. My journalism teacher at the University of Missouri lectured on that term, and I pretended I knew ALL ABOUT “comprise” before he even explained.

For the record, “comprise” isn’t the same as “consist.” We can say, “The United States consists of 50 states,” but not “The United States is comprised of 50 states.”

To comprise means to include or embrace; thus, we can say, “The U.S. comprises (includes, embraces) 50 states,” but not “is comprised of.” Grammar lesson accomplished, let’s consider other usages.

As a teacher of speech for 32 years, I fought a losing battle in urging my students to speak and write forcefully, “con ganas,” as we still say in my Railroad Avenue barrio. It means “with force.” In those days as a teacher, I’d write a list of “flabby” terms that I believe work against us. Continue reading