Monthly Archives: October 2017

‘Mockingbird’ flares up anew

There’s a bit of irony in the following, which concerns a re-heated topic of racism, as shown in the decision of several school districts to ban Harper Lee’s award-winning novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Touching on Lee’s brilliant novel and of censorship leads me to make a couple of disclosures. First, my mother and I were virtual opposites when it came to tolerance for words and images that appeared in books; she favored censorship. Second, even as a child I never believed that learning and even using what we call profanity — such as the f-word — would corrupt me.

But yet, when I lived with my parents in the mid-sixties, finishing up my last year of college, I discovered how diametrically opposed my mother and I were.

Here’s how: I was enrolled in an upper-level class as Highlands, and the professor assigned a book called “A Psychiatrist Looks At Erotica.” The only place that book, containing bold statements on nudity, pornography and profanity was available was in a bookstore on Douglas, which used to be our main business district. Why that book wasn’t at the Highlands Book Store still puzzles me. Continue reading

Pity the comma chasers

I pity today’s comma chasers. They’re (we’re) the ones whose job is tantamount to digging a dozen 6-by-6-by-6 holes with a dull shovel in the hot Fort Bliss sun, in August.

But first, let’s make it clear that: The term comma chaser doesn’t refer solely to that tiny punctuation mark but is a generic term for editors and teachers, and even parents who look over their kids’ homework.

And while on this subject, let me stress that every person who checks submitted work for spelling, punctuation (not just commas), apostrophes (especially), and content already has a place reserved in the Great Hereafter. That doesn’t necessarily mean Heaven will be populated only with erstwhile English teachers and newspaper people who ask, “To WHOM do you refer?” instead of the lazier “Who do you refer to?”

Winston Churchill, tired of hearing, “Never end a sentence with a preposition,” is credited with having answered, “This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.”
And yet, a number of authoritative sources either fail to credit Churchill, or else insist the quotation is mangled. Continue reading

Do we plant eggplant?

A few weeks ago this column introduced the two Foreign Exchange students who are spending the school year with us.

One student, Tookta, comes from Thailand; the other, Kitty, is from China.

Our main objective is to help them learn English as well as American ways, which they seem to be acquiring through their enrollment at Robertson High School.

I believe that part of their indoctrination is in providing food we think they’ll enjoy. And the counterpart involves our becoming more familiar with what people eat in China and Thailand.
I believe my wife, Bonnie, has tried hard to accommodate each one’s preferences. Accordingly, we’ve been having lots of helpings of rice and noodles — and eggs mixed into the various soups. The girls reciprocate by saying they enjoy eating food Bonnie prepares. Continue reading

What’s right protocol for flag?

Oh, my, how times have changed. But whether they’ve changed for the better is questionable.

There isn’t much else in the news if you exclude the horrendous massacre of 59 people, as of press time, in a Las Vegas, Nev., outdoor concert venue and casino. The other hot-button topic is the contagious action of kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at sporting events.

Let’s discuss this first:

In the 1950s, when there were intense athletic rivalries between the THREE Las Vegas, N.M., high schools, Stu Clark Gym, the such facility in town, usually packed in a third of Las Vegas’ population.

The game that comes most readily to mind was between Immaculate Conception and the Las Vegas High Cardinals. Continue reading